SH M A E TH E
IS THIS T HE FIRST G R E AT ALBUM O F 2018?
KNOWING WHAT YOU KNOW NOW THE NEW ALBUM IN STORES 26 JANUARY FEATURING PLAY, HABITS & MAJOR SYSTEM ERROR AVAILABLE TO PRE-ORDER NOW
LIMITED EDITION COLOURED VINYL, SIGNED PHOTOS AND MERCH BUNDLES AVAILABLE AT SHOP.ROADRUNNERRECORDS.CO.UK CATCH MARMOZETS ON TOUR 2018 02/02 Cardiff, The Tramshed 03/02 Southampton, Engine Rooms 04/02 Brighton, Concorde 2 06/02 Cambridge, Junction 07/02 London, ULU 08/02 Nottingham, Rescue Rooms 09/02 Newcastle, Riverside 11/02 Sheffield, Leadmill 12/02 Edinburgh, The Liquid Room 13/04 Belfast, Oh Yeah Music Centre
THIS MONTH... EDITOR’S LETTER HIYA! “IT SOUNDS LIKE WE’RE DRUNK...” P8 FIRST AID KIT
“KIDS INTO GUITAR MUSIC DESERVE SOMETHING GOOD” P4 SPECTOR
“DON’T START A GUITAR BAND IN 2018” P26 SHAME
“I’M ALREADY THINKING ABOUT THE NEXT RECORD” P32 HOOKWORMS
“IT’S NOT ALL HAPPY-CLAPPY MUSIC.” P16 RAE MORRIS
P34 DREAM WIFE
“THE HOLY GRAIL IS TO MAKE SOMETHING ORIGINAL”
P44 THE WOMBATS
P14 FRANZ FERDINAND
“IT’S JUST THE WAY OUR BRAINS WORK” P38 DJANGO DJANGO
“I’M MORE CONFIDENT IN LIFE” P40 EZRA FURMAN
Editor Stephen Ackroyd Deputy Editor Victoria Sinden Associate Editor Ali Shutler Contributing Editors Jamie Muir, Martyn Young Events Liam James Ward Additional Design: Martin Crandon
“THESE BAD BITCHES CAN TAKE YOU DOWN” “I WAS THINKING OF A WOMBATS TAKE ON ‘IN RAINBOWS’”
HAPPY NEW YEAR AND ALL THAT... Well, 2018 is showing no signs of hanging about before it kicks the door in and demands our attention, so neither should we. Welcome to the first new issue of Dork to drop in a year fresh with exciting possibilities - none more immediate than our cover stars Shame. Arriving with one of the most exceptional, invigorating debut albums in recent memory, ‘Songs of Praise’ is the first great record of 2018. But they’re in good company. Following them through the breach come another of our faves, Dream Wife, with their own full-length that’s sure to demand attention. Elsewhere this month we’ve got all ‘the names’. Spector are back, dropping a brand new EP - the first in a series of three. Ezra Furman has his “fuckin’ angel shit” (his words..), and Hookworms have changed things up to dramatic effect. Rae Morris has one of the best domestic pop albums in ages, Franz Ferdinand, The Wombats and First Aid Kit are all showing they still have what it takes, and the big scary world of rock is well represented, with Fall Out Boy, Marmozets and The Xcerts all showing up. Best get going, eh? STEPHEN ACKROYD Editor / @stephenackroyd
P4 UPDATE P19 BANGERS P20 DORK LIVE! P22 HYPE P26 FEATURES P46 REVIEWS P50 ANY OTHER QUESTIONS
Contributors Alex Thorp, Brad Thorne, Chris Taylor, Ciarán Steward, Danny Randon, Dillon Eastoe, Eleanor Langford, Liam Konemann, Jessica Goodman, Jessie Atkinson, Josh Williams, Nariece Sanderson, Rob Mesure, Samantha Daly, Steven Loftin Photographers Brendan Walter, Phil Smithies, Sarah Louise Bennett Illustrators Russell Taysom P U B L I S H E D F RO M
W E LCO M E TOT H E B U N K E R.CO M
P O B OX 390, H A S T I N G S, T N34 9J P
All material copyright (c). All rights reserved. This publication may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form, in whole or in part, without the express written permission of The Bunker Publishing Ltd. Disclaimer: While every effort is made to ensure the information in this magazine is correct, changes can occur which affect the accuracy of copy, for which The Bunker Publishing Ltd holds no responsibility. The opinions of the contributors do not necessarily bear a relation to those of Dork or its staff and we disclaim liability for those impressions. Distributed nationally. DOWN WITH BORING
UPDATE IF IT’S NOT IN HERE, IT’S NOT HAPPENING. OR WE FORGOT ABOUT IT. ONE OR THE OTHER.
S P ECTO R A RE BAC K !
H AV E A N E W P R O J E C T I N T H E W O R K S . N O , I T ’ S N O T A N E W A L B U M 2 0 1 8 W I L L S E E T H E M T R Y T O S AV E G U I TA R M U S I C . WORDS: JAMIE MUIR.
hen you’re kids, nothing seems odd about five guys spending an inordinate amount of time together doing not much at all. An hour or half an hour of music a day seems natural. As you get older, that sort of thing seems a bit…” Spector frontman Fred Macpherson stops, something catching his eye in the Haggerston cafe he finds himself in. “Oh no, is that a dead fish?” He leans in to gaze more at the fish-tank located in his line of sight. “That white one there on the side, think it’s dead.” “Oh no! It’s alive!” he exclaims. “There we go, that’s the metaphor for our career!” Spector have done much more than simply survive. Over the course of six years, two albums and a whole heap of euphoric live shows, they’ve become a beacon for a not-too-distant era with their blood flowing with the here and now. There’s a sense of excitement for the future - and an energy that comes with an ever-lightning bond between them. Fresh from a quiet year and a half, Spector have been naturally finding where they go next. “The last few years have been generally positive, though if you asked me that on a different day you’d probably get a different answer,” notes Fred, calm and measured about the next step in a band which has been led by his immediate presence across the globe. Always with their pulse on modern life, they’re back for something more. “It’s good to be doing music again; it kinda took us a while to get stuff back together. There was a point where it didn’t feel like anyone was in a rush to do anything, and then recently everything has pulled into place.” “I just felt like now we have these songs ready and people and fans are keen to hear them, well, all five of them,” he jokes, “it was time. We had a couple of songs, including ‘Untitled In D’ that just really feel like they would make more sense out than in.” Like a triumphant firework display, Spector’s return is led by a dazzling canon. ‘Untitled In D’, the first glimpse at chapter three, is rooted in the guitarladen punches of their debut album ‘Enjoy It While It Lasts’ yet is laced with that knowing nod of experience and progression. With more guitars over it than the whole of ‘Moth Boys’ before it, Fred talks about it as a conscious move after the last tour they did. “When we were doing live versions of
songs from the last album, they ended up being a lot heavier, and guitar/drums led,” recalls Fred, stirring his coffee around in front of him. “I think that made us want to write songs that would fit well into our set. That’s where our music feels the most alive. What we wanted to do with ‘Untitled In D’, and the songs coming, is get the sound of the band playing. Drums, vocals, bass, guitar - it sounds really obvious, but in the past, it’s sometimes not been how our recordings have turned out.” He takes a moment, pulling together his thoughts before continuing. “You know like when you buy an outfit, and then you never wear it out? You keep trying it on, and it’s just not quite right until it eventually doesn’t fit? This is the song that you ask if you can change into it in the shop. That’s why we’re putting it out first, it’s not the best new song we’ve got, but it’s the most irreverent and a good snapshot of us now.” The role ‘Moth Boys’ played in where Spector now find themselves can’t be diminished. A record that the band needed to make, they came out of the other side needing space to reconfigure their own minds and goals. “I think it was a case after spending almost three years working on our first album, then two years on the second and then touring that for a year - it felt like we had spent just too much time together. We all needed to take some time. “It’s weird. Whenever you finish an album, you think it’s the most important thing in the world. Now I look back on it and think, well, half of it is good, and half of it maybe isn’t, which is a good attitude to have, to never be emotionally attached and always strive for better. It definitely helped us get through a kinda sticking point in music, where it felt song-wise we had already done so much of what we had planned on doing - which wasn’t very much at all,” Fred cracks. “It felt like we needed tracks like ‘All The Sad Young Men’ to break through to the next stage.” Spector aren’t finished, and there’s a reason for that. They’ve symbolised an era in their own distinct way, becoming one of those bands simply beloved no matter what they might do. They stormed out with their influences of The Killers, Roxy Music and The Strokes emblazoned across their chests with a new romantic bow, and ever since they’ve continued to tease and please in equal measure - a band taking on the world. It feels raw and new, unabashed in their dreaming. “Even though it feels like so much is moving away from guitars, we wanted to go back and head against the grain. I do feel a bit of duty of care over guitar music,” states Fred, when chatting about
DOWN WITH BORING
song. The good ones will be remembered, but the shit ones won’t. Nobody’s going to come up to you in a bar and say, ‘Hey man, remember that song you released in 2013 - it was shite’. I mean they should do but y’know, those were the things that would keep you up at night. I speak to people in bands now, young bands, who talk about how upset a video turned out, and I just say, ‘Trust me, you won’t remember it in a few years’. “When you’re younger you think the world revolves around you, whether you’re in a band or not, you feel the centre of everything - most people probably don’t feel like that, but people in bands do! Then you realise, there are a million bands out there playing every night, you’ve just got to write songs that you want to play really. I’m just looking forward to making more music.”
“KIDS WHO A R E I N TO G U I TA R MUSIC D ES E RV E SO M ET H I N G GOOD” what’s to come. “You don’t leave a dying friend or family member in the hospital without trying to look after it the best you can, and that’s how I feel about guitar music. I don’t listen to it too much now, to be honest, but it has to be waded through difficult times. “I thought someone would have come along who are better than us, and there are a lot of bands better than us, but not in the sense of what we do. Guess it’s just gonna have to be us, working our way through.”
It’s a pivotal moment for any band when they reach that crossroads where they’re out of those early days full of wide-eyed ambition and searing intensity, but Spector have come to terms with the role they now have to play. It’s given them a new look on their career, on the industry and most importantly, on how they carry themselves. It feels like they’ve been waiting for this moment right from the very beginning, feeling refreshed and free getting to be that band who lead from the front. “I think we as people kinda care less, where stuff seems less important,” explains Fred. “The good thing about getting older is that you become less self-important, like so much competition goes on as a younger band, around what festival stage you’re on or what venue you’re playing. You have this idea when you start that with each venue you play, the next one always has to be bigger. Eventually, we realised that, like economic growth, it’s not possible to sustain. I feel good. “When you make a first album and then a second, you treat them like golden idols from Indiana Jones - each thing feels like the most important thing,” he continues, running through the thoughts that have truly come into focus in the past two years. “Once you’ve got 25 songs out, suddenly a song is just a
Studio life has left them in a pretty good position, with a series of releases planned throughout 2018 - starting with ‘Ex-Directory’, out in January. “We have lots of songs,” tells Fred. “These songs are slightly more lighthearted, in the sense that making them has been more light-hearted, and quite joyous. That’s why we’ve decided to release them in smaller increments and not leave such long gaps between things.” It comes with the band reflecting how now only fans but themselves consume music nowadays, a change Fred is happy about. “I like that music has been democratised like that. There’s a direct line not just between fans and artists, but artists and potential fans. If my mate hears a song, he can send it to me that day, and I can be a fan and have merch sent over by the day after, gig tickets on Dice too.” It leaves Spector with an exciting year ahead. A band born for adulating nights and singalong sermons, they’re aiming skywards. Taking their time, with many highs and lows on the way, now feels like the moment where the world gets to see the best of them. That fire to create their defining work is one that’s impossible to extinguish, understanding what they’re all about, Spector are hungry and are cooking up a feast. Fred sits for a moment, contemplating how life and many different decisions have led him here. “There are points where I’m really proud of what we’ve achieved and then I have moments where I’m the opposite. Points where I’m happy to play to 50 people in each city and other points where the world is not enough, y’know? I think our ambitions are more fluid now. We haven’t written our defining masterpiece. Our singles have been better than our albums because they’re more concise and you’re less likely to fuck up three minutes and forty-three seconds, but I’d still like to have an album which is cohesive beginning to end, with a thread that runs through it. “I think kids who are into guitar music deserve something good. Whether that’s us that can give them that or not who knows, but we can throw another record on the fire and see.” P Spector’s EP ‘Ex-Directory’ is out soon.
THIS IS HAPPENING THE LATEST NEWS. ISH.
G ET M O RE AS I T H A P P E N S AT RE A D D O RK .C O M .
RADIOHEAD MIGHT BE SUING LANA DEL REY FOR ALLEGEDLY LIFTING ‘CREEP’
The band are claiming Lana’s song ‘Get Free’ is a bit too similar to their iconic track ‘Creep’, and apparently want 100% of the publishing. Tweeting about the news, Del Rey confirmed she’d offered Radiohead 40% of the rights, “but they will only accept 100.”
THE OPINION: WE ASKED YOU IF YOU’RE TEAM LANA, TEAM RADIOHEAD OR, Y’KNOW, ‘DIDN’T RADIOHEAD GET SUED FOR RIPPING OFF THE HOLLIES WITH CREEP ANYWAY?’ 38% TEAM LANA 19% TEAM RADIOHEAD 43% BUT, THE HOLLIES...
THINGS ARE GETTING OLDER! T I M E M OV E S O N ! W H O KNEW?
Usually Dork’s all about the buzz, right? Up-and-comers this, latest banger that, bla bla bla. Well, as wonderful as all these young ‘uns are with their bangin’ new tunes (alright, grandad) - 2008 was also pretty great. It featured records from many a cult indie fave such as Cajun Dance Party, Be Your Own PET and Late of the Pier, and saw the likes of Foals, Adele and Vampire Weekend release albums that set them up to remain top of the pops for the entire decade to come. Here are a few of the albums turning ten in 2018.
VAMPIRE WEEKEND VAMPIRE WEEKEND
Vampy Weekend’s early days saw them build a reputation for their fresh take on world sounds influenced bangers - ‘Mansard Roof’, ‘A-Punk’, and ‘Oxford Comma’ in particular - and preppy ‘dos.
This album, you guys. Produced by TV on the Radio’s Dave Sitek, and featuring classic indie staples like ‘Balloons’ and ‘Cassius’, ‘Antidotes’ saw Foals gallop into the Top 3.
WILD BEASTS LIMBO PANTO
In 2008, Wild Beasts released their debut album. In 2018, they’re getting ready to call it a day. You know what they call that, Dear Reader? Coincidence, probably. Coincidence or perfect symmetry.
Believe it or not, in the midnoughties Adele spent much of her time hanging out on MySpace, palling around with Jack Penate, and having her tunes compared to Amy Winehouse and Duffy.
FRIENDLY FIRES FRIENDLY FIRES
FF effortlessly toed the line between cult favourite and the biggest band at the indie disco; if ‘Jump in the Pool’ and ‘Paris’ weren’t soundtracking your summer party, did you even music?
LATE OF THE PIER FANTASY BLACK CHANNEL
Off-kilter dance punk at its best, Late of the Pier were kind of like Metronomy and Klaxons, but a bit weirder, you know? Sadly they split after just the one album. But at least we have this, eh?
CAJUN DANCE PARTY THE COLOURFUL LIFE
These guys were ridic young at the time of their debut, and it was just about all you’d hear about ‘em. They were great tho, and half the band went on to be Yuck, too.
Find more bangers from 2008 on readdork.com
NEW ALBUM 26.01.18 INCLUDES TIC TAC TOE AND IN YOUR BEAT
D IN G ND M E S PR NC ES AP EN T…
In aid of
SATURDAY 28th APRIL 2018 READING
- Second Line-Up Announcement -
FIELD MUSIC PHIL TAGGART
(BBC Radio 1)
ASH THE AUTHOR H AK/DK H CARNIVAL YOUTH H FEBUEDER HAVE YOU EVER SEEN THE JANE FONDA AEROBIC VHS? H HER’S H MUSH SALTWATER SUN H THE AUGUST LIST H VIENNA DITTO H WARM DIGITS H YONAKA ANIMAL HOUSE H DEERFUL H DRUG STORE ROMEOS H EAT DADDY EAT H EVER HAZEL HERE COME THE YOUNG MEN & UNCLE PEANUT H NOBODIES BIRTHDAY H THE ADY BAKER SOUND THE AUTUMN SAINTS H TIGER MENDOZA H TINY GIANT H TWIN SUN H VINYL STAIRCASE + many more acts still to be announced VENUES:
Milk (18+) Oakford Social Club† (18+) Purple Turtle (18+) Rising Sun Arts Centre† (14+) St Laurence Church
South Street Arts Centre (14+) Sub89 (U/16 with adult)
Tickets: £20.00 early advance
@AYLFest (#aylfest) AYLFEST (#aylfest)
Tickets available at: areyoulistening.org.uk • readingarts.com • wegottickets.com Entry to venues is by wristband only, except venues marked † which offer limited single entry on the day from £5.00. Reading Mencap charity number: 1118287 readingmencap.org.uk
Your wristband grants access to all of the venues on the day, subject to capacity and age restrictions • Line-up subject to change • Proof of age may be required
Reading mencap The local voice of learning disability
SC HO OL DAYS W I T H T H E I R E A G E R LY A N T I C I P AT E D T H I R D A L B U M , THE SPOOK SCHOOL
ARE KICKING OFF 2018 AS
TH EY M E A N TO G O O N - W ITH A SE N SE O F F U N A N D
CA M A R A D E RI E .
hen we were asking bands in the lead up to Christmas whose new album they were most looking forward to in 2018, well, almost everyone said Arctic Monkeys. A few didn’t, though - and among those, Glaswegians The Spook School came up again and again. Thankfully we don’t have long to wait for their third effort, as - depending on when you’re reading this - new full-length ‘Could It Be Different?’ is either out now or Very Soon Indeed. Niall, Anna, Adam and Nye fill us in on all the goss. Nice one. Hey Spook School, how are you all today? We are a little bit tired from living life to the max. So you’re starting 2018 off with a new album - congrats. When did you write and record this one? We recorded the album at the start of 2017, with the lovely MJ from Hookworms in his studio in Leeds. We watched otter videos on YouTube. It was a lovely time. What were you guys up to IRL during the record’s creation? Did you experience any important non-musical life events? We were working in real life silly jobs. Anna was a museum person, Nye was a bank person, Niall was a bar person, and Adam was an actual awesome human being as a support worker. What topics does the release cover lyrically? Sexuality, gender, being scared, being optimistic, looking back, looking forward. Did we mention being scared? How would you like the album to make listeners feel? Like other people are just as confused as they are. In what ways is “Could It Be Different?” a progression from your first records? Before this album, we hadn’t seen a video
where NOFX got lost in Russia, and after that it really got our priorities sorted. Once you’ve seen NOFX lost you know it’s time to find yourself. (MJ showed us this video. It was just before the otter videos.) What’s the mood like in Glasgow at the mo? Does it feed into your music? Everyone’s a bit sad because it’s rainy but happy because it’s getting closer to Christmas. 2017 was a bit of a shitter in many respects - what good things would you like to happen in 2018? Brexit is cancelled. Borders are dissolved. Everyone gets a free piece of pie. Diet Cig are a great band to be touring with, were you guys pals before this bunch of live dates? We had met briefly at SXSW and seen each other play before the European tour. When they arrived in the UK they had never heard of Gina G (never mind ‘ooh ah just a little bit’) so it was a frosty start. Slowly we educated them on the brilliance of Eurodisco and by the end of the tour they were doing Whigfield’s ‘Saturday Night’ choreography perfectly! Do you have any touristy plans for your time in the States? Cute dogs, please. Surfing in California. Meeting cute dogs. Grand Canyon. Surfing with cute dogs. Statue of Liberty. Meeting a cat. Celebrity Segway tour of LA. What’s the best thing about being a musician at the mo? Economic instability. Finally - what new bands do you love right now? Speed Skater, Marble Gods, Joyce Delaney and Breakfast Muff. P The Spook School’s album ‘Could It Be Different?’ is out 26th January.
THIS IS HAPPENING THE LATEST NEWS. ISH.
G ET M O RE AS I T H A P P E N S AT RE A D D O RK .C O M .
FOALS ARE A PONY DOWN AS BASSIST WALTER GERVERS LEAVES THE BAND
A note from Yannis & Co. reads: “Sadly, we have to announce that our mate Walter has decided to leave the band to pursue a new life. The parting has been sad but we remain firm friends, he’ll always be our brother, we love him and wish him well in his future endeavours. We had 12 amazing years touring together from a small postal van to the Pyramid Stage and beyond. It’s the end of a chapter, but not the end of the book.”
“ I T SO U N DS L I K E W E ’ RE D RU N K , BU T W E ’ RE N OT ” FIRST AID KIT
H AV E T H R O W N O U T T H E R U L E B O O K
T O H AV E F U N W I T H T H E I R D A R K E S T A L B U M T O D AT E . WO RDS: D I L LO N E ASTO E
moving towards, you’re blinded by that, and you can’t see where you’re actually at. So it’s just this feeling of just being very lonely… after nothing worked out the way that you thought.”
aving recently celebrated the tenth anniversary of their first show, First Aid Kit return this month with ‘Ruins’, a sombre collection that attests to the Söderberg sisters’ musical growth in their first decade of writing and recording. After touring breakthrough ‘The Lion’s Roar’ and its follow-up ‘Stay Gold’ around the world, the band took some time out of the spotlight. “We took a break,” they explain. “After ‘Stay Gold’, we took some time off from touring, took off almost a year just relaxing and recovering from everything we’d done, and then we started writing ‘Ruins’. We went to L.A. for five weeks to write and then to Portland to record it.” Setting up camp in producer Tucker Martine’s (The Decemberists) studio in the depths of the Oregonian winter, the band set to work. “It was a different approach for this record”, Johanna explains. “[Tucker] is very collaborative with the artist and he brought a session band together for us. We let him decide completely that he was going to be in it, we trusted him in that. In the studio, we recorded a lot of the songs live. We just let the musicians dictate what was going to happen in the songs. Before it had been more kind of calculating the arrangements. And I think now; it happened a
DAVID BYRNE IS RELEASING HIS FIRST SOLO ALBUM IN 14 YEARS, BUT ALSO, JACK PEÑATE IS ON IT!
You’d assume that David Byrne’s first solo album in fourteen years would be the take away from the announcement of – yeah, that – but we’re Dork. We’re different. While it’s exciting that ‘American Utopia’ will arrive on 9th March, it’s the list of contributors featured on the record where we find our jollies. There, amongst them, sits the missing indie prince of our hearts, Jack Peñate.
lot more in the moment.” Johanna says that having a live band in the studio allowed them to take their songs in new directions. “In terms of what the songs could sound like, we had a lot of electric guitar and 80s keyboard which in the past we had been very opposed to. We wouldn’t have allowed that on a record. And I don’t know; it’s just as we got older we are more open-minded now and wanted to have fun with the songs.” Written in the wake of the breakdown of lead vocalist Klara Söderberg’s relationship and recorded in the midst of an unforgiving winter, the songs on ‘Ruins’ reflect their context. “It’s a very dark record,” Johanna confides, “our darkest record to date. We made it in Portland during a snowstorm, so that definitely influenced the artwork as well as the theme.” Packing a real emotional punch is recent single ‘Fireworks’, pairing a slow dance rhythm with a yearning chorus that takes Klara to the top of her vocal and emotional range. “It’s a song about how you can set yourself up, because you have expectations of yourself and others and what your life is going to entail,” Klara reveals. “The fact is that you never really know, but because you have these sorts of goals that you’re
THE DISTILLERS ARE BACK FOR 2018, AND THEY’RE PLAYING LIVE SHOWS
It started - as it usually does - with a teasing video on social media, but now it’s official. The Distillers are back for 2018. Brody Dalle’s crew are back after 12 years away, and are set to play the US’ Shaky Knees Music Festival.
At the more playful end of the spectrum, the boozy ‘Hem of Her Dress’ features a lilting beat and bellowed refrain at its finale. “It sounds like we’re drunk but we’re not, we’re just trying to pretend that we were,” Klara says. “We’d drunk sooo much whiskey, we were sooo wasted,” Johanna adds, her voice thick with sarcasm. “I think there was some whiskey involved actually, some tequila,” Klara remembers. “It was a lot of fun. I think each of the songs on the record deal with a separation and a breakthrough in different ways and that song is sort like, ‘Oh what the hell? Here we go again’. It has a lot more perspective and distance to it, and that’s why we wanted to end it in that sort of funny way, not such a serious way. And it’s a relief to have that on the album, not make it all so very gloomy.” Despite the morose subject matter and sombre, wintry feel of many of the tracks, Klara still wants listeners to take the positives from the record. “Just that they feel something that they relate to, you know? It’s a big universal thing, heartbreak. And I think people can hopefully relate to it and see themselves in it, then feel a little bit less lonely in this world.” While ‘Ruins’ was incubating, First Aid Kit shared their first new music in three years, a song called ‘You Are the Problem Here’, released to mark International Women’s Day 2017. The venomous track was motivated by the case of an American man receiving a lenient sentence for raping an unconscious woman. “That song was written and fuelled by pure anger,” Klara states. “It wasn’t like ‘Oh we’re gonna write a political song!’ it just happened because it needed to be written. And it’s totally new for us; we’ve never had a song like that, with that kind of statement.” “But to us, it shouldn’t be a statement,” Klara counters. “It’s not political to us to be against rape, it’s so obvious, like a human right. It’s
INHEAVEN HAVE DROPPED A BRAND NEW TRACK, ‘SWEET DREAMS BABY’
INHEAVEN have kick-started the year by releasing a new song ahead of their upcoming UK dates. ‘Sweet Dreams Baby’ is their first new material since last year’s selftitled debut, and it’s pretty bloody good. That tour - in association with your mates at Dork - kicks off on 31st January. You can find all the info you need to attend on page 20, and check out ‘Sweet Dreams Baby’ on readdork.com now.
weird how that song is, in a way, controversial. I think all the people were shocked by us singing something like ‘I hope you fucking suffer’,” she muses. “No one saw that coming, and I think it’s kind of interesting to play with people’s expectations of us.” “A lot of people think we’re these fairies walking in the forest, barefoot and we sing really softly, and that’s so not who we are. It’s great that the song has grown, we think it’s really important to bring these issues up… It’s just shocking that it took so long for it to get truly recognised.” “It just feels important,” Klara concludes. “It feels too important not to, to do it and talk about it.” First Aid Kit plan to spend most of 2018 on the road playing songs from ‘Ruins’, and they’ll do so with a rejigged line-up. With a live keyboardist joining the band, Johanna has license to step out from behind the keys and strap on a bass guitar. It’s something both sisters are excited about having trialled it at festival shows last year. “I just didn’t feel comfortable playing the keyboard, honestly,” Johanna confesses. “I didn’t feel that was my instrument; I was never going to be that into it. Now we had a break, and I thought ‘this is my chance!’ Because I’ve thought of playing bass for years, I’ve just never had the time to learn it. Now I absolutely love playing the bass.” “To me, the shows are so different now, much more physical. I can feel the music differently, and I feel it’s really fun for the audience. There’s more interaction between Klara and me, and we’ve got to a place now live where we feel confident as a band.” Having sat on it for the best part of a year, First Aid Kit can’t wait to take their new album out on the road. “We haven’t done a proper album tour in like four years, so we are very excited, and scared, but mostly excited!” With a clutch of timeless songs to tour on ‘Ruins’ and a newfound energy within the band, First Aid Kit are right to be excited about what’s to come. P First Aid Kit’s album ‘Ruins’ is out now.
HEAVENLY RECORDS HAVE ANNOUNCED GWENNO, THE ORIELLES AND MORE FOR THEIR HEBDEN BRIDGE FESTIVAL
Gwenno, The Orielles and King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard are headlining Heavenly Records’ festival, A Heavenly Weekend in Hebden Bridge. The event will take place across three days – 22nd-24th February – at The Trades Club, with further sets from Audiobooks, Boy Azooga, Halo Maud and more. Nice one.
DOWN WITH BORING
FAM ILY TIES T H E C RU E L T RI A LS O F L I F E N E A RLY D E R A I L E D T H E M , BU T F I N A L LY
M A RM OZ ETS
A RE BAC K , A N D T H EY ’ RE S M A RT E R , ST RO N G E R A N D, A BOV E A L L , ST R A N G E R . ..
n 2014, two sets of siblings skyrocketed out of the Yorkshire market town of Bingley and raised the bar for heavy and challenging rock music. Armed with a debut album that was as versatile as it was volatile, it seemed like nothing stood between Marmozets and a set-in-stone place as one of Britain’s – nay, the world’s – biggest new bands. That was, however, before the quintet’s intensely fierce frontwoman, Becca Macintyre, was faced with the most tormenting physical and mental challenges of her life. Forced to have surgery on both of her knees at the start of 2016 before undergoing painstaking physiotherapy to essentially learn to walk again, the medical attention that Becca needed forced Marmozets to cancel a US tour, bringing the globe-trotting cycle for that first full-length record, ‘The Weird and Wonderful Marmozets’, to a grinding anti-climax. “That period was like a massive trial,” says Becca, whose younger brothers Sam and Josh play guitar and drums respectively in the band. “You have to go through things to then step out and go further. You can always try and move forward, but it can go so terribly bad if you don’t fight the insecurities and demons within.” Despite the fact that she is on the phone with Dork to talk primarily about her band’s eagerly-awaited second album, ‘Knowing What You Know Now’, being bed-bound for
months and wrought with claustrophobia and self-doubt almost pushed Becca to the point of quitting Marmozets entirely. “I’m a fighter, but everything was just closing in, and I would literally be fighting with myself,” Becca explains. “I’d be feeling so sorry for myself and thinking I’m not capable of doing anything, and then on the other side I’m watching TV, and I’m seeing Paralympians and people with their legs fucking blown off, and that’s just like a wake-up call in itself.” Eventually, Becca learnt, with the support of her brothers and the other bandmates – bassist Will Bottomley and his brother/ guitarist Jack – whom Becca names as ‘my biggest role models’, that she would be able to get back up on her feet by ‘taking the little steps’. “It was something that I had to completely go through, and you know what?” Becca says cheerily. “This is the best I’ve ever been, I’ve got just a new lease of life. I think it’s important for people to share their story and testimonies and not hide it, because if you hide it, you can’t show a little bit of light for other people to be able to do the same thing.
wailing that we’ve come to know and love from her, but also in her displays of fragility on songs like ‘Habits’ and ‘Insomnia’.
WO RDS : DA N N Y R A N D O N .
“I DON’T TH I N K I ’ V E EV E R B E E N SO RE A DY ”
For those of you worried that Marmozets may be toning things down, there’s more than your fair share of firebrand rock ‘n’ roll – see the rollicking recent singles ‘Play’ and ‘Major System Error’ – on an album which only proves further that this is a band you can never second guess.
“There’s always that unknowing with us,” says a confident Becca. “This is a new thing for [the listeners] completely, and you’re probably gonna have to listen to it a few times to understand it.
“I care about people so much. I don’t know why, it’s just the way my mind works, but I want people to be able to get out of their situations. That’s why I do what I do!”
“It’s gonna give some excitement back to people, and maybe make people think a bit differently towards the music industry and what it’s known for,” she continues. “We’re capable of doing a lot, but I feel like with the world we’re living in at the moment, people just need a bit more realism, and the right kind of realism which is just to be like, ‘This is who we are’.”
And what Becca does on ‘Knowing What You Know Now’ is deliver her most introspective vocal performance yet – not necessarily through as much of the banshee-esque
With a sharper sense of identity and an album which continues to shove the boundaries of alternative music, Marmozets are once again threatening to become a
mainstay on the biggest stages and occupy the airwaves in broad daylight. The question is, now they have a second crack of the whip, are they ready to step up and reclaim the mantle of Britain’s most exciting band? “I don’t think I’ve ever been so ready for it,” says Becca. “I always thought I was, but it’s completely different when your body and mind are connected, and you know who you are, where you stand and what you’re capable of. “We’ve fought a lot already, probably more than most people have done, so I think it’s come to a point where we can just completely live in the dream of what we’ve always wanted. “If that is the way, then I’m ready to do it.” P Marmozets’ album ‘Knowing What You Know Now’ is out 26th January.
Trudy and the Romance
The Lexington 30 NOV.
Anna of the North XOYO
The Soft Moon
St Pancras Old Church
Cecil Sharp House
Bermondsey Social Club
Poliça & stargaze Oval Space
AND N OW FO R SO M ET H I N G C O M P L ET E LY D I F F E RE N T... THE ORIELLES
A R E A R AY O F S U N S H I N E T O B R I G H T E N E V E N T H E G R E Y E S T O F
W I N T E R D AY S ; T H E I R D E B U T A L B U M F E AT U R E S A B U N C H O F E V E R Y D AY O B J E C T S T H E Y F O U N D L AY I N G A R O U N D T H E S T U D I O A N D H E A P S O F F U N . I T ’ S A W I N N I N G C O M B I N AT I O N .
W O R D S : J E S S I E AT K I N S O N .
ho wants to go on an adventure? Accompanying us, we have a guitar, a bass guitar and a set of drums, as well as a ruler, a cowbell, bike bell, and a pack of matches, plus a loping trio of young artists. We’ll be taking a trip through jangling highs, bluesy downs and blooming soundscapes. Welcome to the genius dreamland of The Orielles, where funk, stoner rock, world music and jazz meld with the worlds of art and film. Orielles Esme (bass/vocals), Sidonie (drums) and Henry (guitar) are in transit on the tarmac in-between, rattling their way up the motorway to Glasgow for another of their spellbinding gigs when we call them up to talk ‘Silver Dollar Moment’, their debut album. Released through Heavenly Recordings, it’s an album of abstract, disparate ideas to match its many inspirations. Esme explains: “If there’s something we get passionate about, then we play a song about it. We all discuss these concepts and ideas until we become really familiar with the subject.” As such, there’s a track on there about the contents of guitarist Henry’s pockets, one about the unsettling Lanthimos film Dogtooth, and others that these musicians want you to listen to and think, “What the hell is that about?” ‘Liminal Spaces’, for example, the slower, centre track with the irresistible bassline, is about those places in which “you’re only travelling from one space to the next.” This phenomenon of a place that’s neither here
nor there, gets the special Orielles treatment on ‘Silver Dollar Moment’: “We wanted to do a slower song that was more like a love ballad, but then we kind of integrated these ideas into liminality. When we have the [vinyl] record, we put it on the A side so that you have to flip to the B side to listen to the other ‘Liminal Spaces’ track.” Thus, the listener “travels through a liminal space in itself” to get from one conceptual track to the next. Your favourite band could never. But how did this band come to have such a fascinating, unique approach to indie music? “We’ve played with a projection of a film while we were jamming a song. Looking at the film visually helps to co-ordinate the way the track is going to go,” Esme says, of creative processes they’ve used in the past. Though ‘Blue Suitcase (Disco Wrist)’ was “based on a film called Coherence”, The Orielles didn’t use their projector technique in the making of ‘Silver Dollar Moment’. Still, it’s a process that’s clearly developed their skills. The album could easily soundtrack a mad, visual masterpiece thanks to its snaking journey through multiple genres and moods that feel more like emotions than sounds. Directors David Lynch, Michael Haneke, Quentin Tarantino (“an obvious one”) and more tastemakers are huge inspirations for The Orielles, who love writing screenplays as much as making music: “it’s something we’d like to pursue in the future on a bit of a bigger scale.” It’s this love of film, art and books that, when intersected with
the discipline of music, makes for such an exciting finishing product on ‘Silver Dollar Moment’. Sisters Esme and Sidonie were not groomed for this life of recording studios and tours, but it’s not hard to imagine how they came to be in a touring van with their best friend, surrounded by instruments. “Our dad played drums in a band called The Train Set in the eighties and nineties,” Esme explains, “but that was never why we got into music initially.” Instead, it’s kind of worked the other way around: “Since we’ve started playing in the band, our dad has started to play his music a lot more as well. I think we’ve mutually inspired each other.” Although the HandHalford’s endeavours have motivated their dad, it’s thanks to their parents that the sisters were raised on a diet of vegan food and great music. “When we were growing up, we listened to quite a wide variety [of music],” Esme says in her Yorkshire lilt. “One of my earliest memories of loving a song was playing [Beach Boys’] ‘Pet Sounds’ in the car. Me and Sid would be sat in the back singing the harmonies.” Esme quite rightly doesn’t want to speak on behalf of Henry in regards to his musical upbringing, but whatever he listened to, it led him to an interest in nineties and jazz music that mixes fascinatingly with Sid’s love of post-punk and Esme’s soft spot for world music. “A lot of the main things that we all pull these influences from, we listen to together. I don’t think there’s anything we disagree
on,” she adds. As though to demonstrate, she throws my question about songs that remind the band of good times out to her bandmates. There’s a short discussion in the van, before Esme returns with their answer: “’Friends of Mine’ by Adam Green and ‘Moving Up’ by Toba – that’s one of our big party tunes while we’re on the road – our go-to banger.” One of our go-to bangers of 2017 was ‘Sugar Tastes Like Salt’, a six-minute opus that saw its way onto many a playlist. It was a release that hinted towards the frivolity, eclecticism and quick-wittedness of the debut album to come. Filled with yips and submerged whoops, the single foreshadowed some of the more experimental sections of ‘Silver Dollar Moment’, which is heavy in unusual instruments… “We put a lot of sounds in [‘Liminal Spaces’], including a ruler. A lot of that came from Marta [Salogni]: she’s got a good grasp on what we are sonically, and she can make regular sounds interesting. But also, we were well up for experimenting. On the first day, we walked around the studio and picked out which objects made the nicest sounds. We played the objects up to the mic for twenty minutes and then picked the best thirty seconds of it.” If you think that recording an album with The Orielles sounds like the most fun thing ever, you’d be right. “A lot of the songs we write to have a laugh,” says Esme. It’s a sentiment that the band also approach videos with. In imagery-heavy pieces like ‘Let Your Dogtooth Grow’, the band “want to convey that [they’re] a fun band.”
Despite the lack of everyday items in their live shows (“something we’re trying to work on”), an Orielles gig is still a place that harbours a party atmosphere. Whatever place. Whatever time. Rewind to a couple of years ago and the trio are in Canada, at “the beginning of writing the album.” They’re jet-lagged, hungover and have already played a show. Now it’s two in the morning and time to play again. Despite these factors, “it came out to be the best show that we had played.” Where did this gig take place? The Silver Dollar Room. Named for unexpectedly brilliant occurrences like this one, ‘Silver Dollar Moment’ is a celebration of the unexpected and the unusual; an ode to the serendipitous and the abstract. It’s an adventure, comprised of a smorgasbord of inspiration, from Hacienda Madchester to Stereolab. The creative process is a natural, almost telepathic magic that “just kind of happens.” With this incredible natural talent in their favour, the band have created an album of diverse yet cohesive songs that push the indie envelope with skill and good humour. “We don’t really sound like any other bands out there at the moment,” Esme says, with confidence. And it’s true: they don’t. Listening to The Orielles is an adventure. P The Orielles’ album ‘Silver Dollar Moment’ is out 16th February.
“A LOT O F TH E SO N G S W E W RI T E TO H AV E A L AU G H ”
DOWN WITH BORING
ON THE UP
ARE A MAN DOWN, TWO NEW
M E M B E R S U P, A N D A B O U T T O E M B A R K O N T H E I R M O S T A M B I T I O U S , A N D P E R H A P S R I S K Y, A L B U M Y E T. WORDS: JOSH WILLIAMS
ranz Ferdinand frontman Alex Kapranos had fun with their new record, ‘Always Ascending’. “Making the album was really enjoyable, it was quite a thrill,” he says. It’s their first full-length in four years, and in that time guitarist, Nick McCarthy left the band - it could have been quite different. “When we finished our last record it was ten years of the band’s life there, and it felt with making this record it was the beginning of a new decade, and we had a choice. Did we either live in the decade we were in before, look back and say, ‘We’re gonna stay there forever’, or do you think we’re gonna move into the next decade? I guess that was our decision.” “For me, the holy grail as an artist is to be able to make something original, which we haven’t done before, which keeps our identity.” They’ve certainly done that. ‘Always Ascending’ takes them to places you wouldn’t expect from the same group who wrote ‘Take Me Out’, but it retains that familiarity of a band now 15 years strong. Along the way, they’ve picked up new members Dino Bardot and Julian Corrie. “When we asked Julian to join the band he didn’t play any of the old songs until we had a gig to play about six months later,” says Alex. Rather than dwelling on years gone by, “we worked out our direction was always looking forward. We weren’t looking to the past at all! We were
looking to make something new.” The album itself has a very distinct French vibe, and that’s in no small part thanks to producer Phillipe Zdar, Alex explains. “I loved working with Phillipe. We bonded very quickly and closely, and I think we shared some similar attitude to making music, this understanding that you make music to make people feel something. I know that seems like a very obvious thing to say, but it’s so often forgotten once you get caught up in technicalities and the cold process of actually making the thing. That’s why you make it in the first place; you’ve got something emotional you want to express. At every stage of making the record Phillipe was insistent we remember that, and that’s always been important to me as well. “It does have a very French flavour, and for us, it was important to look to Europe for inspiration. Right now I feel a greater bond with Europe than ever, and after making this record, I feel a deep bond with Paris too as it played a big part in making this album.” At the end of 2015, when the band started work on the album, Alex bought a piano. “I’ve never really had a nice piano before,” he muses, “and I am in love with this piano, totally in love with this piano. A lot of the songs were written on the piano; you write differently. If there was a guitar part, it
“ T H E H O LY G R A I L AS A N A RT I ST I S TO M A K E SO M ET H I N G O RI G I N A L ” was a guitar part added to a piano song for the most part, like in ‘Lazy Boy’ for example where the guitar’s quite dominant. The song was written on the piano, and then the guitar added.”
the band members all playing in a room together.” Despite this, they were “embracing as much technology as we could when we were writing and trying to use technology to push us into ways of writing we hadn’t before.
Alex asserts, however, that “the goal was always to make a record by recording us playing live in the studio together, so when you listen to the record you hear that it’s
“For example, basslines were written, but they were written on the computer the way you’d write for a sequencer. Some of the
drum parts as well. A lot of the parts I was playing melody lines, but then triggering them from the sequencer or from the computer to learn them as a band and then play them in the studio, and play them live as if you were just the most basic raw rock and roll band. It’s taking what’s available to you and trying to subvert it and use it to perform in a way you don’t see people doing around you. I guess that’s always the goal, and that’s the way we went about it to a great extent when making this record.” Alex insists there’s not much of the personal confessional on this album, stating: “Something that we really pushed on this record was to write from the perspective of fictional characters and to approach writing lyrics the way you might approach writing a short story or a film script. When Bob and I were writing songs like ‘Lois Lane’ and ‘Slow Don’t Kill Me Slow’, we had this idea of creating characters to search for that emotional truth like you’d find in a song which is self-confessional and search for that truth in the characters we created. We were trying to make something as vivid and as moving as you would from a personal confessional song because I truly believe you
can reach the same emotional depth from a fictional character. “There’s this belief, this presumption that if you’re as a musician or a songwriter if you want to achieve emotional honesty it has to come from yourself, and I think that’s bollocks. If that were true, then it would apply to other mediums as well. Every time I see an actor on the stage performing an emotionally convincing role they aren’t necessarily drawing from personal experience; there’s a lot of fiction in there, and you can apply that to songwriting and also performance as a singer just as much.” The album ascends to a seedy disco crescendo with a double whammy of dancing with ‘Glimpse of Love’ and ‘Feel The Love Go’, Alex says. “They’re the apex of the energy of the album. The outro of ‘Feel The Love Go’ is the most hedonistic moment of abandon, and then we drop you right down at the end for ‘Slow Don’t Kill Me Slow’. It’s drama, that’s all it is. That’s what I love when I listen to somebody else’s album, so that’s what I wanna put in my own”. P Franz Ferdinand’s album ‘Always Ascending’ is out 9th February.
DOWN WITH BORING
here’s something quite special about Rae Morris. Born and raised in Blackpool as Rachelle Anne Morris, she signed to Atlantic Records at the tender age of nineteen, choosing them above offers from other labels due to their willingness to take things slow. After four years touring with the likes of Bombay Bicycle Club, Tom Odell and Lianne La Havas, as well as a collab with Clean Bandit, Rae finally released her debut. A melancholy, experimental album which evoked comparisons to Bat For Lashes, Enya and Ellie Goulding, ‘Unguarded’ charted her journey from unsigned teenager to seasoned songwriter. The success of her debut had barely worn off before Rae was preparing for its successor. “I’ve been working on it for the last two years, pretty much since I finished touring the first record,” she admits. This time around, the process was more relaxed. For Rae, removing all outside influence was the key to creating honest music. “I was just like, right, forget about everything, which is hard when you’re surrounded by constant feedback from social media and friends, family, everything. It’s hard to block all that out and make something that is one-hundred-per-cent pure, to avoid making changes based on external influences and just make things that felt right for my current world, and the things in it.”
D O IT B ETTER
N E W A L B U M I S A S T E P AWAY F R O M H E R S O U N D O F O L D , I N T O A B R I G H T E R T E R R I T O RY.
WORDS: ELEANOR LANG FORD
So, how does ‘Unguarded’ compare to Rae’s new release? “It’s not all happy-clappy music, but it’s definitely less restrained.” It’s an apt summary. ‘Someone Out There’ is the colourful antidote to the pastel tones of its predecessor. Much of the melancholy has been dropped in favour of lively electronic vibes and empowering anthems. Her comeback singles – the appropriatelynamed ‘Reborn’ and ‘Do It’ – premiered her new direction to world, showcasing a carefree and catchy sound quite unlike the introverted Rae we once knew. “I didn’t know much about electronic music. I didn’t listen to that much of it at that time, and I think my taste over the last couple of years has changed and developed. I’ve been to more gigs, and I’ve discovered a whole other genre that I love,” she explains. With this newfound love of electronic music came a fresh approach to writing. ‘Unguarded’ was heavily piano-focused at times, a sound that is noticeably absent from ‘Someone Out There’. “Not starting songs at the piano every time made a massive difference because when you begin a song in such a raw, acoustic way you do want to honour that. So that’s why a lot of the songs on the first album were pretty paired back and quite raw-sounding. Whereas, a lot of this began by me playing a synth line or Fryars playing a synth line or playing with a serious of vocal melodies that became patterns or just one single beat that was particularly energetic and cool. Things just began in a different way so that they ended up in a different place.” The new sound has been well received. After such a long break, this strong reception was a relief for Rae. “That was amazing, people
THIS IS HAPPENING THE LATEST NEWS. ISH.
G ET M O RE AS I T H A P P E N S AT RE A D D O RK .C O M .
LITTLE BOOTS IS BACK IN TOWN WITH A NEW EP, DUE IN FEBRUARY
Little Boots is going to release a new EP, titled ‘Burn’ “early this spring”. The news was revealed via booking agency and label services, MN2S, on Twitter, and comes with teaser mix playing on her website, featuring new tracks ‘Shadows’ and ‘Picture’. She also confirmed right at the end of December that she was “Extremely excited to end this year by announcing I will be releasing NEW MUSIC in early 2018.” Oo-er.
FRANK OCEAN PROMISES “IF YOU LIKED 2017, YOU’LL LOVE 2018”
Frank Ocean looks to be teasing again. He’s not embarking on any major woodwork projects just yet, but he does seem to be suggesting he’s got something up his sleeve for the new year. In a ‘cryptic’ post on Tumblr, Ocean shared an image of a person in a hat that reads “IF YOU LIKED 2017, YOU’LL LOVE…2018”. There’s also a caption reading “New 18-99”. Eyes peeled, then.
BEYONCÉ, EMINEM, THE WEEKND, ST. VINCENT, SZA AND MORE ARE PLAYING COACHELLA 2018
Coachella has revealed its line-up for 2018. The Californian festival will be headlined by Beyoncé (returning after pulling out of last year’s event due to her pregnancy), Eminem and The Weeknd. They’ll be joined by the likes of St. Vincent, Vince Staples, David Byrne, SZA, Haim, Fleet Foxes, Tyler the Creator, The War on Drugs, alt-J, King Krule and MØ.
“ IT ’S N OT A L L H A P PYC L A P PY M U S I C” just taking to the song and feeling something from it, which is what I always hoped for. It’s really touching that people have taken to my music so naturally.” For Rae, it has always been important to create music that listeners respond to in a personal way. The most poignant example of this sentiment appears on the album’s title track ‘Someone Out There’, a touching promise that love and acceptance are out there for all of us. The song itself, however, was inspired by a touching experience Rae shared with a fan, and the profound impact it had on her. “He made me a lot of beautiful gifts for my family and me around Christmas a few years ago, and it made me realise how one person’s small gesture can really make you feel so special. You can bond with a stranger over such small things and make a massive difference to both lives. The idea of my fans or anyone’s connecting over something creative is really special.” There is no doubt that ‘Someone Out There’ is an exceptional album. It takes everything good from ‘Unguarded’ and refines it. Rae’s precise lyricism and heavenly voice tie the tracks to together, but ultimately the album is wonderfully varied. It’s a mosaic of colours and moods, from the soaring robo-pop of ‘Atletico’ to the powerfully defiant ‘Wait for the Rain’ and the hymnal tones of ‘Push Me To My Limit’. The calibre of the album is no surprise considering the roster of those involved creating it. Ariel Rechtshaid, who has worked with the likes of Adele and Haim, returns after producing her debut. There is also production and writing credits for Fred Gibson (think Stefflon Don and RAYE) and Buddy Ross (best known for working with Frank Ocean). According to Rae, however, her favourite work on the album came from producer Starsmith and long-time collaborator Fryars. “Starsmith is a great friend and somebody who I think I really worked with on this album,” claims Rae. “It was kind of unexpected, how well it went. We wrote the song ‘Dancing with Character’ with Fryars, and that was a great moment. It was amazing, and I think he’s amazing.” Indeed, the swaying and romantic ‘Dancing with Character’ is one of the best songs from the album. Rae and Fryars are long-time collaborators, with his name on two of the best singles from her debut album, ‘Love Again’ and ‘Cold’. Indeed, their collaboration has been a success in more ways than one. Speaking on Radio 1 last year, Rae acknowledged the pair had surpassed their professional relationship. “We spent so much time together [on the album], we just became inseparable. We
LILY ALLEN HAS A NEW ALBUM COMING ‘IMMINENTLY’, APPARENTLY
A new year seems to mean loads of musicians hinting at their plans for the next twelve months on Twitter. Lily Allen is the latest to get in on the game, bringing us suggestions of new material in super snappy fashion. “Can we expect an album this year?”, asked one tweeter. “Yes, imminently,” came the reply. Imminently. That’s an exciting word, isn’t it?
were basically spending twenty-four hours a day together. He’s wonderful and very talented,” she confessed. When asked when the couple knew they were more than friends, Rae admitted: “It was actually right at the very end of the writing and recording process, which is great I think because it meant everything had been written with this kind of tension and undertone of ‘something’s happening, but we’re not going to talk about it’.” Despite the new sound, remnants of ‘Unguarded’ still shine through on the new release. When asked what her favourite songs on ‘Someone Out There’ are, Rae chooses ‘Physical Form’ and ‘Rose Garden’. “They kind of standalone quite separately,” she explains, “but I think they were an important element of what I do so I definitely wanted to keep them on the album. They’re very personal and introverted, which is less of a massive part of me now but it’s still a snapshot into that part of me.” So, what does 2018 hold for Rae Morris? She’s already heading out across the UK from March supporting the album, but Rae confesses she hopes to go further afield. “I’d like to go to Europe again,” she admits. “I always love playing shows in Germany, the Netherlands and Norway. I’d love to do some more stuff in America. The last couple of videos have been made in the US, so I feel like there’s an energy which connects there, so we’ll see.” Whatever this year holds for Rae, it is bound to be good things. Her raw talent mixed with her complete lack of pretention is wonderfully refreshing. If anyone deserves the world and more, it is definitely Rae Morris. Despite the obvious leap between her first two albums, there is still the sense Rae has far to go. Within her sound there is so must scope for experimentation, so much promise of even more wonderful music. ‘Someone Out There’ marks the next step for Rae Morris, but it is just one of many more to come. P Rae Morris’s album ‘Someone Out There’ is out 2nd February.
THERE’S GOING TO BE A NEW GORILLAZ ALBUM THIS YEAR?!
Despite only releasing their new album ‘Humanz’ back in April, Gorillaz have hinted there’s more new music on the way. Speaking with the German art-book publisher TASCHEN, Jamie Hewlett bluntly explains: “We’re working on another Gorillaz album that we’re going to be releasing next (i.e. this - Ed) year. Usually we have a good five-year break between each album but we decided, you know what? Let’s keep going.”
PE AC E OF M I ND PE AC E
H AV E T E A M E D U P W I T H M E N T A L H E A LT H
C H A RI T Y M Q TO D RO P A B R A N D N E W T R AC K .
WO RDS : J ESS I CA G O O D M A N .
t’s been half a decade since Peace burst onto the scene with melon slicing swords in hand and bubbling indie anthems in tow (feel old yet?), and a lot has changed. It’s no surprise then to find that the quartet have come a long way since their ‘Bloodshake’ days of 2012. Taking time out of the limelight has allowed them to return not only reinvigorated, but refocused. Teaming up with mental health charity MQ, Peace are swearing It’s Time To Give A **** About Mental Health In Young People. Their show of solidarity arrives in the guise of their most open song yet. ‘From Under Liquid Glass’ is an enduring reflection on depression and anxiety, a voice of solidarity for anyone who’s ever felt the same. Where did your inspiration for the song come from? Harry Koisser: I’d had a lot of time off. I stopped writing songs a little bit, and sunk into myself for a little while. It was just in complete stillness. It was almost when everything had ground to a complete halt. I was not expecting to do any writing, and it just popped out of nowhere. I just think that when you’re trying to write songs, you almost push agendas and things that you want to write about. Then when you stop, you write about the things that you need to write about, I guess. When I switched off from songwriting mode, it came out. Was it hard putting something so personal into words? I wasn’t really trying to write a Peace song, or trying to write a song at all. It was more of a kind of selfish, cathartic moment or writing, just scribbling down anything. It kind of just all started to come out. It probably took about seven minutes in total to write the song, lyrically. I had melodies with it. I started playing it, and found it quite amusing.
I cheered myself up doing it, the whole process of writing it and doing a demo about a minute and a half after that. It wasn’t laboured over at all, whatsoever. It was the opposite, which was a nice surprise, I guess, in hindsight. Where did the song’s title come from? It was a phrase that I’d used to describe the feeling that the song was written about, being trapped under liquid glass. It just popped into my head, and that’s what I wanted the song to be called. We’d be nicknaming it loads of things. It doesn’t always have to be the main lyric or whatever. It represented the song quite nicely for me. Everyone really liked it. The lyrics are very straightforward. Was that an intentional choice when you were writing? I didn’t want to be too poetic. It’s kind of nice seeing it appear on paper in front of your eyes and being big and brash and straightforward. Everything that you always fear people thinking about you, just putting it out there and being bold about it, brash, and confident, which isn’t something that I usually am. I didn’t want to dance around it, or make something that only means something to me. What’s the response been like from your perspective? It’s been very warming. I think the first day or two days I didn’t want to look at anything. Then I looked. I think it means a lot to a lot of people, which is good. I had a lot of people who I haven’t spoken to for years, who I went to school with, they got my number, and they’ve been texting me like, ‘This song means so much to me’. I was like, ‘Fuck, haven’t spoken to you in years’. That’s a really strange feeling. P For more information about MQ, visit mqmentalhealth.org.
DOWN WITH BORING
DAYDREAM TO REALITY
E M B R AC I N G T H E I R PA S S I O N F O R A L L T H I N G S 8 0 S O N F O U R T H A L B U M ‘ H O L D O N T O YO U R H E A R T ’ , A R E B A C K F R O M B R E A K I N G P O I N T A N D H AV E S E T A C O U R S E T H E T O P . T H E V E R Y T O P .
urray Macleod has always had a not-so-secret love for 80s pop culture. It was inevitable for The Xcerts’ singer and guitarist after being raised by a mother who adores the likes of Bruce Hornsby and the recently-deceased Tom Petty, and a father who is described by his son as a “Bruce Springsteen fanatic”. “I’m an 80s baby,” starts Murray, taking a break from packing for the band’s recent European tour to chat with Dork. “When my mum did the school run, she would always have these mixtapes called ‘The Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time’ or something, and I would always hear stuff like Tom Petty and Boston on them.” The soundtrack to the Decade of Decadence is an influence which The Xcerts rather candidly wear on their leather-jacketed sleeves for their long-awaited fourth album, ‘Hold On To Your Heart’. Embracing the era sonically and aesthetically, the Scotland-bred, Brighton-based trio have thrown one hell of a curveball, especially following the earnest and introspective alt-rock tones of their 2014 record ‘There Is Only You’. “I’ve always said songwriting is like TK Maxx – you have to sift through the bullshit to get to the good stuff!” Murray laughs. “The first batch of songs that we write after we release a record either sound like they could have been on the
previous record or they just sound a bit confused and unfocused.
moment” for him, bassist Jordan Smith and drummer Tom Heron.
we’d be in the same position we’re in now.”
“To be honest, we were the most confident we’d ever been coming out of an album cycle and going into the writing, and recording of another record,” he continues. “We just know when it’s not right and none of the songs were really inspiring, they were just really sad songs.”
“When I first came up with it, I felt invigorated,” says Murray. “It reminded me of Rick Springfield and Cheap Trick; then when we played it together in the practice room, it really sounded like Springfield turned up to 11. Everything we wrote after that just came out of us, and it just so happened to have a real 80s influence to it.
Despite the high that he and his bandmates were on when they wrapped up the cycle for ‘There Is Only You’, Murray reveals that this record was ‘born from much darker times’ compared to its predecessor – times which pushed the frontman to his emotional limits, and The Xcerts to boiling point.
That said, The Xcerts couldn’t sound less miserable if they tried on ‘Hold On To Your Heart’. Co-produced by long-time collaborator Dave Eringa and new friend Gary Clark – you may know him as the frontman of cult 80s pop outfit Danny Wilson – it is an album which shines with soaring power-pop hooks, synth-driven choruses and even an indulgent saxophone solo. Murray fondly recalls writing the first song to make the final cut, the energetic single ‘Daydream’, claiming it was “a real ‘holy crap’
“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t listening to a lot of 80s records, because I totally was!” Murray admits. “When we wrote ‘Daydream’, that was the benchmark, that was like the lift-off. The two worlds of pop and rock have to coexist, and I like the idea of us bringing a bit of dirt to pop music or bringing a bit of pop to rock music. “It’s interesting to think where we would be if we wrote a really miserable record, I’m not 100% sure
“ SO N GW R I T I N G I S L I K E TK M A X X – YO U H AV E TO S I F T T H RO U G H T H E BU L LS H I T TO G ET TO TH E G O O D STU F F ! ”
“Usually I could go in the practice room and escape from what was happening on the outside,” Murray sighs. “We would go in, turn up the amps and just have fun with it. “But I was miserable; I was breaking down and arguing with the guys and not treating them well. There was just this allencompassing black cloud over the band and myself all the time, and it reached a point where it just wasn’t healthy.” After being hit with the double tragedy of his grandmother and one of his closest friends dying while writing ‘Hold On To Your Heart’, Murray was inspired to make a positive change to his outlook on life, both in and out of The Xcerts. “I was not living; I was like a shell, I was walking around just completely empty. I’m now well aware of how beautiful the world is, and I’m gonna go find that beauty, and I’m gonna run at it at 100 miles per hour. “We desperately needed to write this record,” he continues. “I needed to write positive songs because I
TH E XC E RTS
WO RDS : DA N N Y R A N D O N .
was in such a bad place.” Boosted by a heightened appreciation of everything in his life, Murray is eagerly anticipating letting ‘Hold On To Your Heart’ run free into the world, as well as the mammoth 13-date tour across the UK and Ireland in February and March. After their appearance on Reading & Leeds Festivals’ esteemed main stages last year, it might be your last opportunity to see The Xcerts in such an intimate capacity. “At times I feel like when we play smaller venues now, it’s almost like we’ve put on too much weight and we’re bursting out of our clothes,” chuckles Murray. “The songs are too widescreen for the smaller room.” It’s not just larger stages that The Xcerts have their sights set on in 2018 – with an album as immensely entertaining as ‘Hold On To Your Heart’ now firmly under their belts, Murray and co. are, at long last, strapping themselves in for promotion to the top tier of UK rock bands. “We want to be up there with the big boys,” the confident frontman says. “We’re an incredibly ambitious bunch, and we really want this record to elevate us and run us 20 more steps up the ladder. “Now is the time to capitalise on all the good stuff that’s happening to us, and we just wanna go out there and prove ourselves.” P The Xcerts’ album ‘Hold On To Your Heart’ is out now.
BEHIND THE BANGER
FALL OUT BOY
HOLD ME TIGHT (OR DON’T)
PATRICK STUMP TELLS THE STORY BEHIND ‘HOLD ME TIGHT (OR DON’T)’, A HIGHLIGHT FROM FALL OUT BOY’S NEW ALBUM ‘M A N I A’. “It’s a funny one. I grew up on reggae, Pete [Wentz] grew up on reggae. We grew up on different places of reggae though. He has this whole dancehall thing; I have a late-sixties, earlyseventies thing that I’m drawing from. For years we were trying to figure out how to reconcile those things. Maybe for every record I’ve written something that was an experimentation on that, but it never really worked. I didn’t think any differently for [‘M A N I A’]. I wrote ‘Hold Me Tight (or Don’t)’ and sent it in. “I was just writing. There was a twoweek period where I wrote like, 30 songs off the top of my head, and I sent in ‘Hold Me Tight...’ with five other songs one day. I felt like that one was exciting. There’s something exciting about that song, but no one said anything. No one else in the band paid any attention to it. I really liked that one, but I moved on, went back to the rest of the record. “After we pushed the record back, Pete [Wentz] was just going through old demos. He found it and asked, ‘What’s this? Why haven’t I heard this?’ ‘I sent it to you months ago, what are you talking about?’ So then, towards the end of the album, that song took on a whole new life and became what it is. It was a very last minute thing. It was a funny one to mix, trying to find the right mix of things. We want those big loud guitars, but we also want the clean, pop whistle. Where do you tick all these boxes? That was the hardest thing, trying to mix all these weird elements together.” Fall Out Boy’s album ‘M A N I A’ is out now.
BANGERS WOLF ALICE
DON’T DELETE THE KISSES (CHARLI XCX X POST PRECIOUS REMIX)
Wolf Alice’s ‘Don’t Delete The Kisses’ always had a sense of wonder to it, but in the hands of Charli XCX and Post Precious that wonder is amplified to bewitching levels. Less of a remix, more a rework, Ellie Rowsell’s vocal is set against skittering electro beats, her voice a stark and illuminating contrast with Charli’s distinctive tone. The original was special enough on its own, but in featuring two of our most vital voices on one track it brings together unique strands into one glorious whole. A new year treat to treasure. Martyn Young
If our precious pop scene has an all star cast, no episode would be complete without Lily Allen’s caustic lilt. Kicked off by Giggs, there’s little doubt as to who is ‘Trigger Bang’’s headline act. Throwing out near literal lyrical bullets with a lazy flick of the wrist, Lily’s ability to make a track feel both exciting and familiar in an instant remains untamed. Never ducking a punch, the dark remains punctuated by moments of domestic flair and sneering glamour. Returning to an increasingly chaotic world, Lily Allen feels
THIS IS HAPPENING THE LATEST NEWS. ISH.
G ET M O RE AS I T H A P P E N S AT RE A D D O RK .C O M .
more important than ever before. Stephen Ackroyd
FROM UNDER LIQUID GLASS
Teaming up with mental health charity MQ, there’s no doubt that ‘From Under Liquid Glass’ carries an important message. Lyrically, it throws the curtains wide open – no cloying platitudes required to bring home the truth that none of us are alone; that other people feel these things too. But beyond that, it’s also the sound of one of our most important voices revving back into gear again. With album three set to arrive later in 2018, Peace return to a new world – one full of bands that saw their early moves as a call to arms. So much more than the glue that holds it all together, they’ll be greeted like kings. Stephen Ackroyd
While their doubters may continue to point out Pale Waves still exist in the neon-tinted universe of their label mates The 1975, ‘My Obsession’ shows the true state of play. While all those thematic tricks remain, it’s other things too. The twinkling, glitter-ball prom night light at the end of an 80s American teen movie, it suggests a lineage that goes beyond a single band. Each new gem ups the stakes another notch. Stephen Ackroyd
LORDE WILL RELEASE TWO FANCY NEW ‘MELODRAMA’ VINYL EDITIONS IN APRIL
Lorde will soon-ish release two new vinyl versions of her album ‘Melodrama’. Due on 6th April, the first is a standard version featuring a new sleeve, full lyrics, and a double-sided photo. The deluxe edition meanwhile comes with all of the above, plus more photos and a hand-drawn sleeve. Apparently, there’s an even fancier ‘collectors edition’, which Lorde says will be “v v luxury”, also due at some point.
EVERYBODY WANTS TO BE FAMOUS
Superorganism seem to have been born under their own spell. After the super-massive ‘Something For Your M.I.N.D.’, you’d be forgiven for expecting everything else to feel somewhat of an anti-climax. And yet, ‘Everybody Wants To Be Famous’ couldn’t be further from such pessimistic predictions. Bubbling away like a fantastical creature of the deep, it’s a marker for a band who can carry every ounce of hype stacked upon them. Packed with infectious fun, it’s kooky and cool without crossing the line on either side. Fame awaits. Stephen Ackroyd
UNTITLED IN D
Maybe Spector can only write anthems. It’s a theory worth investigating, on the strength of ‘Untitled In D’. Returning with a string of EPs, the initial taster of Fred and co’s 2018 plans couldn’t be bigger. It hits its touch points perfectly. With a soaring chorus so infectious it feels like a best friend from the first play, effortless yet self-aware confidence flows through every vein. Stephen Ackroyd
PARAMORE HAVE INVITED DUSTIN FROM STRANGER THINGS TO COLLAB ONSTAGE
Gaten Matarazzo (aka Dustin from Stranger Things) recently posted a video of his band, Work In Progress, performing covers of Fall Out Boy, Paramore and Foo Fighters. Now, P-more frontwoman Hayley Williams has invited him onstage: “open invite to crash a pmore stage and thrash those luscious locks around (& harmonize, obv) whenever the spirit (of rock) leads you,” she offered. Obviously, he’s already said yes.
DOWN WITH BORING
WE’RE TAKING THE BEST BANDS ON THE ROAD, EVERY MONTH.
CALENDAR EVERYTHING GOING ON THIS MONTH.
If you remember our five star review from the middle of last year – or noticed its placing in our favourite fifty albums of the year in our last issue – you’ll know we’re big fans of Alex Lahey and her debut full-length, ‘I Love You Like A Brother’. That’s why we’re so excited to be teaming up with our new fave Aussie for her forthcoming European tour in March and April. Kicking off in Brussels on the 20th, it’ll call off in Utrecht, London, Liverpool, Birmingham, Nottingham, Sheffield, Newcastle, Edinburgh and Belfast before finishing up in Dublin on 1st April. Tickets for the run are on sale now. See you there!
ALEX LAHEY IS OFF ON A DORK LIVE! TOU R . . .
2 ND F E B R U A R Y
HOOKWORMS THEIR NEW
Later on in this very issue of Dork you’ll find out all about Hookworms’ latest album ‘Microshift’ right from the Leeds bunch themselves. It’s bloody good.
7 TH F E B R U A R Y
KENDRICK AND HIT THE ROAD
What could be buzzier than a Kendrick Lamar headline tour? A Kendrick Lamar headline tour with James Blake in support, that’s what.
O U R N E W F AV O U R I T E A U S S I E I S O F F O N A U K TOU R A LO N G SI D E D O RK TH I S M A RC H!
9 TH F E B R U A R Y
SAY HI TO EZRA, THE ORIELLES AND MORE
...AND SO ARE I N H E AV E N . . .
Today’s a great release day - we’ve got new albums from Ezra Furman, The Orielles, Franz Ferdinand AND The Wombats. Something for every kind of party.
... AND SEA G I R L S TO O !
2 01 8 I S A L R E A DY L O O K I N G U P.
Everyone knows INHEAVEN are one of our absolute faves. They made the Top 10 of our favourite albums of the year list (obvs), and took a Dork cover when their self-titled full-length first dropped. We’re big fans. So, of course we’re teaming up with them for their headline UK tour early next year. The run kicks off in Portsmouth on 31st January, calling off in Cambridge, Bedford, Bath, Guildford, Reading, Tunbridge Wells, Norwich, Newcastle and Manchester, before finishing up at Wolverhampton Arts Centre on 13th February. Tickets are - you guessed it - on sale now.
IT’S D O RK TOU R C E NTR A L.
If shiny new up-and-comers Sea Girls aren’t on your radar yet, it won’t be long - not only because you’re reading about them RIGHT NOW, but they’re bringing their indie tunes to a stage vaguely near you very soon indeed. Their tour with Dork Live! kicks off on 1st February at London’s Omeara, and goes on to Bristol (2nd), Leicester (3rd), Manchester (8th), Leeds (9th) and Glasgow (10th). Find venues ‘n that below, or slightly to your right.
U P C O M I N G D O R K L I V E ! D AT E S
JANUARY 24 Spring King, South Street Arts Centre, Reading 25 The Night Cafe, The Bullingdon, Oxford 31 INHEAVEN, Wedgewood Rooms, Portsmouth FEBRUARY 01 INHEAVEN, Portland Arms, Cambridge 01 Sea Girls, Omeara, London 02 INHEAVEN, Esquires, Bedford 02 Sea Girls, The Exchange, Bristol 03 INHEAVEN, Moles, Bath
03 Sea Girls, The Cookie, Leicester 05 INHEAVEN, The Boileroom, Guildford 06 INHEAVEN, The Face Bar, Reading 07 INHEAVEN, The Forum, Tunbridge Wells 08 Sea Girls, Deaf Institue, Manchester 09 INHEAVEN, Arts Centre, Norwich 09 Sea Girls, Bridenell Community Room, Leeds 10 INHEAVEN, Mining Institute, Newcastle 10 Sea Girls, King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut, Glasgow 12 INHEAVEN, Deaf Institute, Manchester 13 INHEAVEN, Newhampton Arts Centre, Wolverhapton 22 Catholic Action, The Sunflower Lounge, Birmingham MARCH 03 Caro, The Flapper, Birmingham 20 Alex Lahey, Botanique Witloofbar, Brussels 21 Alex Lahey, ACU, Utrechy 23 Alex Lahey, Omeara, London 24 Alex Lahey, Studio 2, Liverpool 24 Alex Lahey, Hare and Hounds 2, Birmingham
26 Alex Lahey, Bodega Social Club, Nottingham 27 Alex Lahey, Record Junkee, Sheffield 29 Alex Lahey, Think Tank, Newcastle 30 Alex Lahey, The Mash House, Edinburgh 31 Alex Lahey, Black Box, Belfast APRIL 01 Alex Lahey, Grand Social, Dublin 28 Are You Listening? Festival, Reading MAY 05 Live At Leeds, Leeds
1 5 T H F E B RUA RY
INDOOR PETS GO OUTDOORS
Remember when Indoor Pets, formerly Get Inuit, played Dork’s Christmas Party? That was good, wasn’t it? They’re on tour this month, so make sure you check ‘em out.
1 6 TH F E B R U A R Y
What’s that you say, it’s not even March yet? It isn’t, is it? We’re just that ahead of the curve. Today sees the March issue of Dork, featuring ALL SORTS OF EXCITING THINGS, hit the streets.
2 1 ST F E B R U A R Y
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, RAT BOY
Get the party poppers out, Jordan Cardy is celebrating his 22nd birthday today. Unless he’s done that pop star thing of changing his age and he’s actually 38, of course.
2 2 ND F E B R U A R Y
CATHOLIC ACTION ‘DO’ BIRMINGHAM
We’re sure you’ve already clocked this one in that there list <<<<. You know, the one labelled “Upcoming Dork Live! Dates”? It’s going to be a great night.
2 5 TH F E B R U A R Y
LOS CAMP’S ‘HOLD ON NOW, YOUNGSTER’ TURNS 10! Yeah, no one here’s a youngster anymore. Sorry, Gareth & Co. It’s a whole decade since the band’s addictive debut on Wichita Recordings. The start of many great albums to come, eh?
HYPE ESSENTIAL NEW BANDS
PHOBOPHOBES PHOBOPHOBES PHOBOPHOBES’
D E B U T A R R I V E S W I T H A B A N G ; I T ’ S A S TAT E M E N T O F I N T E N T
F R O M O N E O F S O U T H L O N D O N ’ S M O S T E X C I T I N G B A N D S . W O R D S : S A M A N T H A D A LY
aving been through much in a short amount of time, Phobophobes are just about all set for the release of their much-anticipated debut. ‘Miniature World’ is a record born from adversity; 2016 saw the untimely death of the group’s guitarist, George Russell. The band went on a temporary hiatus, resulting in bassist Elliot Nash finding it too difficult to return. Fast forward to today; they now have three new players, going from a five-piece to a six-piece, and are about to release an album that still very much reflects each of their former bandmates. Guitarist Jamie Taylor and keyboardist Chris OC both studied fine art at University. “We obviously know our music, but we’ve approached the album in a much more artistic way,” Jamie explains all the way from the South of France, where he’s helping his family set up an art gallery in a derelict building. “I think some parts come a bit unexpected, with certain progressions especially. Maybe when you’re classically trained you know where to go next, whereas we don’t, so we make it up and we chip away at it until it sounds alright. It’s not as immediate, and it’s a bit more difficult, but we get there in the end. “It’s kind of like we’re making up our own language,” he laughs. “There’s quite a strong narrative throughout that I really want people to discover through listening. We’ve put a lot of thought into it, especially with Side A and Side B.” With a fondness for listening to albums on
vinyl, Phobophobes were keen to create a nuanced record that wasn’t just frontto-back standalone bangers. “It’s very important for the album to flow as well as the song structure; that’s something that’s really lost nowadays when you go onto Spotify, and it’s all scrambled. It’s really irritating,” says Jamie. Several songs didn’t make the cut. “There was one that we were writing just before George died. He’d written this beautiful guitar line over the chord progression that I’d put together. I just had it on a phone recording and Margo [Broom], the producer we were working with at the time, played around with it so it was all in time and took away some of the unwanted frequencies and bum notes, so that we could have George’s guitar line.”
such a strong unit, and then we had these new members... Luckily, the people playing with us were really into it, they liked the band, and they weren’t just playing for the sake of it.” Looking beyond the album release, the new group plan to get their heads down to “become more of a writing band - we already had an album recorded when the new members joined. They need more; they need to feel like they’re part of something. When they hear us on the radio at the moment, sometimes it’s not even them playing, which is a bit weird.” Phobophobes have created something extraordinary with ‘Miniature World’; this band are heading somewhere very special indeed. P
It’s not on the album, but the track will Phobophobes’ debut album ‘Miniature surface eventually, Jamie says, perhaps as a World’ is out 26th January. single or a b-side. George is actually playing guitar on every track on the album. “It was important that he was playing. Some bits were just for demo purposes, so we had to spruce them up a bit, but some were done really well, and George put a lot of work into them.” Phobophobes’ former bandmate Elliot came up It’s been a whirlwind of with the idea of a time for Phobophobes, incorporating swabs but they’ve made it out into their artwork, the other side. “It was a reflecting the whole traumatic thing, losing a ‘Miniature World’ friend,” reflects Jamie. “It concept in quite a was quite difficult to come literal sense. “We back together. We were were initially just going to swab the band,” says Jamie, “but we decided to keep going. We’d take bacteria from instruments we were playing on the album… we swabbed Abbey Road. We’d swab walls of studios that don’t exist anymore, like Utopia Village. It’s gone now, but it had a great history.”
ART ATTAC K
“ IT WAS A T R AU M AT I C T H I N G , LO S I N G A F RI E N D”
EASY EASY LIFE LIFE Midlands five-piece Easy Life recently emerged with their “93 BPM head-nodder”, ‘Pockets’ - a rich hip-hop, funk and jazzinfused debut single full of irresistible hooks and the trials of youth. With a new EP also in the works, this is just the beginning. Hey Murray, tell us about your band. Myself (lead vocals, guitar etc.) and Sam (bass, sax, vocals) went to school together and have always found common ground in disgusting funk/soul/jazz. After realising this, we began to write music and somewhat inevitably meet Louis (local guitar icon and sex sensation). Cass (drums) was an obvious choice, with his passion for Afro Beat and all things groovy and Jordan (percussion/ synths/ vocals) is a local hero and by far the most famous member of the band for various reasons. How did you go about creating the EP? Creating our debut EP ‘Ringtones’ was the most fun I’ve had in ages. It was like an orgasm with a true love. In terms of how we went about producing it, I’m genuinely not entirely sure. It just came together really. It seems we were able to capture a realness both lyrically and instrumentally which I think came, essentially, from just being honest with ourselves in terms of what we wanted the music to sound like and what was going on the world around us. What do you do for fun? I’m super boring. Making music is the only way I can enjoy myself. I can barely raise a smile during sex because I feel like I should be playing piano. I guess, as a band, we find a certain release in Leicester City, reading, long walks on the Skegness beach, drinking, exploring, farming... P Easy Life’s debut EP is out ‘early 2018’.
RECOMMENDED NEW NAMES
Move over South London, it’s hard to think of a buzzier place than Brighton right now - which is exactly where lovelies Thyla are based. The band are supporting Dork faves INHEAVEN on their Dork Live! tour in March, and we’re really looking forward to it. They’ve previously graced stages alongside everyone from Dream Wife and Matt Maltese to Yonaka and The Wytches.
About 18 months ago, Sports Team dropped us an email and asked us for a drink. And, erm, we didn’t reply. Sorry guys. We only found it the other day, honest. Still, we’re happy to make up for it now. With their debut track ‘Stanton’ they’ve arrived a fully-formed force - a well-brewed mix of cynicism and wondrous, banger-friendly consciousness.
Leeds-based polymaths Caro make thoroughly infectious indie pop. While it’s not super representative of all their songs, if you squint a bit (yes, with your ears) ‘Eyes On The Ground’ is a tinsy bit St. Vincent in places, which is always a good thing. They’re doing some Dork Live! stuff soon, too: catch them at The Flapper in Birmingham on 3rd March.
Stop Moaning, you lot. No don’t really, these guys have an album coming soon via Sub Pop, so it’d be awfully bad timing. Hailing from LA, the trio are an often chaotic mess in the best possible way: kind of slackery and sort of post-punk, they revel in fuzzy alt tunes. Probably don’t turn up on time for anything, mind. Watch out for their selftitled debut landing on 2nd March.
DOWN WITH BORING
ON THE GRAPEVINE WHAT YOUR FAVOURITE NEW BANDS ARE UP TO.
G ET M O RE AS I T H A P P E N S AT RE A D D O RK .C O M .
MILK MILK DISCO DISCO
F R O M F R A N K O C E A N T O R E X O R A N G E C O U N T Y, S O U T H L O N D O N - B A S E D N E W C O M E R S MILK DISCO
H AV E A L R E A D Y N O T C H E D U P A R I D I C L I S T O F C O L L A B S .
When did you first realise you wanted to make music, and what did you grow up listening to? Dan: When I was 7 I discovered the Blur video ‘Coffee and TV.’ I was obsessed with it, and would search the music channels for it. I adored the song, and the video is beautiful. Until then, I saw musicians as otherworldly. At the end of the ‘Coffee and TV’ video, it cuts to a shot of the band playing in a basement. They looked so normal; I thought, “Oh, I want to do that’. Six months later I started playing guitar. How did you all meet, then? Matt R: The band started with just myself and Dan initially playing around with drum machines and bass loops. We were recording some demos and put them up on SoundCloud, we played a few shows as a two-piece and met each other at different shows through our close friends, it all came together really quickly. How has your sound developed so far? Matt M: Before I joined the band, Matt R and Dan had been using a drum machine for a
BRAND NEW BANGER
couple of months. The songs they’d written were great, but I think the lack of live drums and bass was slightly limiting, as it makes it hard for the songs to vary structurally and dynamically. When I first joined, I tried to mimic the drum machine, which was fine but I think the natural groove of the songs was missing. However, over the past year, I feel we’ve really developed the songs Matt and Dan started out with, and they fit in well with the newer material. I think we are moving away from the ‘indie’ sound and towards a more ‘dancey’ aesthetic. One of our newest tracks entitled ‘I Want to Feel Close to You’ takes a lot of influence from house and disco and is unlike anything we’ve written before. What do you most enjoy writing about lyrically? Matt R: Things that make me laugh. If I’m sat in a shit mood and being mardy, I’ll catch myself out and write about the tragedy within it. Things like that. Letting my mind delve deeper and deeper into one thought and tearing apart until I find one clear message. It’s usually personal stuff; sometimes it’s far removed. Being playful with words is a ruthless joy and makes me feel like I’m doing something for the first time again.
SEA GIRLS HEAVENLY WAR
The indie banger is both a blunt instrument and a fine art, and it’s a skill that Sea Girls are beginning to perfect. ‘Heavenly War’ has it all, sing-a-long, call-and-response hook lines, a rising, near euphoric chorus, a thumping crescendo brewed from fizzy beer and dripping black walls. With a Dork Live! headline tour set to come this February, they’ve already got the arsenal to lay waste to the country’s grassroots circuit. From there on in, it’s only gonna get bigger.
How did you end up in South London, and what’s the best thing about being based there? Sacha: None of us are actually from South London, funnily enough. Gianluca and Matt Merriman are from West London, our singer Matt is from Nottingham, Dan is from Surrey, and I’m from Australia. When we initially formed, our first few shows were
“ P L AY I N G IN FRANK O C E A N ’S LIVE BA N D WAS P R ET T Y CRAZY” supporting our friends’ bands at venues such as The Montague Arms in Peckham and The Windmill in Brixton. We all love playing The Windmill especially, and really feel at home there. What’ve been your highlights from musician life so far? Matt R: Playing in part of Frank Ocean’s live band this year was pretty crazy. Dan and I played in Sweden and Helsinki as part of a guitar orchestra he was doing for the shows, he was incredible (obviously) and it was an amazing experience. Gianluca: Producing Rex Orange County’s ‘bcos u will never b free’; being given the opportunity to work as a producer for Jade Bird in real studios for her demos in 2016; working with Cosmo Pyke since we were 16 or whatever; being ‘called up’ by my boy Matt to come and make some noise with the rest of the Milky lads which has really helped me grow up and understand the music world/business and giving me a lot of practice and live experience. What are you guys working on at the mo? Sacha: At the moment we are mainly focused on making our live shows as dynamic and exciting as possible, and continuing to write songs that we’re really proud of. Continuing to push ourselves creatively to write the best music we can is what really drives us as a band. P Milk Disco’s new single ‘Weekender’ is out now.
PALE WAVES HAVE FINALLY REVEALED ALL THE DEETS FOR THEIR NEW EP, AND IT’S OUT IN MARCH
Pale Waves were meant to be releasing a new EP in January, but they kind of talked about it a bit and then didn’t confirm much of anything about it. But that’s okay, because now we have all the info: it’s called ‘All The Things I Never Said’, and it’s out on 16th March.
OH DEAR, TWO OF YASSASSIN HAVE LEFT
Yassassin have announced the departure of Raissa Pardini and Ruth Nitkiewicz. Posting on Facebook, the band revealed they will be leaving to “move onto new adventures”. “We’ve had two amazing years together,” they continue. “As for the rest of us – we’re Yass-ing our way in to 2018 with new music, a new line up and some big ass shows.”
GIRLI TAKES INSPIRATION FROM ‘WALK THIS WAY’ IN HER BOREDOM BATTLING VIDEO FOR ‘MR 10PM BEDTIME’
Girli premiered her vid for ‘Mr 10pm Bedtime’ - a track about a miserable neighbour who’d like to get to sleep at a reasonable time thank you very much - with readdork.com. “This video is FUN VS LAME, PINK VS GREY, GIRLI VS MR 10PM BEDTIME,” she says.
THERE’S A NEW TRACK FROM FREAK ABOUT
Freak have dropped a new song called ‘Everyone’s The Same’, and a video, too. “[It’s] about trying to find your identity in a society in which anyone different is an outcast,” says Connar Ridd. “You’re judged if you dress differently or if your opinions differ from the masses. The song is about being yourself and not caring, regardless of what everyone else thinks.”
THE NIGHT CAFE T H E N I G H T CA F E
H AV E A L R E A D Y
H I T T H E ROA D W I T H SO M E O F D O R K ’ S A B S O L U T E F AV E S . N O W , T H E Y ’ V E S O M E D AT E S O F T H E I R OWN. WORDS: JAMIE MUIR
DOR K LIVE ! PRE SEN TS... Want to see The Night Café live? You’re in look. We’ve teamed up with our mates at Future Perfect to put the band on in Oxford on 25th January. If you want to go check ‘em out, head to readdork.com now to buy tickets. You can find more Dork Live! shows on p18. Off you go!
usic classes at school typically go one of two ways: either students are stuck staring at keyboards all day trying to work out how to play the Eastenders theme tune, or it’s the moment where they discover something special. For The Night Cafe, thankfully, it was the latter - and it helped set the path for four lads from Liverpool to find the sounds and outlet they needed growing up alongside each other. “When it was me, Sean and Carl at school, we would just play while we were learning instruments ourselves,” remembers guitarist Josh Higgins, thinking back to those early days. “When Sean moved, he hadn’t even started playing guitar - so we basically learnt together.” Born out of friendship and a journey to find something they could call their own, The Night Cafe has found a legion of fans already with only a handful of tracks out in the world. Selling out venues across the land, devoted masses singing along to every word, it’s a kindred connection that immediately has found a home - and puts them firmly on course for a breakthrough year ahead as one of indie’s most potent powerhouses. Yet underneath the sun-drenched hooks and buzzing party-vibes that burst out of debut
SUPERORGANISM HAVE ANNOUNCED THEIR SELFTITLED DEBUT ALBUM
Fresh off the back of a slew of new year tip list appearances, Superorganism’s self-titled full-length is set to arrive on 2nd March via Domino. Self-produced, written and recorded in their East London houseslash-studio-slash-HQ, it runs at ten tracks in length and includes all their previous mega-bangers.
EP ‘Get Away From The Feeling’ at the start of 2017, the months following have been dark for the band - taking their toll personally. “This year has probably been the craziest of our lives,” elaborates Josh. “Shit things have been happening, while at the same time the band has started to do really well - it’s been this complete contrast of emotions. It’s crazy, but everything is working out good now.” You can hear that shift in tone in the cuts that have emerged since ‘Get Away From The Feeling’. ‘Felicity’ is an unabashed love ode where lead singer Sean croons of smiles holding him together and willing to do
“ W E J U ST WA NT TO B E A G RO U P O F M AT ES WHO MAKE GOOD ST U F F ” MARSICANS SHOW OFF THEIR ROLY POLY SKILLS IN THEIR NEW VIDEO
Leeds’ Marsicans have dropped a video for their new indie-bop, ‘Throw Ourselves In’. The clip sees the boys testing their gymnast skills up against some guys who are, um, pretty good, we guess… “You might recognise Nile from the Rio 2016 Olympics,” says frontman James Newbigging. Check it out on readdork.com.
anything for someone, while the most recent heavyweight ‘Turn’ takes things even darker, crashing layers of guitars spiralling across lines like “I don’t believe it when you tell me that it’s alright/I’m overthinking things my dear, I don’t care.” It’s a step that Josh can see has grown from the year they’ve had, and a leap up to a whole new league for them. An evolution of The Night Cafe. “It definitely is,” he agrees. “I think that’s why ‘Turn’ came out the way it did, because we had so much to release. I feel like that’s the most we’ve ever expressed ourselves on a song, as opposed to just making a goodsounding track or a nice pop song. ‘Turn’ is like fully mature and being ourselves, rather than just the lyrics it’s more than that.” They’ve more than come into their own after the past twelve months. Tours with the likes of Blaenavon, supporting Will Joseph Cook and much more - The Night Cafe have spent the hours looking around them and learning, becoming the band they’ve always wanted to be on-stage and perfecting that live show. “The last tour we did with Blaenavon, we definitely came into our own live,” recalls Josh. “We learnt from them kind-of, because we toured with them before about a year earlier, and we just saw how comfortable they were on stage and not caring whether the crowd were active or not - just doing their thing. I think now we’ve got that confidence that we saw in them.
BLOODY KNEES ARE HEADING TO THE SEASIDE
Bloody Knees, Arrows of Love, Yowl, Lice and Heavy Lungs are all playing a show for Independent Venues Week. Hosted by Strummerville, the gig will take place at the Brass Monkey in Hastings, on 3rd February. Proceeds will go towards the Joe Strummer Foundation fund, who provide opportunities to musicians and aim to “create empowerment through music.”
“I think its a maturing thing, now we don’t care what people necessarily think of us and we’re comfortable with ourselves, because we’re sounding and doing what we want to be doing.” In a year of so many ups and downs, The Night Cafe have come out the other side as a band focused and ready - chomping at the bits with the music that’s risen through them, and is primed to open up a sea of devoted followers throughout 2018 and beyond. They’re about the good times, of sharing and seeing a connection with what they’re doing and those longing for an escape. It’s a breakthrough that’s not just likely, but inevitable. At their heart though, they’re four mates from Liverpool still working out what life is - distilling it all into song and wanting to be more than simply another guitar band. For Josh, there’s so much more ready and waiting to happen. “We started the band because we wanted to make music, and as things have gone on, it’s going even further. We want to make music, we want to make merch, we want to make our own videos, we do our own artwork with photography and films. We just want to make stuff together, as opposed to being this untouchable guitar band or a god-like thing. We just want to be a group of mates who make good stuff.” P The Night Cafe tour the UK from 24th January.
OUR GIRL AND BOY AZOOGA ARE TOURING WITH THE MAGIC GANG
The Magic Gang are heading out on tour pretty soon, and they’ve just confirmed the supports: Our Girl and Boy Azooga The six-date run will kick off on 22nd March in Birmingham, going on to call at Manchester, Leeds, Glasgow and Bristol before culminating at London’s Electric Ballroom. Lovely stuff.
DOWN WITH BORING
Every new year starts with the promise of new things. Shame , exciting aren’t hanging about in bringi them, with quit ng us one of e probably the first great albu m of 2018. Words: Jamie Muir. Photos: Sarah Louise Bennett.
t’s a bitterly cold Tuesday morning in South London, and Shame are recovering from a packed 2017, and an even busier end to it, incorporating some of their biggest headline shows to date, a blistering run across the US and a pogoing schedule of European trips. As morning breaks, frontman Charlie Steen and guitarist Eddie Green tell tales of only just returning to the UK late the night before, yet bustle with the rest of the band on adventures and the maddening rush of it all. For a band who, just over a year ago, were taking on sweat-stained pub nights across the capital, it’s an evolution and coming together that means something more, a destined reckoning that could be felt every time they took the stage. Wherever that stage may be. “Remember that time we took the drum kit on a bus?” recalls guitarist Sean Coyle Smith, cueing raised smiles and laughter between themselves as they gather away from the cold in a local tiled cafe. “We got booked for this riverside festival in Richmond, and all we heard was the festival part of it. We turned up to children and old people in rows of white chairs, and I think we got paid with some cider and some Cumberland sausages.” “That was so bleak,” continues Eddie, stirring away at the hot drink in front of him with a shake of his head. “The funniest part of that was when a guy came up to us at the side of the stage and said, ‘Look, guys, I’m not going to tell you again. There are kids here - can you please watch your language. There’s storytelling going on in the tent over there’.” This was all while they were playing a song called ‘Gone Fisting’. “I think we were fined for being too loud as well,” notes frontman Steen. “It’s miraculous really. There were infinite points along the way where we should have stopped and said, ‘What are we doing?’ If we’d been any other age…”
There are many, many other examples that Shame can bring up for playing the weird and the wonderful (supporting folk duos at 7pm, bursting into Glastonbury and playing shows with no amps or working equipment) that has all led them to where they stand today. Thriving with chaos yet with a defining sound behind it all, they’ve taken the punches and never stopped - a burning ambition and a gang mentality that means they can take on anyone. Alongside bassist Josh Finerty and drummer Charlie Forbes, they’ve managed to capture something that many bands search for years to find. All natural, authentic and immediate, Shame’s world doesn’t need to be a beacon of the future, but rooted in the here and now learning how to deal with it and how we can all get better. Still finding out who they can be, the journey itself to that point is just as important. “I don’t think any of us set out for anything,” notes Sean. “It was just there as a pipe dream…” “It’s been a three-year existential crisis,” smiles Steen. “We never had some pivotal moment where we sat down and manufactured an image, or what we’d want to be perceived as or anything. It never happened. We’re sort of still clueless, still creating an idea of what we want to be. I don’t think we know what we want to be; we’re 20.”
eeting at school, Shame experienced more in their younger years than many. From the beginning it was clear they were onto something different than the rest of their classmates, discovering life’s teenage speed bumps together. Josh was hooked on music from the moment he was given a copy of Sum 41’s ‘All Killer, No Filler’ at the age of three, he and Eddie would chat and listen to Nirvana together, while Eddie and Steen
DOWN WITH BORING
as described by Steen, became a “living creature of unidentifiable liquids and compounds.” There was the time he and Nathan from the Fat White Family went behind the sound desk for the night (“I asked him if he knew what he was doing and he was like ‘Nah, it’s just fun to play with the buttons’, and just saw Ben from Childhood’s mic going up and down”). Or the time they played in drag there at 3am, before having to be at school just a few hours later. That aura of a different time in London, still surviving and living through its floorboards was something that struck five teenagers whose only insight into such a world had been recordings. Its resonance and importance can’t be diminished, and it became the go-to destination for the band at any moment they could get away. Not so much a retreat, but a hub of individuality and freedom. “The atmosphere there was really grimy, judgement free,” explains Sean. “Very strange things would happen on a day to day basis. It was a bit of a culture shock almost when we first went there.” “It’s only now I realise how weird it must have been, all of us going in there,” notes Eddie. “A lot of the time, once or twice a week, me and Steen would be like, ‘Shall we go Queens?’ Just hanging out with 45-year-old pissheads.” would take in their parents’ rich musical tastes that would go from the 70s right up to the modern day. While they found a home within each other, that physical manifestation can be traced back to one place in particular: The Queen’s Head. Nestled down the road from Brixton Academy’s looming hall, it flows and spits with an attitude that would become a defining inspiration for everything Shame now represent - subconsciously informing that mentality where every challenge can be overcome, and the spirit it all signifies. “The first time we went there was me, Forbes and Steen and a couple of our mates,” recalls Eddie, “and we went to see a gig there which was Childhood, King Krule, Jerkcurb and the Fat Whites.” “Charlie [Forbes]’ dad got us in,” continues Steen, flashing back to a night that lit a fuse in him. “I had no idea of, or interest, in any music that was happening at that moment. I was still laying my head in the 1980s, wasn’t really thinking about the present. That was the first gig where something interesting happened in London with bands for me. You hear of those Iggy Pop and David Bowie gigs that you’d never be able to see. You won’t go see a gig like that, but I never thought I’d be able to see a gig that’s chaotic and in your face and has this type of music where people of our generation are interested. At that gig, that was where it all was in one place.” “We didn’t even watch the Fat
“I DON’T THINK WE KNOW W H AT W E WA N T TO B E; WE’RE 20” Whites that night. I remember - I was a little stoner kid - seeing a naked guy on stage and thinking, ‘Wooaaaaaaahhhh - wanna go McDonald’s?” he laughs. “I don’t think it properly had an impact until we came back to The Queen’s Head…” Josh could feel that impact as soon as he joined the band six months later. “I hadn’t heard of any of those bands. It took me joining this band and saying, ‘Oh, I want to
make music like The Stooges’ for the guys to show me Fat Whites and King Krule to see how fucking good it is.” When talking about The Queen’s Head, Shame erupt into a blend of hilarious stories, genuine disbelief for the situations they found themselves in, and enormous appreciation for the opportunities it provided. There was the tin pot in what became the band’s practice room which,
Steen sees it too. “We thought it was a bit like… off. But we never thought it was that weird that we were 16 or 17 at The Queens Head. We kinda witnessed an end of an era without realising it. That pub, I don’t think anyone in London our age is ever going to see a place like that again - so I guess it influenced us in that way. We have this like freedom which we can only really understand ourselves now. How important it is, and how important The Queens Head was to us.” While The Queen’s Head may be gone, that ethos continues to ring true. Meeting veterans from bands who’ve done it for over 30 years, their words and advice have laid out the do’s and don’ts on how to navigate as a band. As Steen says, it’s “because of the Queens Head and all the different characters we’d meet, that we kinda knew stuff about the music industry.
We knew about who we should involve, and because of the spine we’ve created, we can do this ourselves and sort of save our impending debt wherever possible. We do cut corners financially wherever possible.” After the years spent under its roof, Shame knew that they had to stick things out - giving themselves time to see where it would all go. As Josh remembers: “[When] we started in our final year of school, it was a case of well, we might as well take a gap year and see how it goes. So we took that gap year, and it was at the end of that year as the band that we decided, ‘Right, we’re not going to university anymore, we’re going to keep going as a band’. It was only two years into it that we could actually think about dropping everything and fully being into it.” What Shame have that’s more than just a sum of their parts, is one of the most incendiary live shows of recent times. Like a flare being lit to full blast, Shame live are a tidal wave of post-punk glory. With Steen prowling the stage, it’s an experience that’s found their reputation reaching far and wide - a freedom that’s bound to have grown from the hub they called home for so long. More than anything, it’s entirely natural. “I think a lot of the gigs we turned up to play, 90% of other bands wouldn’t play. Would not have agreed to do those shows,” points out Sean, thinking back to those haywire nights that have marked the past three years of their existence. “When we originally started doing shows, it was mainly our friends who didn’t really like our music coming, and then we started seeing the same people at a number of shows who weren’t our friends. And we were like, oh…” “I’ve never once thought about how to prepare for a gig, it’s just something that never crosses my mind,” states Forbes, with the rest of the guys nodding and agreeing without hesitation. “It’s organically developed,” elaborates Steen. “The way we performed to three people three times a week, that ideology behind it all hasn’t changed over the years. Every gig is just as important, no matter who you play to - we don’t create any sort of ego we just do the opposite, we try to break down
to crafting a record that showed off the full spectrum of sound they’d worked so tirelessly on. Shame wanted to scrap and shakeup any notion of them simply being “noise”, and the process took a few tries. “Don’t get it wrong, the first two and a half years of being a band, a massive stress of ours was how we were going to get this done on record and get it sounding good,” leans in Josh. “It took us to find the right guys and even a few different sessions to get where we wanted to be.” “We’d done so many recordings,” exhales Sean with a sigh, “because everyone tried to make us sound as we do live, and we just never really liked that - we always wanted there to be some sort of separation.” “I always thought that we should sound as we do live,” picks up Josh, “but it took us actually trying that to realise it was a bad idea. Recording the album was like the loveliest, most therapeutic, most great experience because we had all those songs locked down - it was just getting them down on paper.” any concept of judgement in play.” “It makes the show fun doesn’t it?” jumps in Sean. “Obviously it’s nice to play to a lot of people, but if you’re playing to nobody and you play that way, then it’s just going to be even worse. There’s no pressure in that situation, and that’s always our attitude.” Steen smiles wryly. “If you don’t want your ego damaged, don’t start a guitar band in 2018.”
obody ever told me I would be a singer when I’m older,” states Steen. “Nobody would give you that advice…” returns Eddie. “Steen?” asks Sean. “Was it your drama teacher who said that singing wasn’t for you?” The guys trigger into laughter once again, taking swigs of their teas and coffees as they remember back to the road that brought them here. With The Queen’s Head firmly in their bloodstream, the songs began to come together, with many making up the band’s debut album ‘Songs Of Praise’. A record that practically breaks down the door with youthful energy, it’s the perfect document of that jump between teenage life and young adulthood. A startling mix of Nick Cave, The Fall, 80s punk and gritty realities, it’s not only a stunning album but one of the most exciting British debuts of the past decade giving a new wave of young guitar bands the bar for where to go next. “We never really thought about it that much,” starts Sean. “We didn’t know what we wanted to sound like when we started.” “I think that process [of songwriting] has gotten longer and longer, and you get a lot more finicky as time goes on,” continues
Josh. “When we started, we wrote like two songs that we then played for two years after that - and we did them in our first practice. It was so quick, just bang bang bang. I think we just wanted to make every song sound as different as possible. That’s our one main thing.” From start to finish, it’s something Shame achieve with soaring success. Dissecting and gazing at society with a sharp-eye and a mirror, it’s an album that doesn’t systematically goes about being a political statement but rather embraces it with the same importance the world has to. Reflecting their surroundings simply means reflecting the politics going on, and if they have a platform to express their thoughts and enlighten others to explore it too, then that’s exactly what they’ll do. As Steen explains: “We’re not the solution, we’re just trying to understand the problem.” “Like all the music, the lyrics have come from a period of three years from when we were 17 til 20,” he continues. “All of the stuff that happens to you, whether you’re in a band or not - like in those years of your life you’re exposed to so much, whether that’s characters or music or books or paintings, relationships or whatever. All of these different things can have an impact on it, a lot of the lyrics on the album are about social commentary, some of them are trying to be quite direct, and some are trying to be quite subtle. I don’t think I’ve ever written anything, aside from ‘Visa Vulture’ [a track released last year], which is trying to have a direct message behind it. Me as a person, I’m quite bad at simplifying what I’m trying to say, so it’s a way for me to be able to spray down whatever I’m thinking.”
The band took themselves away to Rockfield Studios, cut away from the world in the midst of wandering countryside in the south of Wales - working with producers Dan Foot and Nathan Boddy on nailing exactly what they wanted Shame’s opening statement on the world to be. “At Rockfield Studios, you stay in this massive house with eight bedrooms, they feed you every day - at this lush farm, away from everything,” details Sean. “You’d wake up, Forbes would finish his drums, and you’d walk two minutes down to the studio - it’d be a sunny day and green. I wanna go back.”
“ I F YO U DON’T WA N T YO U R E G O DA M AG E D, DON’T S TA R T A G U I TA R BAND IN 2018”
“The contrast of this though,” dives in Steen. “We were with one of the producers the other day in Toronto, and he was saying to us, and we didn’t realise at the time that ten days to do twelve songs for an album is nothing. So
With the foundation set, there was one jump to make - going from the live force that they’d commanded
DOWN WITH BORING
“WE’RE N OT JUST NOISE” while our producers were ripping their hair out in their rooms, we were outside in the field playing with footballs and that - like our own personal holiday!” Throughout, ‘Songs Of Praise’ continues to surprise and entice - a record that vibrates with passion yet underpinned by glorious hooks and ripping variety. ‘One Rizla’ for example, delivers a bold wink of shimmering pop immediacy (“It was the first song we wrote and finished entirely, and it’s sort-of mostly untouched from then to now on the album,” points out Steen). ‘Dust On Trial’ is a brazen chest-out command to the attention of spiralling, chilling guitars and prowling delivery, while singles like ‘Concrete’, ‘The Lick’, ‘Tasteless’ and ‘Gold Hole’ all plant the flag firmly in the ground with their flairs and rawness. Then there’s album closer ‘Angie’, unlike anything else heard before it, it builds from isolation into a grandstand ending that touches on romance and loss in devastating fashion.
continues Steen, “and then it got tucked away for a while. Dan and Nathan were the guys who sat us down and said that they wanted it to be on the album and work on it after hearing it at a practice we did before. They were the ones who pushed it in. I wrote about eight pages of lyrics to it, and we were adding bits as we were in there at the studio, even on the day of recording itself.” What’s left is a record that’s bound to find a home in many a record collection. One that takes risks, that rips open honesty and makes you look inwards. For a band who embraced generations past and found themselves at home with those decades older than them, it sounds purely of the times we live in now. An era that may have passed, becoming one of the future. That moment where people can hear it and take it in for their own must be a daunting moment?
“When we went into the studio it was nowhere near as long,” remembers Sean. “It was about four and a half minutes, and we were like, if we’re going to put this on the record, then we need to make it the song it should be. It’s a bit epic, I don’t really like that word, but it is.”
“It hasn’t crossed my mind how I’d like or how I think people are going to interpret the album, to be honest,” contemplates Steen. “It’s more for us to get together a collection of moments of the band in the timeframe we’ve had. We could have delayed it and tried to write two more songs, look at it from a commercial viewpoint or something, but we thought that it would lose that honesty and this album is us.”
“We wrote that song at the Queen’s Head. We used to play it live,”
“Amateurism for £11 on vinyl, if you will,” he smirks again.
he thought of ‘Songs Of Praise’ being out in the world strikes a chord with Sean. “I want people to listen to it and see that we can write songs. We’re not just noise which is what I think it would have been if we had recorded it as if it’s a live show. We’re not a shock-rock band.” For all the intense, visceral and potency of their live shows - Shame are ultimately a band of five mates, buzzing with excitement that the music they’ve created and the countless nights of trailing up and down the country with instruments in tow, is reaching a level where appreciation is now flowing in their direction. They’ve taken those experiences and glimpses into different worlds, and poured them not only into ‘Songs Of Praise’ but into themselves. It’s why they sit at such a moment, becoming that band but with a focus on being something more vital. If you’d have told them that they’d be here back when they first rode into The Queen’s Head, there’s a part of them that would find it maddening - but another part that would have felt confident they’d be here all along. Satisfied and confident but written with the hard work that’s got them to this moment. “I think it’s been individual moments that show like, the highlights of surrealism,” lays out Steen, thinking back and turning to his bandmates to recall those pinch-yourself moments telepathically. “Like when we drove into New York for the first time; when we played on Le Grand Journal [a French TV show which usually features the likes of Eminem, Metallica and Taylor Swift]. Those sort of like checkpoints of absurdity, going from above The Queen’s Head in Brixton with a drum kit made of gaffa tape and no amps. Finishing most of the songs we’d been writing in that room with no microphone, in a studio in Wales. It’s satisfying and confusing at the same time. “But we do know that nobody is going to care about the band as much as we do, that’s the truth.
We’re aware of that, that’s not bringing ourselves down - it’s not pessimism but realism.” As the band finish their drinks, they start to think about ambition. Where they can go from here, with a landmark debut album under their belts and a whole world to play with. “Making more music,” states Sean. “Writing another good album, I want to write more music and don’t want to stop,” comes Josh. “Brixton Academy,” lays out Forbes. “You guys are boring,” chimes in Eddie. “I wanna buy a boat.” The laughs ring out once again. “I think one day if we could have a holiday,” follows up Steen, “that’d be good.” The band pile out of the cafe, all stopping to say thanks to the owners and bringing back their
mugs. As they stroll up to the train station, they pop into a local pubgarden that they’ve spent many a night downing pints and learning more from the characters that surround them. Suddenly they hear a familiar voice… “BOYS!” “Denniisssss,” they all reply in unison. “What are you up to Dennis?” asks Josh. “Ahh not much,” the figure replies. “Just syphoning some diesel.” Steen turns back. “He’s one of the characters from The Queen’s Head, what a guy. We see people everywhere now.” Shame are about to see a lot more people, the sound of an era welcoming in their own. That holiday is going to have to wait. P Shame’s debut album ‘Songs of Praise’ is out now.
N E G A T I V E
S P A C E Body image, anxiety and death; Hookworms’ new album isn’t for the faint-hearted. ‘Microshift’ sees MJ and co. tackle the toughest of subjects via one of their most engaging releases to date. Words: Jessica Goodman.
never wanted to be the singer,” MJ chuckles. “I never even wanted to play the organ in our band. I wanted to play the guitar, but that didn’t really work out very well.” In the three-plus years since they last released an album, things haven’t always gone to plan for Hookworms. With two lauded albums under their collective belt, at the end of 2015 flooding in Leeds devastated MJ’s Suburban Home Studio, derailing plans for an EP as the group more or less withdrew into themselves. With the release of third album ‘Microshift’, the world is reintroduced to the sound of a band reinvigorated. “We’ve all been through this over three years, and it’s been a really slow thing to get to this point,” MJ portrays. “We didn’t want to make the same record again. We knew it was important to grow, even if it meant failing. We knew we wanted to move on.” So, move on is exactly what the band have done. The result is a record brimming with characteristic energy and a newfound sincerity that presents Hookworms at their most open and addictive yet. “It changed quite a lot as we were making it,” MJ describes. “We knew we wanted it to be different, but we didn’t know what that actually meant.” To redefine what they wanted to create, the group turned their focus to defining exactly who they are as a group. “It was working out what Hookworms was, and how far we could push it while still being the same band,” the frontman illustrates. Taking its title from a plugin used amply throughout recording, ‘Microshift’ bears
its electronic influence on its sleeve with pride. “We knew we wanted to incorporate electronics into what we were doing,” MJ affirms. “It took quite a long time to figure out how to do that. It just sounded really tacky most of the time. Maybe it still does,” he laughs. “It might seem like quite a change to people who just suddenly hear ‘Negative Space’ and they only know ‘Pearl Mystic’ or something like that.” The lead single from the band’s latest release, ‘Negative Space’ is a near sevenminute sprawling epic that dances and dives through stuttering electronics with a clarity that feels refreshingly new for the band. And it’s not just their sound that’s different. Gone are the abstract lyrics, replaced by earnest takes on disaster, loss, and acutely felt anxieties. “Because of my job I’ve kind of always been really into songwriting, and styles of songwriting,” MJ contemplates. “I wanted to apply that a little bit more to Hookworms in ways that I hadn’t been able to before.” Drawing back the blinds with euphorically dazzling grooves, it only seemed natural that the songs’ lyrics were approached with a fresh openness too. “I think all the way through I knew that the lyrical content of this record was super important to me,” MJ recalls. “I knew I wanted to make my vocals more prominent. I wanted to bring them to the front of the mix a lot more than I have done in the past, use them in a more traditional manner.” It might be a more traditional take, but finding influence in their contemporaries, everything about Hookworms’ third record manages to feel fresh and new. “A lot of the records I’ve been working
on over the last few years, with bands like Martha and The Spook School and Trust Fund and people like that, have lyrics I adore,” MJ enthuses. “I think they’re amazing - not only amazing people, but the way that they can put those incredibly emotional or political lyrics into a pop song is really inspiring to me. I knew I wanted to do something with this as well.” The album reaches an emotive high point on closing track ‘Shortcomings’, a rippling number that sees the lyrics mourn “I feel less than strong,” before a euphoric climax offers the enduringly hopeful sentiment of “hold out, it’ll come.” “That song is about social anxiety in public spaces and body image,” MJ portrays. “I feel that was quite an important thing to write about, especially from a male perspective, because not really that many people do it.” “It’s perfectly possible and fine and okay for men to feel the same anxieties about their body and the way that they’re perceived in public or the way that they think that they’re perceived in public,” he states. Addressing such personal issues through their songs might’ve been a direction the band were certain of taking, but that didn’t make it any less of a challenge.
summarises. “We spent a lot of time talking about what things should sound like and not really knowing what we wanted, just setting things up and recording and seeing what happened. It’s taken a long time to get it down to where we’re at now. I’ve definitely found it a rewarding experience.” It’s an experience the group are showing no signs of shying away from anytime soon. “I can see us still making records in ten years’ time and this just being another record that was part of that,” MJ considers. “It would probably make more sense with the next record.” Fans of the band can rest assured, because it looks like a follow up could be closer than you might think. “I’m already thinking about the next record,” MJ discloses, with a laugh. “I want it to be much quicker because I’ve got a studio again now.” “I love making records with my friends, and I feel so lucky,” he enthuses. “It’s a scary thing. I think it’s setting yourself up to fail on a pretty big stage, but I think I’m proud of the record that I’ve made with my friends. It’s the first time we’ve made a record that we’re all collectively proud of. That’s really all you can do, I guess.”
“I spent a long time working on the lyrics on this record,” the frontman details. “Because of the last few years and some of the things that have happened, I think I knew that I wanted to write about those things. A lot of the record is about people around us who have died, or are dying. It was important to me to get the lyrics right.”
With tour dates and festival performances ahead of them – including two nights at Leeds’ Brudenell Social Club with an array of musical friends – Hookworms are back at full force. “Even if it all stopped tomorrow, I’d still be thrilled,” MJ muses. “But if I get to do it all for another year or two? That’s amazing. That’s all I really want. I just feel lucky to make music with my friends.” P
“I can’t say it was easy a lot of the time, but it was satisfying, I think,” he
Hookworms’ album ‘Microshift’ is out 2nd February.
DOWN WITH BORING
Dream Wife aren’t your average band. Like a fire burning hotter than the proverbial thousand suns, they’re here to fuck you up. Words: Jessica Goodman. Photos: Sarah Louise Bennett.
DOWN WITH BORING
o I amuse you? Do I confuse you?” Rakel Mjoll sings on ‘Act My Age’. Whatever the response Dream Wife seek to invoke in an audience, there’s no shirking the raw power behind it. The group have come a long way since their origins as an art school performance project. Livid, loud, and unapologetically proud, with the release of their debut album Dream Wife are determined to make their voices heard – and they’ll be damned if they aren’t going to have some fun in the process. “It’s definitely like eating a hot chilli or something,” Rakel laughs, attempting to sum up the group’s first full-length release. “People that have listened to it have all said that they put it on right before they went out. That’s the best compliment you could ever get.” “It’s facilitating good times!” bassist Bella Podpadec echoes enthusiastically. “Music is such an amazing tool for bringing people together and sharing feelings.” And in a nutshell, that’s exactly what Dream Wife are all about. Releasing a record that the group describe as being “for getting out your anger or your lipstick,” their self-titled album is the sound of a band raring to take the world by storm. Whether unhinging pent-up emotion or kicking out footloose and fancy-free, Dream Wife forge strength through every facet of human experience. “We want you to cry, we want you to dance, and we want you to scream at the world,” Bella expresses. Contradictory though those motions might seem, the band embody them all with a strength so vivid it practically takes form. “Lyrically, I think a lot of the songs are showing an unapologetic side to yourself, but at the same time it’s still sensible,” Rakel describes. “The name Dream Wife is putting one face to a woman. I think throughout this album lyrically it’s showing different faces of yourself.” “A woman be sensible. A woman can be sexy. A woman can be unapologetic,” she states. “She can also be angry. She can also be sensitive.” “You can be all of those things and be strong,” Bella interjects. “There’s no weakness in the many faces of a woman.” Singing of aggression as much as attraction, thriving on freewheeling sensation as much as they sing about more serious topics, Dream Wife are as dynamic and multi-faceted as the world that surrounds them. Embodying all of that within eleven songs, on their debut album, the outfit demonstrate a vivacity that sits them well ahead of the curve. “We didn’t realise this, but there’s also a theme of looking at events that have happened, looking back at them and understanding them,” Rakel contemplates. “It’s like an exploration of events to make sense of it in the now,” Bella portrays. Drawing from everything they know, the result is an outspoken presentation of everything Dream Wife have come to be. “I think that’s really interesting, when you are understanding, and - oh my god, this is really cliché, but…” Rakel laughs, pausing to adopt a preaching tone before continuing. “That’s what your 20s are all about.” “That’s what life’s all about!” Bella exclaims, laughing with her bandmate. “It’s self-exploration and understanding things, understanding everything,” Rakel offers, with a little more seriousness. “Everything that happened to
you, or to mates of yours, or stuff you’re going through... Instead of blocking it off, just understanding it. Learning something every day.” A soundtrack to discovering and owning who you are, Dream Wife’s debut album is equal parts unabashed and unashamed. Born out of “a windowless room in Peckham” (“freezing in the winter and boiling in the summer”), it’s been a long time coming. The band signed to Lucky Number in the first half of 2016, and the expectation and excitement surrounding a full-length release from the outfit has been on the rise ever since. “We took at least half a year or more to find the exact sound we wanted,” Rakel recalls, “and I think we did.” “It was important to give it the time to let it become what it was going to become,” Bella expands. “To me, it feels like the perfect time for it to be released to the world.” Having established their identity and their intentions through their storming live shows, the time has never felt so ripe. The vigour of their debut album owes a lot to the prowess the band have built up on stage. “So far, we’ve done this primarily as a live band beyond anything else,” Bella details. “It was kind of trying to capture some of that rawness and that energy.” “It’s been a process of getting a raw, live sound down,” Rakel agrees, “and then looking at adding in a different guitar, or...” “Looking at how we can elevate this thing to somewhere even bigger and higher,” Bella finishes. “Things fell into place very quickly with songs, I think,” the bassist reflects. “Then it was playing them live and getting a feel for them with a crowd and what reaction was like, and that informing their journey as well.” “It’s really good because then you can understand the song,” Rakel enthuses. “Where do they get bored? Or why are they screaming for more?” It’s not just the band’s sound that’s influenced by their live performance, but their very ethos itself. The group have established a Bad Bitch Club, purpose-built to celebrate the audience that pack out Dream Wife’s live shows. A reference to the band’s already infamous Spice Girls referencing single ‘F.U.U’; the Bad Bitch Club started when they were joined on tour by photographer and frequent collaborator Meg Lavender. “She would find people, take their portraits, and ask them if they were a bad bitch,” Rakel describes. “It was sort of taking the word ‘bitch’ and using it for empowerment, and the phrase ‘bad bitch’: how to be an angry woman in a good sense and use anger as an amazing tool, use it for fun. I think that’s an exciting conversation to have with anyone at the show at any age, men as well.” That conversation sparked through the Bad Bitch Club has extended beyond its context and into the wider forum of safe spaces at shows. “It’s just so incredible being able to play to both young girls and teenagers and any age, and them to feel perfectly safe at a gig,” Rakel marvels. “To emphasise that with all these bad bitches...” she trails off, laughing. “These bad bitches can take you down!” Ensuring their shows are a safe space for everyone attending them is something Dream Wife consistently make a top priority. “There’s this part of our set when I call forth the bad bitches,” Rakel portrays. “I call them forth, and I ask them to take their space. I have to ask all the men in the front - if there are any, which there usually is – ‘guys, it’s time for you to step aside for the bad bitches’.”
“There’s a bunch of girls who don’t necessarily know each other, and they’re making mosh pits, they’re rocking out, they’re stage invading...” the frontwoman enthuses. “It’s so cool to create this kind of community. All that they have in common is that they’re a bad bitch, and they feel that way, and they feel empowered. They’ve all been brought into this, and they feel safe, and they’re just having a great time together.” “Empowering women to feel like they deserve to be in the gig environment and deserve to take up as much space as they need...” Bella continues. “Going to a gig as a teenager myself, I remember it really not being that way and feeling very small and sheepish.” It’s a feeling that will be familiar to a lot of people – and that’s exactly what makes it such an important issue to raise, and exactly why Dream Wife build an awareness into every one of their live shows. “It was something that you’d think is the norm, maybe, which is disgusting,” Rakel states. “Being a small teenager, 13 years old, and finding it normal that there’s a 40-year-old man groping you, or feeling an erection behind you, and you’re just watching a gig...” she trails off in disdain. “All this stuff that you’re just sort of like, ‘Whatever, I’m just going to watch the music.’ Having that throughout your teenage years and then adulthood as well, there’s so much stuff that you should’ve just called out.” “But there was no one to say it to,” Bella counters. “There was no space for that conversation.” “No, there wasn’t even a platform for that,” Rakel agrees. So this is exactly what Dream Wife are ensuring they play their part in creating. “It’s important to empower people to feel like they can talk about these things,” Bella expresses. “And not just talk, but shut it down!” Rakel exclaims. “It’s exciting to be living through a time of cultural change and a time when we’re asking these questions,” the bassist enthuses. “In England, there are 14+ gigs,” Rakel states. “Those are such fun gigs. If you have all the kids having such a wild, good time, it filters up through the whole room, whatever age you are. Especially when you have a group of people that feel safe and are having a good time, the energy just changes so much.” Through their Bad Bitch Club and continued work with groups like Girls Against, safe spaces are a cause that Dream Wife will not only continue to fight to create and maintain, but urge everyone else to work for too. “This is something that is so important, and I think every single band should be talking about right now, and making this a really high priority,” Rakel compels. “Literally, if you feel uncomfortable at a gig we’ll take that person and kick them out,” she states. “It’s as simple as that. It’s something that should be raised everywhere now, and hopefully will be.” Expressing that it’s “definitely a priority for our touring now,” this is something audiences far and wide will soon get to be a part of as the band ready to take their debut record around the world. “It’s going to be exciting taking this album on the road, whether that’s to Tunbridge Wells or Tokyo,” Rakel laughs. Wherever it takes them, Dream Wife are making every moment matter. “If it makes a young teenage girl want to scream and punch her wall and then pick up an instrument, go to a gig, make a mosh pit...” Rakel comments of the record, “that will make me the happiest person. Any age girl really. Any woman. Pick up an instrument. Please,” she pleads. “Have fun and be strong.” “Have fun, be strong, and be yourself,” Bella amends. “Be unapologetic,” Rakel advises. “It’s your world now.” P Dream Wife’s self-titled debut album is out 26th January.
DOWN WITH BORING
“It’s just the way our
BRAINS WORK” Django Django’s latest effort sees them team up with the likes of Rebecca Slow Club for an album that refuses to sit still. Words: Steven Loftin.
eing an ‘average’ band isn’t something that’s ever really occurred to Django Django. Merely turning up to a studio, strapping on some instruments and cracking out an album it’s not them, they’d prefer to explore every territory open to them. “It’s not even a conscious thing to be eclectic. It’s just the way our brains work.” Drummer and producer David Maclean swiftly destroys any notion that they are, for even one second, calculated or contrived. “It’s whatever suits me. You can sit there and think you want to branch out or whatever, but I think there are a lot of grey areas in music where people have to end up making ridiculous genres to try and fit a new sound that comes along.” Striking back hard with their third fulllength effort, ‘Marble Skies’ sees David and co. utilising all their previous experiences, including a healthy number of remix commissions and watching Damon Albarn at work when they took part in his Africa Express project. Not to mention the swift success of their previous two albums, the band use these milestones to continue on their winding, evolving road. Their first foray into an actual studio came on their second outing, 2015’s ‘Born Under Saturn’, and with that came a wealth of opportunity. “I don’t think this record would’ve been possible without what we went through with the second one,” David muses, “[considering] our first album was made completely in a bedroom.” Nowadays you can find Django tinkering around in their own custom studio out in Tottenham. Although far more suitable
for their way of thinking, even that has its flaws, with David confessing: “I think on the next one we’re keen to step it back and just go in with a few instruments because our studio is just crammed full of different synths and stuff!” Never ones to err away from a curveball, where better to plant one than almost straight away on your third record - after all, how many bands would dare have their album’s second track not actually feature any of their vocals, but instead those of Slow Club’s Rebecca Taylor? It’s an idea that unexpectedly stems from the influence, and ideology, of none other than Massive Attack. The Bristol scene of the late-80s/early-90s bred this one moment for Django, as David explains. “You had Massive Attack who came out as the wild bunch, who were a sound system crew. They were producers and rappers and breakdancers; they just wanted to be immersed in England’s version hip-hop culture. That meant that they could rap themselves, or they could bring on guest vocalists and stuff, and I liked that idea - that you could listen to a Massive Attack track and there’s someone else singing.” Rebecca isn’t the only guest appearance on the album; the titular opener features Metronomy drummer Anna Prior instead of David. It’s these collaborations that help Django thrive. “It always gives you a bit of buzz, and a bit of a boost when there’s someone new in the studio - it freshens things up a bit. Maybe that came from working with Damon Albarn, and Africa Express, and just how much he loved collaborating rubbed off on us a bit.” This genre-less world we’re increasingly finding ourselves in perfectly suits Django Django, who can flow from dance-floor indie to experimental art-rock so easily. The level of inspiration Django call back
to varies incredibly, but, as with most bands, the beginning of the creative tree finds itself at roots which are if anything unsurprising - The Beatles.
front, with the passion and a willingness to say yes. This is what David and his cohorts have in spades.
“I think they’ve been a kind of touchstone for me. I’ve spent my life thinking about The Beatles and what they got up to, and how they weren’t really scared. They were using back-brush snare loops, Northern Soul drum beats, string sections, jazz, Dixieland - they would just do whatever they felt was fun on the day, or what suited the song. That’s kind of where it all started, for us, with getting into The Beatles as kids.”
“The best way to approach music really is to not worry too much about what genre you’re supposed to be in.” Sage advice from one of the masterminds behind one of British music’s more refreshing bands, he continues. “There’s a lot of music out there, there’s a lot going on, and it’s an exciting time for music. Bands maybe feel a little bit lost now. If a kid were to start a band now, they might think, ‘Where would I fit in?’ But there’s always a way if you have conviction.”
The road that Django are coasting down doesn’t have an apparent end. Even the start doesn’t really begin at Django. Each member has their own story, their own amalgamation of influences and experiences that put them where they are now. For David, his early days DJ-ing in Dundee exposed him to the idea that what the people want isn’t necessarily what they’ll respond to. You have to take risks for the greater rewards.
It’s this thinking that’s served Django Django so well, or as David puts it: “Life’s too short to miss these opportunities for us.” Perhaps, more abstractly, he offers. “We could get together with a jazz band and make a sort of techno-driven jazz album; I don’t know, I’m just making things up,” he laughs. “But I feel like we could do something like that because why not? Life’s short, and if you’ve got an idea, go for it!”
“Before the band, I was a DJ. I used to play house music and dancehall, I also did a reggae sound system. It was always taught to me by older DJs that you can be eclectic if that’s what you want to do. I didn’t ever really want to be in a band. I’ve got hard drives lying around full of techno so that I can put together a techno album. There’s all this stuff that we want to do that we haven’t done before the band, so it’s just about having the time to do it, and finding the right time to do it.”
As for what the next idea for what Django could be? Even David can’t pinpoint that but does offer some wild ideas. “The next album could be an instrumental film soundtrack or a techno record; we can do whatever we fancy doing which is the joy of making music.” It all boils down to the freedom they’ve designed for themselves now, so the future’s looking more unclear than ever - but in the best way possible. “We’re not signed to a record label that wants us to churn out hits or anything, so we feel we can go off and kind of explore what it is we want to, and not worry about what a band is ‘supposed to do’ really.” P
It’s this want to evolve, and to find the different; to see what everyone else is doing and give it a go - or just respecting it, that gives Django the upper hand in 2018. With everything so freely available, standing out takes more than changing your chords up. It’s about wanting to be up
Django Django’s album ‘Marble Skies’ is out 26th January.
DOWN WITH BORING
G N A
R O T P E C R E I NT
xplore angel to e , it’s n a h it w road trip Buckle up goes on a angelic Exodus’. n a m r u Ezra F ‘Trans ongwriter h his new album, s r e g in s entity wit American mann ion and id g li e r iam Kone s e L : s d r them o f a ride. W one hell o
DOWN WITH BORING
zra Furman is, by his own description, ‘shifty’. “That’d be a good word for me,” he says thoughtfully. “There’s a fearful ‘can’t stay here too long’ kind of thing going on with me.” This much is clearly true. Sitting in an upstairs bar in Shoreditch, Ezra is fidgety in an anxious, rocking sort of way. He fixes his gaze on the table or at a spot on the wall, only returning eye contact to make sure a particularly important point is understood. “I don’t do it as much anymore, but I used to be known for just disappearing,” he says. “Anytime there was a party, I would disappear, and people would be like, ‘Where did you go? You were there, and then you just weren’t there. We all arrived together and then I didn’t see you until today’.” He thinks on this for a moment. “I have the urge to leave wherever I am. I think I’m a person who developed a private world that I have to keep returning to every couple of hours, and that means leaving the place I’m in, leaving the people I’m with.” This transient ‘shiftiness’ is rampant on his new record. ‘Transangelic Exodus’ is a ‘queer outlaw saga’, following Ezra and his lover - an angel who gained their wings through a surgical procedure - as they flee from a hostile government. In the album’s opener ‘Suck The Blood From My Wound’, we’re introduced to Ezra’s angel as they climb out of a hospital window and make their escape. From there the album muses on sexuality and religion, gender, and the way that certain types of bodies are policed. Queer bodies. Vulnerable bodies. Ezra’s body.
“ I ’ M M O RE C O N F I D E N T I N L I F E ”
“I think the thing that causes me to move in life a lot is the same thing that causes me to write about being on the run,” he says. “I think just being queer in general and at a young age being like, ‘No one can know, no one can find out about me’, feeds into an ‘on the run’ mentality.” Of course, there are other factors at work. “There’s also my job, my work of being a travelling musician. But again, I think I became that because I was eager to stay in motion. I think touring so much definitely influenced that sense of, ‘We’re in a car, we have to keep going, no one understands us’.”
Lead single ‘Driving Down to L.A’ puts that front and centre, depicting the insularity and obsessive need for motion that drives the record. The ‘queer outlaw saga’ of ‘Transangelic Exodus’ makes it a kind of road movie, Thelma and Louise meets My Own Private Idaho. Listening back, it could easily be the skeleton of a musical. That said, ‘Transangelic Exodus’ exists in snapshots rather than deep focus, and Ezra’s inspirations are more literary than filmic. “I wanted to do it kind of as a novel in album form,” he says.
“Not like a Charles Dickens novel or something, but I was inspired by this book Speedboat by Renata Adler, which is short sections you could probably read in any order and it would still make sense. They don’t depend on each other, they’re each kind of free-standing, but they’re all in the same world.” In that way, the record also partially fulfils a long-held dream. “I wanted to be a prose writer since I was a kid, I used to write lots of fiction, and I got too into music I think. So with this one, it was sort of like,
‘What would my novel be like?’ And I think it would be like this. Because I’m not good with a narrative.” Ezra smiles a little, and his eyes widen with sincerity. “I’m actually very bad at telling stories in general. Like at a party I can never tell an anecdote from my life because I can never figure out what the point was, or what to leave out or what to keep in. It just wanders around, and it kind of feels like, ‘Is it over? Is it not over? It’s over.’” He says. “‘What was the point of that story?’” This particular story, the one about angels and persecution, wasn’t always the one he intended to tell on his next album. But it persisted. “The angel image is something that just showed up,” he says. “I mean as a songwriter I feel like most of the good stuff is just found. It just arrives.” “I had a whole idea about what our next record would probably be, and then this fuckin’ angel shit comes crashing into my brain. And I’m like, ‘What the fuck am I supposed to do with that? How does that fit into anything?’” Ezra scoffs. “And then it turned out to be the thing and the stuff that I was playing went out the window. I had to follow the thing that was forming.” He shrugs. “Although, some of those thrown-out songs might have been pretty good. It’s hard to tell.” Everything is open to interpretation, sometime several times over. Ezra Furman doesn’t seem to deal in certainties. Like his lifestyle, like his music, he is constantly shifting.
B I G T H I E F With its theatrical, literary feel, ‘Transangelic Exodus’ is drastically unlike Ezra’s previous albums. In fact, the record’s closest stylistic relative might actually be ‘Room 29’, Jarvis Cocker and Chilly Gonzales’ concept album inspired by the Chateau Marmont. Is he familiar with the album? Ezra’s eyes widen. “They stole my fuckin’ song, man,” he says. “I’m glad you brought that up. What’s that song called? It’s kind of a slow, minor-key piano... I forget what it’s called. It could definitely be a coincidence, but I have this song ‘Sinking Slow’ [from 2012’s ‘The Year Of No Returning’] and the verses of that ‘Room 29’ song, it’s the exact same thing played on the same kind of piano, at the same tempo, in the same key. Very suspicious.” An iPhone is produced, and we call up ‘Room 29’’s tracklisting. Ezra scrolls intently. ‘Tearjerker!’ he declares after a moment. He narrows his eyes in mock shrewdness. ‘Ver-ry suspicious. I’m not gonna sue anybody, but I’m always proud if it is plagiarism. If they came up with it also then that’s fine, but I’m a big fan of plagiarism.” He nods decisively. “I respect a plagiarist.”
Watchful. The emotional sucker punch of ‘Transangelic Exodus’ comes in the one-two delivery of ‘Compulsive Liar’ and ‘Maraschino-Red Dress $8.99 at Goodwill’. These are the moments when the fearful nature of the record is strongest and hints at the personal history behind the album’s themes. Ezra slips a confession into ‘Compulsive Liar’, with the lyrics “I can trace the habit to when I was eleven, and I thought boys were pretty and I couldn’t tell no one. It opens at a young age, that old protective closet.” “I think there are things about being closeted and queer that can turn you a little bit more paranoid or a little bit more like-” he narrows his eyes suspiciously, curling into himself “-‘what’s that person’s deal?’” Ezra notes. “Worrying about your safety a little more. Actually, not being closeted, more being out. Feeling on the edge or threatened, even when you know you’re not. Then, right now in America, I see life getting more dangerous for non-white people and queer people too, and poor people. The disregard that our latest government has for vulnerable people is really frightening.” He pauses for a moment, tracing the thread back through his own thoughts. “Anyway, that’s all to talk about angels. It also may be important that they’re angels. It just sounds like a beautiful thing to me, a person with wings,” he says. “The story of queer people all over the world is basically being made to put a lampshade over the most beautiful part of themselves. I feel like I’ve done that all my life in various ways.” ‘Transangelic Exodus’ also addresses another major part
of Ezra’s life that he once kept private. The album sees him address his Jewish faith with a new openness, on songs like ‘God Lifts Up the Lowly’ and ‘Psalm 151’. “It’s an increasingly important part of my life, perhaps. I think I’m more confident in life, and it’s a thing that I’ve usually been kind of closeted about in the way of, ‘You don’t need to know anything about that, that’s my private world’, you know?” he says. “And that’s a corrosive way to be. But being interested in traditional Judaism, at least in the circles I run in, is a very inconvenient thing. It’s not easy to explain. It comes with a lot of disciplines.” Not all aspects of his Jewishness are easy to square with the rest of Ezra’s life. In some ways, it’s a tangled faith, as he tries to balance each of his seemingly conflicting ideals. There’s a hint of that on ‘God Lifts Up the Lowly’, when Ezra describes his guardian angel as having been born inside of a guitar with wings made of tinfoil and discarded cigarettes. “I’ve been working out how I can be a person who’s respecting and doing justice to all of these very disparate things that I care about. Rock and roll, and traditional Judaism, and having a queer community; these are things that sometimes pull me in different directions,” he says. “But honestly, I like being pulled in different directions. It’s expanded my heart.” It helps that he’s able to read between the lines. Like with most other things, Ezra says that in traditional Judaism the Bible is open to interpretation. “You can’t read the Bible by the
letter of it because it contradicts itself,” he points out. “It creates extreme, extreme cognitive dissonance and I think it was actually written to do that. It’s made to challenge your sense of justice, to give you a sense of justice and then be like, ‘What are you going to do with it when I say this? This totally flies in the face of that’. What you do with it is what you do with any law. You have to interpret it as life happens. You have to try to be true to the spirit of it.” The spirit of it has, in its own way, distilled into ‘Transangelic Exodus’. That takes even Ezra a little by surprise. “I don’t know, how did I make a religious album? I guess I’m not... I mean, to be blunt about it actually, I
don’t care. As Abraham Heschel said, religion is not for religion’s sake; religion is for God’s sake,” he says. “I’m not really interested in religion except as a map to get to ‘God Lifts Up the Lowly’, to love the stranger, to do justice. Things like that. Which I think is what God basically is. This love for the most vulnerable. And religion... it’s like a set of cups,” he decides. “You don’t want the cups - you want the water. But you need the cups to drink the water. Or it helps. Sometimes you just want to put your mouth on the faucet. But in general, I prefer to use a cup.” P Ezra Furman’s album ‘Transangelic Exodus’ is out 9th February.
“ I H A D A W H O L E I D E A A B O U T W H AT O U R N E XT REC O RD WO U L D B E , A N D T H E N T H I S F U C K I N ’ A N G E L S H I T C O M ES C R AS H I N G I N TO M Y B R A I N ”
DOWN WITH BORING
BEAUTY SCHOOL DROPOU READDORK.COM
nce upon a time the Wombats wore white jeans and fluoro plastic sunglasses, and taught us all to dance to Joy Division. You know what they say; the past is another country.
For a lot of us, bands can seem to exist out of time. Like Kate Hudson’s character says in Almost Famous, you can go down to the record store and visit them anytime. Just as they were ten years ago. It turns out that sometimes the band themselves feel the same way. For a while, at least. Back in November on the way to shoot the video for ‘Lemon to a Knife Fight’, the lead single off new album ‘Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life’, The Wombats’ frontman Murph likened being in a band to being caught in a phase of arrested development. You’re suspended in time until one day you turn around and the world has shifted on its axis, and you wonder where you’ve been for ten years. Reminded of this now across a transatlantic phone line, he laughs. For a while there, the Wombats were all consuming. It paid off, but so has this new phase - the one that almost approximates something like conventional adulthood. Sometime between writing ‘Glitterbug’ and ‘Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life’ the veil lifted. Murph, having relocated to the US, now finds himself living in Los Angeles with a wife and a dog. The full package. That’s put things on a more even keel. “I think I kind of approach music and songs and the band - everything - with a healthier outlook,” he says. “You know, I feel like I have a family in LA now, a dog to look after, and a wife, and it’s given me a better perspective on life. Rather than me just squealing away in a dark room with a guitar and a piano, writing songs and thinking that that’s literally my entire life. I guess now I know my life has many facets of which the Wombats is a large but nevertheless single part.”
L UTS The Wombats are shunning their glitzy pop of old for a more guitary, organic affair. “I was thinking of a Wombats take on ‘In Rainbows’, says Murph. Words: Liam Konemann
That newly gained equilibrium has all come out in the wash. Where ‘Glitterbug’ was sparkling and hyperactive, on ‘Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life’ the Wombats purposefully went for something a little more laid back. While it still features the odd synthesizer and is practically brimming with sleek guitar riffs, there’s a musical tenderness to the album that its predecessor didn’t have. Tracks like ‘Ice Cream’ and the Strokes-tinged ‘I Only Wear Black’ are lush and dreamlike, while album closer ‘I Don’t Know Why I Like You But I Do’ is a sweeping, melodic exposition of romantic fixation.The album’s second single, ‘Turn’, is the only outlier, Murph explains. “A song like ‘Turn’ which does have quite a synth-y bass to it, seems to be the cousin to ‘Glitterbug’,” he says. He maintains that it’s the exception that proves the rule, though. “I didn’t want to do another synth-y album; I wanted to focus more on great songs and kind of make it a bit more guitar-y.” There were very conscious decisions to be made when it came to the direction of album number four, it seems. “For me, it was just about trying to do something more organic, rather than dialling everything up to eleven. I was certainly more thinking of a Wombats take on [Radiohead’s] ‘In Rainbows’ or something, rather than trying to just have a big massivesounding major-label album for radio. It was kind of important to me that we didn’t go down that route this time,” Murph says. He hasn’t come over all po-faced, though. For all the short shrift the word sometimes provokes, The Wombats still happily consider themselves a pop band. “I don’t mean that
we wanted to do a more indie or left-leaning album, we just wanted to do something that didn’t rely so much on modern production trickery and things like that,” he clarifies. With the record so freshly minted, the band haven’t had a lot of time to appreciate it for what it is yet. “I haven’t really spent that much time with it, listening to it and working out what kind of album it is for me,” Murph says, “but it definitely resonates more with me than the last album.” For all his newfound balance, some things just won’t shift. A decade on from their debut, and that familiar sense of being out of your depth still makes its way into The Wombats’ lyrics. “Yeah,” Murph laughs. “I think that’s just me, really.” Then, he reconsiders. “Or maybe that’s just one of the main themes that resonates with me as a songwriter, I guess.” That ‘main theme’ has produced some of the Wombats’ most affecting work to date. Arguably, the centrepiece that those songs feed into and bloom out of is ‘Anti-D’, from 2011’s ‘This Modern Glitch’. The song features the lines “I’ve thrown away my Citalopram, although I felt as grim as the reaper man”, giving a stark and brutally honest glimpse into depression, medication, and coping methods. Even now it remains an emotional king hit, with its soaring strings and vocal harmonies. “That was my swan song, I guess,” Murph says. The swan-song’s heart bled into tracks like ‘Headspace’ on ‘Glitterbug’, and now seeps through on ‘Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life’. ‘Lethal Combination’ describes a co-dependent relationship “too lost for therapy” while ‘Out Of My Head’ is a study in alienation and intoxication, woozy and darkly introspective. On the latter, a deep bass groove provides a counterweight to Murph’s vocal, as he sings about losing his mind - or wanting to, perhaps. He’s trying to keep a grip on something solid, but it’s slipping out of reach. Sometimes you just need a little break from yourself. Many of the Wombats fans can appreciate that, it seems. In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein reports, with shockwaves rippling through the creative industries and fan communities as more and more allegations surfaced about artists, one Twitter user developed an antidote. “If anyone has any nice allegations against a celebrity that would be great too,” someone with the handle @BAKKOOONN tweeted. One by one amusing, heartwarming stories trickled through. The Wombats’ fans, never ones to rest on their laurels, joined the conversation. They posted tweets about the kindness of the band, their personability. Several of them mentioned Murph’s readiness to talk about mental illness, and to listen to them talk back. “On Facebook and Instagram and things like that we get a lot of nice messages. We try and make an effort to talk to our fans after every show - unless it’s been a fucking shit, awful show and I just want to curl up into my little coffin-slash-bunk on the bus and go to sleep - and I’m always more than happy to talk about it,” he says. “Depression and anxiety have affected me in fairly profound ways, and eighty percent of the population suffer from it at some point in their lives. I don’t understand why there’s such a stigma to it, and why we all just can’t talk about it if literally eight out of ten of us are gonna suffer from it in our lives.” He lets this thought hang in the air for a moment. Then, he says decisively; “We should at least feel eighty percent more confident to talk about it, anyway.” Until we’ve reached that point, at least there’s someone to sing the swan songs for us. P The Wombats’ album ‘Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life’ is out 9th February.
DOWN WITH BORING
REVIEWS THE OFFICIAL VERDICT ON BASICALLY EVERYTHING.
SONGS OF PRAISE eeeee
WE DON’T PUT JUST ANY OLD BAND ON
T H E C OV E R , YO U K N O W.
eople who judge books by the cover are a bunch of right ol’ fools, aren’t they?! If you’d heard about Shame through the core facts, here’s what you would have probably read: visceral punk, in your face live shows, comparisons with the Fat White Family and based in South London.
Shame are much more than that, and ‘Songs Of Praise’ is too – a staggering opus that finds them fully realised and confident in their skin, ready to tear down anything in their path with a record of undeniable importance. ‘Songs Of Praise’ is consistently on its toes, rolling with every punch. Opener ‘Dust On Trial’ lays the path with a ferocious intensity, seething with a riotous flair that could quite literally shake anyone onto their feet. It’s a sense of individuality and originality that makes it hit from the first
bell. ‘The Lick’, ‘Gold Hole’ and ‘Friction’ dare the listener to come forward, ripping apart conventions, touching upon society, love, fear and growing-up in a world bleaker than ever. It’s all delivered with a wink, sounding like Nick Cave setting-up shop in South London and peering out of the window. The menacing call of ‘Concrete’, the chewed-up hooks of ‘One Rizla’ and the back and forth chimes of ‘Tasteless’ that pile towards euphoria – Shame perfectly manage to sprinkle a flavour of every previous generation, but serve it up as their
own unabashed manifesto. Holding a mirror up to the world they’ve found themselves in, it’s a band discovering more at every moment – and that’s why it’s so exciting. It’s an album to click play on again and again, every time struck by its sheer strength. ’Songs Of Praise’ shouldn’t just be an essential listen for 2018, but one that’ll be looked back on as a moment where things changed. Gripping, rich and ready to drag you from your seat, people are going to know about Shame, and know exactly what they’re destined to become. Jamie Muir
HEAR THE HOTTEST NEW RELEASES AS THEY DROP, 24 HOURS A DAY, 7 DAYS A WEEK, 365 DAYS A YEAR.
L I S T E N N O W AT R E A D D O R K . C O M O R V I A T U N E I N O N I O S A N D A N D R O I D .
throwing back to a world that’s too often overlooked. Steven Loftin
THE SPOOK SCHOOL
SLEEPWALKERS The underlying rawness from Brian Fallon’s prior incarnations is perfectly served by this new exploration into more swinging territory. His second solo outing, ‘Sleepwalkers’ is simply infectious. ‘If Your Prayers Don’t Get To Heaven’ cuts straight the chase, delivering a flawlessly soulful number - finger snaps included. From here on in it’s a non-stop dancing and swaying journey that will peck at every feeling you have. Brian is a master at finding melodies that dig deep into your heart. There are still moments of familiarity, but the real joy here lies in the ones that feel out of place. Soul and meaning are what Brian thrives on, and in ‘Sleepwalkers’ he’s found a step forward while
COULD IT BE DIFFERENT
eeee “Fuck you, I’m still alive,” sing The Spook School on the appropriately titled ‘Still Alive’, and for all the placard-waving platitudes, it gets to the nub of what makes the Scots quartet so bloody great. Hearton-sleeve and earnest, there’s an unwavering force to the message that underpins every track on ‘Could It Be Different?’ Whether it’s riffing off The Smiths or discussing topics of abusive relationships, masculinity and identity, ‘Could It Be Different?’ is witty and eloquent, filled with hooks and a matter-offact lyricism that softens the heavy themes. Rob Mair
THE GO! TEAM
eeeee The Go! Team burst into our lives as a Day-Glo riot of fun, a staple of the festival circuit and a guaranteed good-time band, perfect for shaking a leg like the world ain’t watching. Press play on ‘Semicircle’, and it’s clear the party is still going even after 14 years. ‘All The Way Live’ is all tooting horns, sassy vocals and downright glee, perfectly fitting into the ‘school marching band gone rogue’ aesthetic that the band hinted at in the early days of recording. The subtler moments such as ‘Chain Link Fence’ and ‘If There’s One Thing You Should Know’ are equally rewarding. Time to party like it’s 2004? Jenessa Williams
DREAM WIFE DREAM WIFE
HEY DAVID BREWIS FROM FIELD MUSIC, RECOMMEND US SOME STUFF Last good record you heard: I’ve been listening to the new, as-yet-unreleased, Slug album quite a lot because I’ve been helping to mix it. It’s bonkers. Favourite ever book: It’s been a long time since I reread it, but Island by Aldous Huxley is the book which had the biggest individual impact on me. It’s beautifully written, but it’s also bulging with philosophy and science. TV show you couldn’t live without: I have two small kids, so the best TV shows for me are the ones that keep them entertained and don’t make me want to pull my own fingernails out. My marginal favourite, just ahead of Sarah and Duck, is Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom. Best recent purchase: Ful medames with flatbread from Arabesque, an Egyptian restaurant in Sunderland. Totally delicious. Anything else you’d recommend? Room On The Broom may well be the greatest, most elegant book for young children ever written. P
FIELD MUSIC OPEN HERE eeee
t’s been 13 years since Field Music’s debut appeared: a neat, geometric set marrying precision-tooled harmonies and sparse post-punk, expertly assembled for the most part by two brothers, Peter and David Brewis. Four albums have followed since, among solo digressions, soundtracks and collaborations, each seeming to bring players into the fold. ‘Open Here’ is a smaller, shorter album than the grand, Princeapproved ‘Commontime’, in much the same way as ‘Plumb’ followed the sprawling ‘(Measure)’ in double-concentrated form. But it’s a wide open one, with the ambition and scope to tackle themes large and small. The gleeful funk of ‘No King No Princess’ assures David’s son and daughter that they can “play with what you want and ... dress up how you want”, while ‘Daylight Saving’ is a wistful wish to reclaim as a couple the hours spent as parents. And it’s musically open too, with a supporting cast taking in strings, piccolo, flugelhorn and flute, and, particularly, the harmonies of the
lenty of bands set out to start a ruckus. Armed with a six string and a desire to make a bit of a din, they’re generally doomed to being ‘much better live’, occasionally reaching legendary status in their own minds if they’re able to stand still long enough to muster a cohesive thought. That’s not Dream Wife, though. Dream Wife are different. From their first brilliantly discordant steps, they’ve always felt that cut above. Not once has their passion felt forced or showy. From day one, they’ve been an assured, deliberate assault - every move calculated in the moment, matching pinpoint accuracy with the sparks of immediacy. Their debut album isn’t a roll of the
FALL OUT BOY
MA N I Cornshed Sisters and Pete Fraser’s saxes - the grinding baritone driving the elastic ‘Share A Pillow’ or ‘Daylight Saving’’s reflective, sympathetic solo. It all culminates in the glorious finale, ‘Find A Way To Keep Me’, awash with cascading strings, flutes and trumpets. But it’s not all quite so busy. Single ‘Count It Up’ is one of the sparsest, and best, things here, beginning with a skeletal frame of synths and drums and nailing on a plea to add up all the things we should be grateful for: holidays, work, drinkable water… 13 years on, it’s as clear as ever that Field Music should be somewhere near the top of that list. Rob Mesure
dice, but instead, a laser-guided WMD. ‘Let’s Make Out’ throws down a challenge, impossibly cool but never aloof. ‘Hey Heartbreaker’ - already a banger of legendary proportions - is shined up to hit new levels. Dream Wife aren’t just starting the party. They’re closing it down too. Stephen Ackroyd
SOMEONE OUT THERE
If there’s one thing that Fall Out Boy can’t be accused of, it’s standing still. Since reanimating themselves from beyond their ‘hiatus’ grave, they’ve returned a different band. Increasingly playing in more chart-friendly, mainstream waters, Pete Wentz and Co. have admittedly never been a cult affair. Still, ‘M A N I A’ pushes those tendencies further than ever before, from the oh-so-now Latin shuffle of ‘Hold Me Tight (Or Don’t)’ to the fist-pumping triumphalism of ‘Last Of The Real Ones’. The real trick is that Fall Out Boy haven’t moved, so much as their peers remain tied to a sound that never evolved. Rock’s future looks increasingly purple. Dan Harrison
Rae Morris’ debut album was a solid affair. Even that might undersell it somewhat, in all honesty. What it wasn’t - even by the biggest stretch of the imagination - was a marker for an artist about to deliver one of the most exciting, essential pop records of 2018. And yet here we are, kicking off a new year with an album both inventive and fresh, but familiar and assured too. From the spring breeze of ‘Atletico (The Only One)’ to the twinkle-toed, heavyweight punching bop of ‘Do It’, it’s an evolution that skips several steps. Rae Morris belongs in the big leagues now. Underestimate her at your peril. Dan Harrison DOWN WITH BORING
NICK J.D. HODGSON
TELL YOUR FRIENDS
“I SUDDENLY THOUGHT, FUCK THIS, I’M GOING SOLO!” F O R M E R K A I S E R C H I E F, N I C K J D H O D G S O N IS BRANCHING OUT ON HIS OWN WITH A S E N T I M E N TA L D E B U T T H AT S H O W C A S E S H I S K N AC K FO R I RRES I ST I B L E P O P T U N ES . Hey Nick, congrats on the new album - how’re you doing at the moment? Is life good? Life’s great thanks. I did my first solo gig last night, it was sold out (55 people), and they clapped loudly, so I’m happy. Tell us about how you came to make the record. Was there a specific moment that made you think, ‘Right, I’m doing this’? Well, I’ve been producing and writing songs for lots of different artists over the last five years, and that’s fun, but it comes with its fair share of frustration and torment. I was sitting on the floor one night in March this year with a cold feeling sorry for myself, waiting for an email that never came about a song I’d written and I started fiddling around on the guitar and singing. It really was a eureka moment. I just suddenly thought, fuck this I’m going solo! Have you ever toyed with being a solo musician before now? When I was about 18, I thought I’d make solo records after being in a band. I had album titles. One was ‘When Doves Literally Cry’ the other was too rude to print. But since that age I never really thought I would do it, at least that’s what I would say to people, maybe I protested too much. Has going solo and launching your own imprint presented any unexpected challenges? You have to be super organised and reply to emails immediately, or else they get lost in the rubble. I have to deal with things like ISRC
codes and manufacturing dates when I should be throwing TVs out of windows. How have your musical tastes or inspirations evolved over the past 15 years? My inspirations in the early days of the Kaiser Chiefs were a lot more up-tempo and anthemic. Madness, Blondie, Dexy’s, Blur and all that. Stuff that would make a crowd pay attention when we were playing first on the bill at The Dublin Castle. Now I’m a bit more lyric based, I love Father John Misty and Beck, and I think they prove that you can still captivate a crowd by singing good lyrics with an acoustic guitar almost as well as when you’re smashing a drum kit to bits. Almost. Do you want something different out of music now than when you first started out? I’ve always wanted to have songs that are people’s all-time favourites and will be listened to in years to come. I’m just really needy! Which of the songs on ‘Tell Your Friends’ means the most to you? Playing live last night for the first time showed me that the answer to this question is ‘Suitable’. I was a bit emotional when singing that one. For some reason having an actual audience watching made me think about the words a lot more. P Nick JD Hodgson’s debut solo album ‘Tell Your Friends’ is out 26th January.
Everyone has their own style. Nick J.D. Hodgson has spent well over a decade writing hits, first from behind the kit for Kaiser Chiefs, then as a scribe for hire, lending a hand to everyone from Mark Ronson to Rat Boy and, erm, Shirley Bassey. And while some of those songs - especially as t’Chiefs’ creative general - have been unmistakeably ‘his’, ‘Tell Your Friends’ feels like the first time Hodgson has truly sounded like himself. The results are both unexpected and spectacular. Never short of a hook, ‘Honest Face’ is lyrically innocent, but sonically assured - a timeless, almost psychedelic hue cast throughout. ‘Suitable’ glimmers like a slowly spinning glitter-ball at a reunion dance, while ‘Tomorrow I Love You’ sparkles its way to a chorus so comfortable in its own skin it’s positively infectious. The urgent, frantic anthems of old may have largely taken a back seat for now, but as his own man, Hodgson’s innate genius shines brighter than ever before. Stephen Ackroyd
BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE WILL RUIN YOUR LIFE eeee
he Wombats have led a strange life. Born into a scene increasingly bogged down in indie landfill, their debut album sparked and crackled with an energy that - while of its time - did everything it should. Packed with youthful anthems of cross-Atlantic relocations and disco adventures, it was oil to the watered down imitations which followed en mass. The fact remains, no band is better at being The Wombats than The Wombats themselves. That’s exactly the role they find themselves in on ‘Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life’, but while for many the world turns, leaving them behind, for The Wombats it’s spun in their favour. ‘Lemon To A Knife Fight’ sounds just as immediate as any greatest hits, ‘Black Flamingo’ is the sherbet-tinged desert rock banger nobody knew they needed, while ‘I Don’t Know Why
I Like You But I Do’ is a twisting, swooning closer that proves there’s depth below the surface. Never letting life remove the escapist joy from their sound, The Wombats’ genius is in knowing exactly what they’re best at. Dan Harrison
HOLD ON TO YOUR HEART
eeeee From start to finish and top to bottom, ‘Hold On To Your Heart’ feels like a companion piece to 2014’s fantastic ‘There Is Only You’, an album that detailed the breakdown of frontman Murray Macleod’s long-term relationship, in often harrowing detail. Stylistically this is the prequel, with 80s synths and pulsing drum beats replacing the feverish 90s-indebted indie rock. Where ‘There Is Only You’ found anguish and despair in the heartbreak, ‘Hold On To Your Heart’ celebrates life and love. These messages of hope wrapped up in a bunch of sugar-rush rock songs hit the mark as The Xcerts stake their claim. Dillon Eastoe
SILVER DOLLAR MOMENT
eeeee If you look up what a ‘Silver Dollar Moment’ is, you’ll find that it means something that is unexpectedly brilliant. For The Orielles, they’ve always been tremendous, but on their debut album they manage to surpass even that, producing a special collection of tracks that effortlessly fizz through genres and eras with an irresistible charm. The fact this comes from a debut album is mesmerising; brilliance and pure fun meeting in the middle and throwing a spectrum of confetti in the air to mark it all. It’s a simply joyous statement of intent. Jamie Muir
FIRST AID KIT
eeeee Approaching ten years in the game, First Aid Kit came into 2017 balancing critical acclaim with newfound exposure through a series of car commercials. Having reflected on the success of their last two albums, ‘Ruins’ finds the Swedish duo staking their claim as songwriting mainstays. Recorded last winter in Portland, Oregon, across these solemn songs you can almost hear the crunch of leaves underfoot and see the breath misting in the cold air. It’s a bold move for a band firmly on the rise to veer towards the contemplative songs of ‘Ruins’ instead of capitalising on some of the more carefree moments of 2014’s ‘Stay Gold’, but it’s a risk that pays off. Drawing on a range of classic influences and captured expertly on record, ‘Ruins’ cements First Aid Kit’s place in the Americana songbook. Dillon Eastoe
eeeee The floods of 2015, the last minute cancellation of an important US tour, a number of personal tragedies and a dalliance with LCD Soundsystem cover band status seems to have shaped Hookworms’ third full-length album, ‘Microshift’. It’s a dark record tonally, but the clearing of the psych fog that permeated their previous
two albums almost feels like a clearing of the mind; the band ready to tackle these events head-on. The introduction of a more electronic element to ‘Microshift’’s forefront unleashes a whole new side to Hookworms. This is anything but a microshift. Here the band are more willing than ever to open up their sound, to experiment and, ultimately, to create a record that shines in the face of darkness. Chris Taylor
I CAN FEEL YOU CREEP INTO MY PRIVATE LIFE
eeeee The mind of Merrill Garbus must be one of the most magical places imaginable; there’s not another head out there that could possibly be as, well, out there. Four years on from the excellent ‘Nikki Nack’, tUnE-yArDs still have that unmistakable sound straight from some misguided film about a future complete with flying cars and endless beauty. She repeats “I’m only human” on the album’s epic opener ‘Heart Attack’, though you’d be forgiven for mistakenly thinking otherwise, before launching into a complete set of tracks where jazz meets pop over afternoon tea with their old pals electronica and acid seated at the very next table. Art-pop at a peak, it’ll take something special to tussle with the brains of listeners in quite the way this does. With 80s throwback production mixing with an explicitly modern tone, this is exactly the kind of album 2018 needs. Ciarán Steward
Scottish art rockers Django Django are back with ‘Marble Skies’, a more focused and realised ten track piece of work which retains the band’s sound while exploring new avenues. It opens with the energetic, Kraftwerk-inspired title track. Propelled by the percussion of Anna Prior (drummer of fellow indie oddballs Metronomy), it’s a breathless opener with one of the band’s biggest choruses to date: “Take us as we are/We have come too far,” Vincent Neff sings defiantly. It’s followed by the glorious dancehall-flavoured ‘Surface To Air’, sung entirely by Rebecca Taylor from Slow Club. Django Django’s third effort doesn’t quite reach their previous heights, but it’s a solid effort from one of indie’s success stories. Alex Thorp
In recent weeks, Waterparks frontman Awsten Knight has written about his difficulty with ‘Entertainment’, his band’s latest album. Lyrically poking at still open wounds, it’s that raw honesty that seals the three-piece’s ability to connect. In a genre where new faces struggle to stand toe to toe with their increasingly aging legendary peers, Waterparks have broken through with ease. Every moment of awkward emotion is matched with day-glo, singit-back pop punk perfection. An ear for a chorus spins even the saltiest subject in pure sugar. A juxtaposition that’s proven effective time and time again, ‘Entertainment’ may be more popcorn than a three course dinner, but it hits the spot every time. Dan Harrison
DZ Deathrays’ commitment to the glorious din is admirable. From the moment the first riff of the classic rock meets Jane’s Addiction ‘Shred For Summer’ crackles into life, ‘Bloody Lovely’ is the lighter paper to an unholy inferno. It’s the progression in the Aussie two-piece’s sound that really comes to the fore, though. While it all sits under a garage punk umbrella, the scuzzy, riotous thrash of ‘Total Meltdown’ is fantastically fun, while ‘Feeling Good, Feeling Great’ is equal parts sweat and swagger. It’s ‘Bad Influence’ that acts like a singular silver bullet, though. Just over a minute in length, it’s like Scott Pilgrim’s Sex Bob-omb come to life. There’s no greater compliment than that. Stephen Ackroyd
his feels like an end of a beautiful, insane chapter.” That’s what Ezra Furman said about ‘Big Fugitive Life’, collecting the last few scraps by his band The Boy-Friends: Jorgen, Ben, Sam and Tim. Now, they’re gone, and he’s back with The Visions: Tim, Sam, Ben and Jorgen. The personnel might be the same, and there might be songs with a similar shape to what went before - “an off-kilter version of a retro band”, in Furman’s words, with such righteous touchstones as Springsteen, Lou Reed and Jonathan Richman - but ‘Transangelic Exodus’ is a different beast to the raucous, garagey ‘Day of the Dog’ or 2015’s giddy, rousing ‘Perpetual Motion People’. And it has teeth, gnawing ragged, gory chunks out of the Boy-Friends’ soda-shop doo-wop and rock’n’roll; peeling away the flesh and exposing distorted, toxic plasma pulsing through the heart of the American Dream.
explosive, ‘Driving Down to L.A.’, the car might be heading “into the ocean, maybe”, while ‘God Lifts Up The Lonely’ - addressing Furman’s Jewish faith, with a final verse chanted in Hebrew - admits, over cello and warm, woody bass, that “we’ll never make it on the mean streets”.
‘Suck the Blood From My Wound’ a grubbily jubilant ‘Thunder Road’ begins the album’s loose narrative, exploring Furman’s gender-fluid identity through the idea of people becoming angels, growing wings which are surgically unfurled. Ezra springs his postoperative angel from the hospital and hits the highway, heading “off the grid… off the meds… out on our own”, toying with timeworn romanticised ideas of gleaming bonnets and the longed-for freedom (“to them, we’ll always be freaks”) of the open road. It’s a theme the album returns to, but in the sparse and freaked-out, then
But for all the lows - the tender ‘Psalm 151’, or the barfly noir of the Tom Waits-ian ‘Come Here And Get Away From Me’, there are highs - the fidgety, angular ‘Maraschino-Red Dress $8.99 at Goodwill’, or the final, triumphant ‘I Lost My Innocence’ , ticking the off-kilter and retro boxes. And in ‘Love You So Bad’, there’s something like perfect pop. Heartfelt and sparse, with ELOesque backing “s-so bad”s and a sawing cello pulse, it’s one of Furman’s purest and best songs. Less of an instant hit than ‘. .. People’, less of a rush than ‘. ..Dog’, this is a fascinating, mature set from an artist who feels as vital as ever. Hopefully, it’s not so much ‘next chapter’ as the beginning of a whole new saga. Rob Mesure
lways Ascending’ is a sizeable rebirth for Franz Ferdinand after losing one original member but gaining two in return. It’s easy to separate the touches of the band’s classic sounds from the new, futuristic influences but ultimately they combine well with tracks like ‘Finally’ blending sound together nicely while ‘The Academy Award’ combines familiar, classic sounds with dissonant vocals to create a hypnotic campfire tale. Everything has a greater electronic twinge than before, yet Alex Kapranos’s voice and Bob Hardy’s basslines remain such a defining feature of the band’s presence that you’ll not for a second dare think you’re listening to anyone else. There’s more variety than casual fans might expect as the band go out on a limb to take more risks than ever before via a hefty swing in production changes and the grooves seem to be for movers
KNOWING WHAT YOU KNOW NOW
eeee With their second album, ‘Knowing What You Know Now’, Marmozets waste no time in getting back to business, kicking off with the unhinged and danceable brilliance of ‘Play’. It’s a good indication of what to expect from the record, as the band showcase their madness in a more refined form than previous outings. This would be the album to cement Marmozets’ place above their peers, if they had any. Instead it serves to remind the world why they’re truly one of a kind. Brad Thorne
with far less rigid shapes than previous albums. It’s impossible to ignore electronic input - a real change in tone from 2013’s guitar-fest ‘Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action’ - yet this slightly unpredictable path signals a willingness to adapt. Trying to reinvent yourself is never easy to do, but this feels like a renaissance for a band whose songs still routinely swell around football grounds. This album isn’t for the three-minute indie song lovers, more those willing to wander just outside their comfort zone. Ciarán Steward
eee Tonight Alive have gone in for reinvention. Now signed to Hopeless Records, ‘Underworld’ sees the band veer away from the poppier, anthemic choruses of old, for a more twisted collection of tunes. Jenna McDougall’s catchiest vocal hooks match the heavier guitar sound well, and though at times it’s a little clichéd lyrically, with tracks like ‘Temple’ and guest spots from Lynn Gunn (PVRIS) and Corey Taylor (Slipknot), this exploration results in a fair few bangers. Nariece Sanderson
DOWN WITH BORING
AMAZONS ANY OTH ER Q U E S T I O N S WITH...
This month, Matt from The Amazons runs the gauntlet of our random, stupid queries.
None really. I love when bands don’t reform and don’t try to recreate the magic.
felt at the time I made it look kind of natural, but watching it back, I really didn’t.
Hello. How are you? Good thanks. Been at home for a couple of days after a long tour.
What is your earliest memory? Dancing around the living room with my mum singing along to music. Everything from Springsteen to Simply Red.
What’s your biggest fear? Death.
What have you been up to today? I’ve been watching a lot of music documentaries in my room with the curtains shut. 8 Days A Week and Gimme Danger are great. Tell us a secret about yourself? This almost never happened. I got accepted to a Medieval History course at Winchester University and didn’t drop out till the last minute. What was the first record you bought? ‘Hybrid Theory’ by Linkin Park. I played it very loud in my bedroom pretty much every day I got home from school. What’s your biggest accomplishment? So far, releasing the album this year. When’s your birthday? 22nd November. We spent it this year in Paris on tour; it was wild. What strength Nandos sauce do you order? Started on Lemon and Herb but I’ve been steadily turning up the heat in the last year. I think I could handle the dizzy heights of Medium now. Which defunct band would you most like to reform?
You have to support either U2 or Red Hot Chili Peppers on tour. Who do you pick? Extremely hard decision. Love both bands a lot. I’ll pick the Red Hot Chili Peppers purely because one of my first ever shows was them at the Madejski Stadium in Reading. How tall are you? 6 foot 2 I believe. How punk are you out of ten? I just finished the Iggy Pop doc ‘Gimme Danger’, and I like to feel like one of the characters after I watch these kinds of films, so I’m feeling a good 7. If you could have a super power of your choosing, what would it be? To be instantly fluent in every language would be very useful. What did you last dream about? The world ending. Have you ever fallen over onstage? Yes. A good friend of ours Phoebe Fox got it all on video too. It was at the Boilerroom in Guildford, and I was right at the front of the stage, in front of the monitors. I stepped back and tripped over one of them. I turned it into a kind of roll though, got up, took my guitar off and stage dived into the crowd. I
What’s the most impressive thing
you can cook? My housemate taught me how to make vegan banana bread. It’s delicious AND ethical.
was nothing else out there.
Do you believe in aliens? Who doesn’t? The universe is so vast it would be strange if there
The Amazons tour the UK from 1st February.
Have you got any secret tattoos? Not yet... P
Featuring Shame, Dream Wife, Ezra Furman, Spector, The Wombats, Django Django and loads more.