Dork, July 2020

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ISSUE 45 JULY 2020 READDORK.COM

DOWN WITH BORING

HAIM


NO B O DY AS KE D. W E D I D I T A N Y WAY .

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INDEX

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July 2020 | readdork.com | Down With Boring

26

Ø4

Intro 26

Features

16

Hype 58

Incoming

** BAND INDEX ** BAND INDEX **

Alfie Templeman 50 KennyHoopla

ED’S LETTER

HAIM

After a year of new tracks, Haim are finally ready to drop their third album. This time, they’re putting it all out there.

34

With her much anticipated second full-length, there’s no stopping Phoebe Bridgers now.

38

GLASS ANIMALS

A lot can happen in just four years, and Glass Animals have been through more than their fair share.

With ‘RTJ4’, band of the moment have released their most laser-focused, highintensity record yet.

16

Best Ex Blossoms Bombay Bicycle Club

BENEE

DREAM WIFE

One of punk-stroke-rockstroke-pop’s most ferocious and well-loved bands, Dream Wife’s second album is no holds barred.

BTS

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7

Charli XCX

LOVE FAME TRAGEDY

It’s time for the debut album from Murph ‘from the Wombats’: Love Fame Tragedy has arrived.

MXMTOON

Everyone’s favourite bedroom pop teen mxmtoon is making her mark with new EP combo, ‘dawn’ and ‘dusk’.

Christopher Cross

31

Crack Cloud

19

Creeper

38

54

Dead Pony

S tephen

Vistas are saving a washout summer with an album chock-full of feel good indie vibes.

‘EDITOR’ @STEPHENACKROYD

15, 47

Olivia Dean

17 44, 47

Phoebe Bridgers

31

Pizzagirl

10

Powfu

16

19 Rolling Blackouts CF

Drug Store Romeos

11, 48

11 Run The Jewels 47 Silverbacks 11

FKA Twigs

Soccer Mommy

Fontaines DC

31 Soko 15 Sorry

Georgia

15 Sports Team

47

Honey Lung

15 15 9

7, 15, 20

31 The Academic 15, 19

15, 47

Hinds

19 48

Glass Animals 13, 15 The 1975 Greta Thunberg

13 19

Sinead O’Brien

Everything Everything

IDER

VISTAS

11 18

Rina 31 Sawayama 15, 40, 47

Cutty Ranks

Hayley Williams

19

Orlando 15, 49 Weeks

Empress Of

46

14

15 Moses Sumney

Brad Stank

New Zealand pop sensation Benee is taking off after the runaway success of her breakthrough hit.

42

Arlo Parks

The Aces

34, 48

The Big Moon

The Howl 46 & The Hum 7 The Temptations

15 48 31

Jack Garratt

46 Tim Healy

31

Jade Hairpins

46 Vistas

48

Jehnny Beth

46 Walt Disco

15

Katie Malco

47 Weird Milk

13

Kelly Lee Owens

12 Westerman

48

ON THE DORK STEREO THIS MONTH... DECLAN MCKENNA

Zeros

Our Deccers’ long-awaited second album is everything we could have wanted and much, much more. The boy wonder may have been replaced by a slightly younger version now (hi, Alfie Templeman, 17), but his prodigal son of indie status remains intact.

THE MAGIC GANG

The Death of the Party

Delayed but soon to hit the airwaves, The Magic Gang’s second full-length is the infectious, melodic masterpiece we all expect.

BLOXX

Lie Out Loud Everyone loves a bit of indie, right? That’s exactly what

you’re getting a 100% proof shot of on Bloxx’s debut. The Dork faves sound every bit as glorious, immediate and anthemic as you’d expect. One to get excited by.

SPORTS TEAM

Deep Down Happy Here’s the thing, Dear Reader. When you’ve collectively bought about 700 bundles of Sports Team’s debut album in

order to help them try to get a UK Album Chart number one, and then you’ve also ended up buying downloadable copies on every conceivable platform in the last couple of hours in order to give it that final push, you feel you have to listen to it Quite A Lot to get your money’s worth. Good job it’s a great record, eh? The true number two of our hearts.

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PHOEBE BRIDGERS

It’s been a strange old year so far, Dear Reader. Yeah - I know - so much, so obvious. While the world went on pause, and then quickly felt to fall apart around our ears, there’s been a lot going on. Much of it very, very important indeed. But on the other hand, a lot hasn’t been happening, too: no live music, no festivals, no seeing your mates at a show, no getting excited about putting plans in the diary, and - to an extent - less new music out there to enjoy. As artists shifted release dates back to cope with the everchanging landscape, we’ve had some great records arrive over the last few months, but others made the call to reschedule to a point where hopefully they’d have chance to get their proverbial ducks in a row. Thankfully, it feels like this month is the one where the floodgates open. Cover stars Haim return with an album perfectly capable of saving the summer, while Phoebe Bridgers’ second full-length is doubtlessly one of the records of the year to date. Run The Jewels’ much anticipated ‘RTJ4’ also gets that tag, with added heft and importance given current world events. Dork faves Dream Wife and Glass Animals are providing some riotously good fun, while Murph ‘from The Wombats’ continues to provide bitter-sweet distractions with his Love Fame Tragedy solo project. The world may be burning, but the soundtrack is great.

RUN THE JEWELS

6, 47

19 Larry Pink The Human 15 LAV 46 Matt Bellamy 11 Mealtime

Aluna

Ø4

15

8 LA Priest

ALMA


INTRO

DMA’S p. 8

THE BEATING HEART OF POP.

walking in With ‘RTJ4’, band of the moment RUN THE JEWELS have released their most laser-focused, high-intensity record yet. “We want every punch to land,” the duo explain.

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Words: Jake Hawkes. Photos: Tim Saccenti.

JULY 2020

DORK


GRAND PAX p. 10

THE ACADEMIC p. 12

LIME CORDIALE p. 14

n the snow 5 READDORK.COM


INTRO 6

EL-P AND KILLER MIKE ARE ABOUT TO DROP THEIR FOURTH ALBUM AS RUN THE JEWELS. It’s a longevity that they didn’t plan for when they first started making music under the name. “We had no fucking clue,” laughs El-P, lighting an apple which he’s fashioned into a makeshift bong (needs must in lockdown, apparently). “I knew that we were dope, but I was gonna be happy if we got to tour the country and do five hundred-person to a thousandperson venues,” he continues. Instead, they’ve become a household name and eclipsed the success either of them had in their respective solo careers, something they weren’t exactly expecting to happen in their mid-40s. Even a worldwide pandemic hasn’t been enough to dent their success, with Run The Jewels 4 holding firm at its scheduled June release date and at one point beating out Lady Gaga for the most pre-ordered album on iTunes, although El-P is putting that down to “some sort of weird glitch in the system” more than anything else. As El expresses his disbelief at the success the duo are having, Killer Mike dials in on FaceTime from his car and takes over where he leaves off: “I knew this shit could be big, should be big, but I didn’t know if it would be big and I didn’t know the depth of what bigness it would be.” Throughout the call, the two take it in turns to give opinions, back each other up and crack jokes, not once disagreeing or talking over each other. “I knew that El and I had something special,” Mike continues. “But the one thing you can’t account for is luck. You can’t account for the luck of bumping into Zack [de la Rocha] and him jumping on a record because the two of you hit it off getting a coffee one time. You can’t account for the luck of one half of the group stumping for a presidential candidate that happens to be the most popular amongst the music-listening age group,” he says, referencing his high profile and long-standing support for Bernie Sanders. “You can’t account for all that, you just have to do the right thing in the right moments and hope it leads to these things. Having said that, when I first saw kids in the audience cheering for Run The Jewels harder than for El-P and Killer Mike, that was crazy. That was when I knew we’d done it, because these kids weren’t there for me or for El, they were fucking with us for the same reason hot wings and blue cheese sauce go together in Atlanta, or pastrami and rye goes together in New York – RTJ was just a combo that made sense. So I knew the group was gonna take us somewhere, I didn’t know where exactly, but somewhere. At our most difficult day it is a joy to be in the studio making music we love and a joy not to be in a studio forced to make music we hate just to stay relevant.” El nods in agreement. “We’ve experienced some jaw-dropping shit in our time, and we’ve been around long enough, so when we saw what unfolded with this group...” He shrugs and holds his arms out. “You hear about shit like that happening for artists, and we’ve sort of brushed against it in the past, but to actually feel that energy reaching people in such a broad way, it’s a crazy rush. I’m of the opinion that you have to be able to recognise magic a little bit. This is a gift, and we’re gonna do everything we can on our side to make sure we’re worthy of it.”

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DORK

Part of avoiding putting a foot wrong is taking the time to make sure each project is as perfect as it can be before release – something the duo have learned from years in the game. “I’m not about throwing it all out there and releasing a long-ass album, I did that shit when I was 25, but not now,” says El. “We want every punch to land on our albums, so with ‘RTJ4’ we worked on tightening everything up and making sure that every moment is a payoff and lands in exactly the right way. I think for our last album we allowed ourselves to go a little further in terms of length and we were conscious of that as we were doing it, but fuck it, we earned it. Then we came to this one, and it just felt right to make it sleek and to the point – we weren’t holding ourselves back in any way, it just felt right.” “It’s the best album we’ve ever made,” adds Mike. “I think each album has gotten progressively better for different reasons, but this one cuts as deep as anything in ‘RTJ3’, we pop off as well as we do on ‘RTJ2’ and we’ve got the surprise factor that ‘RTJ1’ had. I think we refined all our best qualities in one record and we pushed ourselves the hardest we ever have. Lyrically we were brutal – we went back to some of the tracks, and if there were even two bars in that bitch that bothered me or El we let each other know, and we ripped it apart. We were determined not to be defeated by our own legend; I don’t want to be defeated by your affection for my last record, my job is to show

“When you get the opportunity to say something, and it’s the right thing to do, you do it” KILLER MIKE

up and make you pay attention to the right now.” “I always back away from statements about whether or not it’s our best album,” says El. “Because you don’t have to say it is, but to some degree the artistic mind makes you believe it is. Every time you do a record, that new material is the stuff you’re most excited about and the stuff you care about the most. I’ll leave it up to more skilled critics to decide where we land [thanks, but your trust could be misplaced... – Ed] but I will say one thing: we try and walk away from these albums without one moment of regret, and we really push each other in that regard. We don’t leave any stone unturned in terms of how we feel about it, and I absolutely think this album is worthy of the Run The Jewels name, that’s how I’d put it. “It’s been a year and a half of work too, and we toured for nearly that amount of time after the third album, so we’ve been pretty busy with it all, we’re excited to get it out there. Having said that you’re not suddenly going to hear two different dudes on the record – it’s still us, we’re just not done talking, and we’ve got plenty of shit we wanna say and do. Each of these records stands on their own, but they’re linked by us and the things we believe and feel. You won’t be tuning in and thinking ‘I can’t believe El-P sounds like that!’ It’s still me.” P READ MORE IN THE JULY ISSUE OF UPSET MAGAZINE. RUN THE JEWELS’ ALBUM ‘RTJ4’ IS OUT NOW.


CHVRCHES Photo: Patrick Gunning.


INTRO 8

Gearing up to release their third album, DMA’S are at the forefront of a new wave of festival headliners - and, global pandemic aside, they show no signs of slowing down. Words: Jamie Muir.

JULY 2020

DORK


“It can all be quite scary sometimes because you’re growing up in the public eye. That’s quite a scary thing” JOHNNY TOOK

FYI BOY PABLO has announced plans for his debut album. Titled ‘Wachito Rico’, it’s set for release on 23rd October. It comes alongside a lead single ‘hey girl’, which is streaming online now. “The lyrics of ‘hey girl’ are written from the point of view of a young boy who is in love for the first time and wants to make a move on this girl,” he explains. “He’s nervous, shy and shaky, but dares to jump into it and talks to the girl. ‘I just wanna go home’ is about getting older and realising how much responsibility you are left with as an adult, and getting lost in the confusion that comes with trying to navigate the landscape of adulthood.” THE NATIONAL have announced new rescheduled dates for their anticipated shows at London’s Brixton Academy Promising ‘unique sets’, they were originally due to play this June - however due to *ALL THIS* The National have had to reschedule their shows for next summer. Taking to the stage at London’s Brixton Academy on May 25th + 26th now, tickets booked for the original shows remain valid

when talking to Stuart before the album was just… he really believed in the songs. He could hear that we were a bunch of kids who kinda write indie-pop songs, but I think he saw a vision of what we could really be. I think he saw it in Tommy’s voice, that it could be bigger than that, y’know?” Amplified to new levels, there’s a fresh pop sensibility to DMA’s swagger this time around. ‘Criminals’ is a chopping cut of stuttering electro and smooth pop, ‘Strangers’ and its prowling darkness is both chilling and emphatic while the punchy ‘Hello Girlfriend’, ‘Round And Around’ and ‘Never Before’ is practically inviting pandemonium once gigs return to the fore. ‘Appointment’ is a blissful ode and on the other side, album closer ‘Cobracaine’ is their most enticing release to date - a Pet Shop Boys track born again in DMA’s image. Their most complete album to date, it’s one without compromise. Many bands end up stuck in a rut on album number three. Instead, DMA’s growth is just getting started. “That’s what I love about DMA’s,” opens up Johnny. “We’ve never felt, y’ know, pressured into being anything that we’re not and we’ve kinda grown with our own sound. I think our fans have grown with us as well. I remember releasing ‘In The Air’ and ‘The End’ and people being a bit sceptical at the time because it wasn’t ‘Lay Down’ or ‘Play It Out’, but those songs ended up becoming people’s favourite songs, and I think there are tracks on this album that will do the same thing.” An exciting invitation into what comes next, ‘The Glow’ is the album DMA’s have been primed to make for a number of years. Unexpected in parts, exhilarating throughout and taking that unstoppable core to amplified surround-sound screens - it’s a dazzling next step for a band only just getting started. “It’s pretty incredible, man. We’ve got to pinch ourselves,” cracks Johnny. Their next step after ‘The Glow’ is to celebrate it all at London’s Alexandra Palace - a huge night for a band with a fresh album born for that very moment. It’s set to be a coronation and gives Johnny a moment to take a look back at what’s led them to now. Even if he doesn’t like thinking squarely of the past. “Y’know, we make an effort to stop and smell the roses a bit because I think it’s easy to rush through life and not pat yourself on the back a bit and say ‘hey, like… fuck!’ We’re a bunch of guys from the inner-west of Sydney, and now we’ve just played a sold-out Brixton Academy, with Alexandra Palace hopefully in October too. It’s… It’s…” There’s a pause. “Not many people get to do that in life, especially to do that on the other side of the world, so we’re pretty humbled and excited.” “I’m lucky I guess, I don’t really look back. You can look back on certain moments or performances and wish things were better but y’ know what - it was all part of this journey, and it’s real. I kinda like that.” Until then, DMA’s are taking this time to write and create - already plotting in the back of their minds what comes next. There’s no slowing them down now. “Right now it’s a scary time, but it’s important for us that the album comes out and we’ll be ready to go. It is what it is, and we’re lucky that we have this record finished and it’s something we’re really proud of.” Pigeonhole DMA’s at your peril, theirs is a glow only getting brighter and brighter. P DMA’S ALBUM ‘THE GLOW’ IS OUT 10TH JULY.

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UK and how much Britain has kinda taken us under their wing,” notes Johnny. “We kinda feel like we are in that tier of bands now going around the festival circuit that people have embraced and it’s kinda inspiring, y’ know? That’s what particularly makes the release of this album so exciting… like with the first EP and album, some of those songs are some of the most important songs we’ve ever written, but I guess maybe we didn’t have that following for word to go round as much as we do now.” ‘The Glow’ doesn’t try to hide its ambition in any way. An amalgamation of everything DMA’s have done so far with an added shot of something bigger, it’s a band growing in front of people’s eyes. Of wanting to be that band performing to tens of thousands in festival fields and arenas around the globe. “I think our songs have always had a bit of [ambition] to them, but this album is something different and unique for us,” lays out Johnny. Taking things to new levels can be found squarely in the creative process around ‘The Glow’. With a near-constant work ethic that finds the trio working on songs wherever they go, whether together, apart or with producer Scott Horscroft on tracks like the epic ‘Silver’ and ‘Round And Around’, they found themselves teaming up with renowned producer to the stars Stuart Price on a large portion of the record - adding new dynamics to sounds they previously would never have thought of. “Y’know, he’s worked with the likes of Madonna, Pet Shop Boys, New Order, The Killers - the list goes on,” laughs Johnny. “He’s immensely hands-on and a bit of a musical genius, which was good for us because we like working with people who are that handson and know their music. We had that 10% of leeway when going into the studio, to just see where we could take things, and we’d all sit around the room bouncing ideas off each other and going through our phones with different like memos and voice recordings.” Setting up the studio in a way that reminded the band of their debut album ‘Hill’s End’ and its bedroom recording beginnings with a sofa front and centre and amps scattered around - they were free to take in and experiment in any way they chose fit, with everything in arms reach.’ Life Is A Game Of Changing’, a spinning highlight from ‘The Glow’, went from a track partly written across a number of years and cities to a synth-filled guitar world that echoes late-night club emotion. “We were just free to try things out, Stuart suggesting things and us going with it all. Stuff like that just took the songs to the next level that we wouldn’t have thought about before. “It was all really new to us, some of the things we were trying out in the studio, and from that, I think that songs shone more because of it. No idea was stupid. No idea was dumb. Stuart would explore every idea that anyone brought in - and would explore it to the very end. It’s funny because when you think of working with like a big scary producer that it would be the opposite but he was really the most chilled person I’ve ever worked with in the studio.” That growth and development all comes from what is engrained in DMA’s DNA. Being the type of band where thousands of fans flock to their every show and sings as loud as they can throughout. At their core, it’s that ability to write peerless indie anthems for a new generation - and their potential for something even greater than that. “One thing that really stood out and was great

INTRO

IT’S A FRIDAY NIGHT IN LONDON, 6TH MARCH TO BE PRECISE, AND DMA’S ARE ABOUT TO STEP ON STAGE AT BRIXTON ACADEMY. It’s a sell-out night, tickets snapped up in a matter of moments, and arguably one of their most significant points to date. The years of grafting away, playing every festival they could and jumping at any opportunity to get back on the road has led to this. What’s even more remarkable is that this isn’t the end of album crowning but only the beginning, the first mark in the sand for what’s to come. They’ll step on stage and across nearly an hour and a half, put on one of their greatest shows to date to over 5,000 die-hard fans screaming along with every note - even recent releases such as ‘Silver’ and the barely week-old ‘Life Is A Game Of Changing’. It’s a night they and everyone gathered will talk about for a long time… but with an added significance that nobody could see coming. “It was amazing,” reflects guitarist Johnny Took, sitting in his Melbourne home and casting his mind back to that night. “It was just before this complete anarchy kicked in, and just was a really special show for us, particularly because it was in London too. We’ve always had an amazing reaction in the north of the UK but to see that in London was a completely different beast. “We’ve had a lot of messages saying that was the last night a lot of people went out…” While the world has stopped, its timing seemed a particular spanner into a year that was shaping up to be DMA’s most transformative. Their return to headline a string of festivals at the start of May (including Live At Leeds) has been scuppered, but that doesn’t put a dimmer on ‘The Glow’ - their bold third studio album that doesn’t so much as cement their place as a band carving their own path, but establishes DMA’s as a band continuing to rise and rise to the very top. A complete record that elevates in every way on their previous two records, it’s a confident reach for stadium-sized glory. The results speak for themselves, and as the sun opens up once again - it’s one that takes on a whole new meaning. Johnny ponders: “Y’know, we’d done the indie-guitar jangly-pop kinda thing quite a bit, and we didn’t want to just do that again. When we first came out, we never hid the fact that we love 90s Britpop music but at the same time… that was a cool place to start, but it’s not like we want to be doing that for the rest of our lives! Obviously, there are still elements of that in there, in our songwriting and whatnot, but we didn’t want to make that record again. We love pop music, and we love dance production and those electronic elements, and it’s important for us to keep pushing ourselves. It can all be quite scary sometimes because you’re really, realistically, growing up in the public eye. That’s quite a scary thing.” From the first rings of debut offerings ‘Feels Like 37’ and their self-titled EP bow, DMA’s seemed born with that untouchable ability to unite thousands in one mass moment. A soaring knack for making you want to grab the nearest person and sing your lungs out. The rest of the story seemed inevitable, blossoming not only in Australia but particularly in the UK feeling like a long-lost favourite from a time where guitar music ruled the charts and airwaves. DMA’s were practically welcomed as one of the UK’s own, honorary Brits if that ever was a term to be bandied about. “The whole journey has been pretty amazing, especially not being from the

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INTRO

GRAND PAX ’S NOSTALGIA PLAYLIST

FLEETWOOD MAC

Dreams

Any song that takes you from here, to there is nostalgic. I used to run to this song, same route every time, same playlist. An old girlfriend introduced me to a lot of music, and this song puts me in our old dusty flat. I like that I know where they were when they recorded this record. I watched the sound city documentary, and I feel like I can feel what she’s feeling when I hear her voice, on any record. She is raw, like the burn in your chest after a strong drink.

HERE’S THE THING OR: YES. WE’VE ASKED SPORTS TEAM’S ALEX RICE TO ‘DO’ US A ‘COLUMN’. WHAT’S THE WORST THAT COULD HAPPEN...?

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THIS MONTH: THE JOY OF PUBS MISS PUBS, BUT IT’S N IHARD TO WORK OUT WHY. We don’t have a garden in Camberwell, but if we did we could feasibly put out wooden benches, a table, buy pint glasses, a selection of lagers and drink them colder and cheaper than if we were at a real pub, but that wouldn’t make me happy. I like talking shop with label functionaries and the sense that the night could end up anywhere if you start at a pub, most likely at ours, at a table with shop-bought lagers, full of joy. The thing is the rounds, though. Exchanging cash for goods and services in turn. Look at the Trobriand Islands in Southeast Melanesia; they have a whole system set up to exchange bracelets over 18 islands. In the Kula Ring people canoe for days just to swap them around, they’re worth is solely dependent on the amount of people they’ve been traded with, they’re the main source of prestige when things are stable. And, because of that people have to be good to each other if they ever want to attain prestige. Rounds are this; they transcend capitalism. Purchases aren’t logical, you’re not a consumer if you buy pints, you’re investing in a deep friendship you wouldn’t trust an acquaintance with, you’re in a power circuit where all that matters is the promise of future pints and the love of the people you drink them with, and that’s probably the most subversive thing you could do in the world. P SPORTS TEAM’S DEBUT ALBUM ‘DEEP DOWN HAPPY’ IS OUT NOW

JULY 2020

DORK

THE STONES ROSES I Wanna Be Adored

GRAND PAX IS GEARING UP TO RELEASE HER NEW THREE-TRACK EP, ‘PWR’. Due on 26th June via Blue Flowers and featuring her tracks ‘PWR’, ‘Blur’ and ‘One Of Us’, it’s a thoughtful collection with muses on hope and intimacy. To celebrate the imminent release, Grand Pax has put together a playlist full of nostalgic classics, perfect for reflective, hazy summer evenings, and, well, it’s a bit grey today but this afternoon would probably be fine, too.

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FRANK OCEAN

Solo

I mean, someone pretty important gave me this record, and I still listen to it pretty much every day at some point. He writes how I think, thoughts coming at you, sped up, always seeing life, from all angles, and its always nostalgic, and for me its always the colour of the sky just as the sun goes down, in the summer. It’s all prickly heat, and cool air, parliament hill. It’s multiple tracks of his voice, pitched up, or down, and organs, old sounds, new sounds, bass, beats. He catches bits of melody like smoke, pulled from the air, strung up like paper banners, each linked like hands being held, a chain of events. Its fucking magic.

NICK MULVEY

Fever to the Form

I was standing behind the bar, it was summer, and I had one of these moments that seemed to last a whole summer, and this tune was playing, maybe it triggered it. But I see myself, and I see my life then, and I feel all those troubles bubbling underneath me, and I see the faces that I clung to then, and it still gets me, man. It’s a real thing. It really gets to you when it’s real, when the truth speaks to you.

PRINCE

Purple Rain

This track for me never fades. No matter where I am or what I’m doing, I get a warm feeling, like seeing an old friend. Think it depicts pretty adequately how it is to feel love, and let it just exist outside of yourself, outside of your control.

We used to drive around in an old balanced up racer, and blast this. It made me feel, validated. being a songwriter, being on stage, it can make you, and it can humble you. It really comes down to the time and place. Maybe you have to have that appetite for attention in order to even make it that far. But you don’t get on the stage because you want to be ignored. You want to be adored. And so what.

BOB MARLEY

Waiting in Vain

Man, when I hear this track, I feel so young and innocent. This is how you should tell somebody you want them right, this is happy and sad, it’s warm and it’s like, it’s cool if you don’t want me, just let me know. I can’t wait around forever, but I’ll wait for a while. Hit me back.

THE SUPREMES

Baby Love

This song always makes me smile. I like the way they all recorded in the same room at the same time. You can hear that. You can tell what era of music it is by the style of pro-action. You can’t really say that these days. Imitation is too powerful. But the sound of these records are like the way an old photo looks. You can tell if you know it, where it’s coming from.

BILLIE HOLIDAY I’ll Be Seeing You

Romance at its finest. Her voice always rung out, distressed. Her voice sounds passed down, like it had been worn before, felt pain before. Like the moon or something. Sounds as if you’ve heard it before.

SOULS OF MISCHIEF

93 ‘Til Infinity

Just like hearing voices that sound like they coming in direct from another time. I feel I’m there, an American vibe, California in the summer, back in the 90s, all high tops, blue skies, and hip hop was ripe man, all the records from that era for me hold the same sweetness, blends of beats, bass and something sweet. SCAN THIS CODE IN THE SPOTIFY MOBILE APP TO LISTEN NOW!

ALL KILLER SANDWICH FILLER

WHAT DOES YOUR FAVOURITE POP STAR LIKE TO PUT IN THEIR SARNIE? THE BIG QUESTIONS, ANSWERED.

THIS MONTH...

THE BANG BANG BANGIN’ BAGEL

by Lauran Hibberd

The ‘I watch my waist’ but still enjoy the taste. This is my go-to, and the crown-wearing sarnie in the Hibberd household. Living on the Isle of Wight, it’s easy to get fresh and locally sourced ingredients. So I be helping thy neighbour if you know what I’m sayin’. INGREDIENTS: + 1 x Bagel (New York Bakery Co – Sesame) + Red Pepper Hummus (Preferably the Tesco one – unreal scenes) + Handful of wild Rocket (no substitute lettuce, don’t dare iceberg me) + Light Mayonnaise + Sliced Cucumber + Turkey Breast Slices + Pepper INSTRUCTIONS 1. Wear something comfy and breathable, like a Lauran Hibberd t-shirt (available on lauranhibberd. com) and wash your hands (you know why). 2. Slice your bagel in half, making sure you haven’t got one side way thicker than the other (rookie). Get ready to start building this baby from the bottom up, and spread a thin layer of light mayo on the base. 3. Slice your cucumber (real thin) and decorate it around the base of the bagel, so it covers the circle. Smiley face shapes are encouraged. 4. Slice the turkey breast thinly and follow the same decorative and circular motion around the base of the bagel. Once you have done this, it’s key to season (Ramsay style). Lightly sprinkle some pepper across your work so far. And Breathe out! 5. Use only half of your rocket and rest it on top of the turkey breast, you will need the other half for later on. (lol at how technical I am). 6. On the top half of the bagel (that should have nothing on yet), apply generously (mmmm) the red pepper hummus. Putting it on the top layer will help make the bagel stick and feel like one with its other half. (It’s important they remain friends.) 7. Place the top half (the hummus half) on top of the base of the bagel and push down gently. With the remainder of your rocket, fill up the bagel hole in the centre (just cuz it looks fancy). 8. Sit back, relax, have some squash – listen to ‘Old Nudes’ by Lauran Hibberd and bang bang bang that bagel. P


ARLO PARKS

Photo: Patrick Gunning.


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INTRO

E SONGS WERE O REACH PEOPLE”

With an EP born from recording sessions with a former Kaiser Chief, and a big old headline tour on the horizon, Irish up-and-comers THE ACADEMIC aren’t letting lockdown get them down.

FOLLOWING THE RELEASE OF THEIR DEBUT ALBUM BACK IN 2018, IRISH QUARTET THE ACADEMIC HAVE SPENT PRETTY MUCH EVERY WAKING MINUTE ON THE ROAD. They’ve played a lot of gigs. A lot. Now though, as they prepare for an autumn headline run which may or may not happen (keep your fingers crossed, etc. etc.) they’re sharing their new EP, ‘Acting My Age’. Frontman Craig Fitzgerald tells us more.

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HI CRAIG, HOW’S IT GOING? ARE YOU HAVING A FUN DAY? It’s going good, thanks. It’s been a pretty relaxing day so far, am enjoying the good weather but suffering from hay-fever!

IT MUST BE DIFFICULT TRYING TO GET ON WITH BAND BUSINESS AT THE MO, HAVE YOU HAD TO CANCEL OR POSTPONE MUCH? As far as touring goes, it’s been a complete write-off. We were just back from a show in Dubai and about to head out on a big UK and European headline tour, and it’s just got completely wiped out. We’ve been able to reschedule our dates for the autumn, so hopefully, that will still go ahead, and we can get back to doing what we all love. HOW SENSITIVE ARE YOU LOT TO CURRENT EVENTS, DOES THE NEWS GET YOU DOWN? IS IT TOUGH TO BE CREATIVE WHEN THE WORLD’S IN CHAOS? There is a real existential fear about the state of the world right now, so I think it is pretty difficult not to be affected by what is going on. From a creative standpoint, in one way nothing has really changed too much as far as we can still get a lot of stuff done, but in another way, the whole context of it has changed. I think it is okay to let your creativity go if you need to focus on the world around you. YOU SHOT A VIDEO DURING LOCKDOWN, RIGHT? HOW WAS THAT? We had planned out a really great video for ‘Anything Could Happen’ and the night before we were due to fly to London to make it, everything got shut down, so it never happened. The news just seemed to be a never-ending barrage of negativity, so we decided

CRAIG FITZGERALD

FYI STORMZY has released a new statement of intent, pledging a whopping 10 million pounds to fighting racial inequality. The funds will be released over a ten year period, going to organisations, charities and movements that are committed to the cause. “We have to fight against the odds of a racist system stacked against us and designed for us to fail from before we are even born,” he says. “Black people have been playing on an uneven field for far too long and this pledge is a continuation in the fight to finally try and even it.” BOMBAY BICYCLE CLUB have unveiled details of a brand new acoustic EP, ‘Two Lives’. Set for release on 24th July, the fourtrack effort will feature acoustic ‘reworkings’ of three cuts from their latest album, ‘Everything Else Has Gone Wrong’ - with new spins on ‘Racing Stripes’, ‘Is It Real’ and ‘Let You Go’. BULLY have announced their new album, ‘Sugaregg’. Alicia Bognanno’s third full-length, it’s due on 21st August via Sub Pop, preceded by lead single ‘Where to Start’. “There was change that needed to happen and it happened on this record,” Alicia says. “This is me longing to see the bigger picture, motivated and eager for contentment in the best way.”

WAS THE NEW EP ALL DONE AND DUSTED BEFORE LOCKDOWN KICKED OFF? WHAT WAS THE TIMELINE LIKE? Yeah, we pretty much had it all done right before lockdown. There was still some mixing and mastering to do, but basically, it was in the bag. Re-planning the videos and creating them has been the only real difference from what we’d already got planned. HOW DID YOU END UP WORKING WITH (FORMER KAISER CHIEFS DRUMMER) NICK HODGSON? WAS IT GOOD? We have known Nick for a couple of years now, and he has become a good friend, so it wasn’t like we were just jumping into a session with someone we didn’t already know. Nick is a great listener and offers up great advice. Working together always feels easy, and his insight is immeasurable. He also doesn’t mind all that much if you shout “RUBY RUBY RUBY” at him. We have started to selfproduce quite a bit too, but working with a producer like Nick is a lot of fun. WHAT DOES ‘ACTING MY AGE’ MEAN? IS IT ABOUT GROWING UP? BEING YOUNG? BOTH? Hmm, it’s probably about both of those things. Being young and growing up, but perhaps more about the growing up side of things. It’s basically all about accepting that anybody can make a mistake, but it doesn’t make you a bad person. Accept the mistake for what it is. DID YOU TRY OUT ANYTHING NEW FOR THE EP? I think our writing and recording process has naturally evolved as a band. Before, a lot of our songs came together in the rehearsal room where a rough song structure eventually became a song, and we would just go into the studio and record it as we put it together, but we definitely have got more hands-on in production. We’ve each got our own small personal studio space set up at home, so we were able to do more preproduction for this EP between us. WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR SUMMER? Now that the festivals have all fallen, it will be lots of writing. Hopefully, we’ll be able to get back into the studio together and start properly working on the album soon too. Then we can get back out on the road and start playing all the new stuff to people, and making some new fans. We miss that a lot! These songs were made to reach people. P THE ACADEMIC’S EP ‘ACTING MY AGE’ IS OUT 26TH JUNE.

READDORK.COM

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IT’S A BIT OF WEIRD TIME, ISN’T IT, ARE YOU COPING OKAY WITH EVERYTHING? It a weird time is, but we are all managing okay thanks, yeah. I can’t remember the last time we had so much time at home. We’ve been out on the road so much for the last couple of years. It’s not a bad thing, though. It really gives us a time to pause, reflect and reset a bit, and good to reconnect with family.

“I think it is okay to let your creativity go if you need to focus on the world around you. ”

to create something that was a bit more uplifting and positive. We had a chat with the directors and came up with the idea to crowdsource people in lockdown all over the world who were making the most of being together in such a difficult time. It worked really nicely.


INTRO

Aussie brothers Oli and Louis Leimbach - aka LIME CORDIALE - have been building up a cult following in their home country for quite some time. Having just signed to Post Malone’s label and management company London Cowboys, and with their new album nearly here, they’re about to start work on the UK. Words: Dillon Eastoe. LIME CORDIALE ARE ALWAYS ON THE MOVE. Since 2009 the duo, formed of brothers Oli and Louis Leimbach, have gigged their loose brand of surf rock relentlessly across their native Australia, selling out venues like Sydney’s Metro by word of mouth before major radio stations came on board. In recent years they’ve taken their music to Europe and the United States and are gearing up to release their second LP, ‘14 Steps to a Better You’, with the support of a partnership with an unlikely mentor; in 2019 US megastar Post Malone approached the band and they now share the same management. When we dial up the Dorkphone the band are about to head into the Australian bush to record a video, but elder brother Oli graciously picks up to have a chinwag about all things Lime. Speaking from his home down under, Oli seems to have taken Australia’s lockdown period in his stride. “We weren’t allowed to leave the house for two weeks once we got back from the States, but it was pretty sweet. We have been getting more domestic than normal. We never really get to spend any time at home. So it’s a pretty weird change, just doing things that we don’t normally get to do at home, like cook and garden. And yeah, just like sort of being healthier than usual. Touring takes its toll pretty hard.” If you’re new to Lime Cordiale (they were kind enough to join Dork’s virtual festival Homeschool the other month), Oli says the key takeaway from their band is to have a good time. “We don’t really read into the music too much and take it too seriously, we try and have fun. While working hard to create the music we want to do.” On ‘14 Steps to a Better You’, that music is a long, loose collection that draws from surf, garage, psychedelia and ska in a series of jams that find a groove and never let it go. The brothers avoid a lot of the guitar noodling that can blight rock music, focussing instead on strong hooks, trippy organs and brass interludes. With a successful debut, four tracks on triple j’s annual hottest 100 list (no mean feat), and international tours under their belt, the siblings felt freer to play around on the new record. “We felt more weird and wacky than we ever have. We’ve just been really writing music that we want to do as opposed to trying to write for the radio or anything. Our first [record] was trying to give people a business card, if you will. This time we haven’t really even thought about what other people might think about it. We just write songs that we want to write. And it gets weirder.” “The ‘14 Steps to a Better You’, I think

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ADDICTED TO THE SUNSHINE it’s pretty similar in Australia to London; people get swept up in what they think they should be doing. We see it with friends, get married and have kids, get jobs they don’t like. Sometimes that’s a pretty cool way to go. But other times, people, even in a first-world country, don’t feel like they have the freedom to do whatever they want to do.” Despite their upbeat music, Lime Cordiale don’t shy away from bigger topics, as on ‘Addicted to the Sunshine’, which tackles the environmental issues in their home country. “Everyone is pretty hypocritical with everything they do,” says Oli. “Australia is so beautiful, but it’s like the majority of Australians don’t give a shit about preserving it, really. So that’s kind of what self-help take about. I would never say to listen to us [about society] cuz I feel like you’ll go downhill if you listen to us too hard, but it’s definitely a critique on society around us.” ‘No Plans to Make Plans’ laments those focused on climbing the ladder in jobs and lifestyles that don’t do anything to improve the world around them. “You have no plans to make plans that don’t directly affect you,” younger Leimbach croons after a brilliant trombone vs kazoo duel. You don’t need to scream slogans from an arena stage to make a point, Lime Cordiale’s woozy melodies let the words seep gently into the brain.

Their recent deal with Post Malone’s London Cowboys music group is already opening doors internationally, a relationship that stemmed from Malone sliding into Oli’s DMs. “I woke up one morning, and I was browsing through Instagram and had a message from someone saying Post Malone and his manager were listening to our music and wanted to get in contact with us. This was when they were on tour in Australia. And I just thought it was bullshit,” he laughs. “I just messaged the manager

“People get swept up in what they think they should be doing” OLI LEIMBACH

anyway. Then [Malone] sent his number through and said ‘call me, call me’. From there he took us to lunch, and we went to a bunch of Post Malone shows.” One game of beer pong later and they’d agreed to a co-management deal. “He just plays beer pong, smokes joints and gets really drunk and then he goes on stage in front of like 20,000 people. It’s kind of insane to see,” Oli says of his experience of Malone’s entourage. “He has a whole band set up backstage so we had a bit of a jam. He likes playing Green Day and Blink 182 songs backstage. Then he’ll just jump straight on stage and do the show. Like it’s nothing. It’s crazy.” The brothers are pumped to get back to making their mark on the UK too, with a tour planned for December. “In 200300 capacity venues it feels so similar, the Australian audience to the English audience, people go really wild, and we’re bringing that Australian flavour over. It just feels really right. “Going back to those venues that are a bit smaller, it’s nice being able to just sit at the bar for the whole night instead of being back in a backstage room. You know, I think we’re more excited doing those [UK] shows than we are doing any Australian shows. If you want to see us more enthusiastic than at any other show, come to an English one.” P LIME CORDIALE’S ALBUM ‘14 STEPS TO A BETTER YOU’ IS OUT 10TH JULY.


The constantly shifting list of Dork's favourite albums of 2020 - updated every month!

BANGERS

INTRO

TOP TEN

THE BEST NEW TRACKS

01. RUN THE JEWELS RTJ4 *NEW*

The most important album of the year? Quite probably - but it’s also one of the very best, too.

02. THE 1975

NOTES ON A CONDITIONAL FORM

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Dividing opinion at every step, ‘Notes’ is either a work of genius or a confused mess. Well, Dear Reader, be in no doubt - it is the latter who are the confused messes, and us? We’re the geniuses. Genii? Clever people.

03. PHOEBE BRIDGERS PUNISHER *NEW*

04. RINA SAWAYAMA SAWAYAMA

05. SPORTS TEAM SPORTS TEAM *NEW*

06. THE BIG MOON WALKING LIKE WE DO

07. SOCCER MOMMY COLOR THEORY

08. GEORGIA SEEKING THRILLS

09. HAYLEY WILLIAMS PETALS FOR ARMOR

10. SORRY 925

NO ROME WITH BEABADOOBEE & JAY SOM

Hurry Home

Remember cinemas? Superhero films with massive, climactic team ups featuring all your favourites? That’s sort of what ‘Hurry Home’ is. No Rome’s talent extends far beyond that of a solo artist - but as a producer too. With a helping hand from The 1975’s George Daniel, the inclusion of label mate Beabadoobee and the equally brilliant Jay Som loses nothing in the mix. A lovely time all-round.

BULLY

Where To Start

Some bands are always brilliant. Step forward, then, Bully. To call them dependably awesome isn’t to suggest there’s anything predictable about their brand of growling, lo-fi punk rock. They’ve just got a strong sonic signature - one which is delivered with precision accuracy on the first taster of their third full-length ‘Sugaregg’.

Summer should consider itself saved.

SHAMIR

On My Own

There’s something brilliantly life-affirming about Shamir’s latest offering. Packed with both personality and genuine vulnerability in the same hip shake, there’s a sparkle that sets ‘On My Own’ apart from its peers. Alt-pop at its finest.

THE WYTCHES

Cowboy

Less the motherfucking cowboy, more causing a scene the last chance saloon of a one horse town, there’s an eerie heft to The Wytches on this comeback effort. Occasionally wistful and melodic, often a heavy, intimidating tombstone, it’s different, but it works.

WARGASM

Spit

Rock music is always looking for a new saviour. Maybe it’s all those ‘guitar music is dead’ think pieces

BANGERS AHOY!

GET THE LATEST BANGERS AT READDORK.COM OR FOLLOW OUR BRAND NEW BANGERS PLAYLIST ON SPOTIFY. CHECK OUT ALL THESE TRACKS AND MORE ON DORK RADIO NOW AT READDORK.COM/RADIO

that come around every few years, but that search for a redemptive force might finally be coming to an end. Wargasm have something few of their peers before them have had - a genuine sense of urgency. Explosive at every turn, ‘Spit’ growls, yelps, strobes and blasts to extremes, before switching channels to hammer home a vocal hook My Chemical Romance at their prime would be proud of. Impossibly exciting,

BABY QUEEN

Internet Religion

Biting into a bag of popping candy, ‘Internet Religion’ is how you do an intro. Take a seat and witness the start of a phenomenon, because Baby Queen isn’t playing about. Like a tornado spinning across sugary pop, swirling indie heights and a dose of modernity served in an unstoppable four minutes, it’s a track perfect for scribbling in big letters in your school diaries. If this is lesson one, then everyone else looks set to be taken to school. READDORK.COM


BENEE NEW MUSIC FIRST.

New Zealand pop sensation BENEE is taking off after the runaway success of her breakthrough hit, the ridiculously addictive ‘Supalonely (Feat. Gus Dapperton)’ - and there’s more to come. Words: Abigail Firth. Photo: Undine Markus.

HOW DO YOU LAUNCH A POP STAR IN 2020? WITH A TIKTOK HIT OF COURSE! New Zealand’s latest export Benee blew up after ‘Supalonely’, her collab with Gus Dapperton, took over the app, and eventually the airwaves. But of course, for Benee (pronounced ‘Benny’) this is just the start. With a couple of EPs under her belt already and much more to come, her funky tunes are about to take her much further than a phone screen. Who said Kiwis can’t fly? We flung some questions over to her corner of the globe to catch up, and find out where you go after a viral hit.

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HOW’S QUARANTINE TREATING YOU!? WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN UP TO? I’ve been keeping myself busy!! I set up a home studio just before we went into lockdown so I’ve been working on some new music. We’re actually out of lockdown at the moment, so things feel a little bit more normal! I can go into the studio again, which is nice. YOU’VE GOT A NEW SINGLE, WHAT CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT IT? I worked on the single with Kenny Beats!!! This was one of the first sessions I’ve ever done with a different producer which was exciting. I got Bakar to feature on the track; I’m a huge fan of his work. The song is pretty different to the other music I’ve made in the past; I wanted to go for a hip-hop production kinda feel. HOW HAS IT BEEN PREPARING FOR THE FOLLOW UP TO ‘SUPALONELY’, SEEING IT WAS SUCH A SMASH? Everything that’s happened to ‘Supalonely’ in the last few months has been crazy, but I’m trying not to overthink my releases to come as I don’t think comparing that success would be very productive. IT SEEMS LIKE THAT SONG WAS AN OVERNIGHT SUCCESS, BUT YOU’VE ACTUALLY BEEN DOING MUSIC FOR A LONG TIME - HOW DID YOU FEEL WHEN THAT SONG BLEW UP? It was pretty wild and unexpected! It feels pretty surreal; I think most of the things that have happened to me in the last few years have felt that way! HAVE YOU HAD A GO AT THE TIKTOK DANCE YET?

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I’m naht reallllllly a dancer. I’ve decided to let the people do it, and I can just watch, haha. FOR ANYONE WHO’S ONLY HEARD ‘SUPALONELY’, WHAT THREE OTHER SONGS DO YOU THINK PEOPLE SHOULD KNOW THAT DEFINE BENEE? Ooooooh!!!!! I’d probably say ‘Monsta’, ‘Blu’ and ‘Drifting’! WHAT WAS LIFE LIKE GROWING UP IN NEW ZEALAND? It was super chill! My parents have always surrounded me with music and nature! I had a very active outdoorsy childhood. I was always encouraged to give everything a try, so I had a wellrounded upbringing with lots of love. WHEN DID YOU START PURSUING MUSIC PROPERLY? 2018! This was when I dropped everything else for music. I was at university (lasted two weeks) and I also worked two jobs making pizzas and washing dishes. I think after releasing ‘Soaked’ and having industry people show interest definitely pushed me to start perusing music properly!

“I dropped everything else for music.” BENEE

. THE FACTS + From New Zealand + For fans of Billie Eilish, Charli XCX + Check out ‘Supalonely’ + Social @BENEEMUSIC + See them live: tbc

WITH THE MUSIC SCENE BEING PRETTY TIGHT OVER THERE AND NOT MANY ARTISTS BREAKING OUT OF IT INTERNATIONALLY, WERE YOU EVER SURPRISED SUPALONELY TOOK OFF THE WAY IT DID? Definitely! I had no idea this would happen especially not to this song, hehe. It’s crazy when I actually sit down and think about it because it’s a scary thought how big the world is and how hard it is to put your hand up over here in New Zealand! WHAT KIND OF ARTISTS HAVE INSPIRED YOU OVER TIME? Ohh my there are so many! I have been obsessed with Radiohead, Bjork and James Blake forever. I grew up with my parents playing me a bunch of Grace Jones and Groove Armada, but I’m constantly finding new artists to listen to and all of them inspire me in some kind of way. YOU’VE GOT TWO EPS UNDER YOUR BELT NOW, IS THERE AN ALBUM IN THE WORKS? There is! My first evaaaa one, I’m so excited. I plan on releasing one before the end of the year. WHO ARE YOU WORKING WITH ON IT? Mainly with my producer Josh Fountain! I’m also working with a pal of mine Djeisan Suskov who’s worked on a bunch of ma other stuff with me. But also worked with Kenny on a beat and a couple of other people! IS THERE ANYONE YOU’D LIKE TO COLLABORATE WITH IN THE NEAR FUTURE? There are so many people who I’d love to work with, but I’m stoked with some of the collabs on the album so I’ll keep them a secret till the songs come out. OBVIOUSLY, TIMES ARE TOUGH AT THE MINUTE, BUT ARE YOU PLANNING TO GET ON THE ROAD WHEN ‘ALL OF THIS’ IS OVER? Faw shawww! I can’t wait till it’s safe for me to start touring again. I didn’t realise how much I’d miss it. P


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SPOORT Get ready to hear a lot more from Midlands four-piece SPOORT. Words: Jake Hawkes. Photo: Gift Gwambe. REMEMBER HOMESCHOOL, THAT FESTIVAL WE HELD A FEW WEEKS AGO? You know, the one with all the recorded performances from home, the one that got more viewers than people through the gate at Glasto – that festival. Well, while we loved every one of the performances, there was definitely one that stuck out, sent in by Spoort. Their submission, hosted by ‘Michael Fabricant’ (“It was me in my girlfriend’s wig that she had from when she dressed as Princess Diana for a party,” laughs keyboardist Kingy) was part fake chat show, part music video, and gloriously silly. We like silly here at Dork HQ, so we thought we’d call up the band and see what they were all about. “We’re all from a town called Hinckley,” starts drummer Ross. “Well, a couple are from Burbage, which is an even smaller village near Hinckley, but we’ll stick with Hinckley to keep things simple. It was a good town for hosiery back in the day, nice tights and good socks.” “They had a Lazer Quest about 20 years ago too, that was pretty good,” Kingy chips in, completely deadpan. “But not much going on, to summarise. We basically met by all going to the same school, me and the bassist Dec knew each other from primary school and used to play together – we played in assembly once in Year 6, went down a storm. Well, I think it did anyway, although that could be nostalgia talking. Then we met Paul, our guitarist and singer in Year 8, and finally completed the set with Ross in Year 10.” “I used to watch their band before we met properly though,” Ross explains. “I lived a few doors up from Dec, so I’d go and see their band, and then I told my dad I was gonna learn drums and play with them, and the rest, as they say, is history. “Because we’ve been playing together since so early on, we all just sort of fell into liking each other’s music taste, especially as we were mainly playing covers of stuff by Arctic Monkeys and all that jazz. Then we morphed into some weird math rock band, and now we’re more into jazz and hip-hop. We’ve really evolved together as time’s gone by.” This eclectic route to where they are shows on their EP, which puts a foot outside of the indie camp on a couple of occasions, not least with two rap features. “It just made sense to us, because we listen to so much hip-hop,” says Kingy. “And now that two of us live in London there are so many people that know someone who’s going to be able to spit something really good. “I think genres are blurred and homogenised a lot more than they used to be, too, so I don’t see it as something that ‘out there’ for a band to do. People don’t listen to music in tribes as much as

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“I just let the wig guide me” KINGY

THE FACTS + From Hinckley, UK + For fans of Easy Life + Check out ‘FLYY’ + Social @Spoortband + See them live: tbc

they did, every genre with a big fanbase used to be very much a closed identity – you just didn’t listen to anything else. That’s not the case any more, most people that listen to indie now are at least open to listening to hip-hop, and alternative R&B and indie are almost interchangeable with some bands, which is mad considering how different their origins are.” He pauses before adding: “It’s the internet, innit? Bloody internet, melding everything together.” The internet may be responsible for the collapse of genre boundaries, but it’s also allowing the band to keep making music even though they’ve been in four different places for months now. “We’ve all managed to stay quite productive independently,” Kingy continues. “Which means we’ve got loads of demos kicking around which we can work on and put together, so hopefully we’ll have a full LP ready early next year. Obviously, that’s subject to change though, depending on everything that’s happening.”

“We’ve got some instrumental bits we haven’t edited too,” adds Ross. “We’ll probably start on those when we’re really desperate – we’re all just so bored! I think that’s the real reason we ended up making that outrageous video for the Homeschool festival, boredom. We’re all separated, and we’ve not got all our gear, so we’re quite limited really, and Kingy and I have always loved doing these skits and sketches, so we thought ‘why not?’” “My character was an afterthought though, to be fair,” says Kingy. “I just let the wig guide me for the afternoon. I think it only took a day or two to make – and an hour of that was the band zoom calling me to try and work out how to frame the video correctly. Luckily Dec does videography and all sorts, so he made sure we didn’t look completely terrible. We couldn’t get together to record anything, but we all did our part.” There’s a heartwarming message there, although we’re not entirely sure what it is. P SPOORT’S SELF-TITLED DEBUT EP IS OUT NOW.


you aren’t the best person for the job! I met Kwes via MySpace (way back when) and Georgia I met via our train journeys to Brit School together. We used to jam in the foyer a lot! Georgia also went to SOAS with me, we have all known each other for a very long while!

HYPE NEWS What’s happening in the world of new music.

HOW’S WALTHAMSTOW FOR UP-ANDCOMING MUSICIANS, IS THERE A LOT GOING ON? I’ve actually found that quite a few industry types live in Walthamstow these days. There are quite a few jazz musicians too. When I was growing up the music culture I experienced largely came via my Dad and secondary school, I had a very enthusiastic and encouraging music teacher.

ARLO PARKS has unveiled a captivating cover of Radiohead’s ‘Creep’. It’s a powerful new take on the 90s classic recorded as a part of upcoming short film ‘Shy Radicals’, directed by Tom Dream and focused around Hamja Ashan and the story behind his book/ satirical manifesto, which calls for all shy, quiet, and introverted people to unify and overthrow extrovert-supremacy. “Creep is a simultaneously delicate and brutal exploration of inner turmoil and human relationships,” Arlo explains. “This song has acted as a refuge for me, during times of self-reflection and low mood, for many years and Radiohead as a band has deeply influenced my music.”

Leeds trio CARO have announced details of their debut album ‘Burrows’, due 26th September via YALA! Records. The news arrives alongside new track ‘Figure It Out’, full of shuffling guitars and stunning harmonies (think early Gengahr). Adam from the band says: “Figure Me Out is about being afraid of letting other people’s perceptions define you. It’s about only being able to make sense of your motivations retrospectively and trying to control how people see you by hiding from them.” South Korea via South-East London newcomer NIJUU has announced details of her debut EP, ‘nijuu in the sea’. Due on 25th June, the featured tracks are conceptually based on fairytales written by Nijuu. “The sea is my world,” she explains. “It’s both my consolation and my limitation. Since I was fourteen, I’ve been thinking the entire world is the sea. I imagined I might be a fish but I live on the ground. Or I might be a person and everyone else is a sea creature. The water always made me feel free. But it has another meaning to me. We were in the water in our mum’s womb, but after we’re born, we can’t breathe underwater.”

WHEN DID YOU FIRST REALISE YOU HAD A TALENT FOR MUSIC, DID IT COME HAND-IN-HAND WITH WANTING TO PERFORM? I started playing sax when I was in primary school, and I think that is probably what really, really got me into music. Before that my parents had bought me a little keyboard and I spent a lot of time learning the songs from its memory bank. I also used to hate performing, my parents always wanted me to play piano pieces to guests who would come by, and I would always refuse. However, I think all the performances I did at Brit School were what helped me to enjoy performing.

ELAN TAMARA ELAN TAMARA is one of the standout acts in London’s jazz-forpeople-who-don’t-usually-likejazz scene. Words: Sam Taylor. Photo: Samuel J Butt. BRIT SCHOOL? CHECK. STUDYING MUSIC AT UNIVERSITY? CHECK. NOTABLE TEAM UPS AND PLENTY OF CO-SIGNS? CHECK. Elan Tamara is a force to be reckoned with. Collaborating with label boss Kwes and pop fave Georgia for her intimate-yet-playful new single ‘My Eyes’, she’s on the verge of something very exciting indeed.

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HI ELAN, WHERE DID ‘MY EYES’ COME FROM? IS IT A PERSONAL ONE? It came from a long-distance relationship I was in (at the time) with my now-husband. It really came from a piano composition, and I tried to weave the words to fit the mood of the music. HOW DID YOU TEAM UP WITH BOTH KWES AND GEORGIA, HAVE YOU KNOWN THEM LONG? Yes, I love to utilise the skills of other friends who are musicians, I am not really a believer in trying to do it all yourself if

“The piano is my favourite place, doesn’t matter where it is.” ELAN TAMARA

THE FACTS + From Walthamstow, UK + For fans of Laura Mvula, Ezra Collective + Check out ‘My Eyes’ + Social @elantamara + See them live: tbc

STUDYING ETHNOMUSICOLOGY AT SOAS SOUNDS FASCINATING, HAD YOU ALREADY STARTED TO BREAK INTO MUSIC AS A CAREER AT THAT POINT? My Dad was actually the one who suggested the idea of going to SOAS. At the time he saw that I found music from difficult cultures really interesting. I got exposed to so many different types of music while I was there and developed a real love for Balinese gamelan. While I was at SOAS I was playing quite a few gigs, a great memory was playing at Gilles Peterson’s Worldwide Awards. HOW DID THE COURSE IMPACT YOU, HAS IT INFLUENCED YOUR SOUND OR WAY OF WORKING AT ALL? I’d say the course further opened my mind to different music from different cultures, it definitely influenced my sound. The interlocking layers of piano I tend to play are heavily influenced by Balinese gamelan and gamelan gender wayang (shadow puppet gamelan), which I was also playing so much of at the time. WHAT OR WHERE IS YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE TO LOOK FOR IDEAS? The piano is my favourite place, doesn’t matter where it is. Ideas/songs tend to come from improvising with chords, which eventually become sequences that I feel fit nicely together. Lyrically it’s quite similar, it develops quite organically, I often have no idea what subject matter I’m writing about until I actually start adding words. WHAT HAVE YOU GOT COMING UP? Lots more singles, an album too, so keep your ears peeled. Other than that, lots of chasing after the baby! Haha! P

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YOUTH SECTOR’S debut EP is coming this summer. The band have announced ‘Mundanity’ for 17th July, coming via Young Poet Records, preceded by not only recent single ‘No Fanfare’, but new ‘un ‘Real Estate’ too. Frontman Nick explains: “At the stage we are all at in our lives, we have flown the nest of university/education and its lovely, reliable structure; and the space we’ve found ourselves in now is one of new responsibilities, day jobs and house moves. The EP reflects feelings, thoughts and ideas that come with the everyday reality we all share at this point in our lives, for instance the somewhat comedic woes of trying to find an affordable house to rent that isn’t falling apart at the seams.”

WHEN YOU’RE NOT MAKING MUSIC, WHAT DO YOU DO FOR FUN? I spend a lot of time gardening at my allotment plot. I also love making clothes for myself (although with a baby I have very little time for that)! Baking and cooking. Having a 9 month old baby is a lot of fun too, lots of smiles!


MEADOW MEADOW From the ashes of Spring King, MEADOW MEADOW have grown.

MEADOW MEADOW IS A NEW PROJECT FROM PETER DARLINGTON AND JAMES GREEN, WHO YOU MAY RECOGNISE FROM FORMER DORK COVER STARS, AND BANGER AFICIONADOS, SPRING KING. With their old band no more, the duo have embraced a thoughtful, melody-driven approach that they’ve found to be a “constant source of peace and catharsis”. Lovely stuff. Their first two tunes, ‘Bonzo’ and ‘Firework’ are out now, with an EP imminent.

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WHEN DID MEADOW MEADOW START? WERE YOU AT A LOOSE END AFTER SPRING KING? James: The writing for this band started around 18 months ago. We’d always talked about writing together for a new project and after Spring King ended it felt like the right time. It’s been really exciting, setting new parameters and forming a new musical language together in a different environment. The whole process has been really cathartic and joyful for us. HOW CLOSE ARE YOU GUYS, WOULD YOU SELF-ISOLATE TOGETHER IF GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY? WHAT’S YOUR RELATIONSHIP LIKE? James: We are very close, but me and my wife have just had our first child, so I think self-isolating together would be

“It’s been such a joy for us both to write this music together” JAMES GREEN

THE FACTS + From London + Manchester, UK + For fans of Bombay Bicycle Club, Rex Orange County

difficult. Our friendship developed on tour, which gave us plenty of time to share thoughts, music and experiences - following several years of spending 30 weeks a year together, we have a really strong bond.

HOW DID YOU HIT ON MEADOW MEADOW’S SOUND, DID THE PROJECT GO THROUGH MANY ITERATIONS? Pete: The sound and our writing process have slowly evolved over time. As we live in different cities [London and Manchester], we do everything remotely. There’s a lot of emails and messages back and forth, discussing potential creative choices. It has its own challenges but also allows us both to freely express ourselves independently of each other. James: We initially started to write songs that were quite upbeat and straight, but a shared love of artists like The Microphones and Animal Collective led us down a different path. There are also obviously limitations to recording apart. Without much opportunity to travel and play together, it has led to some interesting choices sonically and arrangement wise.

+ Social @meadowtimestwo

WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD FOR MEADOW MEADOW? Pete: We’ve got an EP coming out, and we’re hoping to play some shows towards the end of the year. P

+ See them live: tbc

MEADOW MEADOW’S DEBUT EP IS OUT 1ST JULY.

+ Check out ‘Bonzo’

HYPE NEWS What’s happening in the world of new music.

OLIVIA DEAN has revealed another spellbinding track in ‘Baby Come Home’. Full of subtle grooves and a mesmeric vocal (as per usual for Olivia), it follows on from ‘Crosswords’. Speaking about the tune, which she wrote with with Maverick Sabre and Charlie Perry, she says: “It’s a song for when you’re missing the one you love. I recorded my own vocals for the first time in my bedroom and my friend Theo came by and shot the artwork from two metres away outside my flat.” It comes complete with a self-shot music video from Olivia’s back-garden - give it a watch at readdork.com. CLT DRP have rescheduled their upcoming tour to autumn. The headline run is in support of their upcoming debut album ‘Without The Eyes’, due for release on 28th August via Small Pond Records. The new dates will (hopefully) kick off from 12th September, starting at Thekla in Bristol.

Swedish singer YAEGER has teamed up with Oscar Scheller for her new pop hit, ‘Nosebleed’. Completed during lockdown, the song follows on from Yaeger’s 2019 EP ‘Fixed Gear’. She’s working on new solo material expected later this year, too. “Have you ever found a picture of an old friend wondering why you’re not friends anymore?” she asks. “Nosebleed’ is about the ones you lost track with, and you wish they’d pick up the phone and give you a call. But so could you.” Oscar adds that ‘Nosebleed’ is “about the little moments you shared with someone who was a part of your life. It’s about the things you wish you could tell them if they’d only listen.” Dork faves BLOXX are teasing their debut album with new track ‘Thinking About Yourself’. The band’s upcoming full-length ‘Lie Out Loud’ will be released on 14th August via Chess Club Records, featuring their recent hits ‘Go Out With You’ and ‘Coming Up Short’. Frontwoman Fee Booth says: “’Thinking About Yourself’ is a bit of a f*ck you song for everyone who’s ever really wound you up, and reminding them the world isn’t all about them.” Give it a listen at readdork.com.

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LAZARUS KANE Oddball newcomer LAZARUS KANE makes big, theatrical pop that’s bang-on ready for Saturday night discos. Words: Jamie MacMillan. Photo: Joshua Atkins.

BY NOW DEAR READER, YOU WELL KNOW THAT DORK LOVES A CHARACTER. But we weren’t prepared, at all, for Lazarus Kane. After ‘Narcissus’ first pricked our ears up, ‘Night Walking’ came along to blow our minds with what might be one of 2020’s finest bangers. So we thought we’d try to find out more about this mysterious newcomer. And we did try, we really did. What followed was one of the maddest conversations we’ve ever had as the secrets spilled forth. Welcome to the weird and wonderful world of Lazarus Kane.

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HI LAZARUS, HOW ARE YOU? I’m alright, man. I’m just at home in Bristol. I’m not doing much, I’ll be totally honest. Doing a lot of thinking, which is good, you know? Keeps you fit mentally. To be honest, every day’s a weekend right now. But every day is also a weekday. So I’m in a constant state of guilt, it’s horrible. It’s like being Catholic but not having any respite ever. Which I guess is just being Catholic.

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THERE WAS NEVER GONNA BE A GOOD TIME FOR A GLOBAL PANDEMIC TO COME, BUT IT CAME AT COMPLETELY THE WRONG TIME FOR YOU, DIDN’T IT? BECAUSE EVERYTHING WAS STARTING TO COOK NICELY FOR YOU. Yeah, yeah. Well, we had a single planned, and then, yeah, we got all these shows lined up. It’s a real shame, but hopefully, it’ll pass, and we’ll get to do some more shows for the rabid fans. I’m missing it so much. But you know, it’s time to write and think about getting ideas together. It’s a sort of a blessing in disguise in many ways. You end up thinking back to why you started doing music in the first place. WHY WAS IT THAT YOU FIRST GOT INTO MUSIC? I had quite a religious upbringing. I grew up in the church, singing a lot of hymns and all those kind of funky psalms. All the good stuff. The upbeat absolute liquid bangers of Christianity, all the hits. So that was my first introduction. Well, no, that’s a lie. I listened to my parents play a lot of different types of music. But yeah, my first experience actually being involved in music when I was a young whippersnapper was in the Christian faith. I’ve always liked really rhythmic music, and I think it translates into this project, it’s very, very rhythmic. It’s very physical, you feel it before anything else. YOUR BIOGRAPHY LISTS SOME INTERESTING FACTS. YOU SOUND GOOD FOR A MAN IN YOUR EIGHTIES. I have great vocal exercises. I put it down to Manuka honey and lemon every other day, it keeps the pipes really lubricated. Honestly. Who did I learn it from? I can’t remember. I think it was someone who didn’t sing, but told me that they were ready if they ever needed to. I think it was Slash or someone. He was never gonna sing, but he was always ready. He still is. What’s that other band he was in called? I can’t remember. Machine Gun Kelly or Purple Gun? VELVET REVOLVER? That’s the one, that’s the one. What a name. So yeah, my age shows physically, but inside I’m a wound spring ready to unleash my thoughts on the world. I UNDERSTAND THAT YOU

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WERE BORN IN A TOWN CALLED SHEEPSCLAW, ANY PARTICULAR HIGHLIGHTS? Well, every year, there was the sacrifice of the sheep for the claw. Because it is the only town where sheeps have claws. And so we’d make a nice necklace out of the claw as a group, but you have to kill the sheep. It was a day of death and renaissance in terms of the necklace, which is given to the youngest child of our town. I did get it once, but I traded it for a Superman lunchbox. I got in a lot of shit for that, but it was a really good lunch box. I didn’t really stay there too long because my parents were travelling as part of a travelling Christian commune. I’d like to go back someday when they lift my fugitive status, try and find that lunchbox and my necklace somewhere.

“I’m a wound spring ready to unleash my thoughts on the world” LAZARUS KANE

AND ‘NIGHT WALKING’ CAME NEXT. THAT IS PROPER BANGING. Thank you. I would love to have done it with Dan, but we just ran out of time.

YOU’RE OBVIOUSLY A WELLTRAVELLED MAN, HOW DID YOU END UP IN BRISTOL? Well, like all the greatest stories, I was in love with a woman, and I moved here to be with her. We have since parted company, but I had nowhere else to go and no money. So I had no choice but to stay here in this luscious green rolling city. It kind reminds me of San Francisco but with less tech giants and more West Country fat people. Well, fat people as far as England goes but you know, this is England. It ain’t got nothing on America. People here are slim compared to people back home, fucking hell. But yeah, it’s got all the hills that San Francisco has with less tax evasion I guess. I like it here, man. People like drinking here you know, they don’t like it back home.

THEIR COMEBACK SHOWS ARE GONNA BE DISAPPOINTING NOW IF THAT’S NOT WHAT HAPPENS. BACK TO YOU, ‘NARCISSUS’ MARKED YOUR RETURN TO THE LIMELIGHT, DIDN’T IT? Oh yeah. I wrote the demo a long time

A SAD LOSS FOR BIRDS AROUND THE WORLD. I tried to talk to him, but I wasn’t allowed in the studios back then because of a thing back in the day with Chuck Norris. And he was getting bigger, and he said, “could you house-sit for me?” And I said, “yeah sure, I don’t have anything on”. So I wrote ‘All My Own Stunts’ about my relationship with Harrison. It’s definitely on the surface an upbeat song, but lyrically it’s almost a homoerotic exploration of male friendship. Almost I stress. I hope to see him again one day, but he is crashing planes every other week, that’s all I see of him now. Classic Harrison, couldn’t let the birds go man. He’s always got to fly. You take the bird-box out the man, but you can’t take the man out of the bird-box. What was the question? Oh, yeah. We live very different lives now, but I’d love to see him before he crashes into a blazing inferno.

THE FACTS + From UK via US + For fans of ...Scissor Sisters? + Check out ‘Night Walking’ + Social @mrlazaruskane + See them live: Wide Eyed all-dayer in Leicester, 6th February 2021

IT’S INEVITABLE AT THIS POINT. WHAT’S NEXT FOR YOU? Well, I’ve got a lot of ideas floating around. As you probably guessed, I like doing stuff people aren’t necessarily expecting, you know? I just want to keep exploring and keep pushing the boundaries of what people expect from a Lazarus Kane song. Where we go from here is an interesting question for sure. I don’t know man, I wrote something today I think which may be the answer, but who knows, man. P

APRIL April - aka 21-year-old April Lawlor - hails from a small town in Ireland’s County Kildare. It’s a scene perfectly suited to her intimate, heart-onsleeve tunes, which feel like the musical equivalent of taking a solitary, thoughtful wander through picturesque locales. Her new EP, ‘New Conditions’, is out now. Words: Sam Taylor. HEY APRIL, TELL US ABOUT THE EP? ‘New Conditions’ came together over a few months. I went to London for the first time to do sessions, and I met Fred [MacPherson from Spector] who I ended up working because I felt we worked well together. My friend Luke was over in London with me, and we wrote songs together at Fred’s, and then I came back every month, and we ended up working on songs I had written myself months previous. The songs to me are about growing up and early relationships, self-growth and realisation. They are all very special songs to me. ARE ALL YOUR SONGS REALLY PERSONAL? IT MUST BE QUITE NERVE-WRACKING PUTTING THEM OUT. Yes, my songs are very personal and when I first started letting people hear them I used to say they weren’t about me or any personal things because it is a very scary thing to share, but I’m proud of them now, and I have gotten over that fear. WHAT DO YOU DO FOR FUN? For fun, sometimes I like doing things alone, going to galleries and walking around Dublin. But I also love being with friends, playing music with them, me and my best friends used to play gigs together, and that was some of the best times of my life, going on nights out and festivals and raves and stuff, I’m really missing that right now. WHO’S THE MOST EXCITING BAND OR MUSICIAN AROUND RIGHT NOW? Benee is exciting right now, I’m like eager to hear more from her! P

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YOU’VE ALSO GOT A SONG ABOUT HARRISON FORD, IS HE A CLOSE PERSONAL FRIEND? He was. I haven’t seen him for a while. I knew him when he was a carpenter on the Star Wars set, I was a big fan of his work. He was really known in Southern California for his bird feeders and birdboxes, he was THE guy. He told me he got this crazy job on this crazy space opera film. And I was like, man, what the fuck. I mean it pays the bills, but don’t forget the bird-boxes. It gives you bread. And he was like no, this is just like space-crap. Space. Crap. I don’t know who they were trying to cast as Han Solo but probably someone like Jean-Claude Van Damme. Some musclebound fool. Schwarzenegger. Stallone. And Harrison’s just there, y’know? I think the casting director just saw him and said, oh who’s this guy. I put in an order for a birdfeeder, but I never got it because he obviously went stratospheric.

AND YOU’RE OFTEN SPOTTED IN SOUTH LONDON, THAT MUST BE VERY DIFFERENT TO SHEEPSCLAW? YOU WERE IN TOWN WITH SQUID A FEW MONTHS BACK. Well, there’s a lot of sacrifice in Brixton, but only of dignity. That was a fun night. I mean, what hasn’t been said about Squid that I can say. Apart from they are horrible, horrible people. The worst. I actually had a dream about them last night, it was really weird. LOCKDOWN DREAMS HAVE BEEN OUT THERE, HAVEN’T THEY? Mmm yeah, I’ve been eating a lot of cheese as well. So I had a dream that we were playing a festival and I was with Ollie and Louis from Squid. They were about to play, and there was a secret guest on before them. So we walk down to the main stage, and there are thousands of people there. It’s going crazy. Everyone’s whooping, cheering, it’s that time of the evening, you know. All these pyrotechnics were going off, and out of the smoke, it was Rage Against the Machine, but they were playing on the roof of the stage. It was amazing, but I had to ask, well, why are they playing on top of the stage? It was kind of awkward to watch because I was craning my neck. And then Zach de la Rocha fell off the stage, but he had a bungee on him, so he just bungeed straight back. And it was the coolest thing I’ve ever seen, and then I woke up, and I was by myself.

ago. Bringing it back to those goddamn Squid people, I read an interview with Ollie, and he said he just sent it to [super-producer] Dan Carey. So that night, I had indulged quite a lot and got home and thought, fuck it, I’ll just send it to him. I said, “Hi, my name is Lazarus Kane. And I’d love to work with you.” I really liked how physical his stuff was, really rhythmic. I sent a demo of ‘Narcissus’ to Dan, and he got back to me and said, “Yeah, I want to do this”. So I had to assemble a band, and we went down to London, and he was like “Okay, just start playing and don’t stop until I say so”. You know, he has all the smoke and the lasers, it’s crazy. There’s like eight of us in there, and it’s like really hot. I’m in my kimono, I’m sweating, and everyone smells like shit. And it was amazing. Hell of a day.


territory. This release is unintentionally well-timed, as there seems to be a lot of controversy surrounding 5G, rightly or wrongly. “Aware, for the first time, of the whispering that had haunted all her sleeps” - Aldous Huxley, Brave New World

TRACK X TRACK

LADY BIRD Turns out, LADY BIRD have rather a lot to say about their new EP. Vocalist Don Bird fills us in. Photo: Harvey Williams-Fairley. BRAINWASH MACHINE SETTING (BRMS) IS THE MANIFESTATION OF AN IDEA WHICH EXISTED BEFORE WE HAD EVEN DEFINED OURSELVES AS LADY BIRD. The inspiration came from a picture that I took while travelling in Japan, capturing the USA flag in a washing machine on the streets of Kyoto. A very poignant and symbolic image to stumble upon considering I was on my way to Hiroshima the next morning to see the lasting damage from the two atom bombs which were detonated by America during the 2nd World War. The main body of artwork for BRMS is a recreation of this image, but instead with the Union Jack (for a semi-obvious reason perhaps). However, if you’re able to get your hands on one of our limited edition BWMS vinyl, you’ll be able to see the original image on the B-side of the record itself!

Ever more brightly. These lyrics came from a place with my dear wife Tilly in mind, during the early stages of our relationship. And what a pleasure it was to have her feature both in the video and also within the sound design of the record itself!

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GOT LUCKY Alex had this riff sitting with us for a long time, and we tried various approaches to bring it out into a song. During one rehearsal, Joe and Alex wrote the whole thing in less than an hour and just played it on loop until I had got all the bars down... It was beautiful! It is a short story that tells a detailed journey of an intoxicated night out. Softly quoting lyrics from our first record, the opening bars for ‘Got Lucky’ include... “Social potions have got me tripping,” and of course, as is often the way with familiar stories’ like these, we trip and fall into dialogue with a new friend. “In the midst of a trip” we can see an interpretation of this story reflected in its’ video, which features all our mates in our favourite pub on the Pantiles. Bosh!

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“The inspiration came from a picture that I took while travelling in Japan, capturing the USA flag in a washing machine on the streets of Kyoto” N

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BRAINWASH MACHINE SETTING

WWW. I love listening to this tune and find myself blown away by Alex’s vocals. Alex and our producer Leigh have a great relationship where they can just create mad sounds and ideas together... This is a great example of that! I guess ‘WWW.’ (Wicked War of The West) reveals more of the political depth laying dormant within the EP title itself, and brings out those commentaries, but, in a more catchy and poppy way than a lot of our tunes. Course, we like to emulate our favourite sounds, and this has got a Green Day/ Blink 182-esque feel to it... And Joe has certainly channelled his inner Travis into this track from front to back! It’s hard to trust what is going on in the world these days, especially in times like this, where there is a global crisis taking place. However, I feel it really is crucial to trust people, and have faith in their ability to make the right choices. However, this can be difficult, especially when the superpowers that be are those that dropped the atom bomb, and then the chemical weapons in Vietnam, and so on and so forth. But! This track also touches on the more elusive strands of the western conquest which takes place in the intangible realm of the World Wide Web/Internet/Inter-web... A brave new digital world which is in many ways uncharted

BEEP BEEP By this point in the EP, it is clear that we have chosen the order of the tunes by their depth. An even deeper blue, ‘BEEP BEEP’ is another true story, which covers the narrative of a particular mental breakdown I had back ‘in March 2018’. The funny thing is, that, mental breakdowns seem to be the only constant for people who are stuck in the pattern of mental unwell-ness. At least that’s how it was for me, during a two year period of my life where I was unable to speak due to a psychogenic voice disorder... What’s that I hear you ask!? An elongated struggle which cost all of my energy. (if you are curious, there is a documentary available on The Guardian website, entitled ‘Silent Sam’). ‘BEEP BEEP’ plays out over the course of an afternoon where I was met with the strikingly similar symptoms between a panic attack, and what I read to be that of carbon monoxide poisoning, thanks google! The mental breakdown, panicinduced parody of course triggered by the alarm in my flat from the carbon monoxide detector itself, continues through the song. “… Oh yes, I remember it well, the first sign of a long-term mental health breakdown, good gosh I was quite unwell. In March 2018 dressed in my favourite Japanese pyjamas that I got for a quid down deplored market (I was also wearing nail varnish) I hear the sound of an alarm, unfamiliar tonal drone from, the upstairs cupboard What on earth could that be? Dripping in sweat from cleaning erratically ever since I rose from that failed sleep, I should have eaten something really, empty I proceed the stairs to discover, the carbon monoxide alarm is BLEEPING…” NICE DLC And finally, this track takes us all the way into the heart of the matter, with an acoustic arrangement which we wrote together during the winter of our studio build last year. During the time when Lady Bird first began to from, I attended the funeral of one of Joe’s best friends, who had died tragically from suicide. This chap was an exceptional graffiti artist, and he inspired many different walks of life with his art, he was very popular and loved, and the funeral was like nothing I have ever experienced. ‘Nice DLC’ is the name he used to tag his artwork, and now entitles this song. It emerged very naturally during the period of time that followed the funeral, and it was, without doubt, a direct result of the outstanding love, which also created the fabric of that commemorative occasion. The wider narrative of this tune nods with respect to all those who have decided to opt-out of this life, including family and friends of mine who I still desperately wish were still here. “It’s too often to be the way, a little often for me to take. I count the numbers on both hands, keep calm and carry on as if it’s all hunky dory.” P LADY BIRD’S EP ‘BRAINWASH MACHINE SETTING’ IS OUT 26TH JUNE.


BIRTHDAY CARD Say hello to Aylesbury’s new synth-poppers.

BE NO RAIN

London-based pop maestro Be No Rain - who you might recognise from his set at Dork’s recent online festival, Homeschool (remember that?!) - has a treat for us in the form of debut album ‘Strawberry Backstory’. Here, he gives us a glimpse behind the curtain. Words: Sam Taylor.

CONGRATS ON ANNOUNCING YOUR DEBUT ALBUM - WHAT CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT THE RELEASE? ARE THERE ANY RECURRING THEMES OR CONCEPTS? The album is called ‘Strawberry Backstory’ and we’re looking at releasing it in the third quarter of this year. The subject matter is often based around love and heartbreak but really, it’s about memory or the act of remembering. WAS IT FINISHED PRELOCKDOWN? It was finished almost a year before lockdown. That might be another reason why postponing the release didn’t really cross my mind. It was recorded in a studio that I built with my producer and some friends of ours in Battersea, called Kite Yard. DO YOU HAVE ANY GRAND PLANS FOR WHEN YOU’RE FINALLY ABLE TO TOUR THE ALBUM? In my wildest dreams, it’s a sevenpiece prom band playing the entire album front to back. It’s so difficult to envisage what the future will hold for live music, so my wildest dreams seem as good a place to start as any. The giant papier-mâché strawberry will definitely be part of the crew regardless. P

HI GUYS, HOW’S IT GOING? Josh: Hey, Dork. We’re all good, thanks. We’ve been enjoying the sun, playing too much PlayStation and doing a bit of writing. WHY ARE YOU CALLED BIRTHDAY CARD THEN, ARE PEOPLE DISAPPOINTED WHEN YOU DON’T ARRIVE WITH A FIVER FROM THEIR NAN? Josh: I heard ‘birthday card’ used as a lyric in a Sufjan Stevens song and though it was unorthodox and for some reason stood out. A fiver?! Surely your nan must be blessing you more than a fiver on your birthday. WHAT HAS THE BAND BEEN UP TO SO FAR? GIVE US THE TL;DR. Conor: Two singles - ‘Shy Away’ and ‘Radio Star’ - and show after show up and down the country. HOW HAVE YOU BEEN IMPACTED BY LOCKDOWN, HAVE YOU HAD TO CANCEL MUCH? Josh: We’ve had to cancel a few shows and since the lockdown obviously haven’t been able to rehearse together. Though in some respects the lockdown has had a positive impact on us creatively. Now that gigging is out of the question, we just spend our time making beats and writing.

WHAT’S THE NEW BAND SCENE IN AYLESBURY LIKE? IS THERE MUCH TO DO? Josh: Pretty much non-existent. For a town that was once somewhat renowned for being a music hub, it’s now quite the opposite. There’s not a great deal to do, but we all make the most of it. WHAT’VE YOU GOT COMING UP, DO YOU HAVE NEW MATERIAL? Conor: We’ve been working on new material the whole of lockdown actually! The only benefit of not being able to play gigs is that songwriting has been our only focus. Between us, we’ve probably demo 20 or so ideas. We’re working on our next single at the moment which will be coming out in the summer. It’s a really happy one, so we’re looking forward to getting that out there. WHAT’S ON YOUR BAND BUCKET LIST? DO YOU HAVE ANYTHING SPECIFIC YOU’RE AIMING FOR? Conor: Venue-wise, the Roundhouse has always been on my band bucket list. But our dreams are much bigger than that, naturally. We’ve always said if you don’t want your band to be the biggest it can be, why do it? TELL US A SECRET ABOUT YOURSELVES? Conor: Our latest single ‘Radio Star’ reuses an element from an old, old Birthday Card song, the first song we made a music video for back when we started the band. P

GEORGE MOIR

George Moir’s new single ‘Big Boy Cruising’ is an incredibly charming, laidback pop hit in a similar vein to the likes of Rex Orange County, and it comes with a self-animated video which - we kid you not - sees our George riding a tricycle through Postman Pat land. It’s proper great, and it’s time to introduce yourself. Words: Sam Taylor. WHAT FIRST GOT YOU INTO MUSIC? I first got into music really early; my mum used to have this mad cassette tape collection which she’d play all the time. It was a mix of classic Glen Miller and Nat King Cole, with Nina Simone, some jazz tracks, and a bit of Contemporary Christian stuff thrown in. Anyway, I was three and wanted to be a jazz pianist. My parents eventually got a piano. WHAT ABOUT ANIMATING? THAT’S SUCH A COOL SKILL TO HAVE. Haha, it might sound cool, but it’s literally the nerdiest thing ever! I got into it when I was like 10, I stole the family digital camera and made a load of Lego stop motion films. Eventually, I ended up doing it freelance straight out of school. TELL US ABOUT YOUR DEBUT EP, ‘SPARE ROOM’? I wrote the songs as a way to process things that were going on in my life, and make sense of my own mental state. It’s really an exploration of personal perceptions, and how looking at different situations through different lenses can really change how you look at your life. AND YOU’RE WORKING TOWARDS ANOTHER ONE? Yes, another one’s on the way! The next one is a bit more jolly. I’m still trying to make sense of life, now more so than ever, so there’s still a lot of the same attitudes and ideas in the subject matter I sing about, but I’ve had loads of fun with approaching serious stuff with a bit of a lighter tone. P READDORK.COM

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HI BE NO RAIN! HOW’S IT GOING? HOW HAVE YOU BEEN FILLING YOUR TIME DURING LOCKDOWN? WE ENJOYED YOUR SET AT HOMESCHOOL THE OTHER WEEK. Once the writing was on the wall a few days ahead of lockdown my producer, Rob Brinkmann, and I decided to quarantine together and get to work on my second album. We haven’t broken stride, so I think we’ll have the sophomore record finished before the debut is even released. It’s our way of bypassing ‘difficult second album syndrome.’

BIRTHDAY CARD - AKA JOSH SAW (VOCALS), CONOR RICHARDS (GUITAR), GEORGE HARRISON (SYNTHS), LESLIE ADRIAANS (DRUMS), AND TOM RITCHIE (BASS) - MAKE HUGE ALT-POP TUNES THAT ARE A LITTLE BIT 80S, A LITTLE BIT THE 1975, A LITTLE BIT MGMT. Bright, synth-heavy bops that have so far seen them share stages with the likes of SPINN and Glass Peaks - and they’re just getting started. Josh and Conor fill us in.

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DO YOU RECKON THIS VIRUS BUSINESS IS GOING TO SET NEW BANDS BACK FOR A BIT? IT MUST BE TOUGH NOT BEING ABLE TO PLAY SHOWS AND FESTIVALS. Josh: It certainly feels odd not playing a show every couple of weeks. I don’t think new bands should dwell on the fact they can’t gig, though. It is what it is. Everyone’s still adapting to the ‘new normal’, and I think that will give bands some time to hone their craft and write stronger material.


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After a year of new tracks, some release date shuffling and a world full of uncertainty buzzing around them, HAIM are finally ready to drop their third album. This time, they’re putting it all out there. Words: Abigail Firth.

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COVER STORY “TALK ABOUT DORK,” SAYS ESTE HAIM, “I’M LITERALLY HERE IN LIKE, MY MOM GLASSES.” The Haim sisters, Danielle, Este and Alana, join us via Zoom – as is the norm these days – from their Los Angeles homes, where they’ve been quarantining for the past few months. Este is picking apart jigsaw puzzles printed with the cover of their upcoming third album, ‘Women In Music Part III’, ready to send out to fans. “The puzzles that we got were the only ones that we could find that were printing in LA, but they don’t just like fall apart,” says Danielle. “You have to physically pull them all apart and then put them in a box,” adds Este. “So I boxed up 60 puzzles. By myself.” The puzzles reveal the tracklist, which at the time of our chat, hasn’t been revealed yet. It’s a rarity for Haim to go with the flow when releasing an album, but the combination of an unavoidable pandemic and a newfound spontaneity sitting in the driver’s seat have left the girls with no choice but to embrace the uncertainty. “It’s kind of like flying by the seat of our pants at this point,” says Alana. “No one really has put out a record during a pandemic before. So we’re all just, you know, doin’ it.” While Covid-19 might have stuck a knife in the tyre of their release schedule, they’d already warmed to a more relaxed album cycle approach by the time it all kicked off. When they put ‘Summer Girl’ out back in July 2019, there was no album plan, nothing beyond just releasing a single because they felt like it. “I think that’s what’s weirdly bittersweet about it is, the idea with this album was like, we’re gonna make it, put it out, onto the next! It was very spontaneous because that’s how we made ‘Summer Girl’, and that was kind of like the beginning of the recording

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process,” says Danielle. “When we recorded ‘Summer Girl’, we were like, okay, maybe we should keep recording the songs that we had written a couple months before, and that was kind of like our like, ‘Hey! We’re going to be more spontaneous!’ Okay, great, this is feeling good, we’re done with that song, next one, and then we’re gonna put it out within a month. You know what I mean? We announced the album I think a month and a half before it was supposed to come out. And then of course, like five days into the announcement, that’s when everything started to shut down. So it’s weird, but…” “We tried!” Alana jumps in. Somewhere in between the track’s easy-breezy vibes and the fact that they didn’t even tell their label they were working on new music, the release of ‘Summer Girl’ systemrebooted Haim. Their recording and release process changed, the song sounds like nothing else in their catalogue, and they maintained that energy for the singles that followed. They were done with playing safe. “It was a leap of faith,” recalls Danielle. “And I feel like we got such a great response from our fans, even though it was like, maybe a little different than what we had released before, it felt like our fans really liked it. But when we showed it to a lot of people on our team, they didn’t get it.” She continues, “We were like, fuck it. We really believe in the song. We really think there’s something to it. The chorus doesn’t hit you over the head, it’s just like, ‘I’m your summer girl’. I think we just really felt passionately about it because it felt really fresh to us. So we were a little nervous when we released it. We didn’t know what people were gonna think about it, but our fans seemed to really respond to it. So that gave us the confidence to be like, okay, let’s

“It’s kind of like flying by the seat of our pants at this point” ALANA

keep going.” This was the first time Haim had released a song with an explanation attached to it too, detailing the song’s conception and clearing up a few mysteries surrounding the four-year gap between debut album ‘Days Are Gone’, and 2017 follow up ‘Something To Tell You’. ‘Summer Girl’ was written to lift the spirits of Danielle’s partner and long time producer for the group, Ariel Rechtshaid, after he was diagnosed with cancer while they were making ‘Something To Tell You’ (he’s all good now, don’t worry). Danielle noted in a lengthy post when the song was released that she wanted to be his light when he was feeling hopeless, and the ‘I’m your summer girl’ line

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stuck. Although the girls have never shied away from penning more emotional songs, this was the first one they’d released explicitly stating its origins. Follow up single ‘Now I’m In It’ might have been, as they described, ‘the most haim haimy haim song’ they’ve ever written, but the subject of it was something they hadn’t explored before. Tackling depression, the speedy delivery of the verses and chaotic, chugging guitar and sparse drum machines mirror its lyrical content, and again, all was explained in social media posts upon release. It’d taken them a couple of album cycles to open up like this, but there was no way they were being misunderstood this time.

“When we first came out, we just expected everyone to just get us, just because we know each other so well,” explains Danielle. “And we quickly realised actually some people were confused by us and were trying to put us in a box. I think that’s what the album’s kind of speaking to, too. I feel like some people are like, wait… but like, they just don’t understand. I feel like there’s a lot of facets to our band, so I felt like it was important for people to know where we’re coming from.” On ‘Women In Music Part III’, Haim do a lot of dealing with the past, tending to old wounds that never fully healed and letting out long-held frustrations. When they emerged in 2012 with ‘Forever’, it didn’t take long

for them to get – as Danielle mentions – boxed in. Often typecast as the three sisters from California with the long hair, who made summery pop-rock, were destined for festival stages, and sounded ‘like Fleetwood Mac’, it felt like it took a single summer for them to become the most exciting band in the world. But all that exposure didn’t come without its pitfalls. Those who ‘got’ Haim really got them, quickly amassing legions of fans worldwide, including Florence Welch, Stevie Nicks, and Jai Paul, to name a few, but the ones who didn’t ‘get’ it also really didn’t. Portishead’s Geoff Barrow spent – and still spends – his days tweeting about how the girls are nothing but algorithm fodder, existing only to

be the token girl band on a lineup, which of course Haim were having none of. When Alana confronted him at a festival, he had nothing to say for himself, but it’s easy to see how years of dealing with situations like that have built up behind them. The track ‘Man From The Magazine’ discusses Haim’s experiences early on in their career, such as an interviewer asking Este if she makes her infamous ‘bass face’ in the bedroom, and being patronised by men at every level of the industry – men in music stores, male engineers at soundchecks, tour bus drivers, you name it. Where the title of the record plays tongue in cheek, it’s ‘Man From The Magazine’ that gets to the gritty parts of what it means to be a ‘woman in music’.

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“Everything so fucking crazy that it’s almost like if you don’t just laugh at it, you’re gonna fucking drive yourself insane when you realise all the shit that you experience,” says Danielle. Este continues, “Every woman in any industry knows, but we’re speaking specifically in our experience, this is our experience as women in music, and I think what we’ve learned over the last ten years is like, stop asking women what it’s like to be a woman in music. Just don’t ask us. Don’t ask other women. And yeah, we have all these stories, you know? Every woman has a story whether it’s you know, going into a soundcheck

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and feeling like the engineer doesn’t give a fuck about you…” “Or like getting the like, oh, you guys actually play your instruments?” Alana adds. “On such a normal everyday sort of thing, it’s like, even just having your period on the fucking road,” Danielle explains. “I remember when I was touring with Julian Casablancas, I was on a bus with a bunch of guys, and they were fucking awesome, and I loved it. I’ll never forget, I hadn’t gotten my period for like two months because we were just travelling so much, and then just getting the fucking heaviest period I’ve ever fucking got on the bus. I was bleeding

through my fucking clothes, and then finally finding tampons, and then changing your tampon in a moving bus with a bunch of dudes. Then there’s a trash can that’s like this big [she holds her hands out in an ‘o’ shape to demonstrate] because you can’t flush anything down the toilet on a bus. “Smuggling your used tampon, your bloody-ass tampon back your bunk so then when they stop you can throw it away... is that being a woman in music?” She goes on to explain how on that same tour, the bus driver would ask her to wash the dishes every morning (“Like what the fuck? I’m a

paid musician, what the fuck does that mean?”), while Este describes how a music store assistant questioned who the drumsticks she was buying were for (“He was like, oh, well, what size does he use?”). It’s enough to make you want to title an album ‘Women In Music’. Haim’s fearless side is really brought out on this album. Whether it’s in the songs themselves, or the way they talk about them, it feels like they’ve finally said “fuck it”. But being fearless isn’t just about getting angry, most of this record is about vulnerability, and that’s displayed most prominently on ‘Hallelujah’. A particularly emotional song for


HAIM Alana, she confronts her grief over the passing of her best friend many years ago (something she’d addressed briefly before in the form of a duct tape tribute of her initials on her guitar), which felt like a long time coming. “Writing a lot of these songs really did feel like a huge release,” Alana says. “I think we had a lot of things that were bottled up inside and being able to speak about it in song, it’s a really hard thing to do. It’s super hard to be like okay, I’m actually going to talk about this and people are actually going to understand what’s going on in our brains. “I always go back to when we wrote

“Everything so fucking crazy; if you don’t just laugh at it, you’re gonna fucking drive yourself insane” DANIELLE

Those ska influences worm their way in in an unexpected way. Danielle mentions that Ariel used to be in a ska band called The Hippos, which is maybe where that comes from, along with Este’s love for Sublime, which the girls listened to secretly away from their parents. “We were actually talking about this the other day, I think that also comes from like, Sublime’s ‘40 Ounces To Freedom’ which was a big record for us growing up,” Este notes. “We wouldn’t be allowed to play it like in family settings because they cussed a lot, but we had it on our Discman, and we would listen to it. And in my room, I had my own stereo, and I was allowed to listen to whatever I wanted. Not as loud as I wanted, but I was allowed to listen to whatever I wanted. So Danielle and Alana would go into my room, and we would listen to like ‘40 Ounces’ and their self-titled.” Haim have this glorious tendency to veer off into telling childhood stories almost entirely unprovoked. A question about how ska ended up on a Haim record quickly turns to a chat about Este’s love for Titanic and how she’d watch her bootleg VHS of it after school (“When I was done with my homework, I would watch, you know, the infamous scene. I’d be like ah, being a big girl seems so cool. Like, I can’t wait till I’m an adult”). We’re welcomed into their world, and for an hour, it feels like we’re part of the family too. Another obscure reference point – ‘A Grand Don’t Come For Free’ by The Streets – spirals into another story about a trip to see the Brummy legend in 2006, where the sisters waited in line all day to get to the barrier, and Mike Skinner himself shouted out Este in the crowd. “We waited all day,” Alana starts. “So I remember exactly what I wore; jean shorts with a white t-shirt, and I had braces. I was just so excited to be there. We were the third or fourth people in line so we could be at the barrier, and I think Este just started like, he was talking and she randomly started like dancing. And he called Este out and was like, wait a minute… I like that dance move. And he made everybody in the crowd do Este’s dance move. I remember being like, holy shit. Mike Skinner just saw our faces!” Their love for The Streets turns into a call out to Mike Skinner for a collaboration – which doesn’t even seem too far fetched when you consider that since their debut album, they’ve worked with everyone from Calvin Harris to Charli XCX to A$AP Ferg – but it is interesting how the Haim sound has evolved over time while maintaining the same few producers. Primarily working on ‘Women In Music Part III’ are Ariel Rechtshaid and Rostam Batmanglij, who’ve produced most of Haim’s discography, and

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‘Hallelujah’, we wrote that song super quickly, because I think that we just had so much to say, and it kind of just came out. After writing that song, I literally went outside and took a deep breath, like a deep breath of fresh air, and I felt like I was twenty pounds lighter. I felt like I had just released something that was really weighing heavy on my shoulders.” Each sister takes a verse of the song, all discussing the love and support they have for each other. It’s a stripped-back track, more acoustic than they’ve ever done before, but it’s a natural step they’ve been taking towards opening up more. Alana says, “I feel like we’ve been personal on all of our records, but specifically on this one, we really came into being open and talking about a lot of things that we’ve never spoken about before. I mean, we’ve had so much life experience at this point, and talking about things like loss and anger and depression, maybe on this record, we were ready to speak about it. I think that’s the thing, we’re ready to do this, and we’re comfortable with doing it now, where maybe in the past it was like, am I ready to speak about this? Do I feel like do I want to open myself up this much? And I feel like, with this one, it was just like the floodgates opened.” In the past, the group have spoken about their fears that they’re perhaps not taken seriously as musicians because they joke around, both on and off stage. Maybe that pressure fed into their perfectionist side on second album ‘Something To Tell You’, which played largely to the strengths of their debut, but was criticised at the time for being too safe and too polished; now they’re completely letting go on their third. ‘Women In Music Part III’ seems like less of an extension of their previous records, and more like a reinvention of Haim. Gone are many of the sparkly, bouncy pop melodies that defined their previous albums (there’s no big banger like ‘Want You Back’ or ‘Little Of Your Love’), and in is a more ramshackle 70s sound and some decidedly lo-fi production (see: ‘The Steps’ and ‘Leaning On You’). On the other hand, there are some serious curveballs on the record. It opens with a sax solo(!!), and closes with one(!!!). There’s the bass-heavy, psychy ‘Up From A Dream’, some perky ska-ish sounds on ‘Los Angeles’ and ‘Another Try’, the groovy Dev Hynes-tinged ‘I Know Alone’. And then there’s ‘3am’, where the 90s R&B vibes they’ve alluded to on previous records come into full fruition. “I think that’s definitely part of our musical DNA. You know, we grew up listening to 90s R&B on Kiss FM in the States, and we used to pretend we were Destiny’s Child. You know, like recreating the videos on MTV,” Este says of the track.


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side of the Atlantic. “It was really nice to see, when we were touring the UK, we’d see the same kind of people at all the shows, and like, the same group of people together,” Este adds. “And we found out later that people would get in a car and they would drive around together. People were travelling with us, and it was a really cool thing to see. You don’t really get a lot of that in the States.” It must be tough for a band like Haim, whose career foundations were laid in playing live, to have to put touring on hold. Especially with an album like ‘Women In Music Part III’, which sounds made to be played live. “While we were creating it, we were also creating a live show

together with Haim for the first time on this album. They work in the same musical language, and did right from the start. “Going back to why we feel like this is our favourite record, it’s so great to work with people that you really learn from, and you trust. It’s taken years, but at this point, I feel like we’re all on the same page,” Danielle says. “Even though you know, we will argue sometimes about what we think should be on a track and that’s normal, but we’re really lucky that all of our weird reference points are all aligned even though Ariel is older than us. I felt that was one of the big things that actually bonded us – he liked The Streets too when we first met him, and I remember being like, you know who The Streets are? We also bonded super heavy on Kate Bush when we first met him, and Kylie Minogue was huge.” Keeping the same collaborators over the past almost decade has allowed Haim to really hone in on their own specific sound, while also evolving and experimenting with different genres and textures, all ultimately resulting in Haim’s most colourful record yet. “Growing up our mom was like, super into Bonnie Raitt, and there’s like this specific record that she made in 1989 called ‘Nick of Time’,” Danielle starts to talk through the sound that defines most of the record. “That kind of early 90s, late 80s, like open rootsy drum sounds. ‘I’ve Been Down’ has that sort of thing, you know, like ‘The Steps’ is that same type of thing. I think ‘Leaning On You’ was like us wanting to write a song that you could pick up an acoustic guitar to and just write like that. And ‘Hallelujah’, we’ve never really done like an acoustic song just because we are a rock band. I feel like we were always trying to like be like, ‘We’re a rock band! Fuck you!’, you know, and now it’s kinda like,

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okay, we can like have this softer side of music that we love, you know?” It’s obvious how much growing up in the San Fernando Valley, and in a family band, have influenced the sisters over time, and more so than ever on this album. They’re not only looking to the past, but to the future, as opener ‘Los Angeles’ has Danielle pondering if she should leave the city. “That song kind of came out of feeling like yeah, maybe it was time to move out of the city that we love and that we represent so much,” she explains. “It felt in 2014 like a lot of people started moving here from out of LA, or even from the UK. I feel like a lot of people started to move here, and it was great when it first started like ‘Oh, great, like, people like LA now’ I feel like classically...” “Every one of those people who had moved to LA were shitting on LA for a very long time,” Alana finishes for her. “Like, ‘Are you gonna get another green juice?’ Like that shit. Which is not our LA, I don’t look at it that way. So all the people that were shitting on LA all of a sudden were like, ‘Actually… LA’s kinda tight’. And we were like, uh, yeah! We knew it all along.” Danielle continues, “At first it was like, fuck yeah! People are understanding why the city is so great and not just taking it at face value or something, and then as time started to pass, it felt almost like I saw the cracks in it and it just didn’t represent the city that I love so much anymore. So I was kind of like, well, maybe should we just move somewhere, or should I just move somewhere, should Alana move somewhere…” Este cuts her off to stress she herself will not be leaving LA – she loves it too much – while Alana emphasises her love for the UK. “The London years of Alana Haim would be a super fun chapter of my life,” she states, as the others agree, before reminiscing touring the other

“It made us laugh to be surrounded by a bunch of fuckin’ sausages” ALANA


HAIM simultaneously,” says Alana. “We really had us playing live as a huge part of this record. And unfortunately, we can’t do that. We had plans to literally tour until our fingers were bleeding like we wanted to tour this record for so long, which will happen! It’s not like it’s gone forever. “We were a live band before we were a recording band. We played every venue in Los Angeles multiple times. It even gets crazier - we were opening up for a fucking Harry Potter band. Like, we did that. We were first of three for so many years, but we just loved the act of playing live.” They snuck in a couple of shows in New York and Washington DC as part of their Deli Tour – yep, a tour in delicatessens across the US – before

the world shut down. Unfortunately, they didn’t make it back to perform at Canter’s Deli, the 24-hour Jewish delicatessen near West Hollywood, where they shot their album cover and played their first gig with their parents as Rockinhaim. Delis were a huge part of the sisters’ lives growing up, so a latenight decision to go back to those places to celebrate the release of their new record gave way to the Haim Deli Tour – another spontaneous decision on this release cycle. As for the album cover… “I think it made us laugh to be surrounded by a bunch of fuckin’ sausages,” says Alana. “That was just like, a really good laugh. Also the number 69.”

As our chat goes on, it becomes apparent that Haim’s family values go far beyond the three sisters in the band. They tour the delis they played with their parents, they send gifts out to fans who’ve been there from the start, they foster a sense of community within their fanbase and have never let that go as that fanbase has grown (they also invite Dork to be a part of The UK Years Of Haim, which we’re absolutely holding them to, btw). When Alana rounds off the interview, she calls their albums her children, saying she loves them all equally – a fitting end to this chat, although probably not intentional – but ‘Women In Music Part III’ is their favourite collectively. While

they established that ‘Haim sound’ long ago, they’ve really come into their own on this record, defying expectation and fully letting go. They’re more confident, stronger and bolder than ever. Danielle ends by saying, “I feel like, you know, we’ve never been afraid of putting something in a song that maybe sounds like it’s a little different than what the song actually inherently calls for. You know, I don’t think we’ve ever been afraid of that. And I think we take a lot of pride in doing things that are unexpected with our whole career. I think just now it’s like we’ve really embraced it.” We’re looking forward to Part IV. P HAIM’S ALBUM ‘WOMEN IN MUSIC PT. III’ IS OUT 26TH JUNE.

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PHOEBE BRIDGERS

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With a cast of collaborations that reads like a who’s who of modern alternative music and a debut album drowning in a sea of critical acclaim, PHOEBE BRIDGERS is finally ready to deliver a follow-up. No matter what the world throws up, there’s no stopping her now. Words: Ali Shutler. Photos: Olof Grind.

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BY THE TIME PHOEBE BRIDGERS’ DEATHSTRADDLING DEBUT ALBUM CAME AROUND TOWARDS THE END OF 2017, SHE WAS BEING HYPED UP AS A MODERN-DAY DYLAN WHO COULD SHATTER YOUR HEART WITH A SINGLE SENTENCE. The haunting ‘Stranger In The Alps’, full of fractured spirit and uncertain forward motion, did nothing to dispel those lofty comparisons. The three-year gap between it and follow up album ‘Punisher’ isn’t a result of rabbit-in-the-headlights fear though. There’s been the campfire punk rock of her Better Oblivion Community Centre record, a project she shares with Bright Eyes’ Conor Oberst that sees both parties challenge what is expected of them, and Boygenius, a supergroup of emo Next Big Things featuring Julien Baker, Lucy Dacus and Phoebe. She’s toured in support of all three, with the only time off used to write ‘Punisher’. Even a last-minute two-day getaway to see her friends in Nashville ended up as a Boygenius collaboration with Hayley Williams’ Petals For Armor. From sharing the spotlight with The 1975 on their most vulnerable track ‘God Bless America Jesus Christ 2005’ (and three other tracks on their ‘Notes On A Conditional Form’) to standing beside her childhood heroes on stages around the world, Phoebe Bridgers doesn’t shy away from greatness. She goes toe to toe with it. “I’ve always felt so relieved when I’m standing next to other people doing the exact same thing as me. It’s more special like that.” It’s a gushing story, all dreamlike collaborations and fairytale opportunities, but none of that disbelief can be found on ‘Punisher’. “It’s a funny phrase, and it’s a metal sounding thing to say.” It’s also, according to Urban Dictionary, “someone who talks excessively about a subject matter that no one has any interest in,” which is something Bridgers is “constantly afraid I’m doing to people. I’m afraid I’m talking too long and that I don’t know how to pick up on social cues.” Laughing despite an existential crisis and finding sparks of joy no matter how turbulent your mind is being makes Phoebe Bridgers a confusing prospect to an outsider but for a generation who can express themselves in a TikTok and find inspiration despite everything thrown their way, Phoebe is one of their own. Two weeks ago, Phoebe wrote a new song, and she hasn’t touched her guitar since. “Does it sound like I’m walking on a treadmill?” she asks over the phone from her Californian home. “Because that’s what I’m doing. I’m finding little ways to cope, but lockdown is fucking horrifying. Every day is a new adventure. I wake up and have a meltdown, or I wake up and buy a treadmill online.” Announcing the album after America had entered lockdown and with a release date before it’ll have been lifted, Phoebe refused to delay ‘Punisher’ because of her own impatience. “I love just putting stuff out when I’m finished with it because it takes me forever to finish stuff anyway. It would drive me literally insane if I sat on it.” It’s also “sorta about the end of the world,” so there’s that. “I feel good about it. Well, I feel as good as I can feel about doing anything right now. I half feel like my life is totally pointless

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It might have been a three year wait between albums for Phoebe Bridgers, but that doesn’t mean she’s been slacking off between releases. From her other projects Better Oblivion Community Centre with Conor Oberst, and boygenius with Lucy Dacus and Julien Baker, to appearances alongside the likes of Hayley Williams and The 1975, she’s one of the most in demand talents around. DID MAKING THE BETTER OBLIVION COMMUNITY CENTRE AND BOYGENIUS RECORDS HELP YOU MAKE ‘PUNISHER’? “It’s deeply inspired by both those things and the things I learnt making them. All those guys are insane producers, but it also gave me a wider social circle, I could send Boygenius the songs and suggest we get together and sing on stuff or I was bouncing lyric stuff off Conor. It just feels like I have an actual little scene going which was the most fun part about making the record.” LUCY AND JULIEN FEATURE ON ‘GRACELAND TOO’ WHAT MAKES IT A PHOEBE SONG AND NOT A BOYGENIUS TRACK? “Basically because I recorded it myself and then asked them if they wanted to sing on it, but yeah, it is pretty similar. When we made the EP, half of it was songs we already had, one each, and then we each brought another idea in to finish together. I would love to do that again, but this time, I recorded the whole thing and then was like, damn, you guys should sing on it. That song was clearly the one.” WHAT WAS IT LIKE WORKING WITH THE 1975? “They’re the best. They rule. They’re so funny and relatable and the opposite of handsome douchebags. They’re handsome nerds which is such a relief. You meet indie rock people who you expect to be cool, and they’re mean. Then you meet these handsome popstars who write about having sex all the time, and they’re the sweetest, dorkiest nerds you’ve ever met. I had so much fucking fun and continue to send them memes all day long.”


PHOEBE BRIDGERS

HOW DID COLLABORATING WITH HAYLEY WILLIAMS COME ABOUT? “That was also fucking awesome, but it was also such a crazy coincidence. Lucy was working on the record in Nashville, and that’s where Julien lives, so I literally flew out for two days, because I had a random two days off and I wanted to see them. I landed, and I had all these texts ‘we ran into Hayley Williams, and she wants us to sing on something’. Ok, deal. It was so random that I was even in town.”

“I love that people think I’m funny, are you kidding me?” PHOEBE BRIDGERS

WHEN PHOEBE WROTE ‘STRANGER IN THE ALPS’, SHE WAS A VIRTUALLY UNKNOWN ARTIST AND BETTER OBLIVION AND BOYGENIUS BOTH MOVED SO FAST, PEOPLE DIDN’T GET A CHANCE TO SECOND-GUESS THEM. There’s no avoiding it with ‘Punisher’, though. People have expectations. It’s something Phoebe “thinks about sometimes,” she says, “but it didn’t change what I do. Every decision on the record, I was thinking about myself,” from faster songs being more fun to play to wanting to scream at the end. “Making something in private and having people get it is the coolest experience. If people find this album and get it, great, but I made it for myself,” she continues. “I just do what I like.” She has the same attitude with everything she does. Her goofy, observational humour on Twitter is at odds with the weight of her confessional, soul-prickling emo but it comes from a place of fearlessness. “I love that people think I’m funny, are you kidding me? I just share what I think is funny, I don’t think about it that hard. I have a bunch of Twitter drafts.” It’s the same with her lyrics. “I used to be worried a song was too mean or too specific, but I’d write it anyway. “ There was a learning curve where Phoebe had to trust her gut but “I’m glad I did because it’s exhausting to keep up otherwise. Telling the truth whenever you can is very liberating. And by telling the truth I mean, posting your innermost, stupidest thought online. Even if people are like ‘that’s so stupid’, there’ll be people who think it’s funny and that’s such a nice feeling. I don’t want to keep up a social facade and then be completely different with my friends. It’s more fun to be your entire self all the time. Of course, I see photos of underneath my chin at some music festival, and I want to die, just like everyone else, but it’s funny to zoom in on it and post it below the Pitchfork article.” It’s why people find her music so relatable. “When you make music that you like or say stuff online that you agree with, the people that find you are typically on the exact same page as you and it’s such a relief.” “The key to not thinking about other people is just to make stuff that you actually like,” which is why ‘Punisher’ isn’t some huge genrehopping jump from her debut. “I’ve been saying it sounds like a sequel, because it’s not that different, it’s just more. I was experimenting more with production and coming into my own.” Picking up where she left off with producers Tony Berg and Ethan Gruska instead of hiring a new team and “having a business meeting where we discuss what we hated about the first record,” it was a case of “let’s do this again except now we’re all friends.” Like her debut, “[‘Punisher’ is] definitely still about death but it’s also me figuring out who I am as a person. The first record was me

grappling with who I was before making music was my job. This record is the exact same personality copy and pasted into the life of someone who’s never at home and plays music for a living. It’s inspired by my new day to day life as well as the same existential questions I’ve always tortured myself over. Maybe in my heart of hearts, I want to be like everyone else; I want to be smart, and I want to be funny, but I guess I don’t take myself that seriously. I’m just trying to prove something to myself constantly. I’m trying to prove that I’m a producer, I’m trying to prove that I can learn a guitar part or that I can be in a rock band.” The chirping hammer of ‘Kyoto’ is about the grass never being greener - “When I’m on tour, I want to be at home, and when I’m at home, I’m dying to be on tour” - the aching title-track is about taking up other people’s time, and the closing song, the glorious ‘I Know The End’ is “weirdly about the end of the world, minute details about my personal life and wanting to escape your mundane life.” The song is inspired by the drive she used to do between her Grandpa’s house in northern California and her home in the South of the state. “I remember Elon Musk was doing his crazy Space X shit one day, and I straight-up thought aliens were landing, so it’s about that too.” As for the message of the album? “I don’t figure that shit out until someone figures it out for me. It’s why I love playing shows and meeting people.” “The fairytale part of my story is how specific it is to me. One of the biggest shows I ever played early on was opening for Bon Iver, Bon Iver was all I listened to for my entire teenage years until now. It was the exact same with Bright Eyes. All the things that are my favourite are what I ended up finding, so that the feels like a fairytale.” But she’s also worked hard for it. “Technically, I went on tour for three years straight with almost no breaks, and when I did have a break, I made records. It was pretty organic and pretty slow starting out, so I got to be so grateful for every single thing that happened. Bright Eyes’ old tour manager had this joke, ‘best new artist, fifteen years running’ and that’s how it feels. Because I’m relatively small and people keep discovering me, you get to have those experiences over and over. Every year is a new, great milestone. It’s definitely been this organic growth, but I’m constantly being faced with stuff that makes me ask, how did the universe know exactly what I wanted?” Right now, though, “I just want to see what happens next. I have nothing to do all day but write and think about my life. I’d love to do another Boygenius record. I’d love to do Better Oblivion Community Centre again. I’d love to someday to do a covers record, I think that’d be fun because I grew up loving that Cat Powers cover albums because everything is so different from the original and I’d love to score a movie someday. I’m just scheming in whatever direction.” P PHOEBE BRIDGERS’ ALBUM ‘PUNISHER’ IS OUT NOW.

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FROM THE SURPRISE DROP OF THE BETTER OBLIVION COMMUNITY CENTRE ALBUM TO KEEPING YOUR NAME OFF OF THE CREDITS OF THE 1975’S ‘GOD BLESS AMERICA JESUS CHRIST 2005’, IT’S LIKE YOU’D RATHER FANS HAD A MOMENT OF SURPRISE WITH THE MUSIC RATHER THAN USING IT AS A CHANCE TO PROMOTE YOURSELF. “Totally. Self-promotion is so cringey to me even though everyone has to do it. It’s selfsabotage to not do it, that’d be stupid, but I am constantly trying to trick labels into letting me not promote something until it’s out. Putting out music is so fun because by the time it comes out, you’ve totally forgotten how hard it was to do or that it was even happening, especially with stuff like The 1975. We made that at the end of last year and by the time it comes out, it’s just fun to watch people get it. Better Oblivion was very fun as well because we forgot to tell any of our friends about it really. In June 2018 we made a record, and we’d tell whoever we ran into, but there were lots of people who I’m actually close to who were like ‘what the fuck?’ the day it came out. I’m sorry, I forgot.”

and I’m crippled by helplessness. I half feel like, well music is always quote-unquote “pointless” anyway so it as good a time as any to put something out.”


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A lot can happen in just four years, and GLASS ANIMALS have been through more than their fair share. Words: Jessica Goodman.

group triumphed on tour, stirred up a gleeful sense of hype when they inadvertently caused pineapples to be banned from festivals, and everything looked to be coming up Ass Glanimals. Until July 2018, when Joe was hit by a truck while riding his bike in Dublin, an accident that left him fighting for his life. Thinking back to that time in their lives isn’t easy. The conversation is hard. Dave speaks carefully, but candidly, reflecting back on one of the worst times of his life with openness. He wasn’t in the same country as his bandmate when the accident happened. When he heard, he got the first flight he could to be there for his friend and his family. “When I was landing [Joe’s dad] called me and I could hear it in his voice how much he was worried,” he recalls. “I could just feel it. He was trying to keep it cool, but he wasn’t – and he’s a serious man,” he states. “I’ve seen Joe’s dad cry twice: once when we played him the song ‘Agnes’ off the last record, and then once in that circumstance - that’s it.” The accident left Joe with a severely broken leg and brain damage caused by a complex skull fracture. “It was bad,” Dave conveys. “I’d done a few years of medical school, and I was really into neuroscience, and I kind of knew how bad it was. I could see it.” Understanding the gravity of the situation didn’t make it any easier to handle. “I was trying to play it down,” he recalls. “I was like, ‘oh, he’s gonna be okay, it’s gonna be okay’. But deep inside, you know...” He trails off before he admits, “it could have really gone either way. It was actually probably a lot more likely that he was going to suffer from some kind of issues the rest of his life. He couldn’t talk. He couldn’t walk. He couldn’t really move, at all.” He pauses. “And then he had a miracle surgery.” The road to recovery hasn’t been easy. Joe had to re-learn how to walk, how to talk, how to read, to write, to do the most basic things, and build onwards from there. “He started just saying one word at a time,” Dave recalls, then grins. “His first words were ‘I’ and ‘fuck!’” he exclaims, laughing. “Then he got ‘you’ and ‘me’ and it just

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SOME PEOPLE LIKE PLAYING VIDEO GAMES, I LIKE MAKING MUSIC,” DAVE BAYLEY SHRUGS. “It’s weird that it’s a job.” Making music has never been considered one of the most viable of career paths, but for Glass Animals it feels like part of who they are. The road that brought them here hasn’t been an easy one, but with new album ‘Dreamland’ about to be released, the four-piece are making the most of their ability to keep doing what they do best. “We’ve done some stupid stuff,” Dave laughs, grinning fondly all the while. “We shouldn’t be alive right now. It’s very lucky that we’re all here.” The sun is shining in London. Holed up in his home studio, where he’s been spending his time through lockdown, the frontman is in high spirits. “I spend most of my life in here anyway,” he shrugs as he gestures around the room, “making music, so it’s kind of back to that.” He pauses, then laughs. “It’s weird when I leave.” With the world in the middle of a global pandemic, and the country in a state of lockdown, these are strange and difficult times we’re living in. For a band who put so much of their creativity into their live performances, the current hiatus the live industry is going through has hit them hard. “We were on tour in America, and I was ready for two years of touring after that,” Dave conveys. “We’d basically pushed ‘go’ on the big plan.” Midway through a tour of small venues, building up to a mini-festival show at Red Rocks in Colorado with the likes of friend and collaborator Denzel Curry on the bill, the group were deep into creating something “trippy and theatrical” on stage to announce their new record when the COVID-19 outbreak forced them to put all their plans on hold. “I was in tour mode, super heavily in tour mode,” Dave recalls. “It was all based around touring.” Their last album, ‘How To Be A Human Being’, saw the band – completed by drummer Joe Seaward, guitarist Drew MacFarlane, and bassist Ed Irwin-Singer – earn no shortage of acclaim both on and off the tour circuit. The record was Mercury Prize-nominated. One of their singles spawned a mobile video game. The

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grew from there. It was amazing.” It was slow going, but the time was full of small victories. “I remember I put headphones in his ears and played him some music. He started wiggling his toes, and I was like, ‘it’s gonna be alright, it’s gonna be right.’” Having been there from the start, and having seen Joe recover, there’s a reverence in Dave’s voice as he talks about his friend. “I’ve always known he’s...” he trails off, considering his words. “He’s probably the most stubborn person I know,” he laughs. “And you kind of have to be stubborn. You have to be so confident that you’re going to be okay in those situations if you’re going to recover as well as he did. I kind of knew that if someone was going to be able to recover from injury like that, it would be him.” It was there, in the hospital in Dublin, supporting his friend on the start of his road to recovery, that the initial seeds of inspiration for Glass Animals’ new album grew life. “A hospital’s a weird place,” Dave reflects. “You see lots of families coming together. You see lots of grief and pain and loneliness. You’re always awake ‘cause there’s so much adrenaline. You basically feel like you’re in this dream state the whole time. You get quite reflective. You start thinking about your own family, your own life, what you’ve done wrong, what you’ve done right…” “I didn’t know if we were going to be able to continue this band, this project,” he admits. “I was sitting in a hospital, thinking that another one of my best friends was going to die.” With little to do but to wait and to hope for a better outcome, his thoughts turned inwards. “The future looked really bleak. So I was looking backwards, looking at what happened in the past.” It took two lengthy, life-threatening operations, but Joe made it out of the woods, started regaining his speech, his strength, his movement. “After a few months we could tell he was gonna be alright,” Dave details. “He was walking with crutches, and he was talking relatively normally, missing a few words, and he was like, ‘you know what? It’s just going to take me some time - go do your thing’.” Assured in the knowledge that his friend was going to be okay, Dave went to LA, where he got to work writing and producing for other artists – the likes of Joey Bada$$, Flume, Wale, and Khalid. “The first session I had when I got back to writing after Joe’s accident, I remember sitting down at a piano and just...” his hands hover in the air as he mimes the instrument, playing the notes and humming the opening riff from album opening track ‘Dreamland’. “There’s something important...” he starts to describe, then shrugs. “It’s the first chords back.” It was through those sessions in LA that Dave found the resolve to take a more introspective approach to songwriting, to make the songs for this new Glass Animals record personal. “That’s what these other artists were gravitating towards when I was writing for them,” he explains. Writing with other performers, seeing them drawn to singing about personal topics, personal experiences, gave him the disconnect he needed to write about things personal to him. “I started writing really personal stuff; then I just kept doing it.” The determination to write a personal record was there, but the notion of sharing those songs with others, with

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“It’s okay to be confused, especially when you’re growing up” DAVE BAYLEY

“The world is set up to be a very binary place,” he amends. “You’re meant to give yes or no answers to things. You’re meant to know what you want to do, and know...” he trails off, at a loss, before exclaiming, “You’re meant to have an answer for bloody everything. It’s not that simple. The world’s so much more colourful than that. It’s more fluid than that.” Life is, to paraphrase Fitzgerald, inexhaustible in its variety. On ‘Dreamland’, Glass Animals bask in that confusion in a way that’s infectiously freeing. “It’s okay to not understand something and not know how you feel about something. When someone hurts you, it’s okay to not know what to do for a minute,” Dave expresses earnestly. “That confusion is good. That confusion’s healthy. And those stereotypes that people try to apply to you, it’s okay to question them. It’s okay to not know the answer.” “It’s recognising that being confused is okay. It’s actually quite an exciting thing,” he summarises, enthusiastically. “If you have everything all sorted out and organised, life’s probably quite boring,” he chuckles. “It’s okay to be a bit lost and not have an answer for a bit, be that with relationships, gender, mental health, politics, the internet,” he lists, rolling his eyes his last mention. “I’ve spent a lot of time struggling with the bloody internet,” he scoffs, goodnaturedly, before getting back on topic. “It’s okay to be confused, especially when you’re growing up. It’s okay to just not try and fit into that yes-or-no, black-and-white framework that a lot of people try to get you to adhere to because it’s easier for them.” Born out of confusion during one of the worst times in the group’s life, an expression of all the confusion that’s pent up in growing up, and released at a time when what’s next for the music industry – or hell, any industry – is, well, pretty darn confusing, that sense of recognition that flows through these songs feels pretty damn important. “Everyone’s sitting at home, thinking back, and using their memories as fuel to keep them alive and keep them happy,” Dave reflects. “No one’s out doing the fun stuff that they want to be doing. No one’s out with their friends creating new memories. We’re just throwing the old ones into a fire and living off them.” Which is exactly how ‘Dreamland’ was made. Unable to travel and unable to play live, this isn’t how the band planned on sharing their new record with the world. “The standard way of releasing an album is that you put the album together, then you release it, then you tour like hell,” Dave details. “That’s gone.” Which isn’t to say the band are sitting idle. There’s new merch galore (cereal bowls, nunchucks, and PEZ dispensers – oh my!) and Mario Kart tournaments on Twitch. There’s been talk of drive-in shows, and Dave’s even made a hologram of himself. “It’s made me more confident in trying to be really creative and have weird ideas and new ideas,” he enthuses. It’s not ideal, but after everything the group have been through over the past couple of years, to still be able to write together, to play together (albeit not in front of an audience, currently), release music that means something to them together, Glass Animals are making the most of every moment. “The landscape has flattened, and there are no more rules.” P GLASS ANIMALS’ ALBUM ‘DREAMLAND’ IS OUT 10TH JULY.

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his bandmates, was a daunting one. “When I showed [the band] the first couple of songs, I was like ‘this is quite personal - that’s weird, I feel weird, I feel selfish writing this kind of stuff’,” Dave laughs. “They convinced me to do it, ‘just freakin’ do it’,” he grins. “So did it.” ‘Dreamland’ is, at its heart, a record about growing up. The title track, the song written from “the first chords back” after Joe’s accident, is something of a contents, its lyrics opened up and explored through the rest of the record. Nostalgic to its core, the album breathes life into childhood memories and long-lost friends, fond favourites and the fervently felt confusion of youth. The tracks are bridged together by snippets of home videos from Dave’s childhood, the songs littered with throwback references to everything from Hot Pockets to The Karate Kid. “Every time I was writing something about a certain moment I would think back to where I was, what I was doing, what I was eating, what I did in my spare time at that point, what I was listening to, what was happening at school, who my friends were...” The songs on ‘Dreamland’ are remarkably candid, taking in everything from online alter-egos to selfdestructive relationships, confusion, sexuality, and aspiration. ‘Tangerine’ laments what’s left of a friendship when the person you cared about grows into someone who isn’t who you thought they’d be. ‘It’s All So Incredibly Loud’ hovers in the freeze-frame moment that exists after saying something to someone just because it’ll tear them down. ‘Domestic Bliss’ (Dave’s first real memory) surges with love and hope for someone in an abusive relationship. All incredibly personal topics – not just to Dave, but the people he wrote the songs about. “That’s kind of the toughest part, sharing it with family and friends,” he mulls. “A lot of it is stuff they didn’t know, or don’t know. Some of it’s about them.” Glass Animals have never been ones for transparency in their lyrics (they still haven’t explained what ‘JDNT’ stands for). Writing in such a candid way for ‘Dreamland’, the memory or the meaning behind a lot of these songs is readily apparent. “If you keep things just-vague-enough, hopefully other people can see themselves reflected in the words, they can find their own meaning,” Dave expresses. “You tread a very fine line with worrying that you’re going to hurt people and writing something that’s meaningful, really meaningful and personal and honest.” Because that’s what ‘Dreamland’ is all about. These songs might have been born out of Dave’s memories, influenced by growing up in Texas and listening to hip-hop radio stations on an old boombox, dotted with references to the TV shows he watched and the snacks he shared with friends, but the experiences and the emotions that come with growing up are universal – an expression of feeling shared for anyone to relate to. “Growing up is fucking crazy,” Dave exclaims, laughing. “Really funny things happen. Ridiculous things, really sad things, really happy moments... Mainly you’re just confused, and you don’t know what’s happening, and you don’t know what to think about anything.” He pauses. “And then, er, you die.” An optimistic outlook, if we’ve ever heard one. “I don’t know what my point was,” he laughs, shaking his head.


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One of punk-stroke-rock-stroke-pop’s most ferocious and well-loved bands, DREAM WIFE’s second album is no holds barred. Words: Jessica Goodman. Photos: Sarah Piantadosi.

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“I’M HOPING FOR THE ABOLITION OF CAPITALISM,” BELLA PODPADEC DECLARES, “BUT I GUESS IF THAT HAPPENS, IT PROBABLY ISN’T GOOD NEWS FOR THE BAND?” SHE LAUGHS. You don’t need us to tell you good news has been in somewhat short supply of late. We’re in the middle of a global pandemic. The country is struggling through a state of imposed lockdown. Entire industries are on hold – live music among them – for the foreseeable imminent future. This isn’t how they planned to release their second record, but as they always set out to, Dream Wife are using their platform to make a difference where they can. In this uncertain period of isolation, a sense of community is hard to find. But fostering a sense of community – a space for their audience to be empowered, a space for womxn to be the ‘Bad Bitches’ they are – is what Dream Wife are all about. When it came to recording their second album last year, working with an all-female production team was something the trio knew they had to do. “It was a real practicing-what-we-preach situation,” Alice Go recalls. Resolved to (as they sing on lead single ‘Sports!’) “put your money where your mouth is,” the band found the collaborator they were looking for in Marta Salogni (whose previous credits include working with the likes of Björk, FKA Twigs, and Frank Ocean). “Less than 5% of albums are produced by female-identifying people,” Alice informs. “It felt like a really important thing for this [record] to be produced by Marta and this incredible team of women,” she enthuses. “It’s the reason we do this.” Described with much laughter from the band as “what happens when you stop touring,” ‘So When You Gonna…’ is Dream Wife turned up to eleven: their boldest, brashest, most tongue-

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in-cheek, and most emotionally exposed yet. “This band has just been full-on go, go, go, since we started,” Rakel Mjöll reflects. After promoting their debut album with a hectic tour schedule that saw the band play over 200 shows in 18 months, the trio took six weeks off, “including Christmas!” Rakel laughs. “That was the longest time that we had actually been apart from each other.” It might not seem like long, but for a band who built so much of their first record around their live show, taking a break presented the opportunity to do things differently. “Our live shows really guided us on how the songs should be on record,” Alice recalls. “It’s really great to see people engaging with something that they’ve never heard before, their reaction, how their bodies move,” Rakel enthuses. “Was there a song that everyone wanted to dance to? Was there a song that you were screaming at the end?” she asks. “I think between us there was like this real understanding of the songs as living, breathing entities that kind of updated and reformed every time we played them live,” Bella agrees. “Which is obviously very different now, releasing music at a time where we can’t play live.” Returning to home comforts after the better part of a year and a half spent on the road turned out to be the inspiration and reinvigoration the group needed to write their second record. “With this album, we actually had time to elevate the songs in a way we never really have before,” Alice enthuses. “It was such a freeing feeling coming back into a writing space knowing that is your focus,” Rakel agrees. “It’s time to be able to fully give yourself over to a creative process.” As a result, ‘So When You Gonna…’ showcases Dream Wife at their most dynamic yet. Offering the band’s

“It was a real practicingwhat-wepreach situation” ALICE GO

trademark raw energy in full ferocious force, the record is as playful as it is pained as it is empowered as it is everything in between. From the sassed-up refrains of ‘Sports!’ (giving the album its gleefully commanding introduction of “Fuck. Sorry. Fuck. Please will you so kindly start again?”) to laid bare ballad ‘After The Rain’, the record is a snapshot of life and emotion in all of their infinite variety. “Over the course of that whole year, on a personal level, I had a lot of quite chaotic relationship stuff going on,” Bella admits. “It was really interesting creating these songs alongside experiencing these emotional ups and downs, especially after having toured so much and not given any attention to your personal life for years,” she

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laughs. “I feel like this body of songs helped me understand what I was going through more,” she continues as her bandmates agree, “and also what I was going through helped me to understand the songs more.” It’s not just their own music and their own experiences that have proved educational. Venturing into the medium of podcasts, the group are sharing an ongoing series of conversations with friends, collaborators, and creatives. “We learned so much from working in the studio with Marta, from the people that we collaborate with, from people that we admire…” Rakel enthuses. “We were just having such interesting conversations we wanted people to get in on them, to share them, to be a

part of them.” The ‘So When You Gonna…’ podcast shines a light on everything from songwriting and production to coding and magic and more besides. “It feels like the kind of conversations I wish I could have heard when I was a teenager,” Alice expresses. “Normalising positions in the creative industries for non-males is really important, and I think it was a way to shine a light on that.” “Hearing their routes through the creative industry, and not glamorising it the whole time,” Rakel describes, “those are the podcasts I love because they’re human. They’re real.” At a time when contact with people outside of our households has been prohibited, that sense of something

human to connect with is ever more valued. It might be a while until we can let loose at shows together again (Dream Wife’s next tour is scheduled for April / May 2021), but with the release of ‘So When You Gonna…’ the band are doing everything they can to keep their connection alive. “For me, listening to music right now feels like this teenage feeling of finding a kind of a connection, or tapping into some kind of emotion, on a bigger scale, outside of your own situation in the immediate space before you,” Alice conveys. “I’m really excited to see how people digest [the new album] in this situation where people are physically distanced and isolating.” “When the album’s out, other people can develop their own

relationships and their own meanings with the songs,” Bella affirms, “and other peoples’ meanings and interpretations can then kind of fuel and feed your own understanding.” Her bandmates are quick to enthuse with her. “I can’t wait to see what that conversation is.” What the future might hold is uncertain. Where we go from here is unclear. As Dream Wife ready to share their second album with the world, perhaps what’s next could be best summed up by the band themselves on buoyant album standout ‘Validation’. “This could be something special,” they sing, “let’s see.” P DREAM WIFE’S ALBUM ‘SO WHEN YOU GONNA...’ IS OUT 3RD JULY.

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It’s time for the debut album from Murph ‘from the Wombats’: LOVE FAME TRAGEDY has arrived. Words: Jack Press.

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IF YOU’VE SPENT ALMOST HALF OF YOUR ENTIRE LIFE TRAVERSING MODERN MUSIC’S TORRENTIAL TERRAIN, TAKING YOUR STRAIGHT-FROM-THEDORMS UNI PROJECT FROM INDIE-ROCK SING-ALONG SENSATIONS WHO ENJOY DANCING TO JOY DIVISION, TO MODERN-DAY INDIE-POP CONNOISSEURS WAXING LYRICAL ABOUT GIVING ASPIRIN THE HEADACHE OF ITS LIFE; WELL, YOU’D BE FORGIVEN FOR FRETTING ABOUT TAKING A BREAK. For The Wombat’s Matthew ‘Murph’ Murphy, this is not just a dream dreamt about over drinks in the basement bar of a students union, but a reality that has led to him being a bit of a dab hand at making intoxicating, infectious and intelligent pop music. As he breaks away from his day-job to launch his solo project - the Pablo Picasso-inspired satirically-titled Love Fame Tragedy. “When you’re in a band for so long there’s so much shit that goes on behind the scenes and Love Fame Tragedy was born out of wanting to escape all of that for a bit,” deadpans Murph, reliving the exhaustion experienced after spending a solid

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two years on and off of studios, stages and tour buses. It’s this very same exhaustion that has given birth not only to his solo project, but to its debut album, the somewhat aptlytitled ‘Wherever I Go, I Want To Leave’. The 17-song strong set compiles the previously-released EP’s ‘I Don’t Want To Play The Victim, But I’m Really Good At It’ and ‘Five Songs To Briefly Fill The Void’ alongside an array of synth-soaked indie-pop bangers and an army of guests. When you’ve written four album’s worth of mainstream chart-crashing material sung equally as loud and as in unison at dingy indie clubs as they have at festivals like Glastonbury and Reading, you’d assume striking off on your own would be something simple to fill your time with. For Murph, writing and recording ‘Wherever I Go…’ was a bittersweet symphony bookended by wine-stained studio hangouts with friends and a struggle with his inner-self to overcome writer’s block, a struggle he ultimately defeated here. “I’ve felt very creative over the last five years. I feel like I’m putting the best stuff out that I ever have done, which is great that it’s all doublebacked on itself, because there have

“I listened to the album for the first time the other day in my car, and I was like ‘fucking hell, good job Murph’”

been times I’ve been struggling with it a bit. “My relationship with songwriting and music, in general, is probably not how people think an artists relationship is with their craft. I go through periods of loving it and having a great time, and periods where I absolutely fucking despise it.” Whereas some artists can suddenly solicit a spark of sensational, stimulating creativity, Murph has often had to force himself into the deepest, darkest physical and mental spaces to summon his alchemist-like abilities to conjure up modern-pop of the highest quality. Even going as far as literally locking himself away in rooms and shutting off the world outside. “I definitely just shove myself in a room and close the curtains and freak out until somethings there. Sometimes there are these moments of inspiration, but typically I have to put myself in a position to get something good if it comes along. It’s usually the first hour or so, which is the most annoying thing, but when I’ve got something, it’s easy, and it’s exciting, and all the good stuff comes. But I’m usually forcing myself to go into a studio and sit down at a piano or whatever.” Sitting at a piano, however, it seems, is something Murph’s quite familiar with. His experience crafting rowdy rom-com-bashing bangers like ‘Kill The Director’ and electropop rollicks through LA a la ‘Greek Tragedy’ lends itself well here, leaving its curator with a compendium of modern-pop music. ‘Everything Affects Me Now’ is a plucky, pitterpatter piano-meets-guitar indie-pop anthem while ‘Backflip’ channels ‘AM’era Arctic Monkeys with its slinkily silky seductive production. Elsewhere, ‘Sharks’ and ‘My Cheating Heart’ are Robyn-synthesised electro-pop with honey-soaked harmonies meanwhile ‘Honey Pie’ and ‘Pink Mist’ drift into dream-pop territory. For most, having so many fingers in so many pies would either be a conscious decision or a bit of a problem, but for Murph, it was just business as usual. “It’s kind of the same horse, different jockey with what I’ve done before; it’s upbeat music and relatively bizarre introspective lyrics. But there’s part of me that thinks maybe I could’ve done an 11-track album, but we had so many recorded and in the current situation I was just like ‘ah fuck it, let’s get it all out there’. “I listened to the album for the first time the other day in my car, and I was like ‘fucking hell, good job Murph’. I’m just trying to remove pressure and over-analysis, you know? I just wanted to remove all of that and write songs that I like, to be honest. I’ve gone down rabbit holes with all of that stuff before, like ‘what does this album need to be?’ whereas now I’m just like, ‘I’m going to write a body of work and release it’.” ‘Wherever I Go’ has a lot of musical touchpoints, but its true inspiration came not in the form of an artist, a song, or even something strictly musical, but instead his new-born daughter and her discovery of sound. The early-morning and latenight moments they share together listening to music were as powerful as an epiphany, putting the perspective back into his purpose as both a musician and as a father.


LOVE FAME TRAGEDY

Dead in the mornings or Lady Gaga and Lizzo in the night, I don’t know.” More than just an inspiration, his daughter has been his biggest critic and quality-checker, pulling no punches as her father fretted over piecing together his solo projects mission statement. “She’s heard a few songs from this album, and it’s great. She’s kind of like her mother, she’ll let you know the one’s she loves, and she’ll really let

you know the one’s she doesn’t like. She’s my biggest fan and my biggest critic.” Whether Murph was revelling in the revolution becoming a father has bought to his life or cracking under the weight of carrying The Wombats and the world on top his of shoulders, bonding with his daughter afforded him the ability to dig deep into the wells of inspiration and see past the turbulent times his life has

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“It’s kind of made me appreciate music and appreciate my job a lot more. I want her to be creative, and I’m playing silly instruments around her all of the time. I feel like she loves music so much, she always wants to dance. All we listen to is Taylor Swift, Grateful Dead and Miley Cyrus at the moment and it’s just great to see her dancing around to this stuff. I’ve maybe found a whole new respect and love for music; whether it’s Grateful

undertaken. “It was a little turbulent, juggling the impulsiveness of my life and having a child and trying to be a family man, but also being on and off tour all the time. It’s been hard to balance all of these three things, and that’s really come out on the album. “One thing I did get really excited with this album was being really blunt with the lyrics, going in a little harder than maybe I have done on some of the Wombats albums, and just really trying to get the point across in a more shocking or more brutal way than normal, and that was really exciting for me.” Along with his daughter, Murph found inspiration and influence in the revolving door of idols, friends and newcomers he welcomed into his life for the time it took to bring the tapestry of Love Fame Tragedy together. From genre-defining purveyors like Pixies’ Joey Santiago and The Killers’ Mark Stoermer, to some of Murph’s closest friends in the form of Alt-J’s Gus UngerHamilton and Bastille’s Dan Smith, to introducing the world and himself to newcomers like Jack River and Maddie-Jean Waterhouse. The experience of opening up his head, his heart, and his studios was enlightening. “There are a couple of really interesting moments. The best was having Joey Santiago from The Pixies just in a room playing guitar with you, it just felt really fucking cool. That was great. Then Gus from Alt-J, he’s really good friend, and I got into the studio one day in London, and we drank wine, and we fucked around for four hours, and we kept the best bits. “With most of the artists I’ve worked with on this, the ego was put at the front door and we just had a really good time and enjoyed ourselves. I think you can hear that, and that’s a much better way of working then when an artist comes in, and they’ve got a bit of an ego. It’s like, ‘ah, fuck you’, and you’ve got to chat with them and make them feel comfortable, which is a bit annoying but it’s all worth it in the long run.” Having spent years writing and recording exclusively with the same two people album-after-album, it was time for Murph to break his own mould and meet new people and make new processes in the face of new music. “Getting other people to play is something I’ve never done with The Wombats, and if I did, it would mean a shitload of emails back and forth about a bunch of things. I just wanted to circumnavigate that and just do whatever the hell I wanted to do. At the same time, I’m not a massive fan of when lead singers go and do solo albums, so I wanted to turn it into something much more exciting and much more special than that.” ‘Wherever I Go, I Want To Leave’ is, at the sum of its parts, a modern-popfor-dummies almanac that illuminates the illustrious innovator Murph has morphed into over-the-years. Whether Love Fame Tragedy is a welcome break from The Wombats or simply a stop-gap ‘til the next stepping stone arrives, this is a project not to be taken lightly. P LOVE FAME TRAGEDY’S DEBUT ALBUM ‘WHEREVER I GO, I WANT TO LEAVE’ IS OUT 10TH JULY.


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Everyone’s favourite bedroom pop teen MXMTOON is making her mark with new EP combo, ‘dawn’ and ‘dusk’.

Words: Jack Press. Photos: April Blum, Cesar Balcazar.

ONCE UPON A TIME IN A PRE-PANDEMIC WORLD, SPENDING HOURS BURROWING AWAY IN YOUR ROOM WAS A PASTIME ACTIVITY RESERVED FOR THE INTROVERTS OF YOUR FRIENDSHIP GROUP, RATHER THAN THE NEW NORMAL. Coming alive in a community of online creatives away from the shackles of their ‘in real life’ selves, a collective of teenagers took their day-to-day struggles out of their heads and onto YouTube recordings, armed with nothing but a songbook of bangers alchemised together in their bedrooms. Over the past few years, the ‘bedroom pop’ phenomenon has shed its rough-and-ready recordings shell in exchange for dreamy lo-fi soundscapes that soundtrack both your summer and your seasonal depression. With artists like Rex Orange County and Soccer Mommy breaking out of their bedrooms and onto global stages, the wave is ready to be ridden as bedroom pop graduates to its next phase. Dork goes one-to-one, bedroom-to-bedroom with one of the genre’s foremost rising stars, mxmtoon, aka Maia, to find out what it’s like to be part of a DIY musical revolution. “I didn’t really think of myself as anything special, I was just making songs in my bedroom and then sharing them. I didn’t think anyone would actually hear them, so I just posted them, but people did hear them. I got to be a part of this really cool wave of musicians,” says Maia, smiling at the thought as she sits back in her bedroom at her parents where her musical journey began. It’s here, in this bedroom, she discovered the artists that would encourage her to pick up her ukulele and press record. “If I hadn’t looked to other musicians like Rex Orange County or Clairo when I started to write music, I don’t know If I ever would have had the courage to post anything online. They made music feel more accessible to me, and it wasn’t something where you had to have a label behind you or all of these things that would push you up behind the scenes in order to achieve a platform. “For me, bedroom pop is honestly so important, and I’m so proud to be a part of that world because I think it’s opened up a door for so many young people to feel like there’s a space to be creative and to post regardless of who is listening.” Being a part of a budding musical revolution such as bedroom pop has given Maia not only the boost to battle her own demons and experience a creative epiphany, but has also allowed her to be part of the wave riding the changing tide. As streaming platforms fortify their dominance and platforms like TikTok tear up the tattered book of music industry codes and conventions in favour of trendsetting dance routines, musicians are having to adapt to a whole new landscape. According to Maia, bedroom pop is the perfect place to be for this. “Music has been something that’s historically always been so gate-kept, making people feel like it’s this invisible entity that exists behind glass doors you can’t open and won’t be able to touch. Bedroom pop has just broken that down and made it feel like anybody can do that. I truly do believe anybody can, and that’s a wonderful thing.” While the bedroom pop revolution

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NO FAK -ER

MXMTOON


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truly is a wonderful thing, there is also a flip side to being at the forefront of an attack on the industry at large, and for Maia, that’s juggling being a role model and a teenager at the same time. Having lived her own Hannah Montana moment for months, hiding her life as a viral sensation away from her parents, coming out to her parents about her adventures in songwriting has sparked a period of adjustment following her rise from 1000 followers to 200,000 followers almost overnight. “It’s been really weird. I never expected any of this to happen, so for me to adjust to it, it’s definitely taken me a while when it’s happened in such a short space of time. I deleted my first Twitter account because I got to 1000 followers and I felt like that was way too many people, and yet now I have 5 million monthly listeners on Spotify and 200 thousand followers on Twitter, so I do have to distance myself otherwise I just freak out over all these people paying active attention to me. “It’s been a process of grounding myself with my real-life day to day and being around my family more often, and taking those interpersonal interactions more seriously, and trying to find value in those interactions. Not allowing myself to be lost in a virtual space all of the time.” While growing up on the internet is far more fact than fiction in these technological times, Maia has found great comfort in interacting both online and offline with her community of fans and friends to navigate what for many would be a quarter-life identity crisis. Building on the beauty of bedroom pop’s DIY attitude, Maia has blossomed by developing a family of fans to grow with. “I want to make it very evident that heck, I am a teenager, I barely understand what I am and who I am, and we’re all figuring this out together alongside each other. Having that community relationship and that community feel with my audience has been far easier to approach. It helps me get accustomed to it, I don’t feel so distanced from them, and I do feel like there is a space to be honest and vulnerable with them.” Being vulnerable bleeds through the beauty of the lo-fi dream-pop soundscapes that wash over you like a summer day’s breeze on this year’s ‘Dawn’ EP, and likely to follow on its counterpart ‘Dusk’. Gratitude and humbleness come naturally to Maia, but opening up the darker depths of her mind to the world is something she’s had to get to grips with in quicksmart. It’s an experience she’s constantly evolving with, navigating her own narratives with the knowledge of it doing good for the listeners offline. “It’s harder at some points when the truth is a little too raw still, or I’m experiencing something still in my real life and putting out a song that deals with that directly, because people are going to get that window into what’s happening with me. What’s helped me in navigating and finally feeling 100% comfortable with sharing stuff is just knowing that if I’m going through something, the odds of somebody else going through the exact same thing is actually pretty high. We’re all human, and we’re all going through very similar experiences and stories. If I can put a song out there that resonates with at least one person, it’s worth it to be in the world, and that’s helped me

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MXMTOON

“If I’m going through something, the odds of somebody else going through the exact same thing is actually pretty high” MXMTOON

job, there was this underlying sense of not being good enough to be in this situation. I had to trust myself and be okay with not having answers and not knowing if I’m good enough. “I had to just trust myself and step into those environments of being vulnerable, and I ended up really loving it. Being able to connect with people is something I’ve always loved as an individual. To go into a session room where you talk about your life and hear all these stories from other people, that alone is one of my favourite reasons for sessions; the whole having a conversation with someone.” Channelling your vulnerability and self-doubt into something creative and connective has always been at the core of what makes Maia, Maia. Creativity is a coping mechanism unlike any other, where Maia escapes from the trials and tribulations of being a teenager to a world she creates, whether that be by reading stories on streaming sites, writing graphic novels, or selling her own soap and tie-dye t-shirt sets. It’s through her creativity and the dynamicity of her project as Mxmtoon that she packages the primary purpose of her entire project as Mxmtoon: to help people feel both inspired and understood, to help them relate. “Creativity is so important for us as people on a base level to be able to artistically express ourselves whether that’s through music or tie-dye or drawing or heck, I don’t know, writing in general. Whatever it may be. Especially in times like these where we’re sat at home all day, trying to figure out what to do with our time and how to pass it and to keep ourselves satisfied and happy and healthy, creativity is something that feeds us all as individuals. “If I can have a project that inspires other people to do small things like doodle, or be inspired to do something artistic, that’s really important to me. That’s the stuff that helped me in the darkest moments of my life when I was navigating my mental health, and it still does to this day, that’s why I write music - helping people to understand something bad can be something good for you.” Having spent a lot of time persevering with pessimism, Maia found accepting and embracing optimism into her life as something more than just the sum of its parts. Moving on from the melancholy of 2019’s ‘the masquerade,’ ‘dawn’ and ‘dusk’ are purposely designed to be filled to the brim with positivity mental attitude. It’s something, that ultimately, is the mission statement for Maia as she rides the bedroom pop wave in her own unique way. “With ‘dawn’ and ‘dusk’, I hope to inspire people to think optimistically and to look forward to the future regardless of whatever strife or sadness they may experience. Something I was really focused on when I was in the writing process was reminding myself that no matter how dark days may seem, the sun will still rise the next day. Things will still continue, even when things feel very static and stationary. That’s ended up being really important with where we are in the world right now where we don’t have answers for what’s going to happen, and we can acknowledge things are really hard but that it’s still important for us to remain positive and to look forward to the future despite its present.” P MXMTOON’S EP ‘DAWN’ IS OUT NOW; ‘DUSK’ IS OUT XX JUNE.

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navigate my experience. “As much as it helps the people listening to the songs and to my story, it helps me to know I’m not the only person going through it as well. It’s a symbiotic mutual relationship where we lean on each other.” The concept of leaning on one another, whether that’s face-toface post-gig interactions or online experiences, is something Maia has always been passionate about and has been at the very root of the mxmtoon flower that continues to grow. In fact, it’s somewhat of a self-fulfilling prophecy. “I’m personally very passionate about talking about issues that people face, whether that be race, sexuality, mental health, or gender. I’m really passionate about it, and because I’m privileged to have a platform, I can use that platform to hopefully spread information and stories and lift other peoples voices up alongside my own journey and my own explanation. “I always knew if I ever did come across the opportunity to have an audience who are listening to me, I would hopefully use the space to encourage other people to have open and honest dialogues about the stuff they face their lives. That’s something individually inspired and personally fought for by me.” While the lyrical content has remained the same, the songs themselves and the way they’ve been fabricated has changed tenfold in the two years separating Maia’s debut EP ‘plum blossom’ and this year’s ‘dawn’ and ‘dusk’. Having gone from gathering all of the puzzle pieces up in the back of her bedroom to putting pen to paper in a room full of writers and producers from all walks of life has afforded Maia the opportunity to take her sound from its poetic ukulele heyday to something more akin of an up-in-the-clouds daydream, the kind you’d get on a ‘Golden Hours’-era Kacey Musgraves outing. Funnily enough, both as a fan of Kacey Musgraves and as a musician finding herself in her own skin, this has been a development she’s been dreaming of discovering. “I think that it was something I’ve always wanted to do but didn’t really know how to express until all of a sudden I had a song that sounded remotely similar to how I envisioned it to be in my mind. I’m definitely not a producer in any way, I’m a writer at my core, so I didn’t have the vocabulary or understanding for what sort of production would be possible with my kind of music.” Possibility being the optimal word, Maia set off from her hometown of Oakland and landed in LA with nothing but her ukulele and her thoughts. Stepping into a room full of strangers to write a song about your life, being only 19 and used to recording strictly on a ukulele, is far more frightening than you may think, but was ultimately a learning curve key to the creation of ‘dawn’ and ‘dusk’. “It’s really scary when you meet strangers in any format of life, and then you’re supposed to write a song with them and talk about your life, which was only 18 years long and way shorter than anyone else in the room. It was very daunting for me, and I had a lot of self-doubt. I was always wondering if I was good enough to be in a room with other people who did this for their job, because even though I did this for my


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VISTAS

changes... VISTAS are saving a washout summer with an album chock-full of feel good indie vibes. Words: Jamie MacMillan. Photos: Niall Lee.

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ONE OF THE MINOR MUSIC TRAGEDIES THAT ‘ALL THIS’ *GESTURES WILDLY TOWARDS GLOBAL PANDEMIC* BROUGHT ABOUT IS THE ABRUPT STATE OF LIMBO THAT MANY OF OUR FAVOURITE ARTISTS FOUND THEMSELVES IN. With a debut record packed full of summertime bangers in the bag, Vistas were one band that seemed to be about to have A Moment. But as dreams of balmy festival evenings and sweaty rooms faded away, their time looked like it could slip from ‘Now’ to ‘Later’. Rather than lamenting a summer that, for now, will never come, the band look like they could yet triumph, however. With a record of anthems of supporting each other through thick and thin and of being there for your mates, this may just end up perfect timing for the Edinburgh trio after all. As Dork catches up with frontman Prentice over Zoom, he’s more than aware of the strange circumstances that ‘Everything Changes In The End’ lands in. “Yeah, for sure,” he smiles slightly. “It’s funny how a lot of the meanings and a lot of these tunes kind of translate into what’s happening now. That wasn’t our intention obviously!” Leaving to one side the small chance that he is the greatest forecaster of all time, it’s striking how prescient some of this record now is. From the title track onwards, these are messages of hope, of holding on, of sticking together with your mates through everything. In short, it’s everything we need right now. “One of my mates was going through a really tough period with uni and relationships and stuff,” Prentice reveals of the earliest origins of the album themes. “And I was just kind of living and breathing that with him, just chatting everything through. So a lot of the songs I was writing was just reflective of that.” With a main message of “hold tight my friend, everything changes in the end” forming the huge emotional heartbeat at the centre of the record, it all began to slot into place. These thoughts held true for the band themselves as well. “Being in a band is really difficult a lot of time, there are lots of periods where you feel like you’re going nowhere,” he admits, “We know how to wind each up, but we also know how to look after each other because we were mates first and then started the band. I get to do this with my mates, and that’s important. That’s why a lot of the songs are about being there for a significant person in your life.” Vistas have always sounded like a band of mates having a perfect

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summer, with a mix of in-your-face guitars and choruses that sound big enough to be visible from space. Now their debut leans even further into that. “I guess it wasn’t deliberate, but that’s just kind of the music we like, it’s got to have that sort of festival chorus,” Prentice explains, “A lot of the time, when we get a lyric or a hook, we ask whether you could imagine this at a festival? That moment when someone turns to their mate, puts their arm around their shoulder or hugs them, if we hit that mood then we know we’re onto something. Because that’s how bands made us feel when we were 15 or 16.” Seeing as that time period was when the trio, (Prentice, guitarist Dylan Rush and bassist Jamie Law) first formed the band, it is easy to see the importance. There is an air of the album existing in that last summer in-between school or college days, the one where adulthood starts to lurk around the corner, that last summer to take a deep breath and make bad decisions.

“Being in a band is really difficult a lot of time, there are lots of periods where you feel like you’re going nowhere”

PRENTICE ROBERTSON

“Yeah, that’s pretty much where Vistas started really, it’s kind of that last period before real life actually kicks in and also just that weird middle period between being a teenager and an adult, where you get to find yourself.” The memories for Prentice are good, classic Scottish tales of a T In The Park sunburn. “That’s the thing, there are so many things that you do in these festival summers that’s just because you’re so naive. You’re just a wee kid basically, and you’re let loose in the world. So it’s nice that we’ve got these songs now, because whenever we play them you’ll get a different memory. It reflects our lives.” Carefully resisting the temptation to pack the album with existing live favourites, Prentice wanted to keep the momentum, and view, pushing forwards. “Obviously the way music works now, it’s a singles game up until you release a record. We already had maybe eleven or twelve songs out before doing it, we wanted to stay away from putting too much old stuff


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on because we wanted the album to be a thing on its own.” Just two older tracks made the cut, ‘Retrospect’ and ‘Tigerblood’. “’Retrospect’ was the song that really kicked things off for us, so there was no way we could leave that off. And ‘Tigerblood’ just fitted the album really well, but we re-recorded literally every single layer on them.” With an ability to capture their live sound effectively on record, every effort was put into transferring the live experience - even down to building in the same ebbs and flows as their live shows. A lifetime seemingly spent on the road supporting bands like The Wombats, The Kooks and Circa Waves, as well as tirelessly touring in their own right, have perfected the approach. There’s nothing like a support slot to help craft a setlist of pure bangers after all. “You’re just aware of how short a space of time half an hour is, so it all becomes a kind of science to grab someone’s attention,” he laughs,

but it is a mentality that has helped to keep ‘Everything Changes In The End’ relentlessly full of peaks and Moments, all leading up to the stratospheric ‘November’, a track that soars to new heights and hints at a rockier future. “That started off originally on a piano, no drum machine behind it or anything. But then we were like, ‘we’re not Coldplay, we cannot have a piano on this record’. I suppose some of the recent stuff sits in a rocky world sound-wise, but you know, we’re still trying to be The Strokes essentially,” he laughs. With everything still up in the air, any talk of future plans comes with huge caveats and unanswerable questions. For now, another support slot with Circa Waves and an extensive headline tour of their own remain on the table for Autumn, health and safety dependent obviously. There’s an understandable hint of sadness to Prentice as he talks about where everything has left him personally.

“It’s really weird, you put in all this graft for years. And you eventually get to the point where, this is your year, you’re gonna play main stages, you’re gonna release an album, and then something completely out of your control just takes over.” Instantly though, he returns to a position of optimism, those messages from his album shining through again. “I guess it’s just cool that there are bands putting out new music during this period, because any kind of hardship that society goes through, music and art always come to the front to make things better. I’m still really happy we’re putting the record out, I’m glad that people will hear it. Hopefully, it will be some sort of relief to our fans.” That advice to his friend, that you just need to hold on, has never sounded truer. Everything will change. P VISTA’S DEBUT ALBUM ‘EVERYTHING CHANGES IN THE END’ IS OUT NOW.

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INCOMING THE ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO THE LATEST NEW RELEASES

PHOEBE BRIDGERS

Punisher

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Since releasing her debut album Stranger in the Alps, in 2017, Phoebe Bridgers has gone on to release music with her side projects boygenius and Better Oblivion Community Centre, as well as exploring what it’s like to be at the helm of production with the likes of her pal Christian Lee Hutson. Somehow still finding time to focus on her own creative ventures while maintaining every semblance of nonchalant relatability, Punisher is a welcome expansion on the conversational lyricism that

piqued our interest in the first place. With a guitar tone which bleeds throughout the album in an ethereal calming way as it envelops you in a cloud of reverie; Phoebe’s voice all but caresses the listener, all melancholy and spirited. From slipping in quips about serial killers, playing dead, and wanting to kill somebody before they beat you to it, it would be easy to mistake Punisher for being uncompromisingly morbid – that’s where Phoebe’s distinctly apathetic charm oozes. In the eponymous track she sings,

“I swear I’m not angry, that’s just my face” for clarity in a somnambulant song about people seemingly knowing everything about you, yet nothing at all, and in a way, it completely sums her up as a person. To take the album simply for what it is on the surface would be a huge discredit to the talent behind it. This is the kind of album that seeps under your skin the more you listen; romanticising the everyday and highlighting the beauty in the mundane. Tyler Damara Kelly

COMING UP...

THE NEW RELEASES YOU NEED ON YOUR COVID19 ALTERED CALENDAR 17TH JULY Crack Cloud Pain Olympics L.A Salami The Cause Of Doubt & a Reason to Have Faith Lianne La Havas Lianne La Havas Protomartyr Ultimate Success Today Silverbacks – Fad Tatyana Shadow On The Wall EP The Blinders Fantasies Of A Stay At Home Psychopath The Ninth Wave Happy Days! EP Tourists Another State 24TH JULY Courtney Marie Andrews Old Flowers Jessy Lanza All The Time Jimothy Lacoste Jimothy Lacoste Liss Third EP The Naked and Famous Recover

31ST JULY Creeper Sex, Death & The Infinite Void Dizzy The Sun and Her Scorch Fontaines DC A Hero’s Death Hockey Dad Brain Candy 7TH AUGUST Matt Maltese Madhouse EP Willie J Healey Twin Heavy Yellow Days A Day in A Yellow Beat 14TH AUGUST Biffy Clyro A Celebration Of Endings Bloxx Lie Out Loud Marsicans Ursa Major Sea Girls Open Up Your Head 21ST AUGUST Alex The Astronaut The Theory of Absolutely Nothing Bully Superegg Dan Croll Grand Plan Declan McKenna Zeros Everything Everything ReAnimator I LIKE TRAINS KOMPROMAT No Joy Motherhood The Lemon Twigs Songs For The General Public The Magic Gang Death Of The Party 28TH AUGUST CLT DRP Without The Eyes Disclosure Energy Kelly Lee Owens Inner Song 4TH SEPTEMBER Young Knives Barbarians 25TH SEPTEMBER Caro Burrows 2ND OCTOBER The Hunna I’d Rather Die Than Let You In Japandroids Massey Fucking Hall (Physical Release) Matt Berninger Serpentine Prison 23RD OCTOBER Boy Pablo Wachito Rico

JULY 2020

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THE BETHS

Jump Rope Gazers

eeeee Following a debut album fizzing with energy and tours with the likes of Pixies and Death Cab for Cutie, The Beths are back for more on new LP ‘Jump Rope Gazers’. The New Zealanders pick up exactly where they left off, with the record opening with a salvo of punked-up singalongs. Breezy pop melodies sit happily atop ramshackle garage-rock guitars, Elizabeth Stokes’ vocals able to float above the noise and give them more dynamic range than some of their counterparts. From the title-track onwards things calm down and let the band showcase their musicality. ‘Don’t Go Away’ nods to Weezer with its distorted guitar and surf-pop tunes, while ‘You Are A Beam of Light’ peels the music back to the sensitive lyrical core and acoustic instrumentation. Having taken their first steps touring abroad, the songs deal with distance and the strains it puts on relationships to spend half the year half a world away. ‘Jump Rope Gazers’ is a blast of good-vibes punk-rock. Dillon Eastoe

BUZZARD BUZZARD BUZZARD

The Non-Stop EP

eeeee That feeling when the rest of the world fades away, and you’re wrapped in a pure moment of bliss, laughter and happiness? A numbing cocktail that freezes out anything else? It’s that feeling that perfectly captures Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard. Over the past 18 months, they’ve strutted, pointed, pouted and winked drawing in a whole world of admires. ‘The Non-Stop EP’ is their first true opening statement, with a tracklisting more akin to a debut album - it sets out their intentions pretty clearly. They want the world, and they’re ready to douse it in every colour going. A ringing blend of classic rock and fizzing pop sensibilities, the result is one that feels like a classic. Brought slap-bang into 2020, the rollicking build of ‘Double Denim Hop’ and choppy slants of ‘Late Night


HAIM

Women In Music Pt. III

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City’ feel alive with purpose. That sense of bombast never slips into parody, ‘Hollywood Actors’ and ‘Stockholm City Rock’ packed full of grand moments, while closer ‘Sugarloaf Mountain Crucify Me’ feels like a cinematic final scene in all its splendour. Even when things dial back slightly on ‘John Lennon Is My Jesus Christ’ and ‘Long Day/Free Day’, it’s with a knowing nod that confirms their statues as an emphatic force to be reckoned with. ‘The Non-Stop EP’ is exactly that: a front to back invitation to throw away your cares and revel in the star-spangled world they’ve created. More than anything, it sets Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard apart as a much-needed adrenaline shot into the arm of modern rock music. Jamie Muir

Devoted to the spacious feeling of being in the middle of a field in the summer, ‘The Glow’ more than lives up to its given name. Honing in on trace-like-beats, it keeps the party alive - something it’s impossible to undervalue in a world begging for release. There’s a depth to the record which provides a genuine step forward, without ever feeling forced or a complete move away from the DMA’s of old. Packed with emotional bangers, it’s the sound of a band unafraid to offload and let their feelings take charge. ‘The Glow’ serves as a reminder that we can still have a sing-a-long chorus or two to get us through these trying times. On the other side comes the warm

sunshine to feed our souls. Steven Loftin

DREAM WIFE

So When You Gonna...

eeeee Dream Wife ain’t here to play it nice. When the opening track kicks off with an order to ‘Serve it! Smash it! Win it! Own it!’ you know they won’t be fooling around but killing it. ‘So When You Gonna...’ puts our favourite fierce trio back on the track to kick the patriarchal ass. After releasing a brilliant debut album, as Dream Wife

RECOMMENDED DMA’S

The Glow

eeeee The third outing from Aussie rascals DMA’s is everything you’d expect, and a little bit more.

CHARLI XCX How I’m Feeling Now

Usually getting an album from Charli is a long, drawn-out affair, but ‘How I’m Feeling Now’? Spaffed out during the lockdown break - and it might just be her best yet.

did, it’s not easy to satisfy the demanding audience. You need to go the extra mile, and that’s exactly what they did, re-applying their riot grrrl meets groovy glam formula to the modern battles for better today. It’s a match ‘n’ mix of the X-Ray Spex raw energy and a game of peek-a-boo with their more intimate side. Crispy, punky and relevant. They take a driver seat in the ride to gender equality, joyful body awareness and a love-mess. Accepting the negativity to make the space for the great things to come. Here and now. ‘So When You Gonna...’ is less consistent, genre and thematically-wise than their debut. It serves a

on ‘Hallelujah’, the band’s first proper acoustic ballad that’d do Stevie Nicks proud. They get deep about their experiences in the music industry on ‘Man From The Magazine’, telling the blokes point blank they don’t know how it feels, made all the more intense by its stripped-back styling, while they go full rock star mode on ‘All That Ever Mattered’. Elsewhere on the record there’s the playful ‘3am’, a funky 90s R&B track complete with record scratches and voicemails, psychedelic, reverb-heavy ‘Up From A Dream’, the Shania-tastic ‘Don’t Wanna’ (because what’s an album these days without a yeehaw moment?), there’s even some ska on ‘Another Try’. On ‘Women In Music Part III’, Haim are unrestricted, diving into all of the genres they’d flirted with on past albums head first. Their confidence shines through as they pull more personality into their music, fully bringing that ‘fuck it’ energy from their live shows into the studio. It’s maybe missing a proper banger or two, but that’s not necessarily what this album calls for. If one thing’s for sure though, and it’s that Haim aren’t to be messed with. Abigail Firth

power-loaded Bikini Kill-like bangers, the titular ‘So When You Gonna...’, a spicedup invitation for flirtation and promotion of a candid consent, and ‘Sports!’, an absurdly thrilling celebration of the body/spirit union and a satire on the macho sports culture. Then we’ve got Dream Wife at their poppiest in ‘Hasta La Vista’, a sour-sweet way of saying goodbye, and ‘After Rain’, a heartfelt cry upon abortion/ miscarriage and a pro-choice anthem. Dream Wife proves that they are as capable to scream their lungs off on the social injustice or simply from hedonistic pleasure, as they not afraid to confront their demons and show softer side while doing it,

THE BEST ALBUMS YOU NEED TO CATCH UP WITH NOW

THE ACES Under My Influence

The Aces’ new ‘un is an album of towering pop presence that would sound just as mammoth in teenage bedrooms as it does blaring out of a car on the open road.

KATIE MALCO Failures

‘Failures’ is about struggle and hard-fought victory. Bruised, bloodied but unwavering, Katie Malco is a fighter staring down existential and everyday crises.

JEHNNY BETH To Love Is To Live

Across sexuality, power inequality, heartbreak and more, ‘To Love Is To Live’ is the sound of Jehnny channelling everything into glorious art.

READDORK.COM

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“What’s it like being a woman in music?” A question Haim have been asked one too many times. Growing up in the industry has left the sisters with more than enough fuel to fire up an album titled ‘Women In Music Part III’, and the result is a bolder Haim record this time around. Although the album rarely tackles the titular subject, it is the trio’s most daring venture, stripping away most of the glossy sheen covering their second record. Where Haim spent ‘Something To Tell You’ polishing up their bouncy 80s sound, they throw caution to the wind on ‘Women In Music Part III’, creating their most eclectic record yet. The album’s first few offerings came as nearsurprise drops, each one exploring a different side of Haim they hadn’t before. ‘Summer Girl’ is bright and airy, its ‘doot doot’ chorus and sax-y solos disguising its less joyous beginnings as a song to uplift Danielle’s partner after his cancer diagnosis. The next two singles tackled depression and grief, Danielle facing post-tour depression on ‘Now I’m In It’ – a song with all the trademarks of a ‘Haim’ song, but a place they’d never been lyrically before – and Alana grieving the loss of her best friend


both sonically and lyrically. They invite the new generation of creatives to simply go for it, with a guitar-ridden urgency. No rest for the wicked, right? No better time to support your collective than now. This Dream Wife is not interested in settling down with one sound or genre. She’s having an affair with power, and she’s not afraid to use it on anyone who stands in the way to freedom and fun. ‘So When You Gonna...’ is a fierce fest, exhibiting womxn heart from the inside-out and calling on all the warriors out there – keep on, we’ve got your backs. Dream Wife is here to make Kathleen Hanna proud and give nightmares to anyone who’d dare to define them. They’re back and ready to slay. Aleksandra Brzezicka

It’s a sound insistent on getting you on your feet and moving, from the elastic bass bounce of ‘Ooh La La’ to the high energy, string flecked ecstasy of ‘Save A Kiss’. A lot of the best dance music has always had a heartfelt emotional core, and you can hear that at the very core of, ‘What’s Your Pleasure’ which mirrors the whirl of intense feelings that this very physical and stirring music conjures. Jessie adapts to it with ease like on the whispered vocals of ‘In Your Eyes’ it’s the sound of a master at work taking you on a dancefloor journey. This is undoubtedly the most electronic focused album of Jessie Ware’s career referencing back to her earliest music while setting a path for the future that recognises the emotional core of her music and a desire to cut loose and have some fun. Martyn Young

JESSIE WARE

What’s Your Pleasure?

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eeeee On her fourth album, Jessie Ware sets her sights firmly on the dancefloor with the banger central ‘What’s Your Pleasure.’ There are no half measures here; every track is vital and powered by pulsating disco beats that allow Jessie’s glorious voice free reign to float effortlessly around the bouncing rhythms.

LIME CORDIALE

14 Steps To A Better You

eeeee How do you spell “c’est la vie”? According to Australia’s buzziest indie pop export Lime Cordiale, it’s best defined on 14 light-hearted songs that celebrate life in all its messy glory. ’14 Steps To A Better You’ takes any bad mood and

GLASS ANIMALS

Dreamland

eeeee Steeped and wrapped in denser production than ever before, throughout ‘Dreamland’ Glass Animals flex their creative muscles for a record that demands your attention as their biggest statement so far. From the title-track’s opening salvo to introduce what’s to come, you’re transported into a journal of sorts - punctuated by home video snippets throughout. The fizzing sodapop of ‘Tangerine’, ‘Your Love (Deja Vu)’ and ‘Hot Sugar’ ooze with a style that Glass Animals have become famous for, but it’s across the rest of the album that their true depth is shown. ‘Tokyo Drifting’ drops with a flair of bombast that can’t be stopped, and throws it right out the window. Soaring guitars and groovy rhythms give the album its anthemic beauty while bright, bubbly melodies provide a constant serotonin high. Lime Cordiale’s second LP packs an abundance of good vibes, but ‘Inappropriate Behaviour’ especially is a big mood. Laid-back verses lead

‘Space Ghost Coast To Coast’ reels off Capri Sun’s, GTA and Pokemon over hypnotic beats. It all points to an album fully drenched with layers, bringing their most interesting production to date to combine hip-hop, electronica and pop for an insatiable taste that lingers at every stop. Even with that, its emotional core is, at times, devastating. The rising ‘It’s All So Incredibly Loud’ mirrors an overwhelming rush of anxiety and panic that sweeps over

into an explosive (trumpetled) chorus that puts the real in reality check. If you’re looking to wander on the chill side of life, ‘We Just Get By’ has you covered with a fix of gentle, emotive vocals and softly swaying melodies. Or, if you’re feeling particularly hopeless, you can skip right to the end, where closing track ‘Following Fools’

you but with glorious surround sound and ‘Domestic Bliss’ is a ripped raw questioning of relationships and the crumbling of a home it creates. It perfectly captures what ‘Dreamland’ is. Not only the most ambitious Glass Animals album to date, and their most personal, it’s arguably their most rewarding collection too. Jamie Muir rounds up the record with the final step to a better life: self-love – “when you’ve got love for you, you’ll stop following fools.” Whichever way the wind blows this summer, Lime Cordiale are right there to make the best of a tricky situation. Laura Freyaldenhoven

PVRIS

Use Me

eeeee It takes less than a minute to become clear that here, on PVRIS’ third album, is where a new beginning starts. ‘Use Me’, a record born from band leader Lynn Gunn’s newfound self-confidence and her acceptance of the spotlight, is a stunning shift. What once was black and white becomes vivid technicolour; a band on the brink of something even bigger than before. Much has been made of PVRIS’ recent move towards pop, but in truth, those moments have always been tucked in there. If anything, this record follows the ‘Hallucinations’ EP by resetting the dial even further and bringing those inclinations to the fore. ‘Use Me’ sees both leader and band pull all their ideas and themes together, coalescing the fragments into something powerful and unbreakable. By the time the record closes, it’s clear that isn’t ‘just’ PVRIS doing a pop record. This IS pop and it stands up with the absolute best in its field. Jamie MacMillan

JULY 2020

DORK

LOVE FAME TRAGEDY

Wherever I Go, I Want To Leave

eeeee It’s been just over a year since Matthew ‘Murph’ Murphy popped up with his side-project Love Fame Tragedy. Two EPs later, we now have a full-length outing. Within he takes his penchant for writing about love, loss and everything in between, delving every deeper into a dark world filled with infidelity (‘My Cheating Heart’), murder (‘Please Don’t Murder Me Pt. 2;) and such gloriously wise observations such as ‘The Sea Is Deep And The World Is Wide’. Properly immersing us into Murph’s view of life, it switches between Hollywood noir, to a frank exposé of being human. While the words hone in, it’s the electronic elements that brings Love Fame Tragedy to life. They swell, erupting into deliciously melancholic choruses (‘You Take The Fun Out Of Everything’), while


Murph’s trademark lament finds a space brighter and bolder than you’d be pressed to at his day job. Along for the ride comes a bunch of mates, from Dork fave Dan Bastille to underrated Aussie pop star Jack River (‘Multiply’). The fact that a full-length of bodacious and depressive tracks manages to dangle somewhere between reliving past hurt and simply having a good time, is beyond impressive. With Love Fame Tragedy at the helm, the moody dance floor beckons. Steven Loftin

ALFIE TEMPLEMAN

Happiness In Liquid Form EP

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NZCA LINES

Pure Luxury

eeeee NZCA Lines has always been an interesting musician, evolving over time and opening himself up to new ideas and collaborations. ‘NZCA Lines’ felt insular and coldly beautiful while ‘Infinite Summer’ felt grander, like a sci-fi epic. Now, with ‘Pure Luxury’, he has seemingly taken his own advice from ‘Primp & Shine’ and treated himself to all the luxuries he’s been trying to stop himself from enjoying. Whether it’s a result of becoming part of Metronomy’s live band, or a rejection of the pigeon holes applied to him over the last two albums, ‘Pure Luxury’ is more colourful, lavish and groovy than ever before. ‘Take This Apart’ aside, a strange shoegazey ballad

RUN THE JEWELS

RTJ4

eeeee Pulled forward and released for free in response to the protests sparked by the murder of George Floyd, Run The Jewels’ latest album is their most laser-focused, high-intensity record yet. The social commentary is turned up to eleven and with the pain and anger in the US and across the world, it’s never been better timed - or more necessary. ‘Walking in the Snow’ illustrates this perfectly. Far and away the hardest hitting track on the album, the tragically prescient lyrics “And you so numb you watch the cops choke out a man like me / And ‘til my voice goes from a shriek to a whisper, ‘I can’t breathe’” were recorded last year but sound like they could have been written days

ago. These blistering attacks on the police system and institutional racism in America could come across as preachy or heavy-handed from a less-skilled group, but El-P and Killer Mike are masters of turning their rage into something that’s not just socially aware, but also a compelling listen. ‘Ju$t’, featuring Pharrell Williams and Zack de la Rocha, is a withering attack on the American state, but it’s also a great song with a catchy hook and memorable instrumentals that stands with the best of Run The Jewels’ output. Run The Jewels have never been shy about their support of social issues, but ‘RTJ4’ proves that not only are they on the right side of history, they’re also at the top of their game. Trimmed of all the fat, ‘RTJ4’ is Killer Mike and El-P doing what they do best, louder than they’ve ever done it before. Jake Hawkes

that feels a little out of place, you’d be hard-pressed to even recognise this NZCA Lines as the same one that released ‘Okinawa Channels’. Even the ostensible ballad, ‘For Your Love’, swoons with grandiose strings and a bouncing bassline. It feels like Michael Lovett has unlocked a new palette of playful sounds, even going so far as to sample the groovy bongos of The Gap Band’s ‘Outstanding’ among the squelchy synths of ‘Real Good Time’. With a goal to ultimately to take your mind off dizzying world-changing events, the technicolour melodies and warped beats are all designed to make you dance, and it certainly succeeds. As Lovett croons on the album’s closer, “Tonight is all that really matters, as long as we keep dancing.” What happened yesterday or what will happen tomorrow is nothing to concern yourself with right now. Just bask in the pure luxury of NZCA Lines’ most satisfying album yet. Chris Taylor

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‘Happiness In Liquid Form’ not just a cracking set of new additions from Dork fave Alfie Templeman, but a bold showcase of just how vast his musical world is becoming. The swinging indie-pop jangles are there, but now they’re bolstered by a confidence and swagger that bursts from every note. A playful nod and a wink that has you charmed from the very beginning, the EP’s title-track still springs and jumps with a magic ease, while ‘Obvious Guy’ spins with disco-pop gyrations. ‘Things I Thought Were Mine’ is a pan-soaked groover that would sound at home in a late-80s neon palace, the sprinting ‘Wish I Was Younger’ like The Specials if they were born in a TikTok world, and ‘Maybe This Is Time’ coated like the track you’d hear sweeping up a teenage rom-com. ‘Happiness In Liquid Form’ combines all of that into a EP that serves as Alfie Templeman’s statement of intent. Gloriously eclectic and infused with unstoppable fun, this is his ‘moment’. This is a new playing field now. Jamie Muir


BACKPAGE ASKING THE USUAL STUFF IS SO BORING

ANY OTHER QUESTIONS?

readdork.com Editor Stephen Ackroyd Deputy Editor Victoria Sinden

THIS MONTH IT’S...

Associate Editor Ali Shutler

ALEX GASKARTH,

ALL TIME LOW WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE THING ABOUT BEING A MUSICIAN? Getting to travel the world, meet new people, experience new perspectives and do it all while getting to share our music with fans everywhere. WHAT’S THE BEST SONG YOU’VE WRITTEN OR PLAYED ON? Monsters! WHAT’S THE MOST IMPRESSIVE THING YOU CAN COOK? Deconstructed Lobster Pot Pie. WHAT DID YOU LAST DREAM ABOUT? Deconstructed Lobster Pot Pie.

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WHO’S YOUR FAVOURITE NEW BAND? The Band Camino. WHO WAS YOUR FAVOURITE MUSICIAN OR BAND WHEN YOU WERE 14? Green Day or The Foo Fighters. WHAT’S THE FURTHEST YOU’VE TRAVELLED TO ATTEND SOMEONE ELSE’S GIG? Probably the thousands of miles I’ve flown to play a festival where I end up watching all my friend’s bands play. Haha. WHAT’S YOUR BIGGEST FEAR? Needles :( WHAT IS YOUR EARLIEST MEMORY?

JULY 2020

DORK

Contributing Editors Jamie Muir, Martyn Young .

Picking flowers in the garden with my mom. I was a BABY.

Scribblers Abigail Firth, Aleksandra Brzezicka, Chris Taylor, Dillon Eastoe, Jack Press, Jake Hawkes, Jamie MacMillan, Jessica Goodman, Laura Freyaldenhoven, Sam Taylor, Steven Loftin, Tyler Damara Kelly

DO YOU BELIEVE IN ALIENS? Yes. WHAT IS THE BEST PRESENT YOU’VE EVER BEEN GIVEN? For my 30th birthday, a few of my friends had a custom Fender guitar built for me, and I hold it very near and dear.

Snappers April Blum, Cesar Balcazar, Harvey Williams-Fairley, Joshua Atkins, Niall Lee, Olof Grind, Patrick Gunning, Samuel J Butt, Sarah Louise Bennett, Sarah Piantadosi, Tim Saccenti, Undine Markus

HAVE YOU GOT ANY SECRET TATTOOS? Nope! IF YOU WON THE LOTTERY, WHAT WOULD YOU SPEND THE CASH ON? Spoiling my family and trying to do some good for the world. WHAT’S THE MOST EMBARRASSING THING THAT’S EVER HAPPENED TO YOU? All the times I’ve fallen off stage. HAVE YOU EVER SEEN A GHOST? No. IF YOU COULD HAVE A SUPERPOWER OF YOUR CHOOSING, WHAT WOULD IT BE? Flying would be really cool but maybe also the ability to move things with my MIND. I wanna be a Jedi. WHAT HAVE YOU GOT IN YOUR POCKETS RIGHT NOW? Lint. HAVE YOU EVER SOLD YOUR

.

Doodlers Russell Taysom OWN CD OR MERCH ON EBAY? No. WHAT’S YOUR FAVE TV SHOW? Lost. IF YOU WEREN’T A MUSICIAN, WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING? Maybe a vet... Or a psychologist/therapist? WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE SANDWICH FILLING? The tears of my enemies. HAVE THE POLICE EVER TOLD YOU OFF? Multiple times. I was a dumb, rebellious kid. HOW PUNK ARE YOU OUT OF TEN? 11.

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HAVE YOU EVER HAD AN IMAGINARY FRIEND? Not really. DO YOU SNORE? When I’m drunk. WHAT’S IN YOUR FRIDGE RIGHT NOW? Indian leftovers and a lot of coffee. CAN YOU DANCE? Like a dream. WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE MIDNIGHT SNACK? Cereal. WHY ARE YOU LIKE THIS? Maybe it’s Maybellene. P ALL TIME LOW’S ALBUM ‘WAKE UP, SUNSHINE’ IS OUT NOW.

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THE NEW ALBUM

INCLUDES THE SINGLES “SPORTS!” AND “SO WHEN YOU GONNA...”

OUT JULY 3RD