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Chvrches. Love is dead.



June 2018 Issue 22

Ed’s letter.

I’m all over the place, Dear Reader. I’m a mess. I can’t sleep, I’m constantly anxious, I can’t step away from the internet without feeling nervy. And why, you ask? Well, because - at the time of this magazine going to press - The 1975 are teasing us something rotten. Long term chums may remember we’re not on the fence when it comes to Matty, George, Adam and Ross. We’ve been buzzing on their forthcoming third album for months now. It was back in December 2016 that Mr Healy talked to us about the record, and we’ve not calmed down since. As I write this, we’re basically a month from the date we’re hoping it will arrive - the much teased 1st June - and posters have started to appear ‘in the wild’. The band tweeted out a message, then cleared their socials - again. We all know what it means, but this issue is due in the printers now. Like, NOW. Let us know how this one ends.


S tephen

Editor / @stephenackroyd



Editor Stephen Ackroyd Deputy Editor Victoria Sinden Associate Editor Ali Shutler Contributing Editors Jamie Muir, Martyn Young Events Liam James Ward Scribblers Alex Cabre, Alexander Bradley, Alice Mortimer, Ben Jolley, Chris Taylor, Ciarán Steward, Dan Harrison, Eala McAlister, Eleanor Osada, Jake Hawkes, Jasleen Dhindsa, Jenessa Williams, Jessica Goodman, Jessie Atkinson, Josh Williams, Rob Mair, Sam Taylor, Steven Loftin Snappers Corinne Cumming, Eleanor Osada, Sarah Louise Bennett, Will Byington Doodlers Russell Taysom P U B L I S H E D F RO M

W E LCO M E TOT H E B U N K E R.CO M U N I T 10, 23 G RA N G E RO A D, H A S T I N G S, T N34 2R L

All material copyright (c). All rights reserved. This publication may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form, in whole or in part, without the express written permission of The Bunker Publishing Ltd. Disclaimer: While every effort is made to ensure the information in this magazine is correct, changes can occur which affect the accuracy of copy, for which The Bunker Publishing Ltd holds no responsibility. The opinions of the contributors do not necessarily bear a relation to those of Dork or its staff and we disclaim liability for those impressions. Distributed nationally.


On The Stereo jump ahead of most other things you’ll hear in 2018.

Let’s Eat Grandma - I’m All Ears

Matt Maltese - Bad Contestant

The sound of the future - by which we don’t mean two weeks from next Tuesday, but something more like the year 3042 - Let’s Eat Grandma’s second album is a light-speed

Our home-grown South London crooner’s debut album has knocked back a week, meaning it’s no longer going directly head to head with Father John Misty’s 3



new album. It’s a comparison worth making, though, when it comes to one of our brightest new talents.

Boy Azooga - 1,2, Kung Fu!

If you’ve heard ‘Loner Boogie’, you’ll know Boy Azooga know how to raise the temperature. Their debut

album is coming next month, and it’s really quite exciting.

The 1975 - Music For Cars

It’s brilliant. It’s the best thing we’ve heard all year. It’s so exciting. Really, we could see this making them the biggest band in the world one day. Yeah. We’re on about the EP.

.TFW you’re pretty sure you put deodorant on this morning, but you don’t want to make it too obvious you’re checking to make certain. S .


What’s going on with MØ, then?

Denmark superstar MØ is a magnet for bangers and buzzy collabs - what’s her secret? Writing straight from the heart. Words: Jessie Atkinson.


he best songs I write are always when I’m feeling very emotional about something,” MØ considers, driving down the Californian highway on speakerphone.

“Of course, when you’re in love or you’re heartbroken: that’s the classic because you feel so much so strongly at such a vulnerable time. Another is that feeling of longing... “I get that feeling a lot. I’m longing for something in the future, but I’m also longing for something that was in the past: those kind of things can also be very effective for me when I write a song.” MØ writes chart-smashing electronic pop filled with gorgeous lyrics. Songs like ‘Lean On’ - a collaboration with Major Lazer and DJ Snake - which has been streamed over a billion times on Spotify. Day-to-day, when she’s living life as Karen Marie Aagaard Ørsted, she’s still a poetic inspiration. It turns out there’s a reason

“The best songs I write are always when I’m feeling very emotional”

for that: MØ is “an emo”. Her words, but words nonetheless difficult to disagree with: this is an artist who has been positively fizzing with fervour since birth. As a kid, her favourite Destiny’s Child song was (what else) ‘Emotion’. It meant so much to her that she used to wake up in the middle of the night if it came on the radio. The “several times” this happened, it made her cry. How emo is that! A darn shame, then, that she missed the part of Beyoncé’s Coachella performance that saw Destiny’s Child enter stage right. Because before she walked away, MØ gushes, that show “was so overwhelming; so perfect; so amazing; so astonishing. I had my hands on my face before I walked



away like ‘Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God!” Oh, by the way, MØ was one of the warm-ups for that Beyoncé show. Of the Californian festival, she glows with ardour: “Staring out over the mountains and the Ferris wheel and the sky that is starting to go dark is something I’m never going to forget. It was at that hour of the day when it was still light, but it was, like, the magic hour, so it was a special moment. Not to get sentimental, but I’m from Denmark and playing music at Coachella is like a fucking…” Overcome, she stops there. If you’re wondering just how you go from Denmark to Coachella, then you should consider writing music the way MØ does: “straight from the heart.” Although you’re probably not talented or emotional enough. Sorry. When MØ is writing a song (sometimes alone, sometimes “with a bunch of people” and “sometimes with one producer”), she promises herself “to go with whatever the fucking feelings are saying.” Apparently, what MØ’s feelings say are things like: “I wish I could turn my heart to stone” and “I wander on, and I will never come back.” Both of those lyrics come from recent EP ‘When I Was Young’. The first is from


(you’ve guessed it) ‘Turn My Heart To Stone’, which is “about being in a relationship with someone who you know isn’t good for you, but you just want to play dumb and pretend it’s fine.” The second, from ‘Run Away’, a song laced with longing, is inspired by her childhood best friend (also the inspiration for 2017 banger ‘Nights With You’) and their youthful desire to escape suburbia (“fuck the suburbs” she says, cheerfully). Now she’s as far away from the suburbs as she’s physically able to be, she’s planning on staying there. Another album should do the trick. There’s no “official statement” yet, but you’d better believe it’s coming. And soon. With “no time for a proper vacation this year”, she’s writing songs, playing shows and doing promo so that you, dear reader, can “feel liberated and [unworried] about your phone or where you’re going next.” At her live shows, she wants you to “bask in the moment… to feel a connection… to let completely loose and not worry about how you look or being perfect.” It sounds, in effect, as though MØ wants to resurrect from the grave your ability to feel emotion. If anyone can do it, it’s going to be her. P MØ’s

single ‘Nostalgia’ is out now.

Have you seen...?

Get yer merch! “The record label asked me to make an advert for my merch,” tweets George Ezra, “so here’s what they got.” Now, we don’t know what it takes to be a supermodel, but we reckon if you head to our Geoff ’s Twitter (@george_ezra, obv - Ed), and scroll back to 15th April, you’ll see someone who fits the bill perfectly.

They’re back!

The Grand They’ve been away for Quite A While now, but Drenge are back on the live scene with a brand new single in tow. We checked in on their Grand Reopening tour in London to see what’s changed. Words: Jemie Muir. Photos: Sarah Louise Bennett.


icture a grand reopening.

First thing that comes to mind? One of them shops down the road. You know the one. It probably sells lighting, or maybe sofas. On Dork Avenue, Drenge’s reopening has been an anticipated affair - and it’s only right that the brothers treat tonight like the celebratory occasion it deserves. A red tape adorns the stage as Drenge step out in boiler suits, the theme tune to Have I Got News To You blaring and frontman Eoin prepared with a written statement to welcome in a new chapter for the Loveless brothers. Where

they last packed a trio punch, there’s now four - and that effect is clear from the very first note, opening with new number ‘Bonfire’, a prowling beast that calls out to each and every person gathered in the Assembly Hall. Like throwing a match into Guy Fawkes’ box of dynamite, it begins an evening frothing at the mouth with bursting momentum. A barrage of debut album lighters, ‘Dogmeat’, ‘Backwaters’ and ‘Nothing’ hit one after the other, only to be met with another heavyweight sledgehammer of an anthem that has the packed room screaming along. It’s snarling, unfiltered and led by Eoin overseeing the masses with his piercing calls ringing through none more so than on the glorious ‘We Can Do What We Want’. More than just a sizzling run of pogoing 6


Daughter have ‘done’ a stunning live version of ‘All I Wanted’

bodies, singalongs ring throughout. Drenge thrive more than ever in encompassing a runaway train yet underneath have the melodies designed for bigger stages. Tonight is another shining example of how Drenge refuse to sit comfortably at the stage they’ve built themselves, instead growing into something more. They have a bigger knockout punch than ever before, and the mix of new and old songs don’t just point to a lovely ‘ol return, but focus on ambition. Tonight Drenge lay out the perfect reminder to their powers. Not here to simply plug along to how great things were a while ago, they’re aiming for domination. Tonight is the grand reopening for an unmissable road ahead. P D OWN WI T H BO RI N G

Daughter have shared a brand new live video for their track ‘All I Wanted’. The clip sees vocalist Elena Tonra joined by both a string and all-female vocal quartet, captured in one take by director Simon Lane in Peckham’s Asylum Chapel. With arrangements specially from Josephine Stephenson, and recorded and produce by Tonra herself, the original track is taken from Daughter’s soundtrack to videogame ‘Life Is Strange: Before The Storm’.

Confidence Man’s new video puts them on the cover of a magazine (and on all the inside pages, too) Confidence Man have released a new video for their track ‘Don’t You Know I’m In A Band’. “We finally made the cover just like we deserve. And every other page for that matter!“ says Sugar Bones. “One day we’ll release our very own magazine – “con mag”, in the meantime we’ll just fill the pages and teen dreams of a nation and beyond.”

Watch all these and more right now on

Get a hobby

Fly away with Will from Bastille So you’re in a massive band. How do you be even more rock star than that? How about learning to fly a bloody plane. That’s what Will Farquarson from Bastille has done. Aye aye, capt’n! Hey Will, we hear you’ve just passed your flying test congrats. How did you pick up the hobby? Thanks. I’ve loved aviation since I was a child. My dad and I used to go to a lot of air shows, build model aeroplanes and would quite often go to Birmingham airport just to watch planes land and take

off. I’d kinda always wanted to fly but had been so focused on music that I’d never really thought of perusing it. After the success of our first two albums, however, I was fortunate enough to find myself in the position in which I could dedicate sufficient time and energy to make it a reality.

What sort of planes do you fly? Is a career with EasyJet on the cards if Bastille goes tits up?

Haha. I never thought about flying professionally really, although, as someone who has only ever really worked in music, it is nice to have a useable life skill. I’m currently only permitted to privately pilot single piston engine planes, so no fast/big jets. There loads of

.”Uh-oh, uh-oh, uh-oh” The rest of Bastille don’t sound confident about flying with Will. S.

different ratings that you can get as a private pilot though. I quite fancy doing my aerobatics rating one day.

How many hours of training have you put in?

Currently, I’ve flown around 75 hours. I’m really conscious of how little experience I have and so take everything I do very slowly and cautiously. I think aviation is one of those areas in which you probably never stop learning, and for me, as I’m so new to it, every time I enter the cockpit I learn something.

Do you need any special equipment to learn to fly, other than the obvious (i.e. a plane)?

No. Really you just need to find a school. I learned at Sussex Flying Club that is based at Shoreham airport, and they provide everything you need to complete the programme.

Is flying a bit like driving a car in the air, or is it a totally different experience?

It’s pretty different really. The main difference is that it is far more procedural. A typical flight requires a comprehensive flight plan, safety checks, filing air traffic control procedures, keeping a log on route, entering the flight into your pilot logbook and probably a debrief. So you can’t exactly just hop 8



“Every time I enter the cockpit I learn something” in and fly to France and back without planning. Plus there is up and down to consider, so it’s a bit like driving in 3D.

Have you ever come close to crashing a plane?

Not yet. Although my instructor Dave would probably beg to differ. His is an unenviable Sisyphean task. Where’s your favourite place to fly? I’m lucky to fly all around the south coast of England which is really beautiful in the summer. I’m hoping to fly in America next time we are on tour. Are you going to fly your bandmates about to shows from now on? No. Kyle is a bit scared of flying and thinks I’ll crash. He says the headline is too perfect to take the risk. P

Bastille are playing loads of festivals over the summer, including Neverworld.

Bangers on a boat

Parahoy, there!


he very concept of being in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean and sailing slowly away to the Bahamas with a variety of hyper-talented and interesting musicians, artists and fans alike is quite surreal. Living through it is even more bizarre, but in the best way imaginable.

Parahoy has been running biannually since 2014, making this year’s “Deep Search” the third time that Tennessee born, newlynew-wave veined alt-rockers Paramore have ventured out to sea with a boat-ton of people. Cruisers old and new are greeted onto the ginormous Norwegian Jade with a high five, before either heading straight to their cabins to add their mandatory glitter tears, or to the generously packed out 24-hour buffet. With schedules in lanyards and complimentary Parahoy! sailors hats on heads, the ship’s horn sounds and 2,700+ fans cheer as Paramore kick off their sail-away show with ‘Brand New Eyes’ gem, ‘Looking Up’. After a throwback-heavy/ dance-rife set, those onboard have the choice of catching the exuberant alternative-folk band Judah & The Lion in the ship’s own theatre, or floating away to Local Natives’ saccharine indie-rock tones on the pool deck. Or taking a nap to

emotionally recharge. The rest of the night offers up a past Parahoy favourite, Sound Off Silent Disco, and emo anthem providers, Nashville is The Reason - both running into the wee hours. These run every night for cruisers with enough energy to spare. The cruise also features some pretty cool theme nights for those wanting to get involved: Check It Out! (Paramore’s favourite: checkerboard print), Technicolour, Vintage and Halloween (yes, in early April). Day 2 brings an early morning Good Dye Young meetup (the hair dye company co-founded by Hayley and her stylist, Brian O’Connor) and giveaway, for all those either with colourful hair or who are simply curious about it. Paramore also treat the whole ship - in three separate lots - to a private theatre acoustic set, unleashing fan-favourite Drake cover ‘Passionfruit’. Vibrant DJ Mija and dreamy alt-pop duo Now, Now both play to a busy, humid pool deck in the mid-afternoon, shortly before Zac Farro’s own band - Halfnoise. Their songs sit well in the sunny climate, and once again in the more ornate surrounding of the theatre on the fi nal night. As per tradition, Zac invites out a host of friends for ‘Scooby’s In The Back’, all armed with tambourines, shakeable fruit and killer

The good ship Paramore set sail for 2018’s Parahoy cruise, featuring fun, games, and lots of fab bands. Words + photos: Eleanor Osada Main photo: Will Byington.

dance moves. Longtime friends and influencers of Paramore, mewithoutYou, play the same venues and had no trouble in captivating their audiences with the obvious raw passion that they always deliver. After spending hours roasting on the white sand in Nassau, a rose-coloured audience brave the rest of the day’s heat for Paramore’s second and fi nal full set. Appropriately opening with the glistening ‘Pool’ and dishing out treats like a reworked ‘crushcrushcrush’ / ’Beat It’ mashup as the sun set, it was a show never to forget. Something as uniquely beautiful as Parahoy deserves all the time and praise. It is truly something special to be part of a colourful community from all ends of the earth - suddenly gathered in the middle of the ocean - simply because we all love music. And it’s plain to see that Paramore love the community right on back. P

Top Tweeps What have your faves been up to on ‘social media’ this month? And why are we printing bits of ‘the internet’ on paper weeks after it happened? Last week I sent my girlfriend a potato. Today I received a delivery notification. I text her: ‘check your mailbox’. Nothing. It had been stolen. Someone, somewhere in NYC is gleefully opening a mystery package only to discover a solitary potato inscribed with the word ‘loublu’. Shura (@weareshura) At least we know where Brendon Urie was getting them from now... Poopidy scoop, scoopdiddy whoop, whoop, di scoop, di poop, poop di scoop di scoop di whoop, whoopidy scoop woop poop, poop diddy whoop scoop, poop! Poop! Scoop diddy whoop, whoop diddy scoop, whoop diddy scoop poop Marika Hackman (@MarikaHackman) If you need us to explain... Shitting it in a cable car LG x Liam Gallagher (@liamgallagher) Photo of the year? Yeah, probably.

The latest news. Ish.

Get more as it happens, every day at

This is happening.

.We’ve heard of ‘shipping a band, but this is getting ridiculous. S.

Strange entertainment

Oh God, Oh God, Oh God

Kagoule have dropped a brand new single, and announced a new album too. Fresh cut ‘Bad Saliva’ is taken from fulllength ‘Strange Entertainment’, which is set to arrive later this year. The band are joining the Alcopop! Records roster for the release. They explain: “Bad Saliva is a track about turning off the path you find yourself on; the temptation to make a change and the anxieties of then making it.”

Blood Red Shoes are back with a new track titled ‘God Complex’. The song follows on from last year’s ‘Eye To Eye’, which marked their first new music in three years. The duo are also playing 2000trees later this summer, alongside Enter Shikari, At The Drive In, Creeper, Basement, Black Foxxes, The Xcerts, Black Peaks, Bloody Knees, Black Honey and loads more. 11



Waiting for changes

Genghar have shared a surprise new EP. The collection, named after lead track ‘I’ll Be Waiting’ from the band’s recently released new album ‘Where Wildness Grows’, also includes stripped back versions of tracks from the band’s latest full-length. Frontman Felix Bushe explains: “we really hope people enjoy these different representations as much as we did putting them together.”







E F O R C E From Charli XCX to Dua Lipa, Zara Larsson to MĂ˜, on planet pop, girls run the world. In a land full of icons, Tove Styrke stands tall. Words: Ben Jolley. Photo: Emma Svensson.





rowing up in Sweden, Tove Styrke - full name Tove Anna Linnnéa Östman Styrke - would sing for hours and hours every day in an attempt to perfect massive diva anthems… even at the age of six. “I can’t believe my

parents put up with it,” she begins. “I always wanted to sing like Whitney, Beyoncé and Mariah, so it was these huge songs that were really difficult to sing. And as a kid, you really can’t,” she laughs. “It wasn’t much to brag about, but they let me keep going.” Having always wanted to be a singer, Tove enrolled in music school but only stuck at it for a year because she started releasing music as a teenager. “I didn’t even try to finish because it’s really difficult to juggle the two things. Some people manage, I know Zara Larsson did it, but it’s hard,” she remembers. Putting her music first has certainly paid off, though – Tove is currently on tour with Lorde, counts Shawn Mendes as a fan and will support Katy Perry in a few months time. But she hasn’t always been so confident about her musical direction something that became clear a few years ago when she performed at Wireless in London after her first album was released. “It was surreal; I played on the same stage as Willow and Jaden Smith, Drake was backstage. I was very indie back then, just a weird kid from Sweden, thinking, ‘What am I doing standing next to Drake?” Fast forward several years and Tove knows exactly who she is as an artist. “I’m more comfortable in myself now,” she continues. “It’s a growing thing. The older you get, the more you get to know yourself.” Her second album, ‘Sway’, is a development of sound and style. “Right now, I feel like I want to make music that makes me feel good,” she says. “That’s the sort of music that I need, and want to listen to.” Full of pop

“I always wanted to sing like Whitney, Beyoncé and Mariah” bangers like ‘Mistakes’ and ‘Changed My Mind’, Tove’s aim is to make music that people can dance to and, importantly, makes her feel something. “It can’t just be the beat or cool sounds – the lyrics are really important to me. It needs to be real emotions; there needs to be heart in it,” she considers. In terms of songwriting, Tove collects ideas. “When I hear stuff, if somebody says something that I think is an interesting perspective, I would write it down.” As well as learning from different experiences and opinions, she’s very interested in people; “especially those that I don’t understand”. It’s always been in her nature. So much so that if she hadn’t pursued music Tove would have trained to be a psychologist or therapist. “I like trying to figure people out; I think that’s really interesting,” she suggests. “That’s usually the driving force, or the common theme – that I’m trying to figure someone out, or my own behaviour.” It’s a trait that comes out when she gets in the studio, too. “When I write with people, I end up interviewing them – asking how they feel about something, or how they’ve stayed in a relationship for so long. I think it’s so interesting just to hear and try to figure people out. It’s gotten worse over the years...” she considers. Whereas her debut album dealt with bigger concepts, ‘Sway’ is more rooted in everyday feelings. “Back then it was more like grand images that I had and wanted to put music to. The



process was different; now it’s more like introverted little thoughts.” While Tove’s lyrics build into infectious choruses, the synth-led, electronic production is as much a part of the song-writing process. “The riff in ‘Say My Name’ is a big part of that song. I’m trying to build everything simultaneously until it’s finished,” she says, adding that attention to detail is key. “We spend a lot of time just making the lyrics good, looking at every word trying to get that right feeling...” Recorded across various, mainly small studios in Stockholm - “there was one where I didn’t even have a chair” - the record has been almost two years in the making. “We started working last summer. I’m so excited to release all these songs.” A collection of “little love stories”, Tove describes ‘Sway’ as the pros and cons of being in love. “This album is more upbeat, mostly good vibes; but in ‘Mistakes’ I think there’s a sadness too. Especially in the video, we really tried to emphasise that – there’s empowerment in choosing yourself but also sadness in not being able to stay with people.” And why did she call it ‘Sway’? “It’s a good, romantic word, and it’s one of my favourite songs on the album. It’s movement and fits the theme,” she suggests, adding that it wasn’t the only title she had in mind. “I was thinking of calling the album ‘Romantic’ because it could have been almost sarcastic; how modern love is not supposed to be that romantic...” And what are her plans for the rest of 2018? “My main ambition this year is to keep releasing. I want to put out some fabulous music videos, the album, and tour, tour, tour; play as many places as I can… and just have fun. That’s also important – just to have fun”. After that? “World domination?” she laughs, sounding halfserious. Don’t bet against it. P Tove Styrke’s album

‘Sway’ is out now.


Buzz-O-Meter As you know, Dear Reader, we’re prone to getting ‘quite excited’ about stuff - here’s what’s giving us a buzz this month.

‘That band’ are doing that thing we’re been waiting for them to do At the time of press, posters have started to show up teasing what we assume is The 1975’s new album. The band even shared a cryptic image on social media before wiping clean their accounts. Again. Given we’re still expecting something to happen on 1st June, we expect by the time this magazine is printed and reaches your grubby little hands, Dear Reader, we’ll know much more. But for now, we are too buzzed for buzz. It’s a buzz overdose.

We’re not supposed to know what Pale Waves are doing next, but... A new song, ‘Kiss’, appeared briefly on Spotify before being taken down. It had a release date of mid-May, and they’ve been playing it live ‘on tour’ - so we’re pretty sure it’s safe to presume it’ll be arriving shortly after this issue drops. It’s obviously brilliant.

Yeah Yeah Yeah! London’s first All Points East festival is about to take place - which means we’re getting one of the best lineups in recent memory in the middle of the capital’s Victoria Park. In amongst the stellar names - LCD Soundsystem, Lorde, The xx and more - are the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, back on British soil and playing live for the first time in ages. Excited? A bit, yeah.

Brand New!

Bangers Track of the Month

Let’s Eat Grandma It’s Not Just Me

The album, as a format, is old hat. That’s what those experts say. They’ve been suggesting it for a decade now. In an era of all you can listen to streaming, the idea of an act going away before dropping 12 tracks at once is wonky thinking, apparently. Much better they have a constant stream of new stuff, every one a single, building their audience that never buy, only listen. It makes sense, to a point. Until you take into account the magical evolution of Let’s Eat Grandma. Their debut, ‘I, Gemini’, was no slouch. A great record from a duo of promise, what came next was always the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. But even with that taken into account, the revolution-not-evolution as they return for their second

full-length is nothing short of astounding. So far, we’ve had three tracks. ‘Hot Pink’ and ‘Falling Into Me’ each made a claim for The Best Thing We’ve Heard In 2018. Latest cut ‘It’s Not Just Me’ is no different. More focused, unfailingly playful and shimmering like clear blue oceans, it’s the crib sheet for every big pop exam – every answer correct, perfectly clean and without error. While most other artists sound like they’re the next step in a plod towards trends, Let’s Eat Grandma have become a revelation. Fresher, sharper, better realised – the fact they’re benefiting from the influence of SOPHIE and The Horrors Faris Badwan plays a part, but it’s their delivery that adds the real quality. Brattish but with heart, combative but with arms wide open, there’s an unidentifiable glint in the eye that marks out something truly special. With a full-length to follow, packed with the same



invention, Let’s Eat Grandma aren’t just a great act about to deliver a great record. They’re a force of change. Without that gap, we might not have got the light speed growth that’s made them one of the most exciting acts on the planet. The bar’s just been raised. Everyone else is going to have to jump that bit higher now. P Stephen


Friend request

Black Honey Bad Friend

Autotune, shiny drums, dramatic stabs of glossy polish - ‘Bad Friend’ isn’t Black Honey as we know them. As the quartet charge towards their debut album, their latest track still scans the same dark, cinematic horizon, but gets there by an altogether different route. P

Dan Harrison


Animal magic

Spring King Animal

Remember when Spring King were the first ever band played by Zane Lowe on Apple’s then brand new Beats 1? Remember how exciting it felt as they booted down the door, pedal to the floor, full of possibility and hedonistic charm. Well, they’re back, and they’ve got that trick down to a fine-art. ‘Animal’ isn’t so much a return as a flat out demand for attention. “What are you waiting for?” it screams, throwing down a challenge that’s near impossible to resist. A timely reminder that, in a scene full of excitement and buzz, nobody does it better than Spring King. P Stephen Ackroyd

Booze cruise

FIDLAR Alcohol

At this point, the harshest critic may deduce that

A day in the life of... we could probably create FIDLAR bangers using some kind of not-even-that-clever algorithm. Lyrics about some sort of addictive, intoxicating substance - probably consumed in excess - matched to scrappy, infectious punk rock, it’s safe to say they’ve got a template. But then, no mathematical formula could replicate the infectious, slacker perfection of FIDLAR’s delivery. Like a night on the tinnies, we know how this one ends, but the joy is in the living. Never change. P Dan


Dancing queens


This Dance

On their much anticipated return, Drenge seem a different beast. Never lacking in pointy teeth, ‘This Dance’ is a pulsing creature, confined to the indie disco shadows, throwing angular shapes in the strobes. Recalling everything from Bloc Party and Blood Red Shoes at the height of their powers to the hedonistic charge of nu-rave, its two and a half minutes are infused with the Sheffield two-point-four piece’s uniquely dark beating heart. Don’t get too close, it’ll take your head off. P Stephen


Soph Nathan ‘out of’ Our Girl Have a nosy behindthe-scenes with Our Girl’s Soph Nathan on tour.

8:00 Lauren normally wakes up first, has a shower and gets dressed. A matter of minutes, or often hours later, Josh and I (try not to) wake up as the alarm goes off. Admittedly I normally complain and then snooze for as long as I can get away with…

10:00 Naturally, as we’re on

tour, we wake up somewhere different every morning. But our favourite place to stay is at Josh’s aunt Nancy’s house in Manchester – she really is the hostess with the mostess. If we’re too far from the comfort of Nancy’s house, then we’ll be on someone’s floor or if we’re lucky, a Travelodge!

11:00 A morning cup of tea

is very important to us. After that, if we’re feeling ropey then ideally we’ll go out for a big breakfast. But if we have

an early drive, we’ll have a pastry or some fruit in the car/van. Loz will most likely be eating her favourite snack - a packet of comically titled ‘fruity fingers’ from M&S.

13:00 At this time in the

day, we’re normally driving from one city to another. Talking, music and puzzle books normally fill this time. I’ve also recently really been enjoying listening to Desert Island Discs. Kirsty Young’s voice is so calming; it almost doesn’t matter who the guest is.

15:00 If we get to a city early enough, we always try to have a wander around and explore – we’ll mainly go to charity shops and record shops. Josh likes going for long walks so he’ll get one of those in if there’s time. 17:00 We get to the venue

around this time and load the gear in. Then maybe we’ll catch up on any work we have to do - emails and life admin. It’s a good time to call friends and family, and maybe have a

pre-soundcheck nap.

19:00 We have dinner around 7, depending on how late soundcheck runs and how early our show time is. We try to eat early enough that we’re not too full to be comfy on stage – Lauren often has to slow me down and promise me that it’s worth the wait if I get the rest to take away. 20:00 Somewhere between

8 and 10 is show time! Before we play, we often do an energy ball, which is something Bill Ryder-Jones taught us in the studio one day when we were feeling sluggish. You have to see it to understand it but it basically involves a lot of limb waving and yelling, and it really does give you energy.

23:00 Around this time we’ll

probably be having postshow beers and enjoying the leftovers from dinner that Lauren luckily encouraged us to save.

0:00 3-hour drive to Nancy’s house. P

Wake up call

Hatchie Sleep

Brisbane newcomer Hatchie was already making waves in the UK before she’d even played her first shows on our shores. With a debut EP ‘Sugar & Spice’ out on 25th May via Heavenly Recordings, ‘Sleep’ is a perfect slice of pop - a sparkling gem that occasionally throws off glints of Cranberriesesque brilliance. Infectious, wonderfully organic and packed with potential, this Aussie is one to watch. P Dan






The Regrettes 16



Los Angeles punk quartet The Regrettes are touring the UK this month - and you’re about to start seeing a lot more of them. Words: Alex Cabre


don’t want to think about it, or I’ll totally psych myself out,” Lydia Night affirms over the phone from her native Los Angeles.

a-half-minutes of ricocheting garage pop with body image and gender stereotypes in its lyrical crosshairs. It was a powerful mission statement and one that set the tone for things to come, though The 17-yearThe Facts it wasn’t easy old leader of for Lydia to garage-pop + From Los Angeles, US bare her soul outfit The + For fans of Girlpool, so extensively Regrettes is Cherry Glazerr, Tacocat so early on. referring to + Check out ‘Come “It’s such a the band’s Through’ vulnerable scheduled + Social @regrettesband song; it takes a appearance on + See them live: The band lot to stand up Jimmy Kimmel tour the UK from 19thin a crowd and Live! tomorrow 30th May, including a stop say the things night, where at Dot to Dot, then they’re that I say. I they will knew I need to back for Reading & Leeds perform get over it for tracks from in August myself and the their recently sake of other people. I think released ‘Attention Seeker’ EP. it’s a song that needs to be Guitarist Genessa Gariano, heard.” bassist Sage Chavis and Her bravery paid off. drummer Maxx Morando are “Honestly, at almost every the rest of the band; today, show someone will come they’re off doing “whatever up to us and say, ‘That song they do to prepare,” says helped me get through this…’ Lydia. “Genessa is probably Someone said it got them at home drawing, Sage is through their sex change. probably doing her makeup There are a lot of really crazy, or at the gym, and then Maxx, cool, incredible things that god knows. He’s a wildcard; I have come from that. It’s never know what he’s doing.” amazing.” Playing live on one of the The genesis of Lydia’s most popular talk shows in passion for activism the world is, of course, a big occurred when she was in deal, but the young bunch seventh grade – that’s Year have already had a fair few 8 – when her best friend big deals in their short time Grace introduced her to together. Since forming Rookie, the uber-hip online properly two and a half years publication which promotes ago after initially meeting at female empowerment as one music school, they’ve shared of its key values. “I was like, stages with Sleigh Bells and what’s a feminist?” Lydia Kate Nash, visited the UK recalls. “Grace totally told me with SWMRS and on top of all everything I needed to know. that, the start of 2017 saw the From then on I’ve been all release of their gutsy, dooabout it.” wop-stroke-riot-grrrl debut Across the album, she album ‘Feel Your Feelings, chooses her battles carefully Fool!’ (other big hitters include the Penned in the deepest snarling ‘Picture Perfect’, and swathes of her teenage ‘Seashore’, a chirpy anthem years, the album’s voice about not letting yourself be is unmistakeably and put down) making sure there’s unapologetically Lydia’s. room for downtime. “The majority of that record “There needs to be a was written before the band balance. Not all of the music even formed. I had like fifty that I write is blatant and demos before going into it, in your face. I think that I from a three-year period,” she have a strong perspective, explains of its origins. all my music has that, but One of those demos that perspective doesn’t eventually evolved into ‘A necessarily have to be Living Human Girl’, two-and-




some political statement. Sometimes it’s more a statement about exactly how I’m feeling and that in itself is a bold, vulnerable move.” Nowadays the band spend more time writing together, for the sake of convenience as well as enjoyment. “It’s great writing a song when Maxx can immediately play a drum beat along with it, and then have Sage come in with the bass line or guitar part. I write the majority of the lyrics, but if I’m like, ‘Ah fuck, what rhymes with door?’ They’re like, ‘Poor!’ or ‘Whore!’ and I’m like, perfect!” A result of the band’s new-found team dynamic is the bouncy lead single from the ‘Attention Seeker’ EP, ‘Come Through’, the video for which sees the band giving Lydia’s jerk boyfriend his just desserts, in more ways than one. The clip was directed by Claire Vogel, a serial collaborator of Lydia’s. “Claire is my favourite director ever. I told her what I wanted [in terms of the] musical aspect; then she brought in the storyline. We filmed it at this amazing mid-century house. It was seriously the coolest house ever.” One shot from the video stands out. Dressed in a striking blue suit, Lydia spins lackadaisically in a chair, tearing pages from an old book and tossing them over her shoulder. It’s a fitting metaphor for the way The Regrettes use their music to rip up out-dated attitudes of the past, having an absolute blast all the while. With an extensive US tour just around the corner and a slot at Reading & Leeds, you can expect to hear more from The Regrettes very soon (as for new music, Lydia promises “there will be something new in the world” by the end of the year). For now, she’s off to prepare for the big show tomorrow. Spoiler alert, they absolutely smash it. Another rung surpassed by a band heading defiantly for the top. P The

Regrettes are touring the UK from 19th May.

“I have this album ready to go, and I love it”

Kim Petras

The future of pop is here.

“P Words: Ben Jolley.

eople would throw their lunches on me,” Germany-born Los Angelesbased pop star Kim Petras says, reflecting on her school years. “I had no

friends and was totally not popular, so I would always skip school and watch Britney Spears videos all day!” Instead, she used music to escape the harsh reality of adolescence. “Pop music and music videos were always my happy place – I’d rather be Britney in the ‘Lucky’ video on a floating star in a fake studio than go to school. Even now, I go into Zen mode when I listen to music. It feels like my problems don’t exist.” While writing in her bedroom in Cologne, Kim started posting covers on YouTube, then a few years later, after turning 18, she got a record deal; but the pop star life wasn’t quite what she expected. “My first thing was writing a laundry detergent single in Germany, but then once the covers got more recognised, random producers

getting attention from industry started sending me tracks.” types and everything quickly Around a year later, Kim fell into place. “From there I moved to LA, having saved up was like, ‘Hey, I have my own money from her waitressing artist project too - I have my job back in Germany. “In the own album’, which I was totally beginning, I had to go back and planning!” she laughs. forth; the last time they told Kim is now hailed as the me I wouldn’t get in without a “future of pop” by the genre’s visa, I got a publishing deal… undisputed queen, Charli I got lucky,” she remembers, XCX. The sounding pair teamed understandably The Facts up for a track relieved. Moving + From Cologne, Germany (the brilliant ‘Unlock It’), to LA was + For fans of Charli XCX, and it was all inevitable for SOPHIE thanks to one Kim, because + Check out ‘Heart to chance meeting it’s “where the Break’ at the first LA pop songwriter + Social @kimpetras show of PC world is,” she + See them live Kim Music affiliate suggests. plays London’s Courtyard and Charli “It’s amazing; Theatre on 25th May, as collaborator I’ve learnt to well as Birmingham Pride collaborate and G-A-Y Heaven on 26th SOPHIE. “We just hung here, I’ve met May out, partied a so many people bit after the show and then the that are now like a music next day she texted me asking, family to me, and I’ve worked ‘Do you wanna jump on this with so many of my idols…” song for my next mixtape?’ I That’s not to say her new life replied and then she texted me wasn’t a challenge at first. “I the song! She got my number was sleeping on studio couches from a stylist who we both and writing three songs every know.” day - just trying to get noticed The next day, Kim and a and get a buzz going about friend headed to the studio myself.” and wrote the verse for After Fergie of The Black ‘Unlock It’. After the dream Eyed Peas fame picked up on collaboration became a reality, one of Kim’s songs, she started




Kim joined Charli and her gang at the Pop 2 show in New York. “Charli’s whole crew is super cool and interesting, I love her,” she says; “I’ve been a fan for a long time, ever since the first record. And I love that she’s spontaneous.” Kim isn’t letting the whirlwind success get to her. “I feel excited; I have hundreds of songs - I can’t wait to drop this first record. I have this album ready to go, and I love it.” And what can her growing legion of fans expect from it? “The album is a lot about the way I thought LA was going to be when I was a kid, and how it’s super glamorised; then moving here and the reality of it.” While that’s the concept, she mainly wants people to have fun and forget about their problems when listening to her music; “like how I felt when I ran home from school to watch Britney Spears music videos. That’s what I want to achieve,” she considers. There are some songs about her feelings and being heartbroken, too, but overall, “I want it to be a party and for everyone to have the best time.” A self-confessed perfectionist, Kim says it can take her up to a month to finish a song, and the inspirations are always very different. “It can come from me talking to a friend, or if I’m watching a movie and somebody says something interesting. I can be in an Uber and suddenly have a melody in my head... and sometimes I have no idea at all, and I just sing some jibberish melody.” But, for Kim, the magic of songwriting is when the big ideas come into her head. “That’s what I love; sometimes I get a complete concept in my head.” Though, she admits, its rarely happens. “Some songs you have to really work on,” she suggests, revealing that ‘Heart To Break’ took six months to finish. “We did at least ten sessions on that song; it was a total crossword puzzle. Songwriting is such a fascinating thing,” she summarises. “Every song is a new experience with a different set of challenges.” P

Check out...

Gaffa Tape Sandy If you head down to The Great Escape on Thursday 17th May, you’re sure of a big surprise... well, not really - Dork’s stage at Sticky Mike’s features loads of up-and-coming talent, as per, including these guys here: Gaffa Tape Sandy. The trio make sugary, garagerock treats that are both rollicking good fun, and also a right old mess, in the best possible way. Listen to: ‘Beehive’

APRE Having already been compared to the likes of indie legends Foals and Bombay Bicycle Club, APRE’s debut single ‘All Yours’ is a clever, upbeat slice of alt-pop that belies their short time together and sees them punching ridiculously high. Catch the duo this summer at The Great Escape and Barn on the Farm. Listen to: ‘All Yours’

ALASKALASKA Twisting beats, luscious sax and an infectious call to join in all the fun – that’s the way to grab our attention, and ALASKALASKA have done just that with their glorious new track ‘Meateater’ Following on from their richly acclaimed 2017 EP (and heavyweight number ‘Patience’), it’s a wonderful look at where they go next – crystal vocals and shuffling beat magic make ‘Meateater’ that perfect next step. Listen to: ‘Meateater’


Baywaves are Spain’s latest export, a self-described ‘Hipnopop’ four-piece that are hiking the trail blazed by close friends and fellow Madrid residents Hinds.

you couldn’t get into shows, because they were all 18+. So our guitar player Carlos helped run a campaign to change the law and let younger people in, and it worked. They passed the law in Madrid, and now it’s in effect across Spain, so now new bands are getting to see other young bands and getting inspired by that.” Words: Jake Hawkes. Aside from touring and campaigning for reforms to Spanish law, Baywaves have also been his is a lot more relaxed busy in the studio. “Our new EP is out a month than usual!” says Baywaves today! For us, there’s a real change in the sound. bassist Fran Bassi, just before People that listen say it’s still undeniably us, so the band’s gig supporting maybe it isn’t so immediate as we think, but it’s Hinds at The Fleece in Bristol. there. We experimented more with samplers and “Usually we have to take the train or the subway synths, trying to get texture not with all of our instruments, but just using guitars. this time we’ve actually got a car, “We thought we had to grow our The Facts which is great. horizons with this one, so even if + From Madrid, Spain “It’s strange for us, coming out + For fans of The Parrots, it doesn’t sound so different, we of Madrid and playing bigger UK feel that in the future it will mark Hinds shows. I don’t think it’s weird the start of a big change. + Check out ‘Still in Bed’ for Hinds though; they’ve been “Now the EP is done and mixed; + Social @joinBaywaves doing it for a long time!” He laughs. we can talk about the album,” + See them live You’ve In fact, he laughs after almost he says tentatively when asked just missed them, sorry everything he says, bouncing from about future plans. “We don’t topic to topic. know if it’s going to happen soon, but we’re ready The Spanish music scene is a topic close to to do it. It’ll depend on how much touring we Baywaves’ hearts. “For a long time in Spain, there do, how much time we’ve got, but we’re ready to wasn’t much going on. I would say the cause was think about it, you know?” mostly the economic crisis, that was what kickAnd after the album? Fran pauses. “The thing started bands like Parrots and Hinds, and they is that from the beginning everything about opened the door. Baywaves has been so - and this might sound “Those bands showed us that it was possible to really cliché - everything has been so unexpected. do it as a Spanish band. We all thought, ‘Oh shit, “We put out an EP, and we played all the we can play abroad?!’ And that just caused this festivals we grew up dreaming of playing in domino effect. We’re lucky to have so many good Spain, and now we are playing with Hinds... I bands in Madrid at the moment; hopefully, it will wouldn’t know what to say. I really hope we get last a long time.” the album out, but from that point on, I don’t Baywaves aren’t just observing from the know.” P Baywaves’ new EP ‘It’s Been Like’ is sidelines though. “When we were growing up out 18th May.





Check out...

LION Newly signed to Fiction - home of The Big Moon, no less - you might have already caught LION on tour with The Vaccines, Isaac Gracie or GIRLI. She’d be hard to forget; there’s a fire under this one, that’s for sure. It’s a bit like if Drew Barrymore decided she wanted to do music, we imagine. Which is excellent, obviously. Listen to: ‘Self Control’

Pip Blom We’re reliably informed Pip Blom has lots of ‘stuff’ ‘coming up’, including basically all the festivals (The Great Escape, Latitude and more), dates with The Breeders in May and July, and new music too. Her schedule’s almost as packed with exciting happenings as her music is with attitude. Come the end of the year it’ll be hard to imagine a 2018 without her. Listen to: ‘Pussycat’

Body Type Australian newcomers Body Type - longtime pals Sophie, Annabel, Georgia and Cecil - describe their new single ‘Arrow’ as a “pop-rock tantrum”, which is pretty perfect tbh. What do you need us for, eh? The foursome don’t yet have plans to bring their instrument-swapping garage-pop madness to the UK, but having just signed to Partisan Records, it can’t be too far off. Listen to: ‘Arrow’

Kississippi Zoe Reynolds and her band, Kississippi spin heartfelt tales of everyday adventures.

introspection that breathes with familiarity. “I was getting out of a major rough patch,” Zoe reflects. “Most of [the album] is just about me healing, and regaining faith in myself.” “It honestly almost took a year, with all the Words: Jessica Goodman. touring I was doing,” she recalls. “We were ope we hit traffic on taking big chunks of time off and then going the way home,” Zoe back and working hard on stuff.” Reynolds sings on Disjointed though the process that created the ‘Red Light’. This single record may have been, the band wouldn’t have lingering refrain, a simple made ‘Sunset Blush’ what it is any other way. expression of the all-encompassing feeling of “We would always have new ideas when we longing to spend more time with someone, is came back,” Zoe enthuses. “It was ever changing. exactly the kind of emotion that Kississippi I’m glad that we took that much time with it,” evoke throughout debut album ‘Sunset Blush’. she pauses, laughing, “even though it was a little It’s a record to fall in love with, longer than normal.” a soundtrack to fall in love to, and “The whole reason I made it The Facts one that’s rapidly seen the group was to share it with people,” she become endeared to listeners on distils. And that, in a nutshell, + From Philadelphia, US a scale bigger than anything the is what makes ‘Sunset Blush’ so + For fans of Diet Cig, outfit have seen before. great. Writing from their heart Rozwell Kid, Ratboys “I’ve just been excited to get it + Check out ‘Cut Yr Teeth’ to yours, Kississippi just want out there,” Zoe happily enthuses. to make where – and even who + Social @kississippiPHL “It’s a relief because of the time – you feel a bit brighter, even if + See them live The that has gone into it,” she laughs. only for half an hour. bands have loads of US With a physical release of “I would hope that it would dates, but none in the UK. ‘Sunset Blush’ coming via make people feel a little more Soz. Alcopop! Records, and tour dates powerful, but also accept their stretching out long into the summer, the time for vulnerabilities,” Zoe conveys. “A lot of people Kississippi has never felt so ripe – and the world are getting out of it exactly what I wanted,” she has never been so ready to receive them. gleams, “which was the goal for the record. It Named after the boxed wine Zoe and her seems like it’s making a lot of people pretty friends would drink in their hometown of happy, and that’s making me pretty happy.” Philadelphia, the album is as intoxicating as it Really, what more could you ask for? P is comforting, offering contagious refrains that Kississippi’s debut album ‘Sunset Blush’ is practically call you to the dance floor alongside out soon.





So you wanna be a pop star?


Team Picture Being a pop star is a serious job. You can’t just walk through the door and get started. You need to have a proper interview first. This month’s applicant is Team Picture’s Josh. The board will see you now. What can you tell us about yourself? I’m Josh. I’ve been ginger since birth and somehow managed to get away with it with a minimum number of pubic hair jokes made at my expense during childhood. I can play all of Metallica’s ‘Master of Puppets’ album on the electric guitar from memory by request. My favourite sound is jubilance, and my top #1 colour is reluctant-applause-black.

Why do you want to be a pop star?

Because I’m basically Domhnall Gleeson’s character from the hit Jon Ronson documentary FRANK and I’m

all out of options.

How would your bandmates describe you? One of them once did an impression of me that consisted of waving their arms around and shouting ‘wibbly wobbly!’ repeatedly.

What are your best and worst qualities?

Best: My neat talent for personalised Microsoft Word created birthday cards. Worst: My cheapskate-ness.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Probably returning to my original passion in life: performing as a pacey winger for North West Counties Football League stalwarts: Congleton Town FC.

What is your salary expectation?

A steady trickle of Bandcamp mp3 sales in the 0.79 to 0.99 pence bracket, and the occasional rider of Haribo and pity-Doritos. P

Team Picture’s mini-album ‘Recital’ is out on 1st June.

In the know

Isaac Gracie There are always more bands - the biggest question is who do you listen to when it comes to recommendations? Obviously Dork, your new music bible, should be your first port of call, but there are others too. This month Isaac Gracie, because who better to pick out some buzzy newcomers, than a buzzy newcomer? Hullo Dork, here’s a few newish musical nuggets I’ve had rolling around my Spotify for the last week. First off, Snail Mail! I was first made aware of these guys from their 2016 ‘Habit’ EP the song ‘Thinning’ is an absolute gem of indie guitars and suspense driven vocal drones. It’s perfect for bombing down the motorway trying to stay on




the level. Next up, Mitski, whose 2017 album ‘Puberty 2’ became the soundtrack to a large portion of the making of my own album. Though not necessarily a new artist, Mitski is just beginning to receive the wider acclaim she deserves having just toured with Lorde and Run the Jewels. Her music is driven by her adept lyricism and diverse vocal that can both move you on songs like ‘Last Words of a Shooting Star’ and engage you empathically on songs like ‘Your Best American Girl’. Finally, Moses Sumney, whose debut record ‘Aromanticism’ might have been my favourite of 2017. Channelling what felt like Radiohead, Frank Ocean and Aldous Harding, his vocal range and control is incomparable, and his knack for writing a song that will make you sit and think is a joy to behold. Check out ‘Doomed’ and ‘Indulge Me’, both have made their way onto my preshow playlist. P

Cover story

l ove dead is

On their third album, ‘Love Is Dead’, CHVRCHES have worked with some of the brightest minds in pop for the first time but rather than lose themselves in the zeitgeist, they’ve never been more themselves. Words: Ali Shutler. Photos: Sarah Louise Bennett.


t felt like this random, scrappy gang of people managed to somehow trick people into actually giving us a shot,” starts Lauren Mayberry on CHVRCHES’ story so far. Since the release of ‘The

third member of the trio, Iain Cook, “was that we wanted it to be more live sounding, moving in the direction of live drums and guitars and bass. “Beyond that, we don’t tend to over theorise or over discuss things before we get in the room together, that tends to be an energy and a direction that takes care of itself.” “Also it was more just the concept of taking our time with this one,” Martin adds. “I loved the frantic, intense way we worked on the first two albums, but it didn’t feel right to do this time around. To me, a third album is a defining statement, certainly in the history of the bands I like. “To us, it was really important to just slow it down a little bit and write more songs. Right off the bat, of course, that takes more time. We easily doubled the number of songs we’ve written for any other project or any other album in the past.” “We couldn’t have done any more exploring,” he promises. “We could have spent five years on this and still, this would have been the album I’d be happy with.” “It feels like at this point, we’re more comfortable with each other, ourselves and the band,” adds Lauren. “This record sounds like a more distilled version of what we were trying to do on the first one, the more direct stuff is enhanced, and the weirder, more macabre stuff is enhanced as well.” Despite the wild ride and all they’ve achieved, CHVRCHES have always looked in control. They’ve built this band from the ground up. “Even though it was moving exceptionally quickly, we were always in control of what we were trying



“People have never been harder to please” Martin Doherty, CHVRCHES. London, March 2018.



Mother We Share’ in the autumn of 2012, everything around the band has been a constant whirlwind. “It was a busy time, and we were conscious of wanting to put two albums out in reasonably quick succession. There weren’t people telling us we needed to do that; it just felt right to us. You don’t want to lose momentum. “We were lucky with what happened to us on the first record, but if you sit around and think about the second record for too long, I think you’d get lost inside your own thoughts,” warns Lauren. Her bandmate Martin Doherty agrees: “The longer you leave it, the more insurmountable the task of a second album seems.” This time, they took their time in crafting new album ‘Love Is Dead’. “For us, it doesn’t feel like we’ve been gone that long because we took a few months off at the end of 2016, then we started writing at the beginning of 2017,” Lauren explains. “In our minds, it’s what do they mean we’ve been gone for two years?’” ‘Love is Dead’ is a different CHVRCHES record, but it’s the one they’ve been building towards since the group were scratching around Glasgow on their own. Labelled a political pop band from the get-go, their third album amplifies both those sides, dousing them in neon and pushing them to the front. But there’s more to it than that: there’s friendship, celebration and a belief in one another as the band craft a kaleidoscopic landscape that offers escape but also pulls apart the real world. “The only thing we really talked about before we went into the studio,” considers the

“I’m done apologising and trying to appease people”

to build and the identity we were trying to shape as writers and producers,” offers Martin. “There was a lot going on around the band that maybe we had less control over. It was a different time. Conversations about misogyny were not mainstream topics.” “So much of what we were doing at the time was reactive,” reasons Lauren. “It went from putting a song on the internet, to something quite substantially different in a few years. I do look back on that, and maybe we did seem more cool and in control of it from the outside. But then when people ask us about the conversation around #metoo and stuff like that now, I didn’t have it figured out at all at the time. You just have to ask yourself how you want to do things and what feels right, that’s always what we come back to. Let’s run through a scenario and then what feels right.” CHVRCHES have always been a tough band to place.

They sound like a pop band, write lyrics that cut like an emo band and carry themselves like a punk group. ‘Love Is Dead’ is no different, it’s just bigger. More sure of itself and what they can get away with, it sees the band blend colours, make bold movements and apologise for nothing. “It took a long time for us to get to the point where we felt comfortable with that,” continues Iain. “We had to build up to that point because when we started in the band, we didn’t really know each other that well. There was a bit of firefighting going on in the beginning.” “Suspicious of you, suspicious of you,” grins Lauren. “Especially suspicious of you,” she continues, pointing at herself. “You’re getting to know people. We’d all been in bands for years and years and years (“Were you in Years and Years?” pokes Iain. “I was the third Year,” she grins.) and you get to the cusp where you’re finally getting to do the things that you’ve always wanted to do. But, you don’t know each other that well. There’s this fear that maybe someone’s going to make you do something that you don’t want to do, or somebody’s going to say something that’s going to take away the thing.

“It’s supposed to push people’s buttons” “The fact that we know each other better now definitely helps. And I guess, at the time we were lucky that we were so savagely honest with each other. There were some awkward and uncomfortable conversations, but at least we knew up front what everyone was about. You have to try and block out the fear aspect as much as possible. You have to try and not make decisions out of fear wherever you can. “It’s been easier for us in the long run maybe because we’ve always been pretty straight up and honest with each other about who we are and what we want the band to be. It never feels like you’re having to make sure that you’re not doing something that’s not on brand, because the brand is genuinely real.” “I used to think being in all the bands before this one was in preparation for this,” smiles Martin, “but it’s not. You can’t prepare for this. You can only learn by doing. It was way more than anything I was used to.” “As much as there isn’t a huge age gap between us, before CHVRCHES, we were doing the same sort of things, just a few years apart. It’s funny that we were trotting around a couple of years behind each other, sighing, I just want to do something good, I just want to believe in stuff. “I do think, in these times, people want something to believe




in. I know I want something to believe in. I think people are too smart and too jaded to have stuff shoved down their throat that they don’t want. I like the idea that this band can be pop and emo and punk. It can be popular; it can be emotional, it can still be kinda punk and DIY in the execution. That’s kinda cool, it doesn’t need to be all of one thing or the other, maybe that’s what makes it what it is?” she asks before getting sidetracked. “The man at the airport in Berlin called me a punk last night. I said excuse me? He then said ‘rocker?’ and gestured at our jackets. So I said it was pleather and then he said ‘straight edge?’ But I like pints too much to be straight edge.”


auren, Iain and Martin are still that random, scrappy gang of people. They mock each other for

their choice of coffee, they bump fists before TV performances, and they get carried away in each other’s company. At one point, they get sidetracked and start talking about all the awful job interviews they’ve had. “I had this terrible, terrible group job interview for a Christmas temp position at USC,” remembers Lauren. “It was like thirty people at the USC Store on Canon Street, and I understand I’m not necessarily what you’d think of as your ideal USC employee, I’m not trendy enough, but it was such a weird interview. They went round and asked: ‘What colour would you describe yourself as? If you had to name your autobiography, what would it be called? Who’s your favourite sports star?’” “Back up, what’s your autobiography going to be called?” asks Iain. “I thought it was funny and pithy, and I had enough people before me that I could think about it,” reasons Lauren. “If I was going to name a Nora Ephron style book of short stories, I would call it ‘Sometimes I Eat Things Off The Floor, And Other Stories’. Nobody laughed. It was really bad. The guy next to me said ‘My Story’ (delivered in a thick Glaswegian accent). “I walked past the shop around Christmas time, and the ‘My Story’ guy got the job. He was this tall, hunky dude that was going to sell cool clothes to people.” “That, or he was dumb enough to take instructions. People that think for themselves, they don’t want that,” reassures Martin. “Sometimes I Eat Things Off The Floor, And Other Stories,” echoes Iain, savouring each word. “To be honest, I wouldn’t have hired you either.”

For the longest time, it felt like CHVRCHES against the world. On ‘Love Is Dead’ though, they opened the door. For the first time, they worked with different producers, let other people into their songwriting process and have hired a live drummer for the upcoming tour. “I still think it is [us versus the world],” starts Lauren. “Our worlds just got a wee bit bigger,” grins Iain. It might sound like the start of the end - band from Glasgow go to L.A. to record their third album with superstar producer Greg Kurstin (Adele, Sia, Lily Allen) and lose themselves in the process - but ‘Love Is Dead’ sees them stand tall behind everything they’ve ever wanted. The people they’ve brought into their world are people they trust, Martin explains. “We tried different types of chemistry; we spent so long building up this identity because we knew that if we ever did open this project up to collaborators, we wanted it to be on our terms and only work with people who could enhance what we do rather than change it. That was a big part of the

conversation on this album. “People always want you to experiment; sometimes some really great shit can happen from that. You want to try to be better and try more and do more. We were invested in that part of the process for this album too.” “And I think we feel tougher and more unified than we’ve ever been,” reasons Lauren. “Maybe it’s just a passage of time thing, but I just feel like I reached my ‘fuck that’ factor on being defensive about things. When I think back on what’s made me the happiest in the band, and what’s made me the unhappiest, the constant feeling of fighting your corner and defending yourself is definitely this thing that feels the heaviest to me. “I feel like I’m done apologising and trying to appease people. If there are people around you that you can trust, and can help elevate that, that’s a good place to be rather than feeling like you’re panicking and defensive and protecting everything all the time.” “It was about a level of security for us all on the first two albums, because we were inherently a little bit suspicious of the people outside the nucleus,” continues Martin.




“It’s a scary business,” shrugs Lauren. “More than that, I was 28 when we started this band and felt like I was an underachiever up until that point, creatively. And this band was about really going hard and heavy to establish ourselves as worthy producers, worthy writers, and we did that over such a long period. “It’s something we would be particularly defensive about, ‘You want to try co-writing?’ Fuck no. Fuck everyone. That used to be the first reaction when it was the wrong time. That wasn’t coming from a particularly healthy place, but there was method in it, and there was reason to it because we wanted to do our thing, to a point. “It wasn’t until we looked around [and thought], I feel great about us, I feel great about the band, maybe it’s time to start listening to people and opening ourselves out to the potential of collaborating?” “It’s easier to open yourselves up to those things when you’ve established the foundations,” Lauren explains. “We’d established ourselves as A Band, not as a thing created in a development meeting by a label. We’d established ourselves as writers, and these guys

were established as producers. You’ve figured out what the identity of your band is, so then when you go and work with somebody else. “It’s about how you keep those things but elevate it or change it a little. If you don’t know on the first album, that’s a little riskier because then someone, probably rightly, is trying to assign you an identity or figure out for you what your sound is. We were so conscious of not wanting to do that, and we had most of the first album written by the time we got signed anyway. Tough, they just got stuck with what they got given.” “The experience of collaborating with other people and realising that that nucleus of the three of us is completely untouchable is even more transformative,” says Iain. “We can dip our toes in here and there and bring all this colour to the project, but still, fundamentally, we could sit in the studio tomorrow, and it would still sound exactly the same. That’s not changed because we can’t change who we are.” All that change, movement and staying true turned into ‘Love Is Dead’. The title, scratched into desks, sprayed on walls and scribbled in the margins, is the first sign that the band are more direct and less afraid this time out. “We knew when we were naming it that it was a little bolder and more theatrical than the last albums,” starts Lauren, “but it felt like this collection of songs, when we looked at them, it needed a title to name the body of work. “It’s supposed to be a conversation starter or to push people’s buttons to think about something. Sometimes I get up, and I emphatically agree with that title, and other days I don’t. We always say, there’s almost an ellipsis or a question mark at the end. It sums up the themes of the record pretty well. I like that on the face of it, it’s a punch in the gut, but when you sit with it on the actual record and hear the songs, I like the layers to it.” And it’s funny, because as blunt as the title seems, the record within is so fluid. It’s just another example of CHVRCHES playing with expectations. “The next album is going to be called ‘Long Live Love’, and it’s going to be a really horrible album about how love is actually dead,” laughs Martin. “We don’t have to abide by a certain set of rules,” explains Lauren, “and that’s really freeing in terms of the creativity but also freeing as people. Even when we were figuring out how to start putting the album out into the world, it’s been fun to play with those kinds of things and think about how to

Pop shop Greg Kurstin has worked with pretty much everyone who does ‘pop’ and stuff. Here’s a few of them.

Adele We’d suppose co-writing, producing and playing on our Adele’s mega-superhit ‘Hello’ would be worth putting towards the top of the CV. Playing bass, guitar, drums, piano and keyboards on a single that hits Number 1 in 28 countries is sort of a big deal.

Years & Years A fresh one on the roster, Greg has worked on three tracks from Years & Years’ forthcoming new album ‘Palo Santo’. That’s basically alt-pop domination assured this summer, then.

Tegan & Sara After working with the pop powerhouse duo on their brilliant 2013 album ‘Heatthrob’, Kurstin then returned to lend a hand on follow-up ‘Boyfriend’, one of 2016’s very best records full stop.

Lily Allen After working on a few tracks for debut ‘Alright, Still’, Kurstin also teamed up with Lily for ‘It’s Not Me, It’s You’ and ‘Sheezus, ‘FYI’

Rachel Stevens(!!) In 2005, Greg worked on ‘Waiting Game’, one of the b-sides to ‘of its time’ megabanger ‘I Said Never Again (But Here We Are)’. Yes, really. Career peaked, right there.




“We can’t change who we are” use new technology. “Also, we put a phone number in the ‘Get Out’ video, and if you phoned the number, you would hear a spoken word section which were lyrics that ended up in ‘My Enemy’. “It was this really weird circle of life to see people who had watched the video on the internet; some people would then phone the number on their landlines like you would in the 90s, and then go back onto the internet and talk about what was on there. It’s fun to do that. “If we were a different band, I don’t know if we’d be able to get away with that. I like that though. It’s like we’re running our own race somewhere else.” ‘Love Is Dead’ is brilliant and daring, but also feels like a CHVRCHES record. It’s new, deliberate and a purposeful step forward from a band who’ve always been on the move. “It’s nice that you say the word deliberate because after the initial writing and figuring out, that’s where we got to,” starts Lauren. “We wanted everything to be deliberate. If you’re doing something that’s quite vulnerable and uncomfortable, you should deliberately do it like that and really lean into it. If you’re going to go for the jugular, you need to be deliberate about that too. “When I listen to it, it sounds a lot more of a free record than the previous ones, probably ‘cos there’s a lot of live instruments on it, but we were also a lot less obsessed with precision for the sake of precision. “In terms of the lyrics, we didn’t go in wanting to write a certain type of thing initially; it just became apparent over the course of time. I was conscious of wanting to write stuff that was very honest and direct, and if there is imagery in it, it should be to help paint the picture rather than obscure what you’re saying. “That’s been the big learning curve ‘cos once people know about the band, you’re almost less inclined to write stuff

“We don’t have to abide by a certain set of rules” that feels personal because people are nosy. ‘I wonder what that’s about; I bet that’s about this’. You just have to turn that part of your brain off as much as possible because otherwise you’re not really making what feels right to make. “For me, a lot of it’s trying to figure out what you’re feeling and why you’re feeling it, that kinda exploratory stuff. If you’re second-guessing yourself all the time, you don’t really do that properly.” “Or you build up all the walls again,” adds Martin. “And now’s not the time to be building any sort of wall,” replies Lauren with a halfsmile. “The fearful creativity thing is disastrous when it comes to making an album,” Martin continues. “If you’re trying to make music worried about what anyone’s going to say when it’s done, you’ve begun on the wrong foot, and you’re really going to struggle. This is something I say because I’ve done it, I’ve been there, and that stuff doesn’t get a reaction out of people because people have never been harder to please. “Every other aspect of the story has to fit, has to make sense, people know if you come out with a record that doesn’t make sense for you. It was all about fearlessly making an album, sharpening, not compromising either side of what we do but celebrating both of the sides, and

everything in between. Sharpening the edges of something that was this wide, instead of this wide (you can’t see his hand gestures, but it’s wider now). “I feel like we’ve achieved that, and that was the most important thing to us. And after the fact, you pay us a compliment about the record I feel like maybe we did, and that’s awesome, but ultimately, that’s for other people to decide.


ove Is Dead’ is a big record. At times, it feels like an album about romance and heartbreak, but it’s more than that. ‘Graffiti’ is

soaked in nostalgia, running untethered with scabby knees and feeling like that freedom could last forever, the snarl of “time to kill” sees the band sadly put the past to bed, before ‘Get Out’ sees them searching for something new to lose themselves in. ‘Graves’ is a particularly important moment. “It’s a cheerful one, isn’t it?” grins Lauren as the track looks at the ongoing refugee crisis, Grenfell Tower and the Conservative government’s relentless inaction in the face of it all. “They’re leaving bodies in stairwells and washing up on the shore,” it sings with a curled lip. “Oh baby, you can look away while they’re dancing on our graves, but I will stop at nothing,” it promises. “It’s such a defiant song, that’s what I love about it,” offers Iain. “It’s that putting salt in something sweet,” adds Lauren. “Yes, it’s the only song I’ve ever sung the word ‘baby’ in ever in my life, but it’s in such a tongue in cheek way. “It’s very sarcastic,” Martin interjects. “It’s very you.” “We didn’t sit down and say, this song is very danceable so we need to have a lyric that’s really not,” she continues. “It just came out. The verses happened for that very quickly, the verses for ‘Graves’ and ‘Deliverance’ (a song



about holding on to what you love and giving up on giving up) were two of the fastest things we wrote. Most of it happened in the room, and there’s a lot of imagery in it so that must have just been in my head, it just needed to get tapped into. “I feel like those songs will be very cathartic to play live, for us and hopefully for the people that come to see the shows as well. I can’t really tell though, we’re living in some weird, weird times and I don’t know if people will want to come to a show and immerse themselves in those feelings, or if they’ll want to completely escape for an hour and a half. Either way, I feel it’ll be cathartic.” Elsewhere ‘Heaven/ Hell’ sees Lauren sing about gender inequality for the first


time. She has a history of speaking up about misogyny, writing an essay for The Guardian in 2013, sharing her story about an abusive ex for Lenny Letter in 2015 and refusing to stand by while people call out “marry me” at live shows or send her vile messages online. “Is it right if I’m a perfect actress, playing the princess in distress?” it asks. “Is it alright if I save myself and if I clean up my own mess?” it continues. “That one for me, it’s about the frustration of knowing you’re always going to be too much of one thing for somebody and not enough of the other thing for somebody else,” she says. “Being encouraged by where we are now, and how much has changed in the past six months to a year, but also seeing a lot of hypocrisy in that.

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“It’s interesting to see when we started doing press again, the tone in which a lot of people speak to us or about us is different than it was a couple of years ago. But it’s frustrating to think back to five years ago, and there were people that we know, who we play shows with, play festivals with, and they would tell you off the record that, ‘We totally get that too. It’s so sad, so upsetting, thank you for doing that’. But they don’t go out and do anything about it. “Y’know, that’s everyone’s prerogative to do what you want to do, run your life and run your career how you want, but it’s frustrating to be the other person. If everyone said a little thing, maybe more of an impact would be made than one or two people having to carry the can. It feels depressing to me. “In the 90s, it seemed like the female artists I was looking up to didn’t have as much of a problem talking about that. PJ Harvey, Shirley Manson, Karen O - those women were talking about it and making amazing art, but they were

“We’re living in some weird, weird times” not afraid to call bullshit on stuff. “I don’t know when it changed that people suddenly were thinking ‘Oh, this might make me unpopular or might piss people off’. Their popularity’s more important than being right, or not even being right, but just doing what’s right. The more people that don’t talk about it, the




worse it gets. “Right now, it’s a lot more encouraging because it seems like a number of factors are falling in line and people are not having it anymore. Hopefully, that will translate into something tangible. People change over the course of time, so I want to believe in the best of people but there’s a lot of these symbolic actions that feel quite empty to me, and that’s quite frustrating. Thus, ‘Heaven/Hell’.” “I’ve had enough,” the track admits. “Yeah, I probably had,” Lauren reflects. “It’s funny when people ask us about it. We’re doing interviews now, and we were doing promo the past couple of days, and people ask ‘Why do you think women are so angry?’ I’m like, they’re justifiably angry, and they’ve been fucking angry but you didn’t notice, or it was easier to brush it off or put it in the corner. “Now is a really encouraging time but hopefully it’ll stick, and it’s not just lip service to something. It’s really great to have people at The Grammys talking

an idealist, I don’t necessarily feel like that anymore. What do you do with the idealist when you realise the world isn’t ideal? And the people aren’t as ideal as you thought they were? I don’t know if I have an answer. But to me, that’s what was great about writing it, getting out that frustration and that confusion. Maybe that will resonate when people hear it.”


about these things, but it has to be more than a symbolic white rose. You have to change the way you’re working within the room, rather than just giving a platform to a female choir and having people wear white roses. “If you don’t go to work the next day and think about how you treat women or people of colour, then I don’t think it’s going to make any difference. But it might,” she offers, unsure but still hopeful. And that’s a stance that the band take on a lot of ‘Love Is Dead’. They’ve been let down time and time again, and now they’re not quite sure what to believe in anymore. ‘Miracle’ isn’t asking for one but it does want to know “If love is enough, could you let it show?” while ‘Never Say Die’ is full of surefire defiance and edge of the cliff confusion. ‘Wonderland’ looks up, “Can we live forever with my head in the clouds?” “I don’t know if it’s just because we’re a bit older now,” Lauren muses, “but a lot of it was me figuring out what to do. Having always identified as a bit of

cross ‘Love Is Dead’, the idea of fleeting time comes up again and again. It gives the

record an urgency, as CHVRCHES don’t waste any time in holding back. “It’s because Lauren was pushing thirty,” grins Martin “That probably did cause me to look back and think about things,” Lauren laughs. “A majority of my twenties was spent starting this band, and being in this band, and I’ve been really lucky ‘cos most people don’t get to do that with their twenties. But I did wake up one day thinking, what the fuck happened? Where did it go? One minute I was a couple of years out of university, and then now here we are. “It was a good time to reflect and take stock of those things. People always make a big thing out of the retro aspect of the sounds, but to me, it’s not retro. Nostalgic is the almost the word. It’s nice if some of those songs had a John Hughes Breakfast Club feel, to really inhabit those moments and use the themes and sounds to investigate stuff with the lyrics.” There’s a lot to unpack on ‘Love Is Dead’, and there’s a lot to fall in love with. What it does really well though, and will continue to do, is ask questions but also look at what’s next. From the personal to the global, it unapologetically shares its heart and its scars, churning up feelings of loss and despair while making sure that glimmering hope doesn’t get lost in the storm. “It’s probably the only album with a pop song about refugees, in this current time anyway,” starts Lauren. “The themes seem like they came to a head more in the last couple of months. It’s interesting for us to look at the tracklist, because the first track is ‘Graffiti’, which is written about things that happened in the past, things that you remember fondly and things that you don’t. ‘Wonderland’, the closer, is the one that’s the most forward facing. “Once you know all the things you know, and once you’ve taken them all out and laid them out on the table, what do you do with it? Where do you take it from there? I don’t really know,” she




admits. “I don’t have an answer. I feel like that’s part of the point though. It doesn’t need to be wrapped up with a bow on it, because life isn’t really like that. Sitting with that discomfort is what causes people a lot of trouble, so I don’t really know what’s next.” “If people take away the questioning aspect of the album, if people are encouraged to ask more questions and be less apathetic to what’s around them, that’d be a really good thing,” adds Iain. “But also, to take away a sense of hope, and hopefulness. “It can be real easy to lose track of that when things are so shitty, politically and socially, but there’s always hope. There’s hope in the human spirit, and that’s what I’d like people to take away. I do see it as a hopeful record.”


espite it feeling like it’s CHVRCHES versus the world, they’re not alone in

this. They’re joined by bands like The 1975, Wolf Alice, Years and Years and Paramore, who are all leading the charge in making smart, emotional pop music that means something to the individual but also talks about inequality, change and what’s right and wrong on a larger scale. “People will look back on this time and the bands that aren’t like the ones you mentioned, will seem very fucking bizarre,” starts Martin. “With hindsight, this will look like a period of extreme transition if all things go well. “It’ll be extremely odd if you weren’t talking about it, because it either means you were a) ignoring it or b), you weren’t making music that was true to you, especially lyrically. It only goes so far with writing melodies or writing keyboard parts, so a lot of that lands on Lauren, and it’s her strength that allows us to do this. We obviously 100% support her but there are bands out here that don’t talk about it, and I think it’s going to seem extremely weird when this whole era is over.” “We weren’t thinking about this consciously when we were writing,” continues Lauren. “We weren’t saying, ‘We should at least address some politics ‘cos of the times we’re living in’. It just feels right to be doing that, and that’s what art or music or any of these things are supposed to do. You are the conduit to feelings. “When you look back on Post-Thatcher Britain, the music you remember from that time and the music that has stood the test of time is the stuff that was really grappling with those issues and was about people feeling completely fucked up about how fucked up

everything else was.” “The whole punk thing as well,” adds Martin. “I don’t think we’re a political band, but you don’t have to be. There’s an obvious viewpoint there. There’s also escapist elements to what we do, and there’s a political element to Lauren’s lyrics. You don’t have to be a political band to have a viewpoint on that stuff in this day and age. It just means you’re living in the world that we’re all living in right now, and you’re writing truthfully.” “Plus, it speaks to how tepid pop music was five years ago, that we weren’t actively political in what we were saying, we were just pointing out what was right and what was bullshit, but even just doing that we got labelled as ‘CHVRCHES: A Political Pop Band’.

If that’s all it takes, that’s depressing,” reasons Lauren, as Iain adds: “It’s indicative of the times. That apathy, that’s why we’re where we are now.” “I don’t like this idea that pop has to be vacuous or empty or meaningless,” Lauren continues. “You talk about the last Paramore record or The 1975; those bands have an awareness that there are loads of young people that like their band and what they say gets listened to. “It was like that for me when I loved bands as a teenager. If they talked about a band they liked, I’m going to go look it up. If they talk about a book they read, I’m going to go and read it. Those bands have a good awareness that what comes out of their mouth, actually impacts people. That’s really inspiring.” “The other thing that’s interesting to




me about those bands,” adds Iain. “The ‘75, Wolf Alice, Paramore, Years and Years - they’re all really good examples of bands that went hardcore on their live show. They built a really emotional connection with their fanbase; they’re bands in the old mould to me. None of those things are a producer over here, a song over there and the artist in the middle. I don’t think that’s a coincidence.” “They do feel like bands that have communities that have come together because of what they’re saying,” Lauren concludes. “That’s stuff I’ve always loved, but it feels more centring or reassuring in these dark times.” P

CHVRCHES’ album ‘Love Is Dead’ is out 25th May.

W Five albums in and Parquet Courts are still breaking new ground, this time with the help of producer extraordinaire Danger Mouse. Words: Steven Loftin.


Wakey! P arquet Courts are one of the hardest working bands out there.

Gearing up to release their seventh full-length ‘Wide Awake!’, the New York by way of Texas four-piece have essentially released a record a year since they’ve been going. But perhaps even more impressive is the fact that nothing ever seems to falter; they only get better. Which is why, when a new addition to this current formula was revealed producer extraordinaire Danger Mouse - fans were a bit cautious. “We definitely didn’t go into it thinking we wanted to have something more polished,” bassist Sean Yeaton ponders over the phone. “But I think it had come to the point for us, especially after working on that record with Daniele Luppi [2017 collaborative album ‘Milano’], which was our first experience working with a producer, that it adds a lot to the creative process. “To have this other set of ears to help out with creative differences that come up, and by having another person there who isn’t playing the parts but is hearing you trying to work them out, provides a good sounding board. “Danger Mouse was integral because he never tried to take ownership over the idea, or the feeling of songs.” ‘Wide Awake!’ dives headfirst into this new shared territory by amalgamating the band’s urgency with a new channelling of purpose. “I have fond memories of recording and touring on all of [the albums], and in a way, it’s kind of like a lot of pressure is taken off by the fact that it’s not like our first rodeo. But I do think that so far it’s our best rodeo,” Sean chuckles Their burning fire of creativity comes from one simple idea: they’re just some guys in a band. There’s no overt

symbolism, nor is there a grander idea that tries to station itself above everyone else. They’re four people that did it, and keep on doing it. “We found some common ground where we’re all very much willing to put all our energy into this band and exhaust ourselves,” Sean says earnestly. Their determination resulted in three albums’ worth of material, he says. “There are a lot of songs that if we hadn’t individually pushed ourselves to be better, they might not have come out as well as we all think they did.” While not explicitly the idea, ‘Wide Awake!’ could easily be an interpretation of the way they see humanity going. The first half feels like the party before the end of the world, and by the time you reach the halfway point of ‘Normalisation’ into ‘Back To Earth’, they’re dealing with the consequences. “It’s not about this grand subtextual meaning, but we all went into it thinking we want to have songs that people can dance to. It should be a party, and we don’t want it to be too ethereal and hard to swallow,” Sean considers. “But it’s also hard for us as individuals and artists to not draw a lot of introspective stuff out of ourselves and put them into songs. It ends up happening no matter what.” There’s a joy to be found in a band who are nearing double-digits in full-length output and are always on the warpath to create. “You get, I wouldn’t say bored, but you get used to playing a lot of the same songs night after night for a while,” Sean reflects. “Your muscle memory starts begging you to throw in some new stuff, which, at least for me personally on this record, really came across. “Ultimately, we’re four guys, writing songs together, and even if we put out an old country record like technically it would be Parquet Courts, but I figure it’ll




“We didn’t go into it thinking we wanted to have something more polished”

be another seven albums before we get to that point!” Is there ever a worry that this runaway train will come to a halt? “I never take for granted that we have a chemistry between the four of us that has allowed us to have as much output as we do,” Sean muses. “And I guess, sure, there could be a point where the four of us get together and be like, ‘Well, we’ve got nothing!’ I hope at the very least we’ll be able to be aware of it enough to not burden people with having to listen to four musicians ‘trying’ too hard. “Every song on some level is a type of communication that we have with each other, and I think that keeps us all on our toes with every new thing we put out. “I can guarantee every record that we’ve done is one that we’ve done for a reason and one that we’ve all felt passionate about. That to me is the most important part of it, because it could all end someday, maybe we’ll all come crumbling down!” P Parquet Courts’

album ‘Wide Awake!’ is out 18th May.





Cartel Zac Farro may still be best known for his role behind the kit for Paramore, but with their latest EP, his other band HalfNoise are far more than a mere side-project. Words: Ali Shutler.





ac Farro loves vinyl records, old cars and film photography. He

loves analog gear and the feeling of old Led Zeppelin records. He relaxes by making music in his studio, he loves being back in Paramore and he loves what Halfnoise has grown into. “It’s a friend band.” The past couple of years have been a whirlwind for Zac. “It’s been full on but in a great way,” he beams. “I stepped away from Paramore for six years when I was twenty and I just took time off. I moved to New Zealand, I found time to recharge and grow up. I was fully energised and ready to work hard and that’s what I’m in the thick of right now. I find that Paramore and Halfnoise are quite different so they compliment each other.” It wasn’t always so hectic though. Halfnoise released their second album ‘Sudden Feeling’ in 2016 and that was going to be it. “I told myself that this was the last thing I was going to do unless I started seeing some promise in it. I was always going to write music but

how much energy and time was I going to give to it?” Taking a step back and deciding “I’m going to give it one more shot and then see what else is out there. If it’s worth it, it’ll prove itself. If I work hard at it, I’ll know either way,” Zac gave Halfnoise everything he had. Within the year he’d played on ‘After Laughter’, rejoined Paramore and written ‘The Velvet Face EP’. “It was everything I wanted to be doing. I’m so glad I stuck it out because it’s so important to me. It’s such a massive part of my like that I couldn’t live without it.” ‘Velvet Face’ came in 2017, all blooming joy, laidback funk and excitable collaboration, giving Halfnoise a redrawn sense of purpose. This year, Zac brings us ‘Flowerss’. A crayon drawing of big lines, bold colour and impulsive glee, the seven tracks are a step up in every way. “The whole band is evolving in such a natural and unexpected way for me. It’s really becoming a proper band. When I started it was a solo project and now, I go in with the band in mind, and the producers in mind. Friends will stop by, throw on a guitar and it’s becoming more special and more unique. It’s not just this bedroom studio band anymore; it feels like the real deal.” Written on the road and recorded between tours, there’s an urgency to ‘Flowerss’. “If I have too much idle time, I tend to overthink things,” admits Zac. “I work quickly and while the inspiration is still fresh. I don’t like to sit on things for too long.” That gut led dash is there from the swaying sparkle of the title track, through the shimmer and the shake of ‘Every Single Time’ until the closing promise of




‘Always Young’. Moving quickly but letting things come to life in their own time, you can’t help but feel Zac in every polaroid snap. “I was upstairs in my old house, looking out of the window in my shower and just worrying what I was going to do that day, worrying about what I looked like and worrying about all these normal, everyday, human worries. It’s partly what the entire EP is about. Why do I worry so much? Why does it matter?” The title track finds safety “always in the shower, where nothing matters up here,” before promising “always and forever, I’ll hold your flowers for you.” “It’s this wall I’ve put up within myself, because I can’t enjoy relationships because I’m always in my head instead of being present. The metaphor is that flowers just exist, they’re beautiful and there’s nothing you did to make them beautiful. It’s about releasing all of this self-pressure and self-worry I put on myself that doesn’t need to exist.” Elsewhere ‘All That Love Is’ stands tall as “a bitter anthem.” “The EP is very personal and vulnerable. I tend to write about hardships in my life, hardships in relationships and how I’ve been let down a lot,” he starts before changing lane. “ok dude, we get the point. You’ve been hurt. I want to stretch myself on the next one but this EP, I was continuing that vulnerability. I put myself out there again and you start opening yourself up but then you get let down again. All that Love is, is a feeling that’ll let you down. I was feeling very hopeless and asking what the point was.” He found the answer. “I’m just going to dance, and a make a really dancey song with an almost aggressive guitar riff and percussive afrobeat thing to shake it off. It sounds pessimistic but it was just what I was feeling at the time.” That act of dancing despite the hurt is one that Halfnoise know well. Throughout ‘Flowerss’, Zac bares his bruised heart as the party rages. There’s fun to be had at every turn and distractions are welcomed with open arms. ‘Every Single Time’ feels stuck in the present but the wonderful ‘Inter Luau’ finds space for deep breathes and beaming grins, as well as packing the best song title this side of ages. That personality and sense of reckless fun are contagious. Halfnoise used to write slow songs but now they don’t. “I got sick of them. Especially at a show, I just want people to have a lot of fun.” It’s the same energy when Zac plays Halfnoise songs during Paramore shows. “At the start, I was very

reluctant. They were like, we should do a Halfnoise song and I was like, no we shouldn’t. That’s a bad idea but now it’s just become one of those points in the show. Halfnoise stuff is fun and laidback so it’s time for us to cut loose and have fun. It’s not that we don’t have fun during the Paramore set but it’s just something that naturally happens when I’m not behind the drums, when the three of us are up front joking around, having fun and playing a tune together.” Zac is protective of Halfnoise. Every photo and every video has to add to their ever-expanding visual collage and the songs dig deep, each release sees him sharing a little more. But it feels like there’s an ambition behind it all. He wraps his fears in large, attention grabbing pop songs and couldn’t look more comfortable performing them to sold out arenas across the world. “My thing is that if it happens naturally…” he starts as success and size are brought up. “This is definitely not the band I’m going to force on anybody. If I’m not 100% myself, people are going to see through that. There’s really no desire in my heart for it to be something that it’s not. I’m not saying we don’t work

“I just want people to have a lot of fun” hard to grow this band but the second something feels unnatural or we’re pushing something that doesn’t feel right, there’s no point. I feel like people can see through that these days, that façade of appearing larger than life. I don’t want to be one of those bands, I want whatever happens naturally to speak for itself. Even if this EP crashes and burns and it’s the worst thing ever, making the record with my friends was

better than any massive arena show you can play. We’ve already met our goals. We’ve already passed our expectations because it was such a fun experience just doing the recording, the writing and the collaboration. For me, it’s already a big band in a way. For me, the success is already there because I’m doing it, I’m incorporating every friend that I can.” And that sense of friendship, important, inspiring and vital, keeps growing. “Seeing it starting to connect with people is really one of the most powerful things. This EP, it’s for people that need to connect and need to process through not worrying so much. It’s such a rad time to be alive. There’s so much negativity, horror and terror in the world but that makes for a great time to rise up and this like minded community to get together. It’s up to us to preach peace and love and spread good stuff. That’s a terrible quote but that’s my motto. It’s great to be alive now. Hopefully people get that from Halfnoise. We’re not trying to be the newest or most innovative band, we’re just trying to put a good vibe in your stereo.” P Halfnoise’s new EP

‘Flowerss’ is out now.

Reviews. The Big One

in another life, been an Alex Turner solo album. There’s no doubt it’s a record succeeding on its own terms. Its swirling, South Review everything Yorkshire Lando The ‘beard’ Calrissian eeeee vibe is as deliberate as it If Arctic Monkeys’ banger-lite new is confidently direction doesn’t cause delivered. controversy, then Alex To criticise Turner’s weirdy beardy a record for definitely has. Perhaps being great it’s because we’ve seen at what it our Al grow from a boy into a man, but his hairy means to be face is almost definitely seems almost the cultural shock of the churlish, and decade (what? OTT? US?! yet that lack - Ed). It’s too much of a of a single shock for us. Sorry, Alex. playlist friendly gem sticks in the mind - as if planet indie’s mightiest heroes are making a point of refusing to use their most powerful The lyrical flair is in full flow. weapon. Indeed, at times Alex Turner When once sense is dulled, has never been in finer form. though, the others strengthen. From the painfully self-aware At one point, we find Turner opening jibe (“I just wanted to taking the role of Mark, be one of the Strokes”), to ‘One receptionist at the titular resort, Point Perspective’’s ludicrous hooting like a spooked owl “dancing in my underpants”, about sideboob. The rock ‘n’ the wordplay often drifts into roll teddy boy is replaced with a a stream of consciousness piano plonking lobby lothario. that’s sharper and more cutting A concept album about working than seems strictly fair. It’s the in space age hospitality might delivery that will split opinion. not have been what we expected Put simply, ‘Tranquility Base’ from five years of post ‘AM’ has few, if any, of those stadium build-up, but it’s what we’re uniting moments. It’s a record getting. with - in the traditional sense What one makes of Arctic no singles at all. Eleven tracks Monkeys’ evolution is all about of the expected underlying high perspective. Undoubtedly an quality, not one of them creates album of quality and depth, it the pulse raising adrenaline takes repeated listens to not of a ‘Do I Wanna Know?’ or hang on for that one earworm ‘Fluorescent Adolescent’. moment. In the traditional There’s not even a ‘Crying sense, we’d call ‘Tranquility Lightning’. The closest thing Base...’ a grower. Arctic ‘Four Out Of Five’ - is basically Monkeys’ biggest gamble to a TripAdvisor ad put to music. date, if they flourish on their The rules are very different. moon base resort or not is It’s no surprise that subjective. Just like everything ‘Tranquility Base...’ could have, else. P Stephen Ackroyd

Arctic Monkeys Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino It’s been five years since Arctic Monkeys last dropped an album - the iconic ‘AM’. Now, they’re finally back, but ‘Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino’ isn’t the record anyone was expecting.



verything is subjective. While

we may strive for an simplistic ‘good’ or ‘bad’ sticky label to attach to everything we see, from culture to politics, at the end of the day beauty remains in the eye of the beholder. In the case of Arctic Monkeys’ sixth album, ‘Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino’, it’s a truth even more relevant than usual. For well over a decade now, the Sheffield sensations have managed to walk a tightrope between critical acclaim and populist satisfaction. Matching clever lyrics with a generous supply of bangers, they played to base instinct and a higher calling in the same, retromaniac slip and slide. A timeline of their singles to date does a good job of reflecting the best of postmillennial British indie, always a touch smarter than their peers. On ‘Tranquility Base...’, they’ve only brought half of that championship winning game.



The official verdict on everything.


Artificial Pleasure

The Bitter End

eeeee A night on the town can go a whole variety of ways. From unstoppable highs on top of the world to never-ending lows that seem unreachable to jump out of - if there’s an emotion about, then we’re pretty sure it’s been experienced in late-night frivolity. No matter the era - it’s there, and that’s really where Artificial Pleasure come into their own. A shining beacon of the fun to be had in dazzling pop hooks and sophisticated nods, it’s a suited ’n’ booted eyes view that has thrived through every glorious moment so far. ‘The Bitter End’, whilst sounding like the sort of farewell voyage into the abyss we all want to avoid, is the ultimate statement of the world they’re creating. P Jamie Muir

Tracy Island

Make your own Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino


Hey, Artificial Pleasure, recommend us some stuff... Last good record you heard: Insecure Men by Insecure Men Favourite ever book: The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov TV show you couldn’t live without: RuPaul’s Drag Race

7th heaven

Best purchase of this year: Sodastream Anything else you’d recommend? You have to go to I Will Kill Again in Homerton

Conexão EP

eeeee Having grown up in various countries and dedicated her first track ’3.33am’ to the loss of her mother, Amber Mark is older in spirit than she is in years. A new breed of millennial pop star that isn’t afraid to tackle millennial issues, ‘Conexao’ moves forward with effortless cool. ‘Love Is Stronger Than Pride’ sees her commit to a lover over neo-soul-infused RnB, while the title-track boasts the sort of clubby piano that makes it equally effective as a bar lounge soundtrack as it does Pinterest mantra “everything is connected”. Don’t pigeonhole her too early though; the key change towards the end of ‘Love Me Right’ proves that she is willing to ascend to surprising heights in her quest for action, not words. Sit back, and watch Amber soar. Jenessa Williams



eeeee Beach House may have been aiming for an album of “rebirth and rejuvenation”, but their seventh fulllength is a mixed bag.

Amber Mark

Apparently, Alex Turner is ‘into’ making models of the titular ‘Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino’ from the cover of the band’s new album. But while he (probably) uses expensive, proper materials, we prefer a more authentic route. So here’s how to make your own version, Dork style. 1. First up, you’ll need a template. Head to to download ours, then print it out. 2. Working from the biggest section down, cut out each section from thick cardboard. That gives you ‘volume’. 3. Glue the main sections together. PVA should do the job. 4. Use a short wooden pole - a skewer is fine if you’re a kebab fan - and attach the rotating section and sign. You should be able to easily push this through the card. Secure with more PVA. 5. Spray paint the whole thing in glorious beige. Charge your mates £80 a go to see the finished results.

Beach House 7


is Beach House’s 7th album (which probably explains the name). In the preceding six records, they’ve established themselves as one of the biggest dream-pop groups around and ‘7’ doesn’t try all that hard to tread new ground. From opener ‘Dark Spring’ it’s clear that the album is happy to exist in Beach House’s wellworn niche, with ethereal vocals and a meandering pace lulling the listener into a trance. The trouble is you’ve heard it all before. Throughout ‘7’ there’s a real sense that the band may have finally run out of ideas, and there’s a lack of the underlying spark that originally made their work so enjoyable. At its best, the album


approaches the level of one of MGMT’s more tranquil offerings (think ‘Congratulations’, from the album of the same name), but at its worst, it sinks into a dull slog that seems to drag on far too long. Closing track ‘Last Ride’’s runtime of exactly seven minutes is a neat touch, but the song itself feels like a self-indulgent slow burner that never actually goes anywhere, much like the album on the whole. ‘7’ isn’t an awful album, but it is an incredibly average one. Fans of Beach House will find some tracks worth listening to, and everyone else will enjoy having it on in the background, but it’s hard to believe anyone will be genuinely excited to listen back once the last song is over. P Jake Hawkes


Rest In Piece


Dead on

Chvrches Love Is Dead eeeee Taking outside influence for the first time, Chvrches are following up two brilliant albums with a third that’s aiming for the stars.


ometimes, it can feel like any inverted-commasalternative band who write a half decent chorus are labelled as having ‘gone pop’ - a diverse genre based on a multitude of constantly shifting influences reduced to the trait of being sort of listenable. Chvrches have definitely not ‘gone pop’. In most part, that’s because the Scottish three piece have never not been connoisseurs of music’s fast lanes. Their previous two albums of fizzing, electronic gems have been packed with moments of genuine, mainstream bothering delight. In ‘The Mother We Share’, they have one of the decade’s very best pop moments. Yet, on their third full-length, it’s a label that is likely to be thrown about freely. That’s what happens when you work with megapop mastermind Greg Kurstin. Taking outside influence for the first time, he’s the man who co-wrote, produced and played most of the instruments on Adele’s chart dominating ‘Hello’. He’s worked with everything from

Sia to Tegan & Sara, Lily Allen to Beck. He even tried to make Foo Fighters sound like they belonged in the 21st century. But while elsewhere bringing on board a big name producer can be about duplicating the past victories of other, more commercially successful contemporaries, that’ll doesn’t apply here. Kurstin is a man stepping into a fully formed world. These are peers collaborating to shine up new, brighter diamonds. ‘Love Is Dead’ is definitively a Chvrches album, but it’s also so, so much more. From the opening synths of ‘Graffiti’, this is a record that goes for the jugular. Shimmering in their disco ball neon jungle, it’s a concentration of an idea - the most Chvrches that Chvrches have ever sounded. From the Coldplay-esque-ina-good-way repeating refrain of ‘Deliverance’ (think the hook to ‘Paradise’ that’s still earworming its way to the brain) to the brilliantly new ‘Miracle’, they’ll always find a way to hit their mark. In truth, this is pop gone Chvrches - just the way it should be. P Stephen

Filled with a mixture of Scandipop hallmarks and dreamy synths to whisk you off your feet, the debut album from 22-year-old Stockholmbased Boys - or Nora Karlsson as her parents call her when she’s in trouble - is one of the best things to come out of Sweden since the chef from The Muppets. Heady sounds echoing the top end of the current indie pop market are abound as Boys flitters around from intimate singersongwriter refrains to grand strings arrangements, via excursions which psyched-out synths that would have the almighty Focus nodding in approval. Detailed like a fine painting, this is an impressive LP that’ll do more for your joints than spending the best part of an hour in a sauna. Ciaran Steward


A Hot Take On Heartbreak

eeeee Packaging teenage angst with infectious pop-rock is a trick as old as time itself, meaning Columbus’ ‘A Hot Take On Heartbreak’ is anything but the purported ‘hot take’. It does, however, sound like summer – and that it is something we can fully get behind. In fact, the album is an undeniable amount of fun, adding a healthy dose of wry humour and tongue-in-cheek melodrama to offset the relationship break-up torment. Combined with some wickedly smart pop-rock, it makes for a winning concoction of easy-on-the-ear crowd pleasers.Frontloaded to the max, the first half of ‘A Hot Take…’ is stellar; the second half – bookended by the objectionable ‘Piece of Shit’ and obligatory acoustic closer ‘Feel This Way’ – less so. Rob Mair





Ben Howard

Noonday Dream

eeeee For a double BRIT winner, Ben Howard isn’t too concerned with the radio friendly unit shifter. ‘Noonday Dream’ isn’t a record designed to run up the playlist count, or cynically deploy heartfelt acoustic bangers. That would be far too direct and obvious. Instead, it’s an album that deals in delicate truths, shimmering vibes and soft treading tracks. Opener ‘Nica Libres at Dusk’ warms like the dying sunlight across six and a half winding minutes, setting the tone for what’s to follow. But, while impressive, it’s a vibe that quickly starts to feel slightly samey. Without anything to cut through the haze, this is one dream that’s a touch too sleepy to fully wake P Dan Harrison

Big Ups

Two Parts Together

eeeee There are some weighty themes lurking behind Big Ups’ dexterous sound, and you’ll be hardpressed to wrestle much comfort from ‘Two Parts Together’. Instead, it’s a brooding masterpiece, rife with dark crevices and jutting ravines that offers little relief in these trying times. It’s a monumental step up for the Brooklyn quartet, placing them alongside art-rock pioneers Sonic Youth and fellow New York outliers Les Savy Fav as brave, genre-bending innovators. For many, its unyielding bleakness will be too much. For others, it will be the appropriate soundtrack for the fractured world we find ourselves in. P Rob Mair

Gaz Coombes

World’s Strongest Man

eeeee It’d be unfair to talk about Gaz Coombes as ‘that singer from Supergrass’. Yes, he arguably led one of the most beloved British bands of the past two decades through landmarks of success and glory, but in 2018 it’d be a disservice to class him as simply that. ‘World’s Strongest Man’, his most experimental and bold solo LP to date, captures the sound of a man thriving with unfiltered creativity. At its core is Gaz’s undeniable knack for creating glorious hooks, pierced through with his distinctive soaring voice - one that flicks, changes and grooves into new directions. It’s the perfect snapshot of a creative leader in full stride, and an interesting and infectious album because of it. P Jamie Muir


Flowerss EP

eeeee Sailing the good ship Paramore as well as running his own solo project, life is looking pretty peachy for Zach Farro. Building on last year’s funky ‘The Velvet Face’ EP, HalfNoise ramps up the sepia prescription in Farro’s heart-shaped glasses with ‘Flowerss’. If Paramore’s mantra is ‘cry hard, dance harder’, then HalfNoise’s should be ’travel further’; from Rapture-esque beats to full wiggy psych breakdowns, ‘Flowerss’ plays like Tame Impala and Vampire Weekend on a foreign exchange programme. Farro knows the value of a jaunty melody, and on ‘Flowerss’, it proves very difficult not to want to join him in the sunshine. P Jenessa


James Bay

Electric Light

eeeee James Bay has binned that goddamn hat and armed himself confidently in sparkles; Bay 2.0 flaunts electronic R&B, spacey synth and chunky alt-pop guitar riffs fit for arena sell-outs. Stand-outs come in the form of single ‘Pink Lemonade’ - an 80s-style extravaganza - and opener ‘Wasted On Each Other’, a sexy, beat-thudding, riff-driven cut. This is an album that spotlights raw, physical emotions with confidence, in turn diminishing Bay’s original heart-on-my-sleeve sensibility. In a modern world of exhaustingly complicated relationships, ‘Electric Light’ is a little less serious, and a little more hedonist fun. P

Alice Mortimer

Jon Hopkins Singularity

eeeee Jon Hopkins’ latest album, ‘Singularity’, is best devoured like a full classical suite. Everything here is linked, which is both the album’s strength and its downfall. It’s a beautiful piece as a whole, but one that loses its power when taken in parts. Nothing particularly lends itself to monstrous dancefloor destruction. Where ‘Immunity’ was equally as electrifying taken as a whole or as individual tracks, like the incredible ‘Open Eye Signal’, ‘Singularity’ is much more of an experience to be savoured from start to finish. Set aside an hour, put your best headphones on and lose yourself in Hopkins’ psychedelic battle of concrete jungles and wooded havens. P Chris Taylor


Soldier On

eeeee You can’t deny that MONA have fight. Now on album three, and after several line-up changes, frontman Nick Brown is still vocalising that backwoods brawl he’s ever so good at. But sadly, they’re one of a handful of bands who fell victim to the hype-train and have struggled to regain ground. With a strong debut, and a follow-up that was more-or-less the same, the expansive gap between this latest outing levied a whole heap of pressure. The fight is still there, absolutely; but there’s an underlying sadness, hollowed out by the scrimping and scrapping to stay alive. The anthems are lacklustre, but once they edge away from trying to replicate any notions of the past, the grooves are, well, groovy. If MONA were to exist as a trilogy, this would be a fitting eulogy. Steven Loftin

Skating Polly

The Make It All Show

eeeee ‘The Make It All Show’ is yet another satisfying mishmash of riot grrrl anthems and twisted indie-pop gems from Skating Polly. Arguably the group’s most assured album to date, it softens their rough edges with some gorgeous textures and strong vocal interplay. It still possesses a certain lo-fi charm, but the switch up from duo to trio has no doubt helped round out the group’s sound – and all for the better too. There are some killer songs buried amongst the fuzzed-out grunge guitars, and moments of rage – proof that Skating Polly remain connected to their DIY punk roots. ‘The Make it All Show’ is another smart call to arms, undimmed by the prospect of growing older. Rob Mair



All the feels

Courtney Barnett Tell Me How You Really Feel eeeee On a second album filled with light and shade, Aussie sensation Courtney Barnett proves she’s the real deal.


f we were using one word - just one - to describe Courtney Barnett’s second fulllength, it would probably be effortless.

That’s not in any way suggesting a lack of care taken in its creation - quite the opposite, in fact. Instead, it’s a record where every note feels to flow perfectly, yet not once does it feel overly polished or showy. Even in its shadowy, darker moments, ‘Tell Me How You Really Feel’ musically is so perfectly natural and at ease with itself it’s positively infectious. It’s a vibe that fits well on an album that may cut back on the flat-out banger count from debut ‘Sometimes I Sit And Think...’. They’re still there - the glorious lead single ‘Nameless, Faceless’,


with its tumbledown intro more than cuts the mustard - but ‘Tell Me...’ is a record in the truest sense. The wistful, warm tone of ‘Need A Little Time’ is a slow burning ear-worm, its chorus gripping hold deliberately, while ‘Crippling Self Doubt And A General Lack Of Self-Confidence’ could be an anthem for a generation, with its sing-a-long refrain of ‘I don’t know anything’. That by her second full-length Barnett is able to match the confused, emotionally unsure modern world to a delivery pitched with such deft care, without ever seeming to try too hard with it, is a testament to the artist she’s become. With a warmth and intelligence those twice her vintage still struggle to find, we feel okay, actually. P Stephen Ackroyd

A Quick Q&A

Charles Watson Last year saw Rebecca from Slow Club branch out with her new project, Self Esteem - and now it’s bandmate Charles’ turn with his debut solo record, ‘Now That I’m A River’. Hey Charles, how’s it going?

I’m well, thanks. I’m currently just having a massage. I like to get them daily. It keeps me relaxed.

Fancy. How have you found going solo then, when did you decide to branch out on your own?

I hadn’t really planned to make a solo record. I had some songs I wanted to record and once the first session was out of the way it felt like we were onto something so I got cracking writing more. I think the mix of not really knowing what the project was when we started and working with old mates made it probably the most fun session I’ve ever done.

What was your frame of mind like going into the record?

I felt pretty optimistic. The production side of the record was the thing I was really excited about. I tried a bunch of different things and had time to mess around with sounds at home. No deadlines are the way forward!

Do you find yourself writing about more personal, or different subjects for your solo tunes?

I don’t think there’s any distinction between solo songs or otherwise really. The methods might be

different, but ultimately it’s about what’s happening when it was written.

Charles Watson

Now That I’m A River


Tell us about the JG Ballard novel that inspired some of the record, Hello America?

As half of Slow Club, Charles Watson treated us to four albums of soul-infused indie pop while we watched him strike a calm, unassuming figure who stood back and didn’t make a fuss. Now out on his own, it’s still easy to find that sense of serenity and the influence of smooth soul but there’s no hiding from the limelight. The release is apparently inspired by reoccurring themes and language of JG Ballard’s Hello America, but all we know is that it’s perfectly primed for chilling out and switching off from the buzz of the city. Luscious textures dominate throughout, while Watson’s production skills see him explore the possibilities of harmonies, with sampled versions of his own voice bringing a distinct air of intrigue. For a debut, this is a notably considered and distinguished release; an appropriately dreamy album for gazing the days away. Ciaran Steward

I tried this method of just picking pages and writing down words. It worked for a couple of songs, and so I started keeping a copy with me all the time. It’s not so much that it’s inspired by the narrative or themes of the book it’s more the language used. I noticed in just paying attention to single words how repetitive the language is. It kinda tells its own story. I felt while doing this that there were a lot of parallels to be drawn with what’s happening at the moment.

Do you often draw inspiration from literature? What are your fave kinds of books?

It’s not something I have gone looking for, but I suppose if you spend a lot of time with a certain medium it’ll influence you in one way or another. I’m a huge Raymond Carver fan. I like short books because I’m a very slow reader. I got really into nonfiction for the first time this year. I’ve been




reading more science stuff. I liked Sapiens and Homo Deus (not quite finished the latter) and the John Markoff ’s Machines Of Loving Grace.

It sounds like you had a good list of collaborators for the record - David Glover, Fyfe Dangerfield, Paul Rafferty... What did they bring to the process? They were the process, to be honest. For years I’ve gone through the process of writing - demoing - getting obsessed with the demo - trying to recreate the demo in the studio - being disappointed with the final version. And so, this time I decided I was making no production demos. I made acoustic demos so the band could hear the songs but didn’t want us to be chasing some crappy bedroom thing. The band are credited as arrangers on the record too as what they brought was so much more than playing. It’s hard to overstate how important their role was.

Have you played many solo shows so far? Are you ready for your upcoming tour?

I’ve done a bunch of shows already, but the bulk of the touring is happening around the release date. There’s still quite a lot of work to do on the live band, but I’m excited about playing these songs live.

What else have you got coming up over the summer? I’m doing a few festivals in the UK and Europe. I’m planning to head back to the studio over the summer too. I’m ready to make my difficult second album. P

Charles Watson’s debut solo album ‘Now That I’m A River’ is out 18th May.

Natalie Prass

The Future And The Past


Coming up... Here’s what to expect in the very near future! 8TH JUNE Boy Azooga - 1 2, Kung Fu! Gruff Rhys - Babelsberg Jorja Smith - Lost & Found Lily Allen - No Shame Lykke Li - So Sad So Sexy Matt Maltese - Bad Contestant Snail Mail - Lush

Mr. Tillman

Father John Misty God’s Favorite Customer eeeee


Under the name “J. Tillman”, he was just another cliché wrapped up in melancholy but, under the guise of his pseudo-religious alter ego, Josh Tillman gave life to a character to show off his disdain for human nature. Returning, for now, his fourth album as good ol’ Father J, ‘God’s Favorite Customer’ finds our sassy lothario out on his ass and losing his faith in all that drove him wild in his 2015 masterpiece ‘I Love You, Honeybear’. Safe to say, the “Honeybear Honeymoon” is well and truly over. While not being a concept album as such, the ten tracks are suspended in limbo around various phases of heartache. Living in a hotel a million miles away from ‘Chateau Lobby’, the cocksure figure of ‘Mr Tillman’ swaggers in classic fashion; brimming with clever observations and cynicism. Despite the

Quiet Slang eeeee

concerns of the concierge, he assures, backed with dreamy harmonies, that: “I’m feeling good, damn I’m feeling so fine, I’m living on a cloud above an island in my mind.” But the concierge were right to be concerned. Flash forward (“It’s only been three weeks and a bag of speed”) to ‘The Palace’ and Mr Tillman is more at home in his pensive state and there is a new side to Father John Misty we’ve not seen before. While it’s the wacky misadventures we’ve come to love from FJM, it’s the moments where the mask slips and Josh Tillman without sarcasm, hyperbole or pretence - is revealed that take ‘God’s Favorite Customer’ to another level. Only a year after taking a long hard look at human nature in his ‘Pure Comedy’, the mirror is turned back inwards, and while Father John Misty watches love fall apart, he still manages to make something utterly beautiful out of it. ‘God’s Favorite Customer’ is the dark side to ‘Honeybear’ and the distance between the mask and the Josh Tillman underneath is closer than ever. P Alexander Bradley 48

Martyn Young

Everything Matters But No One Is Listening

In the battle of 2018’s hotel concept albums, there can only be one winner - Father John Misty delivers a record that’s on another level. he distance between the mask and Josh Tillman has been fascinating since the beginning of the paradox that is Father John Misty.

Natalie Prass is a master of her craft. Whether it’s confident funk grooves or heartbroken country ballads the Richmond, Virginia native always delivers. This time, on ‘The Future And The Past’, the singer continues down the same luxurious musical path established on her self-titled debut but amps up the banger count on some gloriously funky cuts like opener ‘Oh My’ and the smooth, assured swing of single ‘Short Court Style’. As she sings the powerful hook of “We can take you on” in ‘Hot In The Mountain’, it’s clear Natalie Prass is ready for the fight, but she’s going to do it her own sweet way and shine a little light at the same time. P


15TH JUNE Chromeo - Head Over Heels Johnny Marr - Call The Comet Melody’s Echo Chamber - Bon Voyage Mike Shinoda - Post Traumatic Petal - Magic Gone Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever - Hope Downs

Quiet Slang is the brainchild of Beach Slang frontman James Alex, taking the band’s songs and replacing the roaring guitars and pounding drums with a piano and string quartet. It works too, to a certain extent, allowing the bona fide American romanticism of Alex’s lyrics to come to the forefront. Songs like ‘Noisy Heaven’ and ‘Dirty Cigarettes’ have been given new leases of life, but spread across an entire album the idea falters and becomes underwhelming. The album could have benefited from varying from the path Alex has defined Quiet Slang to be. P Josh Williams

Ryley Walker

Deafman Glance

eeeee 22ND JUNE Field Division - Dark Matter Dreams Gang Gang Dance Kazuashita Jack River - Sugar Mountain Panic! at the Disco - Pray for the Wicked Yukon Blonde - Critical Hit 29TH JUNE Let’s Eat Grandma - I’m All Ears 6TH JULY Years & Years - Palo Santo


Intricacy is the order of the day for Ryley Walker. An album that flits and jumps about its merry way, he experiments with expectations along every minute of ‘Deafman Glance’, infusing everything from folk to garage rock and even smatterings of jazz. It’s a welcome approach - while you’re looking one way there’s a whole other act that comes out of left field. The mid-way driving point of ‘Opposite Middle’ is the backbone of the entire album; it pushes the concurrent sides along their way, keeping the experimental deviations in check. ‘Deafman Glance’ is an album that offers something different with every listen. P

Steven Loftin

Snow Patrol


eeeee There will be many who thought Snow Patrol’s time had come and gone; the release of their seventh album is the end of a long, slow process as frontman Gary Lightbody confessed he was suffering from writer’s block. ‘Wildness’ is the sound of a band trying to reconnect and find themselves again; rejuvenated, but cautious. The steely determination of lead single ‘Don’t Give In’ fits them well after seven years away; it’s very much a highlight, complete with earnest vocals. Ultimately ‘Wildness’ is a business-as-usual album from Snow Patrol; it will disappoint anyone looking for a new direction and do little to silence their detractors. P Eala McAlister

Team Picture Recital

eeeee The debut mini album from Leeds’ Team Picture is like a box of sweets, brimming with variety and addictively flavoursome end to end. ‘Recital’ is a concise introduction to the Team Picture experience, in all its obscure variety; particularly on its latter half, it’s chock-full of simple, repetitive melodies and snappy phrases, impossible to escape once they’ve wriggled inside your head, not to mention the sweet-like-sherbet guitar and keyboard effects that give each song vibrant flare. Deliciously retro and unapologetically playful, one listen to ‘Recital’ will leave you hungry for more. P

Alex Cabre

Tracyanne & Danny Tracyanne & Danny

eeeee A collab between Camera Obscura’s Tracyanne Campbell and Danny Coughlan of Crybaby, the aptly named Tracyanne & Danny have a killer advantage. Campbell’s warm tones could deliver the phone book in four-minute nuggets, and it would still sound virtually perfect. Thankfully, the duo haven’t sat back in that sonic safety net, producing a debut they aptly describe as ‘melodic, musical and murder-y’. Opener ‘Home and Dry’ lives up to at least two of those descriptors, while ‘It Can’t Be Love Unless It Hurts’ swoons with heart-swelling joy. One for those in proud possession of multiple cardigans, it’s indie at its finest. P Dan Harrison

The Velvet Hands

Party’s Over

eeeee The Velvet Hands’ debut record is filled with youthful charm. Taking hints from The Clash and The Vaccines, ‘Party’s Over’ is a satisfying mix of classic punk, rock’n’roll, with modern indie magic. ‘Train’ is a shimmering, jangling slacker pop daydream, and on ‘Curtains Closed’ the band explore more emotional territory in a post-punk revival ballad. ‘Habit’ brings out the gritter side of the band in a brash garage rock oddity, while ‘Gimme Some Time’ and The Beatles’ incarnation of ‘Birthday Blues’ signify their more auspicious pop sensibilities, both hook-driven and simply sweet. The Velvet Hands may play it safe in places, but there’s no denying that they have potential, and write hook after hook. Jasleen Dhindsa


Who Cares? EP

eeeee Tigress have grown considerably since their second EP ‘Like It Is’, and are back with even more gusto on ‘Who Cares?’. The foot-stomping boogie blues rock of ‘Paranoid’ is a powerhouse, where vocals soar, and the atmosphere is electric, despite turbulent lyrics. Topped off with a stadium-sized climax, the opener really sets the tone of how massive the majority of this EP is. ‘Bring Me Down’ is ferocious post-hardcore and ‘Over Your Love’ is an archetypal, British pop-rock anthem. ‘Hangman’ falls short compared to other tracks here, feeling awkward and out of place, especially when preceding the immense closing number ‘The Cycle’, easily the band’s best yet. Tigress are evidently more sure of themselves, though they occasionally fail to hit the mark. Jasleen Dhindsa



Wake up!

Parquet Courts Wide Awake eeeee Fifth album ‘Wide Awake’ is a bold middle finger to anybody worried Parquet Courts may have lost their edge.


oming a little over a year after their self-titled EP, the Everyone’s favourite Brooklyn punk throwbacks Parquet Courts have never exactly been shy about their political views, and ‘Wide Awake!’ doesn’t stray far from their traditional stomping grounds of leftwing discontent coupled with anger at the modern world. ‘Violence’, the second track on the album, is more a polemic set to music than a song in the traditional sense, a bold middle finger to anybody worried Parquet Courts may have lost their edge. This disaffected anger runs through the whole album, always present and temporarily focussing in on issues including gun crime, the oppression of the working class, and even American Football player Tom Brady. It also takes


multiple forms: the fury of ‘Violence’, the quiet menace of ‘Before the Water Gets Too High’, the nihilism of the aptly named ‘Death Will Bring Change’. ‘Wide Awake!’ may have a limited emotional range, but it occupies every niche of the ground it treads. Who knew there were so many ways to be pissed off ? The album isn’t perfect by any means, ‘Mardi Gras Beads’ and ‘Back to Earth’ drag on long enough to remind you how much better Parquet Courts are at short, sharp songwriting than post-punk influenced slow burners, but neither are actually bad songs, just not as good as the rest of the album. Eight years in, it wouldn’t be surprising if Parquet Courts were running out of steam. Thankfully ‘Wide Awake!’ proves there’s plenty of fuel left in the tank. P

Jake Hawkes


Fever pitch

Friendly Fires are back! Back!! Back!!! It’s a comeback that for a long time looked as though it wouldn’t happen, but Friendly Fires are raring to go, and firing on all cylinders. Words: Jamie Muir. Photo: Sarah Louise Bennett. 50




lot has happened since the last time Friendly Fires took the stage in early 2014. Their

whereabouts became the sort of urban legend that usually accompanies long-lost friends or icons of a time gone by. Where are Friendly Fires? What are they up to? Are they still a band? The questions buzzed and for a while there was… silence. That wait, and those questions, abound till tonight - with ‘Love Like Waves’ unveiled to the world and mere hours later, Friendly Fires are back. “I’ve missed you so much,” exclaims frontman Ed, to screams of a sold-out Brixton, immediately falling back under that Friendly Fires charm with the opening crescendo of ‘Lovesick’. It sets the tone for the night, one that feels one part homecoming, part vital reminder of the wondrous hits and breaks that spans across their two albums and one part reinvigorated showcase of a band returning to claim the crown that’s been waiting for them all these years. In that time, nobody has come close to stepping into their shoes - something that really becomes apparent as they sharply whip through an opening flurry of ‘Jump In The Pool’ and ‘Running Away’. The striped screens and dazzling lights can’t keep up with how infectious and onpoint the band in front of them are, delivering a larger than life sound primed for huge festival fields with one banger (‘White Diamonds’) followed

by another (‘Skeleton Boy’) followed by another (‘In The Hospital’) and so it continues. Unrelenting and unravelling a joyful carnival of sounds, electric fever and mass euphoria - it’s not just a band stepping out on stage, but a trip somewhere truly special. Ed is a non-stop body of unstoppable energy, leading not just the rest of the band but the entire room through an experience nobody is likely to forget in a hurry - with the rainbow-soaked heights of ‘Live Those Days Tonight’ triggering communal bliss. Written across their faces is something tangible, a warmth and happiness that feels emotional every time they round out a track or Ed speaks their thanks. A feeling of love and realisation that thousands want them back, and it only serves to take Brixton to another level. People asked what Friendly Fires would be or even mean when they came back. In 2018, what would their role be after all this time away? At Brixton tonight, Friendly Fires staked their claim for the globe, thriving with the sort of swagger and enticing cocktail that should everyone sipping and throwing shapes under their disco ball in no time with a gig that may sit amongst their very best when all is said and done. Festival headline slots and the biggest stages of their career beckon, and Friendly Fires are in a class of their own - meaning more to them than it may have done ever before. Scrap your plans; Friendly Fires have changed the rulebook. P


Fall Out Boy become the band they’ve always threatened to be at The O2 Embracing the past, celebrating the future and enjoying the moment, Fall Out Boy look at home on the big stage. Words: Ali Shutler. Photo: Sarah Louise Bennett.


all Out Boy have been an arena band for over a decade now.

Before the hiatus, they were selling out Wembley Arena and they’ve only gotten bigger since their return, their legacy mixing with a new generation of outsider anthems. Ten years ago, they were the underdogs banding together against the world. Tonight, they embrace it; Pete, Joe, Andy and Patrick look properly at home on the big stage. The opening one-two of ‘The Phoenix’ and ‘Irresistible’ welcomes The O2 to the slick celebratory dance the band now channels. Backed by flames, fireworks and a room full of people who know every word, Fall Out Boy share a smirk knowing they’ve got this. It’s a flawless start before ‘Sugar, We’re Goin’ Down’ proves the band have lost

none of that raging heart. The urgency still burning after all these years, Patrick stands back as the room unites under one voice. From here on out, there’s no holding back as Fall Out Boy charge through old and new. ‘Thnks Fr Th Mmrs’ is delivered with a wicked grin, ‘Centuries’ is bursting with promise and a never die swagger while ‘Dance, Dance’ is played from a floating platform at the back of the room. With plenty of showstopping moments, it would be easy for Fall Out Boy to let the flashy lights and pyrotechnic bursts lead the way, but that’s not how this band does things. Front, centre and always in control, the group embrace the spotlight and use it to make their connection with the room shine bright. From ‘Take This To Your Grave’ to now, Fall Out Boy have constantly changed, but tonight, everything falls into place. This is the band Fall Out Boy have been threatening to become since the start. Bigger than emo, pop-punk or radio-friendly sing-alongs, Fall Out Boy have broken out and become something special, unique and powerfully important. P

That’s the name

S Shame

hame have worked for this. Last year, they played

every festival under the sun no matter what slot may be chucked their way – they were there. Now, things have changed a bit. With debut album ‘Songs Of Praise’ out in the wild, everyone is after them – and it’s understandable why. Tonight, in the midst of a sell out UK headline tour, their homecoming beckons – building on the frenzied fever that has followed every London show. There are queues outside, people begging for tickets in front of the main door, as Electric Ballroom fills. They used to lug gear and instruments around on the top of buses, playing half-empty venues with frontman Charlie Steen having to stride out to grab attention. Not anymore. Shame are a band thriving with confidence. From the moment ‘Dust On Trial’ rips into view, their aims are clear – to take one of their biggest headline shows to date and turn it into a unrivalled party. Steen wastes no time, diving into the crowd from the very first number – a dynamic presence that leads the Electric Ballroom through one of the most vital sets the venue has seen for many a while.

are the must see live band of 2018 Dork’s former cover stars, Shame show what all the excitement is about. Words: Jamie Muir. Photo: Sarah Louise Bennett.




Live, Shame are a bulldozer, ripping through their debut with a ferocity that comes from months on the road all over the globe, playing to audiences not yet fully sold. They’ve learnt how to command a crowd. Tonight, they sound incredible, a blistering punk force. Creating standout moments, yet flowing with an uncompromising drive, ‘Lampoon’ scatters pogoing bodies across the venue, ‘Tasteless’ is arms-in-the-air hysteria while ‘The Lick’ is a pointed reminder of everything that makes the band great. Like lighting a fuse and watching the fireworks, Shame never fizzle out. The untitled new track they air suggests an introspective new direction, but ultimately tonight is about looking up. Shame are a band who spent their time chipping away at the world, yet now find themselves leading an exciting and meaningful new charge. They’ve treated every live moment as if they were already playing bigger stages. Now they’re starting to reach those levels, they’re more than ready for them. Shame already have one of the albums of the year. If there is a must see live band in 2018 then, as Charlie Steen rounded out “Shame, Shame, Shame. That’s the name”. P

In short

Live bites Let’s Eat Grandma Belgrave Music Hall, Leeds

New ruler

Dua Lipa smashes one of London’s biggest stages There’s nothing stopping Dua Lipa as she releases monster hit after monster hit, and takes over even bigger stages - including London’s Ally Pally. Words: Ali Shutler. Photo: Sarah Louise Bennett.


he hills are alive with the sound of sunshine, fruit cider and nights that seem to last forever as London gets its first real taste of summer.

The latest gig news.

Get more as it happens, every day at

Live + amplified.

Now, we’re not saying Dua Lipa can control the weather, but the rain just wouldn’t do as she brings her self-titled tour home. It’s been two and a half years since Dua Lipa released her debut single, ten months since the release of her debut album, but no part of tonight’s very sold out show at Alexandra Palace feels hurried. ‘New Rules’ might have kicked open the door in the most spectacular of ways but Dua made sure she was ready to walk through when the time came. ‘Blow Your Mind (Mwah)’

starts things off as Dua struts about the massive space, knowing she’s got this. A mashup of ‘Dreams’ and ‘No Love’ swiftly follows with the “hope you guys are ready for a party,” as the show grows into something huge, hi-definition and shining brightly. Despite the scale, there’s a playful energy. It never tries too hard as Dua, and everyone else, chase what feels exciting. ‘IDGAF’ is dedicated to “all the fuckboys that have done you wrong,” while it was only ever going to end with one song. ‘New Rules’ has dominated the past year but the only introduction it needs is a “let’s fucking ‘ave it” before Dua lights the fuse. ‘Dua Lipa’ is defiantly vulnerable, full of unexpected adventures and finding light in the sudden dark and this evening, all that belief, trust and work towards something better comes together in the most glorious way. More than another show, tonight underlines Dua’s place at the top of the pile. P

Kurt Vile is coming back to Europe for lots and lots of live shows

Anybody who has witnessed a Let’s Eat Grandma show will know that they never outstay their welcome. For 40 short-but-sweet minutes, they invite us into their spooky, sisterly world, performing with an intensity that suggests that they wouldn’t mind if the entire audience melted away and left them to it. From the startling brilliance of opener of ‘Hot Pink’ right through to the euphoric, Foals-worthy closer of ‘Donnie Darko’, they are a duo who have clearly hit their stride, indulging in handclaps, recorder solos and death drops with all the glee that comes from being young, fun and ludicrously talented. Janessa Williams


The Sunflower Lounge, Birmingham

“They say you will only play The Sunflower Lounge twice; once on your way up, and once on your way down,” Harry Koisser declares to the packed out room. “This is our third time.” So begins a night of nostalgia, new sensations, spilt beers, and dancing. The reason? All in celebration of the Birmingham band returning to their roots to bring positive energy and power-packed bangers to the masses. Opening with triumphant track ‘Power’ from their new album, the night builds from

Anna Calvi will debut her new material at a trio of June gigs

Following some Instagram teasing, Anna Calvi confirmed her first live dates in four years. She’ll play three performances in Berlin (Berghain), Paris (La Gaîté Lyrique) and London (Heaven) this June. The dates will mark the first time fans can hear new material, as she’s working on the follow-up to 2014 album, ‘Strange Weather’.

Kurt Vile is visiting Europe for loads of dates towards the end of the year. His new run will kick off in Denmark on 12th October, arriving in the UK the following month for a jaunt that includes two nights at London’s Shepherd’s Bush Empire. With his most recent solo album having been released in 2015, is a new ‘un on the way? 53



an ever-present familiarity and fondness to revel in the sense of a future about to glow. Crowdsurfing, circle pits, and crooning sing-alongs all cram their way into the small basement venue, while the band ignite their audience with an energy and a fervour that carries long into the night. Sure, tonight might’ve seen Peace go back to the start, but it also saw them take those first steps towards cultivating something bolder and brighter. Jessica Goodman

The Vaccines

Alexandra Palace, London

Kicking things off with the unstoppable new single ‘Nightclub’, The Vaccines’ headline set at Ally Pally proves they’re a force to be reckoned with; sweaty bodies of rowdy teens and parents ready to relive their youth unite. Not only is the show a celebration of their latest, fourth effort, ‘Combat Sports’, but it’s six years since The Vaccines last played this venue, as frontman Justin notes. So, it’s a party, and the new tracks rock the walls with rose-tinted sentiment. Fresh favourites like ‘Your Love Is My Favourite Band’ feel right at home next to staples of ‘20/20’, ‘Wreckin Bar (Ra Ra Ra)’ and ‘Teenage Icon’. The night proves ‘Combat Sports’ as The Vaccines’ most vibrant and self-assured effort, executed with finesse when brought to the stage. Jasleen Dhindsa

Here come Pixies

Pixies are going to play a 30th anniversary series of shows later this year. The band will perform both their 1987 mini-album ‘Come On Pilgrim’ and 1988 debut full-length ‘Surfer Rosa’ from start to finish at the Roundhouse in London, from 30th October to 3rd November. They’ll be accompanied by new deluxe release ‘Come On Pilgrim… it’s Surfer Rosa’ on 24th August.

Festivals. 25th May - 3rd June

All Points East About to embark on its first year, London’s All Points East is packing a stellar cast of names. Here’s five you should under no circumstances miss this month.


ondon isn’t lacking in its own festival fun.

From Field Day to Wireless, Lovebox to Community, there’s no shortage of events to cater to any taste. But despite all that, All Points East feels to have introduced something fresh to the capital’s scene - a line up that’s verging on the obscene. In a good way. Where else are you going to get Lorde subbing for The xx, Beck beneath Bjork or the Yeah Yeah Yeahs full stop? With so many brilliant names, it’s important to do

your planning beforehand. Here are five supermassive acts you simply cannot afford to miss.

1. LCD Soundsystem

Now we’ve accepted that James Murphy’s crew are back from the dead - and that’s perfectly okay by us thank you very much - we can get on with celebrating the fact they’ve returned at the top of their not inconsiderable game. Last year’s ‘American Dream’ wasn’t some cold hard cash in as many feared, but a record of genuine depth and brilliance. Matched with their peerless back catalogue in a headline slot, expect a near religious experience in Victoria Park.

2. Lorde

Quite honestly, it’s somewhat of a shock that Lorde isn’t headlining the first All Points 54


East herself. ‘Melodrama’ was in the shake-up for 2017’s very best records, and in tortured, difficult times, our Ella increasingly feels very much like the hero we need. The fact we can enjoy her jaw-dropping set, and then follow it up with a chaser from The xx seems almost greedy.

3. Yeah Yeah Yeahs

The return of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs to British soil might well be the single most pulseraising prospect of this year’s All Points East - and that’s saying something. With the best frontperson on the planet in Karen O, the New York indie art-punks are the kind of act who never need fear about shaking off the cobwebs, such is their incendiary fire. Expect ‘Maps’ to be the unquestionable festival moment of 2018.


4. Friendly Fires

You’ll have noted from a few pages back that Friendly Fires are in fine live form already, but while we’ve proved they can cut it inside the walls of Brixton Academy, we all know festivals are where the trio belong. By the time they’re done, Mr Sun will have far more than just his hat on. Hip hip hooray!

5. Lykke Li

Lykke Li’s comeback seems to have taken ‘quite a while’, but All Points East is positioned perfectly, with the release of what feels to be her first new full-length in bloody ages (‘so sad so sexy’) imminent. Effortlessly cool, she’s the perfect seasoning to a banquet of brilliant music. P All

Points East takes place in London’s Victoria Park between 25th May and 3rd June.

25th - 28th May

Festival shorts

Slam Dunk Home of punk, rock, punk rock, and other genres with ‘punk’ or ‘rock’ in their name, Slam Dunk is one not to miss.


Ahoy there! Green Man are hosting a cruise

Green Man has announced details of their 2018 Boat Party, Green Man Ahoy! Taking place on a cruise down the River Thames in mid-June, The Lovely Eggs, Audiobooks, Makeness and Heavenly DJs will all be appearing. There’s also “a bounty of surprises and festival-themed fun” promised.

f you’re a fan of rock music, you’re probably gonna be hyped about Slam Dunk.

This year’s line-up has legit legends Jimmy Eat World and Good Charlotte, barnstormers PVRIS, Frank Carter & the Rattlesnakes, Twin Atlantic, the awesome Creeper and loads, loads more. “I’m excited to see Sleeping With Sirens,” says Nick from, erm, Sleeping With Sirens, who’re out with new album ‘Gossip’. “But also seeing Good Charlotte, PVRIS, State

1st - 2nd June

Field Day

All the best acts your mates have never heard of.

Ryan from State Champs. “You get to hang with a lot more friends, and your music is exposed to so many people who are potentially hearing you for the first time.” P Slam

Champs, ETID, and Comeback Kid will be awesome. I love Jimmy Eat World too. How the hell am I going to catch all these bands?!” “Festival season is always a blast because it brings about a completely different vibe than playing club shows,” adds

Dunk takes place from 25th - 28th May in Leeds, Hatfield and Birmingham.



A new batch of bands have been revealed for 2000trees: Frightened Rabbit, Blood Red Shoes and Black Honey. There’s also room for ASIWYFA, My Vitriol, Queen Kwong, Vukovi and Brutus. 2000trees runs from 12th-14th July in Cheltenham.

Coming up...

More festivals to check out in the very near future. Long Division


Location: Wakefield, UK Date: 1st-3rd June 2018 Line-up: Billy Bragg, Charlotte Hatherley, Team Picture, The Lovely Eggs, Drahla, Mush, Peaness, The Surfing Magazines, Fizzy Blood, King Creosote, Life

Location: Donington, UK Date: 8th-10th June 2018 Line-up: Avenged Sevenfold, Guns n’ Roses, Ozzy Osbourne, Marilyn Manson, Parkway Drive, Rise Against, Babymetal, Bury Tomorrow Parklife

Mighty Hoopla

London weekender Field Day has built a reputation for showcasing niche acts neither your nan, mum, dad, brother, sister, next door neighbour, nor hairdresser will have ever heard of. Sure there’s Fever Ray, Four Tet and Earl Sweatshirt near the top of the bill, but who’s beneath them? Head over to Brockwell Park from 1st-2nd June to be introduced to a whole new world of buzz. Tickets are on sale now from

2000trees has signed up Blood Red Shoes

Isle of Wight

Eden Sessions Location: Cornwall, UK Date: 6th June - 7th July 2018 Line-up: Gary Barlow, Massive Attack, Bjork, Ben Howard, Queens of the Stone Age, Jack Johnson


BOTF has announced another headliner: Tom Misch. He joins fellow Tom, Tom Grennan at the top of the bill, and is accompanied by news of a Fickle Friends acoustic set, plus Matt Maltese, Zak Abel and more. The festival is located near Gloucester, from 5th-8th July.

Location: Manchester, UK Date: 9th-10th June 2018 Line-up: The xx, Liam Gallagher, Skepta, Lorde, Jamie XX, Giggs, Justice, CHVRCHES, Jessie Ware, Dave, Everything Everything

Location: London, UK Date: 3rd June 2018 Line-up: TLC, B*Witched, Belinda Carlisle, Guilty Pleasures, Lily Allen, Louise, Louisa Johnson, Melanie C, Vengaboys, 5ive, MNEK, Nadine Coyle, Nimmo


There’s a new headliner for Barn on the Farm

Location: Isle of Wight, UK Date: 21st-24th June 2018 Line-up: Kasabian, The Killers, Depeche Mode, Liam Gallagher, Manic Street Preachers, Chase & Status, Chic, Travis, Rita Ora, Jessie J, Blossoms, James Bay, Sigrid


Citadel has confirmed a few more bands Citadel has signed up Joe Goddard (DJ Set), Pumarosa, Matt Maltese and Ten Tonnes. They join CHVRCHES, The Horrors, recent Dork cover stars Shame, as well as Tame Impala playing a UK exclusive. Citadel will take place in London on 15th July.

The Guide.


Friday 1st June Birmingham, Sports

Live Q&A

Frightened Rabbit

Frightened Rabbit are hosting a big old show on 1st June at Glasgow’s SWG3 Galvanizers Yard. The one-day festival - dubbed The First Incident - will see the band joined by Hookworms, Dama Scout and Be Charlotte, along with craft beers, street food and loads more still to be announced. The band’s Grant Hutchison explains what’s going on. Hey Grant, your new festival sounds great, where did the idea come from?

It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a while. I love the idea of being a part of something that showcases what you are as a band and what interests you have besides the band. We played a festival in the US that is curated by Trampled By Turtles, and it was so much fun, that it spurred us on to give it a go in Glasgow.

Have you guys been hands-on in the process?

We’ve been really involved with every part of the festival from the artwork to the food we’re going to have there. It’s important to us that every aspect of The First Incident reflects the band and the members and is something that we would want to attend ourselves.

What has been the most challenging aspect? The hardest part has been reaching an agreement on who we want to play. Just because we all play in a band together does not mean we all listen to the same stuff. There is quite a variety of tastes in FR, and we wanted to reflect that without the whole thing just feeling a bit random. I think we got there.

How do you see the festival evolving? We’re hoping to host more Incidents in the future, and that they won’t all be the same set up every time. Frightened Rabbit will also not be appearing at every single one! Our hope is that this idea can grow to support itself without it being just another gig. P The First

Incident will take place on 1st June at Glasgow’s SWG3 Galvanizers Yard. 56


Team, The Dark Horse Bristol, Broken Social Scene, O2 Academy Bristol Cambridge, The Crows, The Blue Moon Cheltenham, The Faim, The Frog And Fiddle Glasgow, Ed Sheeran, Hampden Park London, Charles Howl, The Waiting Room London, Daniel Blumberg, Cafe Otto London, LUMP, Rough Trade East London, The Men, Oslo Northampton, Miles Kane, Roadmender Southampton, Twin Atlantic, Engine Rooms

Saturday 2 June nd

Dover, Dream State, The Booking Hall Edinburgh, Young Fathers, Leith Theatre Glasgow, Ed Sheeran, Hampden Park Glasgow, Mykki Blanco, SW3 Hebden Bridge, LUMP, Trades Club London, All Points East Presents: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Patti Smith, St. Vincent, Courtney Barnett and more, Victoria Park Oxford, Miles Kane, O2 Academy Oxford Sunday 3rd June Cardiff, Twin Atlantic, Tramshed Glasgow, Ed Sheeran, Hampden Park Leeds, Koyo, Hyde Park Book Club Manchester, LUMP, Band on the Wall Newcastle, Rituals, Head of Steam Monday 4th June


Tuesday 5th June


Festival, Zebedee’s Yard

Malahide, Gorillaz, Brighton, Drahla, The Hope & Ruin London, LUMP, Oslo London, Preoccupations, Village Underground London, The Sea & Cake, MOTH Club Wednesday 6th June

Malihide Castle

Manchester, Parklife Festival, Heaton Park

Manchester, Taylor Swift, Etihad Stadium

Manchester, The Bronx, Gorilla

Newcastle, Ed Sheeran, St. James’ Park

Oxford, Charles Howl, Fusion Arts Centre

Cardiff, Beyoncé & Jay-Z, Principality Stadium Leeds, The Sea & Cake, Brudenell Social Club London, Call Me Loop, Archspace London, Drahla, The Lexington London, LUMP, Oslo London, Matt Maltese, Scala Manchester, Bipolar Sunshine, Band on the Wall Manchester, Rhye, O2 Ritz Thursday 7th June London, Amber Arcades,


Postsmouth, Belly, The Wedgewood Rooms

Southampton, Sports

Team, Heartbreakers

Sunday 10th June Bristol, Belly, SWX Glasgow, Haim, O2

Academy Glasgow Glasgow, L7, The Garage Leeds, Big Ups, Brudenell Social Club London, Demi Lovato, The O2 London, The Bronx, Electric Ballroom Manchester, Parklife Festival, Heaton Park Newcastle, Ed Sheeran, St. James’ Park

Newcastle, You Me At Six, Keele University

Oxford, Drahla, The Cellar

Southend, Marmozets,


Friday 8 June th

Cardiff, LUMP, Wales Milllenium Centre Glasgow, Drahla, Broadcast London, Wavves, The Done Manchester, Taylor Swift, Etihad Stadium Newcastle, Ed Sheeran, St. James’ Park Saturday 9 June th

Bristol, LUMP, Rough


London, Zeal and Ardor, Village Underground Manchester, Courtney Barnett, Manchester Academy

Hull, 53 Degrees North

Cardiff, Laura Veirs, St John’s Church Glasgow, Beyoncé & Jay-Z, Hampden Park Glasgow, Starcrawler,

Monday 11th June Cardiff, Belly, Glee Club Leeds, Jay Som,

Brudenell Social Club London, Alexisonfire, O2 Academy Brixton London, Hillary Woods, St Pancras Old Church Manchester, Haim, O2 Apollo Newport, Big Ups, Le Public Space

Tuesday 12th June Birmingham, Demi

Lovato, Birmingham Arena Dublin, Haim, Olympia Theatre London, Animal Collective, Troxy London, L7, Electric Ballroom Manchester, A Perfect Circle, O2 Apollo Manchester, Belly, O2

Booking Now.


Manchester, Jay Som, Deaf Institute

Wednesday 13th June


Birmingham, Misty’s

Big Adventure, Hare & Hounds Brighton, Big Ups, The Green Door Store Dublin, Haim, Olympia Theatre Glasgow, Demi Lovato, SSE Hydro Leeds, Belly, LMUSU Leeds, Preoccupations, Brudenell Social Club London, A Perfect Circle, O2 Academy Brixton London, Jay Som, Oslo London, Pet Deaths, Sebright Arms Manchester, Beyoncé & Jay-Z, Etihad Stadium

Thursday 14th June Cardiff, Passenger, Wales

Milllenium Centre London, A Perfect Circle, O2 Academy Brixton London, Big Ups, Birthdays London, Ed Sheeran, Wembley Stadium London, Grumble Bee, Camden Assembly London, Katy Perry, The O2 London, Sticky Fingers, O2 Forum Manchester, Drahla, Castle Hotel Whitley Bay, Belly, The Playhouse York, And So I Watch You From Afar, Fibbers

Friday 15th June Dublin, Charli XCX, Croke


Glasgow, The Big Moon,

The Mackintosh Church Guildford, And So I Watch You From Afar, The Boileroom London, Beyoncé & Jay-Z, London Stadium London, Ed Sheeran, Wembley Stadium London, Greywind, The Garage London, Haim, Alexandra Palace London, Katy Perry, The O2 Manchester, Misty’s Big Adventure, Deaf Institute Newcastle, Drahla, Cumberland Arms Newcastle, Pet Deaths, The Cluny

Saturday 16th June Dublin, Taylor Swift, Croke Park

London Royal Albert Hall (8th August)


Dublin Helix (15th September); Belfast Waterfront (16th); Cardiff St Davids Hall (18th), Birmingham Symphony Hall (19th); Edinburgh Usher Hall (21st); London Royal Albert Hall (24th)

HONNE .Haim. S. Glasgow, Belly, The ABC London, Beyoncé & Jay-Z,

London Stadium London, Ed Sheeran, Wembley Stadium London, Haim, Alexandra Palace London, Misty’s Big Adventure, Camden Assembly Manchester, Demi Lovato, Manchester Arena

Sunday 17th June Glasgow, Indigo Husk,

The Garage Leicester, Her Name Is Calla, The Cookie London, Ed Sheeran, Wembley Stadium London, Misty’s Big Adventure, Camden Assembly Manchester, Demi Lovato, Manchester Arena Sheffield, Belly, Leadmill Tetbury, George Ezra, Westonbirt Arboretum

Monday 18th June Birmingham, Katy Perry,

Birmingham Arena London, Pearl Jam, The O2 Manchester, Indigo Husk, Jimmy’s Nottingham, Belly, The Rescue Rooms

Tuesday 19th June Birmingham, Indigo Husk, Hare & Hounds Brighton, Belly, Concorde 2 Brighton, Starcrawler, The Haunt Leeds, Her Name Is Calla, Warf Chambers Leeds, Low, Brudenell

Social Club

Liverpool, LANY, O2

Academy Liverpool London, Anna Calvi, Heaven London, Girls Names, MOTH Club London, Pearl Jam, The O2 Manchester, Foo Fighters, Etihad Stadium Sheffield, Katy Perry, FlyDSA Arena

Wednesday 20th June Brighton, Indigo Husk,

Green Door Store Edinburgh, Her Name Is Calla, Sneaky Pete’s Leeds, Girls Names, Oporto London, Belly, O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire London, Starcrawler, The Garage

London, Taylor Swift, Wembley Stadium Manchester, Girls Names, Night People Manchester, Katy Perry, Manchester Arena Norwich, Starcrawler, Norwich Arts Centre Saturday 23rd June Cardiff, Ed Sheeran, Principality Stadium Leeds, Drahla, Brudenell Social Club London, Foo Fighters, London Stadium London, Taylor Swift, Wembley Stadium Newcastle, Miles Kane, Riverside Newcastle Nottingham,

itoldyouiwouldeatyou, Bodega Swansea, The Killers, Liberty Stadium

Wednesday 27th June Birmingham, Justin

Timberlake, Birmingham Arena London, Jack White, Eventim Apollo Manchester, L.A. Witch, Soup Kitchen

Thursday 28th June Birmingham, Justin

Timberlake, Birmingham Arena London, Jack White, Eventim Apollo Oxford, L.A. Witch, The Cellar Portsmouth, Miles Kane, Pyramid Centre Sheffield, And So I Watch You From Afar, The Plug

Friday 29 June th

Thursday 21 June st

Birmingham, Starcrawler,

O2 Academy Birmingham Cardiff, Ed Sheeran, Principality Stadium Edinburgh, Idlewild, Summerhall Glasgow, Girls Names, The Old Hairdressers Liverpool, Katy Perry, Echo Arena London, Indigo Husk, Dingwalls

Friday 22 June nd

Sunday 24th June Cardiff, Ed Sheeran,

Principality Stadium Glasgow, Katy Perry, SSE Hydro Pickering, George Ezra, Dalby Forest

Monday 25th June Birmingham, Fresh,

Sunflower Lounge Brighton, Miles Kane, Concorde Newcastle, Katy Perry, Metro Radio Arena

Cambridge, Miles Kane,


Tuesday 26th June

Cardiff, Ed Sheeran,

Principality Stadium Glasgow, The Vaselines Mackintosh Church London, Foo Fighters, London Stadium



Exeter, Miles Kane, The Lemon Grove London, Jack White, Eventim Apollo RE AD D O RK. CO M

Cardiff, Miles Kane, Tramshed Glasgow, Stereophonics, TRNSMT Leeds, King No-One, Church London, Liam Gallagher, Finsbury Park Manchester, Ben Howard Albert Hall Milton Keynes, And So I Watch You From Afar, The Craufurd Arms Nottingham, Drahla, Bodega Saturday 30th June London, Pantha du Prince, Village Underground London, Queens of the Stone Age, Finsbury Park Glasgow, Liam Gallagher, TRNSMT

Glasgow Saint Lukes (20th November); Dublin Academy (21st); Bristol SWX (22nd); Manchester Academy 2 (23rd); London O2 Academy Brixton (24th)


Birmingham O2 Academy (18th, 19th January); Glasgow O2 Academy (21st); Manchester O2 Apollo (25th, 26th); Newcastle O2 Academy (28th); Sheffield O2 Academy (29th); Bournemouth O2 Academy (31st); London O2 Academy (2nd, 3rd, 5th February)


Glasgow Broadcast (25th June), London Camden Assembly (27th)


Sheffield Leadmill (16th October); Glasgow O2 ABC (17th); Bristol SWX (19th); Birmingham O2 Institute (20th); Norwich Waterfront (21st); Manchester O2 Ritz (23rd); London O2 Forum (24th)


Sheffield Don Valley Bowl (18th August)


Edinburgh Festival Theatre (4th September); Glasgow Barrowlands (5th); Bristol St Phillips Gate Arena (7th); Birmingham Digbeth Arena (8th); Manchester Academy (9th); Nottingham Rock City (11th); Newcastle Northumbria SU Institute (12th)

Any other questions?

Phoebe Bridgers Asking about the usual stuff is so boring. Why would you want to do that, when you could ask about aliens and picking your nose?

45-minute baths regularly, but my best friend in high school was a mall goth who screamed at teachers so by association maybe a 4.

What have you been up to today?

Telepathy, so I could fly and move shit with my brain.

Woke up at 7, got in the tour van, and went to Whole Foods because punk is dead.

Tell us a secret about yourself?

I have never seen Apocalypse Now.

What’s your biggest accomplishment?

Learning how to say no.

When’s your birthday? 17th August.

Who was your favourite musician or band when you were 14? Bright Eyes.

How punk are you out of ten? I wash my hair every day with special shampoo and take

If you could have a superpower of your choosing, what would it be?

Were you a rebel at school? I was straight edge, but I got bad grades and skipped class a lot.

Which of your songs does your mum like most?

She likes the deep cuts I don’t even play anymore.

Hard to know. Peeling glue off my hands, maybe.

Have you ever written a fan letter? I think once in High School to someone with an ASMR YouTube channel.

Mutton busting in a rodeo when I was 9 and a couple of battle of the bands.

Broke into the Huntington Gardens in the middle of the night and climbed on a giant tomb.

Do you believe in aliens?

If you could win a lifetime supply of anything, what would you choose?


What’s your worst habit? Lashing out when I’m frustrated and picking my nose.

What is your earliest memory?


What compliment would you most like to receive? Either high musical praise or that I have great eyebrows.

Have you ever won anything?


What’s the scariest thing you’ve ever done?


Never wavering attention from whoever my current crush is.

Phoebe Bridgers tours the UK this May.


8TH JUNE 2018 “JULY”

DORK WE DON’T ACTUALLY KNOW WHAT IS GOING ON If nobody tells us what’s happening before this magazine goes to print; Then at least we’ll have this fun next issue page.












Dork, June 2018  

This month… our biggest cover feature yet with Chvrches, what’s going on with MØ, Parquet Courts, Tove Styrke, Halfnoise, Arctic Monkeys, Pa...

Dork, June 2018  

This month… our biggest cover feature yet with Chvrches, what’s going on with MØ, Parquet Courts, Tove Styrke, Halfnoise, Arctic Monkeys, Pa...