Oh, whatâ€™s the vibe?
Issue 39 December 2019 / January 2020 readdork.com
Get ready for 2020 with girl in red and the hottest new acts on the planet!
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December 2019 / January 2020 | readdork.com | Down With Boring
Ø4 Intro 18 Top Ten Ø8
ED’S LETTER BLAENAVON
It’s been a tough old time for Ben from Blaenavon, but with one of our albums of the year now ‘out’, we met up in the park to check in.
A bona fide sensation in waiting, Girl In Red is about to explode. As part of our 2020 Hype List, we find out ‘more’.
Yes, we know, but there’s no need to mention the family business when it comes to Inhaler.
The start of every year brings about another batch of fresh talent tipped for the very top, Dear Reader - and this one is no different. That’s why we’ve been checking our spreadsheets, collating our choices and consulting our big crystal balls to come up with just some of the names we think will be making a noise in 2020. There’s a few - so many that you may notice we’ve put two covers on this month’s edition of the magazine. Take your pick, That’s not all we’ve got on hand, either. With it being an end of year double issue, we’re also rounding up the best of 2019, via the medium of lists - including the results of our annual Reader’s Poll - plus all our usual interviews, news, reviews and ‘stuff’. It’s been one hell of a twelve months, that’s for sure. A bittersweet mix of awesome and awful, there are still a few things to sort out before Santa comes (down with Tories, etc.), but 2020 looks full of all kinds of exciting things. We’ll see you back here in January for more!
Hype List 2020 2019 in Lists
PC Music’s iconic first lady has just dropped a debut album. Man the pop barricades!
53 La Roux
19 Lauran Hibberd
Billie Eilish Black Country, New Road
2019 IN LISTS
16, 58 Lauv
We could write all the words, but really, you want the stats. The tables. The objective opinions. They’re all here.
42 King Nun
Alfie Templeman, 16, is only 16 years old. At the age of 16, he’s Very Good, for a 16 year old.
Already anointed by Sir Matthew of Healy, Bea is bringing the bangers.
The ex-Maccabees frontman has a solo effort on the way. Now it’s time to reclaim his throne.
Yes! Indie prince Jack Penate is indeed ‘back’ and now he knows what kind of artist he wants to be.
** BAND INDEX ** BAND INDEX **
53 12, 20
My Chemical 16 Romance
11 Nasty Cherry
Eyesore & The Jinx 36 Fontaines D.C.
girl in red
The Big Moon
Working Men’s 19 Club
ON THE DORK STEREO THIS MONTH... BLOSSOMS
Foolish Loving Spaces
Out at the end of January 2020, we aren’t even remotely exaggerating when we describe the opening track of Blossoms’ third album as an indie ‘Mr Blue Sky’. Yes. It is that good. The ultimate compliment. Banger.
If you scooch towards the back of this month’s issue, you’ll notice Georgia has done ‘rather well’ in our 2019 end of year lists with her megabanger ‘About Work The Dancefloor’. The album it’s from is out next Jan, and is AMAZING.
2019 was not the year HRH Charli XCX released ‘Taxi’ - the Wyld Stallyns style moment of pop perfection all future generations will base their society upon. Not that we have, um, any way of actually listening to it. Obviously.
NEW MUSIC. NO ALGORITHMS.
DORK radio TUNE IN 24/7/365 readdork.com/radio
GIRL IN RED
So, good things DO come to those who wait. When we spoke to Blaenavon’s Ben about their second album ‘Everything That Makes You Happy’ last year, it was showing all the signs of being an incredible record - and a timely one that dealt honestly with issues around mental health and anxiety. Now finally, after a painful delay due to a further hospital stay, it has been released and is even more exceptional than we dared dream about. Dork caught up with Ben for a noholds-barred chat about what happened… Hey Ben, congrats on such a beautiful record! When we spoke last year, you said how excited you were about it coming out. Loads has happened since then, what is it like now it’s out at last?
Ben: Here it is, it finally happened! It’s quite a weight off my shoulders because I’ve been so excited. I was super scared I was gonna spoil the release plan by just leaking info on Twitter because I was too excited. Everyone seems to love it, and everyone has a different favourite song which is always a good sign. It seems to be an emotional listen for a lot of the fans, but one that seems to be helping them out a bit which is kind of the intention I suppose. Was it cathartic to write? Or was it painful?
No, it’s always cathartic - that’s how I’ve always dealt with my business emotionally, put it into songs. But these ones are a bit more extreme than anything I’ve written before, a lot of stuff about being intimidated by the prospect of sanity, or losing that a little bit. But it doesn’t make me feel sad. What are your personal favourites?
‘Skin Scream’, ‘Quiet In Your Heart / Alone In Love’ and the title track. They’re awesome. Can you tell us about what triggered these songs? Was it a build-up of events?
I don’t know. I struggled a lot with depression and stuff when I was growing up, and there are parts of that on our first album, but I wasn’t very blunt about it. This DECEMBER 2019 / JANUARY 2020
time, I kind of took away the unnecessary coded nature of things and was just quite expressive about how I was feeling. I wanted to be blunt and honest, but also fair on myself. And it was supposed to be a record about perseverance instead of about wallowing, so I hope that comes through. I think the tempo and the instrumentation of the songs brings that out. There’s a real 90s feel to some of the songs, bits of The Verve and Spiritualized in there at times. The songs sound a lot bigger with the orchestration.
Wow, amazing. I love that band. I just wanted to make massive Britpop anthems with full orchestrations and huge choruses. I’ve always been the biggest Blur fan, and then my manager encouraged me to really get into The Verve. So there’s quite a lot of that that comes through, especially on ‘The Song’s Never Gonna Be The Same’. I feel like that chorus is as big as it could possibly be. That song got passed around no end in our Dork group chat on release day…
That’s a really special song for me. I want to be in the Dork group chat.
be worse. Your situation could always be more difficult, and if you’re lucky enough, you have a good set of friends and family around you, and you can get through whatever trauma has overtaken you. You talk about a sense of guilt on the likes of ‘Fucking Up My Friends’, it’s a really honest and brave record.
I just wanted to be honest about it, because I know I’ve been a bit of a handful to a number of people over the years. To the extent that you kind of feel to blame for putting them through unnecessarily hard times. And I’ve been on the receiving end of that too. So yeah, that song is about growing up within an entire community of amazingly talented young people and watching all of us, one by one, slowly suffering through different things. And feeling guilty about it. It’s the same with ‘Quiet In Your Heart / Alone In Love’, which people seem to have tapped into.
"NO-ONE’S GOING TO JUDGE ME FOR BEING HONEST, AND IT’S GOING TO HELP OTHER PEOPLE"
No, you don’t. It’s mainly people asking what vegetable you would be if you could, and stuff like that.
I love random questions. What would you be? I would go for a cauliflower.
Really? They’re kind of gross, man. I’d maybe be a cucumber. A solid vegetable.
Yeah. Nice, crunchy. A liquid centre. Fine choice. Back to that orchestra…
A good friend of ours Ed Harcourt, arranged it. It really brought something else. Ideally, the whole record would’ve had a full orchestra, but budget cuts y’ know? You’d spoken about wanting the album to be an ‘optimistic response’, you really feel that on the title-track.
Bang on. Someone was paying attention (laughs). Yeah, it’s just about not taking things for granted because it could always
‘Catatonic Skinbag’ is another really honest moment, but one that you seem to deliver tongue in cheek?
If you read the lyrics, it is a really serious song. But I just did my very best to poke as much fun at myself as I could. I didn’t want it to be a sad-sack record with me complaining about stuff, I wanted it to be me overcoming stuff and making it fun. It’s about a phase I went through, and one I still go through at times, where I’m not in a great space. A lot of people have experienced it when you’re that depressed that you can’t really get out of bed and everyone calls you lazy. But it’s just, no, I physically can’t make myself move today. What are your fans saying to you about these songs?
There’s a lot of people who’ve been like, “oh, that really hurts”. Which I guess was sort of the intention. That it’s beautiful, perfect, a masterpiece, lots of great stuff like that (laughs). There’s the genre ‘sad banger’ that we’re pretty good at now. Sad bangers work. Were you apprehensive about the record coming out?
No. I’ve never doubted myself as a songwriter at all, I’m really good at that. I was just hoping that it would mean as much
Words & photos: Jamie MacMillan.
IF IT’S NOT IN HERE, IT’S NOT HAPPENING. OR WE FORGOT. ONE OR THE OTHER.
to them as the first one did, or more. And as much as it does to me. I’ve always wanted to make songs that you can cry to and dance to at the same time. Are you able to talk about what happened last year?
King Nun have announced a new UK tour. The band will head out next February in support of their justreleased debut album ‘MASS’, kicking off at the Waterfront in Norwich on 6th February, going on to visit Leeds, Nottingham, Brighton, Bournemouth, London, Bristol, Exeter, Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, and Glasgow.
Yeah. I got really, really ill. It’s happened twice now. And I’ve had two stints in the hospital for mental breakdowns from mainly stress and trauma. And that’s like a massive theme on the record. I say this all the time, but it’s just kind of scary how eerily prophetic the songs seem to be now on reflection. Because I look back at the lyrics and a lot of them are like cries for help. A lot of them are trying to alert people that I didn’t feel I was doing well. But when you send people music, they kind of focus on the quality of it rather than asking “look, are you okay?” And I think my mum found it difficult too because she remembered me playing her those songs while I was in hospital. So yeah, it’s a tough one.
How are you doing now?
Pale Waves and The Mysterines are among the first names for Sound City 2020. The event - which highlights both up-andcoming talent and old faves - will take place from 1st-3rd May in Liverpool. Also on the bill are The Blinders, Tim Burgess, Stealing Sheep, The Lathums, The Lottery Winners, Bessie Turner, Far Caspian, Para Fiction, On Video, Talkboy, Catholic Action and more.
Mura Masa’s second album ‘R.Y.C (Raw Youth Collage)’ will be released on 17th January. The record features a typically impressive selection of guest vocalists, including slowthai, Tirzah, Georgia and Ellie Rowsell from Wolf Alice, and will see him tour in February, including London’s Alexandra Palace and Manchester’s Warehouse Project.
Mush are going to release their debut album in February. ‘3D Routine’ will arrive on Valentine’s Day via Memphis Industries, preceded by new single ‘Eat the Etiquette’, and accompanied by a few instores.
DECEMBER 2019 / JANUARY 2020
Yeah, I’m good. Pretty good, can’t really complain. A shitty two years, and I’m pretty sad to have lost the ages 21 to 23 , which should be a real high point in your life. I feel like I kind of lost that time, and I dwell on a bit sometimes and get quite upset. But… I’m moving on, and we’re all doing everything we can to make sure I don’t ever get ill again really. There’s a good team around me now, it’s all good.
You were really honest about it all online.
It was quite a relief to get it out, get all the information out and explain to people where I’d been and what the music was about. And if a few people would feel inspired to feel more comfortable in their own stories and talk about it… no-one’s going to judge me for being honest, and it’s going to help other people. And now you’re working with CALM?
Yeah, how awesome is that? I worked with them a few years ago, and then my management let them know that there were some charities that I was really inspired by. I think they were quite touched by my story and my openness, so they got in touch with me. We’re gonna do some great stuff together, I’m gonna throw some sick fundraisers basically. Men’s mental health awareness is something that more and more people are talking about now.
Well, so many men were dying, ARE dying and suffering. I think we’re getting there as an industry, people like IDLES and Sam Fender are definitely encouraging a lot of people to speak out. And I’m doing my best in that regards too, and I think it’s only gonna get better from here. We’ve taken that leap now, and we can just keep working together
and building the process. But it’s such a terrible epidemic that it is going to take some time. You must be really proud of this record and yourself.
I am. I’ve lived with it for such a long time now that it’s strange to have people finally hearing it. Now I just want to make music more regularly now because I write so frequently. I’ve got to do it. Do you feel like you’ve grown as a songwriter?
I think I always had my style and it’s grown and adapted a little bit, but it’s still very much me. I’d imagine it all comes from the likes of Elliott Smith. He’s my guy. My hero. P
Everything That Makes You Happy
Artistic expression comes from all manner of places. Not every great work is created from calm waters, and to say that Blaenavon’s second album arrives from a difficult position would be a fair statement. A message from frontman Ben Gregory that came alongside the surprise announcement of the record describes it as “an optimistic response to a difficult time”, detailing relapsed mental health issues and a pledge that “time heals all and everything WILL be alright”. From the sounds of ‘Everything That Makes You Happy’, it’s a promise to be believed, too. While debut album ‘That’s Your Lot’ was a low-key indie masterpiece, there’s something more propulsive and direct on its follow up. From first taster ‘Catatonic Skinbag’ - a lost turn of the millennium brit-rock anthem if ever there was one - this is Blaenavon’s vision supersized. ‘The Song’s Never Gonna Be The Same’ packs a string-laden, hairraising chorus that already sounds like an arena-sized, lighters in the air moment, while ‘Fucking Up My Friends’ is bright and breezy but also devastatingly heavy and honest in the same breath. The jangle of ‘Never Stop Stirring’, with the refrain “if you never stop running, you won’t get ill” taking bittersweet meaning, is both raw and yet optimistic, but it’s the closing titletrack that sends the message loudest. Building to a frenetic crescendo, Ben repeatedly delivers the record’s title. Like an emotional release, it feels like the curtains being thrown open to something new. As that leading written statement requests: “breathe this album in deeply - it really is one of a kind and from a very special place.” Cathartic, sometimes painful, but always reaching for something better - it’s a record that wears its heart, and thoughts, on its sleeve for all to see. Couldn’t have put it better ourselves. Stephen Ackroyd
DIAMOND LIGHTS It’s been a long time coming, but PC Music’s shiniest gem has a debut album on the books. Watch out, Planet Pop! Words: Abigail Firth.
AS SHINY AS HANNAH DIAMOND’S
world is, she’s not as tough as her namesake. On her debut album, ‘Reflections’, Hannah is human and heartbroken, perhaps unexpectedly as a member of the hyperreal, alternative-reality PC Music collective. Starting out as a visual artist, Hannah joined AG Cook as part of PC Music in 2013 , where, with the release of her debut ‘Pink and Blue’, she transformed into one of the most innovative voices in pop. Still, six years later, there’s no one quite like her. Even with producers AG Cook, SOPHIE, EasyFun, Danny L Harle and more imposing their industrial, metallic, slammingpots-and-pans-in-the-studio sound on the mainstream, Hannah’s steely vocals paired with heartfelt lyrics stood out against the pure party bangers the rest of the PC Music crew were creating with Charli XCX, Madonna, Rita Ora and Carly Rae Jepsen (that’s quite the name drop). “In a way, I’ve always been a performer because I used to dance when I was a lot younger,” Hannah says from over the phone in London. “I’ve always been on stage and doing shows and making my costumes and stuff like that, but until I started making music, I hadn’t really thought about that.” While Hannah became just as well known for the glossy, retouched imagery that accompanied her music, she doesn’t let it alter anyone’s perception of her music or artistry. DECEMBER 2019 / JANUARY 2020
If anything, creating those hyperreal photos is a particularly personal process for her. “The whole package of the music relates to the visual side of things, although the lyrical content is sometimes quite emotional and quite sad, which seems like the polar opposite of this hyperreal imagery, something that I guess some people think looks like commercial imagery, which is you know, normally not seen as being something quite personal for them. “For me, the correlation between the two isn’t so far apart because making those kinds of hyperreal images is quite personal, because it’s something that I started being interested in when I was a lot younger. I started out as mostly an illustrator, I guess. When I was really young, I was into jewellery. I used to do hyperreal pencil illustration. “For me, it’s just an extension of that. Even though people might see it as being a purposeful, grounded thing, like a conscious decision I’ve made to represent myself visually, I feel like it’s just a continuation of what I’ve been making ever since I started making visual stuff, which was when I was really young.” It was those images she created while at university that caught the attention of AG Cook, who helped shift the same shiny, over-edited concept into song. “Before I was friends with Alex and Polly, and before I met everyone, I was mostly just doing visual stuff. I guess through like finding this group of friends that all had a similar vision for things that they wanted to make. And then starting music with Alex, that’s how my projects turned from
just being visual to audiovisual.” It’s a testament to Hannah’s vision that ‘Reflections’ never really changed that much. Originally an EP and containing songs from 2015 onwards, ‘Reflections’ still feels as future forward and fully formed as it would’ve if it had been released as an EP years back. “It was only going to have four tracks on it, and then I was still writing and recording all the time, and it kept growing. Once I got to six tracks I was like, I might as well make an album because all the music that I’m making feels like it’s in the same sort of world. “Once I decided it was going to be an album, we had the kind of stuff I wanted to do with it visually as well. I really upped the stakes for what I wanted to achieve. The number of songs changed, which technically in music industry terms changed it from an EP to an album, but for me, it’s always been the same thing.” Upping the stakes obviously turned out to be a good thing, as it helped Hannah through some really rough patches, particularly the title track. Although most of the record details – in a super blunt and often simple way – Hannah falling in and out of love, the song ‘Reflections’ quite literally reflects on her personal struggles and ponders how others in her life feel about her own depression. “I was really going through it for a few years when I was working on this record, and I was really struggling with my self-esteem and myself worth. I had a few days that were like, really, really bad. It’s kind of hard to think about, but I had a few really tough days. And I remember my mum and dad came down to London to see me because
"I REALLY UPPED THE STAKES FOR WHAT I WANTED TO ACHIEVE"
Hannah Diamond’s album ‘Reflections’ is out now. READDORK.COM
they knew I was having a hard time. I remember my mum being a bit upset and sort of like, ‘What can we do? I don’t know why you feel like this’. “Then I guess the day after that is when I wrote ‘Reflections’, because I remember trying to think of myself from my mum’s perspective and how I would feel if I was her kid. Like, if one of my friends felt the way that I felt, it kind of helped me to have like some like self-compassion, so that song to me is kind of like bit of a selfhelp song, just like the reminder to look after myself. Some of the lyrics are about like seeing yourself as new and stuff, and its sort of a reminder to myself to love myself and not take myself for granted. “I feel like through working on the album, I’ve overcome hurdles I didn’t think I was capable of; in my career but also like, emotionally and personally. I feel like writing it and making it’s helped me to learn a lot about myself and who I am. I feel a lot more confident in myself for doing it as well.” Stepping away from writing her own songs, the album also features a cover of trance classic ‘Concrete Angel’, which was created when Hannah and AG were looking to create their own ‘hardcore trance track’, as she says. “I’ve always been super super into trance, and really into UK garage as well, it’s been a huge inspiration for me, but it didn’t really come in on this album. It’s been a song that I’ve loved for ages and ages. It feels right, even though it’s a cover. I feel like lyrically it’s still in that kind of world and I was listening to that so much at that time as well, I think I must have been relating to it more than normal. It feels like it fits in emotionally for me.” With all the years behind her perfecting the ‘HD sound’, ‘Reflections’ is as pristine and glossy as the imagery that vitally accompanies it. But be aware, there’s nothing commercial or run-of-themill about this album; it’s 100% Hannah Diamond in every way. “One of the reasons it was so great to work with Alex on this whole album is, because I started making music with him, I feel like we’ve been developing what the HD sound is. By making this album just purely with Alex, we’ve really solidified that and made this sound that’s just me, and I’m really proud of it. “With my music and my lyrics and my artwork, I always want it to come from me. Whenever I’ve written songs where I’ve tried to tell a story or get into an idea just because it’s fun. I never end up wanting to use them because I’m like, I don’t know, it just doesn’t feel so real, and I feel like it’s easier for me to go up on stage and perform if I know that it’s all true. P
The crown prince of indie, former frontman of The Maccabees Orlando Weeks is preparing to return with new solo material in 2020.
Obviously, we tapped him up to find out more. Words: Jenessa Williams.
IT’S A RARE AND STRANGELY
thrilling thing, to hand over 20 hard-earned pounds, and walk into a gig venue, knowing everything and nothing about what you might be about to see. As the frontman of The Maccabees, Orlando Weeks has made a name for himself as a careful, softly-spoken crafter of heart-tugging melodies, but following the bands amicable end in 2017, his moves have been much harder to define – a gentle soundtrack for his illustrated novel The Gritterman, some mixed-media collage artwork for pals IDLES and fashion designer Daniel W Fletcher, the odd Instagram update. When he announced solo shows in July, seemingly out of the blue, fans were left with no new material to go off – just the blind faith that what they were about to hear would be something special. “I was amazed that many people came, for sure. In a way, it was a bit of a weight off - if nobody knows what they’re getting themselves in for, then I felt like I couldn’t predict people’s expectations.” He says. “I was more nervous about the songs; there was a chance that if I didn’t feel like I was doing them justice or they didn’t hold up to the scrutiny of a live performance, then I’d be so disappointed and feel like it hadn’t DECEMBER 2019 / JANUARY 2020
WEEKS been a good decision. But across the board, I don’t think I came away feeling like any of the songs weren’t record-worthy.” For those lucky enough to be in attendance, record-worthy seems something of an understatement. The absence of guitars is palpable – think instead of vibey trombones and delicate piano, big emotional breakdowns and of course, Weeks’ sensitive, haunting voice, proffering a reassuring hand of familiarity to guide you through this brave new world. Each night, he politely requested that the audience refrain from posting snippets on the internet, and was surprised to find that they took him at his word, respecting the work-in-progress nature of his performance. “It was definitely asking and not telling – I’ve never been very good at telling people to do anything,” he says. “Things like ‘sing along to this one’, I’ve never felt like that’s my place. But at the same time, the quiet for the songs was something that I felt super grateful for. I think I just figured that if you’ve put your hat in the ring for something where you don’t know what you’re getting, then maybe you’ll have an empathy for other people who’ll want to wait to hear it for themselves in the way that I’m trying to present it. But even talking about it now, I’m still quite surprised. That sounds bad, and it’s no reflection on the people that came, but it’s just that it’s the knee-jerk reaction of people nowadays to document and display your attendance. As a cusp millennial, I really appreciate people being so respectful.” Commanding attention all of his very own doesn’t seem like
something Orlando will ever be entirely at ease with. In the absence of his fellow Maccabees, he’s been prone to embodying characters - the Gritterman was a wholly fictional world, and Young Colossus, his 2012 graphic novella and soundtrack, was a collaboration with Casually Here’s Nic Nell, who will also be producing this record. Being ‘just Orlando’ for the first time was more than a little anxiety-inducing, but now in his mid-thirties, it felt like something of a vital exercise, one that drew him to a more gradual and deliberate way of working. “I toyed with doing another Young Colossus record at the start, but the more that I wrote, the more I felt like I wanted to be doing something that didn’t feel like hiding,” he says. “This record is definitely more personal than I’ve felt like being for a long time - even the final Maccs record was snapshots of things I’d overheard or moments I’d seen in the neck of the woods that we were working in, all a bit more detached. Now, it’s just trying to make a document of what’s been happening over the past couple of years and the changes in my life and my friends and family’s lives. “I’ve been playing the piano – badly, but a lot more – over the past few years, and I started writing in this attic in Margate. It wasn’t for anything in particular, but there was something that started feeling like it made a bit more sense – a little bit of piano and then some shonky trombone that I bought in a flea market in Brighton a couple of years ago. Together, those two things combined gave me enough wonkiness together that felt fun. “Everything since has been trying
to refine that. I think there’s definitely a thing with the piano - even if like me, you’re not very good at it - that happens when you find yourself on your own and not playing with other people, it just gives you a lot more space. I’m learning how to not fill so much space musically – remembering that there needs to be room for things.” Leaving room in his music allows Weeks to fill much more space with his art. Drawing, printing and collaging postcards has long been a source of catharsis, with the latter set to feed into this new project. “Again, it’s going back to the way people document everything; why send a postcard when you can tell everyone where you are with a photograph that’s probably just as good as, if not better?” he explains. “I kind of feel sorry for postcards, all my friends send them to me now, and I’ve got a really funny one from the late 60s, a postcard from the Isle of Wight, a triptych of images of the sea and an old house and then some washing up, and right in the middle it says in these big letters, ‘No Washing Up In The Isle of Wight’. The weird ones just really tickle me, I like trying to find ways of giving them a second burst of life. “I’m working on lots of things – I’m really enjoying doing bits with charcoal, and lots of lino, which is always very satisfying – there’s something about working with lino where if you’ve gouged your thumb with the cutter, you know straight away that you don’t want that to happen again. It’s a good lesson for taking your brain away from any looping thoughts and putting all your concentration into one thing because the threat of thumb-gouging is a very
"I UNDERSTAND MUCH BETTER WHAT IT IS I’M TRYING TO DO, AND HOW I CAN HAVE A NICE TIME DOING IT" real one.” Fear of impalement aside, Orlando is feeling good about this new incarnation of himself. He’s hoping to have the record mixed by Christmas, ready to share in the early months of next year. For long-term fans, it’s something of a long time coming - how does his reckon his 2019 self stacks up to the one of ten years prior? “I’m definitely happier. That’s a good start, right?” he laughs. “Definitely less insecure. I understand much better what it is I’m trying to do and how I can go about having a nice time doing it. Doing those September shows was a huge help for taking away a lot of that, the fear of how isolated those pieces of music would have felt if they had never seen the light of day before they came out as this realised thing. It was a relief because they felt like they worked, but also because they existed in a way that I could believe. “It’s the same with anxious thoughts - if you can get things outside of your head, you can often realise the absurdity of the train of thought. It’s all linked, those ideas of doing something on your own and then putting it out into the world in order to get some perspective.” In the manner of perspective, there’s only one remaining question burning for us to ask – what’s the Official Orlando Weeks Merch Desk postcard going to look like? “Oh wow,” he exhales, half laugh and half groan. “I would like it to be one crystalised image that sums things up, but I think actually it’d be one of those ones that I never really want to buy – too many things on it, way too busy, probably missing the point a bit. You know the ones that highlight this extra-ordinary view, but then also the Shopping Arcade and the local McDonalds?” Maybe it’d be best not to psychoanalyse that, we suggest. “Oh, don’t worry,” he assures. “You’ll hang up, and I’ll head down the rabbit hole…” P Orlando Weeks’ new material will be coming in early 2020.
‘FYI’ It’s a big time for comebacks: La Roux has announced a new album. She’ll release ‘Supervision’ on 7th February 2020, preceded by lead single ‘International Woman Of Leisure’ - her first new material in five years. Elly Jackson will be hitting the road, too, with a worldwide tour that will see her take in one show in the UK, at Fabric in London on 5th February.
Låpsley is back with a brand new EP. Her first collection of new music since 2016 debut ‘Long Way Home’ is titled ‘These Elements’, she explains: “Emotional love, physical desire, depression and self-worth. Everything I’ve gone through in the last four years is in these four songs.” Find it streaming online now.
PINS have shared ‘Ponytail (The Orielles Remix)’ as an early teaser from their next album. The band are working towards their third full-length, which will arrive sometime next year, preceded by a headline tour in spring, which kicks off on 20th February at Brighton’s Hope & Ruin.
DMA’s have announced a massive London gig. Their biggest UK headline show to date, the band will perform at London’s Brixton Academy in support of their upcoming third album, due for release on 24th April - keep an eye out for more info over the coming weeks. The band have just finished up a run with Liam Gallagher, too.
FUTURE IS NOW Charli XCX.
2019 HAS SEEN CHARLI XCX
Halloween. Brixton Academy. Bangers. What’s not to love?
Words: Ali Shutler. Photo: Frances Beach.
DECEMBER 2019 / JANUARY 2020
complete her transformation from underrated star of future pop to something that connects in the here, the now and the widespread. “I’ve been through so many different phases as an artist,” she admits onstage at Brixton Academy. “From starting out making an album that nobody really heard that was really good, shout out ‘True Romance’, to making songs that were on the radio that lots of people heard but no one really knew they were by me, from doing big TV shows an being in the charts to realising that it didn’t make me happy and so changing my mind and doing whatever the fuck I wanted,” she continues, explaining her journey towards third album ‘Charli’ before realising, “Oh my god, I’m fucking crying. I can stand up here and sing the songs that I’ve made because I wanted to make them, not even thinking about whether anyone else would like them or care about them, but you guys care and you fucking showed up. You like me for the shit I made for myself. You like me for me.” And it’s a like that’s ravenous. Her set on the Reading Main Stage
this summer was a Jekyll and Hyde moment that saw her straddle her role as underground cult sensation and airwaves dominating bangermachine. Including the wipethe-slate-clean singles of ‘Focus’ and ‘Girls Night Out’ (originally written for her third album that was scrapped due to leaks), it was an hour that saw Charli trying to be everything to all people. Since then, ‘Charli’ has been released and she’s been on the road for four weeks straight. As she explodes onto Brixton Academy tonight, the twinkling mood-lit rave of ‘Next Level Charli’ couldn’t be more on the nose. It’s fiercely focused, aware of the past but facing forward and doing it for nobody but herself. The new album dominates the set, the intergalactic war-zone of ‘Click’ continues the laser-drenched feeling of reckless abandon before the brooding ‘I Don’t Wanna Know’ brings things crashing back to earth with fraught lament and a scratched ‘November Rain’ style guitar solo. Charli’s love of a good time has never waned, and it’s why tonight feels constantly exciting, but it’s her newfound emotional honesty that gives
it so much weight. Christine and The Queens joins her for a pulsating, firework laced performance of ‘Gone’, all edge-of-chaos control and frustrated want for space, while ‘Vroom Vroom’ goes off and never looks back. “Ready for a global smash hit?,” she grins before ‘I Love It’. “I can do both” Charli’s always been an artist of extremes, her attention span too short for her to ever be too much of one thing. But before this record, those different sides worked against each other. It felt like she didn’t know which path she wanted to take, or how to balance her want for it all. Tonight though, the fuck-it-up party attitude and the fuck-it-all vulnerability see her offering connection and escapism through it all. It’s an attitude that soundtracks 2019 perfectly, as we struggle to love ourselves in a world that tells us we probably shouldn’t. Rebellious and brilliant, Charli’s simply not standing for that and wants to offer more. Because of course she does. The whole show screams ‘I’ve made it this far, what’s next?’. The sound of the future is here, and it’s making up for lost time. P
‘FYI’ Justin Young and Timothy Lanham from The Vaccines have announced a brand new project. Working under the name Halloweens, they’re debuting their new incarnation with two new tracks: ‘Hannah You’re Amazing’ and ‘Ur Kinda Man’. You can check both out on readdork.com now.
Inhaler have announced a new headline tour for February. The super buzzy newcomers will play several shows around the country, including nights in Liverpool, Birmingham, Nottingham, Manchester, Brighton, Cardiff, London, Leeds, Newcastle and Glasgow. Find the full dates on readdork.com now.
BIG MOON ENERGY With album two on the horizon, The Big Moon are have brought the bangers. Words: Ali Shutler. Photo: Frances Beach.
The Great Escape has announced a few more acts for 2020’s event. The bill now includes JAY1, GoGo Penguin, Velvet Negroni, Evie Irie, Angelica Garcia, Baker Boy, Sinead O’Brien, Odunsi (The Engine), Larry Pink The Human, Public Practice, Jada, BENEE, Phoebe Green (pictured) and Aaron Smith.
Calpurnia have split up. The band - which featured Stranger Things’ Finn Wolfhard, as well as Ayla Tesler-Mabe, Jack Anderson and Malcolm Craig - formed in 2017, releasing a handful of tracks and performing a short UK tour towards the end of last year. In a statement posted to Instagram, they explain: “It’s bittersweet to share this news, but we want to let you know that our time playing together as Calpurnia has come to an end.”
THE BIG MOON BURST
into our lives full of youthful energy and with an unwavering love for it all. Debut album ‘Love In The 4th Dimension’ was all dreamy-eyed and downwith-boring excitement, as the gang found inspiration in each other. And that attitude was contagious. Tonight, it’s their first London headline show since a gleefully sold out performance at Koko almost two years ago and the crowd of The Lexington are very much “guinea pigs” as the band prepare to release album two. Following an opening trio of classics, ‘Silent Movie Susie’, ‘Sucker’ and ‘Formidable’, that still feel like party poppers stuck to a firework, fuelled by glitter and spewing out confetti, the band show off what they’ve been working on. ‘Take A Piece’ is a
back, and they
candle-lit surrender to the power of others, “I need you so much more than I need me,” it reasons from the flickering shadows. The powerfully patient ‘It’s Easy Then’ drifts between beauty and fear as The Big Moon prove that there is so much more to them than indie ragers, a fact underlined towards the end of the song as Fern plays the trumpet while still drumming. Through the likes of ‘Waves’, ‘Why’ and ‘Don’t Think’, the gang find joy in uncertainty and comfort in doing something new. Sonically and lyrically, each new song breaks new ground, taking The Big Moon someplace unexplored, but that undeniable excitement always follows. It’s the closing credit roll of ‘Your Light’, all cinematic coming of age and open-ended promise, that really shows off just how magically brilliant this new era of The Big Moon is. A song about hope and finding joy when both are in short supply, it’s an outstretched hand, a spoonful of sugar and shimmers with the assurance that things will find a way forward. As the room erupts in unison, it’s the sort of song the world needs right now, by a band that could be on their way to taking it over. P
JACK’S BACK! After a decade in the
wilderness, our indie prince has returned. Jack Peñate may once bean the
buzziest name on the block, but as he
prepares to drop his much anticipated third album, he finally knows who he wants to be. THINGS THAT HAVE HAPPENED
since Jack Peñate last released an album include: The 1975 appeared and released (almost) all of their music to date; Dork started these excellent pages; and My Chemical Romance broke up, went on hiatus for several years, and got back together again. While this may seem like a long time, the road Jack’s been travelling to this very moment - including Dork meeting him in a lovely posh-looking room in his management’s offices has been in search of who he wants to be as an artist. Popping up during the great indiewave of the mid-late noughties, Jack released his debut ‘Matinée’ in 2007, spending a fair while touring it and enjoying being a young musician running around town with his best pal and XL Recordings labelmate, Adele. He released the follow-up, ‘Everything Is New’, in 2009, and after that supporting tour - well, that was it. A feeling had taken hold of Jack after he left the stage for the last time all those years ago. He was wary of the classic “arrested development” that arises in the music industry once you’re on that pathway. “You release a record, and you’re twenty-one or whatever age, and you carry on, and you pretty much
where I didn’t know what I was doing in my life. Up to then, I’d always known exactly what I’m doing. I got to the end of it and was like, I’ve done all those things, and unfortunately, the expected outcome of how I thought I would feel didn’t seem to appear.” He also wanted to be bloody good at what he does. Honing in on just what he wanted out of the crazy machine that is the music industry, it was simply to be happy - and to be able to crack out a bop in twenty minutes, as he did with one his returning singles, ‘Murder’. This journey saw him undertaking a lot of reflective thinking, but none of it was ever planned out. Nor on dry land. “Someone would say; ‘I’m going on a boat. Do you want to come? We leave next week’, and I’d be like ‘Oh, fuck it. All right, let’s do it!’ So a lot of it wasn’t like; ‘I need to do this, I need to achieve this’. It was all very, you know, unregulated. There was there wasn’t much of a thought process!” Which is how this second coming of Jack Peñate came to be. Finally, with his third album, ‘After You’, in tow, he’s arrived once more. Of course, coming back up ten years later presents its own kind of problems. One of the biggest questions that was thrown around the Jack-camp was, “’We’ve got to go work out, where do I exist within this landscape?’” But bowing to that pressure would’ve undone the work Jack had
"IT STOPPED AT A TIME THAT EVERYONE WAS ALREADY KIND OF THINKING, WHERE’S THIS GOING TO GO?"
put into re-discovering himself, and the entire journey he’d been aiming for, which is why you won’t find him sporting any designer goods, or leaning into whatever fad appears in the charts. His comeback album is a walk through the influences deep in his subconscious, those that resonated from his childhood, but perhaps more importantly, it’s Jack telling his truth. “From the outset, the main goal was how do you tell the story of someone who’s, you know, lost everything?” Which is what he dips into across the musical spectrum he’s bringing with him. But beyond the exploration of his sonic-self, and a deeper understanding, he also accrued a new mate in dog Bobby. “I don’t want to be crude here, but I think picking up a shit every morning is like literally like, this is as good as it’s gonna get,” he says with a chuckle. But there’s more depth to this new relationship than walks and picking up dog mess. “It’s amazing. It keeps you on your toes about how you’re thinking, and I [could] easily go days without like leave my house. I have my studio in my home, and I’ll be a little room, and I’ll get up in bed and go straight there.” But venturing outside with Bobby means that Jack Peñate of 2019 is someone who sees the world with a more driven, organic purpose. ‘After You’ has been entirely crafted and presented with the help of his friends and family. He took a giant leap of faith within himself, walked away from something he’d built up, and is letting the world reconnect to just who Jack wants to be. “My album is something I’m proud of,” he states with a resounding echo of self-recognition. “It’s an expelling of creative, loving pain.” P READDORK.COM
Words: Steven Loftin.
stay there,” he says poignantly. “Not much changes. That was my biggest fear; of the no progression - in personality, in the ability to write. “I was super aware of it, and that was the main thing. What if I make another record and I put it out in the next year or two? Is it that I’m that? I’m that guy. But that’s it; that guy’s gonna fall into the cycle again, and then there’s no stopping this. There’s literally no stopping it.” To the outside world, it looked like he was popping off for a bit to do The Cycle, but those on the inside knew different. “It stopped at a time that everyone was already kind of thinking, where’s this going to go?” he confesses. “We were all thinking, I don’t know where it’s going to go. It seemed like there was a natural end to whatever that was; we all felt it. Everyone who’s working and people in the band and everything.” Being a solo artist made the call a little easier to make, but still, Jack was walking away from something he’d planned out for almost all of his young adult life, having spent his formative teen years trying to achieve what he’d always dreamt of. “’I’m gonna be a musician. That’s it. I’m going to be signed by My 21st birthday by this exact label’. I wasn’t like a normal teenager. I didn’t drink or go out, I literally wrote songs, and practised. I was really quite studious. “I’d never actually had a time
BANGERS THE BEST NEW TRACKS
‘FYI’ HMLTD’s debut album ‘West of Eden’ is coming early next year. The fulllength will arrive on 7th February via their new home, Lucky Number, preceded by latest single ‘The West Is Dead’, a song that frontman Henry Spychalski says holds “a mirror up to late capitalism”.
Charly Bliss have surprise-dropped a new five-track EP; the songs on ‘Supermoon’ were recorded during sessions for their recent album ‘Young Enough’. “It felt like it would be a really special thing,” says Eva Hendricks, “especially for our fans who have been following along with this record and care about this record.”
Don’t Start Now Q4. Land of the pop titans. Harry is ‘active’, Adele is expected possibly by the time you read this magazine - and someone has even dared to suggest Rihanna might do... ‘something’. Dua is out of the traps nice and early though, and she’s wearing her very best bop-top. With a disco shimmy and a light up dancefloor, this is less new rules and more big grooves.
Now I’m In It The second of Haim’s single drops in 2019, ‘Now I’m In It’ is Danielle, Este and Alana at their iconic best. All crystal sharp, breathy melody and dry ice vibes, it’s a gloriously fresh banger to send the year off perfectly. When album three comes round, expect big things.
always a cause for celebration, Dear Reader. With ‘It Might Be Now’ comes news that a fresh album, ‘The Slow Rush’, will be with us on 14th February 2020. That’s Valentines Day - the perfect point to be blessed with more blissed-out Kev Parker vibes, just like we’re getting here. What a dreamboat.
Everything I Wanted If you skip ahead this issue, you’ll already be aware we think young Willie Eyelash has had ‘rather a good year’. With a whole bunch of huge tour dates on the books for 2020 already, she’s dropped a brand new track. The perfect mix of all her various component parts, it’s the perfect soft-bop. Warra pop star.
Tokyo Drifting (ft. Denzel Curry)
News of new Tame Impala is
The latest of Glass Animals’ Fresh Fruit one-off drops,
It Might Be Time
DECEMBER 2019 / JANUARY 2020
Get the latest bangers at readdork.com or follow our Brand New Bangers playlist on Spotify. Check out all these tracks and more on Dork Radio now at readdork.com/ radio
‘Tokyo Drifting’ is way more than just another track. Coming after a period out of action due to some pretty major injuries sustained by drummer Joe Seaward, it sees the Oxford quartet teaming up with the much-lauded Denzel Curry for definitive proof their powers remain at full strength. Wavey Davey is, indeed, on fire.
Lauv x LANY
Marika Hackman has confirmed a new UK tour for next year. She’s adding a bunch of fresh shows on top of her already announced London show, calling off in Manchester, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Sheffield, Cardiff, Norwich, Birmingham and Brighton. It’s all in support of her stupendously brilliant new album ‘Any Human Friend’, which arrived earlier this summer.
Maybe, in some fictional Dork Cinematic Universe, all alliterative artists are forced to ‘collab’. While we dream longingly of Megadeath ft. Marika Hackman, though, we’ve got this typically sad boy bop from Lauv and LANY, which sounds exactly as heartwrenching yet poptastic as one would expect. Don’t worry, Dear Reader, we’ve kept the Dua Lipa write up at the other end of this section for a reason - there’s no way Paul can get a song out of this, right?
Norway’s Sløtface have announced their second album. Described by the band as more “minimalistic,” “braver” and more “raw” than their last effort, ‘Sorry for the Late Reply’ - the followup to 2017 debut ‘Try Not To Freak Out’ - is due for release on 31st January via Propeller Recordings.
Hey Callum, we hear you’ve been busy working on new music, did you go into this batch with a new mission statement?
I’m not sure we ever write something with a mission statement. We’ve always written in a kind of organic way, writing about things as they come to us, and in a style that feels right to us. We write a lot, and there was no break in writing between ‘Get Better’ and now. So (as with ‘Get Better’) it was only after about 10-20 songs had been written, that we could see the link between them and what we were trying to get across. We don’t really know what we’re trying to say until we’ve recorded it, and then it is obvious (to us at least). What else have you been up to?
We did a US tour at the start of the year with our pals Broods, which was incredible. We’ve also been working on a few side projects and producing a few other artists which we feel really passionate about. There’s a bit of clarity you get when you’re producing somebody else’s music. You have to dig around a bit and try some things out, buts it’s kind of like dating: at the start of the relationship you’re both playing it really safe and trying not to make a tit of yourself in front of the each other, but after that “politeness period” is over; that’s when you really get to the nitty-gritty and make really interesting and honest music. We took a break from social media, but we didn’t take a break from making music. Tell us about ‘Sympathetic Vibrations’.
GOOD VIBRATIONS BAD SOUNDS ARE BACK! THEY’VE JUST DROPPED A BRAND NEW TRACK - THE IMPOSSIBLY GOOD ‘SYMPATHETIC VIBRATIONS’ - WITH MORE TO COME. WE PINNED CALLUM DOWN TO ASK MORE... WORDS: SAM TAYLOR.
DECEMBER 2019 / JANUARY 2020
I’m a bit worried that releasing this song might destroy everything we’ve done up to this point! It might alienate a few people tbh. We love it though and think it’s probably the best song we’ve ever put out. We really had to fight to get it released, so I hope we’re not the only ones! It’s a bit of a feeler. Is the track a good representation of what you’ve been working on?
In some ways, absolutely. Although maybe not in others. Ewan and I would talk about different artists we like and try to figure out why we like them. Why we see certain bands/ artists as credible (even when they are extremely commercial artists) and others are not credible at all (even though they don’t sound that different). All I can come up with is that the music that resonates with me always feels honest. It has to feel like the person who writes/performs
INTRO "I’m a bit worried that releasing this song might destroy everything we’ve done up to this point!" it, really means it. That’s all we’re ever trying to do. We’ve had a few ups and downs with people who were trying to get us to write stuff that has more “mass-appeal”. Trying to write songs that they think “most people” will like, but it really doesn’t work for us. People were telling us our lyrics were too specific, and our songs sound too “leftfield”. “I just don’t think people will get it” is a phrase we’ve heard since we started the band. Writing ‘generic’ crowd pleasers is not what we’re about, and it never will be. If we ever have a “hit” it will be the kind of song that people like in spite of what’s going on in pop music; not because it sounds like what other people are doing.
It depends on who you ask. Can you tell us any secrets about it?
Before now (excluding ‘Enough’ and ‘No Luck’) everything we’ve released has been produced with James Dring or Duncan Mills two producers who have inspired and influenced us massively in our fortunate time working with them. But at the moment we’re producing songs just the two of us, Ewan and I in our own studio. We’re not trying to make a statement by self-producing our music; honestly, I know it can look a bit cocky when an artist does the whole “self-produced” thing, but it’s not that at all! As we kept working on demos, we realised that they didn’t sound like demos at all, and we were finishing fully formed songs that were really exciting to us. I think over the past few years we’ve developed a bit of a unique production style and when we’ve played new music to friends they all seem to say things like” it just sounds unmistakably like Bad Sounds”. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing at the moment, but I’ll take it! P
MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE ARE BACK! BACK! BACK!!!
The Kacey Musgraves Christmas Show is going to arrive on Amazon Prime very soon indeed. The show will see Kacey joined by guest stars to perform a number of songs, including Leon Bridges on ‘Present Without A Bow’, Camila Cabello on ‘Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree’, Zooey Deschanel on ‘Mele Kalikimaka’, Lana Del Rey on ‘I’ll Be Home For Christmas’, and Troye Sivan on ‘Glittery’. “I can say without a doubt that this project is unlike anything I’ve ever done before,” Kacey says. You can check it out from 29th November.
Best Coast are dropping their first album in five years It’s finally happened! My Chemical Romance are back! The legendary band released four albums between 2002 and 2010 - ‘I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love’ (2002), ‘Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge’ (2004), ‘The Black Parade’ (2006), and ‘Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys’ (2010) - before going on hiatus in 2013. Since then, they’ve been working and sporadically releasing solo material and projects (such as Gerard Way’s Netflix series, The Umbrella Academy), while the rumour mill has been in constant overdrive. Now, however, they’re definitively back. After a short period of intense teasing on social media, they revealed they’d return with an LA show this December, with a bunch more shows following. At the time of press, we’re yet to hear of any UK dates, but we’re expecting them to arrive very soon indeed. As for any new material? Your guess is as good as ours.
Best Coast are going to release a new album next year. The band are back today teasing their first record in five years, ‘Always Tomorrow’ - the follow-up to ‘Crazy for You’ (2010), ‘The Only Place’ (2012), and ‘California Nights’ (2015). There’s no release date yet, but we do have an early teaser in the form of new single ‘For The First Time’. Check it out on readdork.com now.
How far along are you with your second album?
The Kacey Musgraves Christmas Show is coming...
The Futureheads are playing their debut ‘in full’
If you’re a mover and shaker in the European music scene, you’re gonna want to be paying attention to Dutch extravaganza Eurosonic this January. A place where you’ll find some of the biggest and brightest of the year ahead, it’s held between 15th-18th January in Groningen, and has the likes of Alfie Templeman, Sorcha Richardson, Sorry and Sinead O’Brien on the bill. Buzz-tastic. We’ll have more for you from the event ‘in due course’
2004 WAS A GREAT YEAR FOR SEMINAL albums: Franz Ferdinand dropped their debut, The Libertines were still y’know - The Libertines, and The Streets’ outstanding ‘A Grand Don’t Come For Free’ was still fresh out of the traps. The Killers were still in short shorts, we hadn’t quite worked out Johnny Borrell was quite so Johnny Borrell, and Kings of Leon were still - like - good! In amongst it all, The Futureheads dropped their bangeriffic self-titled debut record. This year, to celebrate its 15th anniversary - and also their first ‘electric’ record in nearly a decade, ‘Powers’ - the boys are hitting the road for a string of shows which will see them celebrate material both old and new. Frontman Barry Hyde tells us more. Hey Barry, how’s it going? I’m very well, thanks. Full of busy, and looking forward to doing some gigs soon. I’m in the middle of opening a bar in a Sunderland called The Peacock!
Nasty Cherry and Charli XCX have a Netflix show! Charli XCX and Nasty Cherry have announced their new Netflix series, I’m With The Band. The six-part show is streaming globally now, documenting Nasty Cherry’s origin story - “from moving in together and their first practice to their first performance and debut single release and everything in between.” The blurb reads: “In this unfiltered and intimate docuseries, pop star mentor Charli XCX finds out what it takes to make -- and break -- a badass all-girl rock band.”
DECEMBER 2019 / JANUARY 2020
So it’s been a good year then, with the new album - how have you found its reception? It must be great to get back into things. It feels like a bit of a privilege to be able to return after a lengthy break to find that we still have fans and are well received. I feel really proud of what we have achieved. It was no small task, let me tell you! How did the hiatus treat you? Has it affected the way you approach the band, or life? A lot can change in seven years. I feel that there is a constant opportunity for growth and also regressions. A person’s life story can be one or the other, or a mixture of both. I feel we are really enjoying playing our instruments and hanging out on the road. There is a ‘light’ atmosphere amongst us, which makes being away from home much easier. It feels like the world has changed a lot since The Futureheads’ early days, does
that impact what you’re drawn to writing about? We’ve always written about our immediate environment, it means all we have to do for inspiration is to open our eyes and pay attention. Writing music and lyrics are very different processes, we wanted the compositions to be contrasting and in some places very progressive and conceptual. Lyrically we always want to be indirectly relatable, so that people can put their own spin in meaning but, yes, describing the world we live in or how our minds are working, philosophically. Your upcoming tour’s going to be super fun with the debut getting an airing in full, how have you found rehearsals? Rehearsals? I’ll tell you once we’ve had some! Haha. Looking back on that record now, how do you feel about it? It must’ve been a really exciting time. Honestly, it hard to give a truly inclusive description of what that period was like. I remember having a lot of anxiety about how the album was received, I wish I had a more relaxed attitude towards it. We kind of recorded the album twice so by the time we were in the studio with Paul Epworth we were pretty desperate! When I listened to the album recently, it brought back some good memories. Ideas-wise it’s pretty raw, same with the performances! What else are you working on? I have material for a second solo album, and we have a bunch of new Futureheads stuff also. Oh yes, and becoming an innkeeper in a grade II listed, three-storey Edwardian pub! P The Futureheads tour the UK from 6th December.
Lucy Dacus is celebrating with a snarky cover of Wham’s ‘Last Christmas’
Lucy Dacus is celebrating Christmas with a cover of Wham’s ‘Last Christmas’ “I don’t really like Christmas,” she explains. “In the studio, we listened to the original of ‘Last Christmas’ and didn’t talk about an arrangement. “I just told everyone to play it angry. This is what happened first take. It actually came out pretty fun, maybe a tad psychotic.” It’s the latest song in her ‘2019’ song series, following on from tributes to the 4th of July, US Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Halloween and more as part of a run of songs commemorating key dates through the year. You can check it out on readdork.com now.
The 1975’s new track is a real deep bop
Life’s a Rockaway Beach Who, Dear Reader, doesn’t like a good festival. “In January,” we here you cry. “Dork, are you mad?” Well, no, we are not - for not only does Rockaway Beach have an excellent line-up featuring some of our faves, but it’s also held INDOORS! At a Butlins! In Bognor Regis! Yes, you can get on your holiday camp vibes between 10th and 12th of January with a line-up including Dork-tastic names such as Fontaines D.C., Self Esteem, SOAK, Black Country New Road, Eyesore & The Jinx, LIFE, Our Girl and Penelope Isles, as well as legends such as John Cale, The Jesus and Mary Chain and The Wedding Present. That is, as one might say, not bad going, eh? Tickets are on sale now. There are proper beds and pool tables too. Just sayin’. READDORK.COM
While ‘Frail State of Mind’ doesn’t pack that same immediate stop-what-you’re-doing punch of ‘People’, in so many ways, it’s equally - if not even more impressive. A lesson in drummer George Daniel’s production brilliance, it’s proof that those suggestions of a nighttime record influenced by a fine lineage of British musical excellence were anything but hollow. Definitively still The 1975, those trademark vocal melodies remain steadfast and true as the hallmarks of UK Garage sit proudly above. Think a distant twice-removed cousin of ‘TOOTIMETOOTIMETOOTIME’, but more introspective, passed through a whole new filter, and you’ll be half way there. A magpie-like talent for lifting iconic sounds from across the spectrum abounds. Previously described by frontman Matty Healy as a song about social anxiety, it’s a track with a vulnerable side too. Often almost apologetic, but full of empathy and self-awareness, it’s the counterpoint to the outwardfacing aggression of what preceded it. That ‘Frail State of Mind’ and ‘People’ come just a couple of months and - if the album’s iTunes listing is to be believed - with just one song between them on ‘Notes...’ is just another sign of quite how able to sum up the zeitgeist The 1975 have become. P
Hype List 2020_ Hype List 2020_
W I L L B E W E L L AWA R E
girl in red
WE’RE MORE THAN A
Eyesore & The Jinx
O U R L AT E S T O F F I C I A L
P O P S TA R C A L E N D A R ,
Working Men’s Club
T H E N E X T F E W PA G E S ,
T O H AV E A V E R Y B I G
TA L E N T
B U T, A S W E R I P O P E N THE
PA C K A G I N G
M E TA P H O R I C A L
2 0 2 0.
53 Black Country, New Road 54
24 DECEMBER 2019 / JANUARY 2020
Hype List 2020_ Hype List 2020_ 25
Millions of streams, a dedicated live following, and a stack of bangers taller than George “6ft lots” Daniel stood on the dining room table Marie Ulven in a sensation ready to explode. Words: Liam Konemann. Photos: Sarah Louise Bennett.
THERE’S A PARTICULAR
colour that heroines seem to wear. We’re talking Wonder Woman, Sabrina Spellman, Elastigirl. It’s Hermione Granger’s house colour and Black Widow’s hair. Consider a version of Little Red Riding Hood where the girl eats the wolf instead. Consider girl in red. The story goes that Norwegian 20-year-old Marie Ulven started the girl in red project in 2017, inspired by a heartbreak at the
hands of... well, a girl in red. In the approximately two years since, she’s built up a massive following from her bedroom studio in Oslo - at the time of writing, she is clocking up over 3.3 million streams on Spotify every single month. For context, that’s more than one-third of the way to The 1975 -levels of streaming. (Here at Dork we measure everything in units of 1975s. Let us tell you, it’s a nightmare when we’re trying to bake birthday cakes.) That’s an impressive feat from any angle, but it’s made all the more giddying by the fact that in the last few months things have gone truly stratospheric. By the end of 2019 girl in red will have completed four full tours in twelve months, taking in the US and Europe, all of which were underway while she was also writing, recording, producing and releasing her second EP ‘Chapter 2’. Did we mention Marie does all of this by herself? Because she does. Every instrument, every line, every minute in the mixing
booth, is a one woman operation. In short, she says, and in something of an understatement; “this has definitely been the craziest year so far. Definitely.” In a year where she has packed so much in, it’s hard to imagine when exactly Marie had any time to do the quieter, more internal parts of the project. Such as, you know, the actual writing itself. “It was over the place really, because it was sort of writing as I was going along this year,” she explains. “It wasn’t like I had this whole EP waiting around. I finished ‘watch you sleep’ in late December last year, and then I finished ‘i need to be alone’ in February, and I sort of just finished all the songs like a month before they were released. I just
Hype List 2020_ Hype List 2020_ went along with it and continued producing stuff in my room like I did last year.” Thematically speaking, ‘Chapter 2’ picks up the threads of heartbreak and its effects from 2018’s ‘Chapter 1’ EP and keeps unspooling them, teasing them out across five emotive tracks. From the love song lullaby ‘watch you sleep’ through to ‘bad idea!’, ‘Chapter 2’ is by turns vulnerable and tender, morose and rueful. “There’s a lot of the same themes [as on ‘Chapter 1’], but in different scenarios, I guess,” Marie says. “Because I think in life you have a lot of the same feelings all the time, but regarding different situations. You know? You might feel shocked by things all the time, but it’s different things that shock you. It’s still just what’s going on in my life.” ‘Chapter 2’ might be inspired by specific events, but the emotions they evoke - and the broader experiences that they speak to - resonate widely. “People [come up to me, and] say ‘Oh, my God, this is so me’,” Marie says. The reaction doesn’t necessarily surprise her because, she explains, “I’m pretty sure the things that I write about are really human things, so it makes sense that people relate to it.” “It’s very relatable, being a human being,” she laughs. Being human, as we know, isn’t always a good time, and girl in red doesn’t shy away from showing a darker side of her life in her songs. Quite the opposite, in fact. On a lot of her tracks, like ‘Chapter 2’’s ‘dead girl in the pool’ and ‘i’ll die anyway’, she leans into it. If ‘dead girl in the pool’ is almost cinematic in its melancholy, it’s because as she was writing the track Marie was watching the whole thing unfold like a music video in her mind. “I was writing from the perspective of seeing myself as the main character, and also having this very weird out of body experience. It was inspired by that confusion, and by just feeling weird, really,” she says. “Because I’ve been feeling very weird lately. This last year has been a very weird [time in terms of] identity growth.” The period of weirdness has come tethered to a heavier sensation: one of futility and hopelessness. This has come through in traces on much of the girl DECEMBER 2019 / JANUARY 2020
in red output, but on the deceptively musically upbeat ‘i’ll die anyway’ it’s more present than ever. “’I’ll die anyway’ is very much based on how I perceive life. I have a dark take on life; I’m going to die anyway, so should I even be doing this music thing? Like, this music thing doesn’t matter, because I’m gonna die. I’ve had this super dark take, almost not wanting to live because I don’t understand why I would want to live,” Marie says matter-of-factly. “So that was a very therapeutic song. It’s so dark I wasn’t really sure that a lot of people would relate to it. But apparently a lot of people actually feel the same way, which is sad, but also it’s nice that people know that they’re not alone.” In a lot of cases, this sense of hopelessness, both broad and specific, isn’t exactly lessened by the 24-hour news cycle. It can be difficult to feel as though a brighter future lies ahead when disasters and instances of climate breakdown are being broadcast directly into our minds at every moment of the day. As time goes on, more and more artists are speaking out about taking action, while also acknowledging the difficulty of reconciling being a touring musician with being climate-conscious. As girl in red has, erm, ‘taken off’ (sorry), Marie has been wrestling with those issues herself more often than not. “I’ve been feeling guilty about travelling so much, flying everywhere all the time,” she says. “[In Norway] people shame people for flying nowadays, which I don’t necessarily think is a bad thing. But obviously, it’s not good to feel ashamed of what you’re doing.” To alleviate some of the turmoil and take steps towards making a positive impact on the environment, Marie has found a way to eradicate - and invert - the carbon cost of her recent tours in the US and Europe. “I’ve partnered with this company called Chooose that has basically made all my touring carbon positive, which means I’m not leaving a footprint. I’m actually creating a positive footprint, by making less carbon dioxide,” she says. “A lot of musicians talk about this, [saying that it’s] important, but they maybe don’t always do it themselves because they don’t know that the possibility is there, but hopefully people will. It’s on my mind all the time, the climate and being aware of your actions, and that it actually matters if you throw a straw on the ground or not.” “Everyone matters
in a weird way even though I say in all my songs that nothing matters,” she says. She might suggest in her songs that nothing matters, but even there girl in red’s nihilism isn’t the type that comes without consequences. The glittering, explicitly anthemic ‘bad idea!’, for example, is all about the ramifications of the titular mistake - a series of hookups with a girl that, as Marie says, “wasn’t really a healthy thing for either of us.” The song, she says, “is about booty calls, and about sleeping with someone when it’s not really good for you, but you still want to do it.” Even songs about the emotionally unhealthy hookup habits can have a surprising emotional resonance coming from girl in red. In the not too distant past, songs about LGBT relationships - both the good and the bad - were a little hard to come by. There were always exceptions, of course, and in more recent years acts like Marika Hackman, Frank Ocean, Hayley Kiyoko and Anna Cavli have also joined an ever-expanding list of queer artists singing explicitly queer songs, but they’re still in enough of a minority that each addition to the canon feels precious. Right from the release of her first single ‘i wanna be your girlfriend’, girl in red has been turning up for people like her. It’s partly because this is her life and these are her experiences, so of course, her songs reflect that, but that doesn’t make her any less aware of the importance of hearing a song that speaks to your still marginalised love life. After all, she’s lived that, too. “I haven’t really thought about, like, oh, no one’s really done this before or no one’s really put this type of music out about this specific topic,” she says. “But I definitely noticed that people are reacting well. In a way, it feels like it’s been something that’s been needed. And it’s been missed for a long time, I think.” She thinks about this for a second “I know it’s been missing. And I felt it as well, I felt that this type of representation has been lacking in music and in movies, and in any type of art really. So I feel like it’s about time that we’re getting more space to put this out in music and films. Everyone can relate to a love song, but it’s also way easier to connect to something when it’s like, ‘yes, that is exactly me’.” So, after two years of constant growth and non-stop work, what’s next for girl in red? A nice holiday, perhaps? A little lie-down? Well, maybe one day. First, though, there are things to be getting on with - like the debut album currently in the pipeline. Like everything else she’s released up to this point, on LP number one Marie Ulven is going it alone. “I don’t want anyone else to be touching my music or anything like that. Because I like to write all my songs, and I like to produce them, and I like to record it. Singing and playing all the instruments gives me the feeling of ownership. And I’m so, so proud. Sometimes I go to Spotify, and I look at the credits, and I’m just like, ‘yep, that’s my name on everything’.” Marie’s plan going forward, her campaign slogan for 2020 if you will, is this; world in red. She’s going global. “We’re going to make a really, really good album in my eyes. Hopefully. Fingers crossed, I’m gonna make something that I’m proud of,” she says. “And then I just want to continue world domination, really - do everything I can to just take over the world.” Ready or not, planet Earth. girl in red is coming for you. P
Hype List 2020_ Hype List 2020_ 28 Talk Show are one of London’s must-see new live bands. Words: Sam Daly.
IT’S BEEN A MASSIVE YEAR FOR
Talk Show, building up a reputation for visceral post-punk and highenergy live shows. Their calendar has filled up quickly with everything from festival sets, supports tours, and a show curated by Idles, all the way to a sold-out night at The Lexington. Just back from a stint on the road with fellow Hype List inductees Just Mustard, frontman Harrison is in good spirits. “It was great,” he grins. “We got good reactions in places we’d never been to. Katie [Ball, Just Mustard’s vocalist] told me a few tips about looking after your voice, too. “I loved every minute of it, I think we all did. It’s what you dream of when you’re younger and trying to get into bands. The dream is always to go on tour, so to be able to say we’ve now done that is fucking sick.” With so many great gigs under their collective belt, it takes Harrison a while to land on any particular highlight, but when he does, it’s their London headliner that takes centre stage. “It DECEMBER 2019 / JANUARY 2020
“WE DON’T SHOW UP ACTING LIKE WE’RE THE BEST FUCKING LIVE BAND AROUND, YOU CAN LEAVE THAT TO FUCKING PRICKS LIKE LIAM GALLAGHER” was absolutely bonkers, it was really nuts,” he enthuses. “We sold out of t-shirts, so many people were just getting mega into it.” It’s not all about the high capacity shows for them though, as Harrison explains: “We’ve had some great shows that are of a smaller capacity, but in a new city where people just really click with it, and it’s great.”
For Talk Show, their live show has been at the forefront of everything they’ve done so far. “It’s always what we’ve worked on. Songs and the live show, that’s what it’s about for us. We don’t show up acting like we’re the best fucking live band around - we’re not that type of people, you can leave that to fucking pricks like Liam Gallagher - we’re just grateful to be able to go to new cities and show our stuff off.” Not bothered about looking cool, one of the main focusses for them is keeping things as honest as possible. There’s nothing fake about them, and Harrison is quick to reveal that although things are going really well for them at the moment, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. “Being in an independent band is really difficult,” he explains. “I haven’t had a day off in three months, I’m either with the band or at work. We’ll get back from a gig at 3 in the morning, and I’ll be up at 8 to go to work for a 16-hour shift. We all work in bars, Chloe works in a chippy, George is a music teacher. It takes its toll,” Harrison reveals, explaining about stupid arguments they’ll have in the car about the ingredients of Haribo. “You’re like a family, and you do have stupid arguments. We definitely function like that.” That level of honesty is something that they try to translate in their
writing, too. “We want it to be relatable in ways that you didn’t think about before. Like ordinary circumstances in a different way,” says Harrison. Now, they’re gearing up for an EP release in spring, and their focus is starting to shift from the live show to getting more material recorded. “It’s a necessary part of the job. It’s a lot of fun going into a studio and recording tunes that you’ve spent months on, but I’m not the kind of musician that’s like a bedroom producer that’s sat with his tunes for eight months and then released it and then gigged it. We’ve done things the other way around,” Harrison reflects, explaining that he’s a little more blasé about studio time, unlike bassist George who loves it. The EP is set to have four new tracks. “We’re going to try and push the boat out and put a bit of a mix on there and really display our back catalogue and what we’re capable of doing and who we see ourselves as,” Harrison explains, adding: “It’s the first big statement.” As for the rest of 2020, Harrison recalls a statistic he saw a few years back. “Ed Sheeran was trying to match how many gigs James Morrison had done in a year, and it was something like 300. There’s always a part of me that’s gone ‘I’d love to give that a go’.” You wouldn’t bet against them. P
Quietly bubbling Irish bunch Just Mustard are cutting through to the UK. Words: Blaise Radley.
JUST MUSTARD HAVE HAD A
changed.” Much like a bad smell, that bad joke has managed to catch the attention of an increasingly lofty list of names during 2019. There’ve been shows with fellow Irish rockers Fontaines D.C., multiple tours around the UK, and, most loftily of all, a support slot for The Cure for which the band were cherry-picked by Robert Smith himself. “Playing with The Cure was definitely a highlight this year. I think Robert Smith got a giant list of names and he picked us out from that list,” says Katie. “He got in touch, and we sent him a record, and it went from there.” “Yeah, he was really nice,” continues David. “It’s just really cool cause obviously, The Cure are a mega huge band, but he still takes so much care curating the line-ups for the shows. It just seems like he really cares about music.” In terms of takeaways from that experience, Just Mustard seem to be exercising a similar amount of creative control in their own pursuits. Each of their beautifully-realised music videos feature multiple band member credits on a production level. “I studied film in college,” explains Katie, “so I really like making videos, and so does everyone else in the band.
It’d feel weird giving them away. You can change the song in your head by putting it over imagery, and then when we play the song you’re like ‘Ah! That reminds of part of the video’. It’s so funny.” It’s not just music videos they keep an active hand in, but their entire output. That’s why they’re still working exclusively with Dundalkbased Pizza Pizza Records. “Pizza Pizza is ourselves, our manager Joey and a guy called Shane Burn, and they’re kinda the head honchos,” says David. “Basically anyone on it is helping do it. Every album that we’ve put out on Pizza Pizza has gone some way toward putting out the next vinyl. It’s a nice way of being able to support each other and make the whole thing more collective.” What’s the forecast for 2020 then? “Writing loads and loads of new songs,” says David. “We’ve started writing towards another album now, so hopefully that’ll be somewhat together by then... and as much gigging as possible. Just trying to be as busy as we can.” “2020 has a nice ring to it for a record,” continues Katie. “New decade.” “Very symmetrical,” adds David. “Perfect vision,” finishes Katie. It’s a fitting end for a band with such a strong outlook. P
strong year by anyone’s standards, but chatting to Katie (vocals) and David (guitar, vocals) gives the impression it’s all been taken steadily in their stride. Case in point: during our phone call the Irish five-piece are in Amsterdam readying themselves for a show at the Paradiso, and yet their easy lilt makes it seem like any other Sunday. Equal parts humble and thoughtful, it’s clear they take their craft seriously. In a lot of ways that calm coolness makes sense. The band’s brand of atmospheric trip-hop-driven shoegaze distinguishes them from a lot of their brasher contemporaries, and that mood is further reflected in their attitude toward hype. “We try to not pay any attention to anything anyone says about us, or let it affect what we’re trying to do,” says David, before Katie interjects: “It’s cool though still.” There’s a beat before David picks back up: “Right of course, of course – thanks so much!” It’s warming that press pressure doesn’t stop the duo being polite. Thankfully that warmth also masks a certain measure of dry humour. When I ask what meal the Just Mustard’s music would best serve as a condiment for, they both laugh, before Katie gives a pretty resounding answer: “A pint of stout.” As that old adage goes: you can take the band out of Ireland, but you can’t take the malt out the band. There’s more than a love of stout to their Irish heritage though, and the band have clearly grown musically alongside their peers back home in Dundalk. “There are DIY bands all around the country – Belfast, Dublin, Limerick – a bunch of good bands,” says David. “And that inspires you to try and write better songs. It’s pretty tight-knit.” “There’s no danger of everyone playing the same music either, so it never really feels like there’s any competition or whatever,” Katie continues. “Everyone’s very supportive of each other, and that
helps the whole scene go further.” As for the origins of the name Just Mustard, they’re similarly selfeffacing. “It was a bad joke when we started, and we could never really come up with something good, so now we’re stuck. And we have to live with that…” I try and chase the bad joke in question, but it’s so bad David can’t even seem to recall it. “It wasn’t even a bad joke I don’t think, it was just one of those stupid things. It was just a working title for the band that never
They’re set to clean up.
If wry takes on life are your kinda thing, look no further than Dry Cleaning. Words: Jamie MacMillan.
WITH THEIR UNIQUE TAKE ON
post-punk quickly gathering an army of admirers, South London’s Dry Cleaning have been caught in a rapidly accelerating spin cycle of their own making in the second half of 2019. Their debut EP ‘Sweet Princess’ was the first glimpse of the exciting mix of Florence Shaw’s matter-of-fact delivery of often hilariously sarcastic lyrics, alongside the fierce noise generated by a band rooted in a deep love of classic alternative rock. With the second EP release ‘Boundary Road Snacks And Drinks’ further realising their potential and raising excitement levels once again, it has been a sensational first six months as a band with a headline gig at Village Underground lined up for early 2020. “Fairly bonkers, yeah,” is how the always-understated Flo describes it as Dork catches up with the band right before their so-soldout-you-couldn’t-sneak-a-mouse-in EP launch gig at The Lexington. So, congrats on being on Dork’s Hype List for 2020! 2019’s been a bit mad hasn’t it, only two EPs and you already have a Village Underworld gig lined up… But catching up quickly, how did you all meet and Form A Band?
Tom: It’s all quite organic, really. We’d been chatting for a while. Me and Nick share, erm, not a girlfriend as such. But, they’re twins. Nick: WOAH! Florence: Definitely don’t write that… Tom: We share twins? Is that better? Florence: You go out with a set of twins, try that. Tom: Yeah… So anyway, we would be round their mum’s house hanging out for Sunday lunch and stuff, showing each other music. We were all doing separate things. DECEMBER 2019 / JANUARY 2020
And Lewis is a really old friend of Nick’s, and I’d met him through my girlfriend. So it all just meshed slowly over time until we actually just got in a room together. Florence: I already knew these guys. I met the twins when I was eight, it’s like a small town where everybody knows everyone. Except it’s not, because it was London. What were those first days like?
Florence: I’d never done music professionally or anything, I had spent my time learning to draw and becoming a visual artist. Nick: When Tom suggested Flo as a singer, it seemed so obvious even though she’d never done any singing before or been in a band. Tom: It was almost like a textural thing. I showed her the music, and just something about these two worlds meeting, it just seemed like this was the right thing. Florence: Yeah. They sort of seemed to create a new thing, something that they each aren’t on their own. That mix of a heavier sound and almost poetic lyrics is fascinating. Do you have
reams of notes of prospective lyrics?
Florence: It’s funny, it’s probably only since I had a fancy phone which sounds like a really naff thing to say. I didn’t jot them down in a notebook ever, it was just seeing things that made me laugh. I guess it’s like how people take photos of things they like, they just come out of nowhere. It’s not constant, but it will just happen. Like on a bus when it’s quite a daydreamy time anyway. I find people watching really inspiring. The second EP is a big leap on from the first, had a lot happened to you in between?
Tom: It was a period of change, but we had sat on the first EP for ages before releasing it. Lewis: It was really different as well because on a lot of the tracks on the first EP, we’d already written our parts before Flo even joined. Florence: This time, we were all improvising together in the same room, working towards something. Tom: We had never even played live before the first EP came out either. Everything’s moving so fast, what are your 2020 plans?
Florence: We’ve got a UK tour with Pozi at the start of the year. Tom: SXSW, and some European festivals too. Lewis: Things are moving quickly, but we write quickly as well. If we write three more tracks, the album is ready. Tom: But it probably won’t be out for ages, so we are already having ideas for the next thing. You’re gonna keep us waiting then… What can we expect from the album?
Tom: There are
elements from the EP that you hear us taking on further again. It’s a bit glam-rocky, and then also like seventies proto-metal. There are flavours in that second EP that we are working more on. Nick: It’s a bigger sound, purely because it’s in a bigger room. Perhaps not as jangly as the stuff that we’ve done in the past. Tom: Sometimes me and Lewis look at each other, and it’s like full-on Black Sabbath, y’know? But it’s not changed. Just expanded into a broader palette. We were listening to ‘Screamadelica’ recently. And that’s a great case in point isn’t it? Because after ‘Screamadelica’, Primal Scream went full-on filthy dark techno. Then they did ‘XTRMNTR’, ‘Vanishing Point’ which was more dubby, and then they dropped back completely into Nashville-style country. But you always believed it and believed in them. How far do you think Dry Cleaning can go?
Lewis: This time last year, we were talking about just making a cassette of the first EP, we were about to let this French record label release it just because they were French! Just because we thought it was classy, haha. Florence: It was gonna be just fifty cassettes, and we thought, imagine if we could get a show in France. That would be incredible, like what a benchmark if we could play somewhere other than here. And now suddenly, everything feels more likely. We just try to cope with it week-by-week rather than having a really long view of something that’s quite unimaginable. But the ceiling of it all is always getting higher and higher. P
Hype List 2020_ Hype List 2020_
If irresistible slacker pop is your bag, Lauran Hibberd is your gal. Words: Laura Freyaldenhoven
IF YOU’RE LIVING IN THE
colourful world of indie rock, you’ll hopefully be familiar with Lauran Hibberd. The angel in Dr. Martens rocking the stage, and your world, with tongue-incheek tunes. The girl from the Isle of Wight with the twisted imagination. Fresh off the back of her ‘Everything is Dogs’ EP release and smack in the middle of a headline UK tour, we caught up with her to get the inside scoop on why Everything is Dogs. On tour, you’ve been playing a song called ‘Everything is Dogs’, but it’s nowhere to be found on the EP of the same name. What’s that all about?
It’s no secret that some of your songs like ‘Frankie’s Girlfriend’ are based on funny dreams you’ve had. Have you always had such a vivid imagination?
Growing up, I always had a mad imagination. I had imaginary friends until I was 14. My mum said they got quite weird at some point. I’ve always played very much in my mind; even as a kid, I loved playing by myself. I still have weird dreams all the time. I wake up and write stuff down thinking ‘that would be a great song’. Just having been in a car crash or something. They’re not all horrible, some are quite fun. Looking at the EP, ‘Shark Week’ stands out because it’s very different from the rest. Was that a conscious decision to change things up?
Funnily enough, my background
the BBC Introducing Stage. It was a dream come true. I think I just couldn’t believe I was there; I was so in awe because it’s a real bucket list thing. Actually, probably the day I was told I would be playing Glastonbury was the best day of my live. I just remember running around in my house so excited. I would love to play again. What are your plans for 2020?
We have a headline tour planned in February, which should be really fun. We do have lots more stuff in the pipeline, but I’m not sure as to what level I can say out loud. P
What influenced that change of mind, wanting to get more into rocky tunes?
Definitely Weezer. As soon as I heard the Blue album, I was like ‘Cool. What is this? Is it grunge? Is it rock? Is it pop? Cause I wanna do it, whatever it is’. Then I discovered artists like Courtney Barnett. Lyrically, she’s amazing. It’s funny, off-the-cuff, but she’s got all these jangly, bouncy guitars. You can dance to it and laugh at it. More recently, artists like Phoebe Bridgers, she’s the Queen of the sad song. She’s a big inspiration of mine as well as bands like the Smashing Pumpkins. And Avril Lavigne. Shoutout to her for my childhood dreams. I grew up on her, every teenage girl needs an Avril in her life.
It’s a favourite saying of mine, I say it all the time. Everyone kept asking ‘What does that even mean?’ and I was like ‘I don’t know. Just everything is dogs, you know? Everything sucks’. I wanted to call the EP that because I felt like it summarised the happy-go-lucky, carefree kind of songs that are on there. But then afterwards, everyone made such a big deal of the title, I thought ‘I gotta rinse this now, I gotta definitely write a song about it’. I think I’ll probably put it on the album as a nod back to the EP. It will have its day.
in songwriting is songs like ‘Shark Week’. When I started writing I was very much a folk artist, I loved a really sad song. It comes more naturally to me. Then I got a bit older and started playing with overdrive pedals, and eventually, I wanted to make indie rock, then I wanted to make slacker pop, and now, it’s this amalgamation of all of it. I love jumping around on stage and doing that. But there’s nothing, I don’t think, in a set that’s nicer than when a band that hits and hits and hits plays something really slow and really gets you in because the rest of the set isn’t like that at all. I wanted ‘Shark Week’ to be my ode to the sad song.
Do you have a favourite moment of 2019?
It has to be Glastonbury, playing
LAURA PLAYIN N IS G OUR HYPE L AT TH IST SHOW E LOND SOCIAL IN D EC E M O N O N 1 1 T H B FIND O ER. IT’S FRE E. UT READD MORE ON ORK.C O M NOW.
Hype List 2020_ Hype List 2020_
Signed to the hottest label on the planet, working with the biggest band on the scene, and turning out scuzzy indie rock bangers here and there, 2019 has been a big year for Beabadoobee. 2020 already looks like itâ€™ll be a whole lot bigger, too... Words: Liam Konemann. Photos: Jordan Curtis Hughes.
AS FAR AS THESE THINGS GO, BEABADOOBEE
has had a pretty good year. With two EPs and a string of bangers under her belt in the last twelve months alone, 2019 has also seen her play her first US shows and received the blessing of Saint Matthew of Healy anointing her as the next big thing. On top of all that, she’s muscled her way into our Hype List. Is there any higher honour in music? Not as far as we’re concerned. It hasn’t been easy getting here, though. The thing is, a year like Beabadoobee’s 2019 doesn’t leave much space for downtime. Even now, on the slow creep towards Christmas, the artist otherwise known as Bea Kristi speaks to us from the back of her tour bus as it pushes on through Florida, several days after she played her first Los Angeles show with Clairo. Here at Dork, we don’t tend to play armchair psychiatrist and say ‘but how are you really’… but how is she really? “It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster because I’ve had school and that. Balancing it was really hard. I had my head telling me to fuckin’ revise, but then also I have like five guitars in my room, and what am I gonna do with that? If I see a guitar I’m obviously going to fucking play it,” she says down a patchy phone line. “It was intense, but I’m glad I’m out of it.” Does it count as procrastination if you put off one important thing to absolutely smash it at some other, just as important thing? While the student part of her brain might not have thanked her, Bea’s guitar-based distraction culminated this year in a pair of cracking EPs. The first of these, ‘Loveworm’, saw Beabadoobee heading in a more indie-rock direction than previous releases, as she examined the intricacies of her relationship with boyfriend Soren. ‘Loveworm’, while a heavy-hitter in its own right with tunes like ‘You Lie All The Time’ and the tender closer ‘Soren’, was also a stylistic bridge to Beabadoobee’s second EP of 2019, ‘Space Cadet’. With the latter, she feels that she has arrived at a natural peak. ‘”I guess it’s a new direction to people who listen to the music, but for the people who know me, they’ve always known that I love that type of music. I’ve always liked music that sounds like the music off ‘Space Cadet’. It almost wouldn’t have made sense if I didn’t make ‘Space Cadet’,” she says. The fact that her musical homecoming has resonated with audiences is a nice DECEMBER 2019 / JANUARY 2020
bonus, but for Bea, it pales in comparison to her own excitement around the EP. “I was so excited just to be making music like that, and it’s honestly one of my favourite things I’ve ever released,” she says. It would be difficult to pick a clear standout on ‘Space Cadet’, but the spiritual centrepiece from which the rest of the release pulls its aesthetic is arguably ‘I Wish I Was Stephen Malkmus’. Part furious bedroom-sulk, part pledge of undying allegiance to Pavement, like the Space Cadet EP as a whole ‘... Stephen Malkmus’ is characterised by wonky 90s guitar and insanely catchy hooks. It’s stroppy and rebellious, but also furiously free and full of love for an era and an icon that Beabadoobee has been undeniably shaped by. “I was in my room, and there was a family party going on downstairs, and I was just angry,” says Bea. “So I was listening to Pavement, just fucking angry, and I was like, ‘fuck this, I’m gonna write a song about Stephen Malkmus’. Kind of about Stephen Malkmus, more about myself, but very inspired by Stephen Malkmus. Because he is a legend.” Not long after the song was released, Real Life Stephen Malkmus heard Indie Bop Stephen Malkmus, and a Beabadoobee-Malkmus multiverse was born. “It was insane,” she exclaims. “I went from going to my room and obsessing over a band for such a long time, talking about them, thinking about them, listening to them constantly, to meeting him and meeting his kids and hearing about how they hang out with frickin’ Kim Gordon. I’m like, are you kidding me? This is crazy.” “His kids were playing on the tour bus, and he was asking what artists we like, and I said I really like Sonic Youth ‘cause Kim Gordon’s such a badass, and his kid was like, ‘oh we were just at her house playing with her dog!’” She laughs. “I was like, ‘you have no idea how much I want to be you’.”’ Extremely badass female bass players are something of a theme on ‘Space Cadet’. The first single, in fact, is the conveniently titled ‘She Plays Bass’. “’She Plays Bass’ is about my best friend Eliana who I care about a lot. It’s not a love song, it’s just two best friends that are literally obsessed with each other,” Bea explains. “I love her. And she’s like, rocking a bass.” Beabadoobee thinks about this
Hype List 2020_ Hype List 2020_ READDORK.COM
phenomenon for a second. “There are loads of sick female bass players. Suzi Quatro? Amazing. Kim Gordon! Amazing. See, there are all just badass bitches on bass.” Who are we to argue with that? ‘She Plays Bass’ is a suitably sick song, a tribute to intimate friendships with a tongue-in-cheek nod to the questions from others they inevitably raise (“pretty shit we could never date”). A lighthearted obsession runs throughout ‘Space Cadet’ - and ‘Loveworm’, for that matter, as well as many of Bea’s other songs - and doesn’t seem like it’s about to let up any time soon. So what is Beabadoobee obsessed with going into 2020? How about America’s dad, Tom Hanks? Next year, her totally serious goal is to meet him. “That’s the thing because now I’ve made a song called Stephen Malkmus and then I met the guy, if I just keep writing songs about people I want to meet then, you know, this shit could happen. This can be a thing,” she says. “Like, I’m like -” she breaks into a sea-shanty style melody - “’I really want to meet Tom Hanks!’ and then I meet Tom Hanks. I’ve already spoken about him. I’ve talked to him... well, he hasn’t talked back, but I’ve DM’d him, DM’d his wife, I’ve gone out of my way to meet this man. “So it would just be way obsessive if I wrote a song about Tom Hanks. Like, everyone would expect that, so I guess I just have to leave it to fate. You know?’’ Tom Hanks, if you’re out there, you know what to do. Don’t let Stephen Malkmus take all the glory. P
Pals with the likes of The Big Moon and Swim Deep, Phoebe Green is taking fun and witty pop to bold new places. Words: Jamie Muir.
PERCHED IN A CORNER OF THE
Abrasive punk from Liverpool? Yes, please.
How’s the Liverpool music scene been treating you?
Words: Sophie Shields.
Eyesore & The Jinx have been successfully packing out dive bars and filling basement venues around the country with their gritty, politically-charged punk for the last few years. But 2019 has been kind to them. With the release of a handful of singles under Eggy Records, a plethora of gigs, including one in rural Russia, and finding fans everywhere they go; surely 2020 can only get better. To find out what is on the horizon for the on-the-pulse psychobilly band, we sit down with bassist Josh to delve into the inner-workings of one of Liverpool’s most exciting bands.
It’s pretty good, it’s gone through a purple patch over the last few years. When we first started there wasn’t much of a community, it felt disparaged, but now it’s quite close-knit. People know each other. I don’t really think there’s one Liverpool sound anymore, it’s a mesh of different genres and people hop between styles. It’s a lot more positive. What singles have you released this year?
We released ‘On an Island’ in January and a song called ‘Swill’ around April, and then we’ve just released ‘Leisure Time’. We’ve got a lot more music to come that we’ve been recording, too. Is that what you’re working on then, an album for 2020?
How would you describe Eyesore & The Jinx?
It’s sort of abrasive punk. Quite angry. People call us a political band, but I would say we are more observational. The political thing came around through consequence more than anything; we didn’t set out to be political. Musically, it’s a mesh of different styles and genres. We manipulate different genres and turn them into something a bit weird. Who are your musical influences?
We all listen to a lot of varied music, but the overarching influence has been The Fall. We borrow a lot of the same sort of observational humour as them and have the same approach to using different genres like the psychobilly style. Our drummer is a massive DEVO fan, so a lot of the DECEMBER 2019 / JANUARY 2020
rhythm comes from them, and our guitarist is into angular post-punk stuff like Parquet Courts.
We’ve got an EP coming out at the beginning of the year, and then we’ll see how it goes, see how many songs we can accumulate. What we are ultimately working towards is an album, it would be nice to have a tangible collection of songs. We’re also progressing with our sound. We are in a transitional period at the minute, moving away from the twominute punk songs to something a bit more experimental. What’s 2020 looking like for Eyesore & The Jinx?
I imagine much of the same, lots of music, more gigs. We’re off to Holland in January as well for Eurosonic which should be good. I really want to play a gig in Glasgow too, it has our kind of crowd, they are pretty mental there. P
Lexington in North London, Phoebe Green is buzzing. Later tonight, she’ll be onstage supporting The Big Moon to a packed room well aware of the future star in front of them - one primed to be selling out venues like this in no time. Phoebe’s also currently supporting Swim Deep across the UK (a band she confesses she’s been a massive fan of for years), and there’s an undeniable sense that things are about to get very big indeed. “I finished uni this year and as soon as that was over, and all the last-minute assessments were out of the way, it was like right - we’re going on tour!” cracks Phoebe. “I don’t know how I’m going to cope as soon as I get a minute to breathe!” “It’s been really interesting over the past few months,” she continues. “Depending on the place we’ve been, people have either come up to me at the end of our set and said ‘I didn’t have a clue who you were before this, but now I love it’, or it’s ‘I’ve travelled across the country to see ya’. It’s such a contrast, but the reaction has been amazing - better than I ever could have expected. “I thought we would be turning up to venues, nobody would be there, and everyone would turn up after our set…” Phoebe catches herself, “I’m not usually that pessimistic. “On the first date of this tour with Swim Deep, we played Brighton, and I was so, so, so nervous. We hadn’t done a gig in like a month, and this tour is the first tour we’ve done of this length. I ended up standing completely still and was just petrified of messing up. Now though, we have such a good time on stage and dance about and everything. I would never have said that I was a theatrical performer until this tour,
but now I’ve finally come into it all.” With the sort of immediate warmth that grips from the first note, it’s easy to see why people have stood to attention. In ‘Dreaming Of’ and ‘Easy Peeler’, Phoebe’s laid out two of 2019’s most immediate bops, signalling the arrival of a songwriter pulling inspiration together across the board and standing aside from the pack. “With these two singles so far, they’re very different but also really establish the two sides of me as an artist,” notes Phoebe. “I like to be really vulnerable in what I write about, but I also want people to think I don’t really give a shit. I’m quite feisty.” Writing diaries full of observations from the world around her from an early age, Phoebe was born to be out front for the whole world to see. “From when I was a toddler, I was always a performer,” she laughs. “I loved being the centre of attention. I just always wanted to sing, and everything else that came with it.” Growing up in the seaside town of Lytham, songwriting came as a natural extension of those “emo” diaries Phoebe would scribble down. “I’ve always wanted to express myself in some sort of tangible way, it’s definitely my forte. When I’ve been writing with people recently, they’ve kept saying to me - god, lyrics come to you in like 10 minutes!” First drawn to classic film soundtracks and indie favourites such as Wolf Alice, it was only when Phoebe packed up her bags and moved to Manchester that the world truly opened. “Moving from a small, very closeminded seaside town to like one of the coolest cities ever, it made me come into myself a lot more. I never really felt at home amongst the kind of people I grew up around,” notes Phoebe. “As soon as I got to uni and was surrounded by musicians, it shifted the way I was as a person. “I was very sheltered in what I listened to at home; I just didn’t have an awareness of all this different music. I wasn’t really influenced by anything because there wasn’t anything to be influenced by, whereas in Manchester, I was seeing a range of interesting bands that definitely shaped my sound in a
better way.” While ‘Easy Peeler’ and ‘Dreaming Of’ might be turning heads at the moment (the former co-written with Jules from The Big Moon no less), it was debut collection ‘02:00 Am’ that first drew the eyes of famed label Chess Club. “That album, it was very much me expressing myself,” recalls Phoebe. “It wasn’t for anyone, it wasn’t for anything! It was me when I was 16/17 getting everything off my chest and the reaction to it… well, I wasn’t expecting that at all.” Laying the groundwork for what comes next, it was the first marker for a sound that now feels bolder and open to go down whatever avenue Phoebe feels like heading to next. “Now, it’s a lot more stylistically interesting. I don’t know how to explain it, but a lot more intentional. It’s presenting myself as an artist rather than just presenting my emotions - now I’m doing both.” A future pop maestro, it’s why Phoebe’s 2020 is destined to be essential. Attention now turns to that anticipated new album, with a new era and countless stages on the horizon. “I definitely want to create a body of work that’s really representative of me,” ponders Phoebe, “because I’ve changed a lot since the last album. I want to present to people who I am now, what I’m about, the way I feel about certain things and the way I navigate certain situations.” Phoebe Green heads into the night, pinching herself at the situation she now finds herself in. “Like, the fact I’ve now written with Jules from The Big Moon, and the fact I’m now on tour with Swim Deep and such good friends with them… it’s so surreal. I don’t dwell on it because it all feels so normal now. It’s just another day.” Phoebe pauses with a smile. “But it is mad!” P
Hype List 2020_ Hype List 2020_
It’s not easy being...
Prepare for an adrenaline rush, it’s...
Rachel Chinouriri is busy laying down foundations to become a star of the future. Words: Tyler Damara Kelly.
FROM THE HUMBLE BEGINNINGS OF STUDYING
musical theatre at The BRIT School; Croydon singer-songwriter Rachel Chinouriri decided to record an EP in her bedroom using her laptop and a £20 microphone. After uploading the ‘Bedroom Tales’ EP onto Soundcloud, Rachel rapidly gained attention, and just four years later, she finds herself able to pursue music as a full-time career. Since the release of the official debut EP ‘Mama’s Boy’ in 2018 – which is both a magically meek and effervescent look at love – Rachel has felt quite a positive response to the songs. “The songs I made before ‘Mama’s Boy’ were very sad and very slow acoustic guitar music. ‘Mama’s Boy’ has a bit more of a kick to it, and the [eponymous] song was a bit more upbeat.” Rachel believes that progression in her music from the Soundcloud days to the official debut allowed listeners to understand the journey that she went on in the run-up to the release. Social media was incredibly significant to her musical inception, and Rachel is understanding of how necessary it is to maintain a strong presence on her own pages. “It’s a blessing. It’s free! You can do it yourself, and you can find so many people to support you as well. I think social media is vital nowadays. I love it in a way. I message people a lot on my Instagram. It kind of breaks the barrier between a fan and [their] inspiration.” Given that the ways of the music industry have shifted to be so internet-focused, these connections are humanizing and easy to maintain – especially as a young artist who is always on social media. If you follow her on her socials, you’ll see DECEMBER 2019 / JANUARY 2020
that Rachel is incredibly light-hearted and wholesome. This is reflected in her favourite meme of 2019 being the “look at us!” clip of Paul Rudd reaching the finale on the YouTube series Hot Ones – where celebrities answer questions while eating chicken wings (or alternatives) that have absurdly high Scoville ratings. How would she fare if she was to give it a go herself? “I don’t like losing things so I would seem very confident but actually really scared inside. Even if something was really spicy, I would try my absolute hardest not to show it in my face, so I think I’d do alright. Nah, actually, probably not. At Nando’s, I get Lemon & Herb, so…” If she was to describe herself to a new listener, she would say: “Two words [to describe me] would be sarcastic, and serious. I’m really sarcastic [and] joking all the time. My music would be heart-warming and sad. As a person, literally, I meet people, and I’m like: my music is sad, but I’m actually a really happy person – quite the opposite of what the songs are. I think it’s because I’m someone who likes to let things out.” Music is an all-encompassing form of expression for Rachel, which is why she likes to get as immersed as possible. Speaking of her directorial debut in the music video for ‘Riptide’ she explains: “I’ve always wanted to go into the directing/ editing sort of world, so when it comes to visuals I know exactly how I want to put stuff out. Hopefully, in the future, I can put more into it, but music is so hectic that I think, for now, I have to focus on one thing.” This idea of constantly dipping her toes into numerous aspects of the
creative process at the same time is something that seeps through everything that Rachel does, but there is a protective element about not sharing anything until it is perfectly crafted. So, about the prospect of a new EP or maybe even an album: “I kind of keep myself one step ahead of things, so by the time the first EP was out, I’d already written the songs I wanted for the second one. I’m already in the process of what I want for the third and fourth project right now. I’m always trying to keep myself a step ahead with creative stuff, so I can’t say the second EP is [going to be released] soon, but it will come when the time is right, and the songs are in the perfect place.” By collaborating with producers such as Preditah, and Subculture – who Rachel praises for taking her songwriting to a new level – we’ve seen an amorphous quality to her vocals. Given that she cites her influences as Daughter, Coldplay, RY X and Ladysmith Black Mambazo, it is no surprise that she would want to delve into a plethora of styles. “Music is something where there’s so much within it. You should feel free to do all the genres and try out everything.” What makes Rachel such an interesting artist is her juxtaposing influences and a high degree of flexibility when it comes to working with different styles of music. By not succumbing to a set genre, and being open to experimentation, it means that the future is an ambiguously optimistic place. Does this mean that she may one day release a heavy metal project? It isn’t something that she rules out: “You never know! I used to do screamo a bit when I was younger. It was a phase that I went through – or a few months – so you never know.” P
Poet and performer. Sounds a bit like someone’s going to try and make us wander lonely as a cloud, Dear Reader - but Sinead O’Brien is way, way more than just that. With post-punk, angular backing to prose that’s never anything but sharp, obtuse and challenging, her output so far is impossibly exciting. 2020 should bring far, far more for an artist who is truly one of a kind.
Having already dropped an EP with the really! quite! good! Yala! Records, Egyptian Blue’s list of co-signs has some pretty impressive names - including IDLES’ main man Joe Talbot. With an uncompromising, fierce sound, there’s something constantly on edge about their music. Like an elastic band stretched to breaking point, the next twelve months should see them snap into place quite nicely.
Signed to ‘that there’ Dirty Hit and working with the likes of indie megamind Fred-fromout-of-that-there-Spector, Gia Ford already feels impossibly cool. So cool, her debut release is referred to as ‘a tape’. Not mixtape. Not EP. Just ‘tape’. Woozy bop-pop through a gloriously leaky aesthetic filter, the potential is impossible to ignore. READDORK.COM
Hype List 2020_ Hype List 2020_
When we were 16 our biggest achievement was getting up in time for school. Our Alfie, however... Words: Abigail Firth.
In an era where artists drop ‘projects’ before they tackle anything so official as an album, Eli Moon is a man in demand. His first collection ‘Bodies’ is already out, and has seen him get plaudits from all the right places. Synthy R&B but definitively British, this is one moon that’s not made of cheese.
SOME SAY OUR SCHOOL DAYS ARE
the best days of our lives. Probably a lot easier to say if you’re Alfie Templeman, who at the tender age of 16 has released two EPs, a mini-album, performed at Brixton Academy, and went to play Reading & Leeds after picking up his GCSE results. He’s got big plans for the next year, and with literally his whole life ahead of him, we wish him all the best. Hey! How are you, fella?
I’m good! I just got out of the hospital; you can probably tell, I’m a bit hyper. I just had some bad lungs, but they’re getting better.
Ireland, Dear Reader, is seemingly responsible for Some Really Very Hot Things right now. From the awesome Sinead O’Brien to the fantastic Sorcha Richardson, we can now add Kilkenny’s The Wha to the list. Dropping new music via the influential Chess Club, they’re young, exciting and on the rise.
Life of a rock star. So how has this year been treating you?
It’s been good! I played Reading & Leeds, which is cool, and Brixton and stuff like that, I didn’t expect that kind of level, so it was really cool. And it was cool seeing more people enjoy my music and all that kind of stuff. It’s gone down well, I think. So you’ve done three EPs since this time last year, how have things changed since then?
Working Men’s Club
Signed to Heavenly and ‘going places’, Working Men’s Club might sound like a dodgy boozer your Dad tries to get you to come to, but actually is the name of one of the hottest, most exciting bands on ‘the block’. Go figure. If you need convincing, check out ‘Teeth’. It’s a banger. DECEMBER 2019 / JANUARY 2020
The first one was pretty indie, I guess it was me finding my roots in what I wanted to do. That was recorded over the space of a year; it was the first time I knew I was doing something right, and I knew that I might be able to get somewhere with it. Then Chess Club Records found me, so it started off the idea for me to try and make music a bigger part of my life; my career. I started off making indie music. And then by the time I got to ‘Sunday Morning Cereal’, my second EP, I knew I was in a position
where I could do this as a job now. It meant that I could experiment more and try out new things, I had more people backing me and stuff. By the time it came to this new record, ‘Don’t Go Wasting Time’, it’s just me exploring everything that I’ve always wanted to do. It’s just like a very exotic record; there’s a lot going on, and there are tons of different like elements to it. So basically, over time, I’ve started making music that I myself want to hear.
good). What can you tell us about that?
When you were making the first EP, did you ever expect it to go this far?
Is this part of an album?
No, not when I actually started it. When Chess Club signed me, yeah. When I was recording it, I was like, you know what? I might as well give this a try. I’ll chuck it up and see if anything happens. Was that when you started making music seriously?
Yeah, in a way. I used to put it up on Bandcamp and stuff, but I never took it too seriously. When I started upper school, my attention was on that and making sure that I was in a good state of mind to revise and get on with my schoolwork and stuff. But then I realised like, I’ve got one life, and I might as well do something that I’ve always enjoyed. And you’ve got a new song coming out tomorrow* (*the song is now out, it is obviously very
It’s really Mac DeMarco-y, and it’s probably one of my favourite songs I’ve ever written. I wrote it a couple years ago, and it started off as a punk song, which is really weird. It started kinda like The Strokes, ‘Someday’ish. And then I changed it. I made it into almost like an ice cream van; the melody is really, really sweet. It’s called ‘Don’t Go Wasting Time’, and it’s about telling yourself to stop missing someone. It’s got some heartfelt, you know, true emotions. Let me ask you, is seven songs an album? Erm, probably. It’s not an EP (*it is an EP, and it’s also now out).
I dunno what to call it, mini-album?
And what can we expect from Alfie in 2020? “Tons of new music. Actually, more gigs, I’ve got a few headlining gigs coming up that I’m yet to announce. Also, hopefully, a pop record. I’ve just made a really good pop song today. So I’ll probably release it next year. But that’s me. I just keep changing each time I need something which is kind of cool, kind of annoying, because it’s like one minute I’m an indie person, one minute I’m R&B, one minute I’m pop. It’s like, can you keep up? But if people like it, and if I have fun making it, then hey, why not? That’s 2020 for ya.”
So how is the mini-album coming along?
Oh, it’s great. It’s done. This is the title-track, ‘Don’t Go Wasting Time’. It’s got everything in it. It’s a different vibe, each song’s a different story, each one has a purpose. There’s a variety of different things going on, like ‘Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club’. That’s what I wanted to achieve here. The cover’s really cool as well. It’s done by these two guys who work with Beabadoobee. Her boyfriend does the drawings, and her mate Amir does all the pictures, they go under the name Bedroom Projects. I’m so happy with it. And you’re supporting Sports
Team around the UK soon…
Yeah, that’s gonna be so sick. Every single one of them is so nice, Alex Rice is a bit of a legend. It’s gonna be fun. I just can’t wait to see them like 15 times as well. I’m very hyped, and so is my dad, he’s a massive Sports Team fan. What have been some of your favourite parts of this year?
Right off the bat playing Brixton Academy was insane. It’s like 4000 people watching you, and you try not to look up because I would’ve probably shit myself. But, yeah Brixton, Reading & Leeds. I did a really cool EP release gig for my second EP. We played our best show ever at EartH in Hackney for War Child. Releasing music; that’s also a big staple this year. And just meeting fans and stuff. Also getting Insta famous is pretty cool. But I keep getting called an e-boy, and I don’t know why because I’m not an e-boy and it’s really annoying. There’s no e-boy vibe here.
I’m not that much of a dick, really. And you don’t have a tiktok.
Nope, and I’m not gonna get one either. P
Already selling out pretty big venues on the way to stardom, Kawala seem like they’ve got it all worked out. Indie in the lineage of Bombay Bicycle Club and The Maccabees, it’s easy to see why they’re making a noise. With a couple of EPs already ‘out’, 2020 should be huge.
2019 has seen Another Sky head from strength to strength, with their second EP, telly appearances and some Very Important Statements. 2020 should see the quartet deliver their much anticipated debut album. It’s one that should definitely not be ignored. DECEMBER 2019 / JANUARY 2020
ARE BLOXX OUR G IN Y PLA HOW LIST S L IN HYPE CIA O S E AT TH N ON 11TH . O LOND R. IT’S FREE BE N D EC E M U T M O R E O FIND O ORK.COM READD OW. N
These guys are an absolutely bangerfactory. Words: Sam Daly.
BLOXX HAVE COME A LONG WAY SINCE
little bit mindblowing for them. “There was this one girl who came in a Bloxx shirt,” Fee recalls. “We only sell these at our shows, apart from once when we put them on our website two and a half years ago. I think that must have been our only ever American order, and it was to her! That was a big moment.” The band’s sound has been through a real evolution this year, shedding their indie-infused vibe of old, to embrace a much shinier pop feel. Looking back at their debut EP, Fee reflects: “I didn’t expect people to vibe ‘Headspace’ as much as they did, I was really surprised. “I love it, and it’s very different. It’s very poppy. I thought people might think we’re cop-outs for putting a pop song out and now it’s like our biggest song. I love that so much as it’s now allowed me to explore other avenues and not give a crap what other people might think.” They’ve already got an album’s worth of material in the bag, but they’re keen not to repeat themselves, and Fee will be heading back to the States in December for more writing sessions. With their debut full-length on the horizon, it’s all systems go. “We haven’t redone any old releases,” she explains. “I hate that. That was the first thing that was said in our first label meeting; I would feel like I’d cheated myself as well as a lot of fans if we’d done that. I feel strongly about it.” Other than the all-new tracklisting, she says, there will be no surprises. “’Headspace’ set us up nicely for the album. It’s definitely an angry album, there are songs that hone into a break-up. In the last few years, all of us have been through those sorts of break-ups, so it’s stemmed from that, but also, we write really good angry songs for some reason,” Fee laughs. We still have a fair amount of time before the album reaches us, with at least three or four releases to come beforehand. “All good things take time. We don’t have much of a plan yet,” Fee smiles, going on to reveal that she’s a few big-ticket items on her bucket list for 2020. “We’d love to support The 1975. They’re the band of this generation, really, aren’t they?” P READDORK.COM
the release of their debut single, double A-side ‘You’ / ‘Your Boyfriend’. Once sustained by their jobs pulling pints, the London foursome - frontwoman Fee, bassist Paul, guitarist Taz, and drummer Moz - have worked tirelessly to say goodbye to that side of the bar in ‘spoons so they can focus on what’s important: making music, and touring the world. “We take it very seriously now,” Fee confirms. “We’re at that point now where we’re aware of how you have to do it properly; you can’t have as much fun as we used to.” Unfortunately, the band’s latest bout of fun resulted in them having to halt their UK tour when Fee fractured her foot while performing on stage in St Albans. It was going really well until then, mind. “The first few [shows] we did were sold out, and it kicked off the tour in a really fun way for us,” Fee enthuses. “There’s a lot more waiting around now that we’re headlining,” she adds. “It can be a bit daunting when you have that much time on your hands, you tend not to know what to do with yourself.” A band that has put a lot of time and effort into their live show, it’s winning them both fans and plaudits. They’ve not long been nominated for the Best Live Act of the Year gong at the Independent Festival Awards, up against Kokoko!, Yola, The Murder Capital, and Black Futures. “I always get in my head a little bit and am like, are we even good live?” Fee ponders, “so to be nominated for an award that contradicts my worry feels nice.” There’s been a fast and unignorable growth in the size of their crowds at their gigs, too. “Beforehand, we’d walk on stage to people looking at us like, who the hell are you? Now we go out to screaming fans,” Fee laughs. “You look at every single person, and they’re there because they love you. It’s so warming for us. That’s the reason why we get on stage; we know that they’re there to see us, and it’s so humbling.” This year, they’ve taken their live show over to the States, which proved more than a
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Bedroom pop with buckets of charm. Words + photos: Jamie MacMillan.
IF HYPE HAD A GRAVITATIONAL
centre, Dork is currently sitting at a picnic bench right in the middle of it. In a busy car park in South London, it is right here that Dirty Hit, the label of That Band, plus That Other Band (like you didn’t already know that, Dear Readers), is working hard with the next wave of superstars that will sweep us all away. Joining us for a quick smoke and water break during extensive recording sessions at the studio that lies within is Oscar Lang, the 19-yearold that has already broken through the buzz barrier with his bouncy bedroom pop bops. Over a series of EPs, Oscar’s keen eye (or is it ear?) for a beautiful melody and catchy hook has had us giddy from the beginning. From the lo-fi Elliott Smith-esque ‘Teenage Hurt’, through the woozy ‘Silk’ to this year’s ‘Bops Etc.’, he’s shown that he is a master of marrying eccentricity and weirdness with irresistible bangers. As warm and charming off-stage as he is on, it seems like he’s got it all. 2020 could be his for the taking. “Sick! I made it on the list, I’m a finalist!” Just the reaction we hoped for to be honest, though his face changes when we point out some of 2019’s Hype List. “Sam Fender? Holy shit. No pressure then…” In truth though, Oscar doesn’t seem to be fazed by any DECEMBER 2019 / JANUARY 2020
pressure. Surrounded by friends both in his band and on the label, life seems good. Even The Boss treats him well. “I don’t get emails from Matty,” he giggles. “That would be far too formal. He does send me DMs though,” he teases. “The Dirty Hit family is all really close. It’s crazy how much has happened just in the last year.” That closeness and sense of chill have given Oscar time to produce the exact kind of music that he loves. And after a series of progressive leaps, he is shifting palettes again. “I’m going away from lo-fi pop, which is good ‘cos I’ve always wanted to do more, I just never really knew how to. The new stuff is WAY more interesting to me.” Giving us a sneaky listen to one new track, it’s striking how different what we hear today is from his recent work. Influenced by the Beatles and guitar pop that followed, it is easy to hear similarities with its jangly guitar rhythm and chorus that, we kid you not, can’t be shaken from our ears after just one listen. It is quite frankly a huge leap forward. “My style has always just gone crazy from the start. I don’t like to be tied down to one style, I find it too boring, and it’s just not what I do,” he elaborates. “I spend all my time just making different types of music. I’ve got a whole EP full of dance and grime tracks that I’ve done. It’s just the way I like to make music.” Describing his latest work as “a mix of love songs and then some songs about myself”, it seems that Oscar is happier working more on his own this time around. Previously collaborating
with the likes of Alfie Templeman, beabadoobee and Johnny Utah, this time it is more just about him and his own band. “I love collaborating, it’s how I started. It’s so much nicer to have someone because a lot of the time, I won’t know the next bit and be ready to give up.” This next release may not have the same sort of link-ups, but there is no doubt that those friendships are still driving on a fresh new wave of indie-pop talent. Today, Oscar is as passionate talking about what his friends are creating as he is about his own music. “The new bea EP is insane. I’m excited for more Alfie music, too. It’s weird because people say, ‘oh yeah, they’re all part of this new wave’, but to me, it doesn’t seem like it. It’s just me and my friends making music.” Talk turns to 2020, the reason we are here after all. Is an album on the horizon? “Not an album. Well, actually… I don’t know yet?” He smiles at this, and it’s clear we are wandering into spoiler territory - and nobody
keeps secrets as well as the Dirty Hit gang. Well, sometimes, anyway. “bea played me one of the new 1975 tracks when we were at Green Man. But she was so nervous, she was playing it out of her iPhone speakers and thought someone was gonna hear it and record it and upload it. Like, who the fuck is gonna hear it from fifty metres away on your iPhone? Hahahahaha.” As our time winds to an end, Oscar reflects on what else he wants from next year, and it boils down to one thing. “I just want to play all over the world. I just want to go explore and play as much as I can. Because it’s what I fucking love doing!” With the sound of <REDACTED> ringing in our ears as we finally take our leave, it’s pretty obvious that we are all gonna feel the same too. In a year that some of the more established Dirty Hitters will surely be revealing their new masterpieces, Oscar may just be bringing the sleeper hit that beats them all. P
That post-punk scene may be making the headlines, but Do Nothing could already be the shot in the arm to really set things off. Words: Jamie Muir.
DO NOTHING FRONTMAN CHRIS
“We’ve played in other bands before - we used to play ambient music,” recalls Chris, thinking back to those early days together. “We stopped doing the ambient shit and basically took a break to figure out what we really wanted do and to come back at a different angle. “It became a long period trying to figure out what we didn’t like about the old stuff we were making - and basically, well, I just got super bored of that type of music. I don’t really listen to it at all now. This new thing, being a lot more immediate and a lot more angular and stuff, is just a reaction to that.” Ambient music’s loss is… well… everyone’s gain. Refocused and
reborn, Do Nothing swagger with reckless freedom with everything they do. Plucking observations from the world around him, a Do Nothing song is the sort that pulls in every direction with enough memorable lines to tattoo The Statue Of Liberty with. The sort of lines that stick in your head, and you’ll be repeating to mates in the weeks to come. “I do a lot of quoting things, it’s usually things that my friends say, or I overhear,” explains Chris. “At some point, it turned into a really natural habit that whenever I hear anything that could go into a song or a lyric, I write it down on my phone - which means I have fucking loads of lists of random phrases and words now on
my phone. It’s good because when you go to write a song now, I have this massive list of starting points.” Proof of their undeniable future can be found slap-bang in the live world, as word of mouth spreads and spreads from their intoxicating performances that have ripped apart venues all across the globe. Chris steps into a whole new personality, a mix of late-70s variety performer, modern-day South Londoner and audacious stand-up comedian in one swoop. “I used to play guitar on stage, and the first time I didn’t, it was terrifying. I just didn’t know what to do with my hands,” he laughs. “I remember that starting to change at a small hometown gig we did, where I had come back from a weekend away. I came back for the show and... you know when you’re so hungover that you’re actually more confident in a way because you’re concentrating on how awful you feel so much that everything else doesn’t matter? Anyway, we played the show, and it went really well. It felt like a real turning point.” With an EP on the horizon, Do Nothing are open to anything. Whether that’s interpretation or where they go next, it’s all waiting to be written. What’s undeniable though, is the bolt of feverish energy they now have bottled. “It’s just nice to have people give a shit really,” smiles Chris. “We’ve been writing for so long that we have material to work with, and then after that, it’s just a case of figuring out what we want to do next. The best thing you can ever do is exactly what you feel like doing.” Right now, that’s finishing off The Terminator. Expect more firsts to come flying sharpish in 2020. P READDORK.COM
Bailey is watching The Terminator for the very first time. In a 2019 packed with milestones, it’s another notable one to add to the bow of a frontman leading one of the most talked-about new bands in the country. Talking is the key part there, carving a distinct new voice in a wave of bands where lyrics are packed with the sort of meaning that jump with everyday observations. “Some people don’t give a shit about lyrics, they just like songs for the way they sound alone,” mulls Chris, “which is insane! It’s so crazy to me, like watching a film with the sound off.” There’s a pause. “Like, because The Terminator looks cool and shoots guns then that’s it… not that the script of The Terminator is an example of the best script-writing you should never miss out on, though.” Do Nothing have a lot to say. A band grafting for years at shows dotted across their hometown of Nottingham, their intoxicating mix of post-punk calls over hip-shaking grooves and immediate hooks has put them well and truly at the front of the pack. The next evolution of being in a band in 2020 and beyond. “We know what it feels like for noone to give a shit,” laughs Chris, “but now it seems like people are vaguely into us, which is cool. It means we get to travel about a bit and we’re playing better shows now, which is exactly what you want really.” With only three singles out in the world, Do Nothing have shown just where their intentions lie. A mix of LCD Soundsystem charm, the bark and bite of Shame, and the wonkymelodic prowess of David Byrne and Talking Heads - it’s unlike anything else going.
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Packed shows, indie bangers and limitless ambition thereâ€™s more to Inhaler than simply the obvious. Words: Jamie Muir. Photos: Sarah Louise Bennett.
Cooler than an ice cream sundae, itâ€™s...
PUBS ON A MONDAY NIGHT ARE
an odd place. The weekend is over, those looking for the party to end all parties have returned to the everyday rhythms of modern life, and the smell of ‘what on earth happened last night?’ is beginning to subside, if only slightly. In the heart of East London, this Monday night is somewhat different. There are no pub quizzes here, only a distinctive rumbling sound. Careering down tight steps and sticky floors, it’s a noise that gets louder and louder as a long line of people shuffle in their shoes, trying to peer down the corridor ahead at a packed room. As you move closer, you’re hit with something else: the sort of stadium-sized hooks and effortless swagger that’d come from a band set to be fronting magazine covers and taking on the world. Thing is, Dublin newcomers Inhaler are already doing that. The sweaty basement soon becomes the sort of feverish release of energy that any act would trade their nan for; chorus after chorus of hands-in-the-air frenzy. When it’s all said and done, they’ve stolen the show. They were only meant to be the second band on. Inhaler’s first London headline show, held a couple of weeks earlier, sold out months in advance. To contain the sheer size of the moment going on, they had to move the show
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across Camden to a bigger venue. There were icons of music past gathered, streams of adoring fans and enough cans of Red Stripe to go round to make a supermarket blush. Singer Elijah “Eli” Hewson led guitarist Josh Jenkinson, bassist Rob Keating and drummer Ryan McMahon through a thrilling set packed with points and flicks of a band full of confidence, with singalong refrains galore. This sort of takeover isn’t your usual bang-for-bucks band on the rise. It’s the whole package. “Honestly, it’s absolutely nuts,” cracks Eli. “It’s all happened really fast, and we’re so grateful for that. It’s a lot to take on at once.” It’s the afternoon after their Monday night turn in an East London basement, and the band are taking a moment for a quick lager in an empty brewery bar. It’s a perfect time to pause, if only for a second. In just under a week, Inhaler will be off to America for a string of shows with Blossoms. Then there’s a festival show in Mexico, another trio of UK headline shows in December, a headline show in Tokyo in the new year and plenty more to come. For most of the morning, they’ve been stuck at embassies making sure they can travel. The world well and truly awaits. “We’d built up this small fanbase in Dublin, so when we first came over to the UK, we expected nobody
to know us. We did a few support shows, and from there it’s been nuts to see the growth. That London show was insane. Insane.” “Every night on the tour we just did was great,” continues Ryan. “We found out the whole tour had sold out and the fact people are paying to come and see us…” “What are they doing?!?” laughs Eli, “It’s true, though! When you hear that our tour sold out, which is great, you think, do people want to come and see us play that much? It’s incredible.” “I wish I kept a diary of sorts just to keep up to date with where we’ve been and everything going on,” admits Ryan. “Like, did we do that two days ago?!” In the eye of a storm about to land in full force, it feels like Inhaler’s star is already marked in the sky. With only a handful of songs
out in the world, they’ve captured the sort of attention that people will talk about for years to come. Basements in pubs are already firmly in the past, and something much larger is in their vision. “You could say that we’re a rock band because we have guitars, but we’re still evolving as people, let alone musicians” explains Eli. “Things are being made and formed now, those decisions are happening right now. It feels like a very transitional time for us.” From the hype lists, the talk of their early years and whatever’s been written about their journey so far, one thing is definitively clear: if you think you know what Inhaler are all about, then think again. “It’s funny,” recalls Eli. “Ryan came out in this outfit the other day, and we were like, ‘Ryan, your outfit is just nuts’. He said, ‘yeah, I call it the
favourite band. “We all have very individual tastes in music,” says Eli, “but have this cross-section of stuff we all absolutely love.” Rob continues: “There’s definitely music that each of us listens to that none of the others like, which is a really good thing. There have been many situations where I’ve played something to Eli, and he’s been like, ‘nah, that’s not good’. Then, two days later, he’s like, ‘yeah, man!” And vice-versa. It pushes us all. You like to say we’re a rock band, but we’re experimenting with rap beats and loads of different bits and bobs at the moment, and that comes from all of our own tastes.” “I don’t want to sound too
Inhaler outfit’!” “I was saying I dress how our music sounds,” Ryan explains. “No idea what the fuck is going on, but it works, and you better be ready.” There’s an immediacy and urgency to everything Inhaler serve up. A straight to the jugular kick of mammoth pop hooks drenched in the raining darkness of a leather jacket on a night in the city. From ‘It Won’t Always Be Like This’ and its skyscraper refrain, to the adrenaline rush of ‘My Honest Face’, and the lush warmth of ‘Ice Cream Sundae’, there’s a constant push of sounds that always feel different. Yet, underneath there’s one consistent statement: this is your next
Hype List 2020_ Hype List 2020_
grandiose about it,” Eli picks up, “but I think our music tastes are a reflection of just so much information being about these days. The internet, Instagram everyone’s on the same buzz and getting a mix of everything. It’s not like back in the old days where you’d hold your vinyl under your arm to show what kind of person you were. Now, everyone’s a part of the same culture, and in it, you don’t know who you really are.” “We like to take different elements of different phases in music,” remarks Ryan. “Music determines how you think, how you dress - and naturally we’re consuming that in our own lives.” IT’S DUBLIN WHERE THINGS ALL
began. Teenagers knocking around and trying to work out what they wanted to do with their lives, music drew them together and helped to form their sense of being. With music always on in each of their households - you may be familiar with Eli’s dad’s band too, give him a Google - it wasn’t until Eli was 12 or 13 that he really took notice, when he listened to a copy of ‘Ziggy Stardust’ given to him by his godfather. “When I told him that I wasn’t really into music, he looked at me with a face of disgust,” Eli laughs. Going along with guitar lessons, it was a surprising source that got him
into performing. “Weirdly enough, it was Guitar Hero!” he admits. “It’s odd. If you talk to a lot of different musicians our age and in bands they were into it. It all just grew from there.” Bonding over a shared love of music, and a camaraderie that practically rings off them today, finishing each other’s sentences and rolling with everything life is throwing at them, their path was set. “Us three [Eli, Rob and Ryan] went to the same school and were in a band before,” explains Ryan. “There would be this school concert that would happen every year, and for a long time we’d be the only band playing, which we thought was really cool but at the same time a bit mad. We were like, why aren’t there more bands? Why aren’t there more people listening to what we’re listening to?” “I remember the first day that Josh joined,” says Rob, “which I now see as quite a pivotal moment for us.” Josh raises a beer in acknowledgement. “The reason I joined was that I was at a party with Eli, and he played ‘I Wanna Be Adored’ by The Stone Roses on the speaker, and I was like - I’ve heard this before, but I don’t know where from. It just sparked interest from there.” Eli cracks a smile. “I made sure to be at that party because I knew Josh READDORK.COM
was going to be there,” he laughs. “I’d heard the band he was in had split up and was trying to woo him!” The woo-ing worked. With Josh firmly in the band, a newfound focus kicked into gear. Other career options never stood a chance. “It was weird in Ireland at that time, because for us we just wanted to pretend we were rock stars,” elaborates Eli. “We’d get together on the weekends or after school and play music, play covers and smoke weed. Just live it! Then we just fell into it, and it became something we could really go for.” A myriad of influences and styles left their mark on the band as they found their feet, from the punchy rock of Royal Blood (“we saw them and were just blown away,” remembers Eli), to the shining pop charm of 80s-90s Manchester bands like The Stone Roses, The Smiths and Oasis, to the more visceral energy of Shame. Each has played a part in the Inhaler melting pot. “I actually remember with Blossoms,” points out Eli, “I remember when their debut album went to Number One and us sneaking off in class to sit in the computer rooms blaring Blossoms tunes and celebrating the fact they’d done it.” By the time their last exams were up, it was clear that none of them wanted to go on to college. Playing shows in any pub that would take them in, it was a game of working their way across Ireland to make a name for themselves. They’re the first to admit that they needed time and experience to become who they wanted to be. That step of playing live and learning from it, morphing into the band that now it seems only play to sold-out rooms. “Actually playing shows, it was an introduction to the real world,” recalls Eli. “We used to play in this place called The Grand Social. We were all underage and definitely shouldn’t have been gigging there in the first place. We’d play to our family and friends.” “We had to sneak Rob into our own gig once because he got kicked out as he was going on stage,” cracks Ryan. “We had to wedge open the back door and bring him in that way.” “I remember during one song, might have been a Kings Of Leon cover,” continues Eli. “The kick-drum and the drums started to fall apart, and they were going all over the place. We had to find some Sellotape, tape it all up, and then just get right back into it. “But those shows were so fun. There was no pressure on us at all, and we just got to go up there and play. You’d feel at the time that these gigs were the biggest in the world.” Ryan recognises just how important DECEMBER 2019 / JANUARY 2020
those nights in pubs and bars were. “It took us doing those gigs for us to realise just how much we loved doing this, and that we did want to take this somewhere. “When you’re doing a school performance, it feels very wrong. It doesn’t embody anything. As a serious live band, you have to put yourself out there. You have to learn and test the waters and open yourself up to be ridiculed.” “And you will get ridiculed,” jumps back Eli. “Whether it’s playing to three people or playing to ten thousand people, you have to be able to adapt to it.” The live space is where Inhaler thrive. Before releasing any songs, they knew they needed to play and play and play. As Eli admits, “it’s all well and good to cook up a demo at home on your laptop, but you could play it live, and people just go, what the fuck?” The countless nights and shows carved out new tracks, new ways to approach being in a band and new avenues that finds them on the cusp of the big leagues. It’s all part of the defiance and passion that’s led Inhaler to where they find themselves today: a gang ready to make a mark on the world, and with the sort of universal anthems in their back-pocket to back it up. “The drive I had to be in a band was more of just a middle finger to all the teachers who were saying that we needed a real job,” lays out Eli. “’What’s your band? What are you ever going to achieve with your band?’ Here we are.” AS THEY DRINK DOWN THE LAST OF
their beers and laugh about stories from the past few years - including a quicklyabandoned plan to release ‘Ice Cream Sundae’ just so they could play it to everyone on holiday in Magaluf - Inhaler think back to the nights they’ve witnessed over the past few months. It’s easy to call this moment a real game-changing one, but the nights across Ireland, the UK and Europe have cemented the fact that they’re onto something huge. “I don’t think there are any limits to what we want to achieve or what we can achieve either,” Eli states. “On the last tour we did,” Ryan continues, “for the 45 minutes we were on, we wanted to give people a sense of escapism from the bullshit they have to deal with in their everyday lives.” “Yeah,” picks up Eli. “It’s such a confusing time for people to be alive, and nobody knows what the future holds. It’s really important, right now, for us, just to have a safe space where we can go, fuck it, and forget about everything for a moment.” In that spirit, attention is beginning to turn to that debut album and a chance to
firmly capture 2020 as their own. “When you put a debut album out there, that’s what people are going to label you by,” explains Eli. “So you just want to make sure it’s perfect, and it fits all those needs. We’ve got all the tunes, but it’s just about getting them recorded and getting them recorded right. We have a message, and something to say. “People want something that all fits together as one thing. The biggest bands are focused on the aesthetics too, and we love that. Some bands will just go on in a t-shirt, and it’s cool if it’s a good t-shirt! “I remember Paul Weller said that back in his day if you were into a band, you were into the way they looked as well and it all goes hand-in-hand. I think that’s really important. “I have nothing against bands who are just solely about the music, but I think you’ve got to give people the full package. Represent your music visually, whether it’s how you look on stage, the live show, the clothes you wear or the guitars you have. Fashion may get old, but the music and the show doesn’t.” Looking beyond simply being another band, Inhaler are better placed than most to lead the charge. “We want to make our music, and it’s hard to do right now because we don’t have the resources,” lays out Eli, “but going into the future when we release a song - we want it to be an event, you know?” They’re all fully aware of the age they find themselves in, tuned into 2020 in a way that pulls in the influences that laid the path before them but with a knowing nod to being a young person in a time full of so much change and uncertainty. Ryan notes: “Someone said to us recently that because of the influence of social media and the availability of music today, music is now seen as a sugar hit of sorts. There needs to be that buzz and then it’s on to the next song. For us, it’s all about putting out the best content possible regularly. With the album, there’s not a pressure to get it done, but a pressure to get it right.” “Also, we’re just really enjoying touring at the moment,” adds Rob. “It’s been so beneficial to the music and the growth of the band. We don’t want to take our foot off the gas, but we want to get that balance right of playing shows and getting the album done. We’re getting there.” If the reaction they’ve been getting live so far is anything to go by, then it seems Inhaler are right on course. Unreleased tracks that fill their set continue that vein of uncompromising hit after uncompromising hit - whether it’s synthladen post-punk drives or swooning allencompassing raptures that jump between Joy Division and The Killers at the touch of a dime. There’s simply no stopping them now. “Right!” announces Ryan as the band walk through the graffitied streets of Hackney. “Just need to record the debut album and tour America now.” Catch Inhaler while you can, or you’ll be stuck in the queue wishing you were there. P
Hype List 2020_ Hype List 2020_
If anyone on this list is primed for proper mainstream on-yourmum’s-Christmas-list fame, it’s Maisie. Words: Abigail Firth.
PERHAPS THE DEFINITION OF
‘making it’ in 2019 is being featured on the Love Island soundtrack. That’s what it is for Maisie Peters, at least. She got her foot in the door posting YouTube videos – as most pop stars do these days – and after the release of two EPs, she assures us there’s plenty more to come in 2020. Hi Maisie! You just got back from tour, how’s life?
It was really fun! It was around North America, and it was very tiring. It was like five of us ocean back a little van like going around these tiny venues, often staying in random hotels, like little tiny dressing rooms, but the crowds are just amazing, and it’s so fun to meet people all the way from America who like my music and would like queue up outside, and you can chat to each other, and it’s really just wild that anyone was coming at all. So it was like not the most grand of times, but definitely the most fun and like, heartwarming and inspiring. So have you been writing or in the studio or anything while you’ve been out there?
I wasn’t this time I’ve been to America to write quite a few times this year. But this was just purely touring because I was genuinely no hours in the day. I did do a little bit of writing just by myself on the back of the bus, squashed in the corner with my guitar stood like a cello just plucking. And then since I’ve been home I’ve done some writing already, just got back in the studio and done some new things with new people which is exciting. And then for the rest of the year, I’m
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planning on writing loads and getting out some more songs out. You’ve been writing songs for a long time, what were your first songs like?
Yeah since I was about 12 or 13 . Oh, terrible, absolutely terrible. I actually found the lyrics to my first ever song I think, which was written in like 2009 in a notebook and it was called ‘Sandcastles’, and it was about sandcastles. And then obviously, I moved on to bigger topics, like I remember I had a song about my husband dying in a creek. That was an early one as well. Sometimes I remember bits, sometimes I’ll get these random memories of like verses or choruses of these songs that are so old that I wrote literally like six or seven years ago, they just flash into my mind, and I actually shiver. Have you ever gone back to listen to them?
The thing is, I wrote them, and I have the words on my laptop, but I don’t really have any recordings of them. I actually used to send loads to my manager at the time, not all of them, but a good 300 he’s got. Maybe one day we’ll go back and laugh in irony together. So you obviously picked being a pop star over going to uni…
Well, you don’t choose the pop star life, the pop star life chooses you. And then you choose it desperately back and cling on for dear life. Ah yes, of course. What would you be doing if you weren’t a pop star?
I think I would’ve gone to university. I liked a lot of studying. Actually, I’m a very academic person, I like the thought of learning things and then being rewarded when you know things. But I probably would’ve done history or English. A lot of my family are teachers, and I used to really enjoy teaching my friends in school, I think probably because I have an issue with authority, I love the sound of my own voice too much, which is also why I’m
a pop star now. Your first EP was released this time last year – what’s changed since then?
This time last year I guess I was still in the fresh beginnings of this new life where I wasn’t going to school or college, and I was just full time trying to do something in music. Now a year’s gone by doing that, and in a way, it feels like nothing has changed, but I guess if you were to like, stark contrast and compare it would look very different. I went on tour, I put out loads of music. I’m a very different person, probably in a personal sense as well. It’s been a year of growth, one of finding out what matters to me and what actually makes me happy, which is something I’ve realised closer to the end of this year. And your song was on Love Island this year! Did you ever expect that?
I had two songs on Love Island this year, which ruined my life forever because now I can never feel happier than when ‘Feels Like This’ played when Curtis and Amy became halfboyfriend and half-girlfriend, and ‘Favourite Ex’ played when they broke up. I felt quite honoured to soundtrack their journey. Without getting too deep, the Amy and Curtis breakup actually felt like a very important episode and message for 2019, and this was a very of-the-time moment in TV and for young people watching it. I was very thrilled and honoured that my song could be a part of it.
Amazing. You’ve literally just released the ‘It’s Your Bed Babe, It’s Your Funeral’ EP, but is there any new music on the horizon?
I’m writing loads, I really wanna put something out January next year, hold me to that. As for this year, I have this one thing. I’m not gonna tell you what it is because it might not happen and I’ll save it for another time. So I have this one idea that I really want to do like around Christmas time. It’s a Christmas song??
Well, no, not yet. I just have this plan, and I’ve talked to my friends about it, so we’ll see. I’m not even gonna tell you what it vaguely is. In the meantime, we’ll be waiting for a cover of ‘Last Christmas’.
Hilariously, I actually do have a cover of that. I did a jazz cover, oh god an awful jazz cover of ‘Last Christmas’, from when I used to go busking in Brighton. So what’s inspiring you right now? Hopefully not jazz or Christmas music…
Tour has been inspiring, being back home feels like another chapter now, coming back I’m just sort of realising things, I feel like Kylie Jenner. And I’m really excited to start writing again and making music. I wanna spend the end of the year going back to my roots a little bit, try and make some songs that are a bit closer to what I grew up with, because I spent a lot of this year writing bops, which I love, so I wanna see what happens when I write notbops. But who knows what I’ll come out with. P
Hype List 2020_ Hype List 2020_
Soul. Everyone wants it, very few have it. Celeste does, though. One of those rare artists that can say they’re influenced by Aretha Franklin and Billie Holiday and not be met by the response ‘yeah, sure, but...’, she’s amongst 2020’s buzziest new names. After putting her songs on YouTube as a teenager, she’s already getting plaudits far and wide. Expect much, much more to come.
Nineteen years old and already with two EPs on the board, Arlo Parks’ name is being shouted more than whispered in the corridors of pop power. Signed to Transgressive and packing out festival sets, she’s the perfect mix of indie heart and hip hop groove. As much a poet as a musician, Arlo grew up in South West London, half Nigerian, a quarter Chadian and a quarter French, but one thing’s for certain - she’s 100% awesome.
Black Country, New Road
Enigmatic is a label placed on any number of bands. Mysterious too. When it comes to Black Country, New Road, it’s more the fact they’ve got no room for bullshit. The Speedy Wundergroundaffiliated seven piece are already critical darlings, but there’s more to them than that. Ones to keep an eye on. READDORK.COM
After unpredictable post-punk brilliance? Squid’s in. Words: Blaise Radley.
Hype List 2020_ Hype List 2020_
EVEN OVER THE PHONE, SQUID
"IT’S NICE TO POKE FUN AT PEOPLE, BUT IT’S NICER TO POKE FUN AT YOURSELVES"
feel like a wriggling, hard-to-define mass. Less tentacled sea creature than many-headed hydra, they readily spill over one another with enthusiastic laughter and selfdeprecating jokes. We’ve only got three of them on the line from a pub in Bristol - Ollie (drums, vocals), Arthur (keyboards, percussion) and Laurie (bass, brass) - but it quickly becomes an amusing battle in trying to guess who’s saying what. For a five-person band that claims to have no frontman, they might just be telling the truth. The trio seem in good spirits as they debrief post-practice with a pint, musing over the prospect of a BYOB eatery. Tasked with describing their genre-troubling brand of frequently ambient, occasionally jazzy, and always unpredictable post-punk, they all pile in with a series of nonsequiturs. “Bombastic”, “ribbon crasher” and “raucous” are fired out in quick succession, and then, after a long pause, Ollie adds a somewhat uncertain “good”. “I do actually think it’s good music…” he says, after the chuckling dies down. When we last spoke to the band in summer, Squid were mid-tectonic shift. Their song ‘Houseplants’ was on the BBC 6 Music A-list, they had a slate of upcoming festival appearances, and they were just about to head out on their first-ever tour, supporting Viagra Boys. “Yeah, when Steve Lamacq started giving us lots of air time on Radio 6,” says Arthur, “That was when we really started seeing crowd numbers swelling.” Ollie chimes in with his own take: “I knew it was taking off when I realised that being in a band was
detrimental to my career. It either had to be one or the other, and I’m sorry to say that it was the work that had to go. Sorry, Domino Records...” Given that the inception for this rapid growth was their tongue-in-cheek social satire ‘Houseplants’, it’s apt that the first cost of Squid’s rise to fame was their day-to-day careers. “Nah, I’m not really that sorry,” Ollie adds wryly after Arthur calls him out. It’s hard to avoid mentioning ‘Houseplants’ given how defining that single was for Squid’s upward trajectory this year, but the band seem pretty aware of that. It turns out to be somewhat autobiographical too. “I think we all own houseplants – we’re bloody hypocrites at the end of the day,” says Laurie. “It’s nice to poke fun at people, but it’s nicer to poke fun at yourselves.” “Well, the song isn’t antihouseplants…” continues Ollie. “What even is it anti? Maybe we’re saying that we all have houseplants, but that’s not an indication that we’re doing well in life. I’ve actually got a fantastic sorrel plant. It’s not your typical houseplant I don’t think – you can use it in your cooking.” An inquiry begins into where the line for houseplant is drawn – basil, parsley, small invasive weeds in your kitchen tiling – but thankfully Ollie has a definitive answer: “If it’s a plant and it’s in the house, then it’s a houseplant.” Where ‘Houseplants’ saw Squid becoming as ubiquitous up-anddown the country as the titular greenery, their tour with Viagra Boys pushed them up another level. “Yeah, it was amazing. Big learning curve – that was the first tour we ever went on,” says Arthur. “We learned a lot, and it was a really fun tour as well. They’re such nice guys.” The main takeaway? “I think having a bit of outdoor time between van and venue is a must,” answers Laurie. “We’re actually thinking of
starting an “Out of Bounds” division of the management team that’s in charge of all outdoor pursuits. Good walks and wild swimming and stuff,” adds Arthur. “What are we gonna do for our winter sports?” asks Laurie. “Bobsleighing I reckon,” answers Ollie to much whooping. When the subject comes around to the snowballing hype around Squid leading into 2020, the band seem more cautious. “We’re playing Scala in April, and that just sold out today, so if we wanna make hype about that, that’s great fun because that’s definitely gonna happen and it’s definitely…” “Sold out,” interjects Laurie, laughing. “It’s when there’s hype for something which can’t be put into a box, like ‘Most exciting new band’, I just don’t really listen to that.” There’s also talk of an LP next year following the successful release of their EP ‘Town Centre’ in September. “Yeah, we started writing it today... wait, yesterday? Nah, today,” says Ollie. “It’s going really well so far,” jokes Arthur. “I’d quite like to bring a choir in. My mum’s part of the Crouch End Festival Chorus. Mum, if you’re reading this, have a word.” “We’ve just got a new percussion stand and a cornet case which are definitely gonna take prominence in 2020,” adds Laurie. “We got a three-part horn section for one of the tracks at End of the Road, and it’d be nice to be mirror that on the album.” “We’d like to put some nice string sections on there and collaborate a bit more,” continues Ollie. “But I mean, we haven’t even written any of the songs yet.” For a band clearly spilling over with ideas, it’s striking that all of these contradictory impulses rests easily on top of each other. Choir or cornet case; improvised brass or composed strings, the only certainty is that the end result will be bombastic, raucous... and good. P
Bedroom pop made in an actual irl bedroom. Words: Abigail Firth.
CALIFORNIAN TEEN MAIA (ALSO
Hello Maia! Where are you and what are you up to?
Right now I’m sitting somewhere in Colorado, I think outside of Denver, outside of a Starbucks because we’re on the road for tour and we’re driving to the next spot. First things first, how do we pronounce your stage name?
So it’s em ex em toon, which was created for an Instagram account that my dad helped me make, because I was a visual artist and I thought that was gonna be my claim to fame, as it is. So I was trying to think of a username for Instagram, and my dad said, ‘why don’t you just use your initials, and then you add ‘toon’ so it sounds like cartoon and it would basically be Maia’s cartoon’. And so that was my username, and I used it for everything including SoundCloud, so by the time that people started finding me on SoundCloud, it was just too late to change it. And now I have that story. Ah yes, we thought it might be one of those names where the o’s are taken out, and x’s are put in.
Yeah right! It’s read as that a lot, so I’ve come to claim momtoon as well. But I’m definitely the mom friend. When did you start uploading YouTube videos?
Oh my gosh, I started making
Amazing. Why did you choose to keep that a secret? Because you sort of hid it from your parents, right?
known as mxmtoon) might be the closest thing to an IRL Hannah Montana as we’re gonna get. After spending years making YouTube videos in her parents’ house in the middle of the night and hiding her blossoming musical career from her family and friends, a Hypebeast article pinning her as an up and comer alongside Clairo and Rex Orange County made her come clean. She’s since released an EP and a full-length album and is currently on tour around the States, which is where we happened to catch her.
YouTube videos when I was 12 actually, and it was with two or three of my other friends. And the account that I have now where I upload was originally an account that I shared with three of my friends, and we uploaded videos because we were all trying to become famous YouTubers, which obviously didn’t work. But yeah, we were making videos, and then that fizzled out, and I started making my own.
Yeah, I hid it from them. I think I was just scared that my mom would take it away from me. And so, in my mind, the best thing that I could do was not tell her. I kept it a big old secret, and I would film in the back of my house, I recorded music, and they just thought I was being creative and were fine with me doing that. I think if I had told them early on, they probably would have like, you know, shut it down, and then none of this would have ever happened. So that was my fear. So when did you tell your parents that you were making music and putting it out there?
It’s coming up to two years ago, so it was pretty recent. I told them when I was put into a Hypebeast article, and like, I woke up and saw that I was mentioned on my Twitter feed. I was in this article with a bunch of other artists that I listen to. I was freaking out because I was super excited, but mostly because, you know, it was Hypebeast, and that’s a huge publication that everyone knows about. And someone was going to tell them before I was able to tell them what was going on. I decided in that moment that I needed to be honest. So I walked out to the kitchen I was like, Mom, Dad, I have a secret I have to tell you, and it was all over for me after that point.
So you recently released your debut album too. How’s that been going?
It’s been really good. I’m so happy with how people are taking it because it’s such a gigantic leap away from kind of where I was with making music when it was just me and my ukulele. People have been really receptive to it. What’s been your favourite part of this year?
Probably touring the album. This is the first tour I’m playing with the
band on stage, and I feel like it’s really starting to turn into like a musical world that I’m excited to share with other people. Being on the road and singing has been my favourite part so far. And what can we expect from you in 2020?
2020? More music, obviously. Bigger shows, more shows across the world, which is exciting. And yeah. I feel like it’ll be familiar but also exciting. That’s the best way to describe it. P READDORK.COM
Year end means one thing. Ranking stuff. Everyoneâ€™s gonna be putting together their Top Tens, sharing their stats and revealing their ratings. Weâ€™re no different. So - in one infotastic burst, we proudly present...
A YEAR I DECEMBER 2019 / JANUARY 2020
IN LISTS READDORK.COM
GREATEST THOUSANDS WILL ENTER. ONE WILL LEAVE. (ACTUALLY THEY ALL WILL LEAVE. NO BAND-SLASH-ARTISTS WERE HARMED IN THE MAKING OF THIS OBJECTIVE LIST)
Billie Eilish Individual, exciting and unapologetically operating by her own rules, Queen William Eyelash is everything Planet Pop needs.
In truth, our gong for the toppest-of-the-poppest for 2019 is kind of a two-horse race. On one hand, there’s Billie Eilish - young, empowered, and smashing it out of the park at every step. She’s got multiple huge arena shows on the books for 2020, and already feels Really Very Important. On the other, we’ve got The 1975. Making statements that resonate beyond the boundaries of music, they change their style like the rest of us change our socks, yet each time, it’s definitively them. In truth, either could take the crown, but - call us daft - we sort of figure that the future would be a better place if we were all a little more Billie Eilish. For that alone, she takes the victory. Nice work, Billie.
2. The 1975 3. Sam Fender 4. Fontaines D.C. 5. Lizzo 6. Foals 7. Dave 8. Charli XCX 9. Slowthai 10. Little Simz DECEMBER 2019 / JANUARY 2020
Last issue, we asked you to send us your votes for our 2019 Reader’s Poll. We’ve counted up the votes, we’ve realised you all very much like The 1975, and we’re presenting your winners over the next few pages as part of our end of year ‘stuff’. You’ve done alright, guys. Pat on the back.
BEST BAND ON THE PLANET 1. The 1975 2. Foals 3. IDLES 4. Bastille 5. Muna Reader’s Poll
BEST SOLO ‘ARTIST’ 1. Billie Eilish 2. Sam Fender 3. Harry Styles 4. Lana Del Rey 5. Lizzo
BEST ‘COMEBACK’ OF 2019 1. Foals 2. Bombay Bicycle Club 3. Vampire Weekend 4. My Chemical Romance 5. Jonas Brothers
So, Dear Reader. These lists need some kind of explanation. Yes - the mighty My Chemical Romance are on both lists. That’s because, part way through ‘the voting period’ Gerard and co. announced they were returning to the front-lines at the end of the year. Look alive, sunshines!
BANDS-SLASHARTISTS WE DIDN’T THINK WOULD COME BACK AND YET HERE THEY ARE 1. Jack Penate 2. La Roux 3. Jai Paul 4. Young Knives
BAND-SLASHARTIST WHO SHOULD COME BACK IN 2020 1. My Chemical Romance 2. One Direction 3. Oasis 4. Lorde 5. The Strokes
ALBUMS OF THE YEAR THE ALBUM, DEAR READER, IS FAR FROM DEAD. HERE ARE FIFTY OF OUR ABSOLUTE FAVES FROM 2019.
WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?
If you want to talk about The Best album of 2019, there are a few contenders for the title. If you want to talk about flat out impact, there’s only one that even comes close. A bona fide phenomenon, when we interviewed our Billie a year ago (she called us “ma’am”, manners go a long way) we knew she’d be big, but this album is huge.
LANA DEL REY
NORMAN FUCKING ROCKWELL
SUNDARA KARMA ULFILAS ALPHABET
HEARD IT IN A PAST LIFE
REX ORANGE COUNTY
ANY HUMAN FRIEND
THE JAPANESE HOUSE
GOOD AT FALLING
CUZ I LOVE YOU
SAMPA THE GREAT
WHEN I GET HOME
NOTHING GREAT ABOUT BRITAIN
FATHER OF THE BRIDE
EVERYTHING NOT SAVED WILL BE LOST PT 1 + 2
EVERYTHING THAT MAKES YOU HAPPY
WHEN I HAVE FEARS
THE MURDER CAPITAL
SAVES THE WORLD
DECEMBER 2019 / JANUARY 2020
AMYL & THE SNIFFERS
THE CENTRE WON’T HOLD
NOT WAVING, BUT DROWNING
CARLY RAE JEPSEN
BEWARE OF THE DOGS
THANK U, NEXT
BERKELEY’S ON FIRE
DON’T YOU THINK YOU’VE HAD ENOUGH
A PICTURE OF GOOD HEALTH
ALBUM OF THE YEAR 1. Sam Fender Hypersonic
Missiles 2. Billie Eilish When we all fall asleep, where do we go 3. Foals Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost (Part 1) 4. Lana Del Rey Norman Fucking Rockwell 5. The Japanese House Good At Falling 6. Marika Hackman Any Human Friend 7. Fontaines D.C. Dogrel 8. Bastille Doom Days 9. The Murder Capital When I Have Fears 10. Muna Saves The World
MOST ANTICIPATED ALBUMS FOR 2020 1. The 1975’s ‘Notes on a Conditional Form’ 2. ‘Notes on a Conditional Form’ by The 1975 3. The new album by The 1975, ‘Notes on a Conditional Form’ etc.. STOP ROLLING YOUR EYES, WE’VE SEEN YOUR READER’S POLL VOTES!
BEST ACOUSTIC TRACK OF 2019 1. N/A
No. Acoustic songs don’t get to be ‘the best’. Have some standards, for Christ’s sake.
BEST NEW BAND-SLASHARTIST FOR 2020 1. Girl in Red 2. Beabadoobee 3. Inhaler 4. Sports Team 5. No Rome
BEST LIVE ACT 1. The 1975 2. Foals 3. Twenty One Pilots 4. Idles 5. Sports Team Reader’s Poll
BEST FESTIVAL 1. Reading & Leeds 2. Glastonbury 3. Truck 4. Latitude 5. Live At Leeds
BEST BREAKTHROUGH ACT 1. Sam Fender 2. Fontaines D.C. 3. Lewis Capaldi 4. Clairo 5. Wallows
BEST BANDSLASH-ARTIST OF THE DECADE 1. The 1975 2. Arctic Monkeys 3. Lorde 4. Twenty One Pilots 5. Foals Reader’s Poll
BANGER OF THE DECADE 1. The 1975 Love It If We Made It 2. Arctic Monkeys R U Mine? 3. The 1975 The Sound 4. Wolf Alice Don’t Delete The Kisses 5. Lorde Green Light
DECEMBER 2019 / JANUARY 2020
With the end of the decade upon us, we figured it was worth asking you, Dear Reader, what has dominated your last ten years. Turns out, we could have guessed... Reader’s Poll
ALBUM OF THE DECADE 1. The 1975 A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships 2. The 1975 I Like It When You Sleep 3. Lorde Melodrama 4. Kendrick Lamar To Pimp A Butterfly 5. Paramore After Laughter
BANDS THAT HAVE SPLIT UP RIP U WILL LIVE ON FOREVER. CANT BELIEVE IT. I WANNA RUN TO U. REALLY CANT BELIEVE THIS. @
1. Spring King 2. Superfood 3. Calpurnia 4. Queen Zee 5. mewithoutYou
BEST PERSON WHO DOES MUSIC BUT ALSO HAS APPEARED IN A TELLY-STYLE ‘SCENARIO’ 1. Ashley O 2. Steve off of Stranger Things
(SANS DODGY SOLO MUSICIAN STYLE ‘TACHE)
3. Dylan from Wallows (AND 13 REASONS WHY)
GOODEST BOY 1. Calvin
Let’s be clear, Dear Reader. There’s one Top Pop Dog, and it’s most certainly Amber ‘The Japanese House’ Bain’s chum Calvin. Yes, we’re still making up for that time we didn’t put him on the cover. Sorry, Calv.
2. Nope. Just Calvin.
BEST TOUR LINE-UP 1. The 1975 + Pale Waves + No Rome 2. Vampire Weekend + Wallows 3. Sports Team + Alfie Templeman 4. Swim Deep + Phoebe Green 5. Twenty One Pilots + The Regrettes
TOP 5 THINGS TO SAY TO SKY FERREIRA ABOUT WHERE ‘MASOCHISM’ HAS GOT TO
UNDISPUTED BEST SOCIAL MEDIA POST BY A MUSIC TYPE PERSON IN THE YEAR OF OUR LORDE 2019 ABOUT CLIFFORD THE BIG RED DOG
“WHY CLIFFORD BIG RED DOG SO BIG? THAT DOG TOO BIG”
- LIL NAS X
1. Kim Petras’ ‘Clarity’ (it’s a ‘project’, don’t ya know) 2. Lucy Dacus’ collection of themed holiday songs 3. Tegan & Sara’s album of songs they wrote in high school 4. Weezer’s covers album 5. Jack Antonoff singing with Oscar The Grouch, which isn’t really a release but was very amusing, right?
TOP 5 NICKNAMES FOR ‘THE TALENT’ DORK HAS ADOPTED AND CAN ACTUALLY PRINT WITHOUT GETTING TOLD OFF FOR BEING RUDE 1. William Eyelash (Billie Eilish, obv) 2. Bob Iver (yes, we meant to type that! That’s Bon Iver’s real name, right?) 3. Bee Movie-doobee (because, like everyone’s fave film, Beabadoobee is always on repeat.)
BEST WIG THAT YOU CAN BUY AS MERCH BECAUSE OBVIOUSLY
4. Postman Malone (more ‘where the fuck is the MyHermes bloke?’ than ‘he always delivers’ for ol’ Post)
1. Tyler, The Creator 2. Charli XCX 3. Waterparks
... AND THREE MORE THAT WERE VERY FUNNY INDEED 1. “I love music that sounds good when you listen to it” Phoebe Bridgers (@phoebe_bridgers)
2. “wow bro im having so much fun in glass and berry” Lil Nas X, at Glastonbury (@LilNasX)
3. “Me: George: I’ve written a joke Me: George: why were the vegetable choir out of tune? Me: George: because the[y] had a hoarse radish” Matthew Healy (@Truman_Black)
5. ‘That bloody band’ (nope. We’re not telling you. You’ll never find out. Could be any of you. On your toes, ‘the talent’.)
BEST COLLABS 1. Charli XCX x Christine (or Haim,
or Troye, or Sky, or Lizzo etc etc)
2. The 1975 x Greta Thunberg 3. Troye Sivan x Lauv 4. SleaterKinney x St Vincent 5. Better Oblivion Community Center
1. “Whenever you’re ready, Sky” 2. “No rush” 3. “Don’t feel under any pressure here” 4. “It’ll be ready when it’s ready.” 5. “Seriously though... where is it?”
BEST NON CONVENTIONAL MUSIC THINGY
BANGERS OF THE YEAR DORK IS ALL ABOUT THE ART OF THE MASSIVE BANGER. WE’VE WORKED THROUGH OUR 2019 PLAYLISTS - THESE ARE THE VERY BEST.
THE 1975 PEOPLE
We’re all about buzz. The excitement when a new track drops and everything stops. That’s the reaction that ‘People’ delivered, arriving on the eve of the band’s headline Reading Festival set, and delivering a short, sharp shock that threatened to break the internet. Swerving directly into acerbic, screaming rock, it’s proof The 1975 are their own band - and that band is fucking amazing.
LANA DEL REY
THE BIG MOON
MY HONEST FACE
ABOUT WORK THE DANCEFLOOR
SHE PLAYS BASS
BURY A FRIEND
NOW I’M IN IT
GONE (FT. CHRISTINE & THE QUEENS)
BOYS IN THE BETTER LAND
GIRL IN RED
NUMBER ONE FAN
I’M SO TIRED...
DEAD GIRL IN THE POOL
SO HOT YOU’RE HURTING MY FEELINGS
JONAS BROTHERS SUCKER
LAUV & TROYE SIVAN
FRAIL STATE OF MIND
HIT THE BACK
DECEMBER 2019 / JANUARY 2020
I’M NOT WHERE YOU ARE
REX ORANGE COUNTY 10/10
BANGER OF THE YEAR
THE MURDER CAPITAL
SHARON VAN ETTEN
BOY WITH LUV (FT. HALSEY)
TO FEEL GOOD
BOMBAY BICYCLE CLUB
SALTED CARAMEL ICE CREAM
EAT, SLEEP, WAKE (NOTHING BUT YOU)
AMYL & THE SNIFFERS
IN YOUR HEAD
51. BILLIE EILISH - ALL THE GOOD GIRLS GO TO HELL 52. SLEATER-KINNEY HURRY ON HOME 53. THE JAPANESE HOUSE - SOMETHING HAS TO CHANGE 54. BLAENAVON - FUCKING UP MY FRIENDS 55. DRY CLEANING MAGIC OF MEGHAN 56. LAUV - DRUGS & THE INTERNET 57. ASHLEY O - ON A ROLL 58. CHARLI XCX WHITE MERCEDES 59. FOALS - ON THE LUNA 60. KING PRINCESS AIN’T TOGETHER 61. DECLAN MCKENNA - BRITISH BOMBS 62. SWMRS - LOSE LOSE LOSE 63. DO NOTHING GANGS 64. SINEAD O’BRIEN - A THING YOU CALL JOY 65. FKA TWIGS CELLOPHANE 66. EGYPTIAN BLUE TO BE FELT 67. SAM FENDER - THE BORDERS 68. TAYLOR SWIFT CRUEL SUMMER 69. FRIENDLY FIRES - RUN THE WILD FLOWERS 70. THE S.L.P. - THE S.L.P. (FT. LITTLE SIMZ) 71. HATCHIE WITHOUT A BLUSH 72. INHALER - ICE CREAM SUNDAY 73. SHURA - RELIGION (U CAN LAY YOUR HANDS ON ME) 74. PUMAROSA - I SEE YOU 75. DITZ - GAYBOY
76. JAY SOM SUPERBIKE 77. SORRY - JEALOUS GUY 78. WHENYOUNG NEVER LET GO 79. BLACKPINK - KILL THIS LOVE 80. MABEL - DON’T CALL ME UP 81. L DEVINE - NAKED ALONE 82. NASTY CHERRY - WIN 83. KIM PETRAS - THERE WILL BE BLOOD 84. THYLA - TWO SENSE 85. CARLY RAE JEPSEN - JULIEN 86. KING NUN - LOW FLYING DANDELION 87. BASTILLE ANOTHER PLACE 88. SIGRID - DON’T FEEL LIKE CRYING 89. SPECTOR - I WON’T WAIT 90. LANA DEL REY NORMAN FUCKING ROCKWELL 91. AJ TRACEY LADBROKE GROVE 92. SAM FENDER WILL WE TALK 93. HAIM - SUMMER GIRL 94. INHALER - ICE CREAM SUNDAY 95. MARIKA HACKMAN - HAND SOLO 96. TYLER, THE CREATOR EARFQUAKE 97. SPORTS TEAM - HERE IT COMES AGAIN 98. BEABADOOBEE - I WISH I WAS STEPHEN MALKMUS 99. BLOXX HEADSPACE 100. SUNDARA KARMA - LITTLE SMART HOUSES
1. The 1975 People 2. Sam Fender Hypersonic Missiles 3. Billie Eilish Bad Guy 4. The 1975 Frail State of Mind 5. Lizzo Juice 6. Muna Number One Fan 7. Charli XCX and Christine and the Queens Gone 8. Lana Del Rey Doin’ Time 9. Foals In Degrees 10. Billie Eilish Bury A Friend
ANY OTHER QUESTIONS? ASKING THE USUAL STUFF IS SO BORING
Have you ever been Christmas caroling?
I wish, I’m not really a singer! When’s your birthday?
8th August 1998! Lucky number 8, fact. What strength Nandos sauce do you order?
I never go to the Nandos, but if I did it would be the mildest thing they have, maybe the fro-yo. What was the last thing you broke?
The front camera on my phone, and my own heart right after it. What’s your biggest fear?
Forgetting to brush my teeth. Have you ever won anything?
The life lottery baby!!!!!
readdork.com Editor Stephen Ackroyd Deputy Editor Victoria Sinden Associate Editor Ali Shutler Contributing Editors Jamie Muir, Martyn Young Events Liam James Ward Scribblers Abigail Firth, Blaise Radley, Jamie MacMillan, Jenessa Williams, Laura Freyaldenhoven, Liam Konemann, Sam Daly, Sam Taylor, Sophie Shields, Steven Loftin, Tyler Damara Kelly Snappers Frances Beach, Jamie MacMillan, Jennifer McCord, Jordan Curtis Hughes, Patrick Gunning, Sarah Louise Bennett Doodlers Russell Taysom PUBLISHED FROM
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All material copyright (c). All rights reserved. This publication may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form, in whole or in part, without the express written permission of The Bunker Publishing Ltd. Disclaimer: While every effort is made to ensure the information in this magazine is correct, changes can occur which affect the accuracy of copy, for which The Bunker Publishing Ltd holds no responsibility. The opinions of the contributors do not necessarily bear a relation to those of Dork or its staff and we disclaim liability for those impressions. Distributed nationally.
Who’s your favourite new band?
!!!!Hannah’s Little Sister!!!!
This month it’s
PIZZAGIRL What would you most like to find in your Christmas stocking?
Paul McCartney. Who is your favourite member of One Direction?
Mama Julie singing me to sleeps. How tall are you?
6 foot long subs, minus an inch. What did you last dream about?
Gonna have to be that dreamboat guy, Harry Styles.
What is your earliest memory?
The Billie Eilish one.
DECEMBER 2019 / JANUARY 2020
What was the best album of 2019?
What’s the best part of a roast dinner?
Eating it. Do you believe in aliens?
thing that’s ever happened to you?
Calling myself Pizzagirl. Have you ever fallen over onstage?
My guitar Denise did once at da Great Escape this year; she went red.
I hope so because if this is it, I’m gonna be bummed out!
What do you put on the top of your Christmas tree?
How punk are you out of ten?
That’s a bit of a personal question, isn’t it, really?
It’s not punk to say you’re punk, but probably a 7. What is the worst job you’ve ever done?
Never having a job! What’s the most embarrassing
If you could have a superpower of your choosing, what would it be?
To be able to generate coupon codes that work on any website! P Pizzagirl’s debut album ‘first timer’ is out now.
Winter’s biggest alternative weekend
10th, 11th and 12th January 2020, Butlins Bognor Regis
John Cale The Jesus and Mary Chain Fontaines D.C. Self Esteem / SOAK / The Wedding Present
Adwaith / Bellatrix / Black Country, New Road Brix & the Extricated / Eyesore & the Jinx Heavy Lungs / Indian Queens International Teachers of Pop / LIFE Melys / Nova Twins / Our Girl / Pagans SOH Penelope Isles / Peter Perrett / Rascalton Scrounge / Steve Lamacq The Sweet Release of Death / Trupa Trupa The Vegan Leather / Young Knives
“Truly enjoyable.” The Quietus “People come back for quality.” Gigwise “It’s a fun little world Rockaway Beach have built.” London In Stereo
Fontaines D.C. in Conversation Opening Night Party with Princesteen
Moonlandingz DJs / Bruiser Takeover / Soundtracks DJs International Teachers of Pop DJs / Band of Holy Joy DJs Scrounge DJs / Indie Time Machine Takeover Ambient Pool Party with Dome Zero (Soho Radio) Silent Disco / Pie & Vinyl DJs and record fair Golden Years ‘73 Birthday Party / Gigwise DJs Dom Gourlay & John Lynch Closing Night Party Johny Brown DJ / Darren Rococo DJ / Ian Cronan DJ Tony Jupp Rockaway Beach Photo Retrospective Never Mind The Marychains Pub Quiz / Mixtape Exchange Vintage Music Pub Quiz / Record Signings Album playbacks and meet-ups Films on our huge cinema screen including: Labyrinth Stop Making Sense, Purple Rain, The Shining and more to be announced Plus bowling lanes, arcade games, archery, pool tables, spa and newly renovated swimming pool, Programming Partner: real pints and proper beds
Weâ€™re a sucker for yule.
Get ready for 2020 with Inhaler and the hottest new acts on the planet!
Issue 39 December 2019 / January 2020 readdork.com
Featuring Girl In Red, Inhaler, Beabadoobee, Blaenavon and more.