Dork, November 2020

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Live. Forever.

2020 has been a year like no other. The venues shut, festivals silent, a vibrant live music scene has been forced to switch to standby. With shows still unable to return as we know them, and a whole industry on its knees, we ask what happened, where are we now, and what's next for live music in the UK.



The wait for Shame's second album may seem to have lasted longer than it actually has. As they stand on the edge of a huge 2021, we get ready for a record that isn't supposed to be funny, but...


Ashton Irwin

He's already conquered the world as part of 5SOS, but now Ashton Irwin is going it alone - in a more honest and open way than ever before.



One of 2020's most anticipated debuts, beabadoobee's 'Fake It Flowers' has arrived.


Boy Pablo

One of modern bedroom pop's early pioneers, Boy Pablo is carving out his own space with the help of alter-ego, and star of his debut album, 'Wachito'. 3.



November 2020 | | Down With Boring

Ø6 Intro 44 Features

Editor Stephen Ackroyd Deputy Editor Victoria Sinden Associate Editor Ali Shutler Contributing Editors Jamie Muir, Martyn Young Design Lot 105

Scribblers Abigail Firth, Aleksandra Brzezicka, Alex Cabre, Beth Lindsay, Charlotte Brennan, Chloe Johnson, Ciaran Steward, Connor Fenton, Dom Allum, Finlay Holden, Jake Hawkes, Jamie MacMillan, Jasleen Dhindsa, Jay Singh, Liam Konemann, Melissa Darragh, Neive McCarthy, Phoebe De Angelis, Sam Taylor, Steven Loftin Snappers Ashley Verse, Callum Harrison, Cameron Nicoll, Connor Laws, Hannah Diamond, Jamie MacMillan, Kay Ibrahim, Liam Evans, Luka Booth, Matteo Sanguinetti-Bird, Molly Daniel, Ned Botwood, Sam Gregg, Sarah Louise Bennett, Thomas Jackson PUBLISHED FROM WELCOMETOTHEBUNKER.COM UNIT 10, 23 GRANGE ROAD, HASTINGS, TN34 2RL 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.


38 Hype 66 Incoming

Editor’s letter


f you listen to those who govern this country, most of the people featured in this magazine need to get new jobs. Better jobs. Not just the artists, but the people that release their records, put on their shows, those who create the magazine itself. All of them. Better jobs. Viable ones. It doesn’t matter one bit that those jobs brought billions of pounds into the UK economy before huge swathes of the music industry was forced to shut down in order to protect from a deadly pandemic. The years - decades often - of experience and learning that’s gone into perfecting a craft that enriches the lives of so many? Nope. Can’t do that. Better jobs, please. Quickly now! No, we don’t want to acknowledge that those people are already fiercely skilled - marketing experts,

image specialists, tastemakers, trend readers, copywriters, graphic designers - all talent forged in the fire of necessity, to get their work out there without on limited resources. Or that most of them also do other things on the side to make ends meet. Retrain. Make yourself useful. Better jobs. Yes, Dear Reader, it’s not often we get outright political - and that’s something that needs to change - but make no mistake, the very fabric of our culture is under threat by ideologues who have never liked us, what with our tendency to become concerned with things like human rights and decency. Though these are indeed ‘difficult times’, it’s hard not to suspect there’s something altogether darker at play. There are so many, many prisms through which to view the spectrum of COVID-19, and its impact on our world, but the live music

sector especially has been ravaged. This month, we’ve tried to work out where we stand, and what might happen next as so many try desperately to find a route through to the other side. While help from those in power might be slow to come, delayed and require jumping through a series of often inaccessible hoops for many to access, there’s no impression anyone is going to go down quietly. You can check it out just over the page - it feels like the most important thing happening this month, after all. Just remember, music is without doubt - the best thing in the world. Better jobs? Ha. Fuck off.




The Cribs

After nearly two decades in the biz, Wakefield trio - and indie legends - The Cribs have wrestled back control for their eighth album, 'Night Network'.

Will Joseph Cook

Feeling a bit glum? Will Joseph Cook has the answer.


Connie Constance The end of 2020 is ridiculously good for EPs, and one of the coldermonths’ highlights comes from Connie Constance.


Fickle Friends

Yep - it seems the perfect time to have an EP called ‘Weird Years’ on the way.


Sundara Karma

Sundara Karma have fast become one of the most interesting, inventive band of their class.


Ed Nash

For Bombay Bicycle Club's Ed Nash, the last few months have allowed him the freedom to crack on with something new.


Bow Anderson Edinburgh native Bow Anderson has hit her stride this year with a handful of irresistiblyretro pop tunes

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23 OCTOBER, 2020




Live. Live. Forever. Forever. 6. DORK

The doors of Brixton Windmill, complete with COVID safe warnings. October 2020


Photo: Ashley Verse.





hings are not going well.

Hunched over the side of our armchair, facing the corner of the room as though we've fallen victim to the Blair Witch, we're contorting ourselves into an impossible position just so we can occasionally catch a glimpse of Tom Grennan's feet as he plays a 'triumphant' livestreamed VR performance from Brixton Academy. As our struggle to see the singer rather than Brixton's toilets continues, it slowly dawns on us that the problem may lie with us rather than the technology. It turns out, you can change the view with a swipe of your finger - and, yes, we've found what we are looking for. Welcome to a real live music experience in autumn 2020. This is the part of a feature where the writer would normally ask 'how did we get here?', but everyone already knows the answer to that. It *still* makes for grim reading so think of this as the dark before the dawn. Roll back to March then, and what began as faint murmurs of "this sounds like


Glass Animals have teamed up with Arlo Parks for a new version of 'Tangerine'. It follows on from the band's ‘Live In The Internet’ livestream, where Arlo popped up to help them perform the 'Dreamland' cut.

it might get serious" has become a deafening alarm klaxon. Everyone's got a 'last gig' story - sweaty, heaving crowds that didn't feel weird at the time, but as this new virus turns up just a short while later, things take on a whole new meaning. Images of Lewis Capaldi and Stereophonics playing to thousands of people soon stop looking celebratory, but instead extremely misguided. As realisation sets in about what is to come, the shutters slam down everywhere. When SXSW is dramatically pulled by the city's Mayor Steve Adler, the huge US festival becomes just one of the first in a series of cancellations that still continue to threaten the foundations of the entire industry.


he impact to touring bands was immediate and devastating.

"We had to scramble home from a locked-down New York," remembers LIFE frontman (and Dork Radio regular) Mez Sanders-Green. "Not only did we have to abandon the last dates but the band were split up, and

Tayla Parx has announced her new album 'Coping Mechanisms'. The new record's due for release on 20th November, preceded by new single 'Residue', which you can stream now.


THE GREEN DOOR STORE, BRIGHTON we had to get two of the last flights out of there." Another band on tour in the US at the time were Glass Animals, their leader Dave Bayley picking up the story. "We were out there trying to get Joe [Seaward, drums] back into playing again after his accident, testing out new material," he says. "As we went through the tour, the news was getting scarier and scarier until we played The Troubadour in LA. Just before we went on for the encore, the

venue manager told us that this would be the last show for a very long time, and that was that. We had to book flights there and then." Entire tours crumbled into dust, venues and artists alike losing pretty much everything at a stroke as the reality of what the summer festival season would look like sank in fast. Drug Store Romeos' Jonny Gilbert sums it up nicely (and the most poetically), when he describes it "as if

Sound City has opened its Apply To Play programme for next year's event. Up-andcoming acts can be in with a chance of getting booked for the festival by applying online before 15th January.

our touring plans were a newly bloomed field of roses, COVID-19 has come along like an out of control fox and trampled all our petals and stems." He's not alone. London gig promoter and head of socials at The Lexington, Marcus Harris, and booker of The Green Door Store in Brighton, Toni Coe-Brooker, are among many involved in venues to point out the sheer scale of what they, and other venues across the country, faced. "We were forced to cancel, reschedule or postpone hundreds of shows more or less overnight" explains Marcus. "I've rescheduled some stuff for a third and fourth time now." "I honestly don't know who I am or what I should be doing when I'm not putting on gigs," admits Toni, who has had to cancel an entire annual schedule that usually consists of ten events a week. With many promoters and venues describing an average of ten venue crew working on each mid-sized live show, the scale of the financial damage soon adds up, and it's easy to see why the industry was brought to its knees so quickly. With revenues destroyed, many have found themselves in the scary position of being involved in something deemed 'unviable' by certain quarters. Describing the touring industry as an ecosystem, Tim Dellow of Transgressive Records explains: "The entire system is decimated, and that also has a knock-on effect to many acts… Streaming, sales, radio plays, publicity - and ultimately, the chance for artists to make a living from their work." The picture he paints is a bleak one, and he isn't alone. "Personally, it has been a hard pill to swallow," admits Mez. "Myself and the rest of the band were finally able to quit our jobs fully in September, but it's destroyed our live revenue and current sustainability. And I can tell ya, as a single parent, that's a scary situation to be in." The emotional damage has been just as heavy. "Posttour-blues is a massive thing anyway," admits Alcopop! Records' big wig' Jack Clothier, "so the feeling of 'I'm





HOW HAS THAT IMPACTED YOU PERSONALLY? Bella: In many ways, I think it’s been good to be in one place, take a break from being in the public eye. But more profoundly, there is this rise in the collective consciousness, exposing how society is structured to privilege, and the systemic injustice faced by marginalised groups. In the words of [political activist and author] Arundhati Roy, the pandemic is a portal, and by addressing white supremacy, colonialism, capitalism and patriarchy, we will hopefully learn new ways of relating and structuring society. HOW MANY PEOPLE NORMALLY WORK WITH YOU ON EACH TOUR / SHOW? Alice: We have an amazing team of people working with us, it takes A LOT of planning

to tour. The touring party usually consists of us and our powerhouse drummer Paves, sound person Thor, and ever-charming tour manager, Dan. We have invited different creatives to join us for stints of tours before; it is always a good feeling to get an injection of other people’s vibe entering the group. WHAT DID YOU DO TO TRY AND STILL STAY CONNECTED WITH EACH OTHER AND YOUR FANS? Bella: A lot of time on Zoom! And we’ve just set up the Dream Wife Tree House, which right now is a WhatsApp community space for people to get together and talk about things. Hoping to progress this to a different space, but it’s amazing seeing what people are talking about - think they might start a choir??! DO YOU THINK YOU WOULD HAVE DONE LIVESTREAMS ETC. IF YOU LIVED CLOSER TO EACH OTHER? Bella: Yeah, it would have looked different if we were in the same place. We tried to do some streams early on and simply did not work! Have had fun figuring some other ways around it, like comped versions of home recordings. Cos Alice and I live together we’ve made some funny tutorials. WHAT DOES NEXT YEAR LOOK LIKE FOR YOU? Bella: I don’t think anyone can answer this question right now. P

Matlock. "You feel stagnant, bitter and uninspired. Does anyone answer this with, 'Oh yeah, it's been really positive?'" Plenty of musicians are finding silver-linings, though. "I've tried to go with the change and adjust myself, finding the positives," points out Sinead O'Brien. "I really do see it as a kind of 'pause' and certainly not a 'stop'." That desire to stay positive is something that many artists agree on, including Rachel

50% of my taste is kinda slow music and seats compliment that.


DRUG STORE ROMEOS HOW DID YOU FIND PLAYING A HOME PERFORMANCE / LIVE STREAM? Charlie: We made a 20 min ‘live set’ for Dork's Homeschool festival. I actually really loved making this! It was an interesting challenge to make hybrid versions of our tracks (a mix of newly recorded parts mixed with older studio stems) and to explore subtly alternative arrangements for our songs. Livestreaming was a little terrifying. The first time my keyboard was quite loud and I didn’t realise so it cut out a lot of

Sarah’s talking. WHAT DO YOU THINK IT WILL TAKE FOR YOU TO PLAY A LIVE SHOW? Charlie: If someone asks us to play one, we will! We’ve written a bunch of new songs; we are very excited to show them to the world. WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT SOME OF THE IDEAS FOR HOW FESTIVALS AND GIGS WILL WORK IN 2021? Charlie: I think they are good ideas; I certainly know that I don’t have any better ideas. I think I will enjoy a seated concert.

WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN DOING TO STAY CONNECTED TO YOUR FANS? Jonny: A surprisingly consistent weekly livestream on Instagram called Modular Music Time. I would make a little sculpture from odd bits and bobs I’d find laying around. It first started with Charlie on the other side accompanying me with some synths, and then the lady that changed everything, Miss Daisy Lawrence of Vanity Fairy. She first came with a whole collection of facts she would seemingly pull out of nowhere, never holding back on her weekly dose of gore, as I made leaves into fans and old t-shirts into Japanese Rain Dolls.

Photo: Jamie MacMillan.

HOW HAS COVID AND LOCKDOWN AFFECTED YOUR TOURING AND FESTIVAL PLANS THIS YEAR? Bella: We announced our second album ‘So When You Gonna’ maybe a week before lockdown started in the UK. The intention for this year was relentless rock shows, so it was a fair bit of mental gymnastics to accept that wasn’t going to happen. We have always understood ourselves as primarily a live band, so it’s been interesting, challenging and expansive to figure out new ways to relate to what we do.

supposed to be on tour, but actually, I'm sitting in my flat with nothing to do blues' is a whole other level." Just like all of us, artists have taken to this extended period of being forced to do pretty much nothing in different ways, their reactions ranging from boredom to pure anger. "People start bands to create music and to share that experience live, so of course the impact has been extremely negative," spits Wargasm's Sam

Chinouriri, who continues: "I'm very privileged, I'm doing the job that I love. It stressed me out at first, but now it's like, I can't be stressed for a year. I can't change it." While obviously, most artists have suffered terribly over the last few months, it is surprising just how many feel that this period of downtime has helped them reflect on what's next. "I don't feel hindered by it. I mean, no-one is out there, so we're all sort of stuck in the same place?" offers Lauran Hibberd, one of many to use the time to actually, properly, finish a record. "You can either use the time to write three records and become like Jack White on guitar, or you can sit around and mope about what's going on and blame it for standing still." Her view is shared by fellow Friend Of The Magazine (TM) Alfie Templeman, who puts the considerable upturn in his follower counts online is

WHAT DID IT DO TO YOUR MOMENTUM? Sarah: We were very lucky as we’d released 'Frame Of Reference' not long before lockdown and things were going well. We just needed to write, write, write for our album, and write we did! Though viewers of Modular Music Time weren’t rising exponentially, Daisy and I weren’t too hard on ourselves. P 9.




Photo: Jamie MacMillan.

10. DORK


BRIXTON WINDMILL First up, Sinead O’Brien’s launch of her new EP, ‘Most Modern Painting’, at Windmill Brixton. “We’re the only people in the entire country at a gig right now” says Irish post-punk-meets-poet Sinead O’Brien as she arrives on stage, a stark reminder of just what the scene has been, and is still, going through. With the famous/slash/infamous venue amongst the first to open its doors to gigs again, there’s a lot riding on tonight, and the nights to come. Warnings are everywhere. Wash your hands, no standing, keep your distance, familiar phrases now that would have left you scratching your head six months ago. Signing in at a gig like it is a school register is weird, sure, but that sensation is soon replaced by one of ‘oh my god, there’s a stage and a drum kit and a microphone stand and I think I might faint soon’. And then it starts, and rather than faint we thought we might cry because god we missed this. Tbh, Sinead is a perfect re-entry to live music. Vibrant, punchy and magnetic enough to make you fully aware you’re at a gig, gentle enough to not leave you feeling daft for sitting at a table. Any worries that you might feel like the mums and dads on their fold-out seats at Latitude are soon dispelled because, well, what else are you gonna do? The new EP sounds magnificent, two even newer tracks are unveiled and they sparkle and transcend too. Live music is back, even if you have to dance with your soul rather than your feet for now.

Photo: Ashley Verse.

LIVE STREAMING FROM O2 ACADEMY BRIXTON On to our second big night out. Or ‘in’ actually. As Tom Grennan took over Brixton Academy for a night of big productions, big budgets, gospel choirs, all ‘witnessed’ by a Dork writer who could only see the toilets for about fifteen minutes because, and we can’t say this strongly enough, he is an idiot, and didn’t know how to move the camera initially. Announcing his new album ‘Evering Road’ earlier in the day, it’s obviously a major event for Tom, who endearingly still says he can feel the energy in the room despite it having noone in it. But that kind of thing is why we like him, ok? With a full gospel choir, lasers, smoke, and a roaming camera (when you let it), this is major league pop music. The choir almost replaces the natural crowd response at points, and his patter keeps it from feeling anything less than fun. Out of the new material, ’I Don’t Need A Reason’ feels the most like it could do a Lewis and take him to the top tier - but most of all it’s just good to see one of our finest new pop stars doing what he does best. Sitting in the living room (now comfortably) with a couple of disinterested cats is probably not what he intended but needs must, and compared to most other live streams this was a different class.

Photo: Jamie MacMillan.



PRYSM, KINGSTON And finally, a night that felt the most like a real gig - Bloxx putting on a show with Banquet Records in Kingston, at last letting ‘Lie Out Loud’ off its lead to run and scamper naughtily amongst the world. And it is so good to see (and hear). You can feel the tension and nerves dissipate from Fee and the gang after a couple of songs, the floor beneath us actually flexing with stomping feet and table banging. It feels *alive* and by the time of the encore, things are pretty close to emotional everywhere. This is a gig that you’d normally come out of drenched in sweat, beer and good times, and even tonight, it is not far off it. You can tell, even in a few short weeks, that venues and promoters are starting to get to grips with how to put on a show. Escorted to and from our seats before and after the show, drinks are asked for by waving your phone light in the air and merch is requested by someone walking through the crowd before the encore. It feels safe, it feels right to be there and, most of all, it feels like the best of times snatched from the claws of ‘everything else out there’. It isn’t how you imagined gig life at the start of the year, and it isn’t how you want gigs to be for long, but right now? It feels like being alive again after the longest period asleep. Grab it with both hands, it feels so good to be back.



Intro. whenyoung and PIXEY are playing next year's CloseUp Festival. The event will run from 21st-22nd May at Colours in Hoxton, with further sets from Sad Boys Club, Valeras and 'more'.


down in part to the lockdown. "I think funnily enough I gained more hype during lockdown," he says. "It felt like we were all in it together. I went from 400k listeners

to over a million this summer, which is absolutely stunning." FEET, however, took another angle and perhaps summed up the mood of the nation best. "We watched

Lana Del Rey has shared her new track, 'Let Me Love You Like a Woman'. Produced by Lana herself alongside Jack Antonoff, the song was recorded in Los Angeles and New York.

the entirety of The Sopranos and wrote a couple of metal songs," says Oli, though perhaps thankfully he promises that they have since erased this new musical direction from existence entirely.


o with artists desperate to find new ways to stay connected with fans, what began as a trickle of live streams from home became a tidal wave. From the sublime to

the ridiculous, we saw it all - and sometimes both from the same band (let us never forget Sports Team's Alex Rice doing a Fontaines cover in an Irish accent, something that can only be described as a 'brave' decision). While for some artists it was a return

for really splashing about so disappointing for sure. But, I take comfort in the fact that everyone is in the same boat. It’s been good in a songwriting sense though, I’ve definitely written my album now so that’s pretty sick.


LAURAN HIBBERD HOW HAS COVID AFFECTED YOUR TOURING AND FESTIVAL PLANS THIS YEAR? Well, it’s pretty much obliterated them! I was super excited for The Academic support tour in April as well as all the cool festivals we’d already announced, like Truck, Y Not, Kendal Calling and The Great Escape. I think I probably would have met Mcfly this year as well, so I’ll have to live with that (tirelessly). DID IT AFFECT ANY RELEASE PLANS?

Yes and no! I started working with producer Suzy Shinn out in LA, so we ended up doing that remotely which was fun to be honest, but I would have rather flown to LA and did this stuff in the sun. It definitely took longer due to doing it remotely, but felt like a good time to hold releases and really sit back and get it right. HOW HAS THAT IMPACTED YOU PERSONALLY? It’s obviously been really difficult, it felt like 2020 would have been my year

Middle Kids have shared their first new music in over 18 months, 'R U 4 Me?'. A fun new bop that grapples with togetherness, it was produced by Lars Stalfors with a video directed by W.A.M. Bleakley.

WHAT DO YOU THINK IT DID TO YOUR MOMENTUM? I don’t feel hindered by it, I mean no artist is out there touring right now so everyone’s sort of stuck in the same place. I consciously tried to be productive with my time, so I feel more motivated than ever now. HOW HAVE YOU FOUND PLAYING HOME PERFORMANCES? I found livestreams fun to start with, but I think the novelty wore off globally after six weeks! It was definitely a good way to keep interacting with fans, and stay on the ball though. Was fun getting creative and choosing which room in my house to stream from, haha! I played Wild Paths socially distant festival in Norfolk a few weeks back and it was SO FUN. I didn’t realise how much I had missed playing, but did miss a standing crowd for sure. P


RACHEL CHINOURIRI WHAT WERE YOU MOST EXCITED ABOUT THIS YEAR BEFORE 'EVERYTHING'? Before quarantine and lockdown, I was most excited about my EP. And now that’s coming out now, but literally I was the most excited about my EP. And even though I was excited then I’m kind of blessed that is happening now because of things we’ve been able to do now because of time, I guess it’s better. And it only happened because of waiting I guess. HOW HAS COVID LOCKDOWN AFFECTED YOUR TOURING AND FESTIVAL PLANS THIS YEAR? Well, it’s affected them because I don’t have any. I’ve just been in the house bored. I’ve been trying to write. I mean, touring and stuff is fun, so it was kind of annoying. DID IT AFFECT ANY RELEASE PLANS? Absolutely. Abso-fuckinglutely. Oh, can I swear? I did it anyways. Absolutely. I went from performing to not performing. So that kind of sucked. Really sucked, to be honest. HOW DID YOU FIND PLAYING OVER HOME PERFORMANCES, LIVE STREAMS, DISTANCED GIGS? Well, once I got my wi-fi

sorted out - because it was pretty bad - it was pretty sweet. I always play with the band or a guitarist, so it’s weird, but it kind of reminded me of when I first started music and I was just playing like songs in my bedrooms and posting it on Instagram. So it was kind of therapeutic. It’s nostalgic. WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT SOME OF THE IDEAS FOR HOW FESTIVALS AND GIGS ARE GOING TO WORK IN 2021? I’m here for the whole separating myself, because festival gigs, festival crowds are very stressful sometimes, not gonna lie. So having your own little pod, little bit of boujee, you have your supermart, you have your friends. I’m here for it. It’s just I want it to be accessible for everyone and not be extortionatelypriced. Everyone should be able to listen to music, no matter how much money they make, and that way of touring and festivals will be very expensive. WHAT DO YOU THINK IT WOULD TAKE FOR YOU TO PLAY A LIVE SHOW AGAIN? It will take a vaccine. Because I don’t think it’s gonna be very safe until we get a vaccine for gigs anymore. And I’d rather people be safe than unsafe just to listen to music. It’s about safety first. P 11.



Intro. Lynks has returned with a star-studded bang, dropping a fresh cover of Courtney Barnett’s ‘Pedestrian At Best’ Turning the classic banger into a club-soaked late-night runner, you can stream it now.

Photo: Sarah Louise Bennett.


Road or LIFE selling special merchandise for their trip to the moon, the very act of watching a band began to evolve into a real event once more. With limitation comes inspiration, and all that. One

upside of 'all this' is the way that many artists have kept on pushing the boundaries of what technology and the online world could offer. Whether working with augmented reality and holding crazy internet

WHAT WERE YOU MOST EXCITED ABOUT THIS YEAR BEFORE ‘EVERYTHING’? I was definitely most excited about putting out new music and touring. Sadly obviously the latter didn’t happen but putting new stuff out really helped me get through lockdown! HOW HAS COVID AFFECTED YOUR TOURING? Well, a lot of my year was going to be touring all over the place. So it’s gone from 100 to 0. HOW HAS THAT IMPACTED YOU PERSONALLY? I’m just constantly bored, but things could be much much worse. I don’t take anything for granted nowadays and even the smallest lil things in your day are a lot more meaningful now. HOW MANY PEOPLE NORMALLY WORK WITH YOU ON EACH TOUR / SHOW? I have two roadies, my dad Martyn (also my tour manager) and my parents’ best mate Jason who is a right geeza. Then I’ve got my sound engineer Peter Sené who is GOD. WHAT DID YOU DO TO TRY AND STAY CONNECTED WITH YOUR FANS? The most important way to stay connected with fans is your music. I go on YouTube

12. DORK

Bring Me The Horizon have announced a surprise new EP, 'POST HUMAN: SURVIVAL HORROR'. The nine-track release (yes, nine songs is an EP now, apparently - Ed), arrives on 30th October.

Photo: Thomas Jackson.

to their roots of writing and recording tracks in their bedroom - Chinouriri perfectly captures the moods of many when she calls it "nostalgic" - others were warier about the risks of overkill. Let's face it, it's hard to get caught up in a world of glamorous indie rock'n'roll when the wi-fi's rubbish. "Demanding fans glare at their iPhone screens for an hour whilst we navigate our broadband speed wasn't going to save music," laughs Oli. FEET were one of many acts who soon branched out from the classic 'here are some musicians pretending they're at a gig, but actually, they're in their bedroom' template into something more engaging and exciting. Homeschool, put on by your friendly neighbourhood Dork, was as close to an 'IRL' festival as you could possibly get this side of a £7 pint and endless queues for the toilet (even if we do say so ourselves), while Dream Nails even created a 'Gig In A Box', complete with beers, setlists and an actual bit of sticky floor to stand on to complete the vibe. As streams got more elaborate, artists began to embrace the chance to do something special. Whether it was IDLES putting on three different sets at Abbey

Rostam has returned with his first new solo single in two years, 'Unfold You'. It comes alongside a selfdirected video starring actor-slash-model Hari Nef.

and reply to comments on my videos sometimes and also talk to people on social media constantly.

WHAT DO YOU THINK IT DID TO YOUR MOMENTUM? I think funnily enough I gained more hype through lockdown as everyone was about to stream music etc. and it felt like we were all in it together, so streams went up and I went from 400k listeners to over a million this summer, which is absolutely stunning. WHAT DO YOU THINK IT WILL TAKE FOR YOU TO PLAY A LIVE SHOW? I really don’t know at the moment because of my illness. WHAT DOES NEXT YEAR LOOK LIKE FOR YOU? Next year is more music, and hopefully, some gigs if all is safe. But I prefer to not think too much about the future and instead create it. WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT SOME OF THE IDEAS FOR HOW FESTIVALS AND GIGS WILL WORK IN 2021? The post-corona festival ideas are cool. In my opinion, we just need to study the virus some more and make sure that these precautions are effective and then take it from there. So fingers crossed for next year! P

Intro. experiments, dabbling in building online sculptures, creating talk shows or WhatsApp groups filled with the kind of messages end-toend encryption was designed to keep private, there has been a real hunger to do something 'different' in these 'troubled times'. Even the act of making music has evolved, Wallows recording almost an entire EP in isolation from each other thanks to the wonders of iPhones. But bands have still come up against that brick wall of how to promote a new record when they cannot connect in person with their audiences. "Sharing [an album] face to face with an audience, understanding it together through the IRL exchange energies of a tour was all turned on its head," explains Dream Wife's Alice Go. "But even though we can't all be together sweating and smiling at a live show, we can still be together through the music itself." In many ways it seems, those infamous chart battles have appeared to go some way to replace the excitement and hype of a big gig build-up as Music Twitter goes into its regular meltdown over whichever Indie Favourite is destined to get a number two that week. In fact, despite a rocky period when it seemed like many big releases were going to get pushed back in a similar way to what has happened in cinema, the album charts have never seemed so important - or at least entertaining. Surprise drops from the likes of Taylor Swift have only heightened the buzz around this part of the music world, showing that despite everything there is still a hunger for 'new' rather than people retreating back into familiar comforts.


ut despite all that, it’s the live music experience that we’re all

after. Seeing your favourite up close, singing with your mates, feeling that bass in your guts. It's something that no livestream, no matter how polished, could ever replace. Step forward one Sam Fender then, who kickstarted the painfully slow process of getting fans and artists back into the same space again with his socially-distanced arena gig back in August. Steve Davis, Director at SSD



WHAT WERE YOU MOST EXCITED ABOUT THIS YEAR BEFORE ‘EVERYTHING’? RELEASING THE ALBUM! That was always going to be the most exciting thing this year. And we still released [‘Dreamland’]; we just had to do it in a verrrry different way to how we had planned… We were going to launch the entire record with two nights at our favourite venue in the world, Red Rocks in Colorado. It was going to be like our own festival. Denzel was going to be opening up both days, and some of our other friends were going to join the bill. We had this great plan - had to tear that up! HOW HAS HAVING TO CANCEL LIVE PLANS IMPACTED YOU PERSONALLY? I know people in much worse circumstances than me. A lot of artists just starting out will really, really struggle to get through this unless something is done. I honestly feel like I have nothing to complain about in comparison to many others. Nonetheless, building a huge plan based around gathering people together to release what is a very,

very personal album, and then watching that crumble - that was incredibly sad. This album is like my baby. You do everything in your power to make sure your baby is born into the most ideal circumstances with the best support around it. COVID totally fucked that. It really hit me in the heart, seeing it happen. Then, there’s the fact that our crew and team really depend on this project succeeding to survive. The album did well beyond all of our expectations, but the tour wasn’t able to happen. There’s a lot of guilt in that. We haven’t been able to provide for our friends who work with us as well as we hoped to this year. We are doing everything we can to support them, of course, and we have plans in place to make sure no one in our team falls through the cracks. But it’s not the dream. WHAT DID YOU DO TO TRY AND STILL STAY CONNECTED WITH EACH OTHER AND YOUR FANS? A LOT. We created an open-source website where everything we’ve ever done (sounds, stems, Photoshop files, 3D animation files, graphics, etc.) are available


for free for people to play with. We’ve been dropping Zoom links into IG and doing random little gigs that way. Augmentedreality artwork and merch. We asked our local community to help film the video for our single. I did a little concert as a hologram that people could watch on their phones. Online listening parties. We went busking in Hackney. We incorporated scans of fans’ faces into a music video. We launched a site where people had to team up, and all close their eyes together simultaneously - as more and more people did it more of a track was released, and when enough people did it, we released the track. We’ve basically just done loads of crazy experiments on the internet. DID IT AFFECT ANY MORE OF THE RELEASE PLANS? Yes, hugely. We had to move the album back twice. It felt bad doing that as we had promised fans music - delaying was definitely making a few people angry. WHAT DO YOU THINK IT DID TO YOUR MOMENTUM? You know what? I was flattened for a week when I saw that the original plan was totally fucked. But then

*yes, this has happened now, but the interview was conducted 'beforehand', see?

I realised that there was no rulebook on how to release a record during a pandemic. Like, anything goes, really. I found that super exciting. HOW ARE YOU FEELING ABOUT PLAYING OVER A LIVESTREAM FOR YOUR LIVE IN THE INTERNET EVENT? * Really excited. What this will not be is a normal concert designed for a venue. I’ve seen that kind of thing streamed a few times now. Most of the energy in a normal concert comes from the crowd. And with no crowd, well, no energy. The internet is a very, very, very different performance space. You’ve lost the standard definition of a crowd, BUT the web has its own unique advantages. Social media and gaming have really tapped into those, but I haven’t really seen any live music event tap into that yet. So, we’re going to try something pretty weird. And different. It’s an experiment. WHAT DOES NEXT YEAR LOOK LIKE FOR YOU? We have basically delayed everything from 2020 by exactly one year, ha. So if all goes well, it will look like what 2020 was meant to!! WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT SOME OF THE IDEAS FOR HOW FESTIVALS AND GIGS WILL WORK IN 2021? I do think people will have to adapt in some way. In the same way that we as humans have adapted to the terror threats in air travel - we go through security now, and we don’t really blink an eye about it. We travel more than ever before. If COVID really does hang around, then we will certainly adapt and find a safe way for events to happen. It might become normal to have some element of that next year. BUT, I’m staying optimistic about a vaccine landing before spring! P 13.


Photo: Jamie MacMillan.



BENEE has announced the release of her debut album, 'Hey u x'. Set to arrive on 13th November, it will see her teaming up with a host of big names, including Grimes, Lily Allen and Flo Milly.




BLOXX HOW HAS COVID AND LOCKDOWN AFFECTED YOUR TOURING AND FESTIVAL PLANS THIS YEAR? At first, it started rescheduling things, but then we began to see more complete cancellations. We missed out on our busiest year as a band. HOW HAS THAT IMPACTED YOU PERSONALLY? It’s definitely been really difficult, I’ve not been in a headspace like this ever, so it has definitely taught me something. HOW MANY PEOPLE NORMALLY WORK WITH YOU ON EACH TOUR / SHOW? Usually, a crew of around eight, so that’s eight people out of jobs. WHAT DID YOU DO TO TRY AND STILL STAY CONNECTED WITH EACH OTHER AND YOUR FANS? Social media was a really good outlet for staying connected and giving content to the fans and the world. We put on loads of virtual hangouts/listening parties, so that was cool. It’s been great to have that realm of technology to keep the momentum somewhat 14. DORK

going. DID IT AFFECT YOUR ALBUM RELEASE PLANS? We did push the record back two weeks initially, but I don’t think doing that had much of an impact. COVID definitely affected us negatively in terms of promoting it and touring it. It’s been a really strange time. We were a little broken by that. WHAT DO YOU THINK IT DID TO YOUR MOMENTUM? It’s definitely slowed it; not everyone is talented at social media and algorithms, we thrive off of live shows. We’ve always been a live band that NEED shows to propel to new audiences. So yeah, probably effed it up a bit. HOW DID YOU FIND PLAYING HOME PERFORMANCES AND LIVESTREAMS? They were strange but a really good way to interact. Fans are so supportive on livestreams, so it was fun to do! WHAT DO YOU THINK IT WILL TAKE FOR YOU TO PLAY A LIVE SHOW? People to stop being stupid and spreading this virus and for the government to support our industry! WHAT DOES NEXT YEAR LOOK LIKE FOR YOU? At the minute it’s getting busier and busier by the minute, so we are really hoping to get out and play a show. P

Concerts (the team behind the Virgin Utility Arena gigs, This Is Tomorrow and Hit The North) is still understandably stoked about the event. "Sam opening the

Newcastle gig with 'Local Hero' was definitely a moment," he beams, proud that his region was responsible for kickstarting live music again. "Not only did it happen, it was safe!"

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah have announced a brand new album. Titled 'New Fragility', it's set for release on 29th January, and comes alongside two new singles, 'Hesitating Nation' and 'Thousand Oaks'.

While the other shows at VUA proved to be equally triumphant (as did the Wild Paths festival in Norwich), the last-minute calling-off of Declan McKenna's show due to local lockdowns proved just how precarious the recovery is - a volatile situation that caused the cancellation of the national drive-in gigs that were also planned for the summer. Elsewhere, at a much smaller scale, London has slowly crept back into action. The Victoria in Dalston put on a string of tiny shows in its outdoor space, while Windmill Brixton has managed to coax the likes of Sinead O'Brien, black midi and Sorry into action in front of a distanced and seated crowd.

LIVE SHOW? Maybe if the technology could allow for immediate tests results, you could throw a maybe out there, otherwise I think the industry needs to realistically try and best survive on distanced shows. Cough cough government hands in pockets cough cough.


FEET WHAT WERE YOU MOST EXCITED ABOUT THIS YEAR BEFORE ‘EVERYTHING’? Before ‘everything’ I guess it was all gearing towards our May tour. We had a show at Dingwalls selling pretty handsomely, and the prospect of 500 humans attending a feet show was a real motivator. Oh well, you’ve gotta laugh. WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO TRY AND STAY CONNECTED WITH YOUR FANS? Initially it was all about livestreams, though demanding fans to glare at their iPhone screens for an hour whilst we navigate

around our broadband speed wasn’t going to save music. Nevertheless, it kept us nice and busy for the first few bits of time. We recently started a (insert plug warning) bi-weekly newsletter, a further documentation of our day-to-day lives. Link is in our social media bios. Sorry. DID IT AFFECT ANY RELEASE PLANS? Our plan was to drop a single just before the May tour, but by mid-March it was becoming apparent that releasing music was no longer a priority to anyone, and thus commenced our threemonth stint on the sofa. WHAT DO YOU THINK IT WILL TAKE FOR PLAY A

WHAT DOES NEXT YEAR LOOK LIKE FOR YOU? As you can imagine it’s all pretty COVID-dependant. We have a selection of songs that are pretty close now to being the finished article, whether or not we decide to release them before or after the year 2100 will come down to how quickly the world can sort itself out. WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT SOME OF THE IDEAS FOR HOW FESTIVALS AND GIGS WILL WORK IN 2021? I’m trying not to get too hopeful about the big V word. When we talk about vaccines it feels as if people are drawn more to the idea rather than the reality. I’ve been to a distanced gig and to be perfectly honest and un-punk, the lack of human contact didn’t bother me too much. P

Photo: Jamie MacMillan.

WHAT WERE YOU MOST EXCITED ABOUT THIS YEAR BEFORE ‘EVERYTHING’? Playing the main stage at Reading & Leeds, and releasing and touring our debut album [‘Lie Out Loud’].

James Blake has dropped a brand new sort-of-surprise EP, 'Before'. The four-track release was revealed only 24 hours before its arrival, and echoes back to his early work 'in the clubs'.



Photo: Jamie MacMillan.

“It’s been catastrophic really, hasn’t it? I really feel for the booking agents (or rescheduling agents as I’m now calling them), live crews and the bands themselves so much - ‘cos like, Post Tour Blues is a massive thing anyway. ‘I’m supposed to be on tour, but actually, I’m sitting in a small flat with nothing to do blues’ is a whole other level. Live has always been SUCH a huge part of what our label and bands are all about... Getting out there, capturing hearts and blowing up stages, taking records that have taken years to produce out on the road and showcasing them to the converted. Bands like Dream Nails, BO NINGEN, Ditz, DZ Deathrays, False Advertising - these bands were essentially BORN on the road, and for bands like that it’s so SO important that they keep touring. Mental health for one thing, and keeping the fragile band economies alive. I was scoping it out, and I think we’ve got a tour routed for one of our acts at least every month right through to the summer next year. That is going to be VERY depressing to cancel all of that. We live in (at least some for now) hope.” JACK CLOTHIER, ALCOPOP! RECORDS


supported track and trace system and people having access to tests and accurate results quickly; so we can start the building blocks of confidence in everyone returning to large gatherings at some point. I know Melvin Benn has suggested a rapid testing scheme so maybe something along those lines is the way to go if a vaccine isn’t available next year. Whatever the future holds, certain aspects of gigs and festivals will be different post-COVID, but I hope the shared joy these events bring to everyone will remain as strong as ever!” DAVE MAUL, ARE YOU LISTENING?

idea how long the process of making, distributing and providing proof of antibodies will take. I have noticed that there are huge communities of creative people who are unwilling to take the vaccine too. I would like to think there is a way we could evaluate someone’s health on arrival, taking their temperature etc. so we are not excluding anyone that is healthy and able to attend. I do worry about the implications on those who are vulnerable, or with accessible needs. It’s important that we’re able to provide a system that works for everyone.” TONI COE-BROOKER, GREEN DOOR STORE

“Social-distanced events are tough unless you have enough capacity, i.e. space to make them work, as events all operate on tight margins and reducing the number of ticket buyers is not really viable. Rapid testing with technology, e.g. on phones sounds like it could be really effective. There’s a lot of innovation going on right now, and I’m really positive that festivals can overcome the challenges and that fans can be back to going to see live music next year.” BECKY AYRES, SOUND CITY

“When the pandemic really began to pick up pace, it quickly became obvious that everyone was tackling it differently, with many artists developing different plans, which then has a knock-on effect for promoters. We’ve found that while the relationship between agents and promoters is well-natured but often quite combative, the last six months have really seen everyone pull together and approach our shared challenge to get the music scene back up and running with respect, good humour and humility.” WILL ORCHARD, KENDAL CALLING

“We luckily haven’t cancelled anything and rescheduled it all, we have some great line-ups and have fought hard to keep the events intact. We then came up with the Virgin Money Unity Arena, which has helped fill a gap and allowed us to see some amazing live shows. We are currently working on a plan for 2021 and barring local lockdowns the venue will return in the spring of 2021. We are excited knowing what we know now to refine it and improve the offering to the customers.” STEVE DAVIS, SSD CONCERTS

“I don’t feel social distancing is the overall answer, but will work for certain events. I do think it’s clear and sensible to have a properly

“Sadly I think we are reliant on proof of vaccination before being able to go back to any kind of normal capacity for live shows. I have no

“People have really enjoyed [our socially-distanced gigs]. In its seated format the venue seems like some sleazy speakeasy according to some punters. Also, artists are really

happy to get a chance to play. We had a great show from Snead O’Brien to launch her new EP and has a lastminute show from black midi, which was awesome. It’s nice, but not the real thing. We’ve started doing matinee shows at weekends as well just to try to create some more income.” TIM PERRY, BRIXTON WINDMILL “Since the middle of March, everything largely came to a stop really (including the finances!). We’ve still had lots of work to do on rescheduling events, keeping customers informed as well as booking new shows in the hope we can get going in 2021 though. We have used the extra time available to actively get behind campaigns such as Save Our Venues, Let The Music Play, and We Make Events, plus I’ve personally enjoyed tuning in to many of the online music industry panels. We are working on some socially distanced events for the autumn of this year, but it still feels like a long way off until we’ll be back doing our usual live shows.” PATRICK MARSDEN, LOUT PROMOTIONS “Whether it’s an artist playing to ten people at the start or thousands down the line, seeing that live experience is always one of the things that make it seem real to me - a marker for the point of all of our collective hard work and a positive communal experience. I do not get the same thrill, or tangible sense of what cultural impact our music might be making, from counting streams alone. On the plus side, we’ve worked really closely with our artists to deliver some of the best music we’ve ever been involved with, some of which, like Marika’s ‘Covers’ album may not have happened in this form at all. Personally too, I’ve enjoyed spending more time at home and with the family, and having my vinyl collection spinning every day.” TIM DELLOW, TRANSGRESSIVE “In all honesty, it looks like everyone has given up and is hoping for April 2021. Loads of the confusion has been thanks to the total indecision and half-arsed shitshow from the government. We very obviously seem to be heading back into another lockdown, via all sorts of hyperlocalised Kafkaesque regulations and licencing changes… Venues, clubs and the people who depend on them for employment are taking the brunt of the punishment, as an industry we’ve been completely thrown under the bus with little to no help or support.” MARCUS HARRIS, THE LEXINGTON 15.




earth is 2021 gonna look like for live music, let alone anything else? Especially when, let's be honest, the response from the powers-that-be hasn't exactly been what you would call 'helpful', 'timely' or, well, anything useful really. Melvin Benn, head honcho of Reading & Leeds has spoken extensively about his plans for using rapid testing at the gates rather than trying to enforce social distancing at a notoriously messy festival. Every festival's head that was spoken to for this feature responded independently with the same crystal clear message - that social distancing just cannot work at a festival. Kendal Calling and Bluedot Festival Director, Will Orchard is vocal in his praise for the conversation that Benn has begun. "Melvin's work here deserves a huge amount of recognition, he was out of the blocks with a fully-formed plan way

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IDLES, Foals and DMA'S are going to headline Sounds Of The City in Leeds. The trio of gigs will take place from 8th-10th July at Millennium Square, with more dates in Manchester.

Photo: Jamie MacMillan.


he big question then is, what now? What on

Rina Sawayama has announced a new show at London's Roundhouse. Her biggest headline performance to date, it will take place next year, on 17th November.

Photo: Jamie MacMillan.

"It worked really well, people felt safe and taken care of," states Sinead, while the venue's booker Tim Perry is also pleased with the early results. "People have really enjoyed them, it feels like some sleazy speakeasy bar according to some punters," he says, before warning: "It's nice, but not the real thing." With Banquet Records also joining the fray (shows featuring Bloxx and Everything Everything sold out near-instantly), Working Men's Club's last-minute double performance at Oslo in Hackney is proving that low-key album 'instores' could still be a thing. Demand is still (reasonably) high from audiences, and the desperate nature of trying to grab one of a few dozen tickets for hot bands sure helps to make it feel special when you do manage to nab one. It won't be a surprise to see many of our favourites following suit if these stay as successful, and safe, as they currently look to be.

Dizzy have a new covers EP on the way. The band will release 'Basement Covers' on 13th November, preceded by their take on Talking Heads’ ‘This Must Be The Place’.


before the Government," he states, while Becky Ayres of Liverpool Sound City is excited about the possibilities of using phone technology to help with rapid testing. "There's a lot of innovation going on right now," she explains. "I'm really positive that festivals can overcome the challenges and that fans can be back going to see live music next year." In the absence of a vaccine, these ideas have struck a chord with many within the industry. "Would you want to be at a festival that has to enforce social distancing?" asks Harris, pointing out that it is the opposite of what festivals should be about. "You should be in a pile on the floor with your mates. Never forget that," he finishes. Meanwhile, on the tour circuit, Kilimanjaro Live boss Stuart Galbraith told Music Week recently of his belief that it wouldn't

be feasible to restart fullcapacity gigs until 8th April, a date he believes will "fit in with political and society agendas." Many eyes will be on Switzerland after permission was granted for events with less than 1,000 people in attendance to take place once more from the start of October. Baby steps, perhaps, but each one is vital to getting back to normal. Speak to any artist, and you can feel them bursting to return. But each and every one of them stresses that it can only be in a way that feels safe for all - it is easy to forget sometimes that some artists simply cannot take the risk to return to performing live for their own health reasons. "Consent feels vitally important here," points out Dream Wife's Bella Podpadec of the wider risks, while Indoor Pets' James Simpson remains nervous. "If shows can be proven to be safe for all, then rapid testing and tracing


SINEAD O’BRIEN WHAT WERE YOU MOST EXCITED ABOUT THIS YEAR BEFORE ‘EVERYTHING’? Summer festivals. Who wasn’t waiting for Glastonbury, Green Man, Electric Picnic? We booked some really great ones this year, so were really building up for that. HOW HAS COVID AND LOCKDOWN AFFECTED YOUR TOURING AND FESTIVAL PLANS THIS YEAR? Our booking agent is working hard and rebooking as many of our festivals as possible so we have a nice, solid run planned for 2021. We have also planned a headline UK and Ireland a tour for March. I’m pretty confident we will go ahead with it even if capacity is reduced etc. I feel strongly about that and about being a part of keeping the live music scene going. HOW MANY PEOPLE NORMALLY WORK WITH YOU ON EACH TOUR / SHOW? We travel light. At this stage, it’s just the band (Julian, Oscar and myself) and manager Maria. We would have been hoping to build out the team a bit at this point if we were touring as planned starting with our own sound engineer. WHAT DID YOU DO TO

TRY AND STILL STAY CONNECTED WITH YOUR FANS? I like to engage in a way where there’s some form of exchange of ideas going on. It can’t be all one-sided. One thing I remember doing in the depths of lockdown which had a nice reciprocal reaction was sharing images from my wall as I moved through a period of writing and invited a conversation and sharing of other people’s walls. It was so interesting. DID IT AFFECT ANY RELEASE PLANS? We actually decided to release singles at a consistent pace during lockdown. It kept some sense of normality, kept the cogs moving. There’s just no way I’m going to let the machine stop, you know? WHAT DO YOU THINK IT DID TO YOUR MOMENTUM? I’d much rather focus on what I’ve gained than what’s lost. I trust that live music will return, and in the meantime, I’m keeping my head down and working. Returning to the desk every day. I want to be proud of what I was doing at this ‘turning point’ or ‘moment’ in time. I don’t want to look back and think that I squandered my time ‘thinking about thinking’. P

Intro. our live revenue was finally paying and contributing massively to sustaining us as a full-time working band, which is a surreal thing to say when you are an artist from an already isolated and poor northern city. COVID-19, has of course, destroyed our current sustainability. As a single parent, that’s a scary situation to be in.


Photo: Jamie MacMillan.

LIFE HOW HAS COVID AFFECTED YOUR TOURING AND FESTIVAL PLANS THIS YEAR? We started 2020 just like we finished 2019 and came out the traps hell bent on eating every live date possible, and we had some doozies on the cards. However, March saw us scramble home from a locked-down New York. It sucked, not only did we have to abandon a

further ten or so dates across America but the band were split up and had to get two of the last flights out of JKF Airport. HOW HAS THAT IMPACTED YOU PERSONALLY? Personally, it has been a hard pill to swallow. Myself and the rest of the band were finally able to quit our jobs fully in September 2019. This was down to a combination of many things from sheer hard work and graft and the fact that

DO YOU HAVE ANY PLANS COMING UP, LIKE SOCIALLYDISTANCED SHOWS? We are planning a few special things, a new stream for Christmas maybe, plans with a local orchestra... plans, plans, plans. I would love to do a sociallydistanced tour and make it about listening to an album in full from start to finish in a live and intimate format. Who knows maybe we should do this for album three! WHAT DOES NEXT YEAR LOOK LIKE FOR YOU? Well, I guess there could be the next album! We have used lockdown to write and record the next body of work. P



WHAT WERE YOU MOST EXCITED ABOUT THIS YEAR BEFORE ‘EVERYTHING’? We were super excited to start work on album two, we were talking about producers and studios we’d like to go into just before lockdown started. HOW HAS LOCKDOWN IMPACTED YOU PERSONALLY? I lost my job and primary income as a live sound engineer as soon as the venues shut down; I’ve had to leave London to focus on studio work. I don’t think it’s easy for anybody at the moment. WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO TRY AND STILL STAY CONNECTED WITH YOUR FANS? Initially we tried to do a bunch of sessions where Jamie would write a song at the beginning of the week and we’d hand that demo out to fans to see what they could make with it. At the same time, we would write the full Indoor Pets version and then release it for fans to hear with a playlist of all their versions.

At the time of going to press, Brighton Dome is (in partnership with venues from all around the city) going to be presenting a series of sociallydistanced gigs featuring many of the leading lights from the local scene. We caught up with Cal, DITZ’s singer, to find out a little bit more about how they are feeling on the brink of their return to live action.



HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE *FINALLY* PLAYING AN ACTUAL LIVE SHOW AFTER ALL THIS TIME? I can’t say I’m not nervous but it’s great to finally have something to look forward to. Playing in a band has never felt like a routine but without shows I realised that there is an element of routine that I missed greatly. It’s good to be finally getting back to that. YOU’RE OBVIOUSLY A BAND THAT LIKE BREAKING DOWN BARRIERS BETWEEN BAND AND CROWD, WHAT DO YOU THINK BEING DISTANCED FROM THEM IS GOING TO BE LIKE? I guess we’re going to have to wait and see. It’s going to take all my restraint not to start rolling around on top of the tables! P

Photo: Jamie MacMillan.

HOW HAVE YOU FOUND LIVESTREAMS? Ten times the work with 1% of the payoff. P

Photo: Jamie MacMillan.

has to be the goal," he says. "Socially distanced gigs actually seem to economically harm venues rather than help." It is far from a simple problem (that's in with a shout for understatement of the year), and much will come down to Galbraith's point about the agendas of the day. As Davis admits, those big Newcastle shows don't reflect a long-term strategy and are instead the best that is achievable right now. It's no surprise that attention has also turned to making sure there are places for live music to return to, even as some of the venues that have found themselves in increasingly precarious positions through no fault of their own were allocated a share of the much-heralded £1.5bn Culture Recovery Fund. Before we breathe too much of a sigh of relief though, let's not forget that this pales in comparison with the speedy €7bn that France offered its creative industries in the immediate aftermath of COVID. And if you really want your mind blown, then consider the €50bn that Germany released to all creative and cultural sectors (but primarily aimed at small businesses and freelancers) also in the spring of this year. A world-beating response ours ain't, but the hope for many still is that this relief begins to drip through to the rest of the industry. And fast. That can't come quickly enough for many, Mez not holding back in his analysis as he states: "It's been tragic for so many artists and creatives, especially those who feed and live off the live scene like ourselves. The whole industry is in freefall with fuck all support from this shit-flap Government." There is one bright light that has shone throughout all of this, however, and that comes from the people who quite simply refuse to give up. From venue and festival owners working tirelessly to raise funds and awareness, artists constantly finding new ways to stay connected with their fans, to the magazines and blogs that keep talking about the exciting stuff, pretty much everyone is in this together and for the right reasons. Whatever comes next year, live music will exist and keep returning in whatever format it needs to. Get ready for it. Just make sure you're facing the right way.P 17.


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Intro. Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes are going to perform a livestream show from London's O2 Academy Brixton. The interactive event will take place on 13th November.

Victoria Monét has shared a new remix of her single 'Touch Me', featuring Kehlani. "This song is a very personal one," she explains, so 'there' we 'go'.

Black Honey have announced their second album, 'Written & Directed'. Due on 29th January via Foxfive Records, news of the record follows on from the Brighton foursome's recent single 'Run For Cover'.

“OUR IDEALISM WORKED AGAINST US” T After nearly two decades in the biz, Wakefield trio - and indie legends - The Cribs have wrestled back control for their eighth album, 'Night Network'. By: Liam Konemann. he way that things have been going lately, some of us really needed

The Cribs. It’s only been three years since their last album, ‘24/7 Rockstar Shit’, but that’s a long time away for a band so relentlessly committed to being a band. Last year, The Cribs took a year out for the first time in the last fifteen years. They told the occasional interviewer that they were taking a break. Which was true, for the most part. It just wasn’t the whole of it. In light of the pandemic and the state of the world in general, Gary and Ryan Jarman are trying not to focus too much on the reasons they’ve been away. Everyone’s got their own things to be dealing with, they say. So here’s the short version. After ‘24/7 Rockstar Shit’, things kind of imploded. “Release week’s always a crazy hustle anyway,” says Gary. “Especially with that record, we dropped it on people really quickly. We didn’t take any singles to the radio, we didn’t do any press. We were just doing it like an experiment. Like ‘let’s just see what happens when we drop the record on people’. And then the release week was insane, because it was mid-week at Number 1. So we get to the end of that week, and everyone’s buzzing, and literally the next day we break with our management.

And we’d been with our management for fifteen years.” Practically overnight, The Cribs went from being in the middle of a ‘really intense album campaign’ to questioning whether they still had one at all. Disoriented, they decided the only thing to do was to self-manage and turned their attention to getting the lay of the land. “And it turned out that the lay of the land was a complete mess,” says Gary. “Like completely chaotic. Personally, I went from expecting to be touring a record to all of a sudden getting my accountant to send me accounts, getting my lawyer to send me legal documents. I was sitting up burning the midnight oil, just trying to figure shit out. We opened Pandora’s Box, and we were just like, we’re not gonna be able to do anything until this is sorted out. And that took two years.” Those two years were mostly spent going back and forth with labels and subsidiaries, trying to figure out who held the rights to what - and why, Ryan says, “they believe they own it”. There was the salt in the wound. The legal contests revealed that some of the professional relationships the band had built over the last decade and a half didn’t count for as much as they’d thought. “[What was difficult] was also the realisation that people we had trusted and seen as family since me and Gary were

twenty years old had been…” Ryan trails off. “Finding out that things weren’t as they seemed was hard,” Gary finishes for him. “I equated it to a divorce in a lot of ways. There’s an emotional element to it, letting people go and accepting that people that you previously loved and cared about - which we did in our naivety - that things [with them] weren’t as they seemed. The music industry is a business, we learned that the hard way. Our idealism essentially worked against us.” So that’s the short version. You could also make the argument that the Jarmans’ idealism was also working for them, though. What else could have made them dig in against better-resourced conglomerates week after week, other than an unshakeable belief in The Cribs? They prevailed, anyway. In February, it seemed like things were back on track. We all know what happened after that. The pandemic, says Gary, was like “climbing a mountain top and then getting kicked off the mountain at the end.” They’d been so ready. But nobody is under any illusions that theirs is the worst experience of the year, which is one of the reasons the band prefer to focus on the upside of things. And there have been upsides. Since they announced their new record ‘Night Network’ and released its first

single ‘Running Into You’, their relationship with their fans has been overwhelmingly positive. “It was just so visible how much people had missed us,” says Gary. “When you’ve been locked down and isolated, to have that flood of goodwill and love expressed meant the world to us.” ‘Night Network’ is lyrical and melodic, more similar to ‘Ignore the Ignorant’ and 2015’s ‘For All My Sisters’ than the furious punk of ‘24/7 Rockstar Shit’. There are few hints to the difficulties of the last few years on the album, and even the ones that are there are sanguine. Album opener ‘Goodbye’ is the record’s most explicit acknowledgement of recent events, but lyrics like “Goodbye to the ones who told you you’re the one that’s changed, spoken through veneers that help to keep his story straight” are tempered by doo-wop vocal harmonies. The Cribs aren’t interested in holding onto a grudge, it seems. ‘Night Network’ exists partly because Gary, Ryan and Ross Jarman can’t help but make music when they’re together, and partly because of Dave Grohl. Obviously. “We had to keep going back and forth to the UK, and because we would all be together we were just writing songs anyway,” says Ryan. “It’s habitual,” says Gary. “It’s what we do.” They had been writing

bits and pieces for a while when the band supported the Foo Fighters at Manchester’s Etihad Arena in 2018. At this point, says Ryan, they “had one foot out the door”. “We got talking to Dave Grohl, and he was like, ‘fuck all that stuff, if you get it sorted out come out to our studio and make a record’. That gave us a small target to aim for. It was like, if we do get through all this it would be cool to go and make a record over at Dave Grohl’s studio,” he says. Getting into the studio with the new songs wasn’t exactly a turning point, considering the album was recorded while the business side of things was still in chaos, but it did provide a glimmer of hope. “We only really made that album because we’d had that invite. It was from one of our heroes, and we just couldn’t turn it down,” Ryan says. “The positivity just came from the fact that we’d been given this opportunity by somebody that meant so much to us, so we got our act together.” “It was hard to see the forest for the trees at one point, because the business side was so all-encompassing. Once we actually got the guitars out, the contrast just made us really realise why we enjoy doing it,” Gary adds. Trust Dave Grohl to just appear out of the dark with a solution, like some kind of grunge knight riding in on a white horse. Ryan grins. “I would hear 19.



The White Stripes have unveiled their first-ever Greatest Hits album. The collection is due on 4th December, and will feature 26 previously released hits.


stuff like that and think ‘that’s such bullshit,’ you know, ‘that’s such an angle’.” “He seems like such a superhero in a lot of ways,” Gary says. “He always comes off like a superhero. And here’s the best thing about this, and here’s what makes it pure and why he’s a genuinely good person; he probably has no idea how pivotal that was. If he was to read this interview he’d be like, ‘holy shit, I didn’t realise that did so much for them’. To him, that was probably kind of throwaway, but to us, it was a lifeline in a lot of ways.” It must be an odd feeling, to have spent your teens listening to someone’s music in your bedroom or watching their live videos on TV, and then have that person appear in your real life as an adult and throw you a life-preserver. And yes, it would have been absurd to turn an opportunity like that down, but there was also a second, almost unspoken motivation for even taking that support slot in the first place. “Me and Ry, back in 94, we used to sit in my bedroom and watch Live! Tonight! Sold Out! pretty much every night,” Gary says. “So when we got offered that Foo Fighters gig it was like yeah, obviously we’ve

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got to do the show. But it also seemed like a good place to leave it.” Thankfully, it all worked out in the end. And Dave wasn’t the only 90s alt-rock legend to have a hand in the new album. ‘I Don’t Know Who I Am’ sees The Cribs reunite with Sonic Youth’s Lee Ranaldo, who provided spoken-word vocals on the frankly iconic ‘Be Safe’ from ‘Men’s Needs, Women’s Needs, Whatever’. This latest collaboration is more understated - less a state of the nation diatribe than a vulnerable musing on a mission connection - with Ranaldo providing guitar and backing vocals. “We were back together just rehearsing the songs we had for the record, and then played a free form jam that we recorded on a phone, and liked it so much when we went in to record we ‘learned’ the jam exactly as it had been played that first time,” says Ryan. “Then [we] sent it onto Lee to see if he’d be interested in working together again. Because we knew it needed a ‘noise’ guitar track [or] something free form, to go with the nature of the way the song had been written.” Lee didn’t need much direction. Or any, really. Why

The War On Drugs has confirmed plans for a new live album ‘LIVE DRUGS’, set for release on 20th November. The collection features live performances from 2014 to 2019.

would you bother trying to direct him? “Basically, once we had recorded our parts, I told him he had free reign to do whatever he wanted,” says Ryan. “We always feel slightly sheepish before asking him to work on anything, because he is so important to us - but then as soon as we get to work we just forget about all that because he’s so easy to collaborate with,” Gary adds. A lot of the process of writing and recording this album felt freer than usual, despite the chaotic circumstances of its birth. Themes of identity and lost connections crop up time and again, but Gary notes that those have less to do with their outward situation than it might appear. “Because writing the record was something to take our minds off the business stuff, there’s no real allusions to it whatsoever except on ‘Goodbye’,” he says. “Lyrically, it’s our best record I think. We had a lot of time to consider what we wanted to say. What we were writing back in the ‘New Fellas’ days - ‘Hey Scenesters’, ‘Mirror Kissers’, really knee-jerk stuff - we were reacting to the scenes around us, and we were reacting to what was going on. And, you know, we were angry. This time, we’re a long way in the future for a start, but we had time and space, and we could try and express what we wanted to express.” “It sounds pretentious, but my lyrics tend to be more stream of consciousness really,” Ryan says. “I don’t write them out or anything. So I guess that’s just where my head was at the time.” He considers this for a moment. “I guess there’s always those kinds of conflicts going on inside my brain.” “Me and Ryan work so differently,” says Gary. He reaches off camera and comes back with a red composition notebook, flicking through it to reveal writing on every page. “This is my book right here, and each page is filled. But that’s just to make up, like seven songs. It took this amount to make seven songs

because I write and rewrite and draft and redraft. It’s inefficient. Ry works in a much more streamlined way than me.” Because they work so differently, Gary and Ryan tend not to write lyrics together. This time around, though, they found themselves teaming up to write something of an unintentional statement of identity. Partly inspired by a tongue-in-cheek comment from Ryan, ‘Screaming in Suburbia’ is gently nostalgic, a tender portrait of lost innocence and the feeling of being adrift even as you stand in the same place. “It originally came from someone saying, ‘what do you think the sound of your band is?’ It’s such a stupid thing to ask someone, like -” Ryan puts a hand to his chin in exaggerated consideration, “’- hmmm, indie rock, or punk’. So I just came up with, ‘it’s the sound of someone screaming into a pillow in suburbia’.” Later, with their time in the studio running down, they were in need of another song. “I said look Ry, I’ve got an idea, but it’s based on something that you said,” says Gary.

London Grammar have announced their third album with its title-track, 'Californian Soil'. Their new record is due on 12th February via Ministry Of Sound.

The book came out, and Gary pointed to the note he’d made of Ryan’s comment. Ryan wrote the chorus then and there, and Gary came back with the verses. “It’s the first time we’ve worked together on lyrics in a while, and I think that’s why it came out good,” Gary smiles. He pauses. “Actually, I lied when I said the industry stuff didn’t figure into the record, because it does on that song. The first verse, that’s us looking back on our experience.” They’re still not interested in dwelling on it, though. Even though the song was inspired by their own lives, the band want to make sure that the door is still open for the audience. “Hopefully, it’s wideranging enough that people can apply it to whatever they want,” says Gary. “It sounds a bit self-aggrandising, but that’s what I was trying to get across.” The Cribs are back, and they’re still singing for all the kids screaming in suburbia - past and present. P The Cribs’ album ‘Night

Network’ is out 13th November.



Get ready for a whole lot of new material from alt-pop wonders APRE. With a fab mini-album about to land, and a debut proper “pretty much” finished, co-vocalists Charlie and Jules have done a great job of making the best out of a proper rubbish year. Jules! Hello. How’s it going? What are you lot up to at the moment? It’s going great. We are stuck in our little studio mastering the upcoming mini-album and just writing some new tunes! Feeling more inspired than ever in terms of writing; it’s probably a subconscious reaction to what’s going on around us right now.

Tell us about your new minialbum then - what inspired it? Is there an overarching theme? ‘Always In My Head’ is eight tracks long, some of the tunes are over two years old now. We didn’t feel like we wanted to release our debut album this year, due to all the current goings on on planet earth, so a mini-album seemed pretty appropriate as we knew we probably wouldn’t be able to tour it yet. This collection of songs are all linked to the goings on in Charlie’s head, where music is a platform for him to escape from all the negative, worrying thoughts that often overload his head. The whole thing is a message of escapism, we repeatedly asked each other ‘what’s life really worth?’ and ‘Why do we fixate on pleasing other people constantly?’ and these songs are us attempting to answer those questions.

What was the timeline like on putting it together, how much was made post the pandemic kicking in?

All the songs were actually written pre-COVID. But everything was finished during

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the pandemic as we had so much time on our hands to really delve into the sonics of each song and perfect everything. We even got an orchestra to remotely perform on a track called ‘I Know I’ll Find It’ right at the start of lockdown which was a weird experience.

room together that we were suddenly creative geniuses!

Have all the new rules and restrictions impacted the way you work much?

Does everything being doom and gloom affect the music you want to make?

Now I wouldn’t say so, but during the months in which households were not allowed to mix we really realised how special it is writing in the same room as each other. I think Charlie and I thrive off constantly trying to impress one another, so the songs we were writing separately sounded pretty shit. However, that did mean when we were eventually allowed in a


Music has always been an outlet for us to escape too I think, our happy place. So surprisingly all the songs that have sprung up recently all seem to be pretty jolly, that’s probably us unconsciously trying to escape the happenings around us right now.

How much of releasing this mini-album now is clearing

the decks for a full album next year? The full album is already written, and is pretty much nearly finished. So we are in a nice position musically, just wish we could get back out on the road asap.

Has putting together this release helped you to hone in on what you want your debut album to look like? ‘Always In My Head’ is quite different sounding to what the main album will be like, it’s quite sample-led and could almost be a sort of concept album as all the songs tie into

one subject. The full album, however, is sounding much grittier, more guitars and some really intimate moments too, we are super pumped about all of it. The debut album is looking great, put it that way long and winding, but it will be worth the journey.

It’s weird that we’re already coming up to the end of the year now, what are your hopes for 2021? Tour, please just a single tour! We are itching to get out and play the new songs so we will definitely be playing all over the UK and Europe too (if we can). The debut album will come out in 2021, that will be massive. See you in the charts.P

APRE’s mini-album ‘Always In My Head’ is out 6th November.

I0 All the best musicians have an appreciation for proper good pop stars; the ones with bold theatrics, iconic staging and top tunes to boot. Manchester bedroom popster Lucy Deakin is one such artist, and her fave? Miley Cyrus. Here's why.

1. She loves Ru Paul’s Drag Race

Drag Race is all about expression and really encourages people to be comfortable in their own skin and be whoever they wanna be (“If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell are you gonna love somebody else”). The honesty about some of the issues faced by some of the contestants enhances the awareness of the viewers, which is increasingly important in today’s society. She regularly posts on Instagram about binging the show, and it shows she is just like anyone else, which is

refreshing to see (I also wish I was watching it with her tbh).


MILEY CYRUS BY POP NEWCOMER LUCY DEAKIN just listened to a best friend chat at the pub. Whether it’s about life, music, partying, sexuality or relationships - she always completely honest and I think it’s so important for the younger generation to hear an adult speaking so freely about these things.

2. Her musical Style

Each era of hers is completely unique, and you can never anticipate what’s coming next - all you know is it’s going to be amazing. She has embraced all the changes and inspirations in her life and continually evolved her sound - she is the true princess of pop.

3. Her live shows

When playing live, whether it’s a Billy Idol, Joan Jett or Dolly Parton cover, she always throws in something unexpected and always sounds great. This is to

9. She’s a child star who grew up stronger than ever

introduce her fans to artists they may never have listened to before and also to introduce musical legends to a new audience. She always sounds incredible too and proves that she is a true power vocalist of our generation.

4. She can do everything

She can sing, she can act, she can dance, she can write, she can twerk, she can do pretty much anything - she is in complete control of her own sound and image, and that is clear in her music. She has encouraged countless young women to follow their dreams and go get what they want I’ve been watching her since I was a kid and can easily say she is the biggest inspiration for me wanting to become a musician (as I’m sure many others).

5. She’s wise beyond her years

Whenever you watch an interview with Miley Cyrus,

she is captivating - she has faced so many challenges, yet seems to be so wise because of it. Put simply; she is a legend.

6. She loves animals

She has always been an animal lover and is very vocal regarding #adoptdontshop. Her Instagram is very wholesome and includes pictures of her adopted dogs, pigs, horses and cats, and that just makes me want to be her friend even more.

7. She’s unapologetically herself

She’s outrageous, in the most amazing way. She doesn’t care what anybody else thinks and does it all for herself (“I was born to run, I don’t belong to anyone”).

8. She’s honest

She is one of the most famous people in the world, yet after watching an interview, you feel like you’ve

Since a child, she has been working nonstop, yet unlike other child stars, she became a strong, independent young woman. She is an inspiration to so many women (like myself), and her attitude to life is incredible.

10. The Happy Hippie Foundation

She has always used her platform for philanthropy and has been very vocal, particularly about her support for the LGBT+ community. In 2014 she founded her own non-profit organisation The Happy Hippie Foundation which focuses on youth homelessness, the LGBT community and other vulnerable populations and has encouraged so many young fans to be aware of some the issues faced in society. Her desire to help others is inspiring, and she has used her status to help others which is rare and another reason to love her. P Lucy Deakin’s ‘I Got Bored’ EP is out now. 23.


feel good inc. Feeling a bit glum? Will Joseph Cook has the answer. By: Jamie Muir. Photography: Liam Evans.

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Intro. here’s a silence as Will Joseph Cook sits in his front room.

He’s reflecting on the past few years of his life, where time passed, and in turn, he had to face questions about himself and what to do next. Life-changing events hitting with added force as he traversed that period between being a teenager and being a young adult. There’s a whole load to unpack as he reflects on the road that led to new album, ‘Something To Feel Good About’ - but there’s something he needs to tackle head-on first. “Look, we’re going to have to talk about the elephant in the room here... the moustache.” Thick in plumage, its growth can be (sort of) tied to Will’s own personal journey over the past three years. Since dazzling his way into frame with debut ‘Sweet Dreamer’, Will Joseph Cook has been through a fair bit. “I was 20 years old at the end of that run on the first album. I’d committed so much to music that I hadn’t really done as much personal stuff in my life,” he explains. A whirlwind of making music, releasing music, moving on to the next step up and then going again became a cycle that left little room for much else. “I think I was in crisis like, what do people call it? A quarter-life crisis? Yeah, I had one of those, but just nudged it forward a bit. “I’d be thinking, ‘oh I should be doing this’ or ‘where am I going?’ It felt like I’d been on this motorway since I was 15 where all these things are constantly happening, and it becomes bewildering because you’ve never done it before. I’d committed everything I had to music. All my eggs were in one basket. I needed to grow up and develop a life outside of just music because I hadn’t explored all this other stuff in life that I’d see my friends doing.” It didn’t feel like jumping into a second album right away was the right thing to do for Will. ‘Sweet Dreamer’ was an opening scrapbook of teenage diaries, packed with different stories and messages overlapping one another across its full collection. To have something else to say, Will needed to actually have those life experiences he’d long been turning away from - not because of neglect or choice, but because his sole focus had been music from an

early age. “If you want to write some work of substance and if you want to really figure out what you’re trying to say, it does require you stepping back for a moment, and that feeling can be quite alienating,” he admits. “I think a lot of young artists, especially now because you’re encouraged to be active the whole time, I think a lot are just shit-scared to be like actually, I’m gonna think about what I want to do’.” What Will couldn’t have foreseen is the range of events that were to come. ‘Something To Feel Good About’ released in two parts - comes together as a biographical diary of Will’s past couple of years. Direct, unflinching in places and sharper than anything he’s created so far - it’s an honest look at every shape and impact that came into his life, one that never pulls back. “I didn’t have that much shit on the first album. Y’know, you kinda stumble into a debut album. Nobody had broken my heart properly, I hadn’t lost anyone in my life, I hadn’t lived independently. Those tracks on the first album, there are songs there that were written by a 14-year-old, so it feels really weird to look back on that after writing this album.” While ripping himself open in a lot of ways, it’s an album underpinned by optimism. That out of life’s most difficult moments, a brighter day can emerge. “It wasn’t a really pleasant two years for me…” Will admits. “It can be really empowering to take bad experiences or difficult feelings and then put them into something that is really defiantly joyous. Not necessarily happy but just hopeful and seeing the best in a situation and learning from it instead of just wallowing. That’s why I wanted [‘Something To Feel Good About’] to be the title. In spite of everything… wait - I’m basically explaining what silver linings are aren’t I?!” Born out of different iterations and a few nearcompleted moments, things began to click into place after Will connected with another artist’s directness. With ‘Driverless Cars’ sitting as a blueprint of sorts for what he wanted to do next, a simple music recommendation from a friend pointed him in the direction of the exact sound he wanted. In Eric Radloff and his lo-fi Okudaxij project (think short and sharp


indie-songwriter vibes with tracks running two minutes long with no flab), Will found exactly how he wanted to communicate his feelings to the world. “I rinsed this Okudaxij album - like it was so unguarded and felt like the antithesis of the things that were bothering me about music and not being able to get my words out right.” A Twitter DM later, Will was out in LA staying with Eric and producer Matt Parad forming the basis of what would become ‘Something To Feel Good About’. Over the course of a few months and bursts of trips between London and LA, exactly what Will wanted to get across was down on an album that leaps and bounds above ‘Sweet Dreamer’. “Ultimately, there was a feeling of being able to be a lot more direct with this album.” The results are an album that, despite being released in two parts, offer up a collective release for Will. The spritely joy of the title track, the gleaming ‘Driverless Cars’, the confident wink of ‘10X MORE FUN’ and dreamy landscape of ‘Wayside’ are met with the raw emotion of’ 21’, the bopping ride of

romance and heartbreak in ‘DOWNDOWNDOWN!’ and the captivating honesty of ‘Boundary Street’ and ‘Where Is My Heart’. The album’s frankest moments may be saved for closer ‘Last Year’, it’s unfiltered truth sounding like Will breaking himself apart for the world to hear, without any pretension or mask. “The opening line of that is ‘last year, your grandparents died’ - it’s so straight up,” Will explains. “I lost three family members in the space of 12 months, and prior to that, I hadn’t really experienced that. It was obviously worse for my parents and watching them go through it, and you know what it’s like, it trickles into your whole world." It shines a light on a new Will Joseph Cook. One who through living life and experiencing the highs and lows it can bring, has come out the other side as an artist who sees music in a brand new light. “I think I had always enjoyed music, but I hadn’t needed it,” he states. “That’s the main difference between who I was then and who I am now. I see a lot more emotional context now of what music can do for you, because I

was in a vulnerable place and listened to records that spoke to me about niche feelings, or spoke about things from a perspective that I felt like I couldn’t relate to anyone else on. As I’ve got older, I have more things to say in general and more thoughts on stuff, so it feels more vital for me as a tool to get my brain across to people.” Releasing such honesty must be nerve-wracking though, right? “In the same way that skinny dipping is freeing, it’s exhilarating and feels good to have this big release, but there’s also the risk people are going to see you naked and can see all your bits,” smiles Will. “But all the best things in life are full of risk, and that’s where the meaningful art is. That discomfort, that limbo, that uncertainty - that’s the place you want to get to. On this album, those songs felt like that in a fragile moment where I needed to get ideas out while I still felt those emotions.” With life lived both in darkness and in light, ‘Something To Feel Good About’ is an antidote that yes, life isn’t all sunshine and cocktails. It can be brutal, unforgiving, relentless and at times - too much. But it’s exactly that which makes living so vital. Of overcoming it all and on the other side, finding the good in every journey and setting off for what comes next. “There’s a calm confidence now in myself that I didn’t have before,” notes Will. “I used to think that my brand was to be very outwardly confident and kinda light or bouncy and just about having a good time, but when I started to feel things and change into a person who wasn’t always that - at first it was difficult. Now it’s like, I’m sure of myself. From having those experiences, connecting with people and their struggles as well as hearing in other peoples music the emotional place it comes from - there’s a more vivid existence I guess, and I like that. “I obviously want the album to do well, but to me, I’ve almost already completed the goal. I’ve completed this album that for me contextualises all the things that I wanted to get across. My mission with it is complete, and now the final bit is just hoping that it resonates with other people too.”P Will Joseph Cook’s

album ‘Something To Feel Good About’ is out 27th November. 25.



Intro. Billie Eilish is dropping a new song this November. We don't know much more than that yet, but she confirmed the news via Instagram.

Biffy Clyro have shared a new version of their song 'Space'. The new take features a 40-piece orchestra and choir. Epic.

Ray BLK has returned with a new "revenge song" 'Lovesick'. The track will feature on her longawaited debut album. It's streaming 'online' now. Off you pop.

Photo: Kay Ibrahim.

PHOEBE BRIDGERS IS READY FOR BUSINESS Phoebe Bridgers isn’t content with having released one of the albums of the year - she’s starting her own record label too. Working in partnership with her own label Dead Oceans, Saddest Factory will be home to Bridgers’ own signings. “The vision of the label is simple,” she explains, “good songs, regardless of genre.” Clearly, our Phoebe is having a bit of a giggle. If you go to the website from the label,, it’s full of all kinds of blue sky thinking business speak. There’s a dress code (“Ms Bridgers has initiated a strict dress code whereby in order to mean business, one must dress for business”) and a ‘food in office’ policy (“Ms Bridgers has initiated a strict smelly food policy... Please note food brought into the office Ms Bridgers does not fall under this strict policy.”) Basically, it’s a bit of a giggle. Artists can submit their music, where they'll join the first act to be released via the label, Dork fave Claud, who has dropped brand new bop 'Gold'. It's flippin' awesome and you can stream it online now!

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CLUB classics

Hi Connie! Enjoying 2020 so far? Yes, actually.

It’s been a weird one, hasn’t it - how have you been coping with socialdistancing, not being able to tour and the like? I’ve been meditating on sixfigure brand deals that have no limiting obligations.

We hear you have a new EP on the way, was it written and recorded before lockdown or during? Yes, I do. The songs were written before. But it was finished during/after.

How much does ‘the state of the world’ impact the music you want to make?

If things that are happening in the world or around me upset me enough for me to need an outlet - then a song is born. That’s basically how it works for me. If there wasn’t a constant anxiety that we are all gonna kill each other and the world and die, I probably would just hum to myself.

What themes and topics do you tackle across the EP?



Did you see Miley Cyrus' covering The Cranberries as part of the Save Our Stages Festival? DID YOU?! IT WAS AMAZING. Miley, we love you, for all the reasons on page 23 and more. The pop queens are back! At the time of press, there are suggestions we're about to see the return of both Ariana Grande and Adele! Isn't that exciting? Yes it is.


issues like drug use and mental health with your releases, does channelling those feelings into songs help you resolve them? Yes, that is the plan really. Solve all my problems one choon at a time.

It must feel pretty exposing, opening up like that?

Not really. I’m a very private person, so music is my chance to share what’s really been going on. The only thing that I find hard, is sometimes my reality doesn’t always set the best example for young people, but I usually write in a way that explains ‘this is something that I’ve been through, but have come out the other end’. Truth over everything anyway. Made up stories are so boring to me.

What led you to start your own record label? Do you have experience doing that sort of thing already?

Essentially, me and my management were always running my own label, but we just weren’t on the payroll. At least now we are free to do what we want, when we want, we can learn from our own mistakes and grow into the superhero Power Rangers that we are deep in our souls.

Toxic love. Fears and dreams. Honeymoon-period love. Racism and how the colour of your skin can effect people’s perception of you. Drugs.

What has starting your label entailed?

You’ve talked a lot about

Yeah, but get funding. Any

Superpowers. Ownership. Freedom. Energy.

Is it something you’d recommend other acts give a go?

independent artist you see doing incredible videos / amazing live shows with a full band and lighting etc. has some kind of funding, or they have rich parents. Everything costs money. There are independent artists that have six-figure publishing deals. Don’t believe the hype. Go get some budget and work your ass off, and then things will come to you. Easier said than done. But that’s why all that really matters is the music and your self-belief. If you have those two things on point, people will support you.

Live music is back! At least in some parts of the world. New Zealand is doing quite well - if you watched Benee's recent live stream, you'll have had the same pangs of longing we did. Dua Lipa won the mighty Popjustice's Twenty Quid Music Prize - awarded to the best British pop single of the year - with 'Physical'. The correct answer. Well done, 'everyone'.

Are you going to sign other musicians too, or is it mostly for your own projects?

We got dead excited when two tracks claiming to be from pre-1975 band Drive Like I Do appeared on streaming one random Sunday last month. Turns out it was just a fan uploading them. BOO!

At some point, for sure. I don’t really see Jump The Fence as one dimensional as a music label. It’s for anyone that’s into music and media that wants to take risks and be at the forefront of their work. People with big ideas and the intent and self-belief to make them happen.

It's nice some venues got funding in the recent Arts Council COVID recovery fund 'stuff', but lots didn't - including some big ones. Come on guys, can we start valuing the arts now?

What are your hopes for 2021?

Make some schmoneyyyy. Tour the world. Make epic videos. Eat good. Learn new things. Make a change to one or many. Serve some lewks. Write some indie bangers. Write some heart crippling soul songs. And repeat.P

Connie Constance’s new EP ‘The Butterfly Club’ is out now.


The end of 2020 is ridiculously good for EPs, and one of the coldermonths’ highlights comes from Connie Constance. Out via her own label, the newly-launched Jump The Fence, no less, it’s full of indie bops grounded both in life’s difficulties, but also joys like fish and chips and 99p ice creams at the seaside. It’s a proper lovely time.

Up-and-coming noiseniks Hot Milk have released an emotionally-charged yet gloriously rawr-y new track 'Glass Spiders'. S'good.


Dork fave Cavetown has debuted a new track, 'Sharpener'. It's about unhealthy coping mechanisms and the shame surrounding them, and is streaming now.

Dear America. You know what to do this month, Get rid of this chump. Please, we beg of you. Love, the rest of the world. 27.

weird YEAR


Yep - it seems the perfect time to have an EP called ‘Weird Years’ on the way. Let Natti from Fickle Friends explain. By: Sam Taylor.

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uys, we don’t mean to alarm you, but it’s nearly 2021.

We’ve only just stopped writing the date as April, and now there’s a whole new year to contend with. Christmas dinner? It’s just gonna be you and your cat, mate. New Year’s party? Under a blanket on the sofa. Resolutions? Dunno, can we leave the house yet? There are a lot of unknowns going into January, but one thing we can put in the diary is a new EP from Fickle Friends. Back with their retro pop bops, ‘Weird Years (Season 1)’ is the first instalment of their upcoming second album (oo-er), and it’s coming early-doors next year. Frontwoman Natti Shiner tells us more about what the band are up to, before popping off to watch The Great British Bake Off.

How’s social-distancing treating you? Have your days been very different than usual?

We should have been on tour in Asia right now, so yeah - pretty different vibe right now. Lots of downtime. Lots of time in the studio, writing and recording. My social life is exclusively visits to my yoga studio, the train ride to Brighton and Zoom meetings, lol.

What’ve you been doing to keep your spirits up? Writing songs, drawing illustrations, learning to animate, playing with my kitty cats, stick and poke tattooing myself, becoming a yoga teacher, cooking new vegan recipes, cycling EVERYWHERE, watching Korean movies, fantasising about being able to tour again...

What has all this meant for how you create music? I still commute to Brighton every week so Jack and I can work in the studio. When it was full-on lockdown, and we couldn’t travel, it was super tough, but we would share the odd voice note, and I wrote a lot of poetry and scribbled down thoughts

Local Natives have a new 'Sour Lemon' EP - they revealed it by debuting a new track featuring Sharon Van Etten. That's nice, isn't it Dear Reader? Fresh.

The Kills have announced a new career spanning B-sides and rarities album. Titled 'Little Bastards', it'll be released via Domino on 11th December. Merry Christmas everyone!

Goat Girl have announced their new album, 'On All Fours'. Produced by Dan Carey, the anticipated record will arrive via Rough Trade Records on 29th January.

for concepts. Thankfully our creative process has stayed relatively the same. It keeps us sane. Ish.

What else has changed for you guys this year?

The whole album campaign, really. We’d kinda planned for a September release, but with COVID we had to rethink everything and came up with this TV show / multi-part album format. We’ve just changed management and are super excited to have new blood and new ideas in the FF camp. I’ve said it so much this year, but amazing things can come from setbacks and limitation. We are super stoked for what’s to come.

Can you tell us a bit about how this new EP came to be?

This is the first instalment of our second album. We wanted to break it up into parts as it would allow us to go with the flow a bit more and release music more consistently. We have had a lot of time off, and we just wanna keep putting out as much content as we can now. The whole album will kinda be like a box set: ‘Weird Years’ seasons 1-3. I keep thinking to myself like, is this weird? Are people gonna get it? But there aren’t any rules for putting out records anymore. So we are doing what suits us. Maybe that will end up in a 20 track album, who knows? Haha.

So there will be three instalments?

Planning for three, but it’s really up for grabs, to be honest. I don’t know where ‘Weird Years’ will take us, but I’m excited for it all.

‘Weird Years’ feels very apt for life at the moment, do you think upheaval and uncertainty are the new normal? I definitely think so. If there’s anything to take from this year, it’s that you gotta keep riding the wave, steering into the skid. Going with the flow. Any more shit analogies?? Haha.

Does ‘the state of the world’ impact the music

you find yourselves wanting to make?

I think it impacts our music conceptually, but we have always been creatures of habit, and that’s writing upbeat, happy-sounding tunes with sad undertones. If anything, right now, we have more of a drive to write happy songs to try and lift the spirits of both ourselves and our fans.

It’s really interesting that the release method is inspired by TV, has that influence seeped in anywhere else?

I think visually it’s served as a big influence. Our inspiration behind the press shots and artwork for this record were tonnes of 90s Japanese TV adverts, really awesome fashion and brick mobile phones and record players and Walkmans. And then the artwork/box set vibe definitely had a pinch of our fave TV shows from that era. Friends, Buffy, Goosebumps, Fresh Prince... I’d like to bring some of this into a really awesome music video at some point too.

Are each of the seasons going to have a different vibe, or narrative? The narrative kinda runs differently for each song. They’re all moments from the last few weird years. If


anything, ‘Season 1’ is on the more pop side of FF and ‘Season 2’ will be slightly more lo-fi. But I guess the main thing is that with each season there will be a little more growth, a bit more acceptance for what’s happened and what’s going on. There’s so much more we wanna write, so it’s hard to nail down the complete narrative right now.

What TV shows are you into at the moment?

I’ve been watching Gilmore Girls, hahaha. It’s very comforting and wholesome, which is exactly what I need at the moment. But I’ve loved watching Fleabag, I May Destroy You, Chewing Gum, Ru Paul’s drag race, Girls (for the third time), Normal People (preferred the book), The Boys, and Sex Education. A fair bit actually, haha.

In what ways is this new music a step on from what you were doing before? I think we have never had the time to just write and

write and write without the distraction of tours etc. We have produced a lot of useless shit but also some of our favourite material to date. Song concept has become something really important to me, and I think that makes for a much stronger creative foundation. Hopefully, that can be heard in the new music. I feel like we used to be quite fickle with song meaning and lyrics. I look back at ‘Say No More’ and think to myself, what an earth was I getting at?! Lol.

What’s next for Fickle Friends? LOTS of music. Animations. Livestream gigs... real gigs, hopefully. Art in all forms. Collaborations. Ups and downs, for sure. Living in an ongoing pandemic, I guess I don’t really know - and I’m just trying to make peace with that. P

Fickle Friends’ EP ‘Weird Years (Season 1)’ is out 15th January. 29.



With a new line-up and a new not-putting-up-with-any-shit attitude, alt-rock favourites Black Foxxes are taking things into their own hands. By: Sam Taylor. Photography: Connor Laws.


ristol alt-rock trio Black Foxxes have always been open about the ups and downs of the lesser-talked-about areas of band life - the grimy bits behind-the-scenes that cause sleepless nights and terse email exchanges.. The toll it cane

have on your mental health. After two albums’ worth of compromising and playing by the rules, their third selftitled record seems them come back more assured than ever before. With frontman Mark Holley now joined by two new members, drummer Finn Mclean and bassist Jack Henley, it’s a fresh start for a band reinvigorated.

Hi Mark, talk us through what happened after the release of your last album - when did the band transition to its current line-up? How close were you to calling it a day?

I think a lot of growth happened for all of us. We had a lot of really great tours off the back of the second record, some of my fondest memories. But after we finished the Dashboard Confessionals tour in November 2018 things just went quiet in camp. I was personally spending a lot of time writing with different creatives in Bristol and trying to develop as a songwriter, and for whatever reason, the band just lost touch. I don’t think it was anyone’s fault. Time just passed, and people felt differently about the band these things happen. I reached out to the guys, and Tris had decided that the time out was a good

30. DORK


opportunity to reflect and, for him, it was time to call it a day. Shortly after, Ant decided the same. Absolutely no bad vibes between the three of us, we were a band for seven years; it’s an inevitability that people will be on different pages after pursuing something for that long. The one thing I wasn’t ready to do was call it a day. I didn’t know at the time whether all the stuff I’d been writing separately would be used for Foxxes or for a different line-up, but after a few different project attempts, it sort of all just snapped into place. I’d been writing with Jack for the most of 2019, he’s my oldest friend, and we grew up playing in bands - so it just felt like a really easy transition to get him involved because the family dynamic of an older band felt like it wasn’t lost. Finn slotted in shortly after that; I basically head-hunted Finn because I think he’s such an exceptional player.

Did all that upheaval impact the kind of music you wanted to make?

Of course. I think one of the reasons we naturally all parted ways with the old line up is because we all wanted different things musically. I really felt like I had taken the songwriting as far as I could with the style and genre of

music we were making. I really wanted to take a step into the unknown and make different music than I’d ever made before. It’s not even that this third record feels like the truest reflection of myself as a songwriter; it’s bigger than that. With the new line-up, there are simply no limitations, and it’s the excitement of the fourth, the fifth, the sixth records that’s making us smile ear to ear at the moment. We know we’ve really unlocked something with the three of us as players, and that’s so fucking important and missed in modern-day rock music.

You’ve said you made the record for no one but yourselves, what points of contention have you previously come up against in that respect?

Hah, where do I fucking start? If we didn’t make this record for ourselves, it never would have been made. I have been aired, pushed and pulled, physically drained from the process of this record. It’s funny looking back because I look at so many exchanges with people and I’m like, ‘Jesus, if I didn’t just bite my tongue here, if I didn’t just grit my teeth and get through this phase - this record would never have been made or written so many times’. I basically saw the absolute worst parts of

the music industry time and time again over 2018/2019. It’s not something I want to go in-depth about because it actually fucked me up a lot. But it is something I’m massively proud of myself about given the fact I stuck by myself every step of the way. I never doubted myself once. So for that reason, when the new band formed, we told ourselves that this is all about us now. We don’t give a fuck about pleasing anyone else that doesn’t understand the band or the music. We love the music, the people closest to us love the music, and that’s enough for us. We don’t need that negative energy in our lives anymore, ya know?

Mental health has long been one of the dominant themes of your music, how has it fed into this latest batch of songs?

I think it always feeds itself into the music subconsciously. I don’t think this record is anything like the first in regards to openly speaking about mental health. ‘I’m Not Well’ was a record made to specifically talk about my battles. This one isn’t. This is just a showcase for where we can go and what we can do when no one else is getting in the way of us writing for us. There are obviously intense themes throughout the record. During the two years of writing, my alopecia came back in horrific fashion, and I lost all my hair, including my eyebrows. Which is something I don’t wish on anyone. It was horrific. ‘Jungle Skies’ was literally written the week of my head shave, I’ve never felt that dark in my life. Knowing this time I was

Feeling Lucky?


shaving my head I also wouldn’t have eyebrows, made me a wreck. So there’s a lot of hurt on this new record, but there is also a lot of hope. Learning to love the version of the person I am is littered all across the record as well, ya know?

Starting your comeback with ‘Badlands’ was a bold move, what was the thinking there? Just why not, haha? We wanted to come back with something aggressive anyway, so the fact we had the opportunity to come back with a kind of Marmitestyle track with ‘Badlands’ was ideal to us. It really set the mood for where we were going with this new line-up. We didn’t want to just warm ourselves into it. We wanted to explode into the new line-up and direction, and that was the best way we could explain to people how it’s different now. The love we have got from that track has honestly been wild. I never expected that.

Would you describe this as a bold record?

Yes. 100% yes. Not just from the writing perspective. But getting Adrian Bushby and George Perks involved again was key for us. The sound had shifted quite a lot so it was important to bring back a key element of the first two records which could tie it all together. The production on this record is honestly fantastic. There are moments where it’s peaking out at a higher volume than Metallica records, and then there are moments where you can only hear the creaking in the chair I’m sat on playing acoustic guitar waiting for my take. I’m so proud of this record, we all are.

What lessons from this album are you going to take forward with you?

Believe in us. It always has to be about the music. It isn’t going to be for everyone, but if you believe in what you’re creating in time that will show and the end result will always benefit from it. IDLES said it best, but “build it and they will come”. Back yourself 100% and the rest will fit into place.

Do you have any predictions for 2021?

Nah. Everyone knows it’s a shit time right now, I don’t even want to hazard a guess as to where we could be in 2021. Let’s hope for some live music at some stage, but until then I hope to god the arts get the funding they so desperately need. P

Black Foxxes’ self-titled album is out 30th October.

Nilüfer Yanya is rounding off 2020 with a new EP.

By: Dom Allum. Photography: Molly Daniel.


ith a second album in the very early stages of development, and playing live remaining a distant prospect (“livestreams I don’t really find that fun,” she confesses), Nilüfer Yanya has been exploring other outlets for her creative talents. Amongst them art lessons with her dad, delivering art supplies with the Artists In Transit project she started with her sister a few years ago, and a new

EP. Her latest three-track effort, out in December, is led by first single ‘Crash’, which came together during the singer’s brief stay in New York last year working alongside Brooklyn-based musician Nick Hakim. The first taste of what’s in store, it lays out the groundwork of what promises to be a captivating new chapter.

Tell us a bit more about ‘Crash’ – what it’s about? I feel like I’ve been writing it for a while. I had the idea, but it really came together when I went to New York last September. I recorded it in a couple of days. It was really cool to work with Nick; I’ve been a big fan of his for the past few years. How long were you in New

York for? I was there for about a week playing a show for Fashion Week.

Was it just ‘Crash’ you wrote then? We wrote another song, had two songs on the go. They were finished just before lockdown. Nick came over to London in March, and we had a couple of days then. Are you writing a lot with other people? At the moment, yeah, I’m working with a couple of people – it’s quite nice. Did you manage to write much during lockdown? Not much, no. I kind of finished things, but in terms of like being creative and coming up with ideas for music, I didn’t get very far. Is the EP going to be a preview of what’s to expect on the next album? I don’t know, actually. I need to get my head into album mode. They’re [the songs on the EP] all quite different, but I think they sit together quite well. Do you think your next album will have a theme, like the WWAY HEALTH™ concept with your first? I have no idea. I probably will come up with some weird type of thing, because I enjoyed doing that, but there’s nothing really at the moment – just have a few songs. Do you have any livestreams or sociallydistanced gigs coming up? Umm, I hope not. Nah, I’m joking – livestreams I don’t really find that fun, but I did perform ‘Day 7’ on a couple. I’d like to do a show, obviously, but I don’t think anything is going to happen ‘til next year. Maybe we’ll hopefully look at touring next autumn – crazy it’s a

whole year away.

Tell us about your Artists In Transit project? It’s a community organisation run by my sister and our friends. I started it with my sister three or four years ago, but I’m not really very active as a member at the moment in terms of organising things. My friend has kind of taken on all the organising, which is pretty great - I’ve stepped back a bit. It’s basically art workshops for refugees and people who would enjoy it or get something out of it. Started it in Athens, working with refugees, and now we do different workshops in London as well. During lockdown, we were dropping off art packs to children in London. We’d cycle round and give them some art homework and basically annoy their parents. I think it’s really important, particularly as we don’t really know how long it’s going to go on for. Was art a big thing in your household when you were younger? Yeah, massive. Both my parents were artists, so I didn’t really ever not think about art. It was just always there. But I appreciate that that’s not like that for everyone. Does that feed into the artwork for your releases? I do mostly design all the artwork. I enjoy making things. I’ve actually enrolled in one of my dad’s courses – I’m doing etching and printmaking at the moment. It’s just this one other person and me in the class.

Is he a good teacher? Yeah, he’s a really good artist and technician when it comes to how to do it. P Nilüfer Yanya’s EP ‘Feeling Lucky?’is out 11th December. 31.




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Sundara Karma have fast become one of the most interesting, inventive band of their class. With a new EP, some allstar collaborations and an outlook that constantly moves forward, the journey to album three is afoot. By: Stephen Ackroyd. Photography: Hannah Diamond.


hisper it quietly, but we all know indie is sometimes a little generic, right? Four young

lads with guitars, bass and drums - the last gang desperate to escape a boring town - wearing reassuringly uniform high street fashions and timeless haircuts, dreaming one day of getting a nod from a passing Arctic Monkey or Grandfather Weller. Yeah. That's not Sundara Karma. Let's be honest here; even referring to Reading's favourite sons within defined, generic boxes seems somewhat like chaining them to a particularly magnolia radiator at this point. Though their first album, 'Youth Is Only Ever Fun in Retrospect', played the indie hero game perfectly, by the time they brought it to a close at scene-Mecca Brixton Academy, they already felt like a band with far more to say. Once last year's 'Ulfilas' Alphabet' came round, they were a different prospect entirely - space glamsters fallen from the stars, infinitely more interesting than the bulk of their peers. Less an evolution, more a revolution in platform heels, it suggested that - while already brilliant - there was so, so much more to come. That starts right now, it turns out, with a brand new

The Murder Capital and Self Esteem are going to play new Sheffield festival, Get Together. The twoday event will be held at Sheffield Uni Students' Union next May.

Yungblud has announced a virtual world tour. The Weird Time Of Life Tour starts on 16th November, and is in support of his upcoming new album 'Weird!', also due before the end of the year.


EP of shiny, shifting future pop. The first taster of what promises to be a whole raft of new material to follow, it would be wrong to suggest this was Sundara Karma in their final form, but rather a fully realised, brilliant visage along the way. Leader Oscar Pollock seems ready. "The timing just felt right for us," he muses, when asked if there was a temptation to wait for these 'uncertain times' to regain a sense of normality before dropping something so startlingly new. "We want to get a lot of new music out over the upcoming months. No time like the present, regardless of all the horror." It's that sense of brave endeavour which marks out a band unconcerned with the pressure of change - but that doesn't mean each sonic shift is so deliberate. "It's definitely not a conscious priority," Oscar explains. "I think it maybe stems from a sense of not being good enough or not knowing enough because this then leads you onto learning and absorbing. I really want to push myself and improve as a songwriter so I think change is just a natural part of that." With an approach to music that's developing in time ("the process is becoming more refined. I think I'm getting closer to 'the source'"), it's clear Sundara Karma don't back away from the new. As the industry big wigs talk of acts needing to drop new music regularly in a streaming age, they're the latest act to deliver new music in a more

digestible chunk before getting into the business of a new album. "Truthfully I find it quite exciting," Oscar confides. "We are definitely moving into the 'vibe' age, where a vibe or playlist is more likely to get the hits over an album. "Maybe songs will be a thing of the past and people will just want a continual stream of lo-fi coding beats generated by AI," he ponders. "This is already happening, though. I guess people just want to know exactly what they are gonna get when they click onto a link. If you're writing great songs, you will be fine. Maybe not so much if your songs are mediocre. The robots will replace you." On the strength of the EP's opening track, there's little chance of that here. Described by Oscar as "a light-hearted way of communicating despair" that he looks forward to "playing live at our next show in about 10 years", 'Kill Me' is massive. It leads off a collection of songs that channel the band's creative spark through new, exciting prisms - co-produced alongside Charli XCX and Rina Sawayama collaborator Clarence Clarity. "I love what all those artists are doing right now," Oscar enthuses, "Clarence included. It seems that pop is pushing a lot of people forwards, and as a genre, it is encouraging artists to experiment and step out of pre-established ideas. This is so exciting for me." Even in that moment,

though, there's an awareness that the creative zeitgeist constantly shifts onwards. "Unfortunately I can already feel parts of this 'future pop' surge becoming overly saturated," he continues. "This is only natural when something is great. I just hope we can harness some of the better qualities of this world and then project it back out in our own way." That's not the only impressive team up Sundara Karma are offering. They've also joined forces with PC Music icon and creative mastermind Hannah Diamond, who is contributing in a sort of 'creative director' role. "Hannah and I are a powerful combo," Oscar states, still managing to undersell their combined talents. "We draw our influences and references from the same pool of ideas. I have a tendency to not put a frame around my projects aesthetically, and Hannah has helped me rein it in with a 'le chef's kiss' flourish." The aesthetic is something that Sundara understand brilliantly. Always overflowing with ideas, Oscar is firm in his belief that music and image are closely linked. "It's amazing to be able to have the support from Hannah to help me figure out what Sundara Karma needs and deserves aesthetically," he claims. "The idea is to create our own world not just for a release but for us, for us to feel like we have a strong identity within online and offline communities." Of course, five great tracks will only ever pose the question of what comes next. Though these are a collection of "both old songs I had been writing throughout last year and new material and a re-established focus that 2020 forced upon me", the well is far from dry yet. There's "soooo much new music on its way," apparently - including, but not limited to, a third album. Whenever that arrives, we can be sure on one thing - it'll be definitively Sundara Karma, no matter who that turns out to be in the moment. Generic? You're having a laugh, mate. P

2000trees have confirmed the majority of 2021's line-up. Creeper, Laura Jane Grace, The Amazons, Jimmy Eat World and loads more are playing the festival between 8th-10th July.



This year has been hard, Dear Reader. We know. Without much in the way of gigs since March, none of our usual festivals, delayed releases and a fog of mild panic laying heavy across the rolling hills of Musicland, there's been a real lack of the kind of stuff and nonsense with which we like to fill our time. If you cast your mind back to the start of these 'unprecedented events', however, you'll remember those three weeks where everyone seemed to become really, really interested in pub quizzes. Just without the pubs. Six months late seems about the right distance for us to finally get involved, so we're delighted to reveal with all the caveats about 'current restrictions' and 'a changing landscape' included - the first ever edition of Dork's Big Quiz Night. Taking place in a responsible, socially distanced way at London's Sebright Arms, you can sign up for the big event on Saturday, 7th November now. Registration will set you back £10 per team, with each team limited to four people. Prizes on offer include bar tabs (oooooh!), signed goodies (aaaaaaah) and much 'more' (errrrrrmwe'llworkthatoutlater). And yes, it will probably be reasonably silly. Sorry about that, we can't help ourselves. 33.


Ed Would If there's one thing many an artist has benefited from over the past few months, is having a bit of time to themselves. For Bombay Bicycle Club's Ed Nash, it's allowed him the freedom to crack on with something new. By: Sam Taylor. Photography: Matteo Sanguinetti-Bird.


d Nash - formerly operating under the guise of Toothless, currently of Bombay Bicycle Club, and now also of, erm, Ed Nash - is branching out with a new solo venture under his own name. Billed as more personal than ever before, it’s a proper DIY venture: home studio, no label - the works. While it wasn’t born from lockdown, the quieter-thanplanned months since his band’s in-hindsight-prettyprophetic pre-lockdown album ‘Everything Else Has Gone Wrong’, have been a great help in developing not only his new batch of songs, but in rediscovering his joy for music.

Hi Ed, how’s it going? What are you up to today?

Hey, thanks for having me back. All things considered, it’s going pretty well with me. I’m super excited to get this new music of mine out and start a new musical chapter. Today is looking pretty similar to all the other days over the past six months. I’ve got a small studio set up at home, which is where I’ve been spending most of my time, either working on new music or just playing guitar for the fun of it. After years of playing in bands, the joy of just playing kind of went away, so it’s great to have it back.

What can you tell us about your new music plans?

I’ve got a bunch of songs recorded and ready to go now. The plan is kind of not to have a plan, just put up the songs I’m happy with when they’re finished and see what happens. No label, everything recorded at home by me, totally DIY.

When did you start working on these tracks? Did it begin as a lockdown project? I’m very happy to say this isn’t a lockdown project and

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is something that has been in the pipeline for years now, lockdown just provided the impetus for me to get going with it. After I released my first solo record, I kept writing songs with the idea of putting out a follow-up album. During that time, we got Bombay back together, which took up most of my time, but I kept writing any chance I had with the idea of doing something whenever Bombay got quiet. With the pandemic making this year’s touring plans impossible, I jumped right back into doing my own stuff again. Some of the songs I will put out are three years old,

some were written in the past few weeks!

What else have you been up to over the past few months?

I’ve been trying to learn skills that will make me as selfsufficient as possible going forward. Like I said before I want everything to be as DIY as possible... I did an online graphic design course at the start of lockdown, so I would be able to do my own record covers and merch instead of relying on someone else. I love that I can just come up with an idea and follow it through without waiting around.

Aside from working on this project I’ve fallen for all the obvious lockdown activities, I’ve been baking sourdough and growing vegetables... basically living like a retired hippy.

How much does ‘the state of the world’ impact you when it comes to being creative?

Not a huge amount, to be perfectly honest, I follow the news and current affairs religiously but they never find their way into the music or art that I’m making. Music is probably more a distraction from these things for me, and hopefully, my music can provide a welcome distraction for other people too. I think it is incredibly important that people get political in their music, especially at the moment, but I don’t think it’s a necessity. I’ve never thought I was clued up or eloquent enough to get involved in that


How would you describe your new music’s vibe?

I never know how to answer this question! The thing I care about the most is writing songs that will stand up however they are played, be it strummed on an acoustic or with a four to the floor under them. So I guess they are all concise pop songs at their hearts. That’s always come first. Having said that, the second song I’m putting out is six minutes long, so maybe concise isn’t the right word. This batch of songs are all guitar-focused. I’ve fallen back in love with playing guitar, and I wanted to write parts that give the listener the same feeling whilst listening to them, be it a quiet fingerpicked guitar line or a ripping solo (apologies in advance for the guitar solos).

What led to you using your



real name this time - is it the end of Toothless?

Yeah, this is the end of Toothless. Toothless was a real learning curve for me, and I’m incredibly proud of the music I made, but with the new music I’m making and the place I’m at in my life that moniker doesn’t feel right anymore. The lyrics and vibe of these songs is homegrown and personal, and it didn’t feel right going forward with anything but my own name. In retrospect the name Toothless really spoke of all the anxieties I had about going out as a solo artist, I didn’t quite realise this at the time. Going into this new chapter, I feel very excited and confident, and I don’t think going under Toothless shows this.

What do you get out of your music being more personal, do you think? Are you looking for anything in particular?

I think honesty and authenticity is important in music, especially in lyrics. You can really tell if someone is phoning it in. Writing music about my personal experiences is the most authentic I can be.

What are your medium-tolong-term hopes for this project?

I’m enjoying making music the most I have ever probably... if I can continue to put out music that I’m excited about, that’s all I can hope for. Also, at some point, I would love to start playing shows again whenever it’s feasible, it’s always been the thing that I have enjoyed the most about making music. Hopefully, the wait isn’t too long now, and hopefully, there is still a live music scene to come back to!

Anything else we should know?

I guess on the point above it’s worth saying that the music industry is in a terrible place right now. It feels more important than ever to support your favourite musicians/venues however you can otherwise they might not be around when the dust settles after this pandemic. P

Royal Blood have 'returned' with a brand new track - the first taster of a third album expected 'soonish'. It's called 'Trouble's Coming' and is allegedly 'a bit funkier' than what came before. Heavens.

There are some things so predictable you don't need to mention them, but just in case anyone missed the obvious - yes, Michael Kiwanuka did win the Mercury Prize. Well done!

Reading & Leeds have announced a new batch of acts for 2021. In amongst the new additions are the likes of Girl In Red, Sports Team, The Wombats, Bloxx, Nova Twins, Gerry Cinnamon and Hot Milk.


day life

a 9

in the



Wake up and coffee. I tend to wake up and immediately go see if my brother wants to get coffee. The answer 9/10 times is “yes,” so we go out to our favourite cafe! I always get an oat milk vanilla latte.

1 2P M

Start my workday. Usually consists of promo for upcoming releases! So, doing interviews, grabbing videos, and whatever else is needed that day.

1: 30 P M

Break. I tend to scroll through Twitter and TikTok or play 8ball with friends on Game Pigeon. If I have enough time, sometimes I’ll walk out to a plant nursery and see what new leafy

mxmtoon THIS MONTH...

kiddos are available!


Prime lunchtime. Usually consists of me ordering from my favourite pizza spot, Roberta’s. I’m trying to cook more and lately I’ve been making a lot of pasta and noodle dishes! Today’s was peanut noodles.


Podcast time. I’ll record episodes for my daily podcast for a few hours. Takes me about 30 minutes to track an episode, and depending on the topic I’ll

end up diving into more research on the subject just because it’s interesting!

7 PM

Dinner time! My brother and I live together, so we also cook dinner together when we have the time! Our go-to recipe is salmon with white beans. It’s this older recipe that sounds kind of plain but is literally one of our favourite things to eat ever.


Think about going to bed. I tend to aimlessly scroll around on my phone before

bed, or I’ll watch some more episodes of whatever series I’m trying to get through. Right now I’m on season 3 of Community!

1 AM

Actually go to bed. After a good few hours of meandering online or on Netflix, I’ll try to sleep. if i can’t, I listen to Animal Crossing music with rain noises… it’s soothing! P mxmtoon’s ‘dusk’ EP is out now. Check out her podcast, 365 days with mxmtoon. 35.


Down With Boring.



« Romy Lifetime

Romy (out-of-the-xxdontcha-know?) has delivered a debut solo single. It's called 'Lifetime' and was written and recorded in London during lockdown. Described as "a song about the dream of being reunited with friends, family and the ones we love", we can probably assume it was more a hopeful vision of what's to come than an admission of breaking the rules and gathering in more than a group of six. A mix between colourful pop and clubby brilliance, hopefully there's much more on the way.


You've quite possibly already read an interview with Will in this very issue. Now, grab this episode of DWB for more 'fun'.

BUZZARD BUZZARD BUZZARD Fancy some live music? Well, Buzzard Buzzard and-indeed Buzzard have just that for you on this edition of DWB. What more can you ask for?


Do you fancy a staycation in the Isle of Wight? Yeah? Then you'll want Lauran's tips. Oh, and her new single too. Everyone's a winner. Search ‘Dorkcast’ on your favourite podcast platform, or listen in full at 8pm on Dork Radio via or TuneIn on iOS and Android

36. DORK



When we first met Kississippi, Zoe Reynolds' music was the kind of lo-fi, brilliant indie rock which dominates so much of our listening in 2020. Music that it would be hard to say was entirely ahead of its time, but certainly playing to an aesthetic which remains every bit as strong today. Now, she's back, but she's showing a whole new set of influences. 'Around Your Room' lives in the same musical universe as Taylor Swift and Carly Rae Jepsen - a perfect melding of pop and alternative that instantly pushes through the crowd. “This song tells a story of yearning and infatuation,” Zoe explains. “It's about being hopelessly enamoured in a way that took me back to my youthful perception of love. It represents those moments where you’re fully infatuated with someone, and they’re all you can think about.”

NYC 'collective' MICHELLE (all caps, if you please) have dropped yet another Really Very Good Indeed bop, 'UNBOUND' (see above). Talking about the track, the group explain: “UNBOUND came alive really fast. It’s about desire: the kind that oozes for the person you do want and the kind that evaporates for the person you don’t. We wanted to make something groovy and colourful, that could access nostalgia while also giving our listeners something new and danceable in a way we haven’t before.”

Around Your Room


Sunflower Bean

Moment In The Sun Sunflower Bean are backback-and-indeed-back with a brand new track, 'Moment In The Sun' - which is "about finally recognizing what is important in one’s life, the people you decide to spend it with" - sounds

like someone has recently ditched some toxic life choices of late, eh? “All of these things we distract ourselves with, the neverending mountain of career climbing, the pursuit of financial success, and the hope that after all that trying you could finally be cool. All of that is meaningless in comparison to one great day, hour, or moment with someone you really love.” Awwwwwwwww. Bless.


time the subject is crazy exboyfriends. This started out as a jokey song, something light-hearted, meant to be danced to... or so I thought. After the most recent flood of ‘me too’ call outs around men in the music scene, I returned to this song and felt somewhat surprised, because the lyrics actually aren’t so light-hearted, and they directly refer back to experiences related to the reckoning we just saw go down.”

Stupid Boys

Coach Party

Bleached are a band on a roll at the moment. Last year's full-length 'Don't You Think You've Had Enough' was a high bar to meet, but their latest track more than clears it. 'Stupid Boys is a fizzing, sassy banger. “Making light of a dark situation has been a tool I’ve used to get through challenging times,” says Jennifer Clavin from the duo. “Specifically, a way I’ve often honoured my recovery is to tell my story through my lyrics—this

Coach Party might be fresh out of the blocks, but they're already amassing a track record of top indie classics. Lead singer and bassist Jess Eastwood explains: “‘Can’t Talk, Won’t’ is when you have a lifelong habit of repressing and never really dealing with the things that have hurt you. Eventually you get to the point where tiny, everyday, meaningless things start to trigger all of that unresolved shit from your past.”

Can't Talk, Won't


Hero Of The Year

Solo Artist Of The Year

Villain Of The Year

Best Breakthrough Act

Album Of The Year

Most Exciting New Act For 2021

Debut Album Of The Year


IT'S THE COVIDSAFE SECTION! Best Live-Streaming Festival 'Wotsit'

Band That Needs To Make A Comeback Right Now Please

No.2 Of The Year Best Artist Live-Streaming ‘Wotsit’

Tweeter Of The Year

Most Anticipated Album Expected To Arrive In 2021 Most Missed Festival or Tour

Most Stylish Individual In Pop 2020

Most Wtf Moment Of The Year

Track Of The Year

Best Podcast

TO SUBMIT YOUR VOTE! 1. Decide your answers. This bit is sort of important. And no, Matty Healy isn't a podcast. Vote sensibly, please. 2. Fill in the form above in your very neatest handwriting. 3. Take a photo with your photo-enabled mobile device (or other camera). 4. Send said photo to us, either on social media (@readdork), or to We want your answers by MONDAY, 9TH NOVEMBER please, so no mucking about.

Best Release That Probably Wouldn't Have Happened Had Everyone Not Been Stuck At Home

Musician You'd Like On Your Zoom Quiz Team

Pop Star You’d Most Want To Be Stuck Inside With During Lockdown

Pop Star You’d Least Want To Be Stuck Inside With During Lockdown

ALTERNATIVELY! 1. Go to and fill in the form. Press submit. Done. Easy. Technology, eh? 37.



38. DORK


Alfie Templeman has announced his first-ever headline tour. He'll be hitting the road from 22nd April for a run that includes nights in Leeds, Bristol, Glasgow, and beyond.

Charli Adams' debut album, ‘Bullseye’ is due in 2021. Its title is inspired by a nickname Justin Vernon gave her after a chance darts-playing encounter in a Nashville bar.

Once tipped for trampolining stardom (yes, really), Edinburgh native Bow Anderson has hit her stride this year with a handful of irresistiblyretro pop tunes that couldn't have come from anyone else. By: Martyn Young.


ow Anderson wasn’t always destined to be a pop star.

When she was 13, it appeared that her life was set to go down an altogether different path as she did competitive trampolining and was really rather good at it. In fact, she was a part of Team GB and was flying high and setting her sights for sporting success. Sadly though, a freak accident resulted in a longterm injury that forced her to give up the sporting path and look to change course. What once seemed like a disaster instead turned into a golden opportunity for Bow to blossom into a performer and realise those hidden talents into something glorious. “It’s made me a much stronger person,” explains Bow of the adversity that started her journey to soon to be mega pop star. “I was 13 when I injured myself. I couldn’t walk, I had to do physio. I couldn’t hang out with my friends. It was a very rough and dark time. It made me grow up really fast. It kind of put life into perspective and showed me how short life is, and you have to go for what you want and be ambitious. I think everything happens for a reason and I wouldn’t be where I am today if that hadn’t happened.” That ambition has been the driving force that saw Bow move down from her home in Edinburgh to London when she was 19. “I came to London and didn’t know anyone, but I never got homesick as I knew that was what I wanted to do,” she says. The realisation that what she really wanted to do was sing and make music came while she was recuperating from her trampolining injury and was unable to dance at her performance school. “They encouraged me to

try to sing,” she said of her teachers. “I enjoyed it, but I never thought I was good enough,” confesses Bow. “Over time I got really into it though. I saw the film Dreamgirls, and that was my first introduction to a lot of Motown and soul music, and I fell in love with it. I went back and listened to classics like Etta James, Al Green and Otis Redding. I fell in love with music that comes from the heart. Music that’s believable and real. I worked hard and got to the point where I was like, yeah, I am good enough why not try to make this a career.” The self-belief that she discovered in those early days as a singer comes out in the series of singles she’s released this year that highlight her vibrant pop twist on classic sounds. “’Sweater’ is the first song I wrote that was Bow Anderson,” she explains. “The first song that was the blueprint, where everything made sense. ‘Sweater’ was trying to create that soul sound but make it more up to date and do something fresh that hasn’t been done. I love Amy Winehouse, and I love all the classics like Donny Hathaway and Aretha Franklin, but that’s been done, so it was about trying to put that into something fresh.” “It’s about a breakup and not being able to get over someone,” she continues. “The idea that your friends try and pick you up and make you feel better, but at the end of the day, it’s not enough, and you just feel lonely. It’s really relatable. That’s why everyone writes about love and heartbreak.” “’Heavy’ is another break-up song. It takes me back to one night when I was in Edinburgh, and I got way too drunk, and I got really upset and was walking home in the dark, just crying. It was the

idea that you’re not over someone,” she says of her second release this year. The next one though is the big one. ‘Island’, complete with his stylish and hugely fun synchronised swimming influenced video, is Bow’s biggest banger yet. “’Island’ is a different song. I don’t want all my songs to be about sadness and heartbreak,” laughs Bow. “I had a break up a few years ago, and after it, I was just miserable for weeks and always upset and sad, but one day I just clicked and had this realisation that life goes on and you’re a good person. You deserve good. It was a bit of selfloving and self-worth. That’s what ‘Island’ is about. The moment when you realise, I’m amazing in my own way, and I don’t need someone else to make me happy. It’s a sassy song, but it’s uplifting.” “For the first two singles, I was new to being in front of the camera and having to sing and act and do all these things. It was intimidating,” says Bow about her development as a performer. “By this third single though I got into my zone and I had so much fun. I was really happy with this video. Now that I’m getting more comfortable, it makes it more exciting because I’m thinking, well, what else can I do?” Good question, it seems the answer is anything she wants to do. Bow Anderson’s ambition is burning bright. “The dream is to headline Glastonbury and have people sing back your songs,” she beams excitedly. Ultimately though the real satisfaction comes from knowing that your music is truly resonating with people. “As long as it speaks to people and makes them feel good in whatever way I feel like I’ve done my job. I want my music to make people feel better.” P

Hope Tala


ondon artist Hope Tala has many talents. Turning down the opportunity to study for a Master's degree in order to pursue music, her love of literature comes through in everything she touches, with songs that weave rich tales of life and love against a backdrop of punchy beats and seductive, cooler-than-you melodies. Her new EP, 'Girl Eats Sun' is a proper statement of intent. When did you first realise you wanted to create music? I was doing music as an AS-Level at the time, and fell in love with the process of producing a song for the composition element of the grade. It really sparked a fire in me. Do songs find you, or do you have to go searching for them? I search for them in that I'll go through the notes on my phone and scan any little poems or phrases I've written for lyrical fodder. But I think there has to be a sort of equilibrium of energy where the song is out in the universe for me to catch on that particular day, and I'm in the right frame of mind to take hold of it. Does your love of literature inform your music? The more I read, the better I write. I would never be writing music if I wasn't a big reader. It's rare that I consciously start writing a song based on a storyline I've read or tried to emulate a particular author or anything like that, but I think subconsciously, and indirectly, my lyrical style has been cultivated almost completely

By: Sam Taylor.

by what I've read. Was your new EP put together during lockdown? I wrote 'Drugstore' in lockdown, but I'd made the other songs previously in the second half of 2019. All of those songs I wrote from scratch in the studio, which marked a big change for my writing process - every song on my first two EPs (other than 'Valentine' from 'Starry Ache') I had written outside of the studio, then taken to a producer. I wrote 'Anywhere' from 'Sensitive Soul' in the library at uni. It feels really assertive. Are you generally a bold person, or is that something music pulls out of you? I'd say I'm a bold person. Definitely a very assertive person - I've always been that way. I don't see any way of surviving and succeeding as a woman of colour that doesn't involve being assertive - of course, assertion is often misunderstood as either bossiness or aggression, which has caused very harmful stereotypes for women - Black women in particular. You can't really win in that respect. But assertion is a particularly useful trait to have in a studio environment, in terms of protecting my sound. Do you have any favourite places to hang out in London? The Southbank, and anywhere there are bookshops. I'm quite extroverted, and bookshops are the only places I can be alone for hours on end and not want company. P Hope Tala's 'Girl Eats Sun' EP is out 30th October. 39.


First On...

Tungz By: Sam Taylor. Photography: Cameron Nicoll.

Rose Gray

Growing up in a family of creatives, Walthamstow’s Rose Gray exudes that effortless confidence that only comes from those who thoroughly enjoy what they're doing. The former Brit Schooler has embraced her love of the 90s with her latest pair of tracks: the playful and All Saints-y 'Same Cloud', produced by Easy Life's Rob Milton, and a cover of Saint Etienne's 'Nothing Can Stop Us'.


Bangladeshi newcomer ​ Dameer​is absolutely nailing the art of utterly charming, smooth bedroom-pop bops at the moment. The 19-yearold's latest drop, 'Sun' is an early teaser from an EP due very soon indeed. FFO boy pablo et al.


Porij are funny boys. The breakfast-themed bunch (one of them's called Eggo, another Jammo) have not long released their debut single 'Dirty Love', a song about... well, it's probably easier to let the band explain. "You’re invited in to discover [a] cult’s toxic euphoria as they live life dictated by a freaky Queen," says Eggy. "Persuasive with hints of kink we hope you come join the oat gang." A bit Hot Chip, a bit alt-J, it's all very strange, but something you'll keep coming back to. 40. DORK


ristol-based outfit Tungz make songs that are lighter, funkier and a whole lot more enjoyable than the resigned title of their new EP, ‘Why Do Anything?’, would suggest. Their second body of work, it’s very likely to be one of the remainder of the year’s most cheering, as chilly winter nights draw in and the need for a good time intensifies. Co-singers Nicky Green and Jamie Maier have teamed up to tell us more about their band, and what they’re up to.

How did you lot meet, have you known each other long?

We met through playing music, but we were all in the same friendship group too (or the group formed around the music - hard to say). But Rick, Nicky and Ollie were playing in the living room of Jamie and Rick’s house. Some cover or other needed some wah guitar, so Jamie came down in his pyjamas, and we played together as a group for the first time. That would have been in 2014, so a whole six years! It feels both shorter and longer.

Who were the artists that inspired you when you were first starting out? Has that changed over the years? When we started out we

“WE JUST WANTED TO MAKE MUSIC PEOPLE COULD DANCE TO” were fresh off of playing a lot of parties - we were playing a lot more straight funk, James Brown, the JBs, anything written by Nile Rogers. Making our own music initially we just wanted to make music people could dance to. We always keep a groove in the music, and there will be some deep-rooted influences shining through, but we stopped trying to make funk a while ago. We still listen to all the oldies but collectively we listen to all sorts of modern stuff; Jungle, Kaytranada, Benny Sings, Bombay Bicycle Club, Nao, The Paul Institute. I also think as you start playing and people make references to other acts you might be aligned with they can start to influence you too - I (Jamie) didn’t know much about Michael McDonald before last year when a DJ mentioned him, but now he’s a big old fave/ inspiration. Maybe we’re just progressing through the decades. In 2030 we’ll be inspired by Ke$ha.

What have Tungz been up to so far, any particular highlights? Rockin’ and rollin’, recording and grooving in the city of Bristol. We’ve put out two self-released singles, one EP, one sweet UK tour, three homemade music videos, made our own TV show and had a comic strip made about us. Getting picked up by Jamz Supernova’s label for our first EP was a crazy moment. And now we’re releasing with the indie label Heist or Hit. Lots of our favourite shows have been supports; Donny Benet, Her’s, Franc Moody, Boy Pablo. It’s been a lot of fun - can’t wait to get back on the road.

How did you approach putting together your new EP?

With our first EP, we were pretty much just producing the songs that we’d been playing live for a couple of years. This time we really got a chance to look at all the songs we’d written and consider what we wanted the EP to sound like. We

even went back into writing mode for a bit when we felt like we weren’t quite there with the selection of songs we had. We took a bit longer to make it - it’s a longer EP, but I think each song really got the care and attention it deserved. We produce everything ourselves, so we’re always gonna evolve with our process. We’ve really got hold of our drum production on this one. Rick has been perfecting recording from home and Nicky’s getting high on samples and drum loops. We’ve always recorded at home, so it’s been pretty normal for us to be stuck here, sending each other tracks and ideas.

What else have you got coming up?

We’re gonna do more of our DIY videos because we love those. We’d like to get more ambitious than we ever have before, but still with no budget and making it all ourselves. We’re thinking about making a bunch of videos all tied together into some overarching theme or narrative. If we say it in interviews enough, it might even commit us to actually having to do it. Plus it might land us that lucrative multipicture movie deal that we’ve really been angling for the whole time. P

Tungz’ EP ‘Why Do Anything?’ is out 30th October.


Rosehip Teahouse are gearing up for a new EP; the Welsh dream-poppers' new effort 'Fine' is set for release on 9th December. Check out their early teaser ' A Million Times' online now.

Molly Payton


ew Zealandraised but London-based newcomer Molly Payton arrives pretty much fullyformed. Her songs are rich,

accomplished and instantly relatable in a way that belies her only-a-couple-of-years on the job. Her first EP ‘Mess’ was an angsty, low-key collection co-produced with fellow bopster and school pal Oscar Lang, while her second, ‘Porcupine’, is a full-on, noholds-barred statement of intent. Molly takes a break from moving house (“I’m boxing my things up”) to fill us in.

Hi Molly - has what you get up to day-to-day had to change during the past few months? Bit of a weird time, isn’t it.

I was away for two or three months in New Zealand and the US at the beginning of the year and then came straight back into UK lockdown, so I think I kind of lost any idea of what my day to day was! I’ve been lucky enough recently to get back in the studio and see a few of my close friends, so things feel a little less weird.

How are you coping with all of it? Do huge events like this bleed into your music at all?

At first, I found it really hard, during lockdown I experienced proper writer’s block for the first time ever and I didn’t write a single song for about two months (I used to write multiple a week). After I got past that though I think I started to view it almost as a blessing. Things had felt full-on for a while before lockdown, and I think it was nice for me to have time to just noodle and

Salem - the new band from Creeper's Will Gould - will play two socially-distanced shows in London's New Cross Inn on 30th October, and Southampton's 1865 the following day, Halloween.

Returning in style, INHEAVEN’s James and Chloe have revealed their brand new project Wings Of Desire, along with new tracks '001' and ‘Runnin’ - check them out online now.

Molly Payton exudes that coming-of-age, summer-with-your-pals warmth that we've all been missing during this rubbish year of lockdown. By: Sam Taylor.

watch movies and read books.

How long ago did you leave school, has it been 100% music for you since then? I finished school in May last year, and I think it’s probably been around 90% music and 10% pub jobs since then, hahaha.

Have you always known you want to be a musician? Kind of, but not in the way that I am now. I did classical piano from when I was three until I was 15 - which was when I picked up the guitar and started writing - so it’s always been my ‘thing’. I didn’t take it seriously as a career option though until after I moved to London when I was about 17.

You still live in London, right? Where are your favourite places to hang out?

I do! I miss New Zealand so much, so I’m always looking for little pockets of nature to hang out in. I spend a lot of the time in Hampstead Heath and the pubs around that area.

Your new EP is great, what was the timeline like on putting it together?

I recorded most of it with Oli Barton Wood last summer, my first summer out of high school. The only exception being ‘Going Heavy’ which I wrote with him about a month ago and got so excited about that we’ve decided to release it as the next single around my EP.

Did you write the songs specifically for the EP, or is it more collating tracks you already had? I definitely knew I was writing the songs for the EP, but I still think of each song


as a separate thing rather as part of a body of work.

How did you find working with a producer? Had you collaborated much beforehand? Working with Oli was great;

it made everything feel a lot more legitimate than before. Oscar Lang produced my first EP when we were at school together, but at the time I had intended to only put it out on SoundCloud, so it felt more like a fun project I was

creating with a mate than anything else!

Where do you like to look for inspiration, both in music and in life?

My own relationships, friendships and mental health, and the way that other artists have talked about those things mostly within film and poetry. Wong Kar Wai’s films inspire me a lot as well as Leonard Cohen’s book, The Flame.

What else are you working on at the mo? Lots and lots of writing and collaborating with other people while it’s still allowed! P

Molly Payton’s EP ‘Porcupine’ is out now. 41.


Manchester newcomer Abbie Ozard has shared her fab new single, 'True Romance'. It's a) very very 90s and b) absolutely bloody brilliant. It's streaming now.

renforshort has shared her new single, 'afterthoughts'.It's taken from the soundtrack for upcoming Disney film Clouds - isn't that swish? Yes, yes it is.

Austrian-Brazilian Londonbased singer-songwriter Vanilla Jenner, aka Viji, has announced her debut EP. 'Are You In My Head' is out on 13th November via Dirty Hit.

TV Priest

TV Priest are experts in balancing the political with the personal. Flying out of the traps less than a year after their formation with their debut album 'Uppers', artist by day, frontman by night, Charlie Drinkwater tells us more.


By: Jamie MacMillan.


ho the hell wants to listen to this, another group of dudes again?" Two

minutes into our chat with TV Priest frontman Charlie Drinkwater, and he's the one asking the difficult questions. The London band might be the latest arrival into an increasingly crowded postpunk field, but one listen to their debut album 'Uppers' marks them out as something to still get excited about. A very 2020 record packed with political angst, despair and uncomfortable questions (no party bangers here, folks), it has leapfrogged them into must-see status when live music eventually returns from its hibernation. So who on earth are TV Priest, then? It's highly likely you know Charlie's work already from his 'other' job having designed the artwork for Sports Team's debut record, as well as the latest from Fontaines DC. Life had taken him, and his childhood friends, Alex Sprogis (guitar), Nic Smith (bass) and Ed Kellan (drums) in different directions but there was an inevitability about them crashing back into each other's orbits. That re-union eventually led to the formation of the band and that one solitary live performance in an industrial freezer in Hackney Wick right before lockdown froze everything all by itself. It sounds like the kind of apocryphal story that the music industry is fuelled by, but it turns out to be an entirely real situation, as Charlie picks up the story. "Man, it was fun. It wasn't like some kind of fucking Manchester Free Trade Hall

42. DORK

gig or anything though, it was just our mates." (MFTH was the host to a legendary Sex Pistols gig back in Ye Olde Days that saw many famous bands of the future in attendance. Ask your Grandad). "A friend of a friend knew someone who had a venue, but when we got there, it was fucked," he remembers with a laugh. "There was a deep fat fryer on the stage!" Like everyone, the pandemic put paid to any follow-up performances, but the band had plenty more to say as their early singles 'House Of York' and 'RunnerUp' soon showed. Those first tracks felt like discovering a secret time capsule of a band that had been lost to the past before you could get the


chance to see them. You could be forgiven for expecting TV Priest to bide their time then, rather than following with a debut record this quickly. Charlie and the gang had other ideas however, though

he does admit to being tempted to wait and that he didn't even know if it was worth it. "To be honest, even though I've worked in music for a long time, I'm as clueless as anyone," he laughs. "So

when it came to actually releasing music, I actually felt really powerless. It was a really conscious thing of like, I don't want to go to Alex from Sports Team or Carlos from Fontaines and be like 'dude, check out this band!' Fucking terrible idea, they don't want to hear my shit band‌" For an obviously politically left-wing band, and record, 'Uppers' treads a fine line between asking tough questions and providing its own answers. And of course, one glance at Twitter over the last few months will tell you that you can't be a postpunk band without dealing in politics at some point or another. "I think our politics have been established through the album and how we're framing ourselves. We're all


album 'Uppers' is out 13th November.

T Truman

By: Sam Taylor.

obviously left-wing to varying degrees, so there was always an intention to talk about in the same way that I speak about it with my friends in the pub, you know?" Charlie continues carefully, fully aware of the territory that he's wandering into. "It's been really interesting looking at contemporaries across the spectrum online. The left, by its very nature, has this polyphony of voices but the trouble is that if you're rightwing, then it's very easy to be united on things like low taxes and cutting benefits. There are obviously internal wrangling, but ultimately no-one's calling out others across the right for being less right-wing than them?" He hits full speed. "Even bands like Sports Team, who I think have been unfairly maligned because the politics are there to see in a lot of their songs, just not as overtly. These guys aren't the enemy, you know? Let's aim at the right people." It is obviously a topic that he is fiercely passionate about but eventually, he stops himself with a laugh. "Sorry, that was a very rambling answer. It just upset me. So many bad things are happening… Maybe I just got Bad Thing Fatigue." Returning to talk of making a debut record at this 'later' time in the life, he admits disparagingly with a grin that the band are "the fucking last gang in town in leather jackets," but feels that it is only now, after they have been through the right experiences, that they could have produced the work that they have. "I don't mind that [we're a bit older], because I hope that I mean that our music is inclusive and shows that art isn't limited to an age or a demographic. It might be limited because of the fucking Chancellor and economic circumstances, though. But you know, it shouldn't be." Despite those obstacles, it's pretty obvious what Charlie is yearning for. "I think you understand pretty quickly the reason why bands and people continue to go to gigs," he says. "It's a craving, that communion, people getting into a space and communicating with each other." He breaks into one more big laugh, before signing off. "Man, I miss it. I can't believe we've only played one gig… What a mad position to be in." P TV Priest's debut



ast year, shoegaze fivesome Junodream spun their woozy, 90s-indebted slow jams into two EPs heavy with atmospherics and emotion. Prepped for

a stellar 2020, this year, well - you know. They were meant to have just played the Omeara in London, but best-laid plans and all that. Postponing the headliner to next spring, they’ve instead been working on new music.

Hi Junodream, how’s it going? What are you up to today? It’s all go today: we’re mixing our next release, plotting music videos, and dreaming big.

How did you lot get together then, have you known each other long? We met at school and formed a terrible band but then after years of hard work we’re now in another one that’s not bad.

How did you land on Junodream’s sound? What were those discussions like?

It wasn’t really a discussion, just years of getting it wrong until finally, we started to get it right. Sad and spacey - that’s our common ground.

By: Sam Taylor. Photography: Ned Botwood.

“WE DON’T HAVE THE ANSWERS, BUT WE’RE HOPEFUL” Can you remember the first song you wrote together?

Off the record, it was a four-minute pop ballad about Romeo, Juliet and erectile dysfunction when we were 15. On the record, the first song we ever wrote was Galactica two years ago.

We hear you’re working on a new mixtape, how’s it going? The grapevine does not lie. It’s coming together very nicely.

Has creating during a pandemic been tough?

The creativity has come in waves. Yes, we have more time than normal to focus on writing, but a lack of activity or change in the environment means the thought-tank can get pretty low at times.

Where are you lot based now? You’ve spent time in both Bristol and London, right? We each went to various universities in Bristol then graduated to London. How

we miss Bristol.

Do you all live together, Monkeees-style?

Tried it when we left school. We all shared a small twobedroom flat in Kentish Town. Never again.

What’s your fave thing about being a musician? Being in the studio and realising you’ve got a potential number 50 on your hands.

If Junodream imploded tomorrow, what would you do instead? 2-nodream.

How are you feeling about your April tour, do you think gigs ‘n that will be back to normal?

Nervous as hell. Will we be able to play our instruments? Will we be able to play? We don’t have the answers, but we’re hopeful.

What else is on the agenda for you guys?

Whispers of an album. P

Junodream play London’s Omeara on 22nd April.

Working under the name T Truman, The Vaccines keyboardist Timothy Lanham has branched out on his own with a highlystylised retro-pop solo project, dropping smooth bops like no one's business. It's proper cheerful, super playful stuff, and there's an EP out too - 'Born To Be Right'. Pop it on, and get to know him a little better via our handy Q&A. What was the catalyst for you to launch a solo project? I started writing a string of piano driven songs that came really easily and I was having a lot of fun with them, I felt like they deserved a home in a project. What was the thinking behind using a pseudonym? Does it offer you more freedom? I have found I like one step of separation from my lyricism. This allows that. Also funnelling creativity through a caricature helps keep my ideas more streamlined. What's your new EP about? How did you approach curating the tracklisting? The five songs on the EP are the five that I liked enough to finish, they all relate back to the character of T Truman and a somewhat self-centred outlook on the world around him. What are the main lessons you've taken away from your time in The Vaccines that have helped with this project? Productivity and completing the process. Where do you hope to take T Truman? I am going to continue to make the best art I can and the rest will depend on where T Truman takes me. P T Truman's EP 'Born To Be Right' is out now. 43.

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e're sitting in a pub garden in Peckham on one of the last mild evenings of 2020, and Shame guitarist Eddie Green is picking at the label on a bottle of alcohol-free beer. "You know in

Germany this is marketed as a sports drink," he grins as he pours it into a glass and tries to avoid getting the resulting foam on his shoes. "A runner finishes a race and has a big stein of the stuff, at least on the adverts." As he chats, frontman Charlie Steen turns up, blonde hair and red leather jacket making him pretty hard to miss as he scans the garden looking for our table. Drummer Charlie Forbes isn't far behind, and the two seat themselves next to Eddie. "Joe Strummer from The Clash ran a marathon in France after like 12 pints once," Steen says, picking up the thread of Eddie's conversation. "Few hours in the pub into a 26mile run, what a man. It was during one of those publicity stunts when they claimed he had vanished off the face of the earth, but really the label had just paid for him to go and have a nice holiday in Paris," his eyes widen. "Wish we had that kind of money to throw around." We're catching up with the band as they gear up for their re-entry into the world, with new single 'Alphabet' just released and a date at Electric Brixton selling out soon afterwards. It's the first new music in a while – debut album 'Songs of Praise' came out in January 2018 and the punishing tour schedule that followed didn't leave all that much room for writing and recording. "We were so very tired," laughs Eddie as he rolls a cigarette. "The thing about this music lark is it's not all fun and games, and we reached a point of complete mental hammering. We just needed a break. So we took one, as we were bloody well entitled to, if I say so myself."

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"Well, that and we didn't have any songs written..." Forbes adds with a smile. "We took the opportunity to live our lives, that's all," Eddie continues. "Steen buggered off to Cuba, I went to Berlin on my own and had an... interesting week. The less said about that, the better, though. A truly depraved time." "We had a lovely time in Cuba, very relaxing," enthuses Steen, cutting off Eddie's descent into

depravity. "Me and Sean [Coyle-Smith, Shame's other guitarist] went over there. No Wi-Fi, no distractions - just a hell of a lot of drinking. Went and saw the boat that Castro came over to Cuba in and listened to Cubans talking shit about America. A real fun time." "Doesn't sound like there's much of a touring circuit there though, so I can't say we'll be going back as a band any time soon," Eddie says dryly. "But to go back to the



big question of where exactly we've been these past couple of years, there were a couple of things really. Firstly we kept having to move from space to space after The Queen's Head [the Brixton pub where Shame formed and rehearsed in as teenagers] closed, which just isn't very conducive to songwriting. "Secondly, shit just kept creeping up on us. We'd think that the first album campaign was over with and then someone would tell us we were going back to America for three weeks, and it was just like, 'Oh, are we? Let's go back and do that then'. So the obstacles were there, added to the general exhaustion and the by-products of two years of extremely heavy touring which did us in a bit." "We just basically said yes to every gig," says Steen, sipping a pint of Guinness. "We were told we were an amazing live band, and we enjoyed playing live-" "Yeah and we wanted to actually make some fucking money!" Eddie adds. "The only way to make money as a band is to hammer the touring circuit, the only way." "Which is why we're all millionaires now," Steen says sarcastically. "Well no," replies Eddie. "But it is why now there aren't any gigs I've got to leave here in five minutes to go and work behind the bar at one of my two jobs." "I actually got fired from my job the other day, which was nice." Says Forbes. "Laid off eight staff all at once, and I was one of the lucky few." "Wait for the redundancy bloodbath in a month or so," says Eddie darkly. "No deal Brexit, homelessness, public discontent. Got a good couple of years coming up I reckon."

Steen: “Music videos always used to be a case of us being on the road, being sent an idea and sort of running with it. That’s not to disregard any of our videos in the past, but we’re definitely a bit more involved now because of lockdown. “The video for ‘Alphabet’ with Tegan Williams was something we were really interested in and we got to have a few conversations with her and move forwards from there, and that collaborative process is the kind of direction we want to go on. It wasn’t like we got a spare second to look at something while we were on the road, we were actually involved in the whole process, without trying to have too much influence on what she was trying to do.” 47.


This wild oscillation between genuine excitement and gallows humour is Shame's main form of communication, each band member bouncing off one another so quickly that it's hard to keep up with what's sarcasm and what's serious. Politics bump up against flippant jokes and anecdotes about insults from fans online ("I don't think abuse is too strong a word for the anger people are throwing our way about releasing an album," says Forbes, who handles the Twitter account). Throughout it all there's a sense that they're just mates in the pub who still can't believe they've managed to hoodwink the world into handing them critical acclaim and a way out of working shit jobs, once they can tour again. Eddie laughs at the prospect. "Nah, I always expected the acclaim, we were born for it," he jokes. "Of course it was a surprise, but if anything that only adds to the pressure this time around, because whilst it's great that we've got a builtin fanbase, we have no idea what they're gonna think. The first album was for people to stumble across and tell us they loved it, this one is more us handing it to people who are there waiting – but they might hate it." "That pressure means it would have been easy to just look at the first album, see that people liked it and do it again," says Forbes. "That'd be the safe option, but where's the fun in that?" asks Eddie, finishing his isotonic sports beer. "We

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started writing and figured out we could do a lot more interesting and innovative stuff than we could first time around, so we ran with that really. It seemed the better choice than trying to make a carbon copy of the first record." "And we actually had the chance to do interesting things with this one, too," stresses Steen. "The first one was written when we were at school, when we had five gigs at the Windmill coming up, and we had to work out what the fuck we were going to play. This time we had more room to breathe and to work out what we were doing." As he talks, Eddie rolls another cigarette and stands up. "I've got to go to work," he apologises while checking train times on his

phone. If there's one thing to hammer home the precarious position that the music industry is currently in due to COVID-19, it's a member of a label-signed, critically acclaimed band having to cut album press short to pull pints at a Brixton pub. Forbes shrugs as Eddie leaves. "It's been an insane few months," he says. "Not just the financial side of things, which has been... interesting. But just the lack of gigs in general. Literally, all we've done since we were teenagers is play shows and tour. Even two months between tours feels fucking weird, so this is just horrible, absolutely shit." Steen nods in agreement. "It's not been good, but it does make you appreciate what you had. I personally

needed a break and was grateful to have that time off, but as lockdown continues and live music seems further and further out of reach, then it does make you wonder what you had and how much I personally didn't appreciate it at all. "I remember complaining about shows all the time, and sometimes that was because of our mental state, but a lot of the time it was sheer apathy, which this has shaken us out of. I'm not worried about the future of live performance - it's an inevitable force, and it will come back. What I am worried bout is bands and venues who won't or can't adapt to this situation we're in, that's the real tragedy. I think about when we started out, and we got a free

practise space, and we could play gigs in pubs for a bit of cash..." "Even if it's just 50 quid between you," Forbes cuts in. "That's a little something, and it makes you want to keep pushing on. At the moment, why would people spend hours honing their sound and practising when there's nothing to practice for? Add to that the fact that people have no money at all right now and suddenly fucking around in a room with guitars isn't a possibility for so many young people who would otherwise be in bands. Not that it hasn't affected us, we've had to delay the album for months because of it." That delay ended with the previously mentioned release of 'Alphabet' and the subsequent announcement




Eagle eyed YouTube fans may have noticed a series of bizarre interviews on Shame’s page, with Fat White Family, Fontaines D.C. and Mel B (?!) chatting nonsense with the band. There’s also some choice editing which involves a lot of word art and a badly Photoshopped man with a slug’s body flying across the screen at one point. We asked Steen what the hell it was all about. Steen: “Over lockdown we were all chatting with our mates, a lot of which happen to be in bands, so we thought it’d be a funny way to put some content out there and remind people we were still alive. The main influence on all the dumb editing was Eric Andre, which is a style a lot of people hate but which we all absolutely love. We did have to rein it in a bit for two of them, which were Shaun Ryder and John Cooper Clarke, who is a massive hero of mine. “I think basically in the long run a lot of people didn’t ask for it and don’t want it, but we got to have some funny chats with our mates, and then found it hilarious to edit it in the way we did, so at least we had fun. “I plead the fifth on how we got Mel B to come on the show, but she’s a funny Northern soul and an incredible person. Tried to convince us we could play Madison Square Garden, then admitted to smoking fags, which I don’t think she’s ever done before – the scoop of the century!”

of a homecoming show at Electric Brixton in April next year, which sold out in short order. A few eyebrows could be heard raising at the choice of Electric Brixton over the much larger Brixton Academy, but Steen says it's not a lack of ambition that forced their hand, but a lack of knowing what the world will look like in six months. "We initially planned to do the Brixton Academy," he explains. "Growing up in South London, that was our Mecca. Not Ally Pally or anything like that, Brixton is the one". "I've been going to shows there since I was about eight years old," says Forbes. "It's almost opposite the Queen's Head where we started, too," Steen continues. "So whilst it's incredible that Electric Brixton sold out, it's only this fucking pandemic which made us rein it in a bit. We didn't want all this build-up to what would have been the biggest show of our careers in our eyes, only to have to pull it last minute. We just had to be cautious and admit that we had no idea what was going to happen in the future. But I promise you, we'll do

Brixton Academy soon, and we'll have the biggest stage show you've ever seen. 75 dancers, a marching band, the London Symphony Orchestra, the New York Symphony Orchestra flown in, but only to play the trombone. An army of trombones on stage with us, maybe John Lydon on harmonica to back us up..." "Did you see Lydon in that fucking MAGA T-shirt?" Forbes asks. "What a fucking loser, what an embarrassment. Still get him on harmonica though, just to teach him a lesson. "I think we're definitely glad that we've sold out that Electric Brixton date," he says. "In general I think there was a small voice in our heads saying 'We haven't left this too long, have we?" "It hasn't even been that long!" Steen protests. "We released an album, played about 178 shows and then a pandemic hit, so we haven't been sitting around doing nothing. We played a gig this year, we didn't vanish. There's nothing we can do about how long it's all taken, other than to get it rolling again and keep it on track. "We're writing now, too, for lack of anything else to


Shame at London's Electric Ballroom, back in 2018. What a show, eh? 49.


HIT! Why did you make the ‘All The Hits’ EP, and how did you pick the tracks?

do. Although there lies the problem, because every fucker is writing an album now aren't they – we'll be flooded. We were allowed a break, but now we're ready to push forwards again. I spent most of our time off writing in a tiny pink room anyway – 'the womb', I call it." He laughs at our visible confusion, explaining: "I used to live in a nursing home in Peckham, one of those guardianship things where you get cheap rent for living in condemned buildings, basically. I wasn't there legally..." Forbes laughs. "You've got to print that, it's very punk rock, people will love it." "I was told if I could build myself a room I could live there," Steen continues. "So I made this bedroom out of this tiny closet and painted the walls and ceiling pink. I was in my mum's stomach for ten months, so I called it 'the womb'. I've been evicted from the womb now actually, but that's where I wrote most of this album."

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Talk of writing the album turns to their hopes when it finally sees the light of day. While 'Songs of Praise' received acclaim across the board, it only tickled the Top 40, peaking at No.32. "At the time, getting a Top 40 was a massive deal," says Steen. "We were told throughout the campaign that to get into the Top 40 would be great, but that was before any of the other bands that we were mates with released a record. Since then the playing field has changed completely, and now it isn't 'can you get into the Top 40', it's 'can you get into the Top 5'. That's the reality of the situation, which might be a bit intimidating, but it's a great thing to have, and it's great to see the audience for this kind of music opening up. "Having said that, you spend all this time worrying about chart positions, and then you look and realise that 'Rumours' by Fleetwood Mac is still in the Top 20 or whatever. It's like, 'oh for fuck's sake', you know?"


What Shame are too modest to say is that they blazed a trail for more than a few of those Top 5 albums,

and it could be argued that the expanding audience for punk and post-punk influenced bands in the UK

Forbes: “The 'All The Hits' EP was a fun time. We made it because we got Rough Trade’s Album of the Year, so it went out as a bonus to subscribers there, and we sold it on tour too.” Steen: “Me and Sean were best mates growing up, and the film soundtrack that ‘Big Rock Candy Mountain’ was on just constantly played in our houses, so that was us paying tribute to that really. “‘Feliz Navidad’ I have no idea about, but I think it was probably the most fun we've ever had in the studio, we loved it. “‘Where's Bill Grundy Now’ was... when we started at the Queen's Head, Television Personalities were one of those bands that were, for me and Josh at least, quite important in showing this other, lo-fi side to music. The lyrics really capture something, the humour that they had in their music, and I think Josh just loved their vibe.”

started with the release of their debut. Steen shrugs at the possibility. "There are bands other than us doing this stuff, and they're succeeding on their own merits," he says. "Like IDLES," Forbes offers as an example. "Obviously we're very different bands, but they've got balls to go for it and commit to being a band. When we say we quit jobs to be in a band we mean working in pubs, they were dentists and shit like that. It takes a lot of guts to quit a job you spent years training for to tour tiny venues and hope you can make a living at it." "It's not like we're all in competition, either," adds Steen. "Fontaines are doing really well, but we're good


mates with them, so that's great to see. Grian actually called me after hearing the new album and told me how much he loved it, which was nice. He also told me it was really funny, and I remember being like, 'is it?' I don't think I meant for it to be funny, but I keep hearing that from people. I took the lyrics quite seriously, but I think that I'm always so fixated on the mundane and making that extraordinary that the contrast there has a lot of humour in it. Humour is a big part of how we function as

a band, but I didn't go into it trying to take the piss out of anything or trying to give the commentary that I was on the first one. It's a rock and a hard place, trying not to be too serious, but also not too flippant." "A lot of it comes down to that British mentality," he continues. "We know what we want to do, and we know we don't want to play stripped-back sets at pubs for the next 30 years, but we also want to maintain the elements that come with that, part of which is

humour. We're naturally selfdeprecating, but I think that's such a British thing, to do something you love and then take the piss out of it and talk it down." "We do also hate ourselves, so that helps," grins Forbes. "The first record definitely has more of that humour and that commentary in it, because I was 17 when I wrote most of it," says Steen, rolling yet another cigarette. "The new album is much more personal because I'd been through a load of


that shit that you think is so cliché to write about until it happens to you. Heartbreak is something you think you'll never write about, then it happens to you, and suddenly there aren't enough words to dedicate to it. Also with more political stuff, I think it's best not to foreground it in the music, because what's the point? It'd be funnier if a guitar band in 2020 wasn't left-wing, they'd definitely get a lot more articles written about them." One place where the band's politics do get

foregrounded is on their Twitter account, where antitory tweets often outnumber band promotion. One recent example saw the band state: "said it before and will say it again unequivocally – if you voted tory, do not listen to our music. Have a look in the mirror and ask yourself how you became such a selfish individual." Forbes laughs as he's reminded of the tweet. "Yeah, I do often get into trouble for tweets like that. My thinking is that even though we don't want to write overtly political songs, we still want people to know our beliefs and where we stand on issues, so why not tweet about it? My mum works at St George's [hospital], so obviously, a lot of it is quite close to me as well." "I don't really understand Twitter," says Steen. "I just go on Instagram because it has pictures. But of course we're left-wing, and we have to make that obvious because for it to not be obvious is a problem and a dilemma as far as we're concerned. But I don't think that's necessarily very interesting – I remember saying a while back that we should out ourselves as a Lib Dem band. The only Liberal Democrats in town, I think that would be the most hilarious move a band could make, just outing themselves as centrists." He pauses as someone tries to get his attention – a fan has spotted him and worked up the courage to come and tell him how great Shame are. Forbes grins. "Stick that in the writeup, it makes us look popular!" Well wishes duly accepted and drinks finished, the remaining members of Shame start to work out their next moves for the night. Asked if they're still hanging out as much and are as good friends as they were before the band got big, Forbes shakes his head. "It's gone way beyond that now. I think of us more like cogs in a machine, a good machine though – like a really nice oven." P Shame's

second album is coming very soon indeed.

Awww bless! It's Shame's Dork cover shoot for our February 2018 issue. How they've grown. 51.

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ound healing is a type of therapy that's said to improve a person's emotional and physical well-being through the application of healing frequencies around the body. It's a practice that

dates way back to Ancient Greece, but over the past few months, it's made its way into Ashton Irwin's house. "Matt calls himself a scientist, and I agree," Ashton's talking about his housemate and co-producer of 'Superbloom', Matt Pauling. "His main goal in life is to create something that can heal people through sound and frequency." That's sort of exactly what's been happening for Ashton since February. Since finishing up tour with his usual band, 5 Seconds Of Summer, at the end of last year and finding himself with little to do as the pandemic took hold, the opportunity to create a solo album he'd always considered presented itself, and with it a chance to rediscover himself. The album – titled 'Superbloom' after he noticed the wavelengths of the tracks looked like, y'know, flowers blooming, and in reference to how he's quickly grown as a person

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lately – is an exploration of masculinity, depression, childhood, addiction; every corner of his psyche that hadn't been on display before. A solo venture had always been on his mind, so getting locked down with his producer housemate became a chance to reach that goal. "[Paul] kind of looked at me and said, 'Well, should we just make an album' in February, and my inner self latched on to that idea as a saving grace at the time. I was like, man, I need to do something, to keep on pursuing new ideas, original thoughts, new songs, new perspectives, and keep learning things whilst I'm in this environment, otherwise it's going to be a total downhill thing for me." Ashton's chatting with us from the very place he made the record, his home studio in Los Angeles, which was set up just for the recording of this album. But let it be known, Ashton doesn't want this to be thought of as a 'quarantine album', it's just a record he made while he had the time. It was also time for him to put to the test what he'd learned in his ten years in the industry – a ridiculous thing to say considering he's only 26 – and figure out how to make an album alone, with

a little guidance from his favourite producer. "I've always been a singer and a songwriter, foremost, that's kind of always been my strong point," he says from his room, surrounded by keyboards and cables. "I'm a creative person who sees things visually and transforms them into records. I transform them into places and multiverses for fans to live in and enjoy, and that's what I really love about my role. "I'd always thought about making a solo record, but the constructs that were pre-existing around the band didn't see fit for me to do that though, at that point in time. During this year, it was like, oh my god, everything has changed, our reality has changed, and maybe I can actually do this now? Maybe I can actually create a record and release it independently from my house, and see how much I actually have learned in 5 Seconds of Summer, and how far can I take it just on my own as a solo artist?" Of course, as Ashton notes too, plenty of artists make records in their bedrooms now, but 'Superbloom' bears no resemblance to the bedroom pop we're used to. The result is a sprawling, grungey, glam rock record that pays homage to an era Ashton barely knew. Picking up influences from various major 90s bands like Nirvana, My Bloody Valentine, Soundgarden and Stone Temple Pilots, and his mother's CD collection, featuring Alanis Morissette and Counting Crows, his solo material is a far cry from the pop bops he was writing as part of 5SOS. He mentions his efforts to step away from Spotify and just listen to music physically throughout the creation of 'Superbloom'. Over our chat, with how passionately he speaks about the music he listens to in his own time and how often he talks about becoming truthful to himself, the sense that he might be doing exactly what he wants to do for the first time in a long time creeps in. "I think not being influenced is the best influence - step away from everything and forget it all, forget what's popular, forget who is at the forefront of

music, forget time and when it was released and just listen to music as a fan. Follow breadcrumb trails like an old school music fan you know, you buy vinyl, you work out that band was influenced by this band and this band, and you go back, and you just follow, you work out where shit came from." He continues, "You need to try and have original thoughts in your life. There are such great artists out there that have these incredible individual thought processes towards creating, whether it be paintings or music or anything like that, you know, and I just aspire to be speaking with a truthful voice, and being curious about my craft, about songwriting, about the recording process, and how I can deliver my individual music as a solo artist." Those themes of feeling unable to live his truth and growing up in the spotlight are discussed on closer 'Perfect Lie', a squealing and swirling psychy number where Ash sings "everybody loves it 'til they hate it", that drills in the album's final takeaway – that he's gone through hell behind the scenes over the past decade, but he isn't giving it up yet. That isn't to say there's any kind of animosity towards the people he spent those ten years with (if it wasn't for the pandemic, he says he'd be back in a room with them making another band record), but it's obvious how much of a release creating a solo album has been for Ashton. "The reason that I wanted a solo project is to go away and be with my thoughts and be my own person and dive into my kind of school of thought and see what I can deliver as a vocalist and a multi-instrumentalist. I really look up to people like Lenny Kravitz, who are a part of the production, the writing, the lyrics, the performance, the creative approach, and releasing a record like that, you know. I'm into, like that old school, making it myself, writing it, recording it and releasing it as the purest form of art. There's no one else dipping in and giving their opinion on what I'm trying to cultivate. And that's what I needed in my life, it



makes me feel fulfilled and happy and joyous, and I think it spreads through the music I make to other people." It sounds like he's had enough of people sticking their nose in. Right at the start of our interview, he mentions he'd lost his Australian accent after moving to the UK at 17, then to LA at 20, and thanks to a Danish vocal coach who tried to get rid of it for singing purposes. Later he points out he's used this time alone to become his own person. In the years in between, he's garnered international fame, reaching some of his highest highs and lowest lows, dealing with depression, alcoholism, body image, and the pressure of being (as he describes) a cultural spokesperson. Between the lines, this album is a moment for Ashton to take back control of his own life. "It's an identity thing. I'm pretty newly sober, and I stopped drinking about a year and a half ago. So all this change, all this selfanalysis and becoming the real version of me was why I've made a record that is like this lyrically, going through topics of depression and body issues and becoming softer, as a person and as a young man, allowing myself to receive good things from the world and not be so dark and hateful at times. I don't know how I ever became that person when I was drinking a lot, and I didn't like the person I became, so I needed to change that. So this record, it's like meeting myself for the first time, it's like really becoming myself for the first time. I just wanted to show my face." It's interesting to hear him reiterate how he's feeling about being more truthful to himself and becoming the real Ashton. For someone who shot to fame after supporting One Direction on tour in his late teens, at the height of 1D's pop prominence and just as musicians oversharing with fans on social media was becoming the norm, there's understandably the idea that we've always seen the real him. 5 Seconds Of Summer were a band with a teen audience (who at the start of their careers, were similar ages to the boys themselves), who interacted with their fans like friends, as most artists do these days. There's obviously a degree of honesty that comes with

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those kinds of artist-fan dynamics, and that's perhaps why Ashton had always felt comfortable being open about his struggles with depression and alcoholism, but it feels like there was still something holding him back from laying it all out until now. Maybe the hefty chunk of time off and newfound sobriety had given him a chance to process some of the last decade, or it could be that this record sounds far starker because it isn't getting filtered through "four consciousnesses" and sung by someone else. "Navigating growing up in the public eye is like something that I don't even know how to explain yet. I think I'll have to simmer on it for another ten, twenty years and then I can probably talk about it, but it affects you in a million ways, a million positive ways and equally a million negative ways. It is a blessing, and it's also this really confronting destructive thing at times, but it only prepares you for more growth and more lessons. You digest more opinions, you're seeing that most of the time, the grass ain't greener anywhere. 'Popular artist' goes hand in hand with whatever is popular in the current political, cultural, social landscape, and you're constantly bouncing off it." And how does he think the fans who've followed him since day one will react to some of the themes on this record and the very different direction he's taken solo? "I don't know. It's cool to challenge people's ideas of you. But that's all they are, their ideas of me, you know, I have ideas of me as well. So it's like, whoever listens, listens. I am so grateful just for any kind of audience to begin with, I hope this reaches some people I haven't reached before, that'd be cool, just as a new artist, and I understand I'm just starting out on my own too, so I'm patient with it." The album's first offering 'Skinny Skinny' is a folky number written after a conversation with his fifteenyear-old brother about body image. A bit of a different vibe to the rest of the record, it's much slower and more stripped back, but serves as an introduction to the deeply personal level Ashton reaches on 'Superbloom'. Going with his gut instinct, he says it felt right to release 'Skinny Skinny' first. "I think


I reached a place that was so simple and so obvious, and that's where you try to get to as a songwriter. That concept is so real and heartbreaking to myself, and I wish I spoke to people about it a really, really, really, really long time ago, but I am happy to share those thoughts in a song with people that hopefully connect to it." Elsewhere on the record, there's sparkly shoegazey opener 'Scar', a message to his family about perseverance, built for a live show it might never see (although he does say 'Superbloom's live show would be powerful, androgynous and from 'back in the day' – "It's a feminine, yet masculine presence. It's androgynous. It's beautiful. It's poetic, and that's what my live show would be"). There's the drudging 'Greyhound' that runs well over six minutes and pokes at the idea of capitalism mimicking a greyhound race. There's the acoustic ballad 'Matter Of Time' where Ash expresses his fear of relapsing from sobriety, 'The Sweetness', which is by far the biggest, heaviest tune backed by an orchestra and fading out Sonic Youth-style with lots of guitar feedback (phew), and the plucky, airy ditty 'Sunshine' that digs at the US media; the hardest


song on the record to write according to Ashton. "It's about looking at your phone too much and consuming too much news, and it shifting the way you think about your life, the way your mind works, the way your anxious mind works. It's about freeing yourself and remembering that your life is short, and you can't spend your whole life rebuttalling to

endless, endless bad news. It is important to keep up but it's also important to manage yourself and to be gentle and loving towards yourself and your subconscious mind." So with his time off (or not so much), Ashton emerges from his cocoon a new man. He's visibly confident and excited about this release, his own little musical therapy in full swing as he kicks off this cycle (we're the first chat of his day btw). He seems happy to be getting all of this off his chest, and proud too, but as listeners digest this record, he's already started on the next one. He signs off stating, "I'm really stoked to just be speaking about my music from a different perspective and in with different language, and it makes me feel proud of the evolution that's happening currently. It's been good, but a big thing for me is just keep moving on, like, the work is done on my end." He's still got a lot of questions for the world at large, maybe he's saving them for what's coming next. For now, he'd like to know if he's got that 90s sound spot on… "If anyone ever reads or listens to the things I say, who's from the 90s, I wonder what their opinion will be on it? Does it add up? Does it compare to the way records felt back then, during that time when that music was most popular? I would like to know…" P Ashton Irwin's

debut album 'Superbloom' is out now. 57.

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TED ANTICIPA T S O M 'S 020 ONE OF 2 IT E'S 'FAKE BAD O OBE A E B , S T DEBU IVED. ' HA S A R R FLOWERS Young. By: Martyn n. lum Harriso graphy: Cal

Photo 59.

magine you’re in the middle of a swirling storm, the winds are circling around you, and the forces of nature feel like they’re propelling you forward and it’s impossible to stop. The

feeling is exhilarating, and it’s like a rush you’ve never experienced before and then everything just stops. For Beabadoobee, that’s what 2020 has been like so far as her unstoppable rise to indie rock superstardom in a year that started slaying arenas supporting The 1975 ground to a halt. Now though fortunately the winds are picking back up and the sedate calm is about to be broken as she throws herself back into the hurricane. It’s an altogether disorienting, but thrilling feeling. “It was very up and down,” she begins as she describes her experience

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waiting to release her hugely anticipated debut album ‘Fake It Flowers’. “I’d been getting used to the attention around me both bad and good. I’d been growing into my skin a bit and getting used to it, but it’s still super overwhelming. It’s strange that I’m really glad that lockdown happened because I think if I went on tour this year I honestly wasn’t ready for that. I’m glad that I had this time at home to spend with my family and spend time with my boyfriend and fix the relationships that I left behind when I was on tour. I was just more happy with myself, and being at home helped with that.” “There are a lot of butterflies, and there’s a lot of manic-ness,” she continues as she counts down to the album release. “There’s also a lot of waking up at 7am and smoking too much weed,” she laughs. “It’s all part of it, and it’s getting me more excited. I’ve come to the point where I don’t give a fuck anymore. I just want it out right now. I


don’t care what people think about it. If my mum likes it, then that’s good for me.” The journey to the cusp of releasing her debut album for Bea has been one characterised by both personal and musical discovery. She swiftly learned to play guitar once her dad bought her one but that wasn’t her first instrument. “I played violin for seven years. That eased my way into


playing guitar,” she explains. “I’ve gotten so traumatised by it,” she laughs. No wonder, it’s bloomin’ hard. “My mum made me play violin every day after I got home from school until my fingers bled. It was really intense, and I feel like my mind just rejects it now,” she adds. While the experience of relentlessly learning one of the hardest instruments was a mild trauma, for Bea the experience of growing up in West London after her family moved from the Philippines in 2000 was sometimes a difficult one as she craved people who shared the same ideas and passions as her. She found solace in the music she loved and the friends she made who have shaped her into Beabadoobee. “I struggled growing up, and if I hadn’t found my amazing group of friends, I wouldn’t be where I am today,” she says. Music became a cathartic release for Bea as she progressed through her teens. It was a way to channel all her feelings in a positive direction. “’Coffee’ was the first song I’d ever written and I was like, this is really fun, this is a great outlet, and it’s better than all the other stuff I do if I’m sad,” she remembers. “It was making me mentally


better, and that made me want to do more music.” She distils it down into a very simple principle. “People like it, AND it makes me feel better about myself? Great!” The voyage of musical discovery that Bea embarked upon primarily involved immersing herself in the alternative rock scene of the early 90s. From altrock legends like Sonic Youth, Pixies and Smashing Pumpkins to the more experimental sounds of shoegazers like My Bloody Valentine, Bea was taking it all in. You can hear it on the musical progression from ‘Loveworm’ to ‘Space Cadet’, the two EPs last year that acted as signposts on the journey to a full album. “I was experimenting with sounds on ‘Loveworm’. I didn’t have a band then. I got a producer called Pete, he’s amazing, and he kind of brought the songs to life and introduced me to these amazing sounds. I was just discovering music as I went.” Things were moving swiftly for Bea, and ‘Space Cadet’s’ riotous amped up blue-haired glammy exuberance saw her reach a new peak. Little did she know at the time, only 18 or so months ago, that everything would switch up again. “During ‘Space Cadet’ I was so sure that this is me, this is who I am, and this is the music I’m going to make forever,” she reveals. “I wrote ‘Fake It Flowers’ and then realised I have no idea who I am.” ‘Fake It Flowers’ marks a culmination and a revelation. It is the sound of Bea moving beyond her earliest influences into being inspired by music with even greater resonance on an emotional level. She found herself deeply immersed in the music of pioneering women across alternative music who were

all making music that rippled with energy, relatability and a fearless passion. Bands like 90s grunge icons Veruca Salt and classic alternative singersongwriters. “Veruca Salt specifically really inspired ‘Fake It Flowers’ as well as all these amazing women like Alanis Morrisette and Suzanne Vega,” says Bea. “I grew up with that sound as my mum used to play it in the background during my childhood. I either copied specific things like, oh, that guitar sounds super sick I’m taking that, or it just threaded its way within my music without me even realising. That’s a beautiful thing.” Artists like Alanis helped Bea come to a meeting point between rage and melody, sweetness and coarseness and quiet/loud that all merge to intoxicating effect on ‘Fake It Flowers’. Perhaps the most striking thing on the album though is Bea’s words and the on the nose directness that makes it so compelling. “The main theme of the album is essentially everything I was supposed to tell someone but couldn’t,” she explains of its contents. “It was like a letter that never got sent. That means every song is pretty personal. A couple of songs are stories I’ve heard from other people that inspired me to write, but most of the songs are very true to life. They’re like diary

entries. They’re very close to the bone.” So, how does she come up with these raw slices of indie rock storytelling? “It’s just brain vomit. Straight from my mouth,” she laughs. “I was always just not very good at the whole metaphor thing. I just want to get straight to the point. Especially hearing Kimya Dawson from The Moldy Peaches’ lyrics and how raw they were. That inspired me to write music that is just unapologetic.” To emphasise just how unapologetic she is, she shouts out a message bold and true: “YEAH, I’M SAD, LISTEN TO ME WHINE”. It’s an approach that’s bratty and brilliant and full of attitude. The process of writing the abum and revisiting some dark times of feeling alone, abandoned or undervalued was reflective for Bea and worked as a form of emotional release. “It definitely helped getting things off my chest,” she says. “It’s like what you do in therapy where you talk about your feelings. That’s what I do with music. It’s like a therapy session. I write all my feelings down on paper and sing it to a crowd. The part that makes me feel uncomfortable is forgetting that so many people are going to be listening to it and are going to know my life. What makes me ok with that is if at least one person can

relate to a lyric of mine and think this is a situation that I’m going through that makes everything so much more worth it. Not only is it helping me, but it’s genuinely helping other people. It’s good to be honest if it does that.” Bea recognises that much the same way as she looked up to her alt heroes and found salvation in their music people will now relate to her and hopefully feel the same way. “I’m a 20-year-old girl who has the same problems as other girls. There are loads of girls who are going through the same things I am, so it’s nice to be that person who says this happened, but it’s all good.” The importance of inspiring other like-minded people is something that Bea regularly comes back to. It’s a record that acts as a clarion call to her generation: “It’s ok to be loud, it’s ok to be sad, it’s ok to be a bitch, it’s ok to whine when you’re angry or sad. If I inspire one girl to play guitar, to rock out and to listen to ‘Fake It Flowers’, then I’m doing something right.” “We need togetherness, especially during this weird time,” she continues.”I feel like ‘Fake It Flowers’ is the perfect album to just dance in your bedroom too on really sad lonely nights. That’s what I do when I listen to Veruca Salt, and I feel shit, and it’s late at night, and I

have my headphones in while dancing in my pants in front of my mirror. It’s great for your endorphins. It’s a great excuse to get really happy, and I want ‘Fake It Flowers’ to be that album.” While the first half of this year saw everything shut down in a weird stasis, Bea did manage to be productive with some cool things in the pipeline. She also found time to squirrel away in a house in Oxford with her band and Matty and George from The 1975 to make music, so there are obviously exciting things afoot. Hopefully, in time live shows again will come. “I feel like ‘Fake It Flowers’ will shine the most being played out on stage,” says Bea as she yearns to bring the confidence she found on those January arena shows to her own headlining sets. For now, though, she’s back riding the storm, ready to deliver the album her whirlwind teenage experience has led up to. There are no half measures on the record. There are no cop-outs. This is Beabadoobee unfiltered doing what she wants and saying what she wants. “It’s all found in the song ‘Care’,” she sums up. “That encapsulates the whole meaning I’m the album - you don’t care, but I’m going to tell you anyway.” P

Beabadoobee’s album ‘Fake It Flowers’ is out now. 61.

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s u i ? n e


out his Pablo is carving y o B s, er ne io p early achito'. bedroom pop's debut album, 'W s hi of ar st One of modern d an ego, the help of alterown space with Steven Loftin. By:


nlike the grey and rainy skies of his hometown of Bergen, on Norway’s west coast, boy pablo’s music is bright and sunny, enveloping you like a tropical heatwave.

Nicolas Muñoz dives into the world of lovelorn romance, peering in from the outside with his breezy pop. When his third single ‘Everytime’ found its way out to the world by way of YouTube algorithm magic back in 2017, it thrust the spotlight his way. As the view count racked up, various EPs, all along a concurrent theme (‘Soy Pablo’, ‘Roy Pablo’) followed. Now it’s time for his debut, and instead of continuing this trend, it goes entirely left-field for a wholly immersive vibe. Muñoz takes on the role of the eponymous Wichito Rico (the translation from Chilean meaning ‘Handsome Boy’) the protagonist of a romantic journey befitting the twee, charming nature of a Zooey Deschanel rom-com. “I decided early this year, because it may have made it easier for me to make it interesting, both for like the listener and to myself,” Muñoz says of the decision to step into Wichito Rico’s shoes. Citing it as a far more interesting move than just putting “down like ten songs in a playlist.” “All the songs are about myself,” he continues, “but


it was so much more fun to make a character come to life through the music videos and make a whole story about him.” So, is it all written out, a la a Hollywood script, or is it more of a see what happens on the day, then? “When we were getting together, we made the whole story,” he explains. “So everything’s planned out. Me and my manager, who is also the art director for this project, we’ve been

having so much fun watching movies and watching different series. We were quarantined together in April, and were just watching a lot of movies and trying to merge ideas, and talking together about who Wichito Rico is as a person.” Citing their movie playlist as featuring Napoleon Dynamite, Nacho Libre, and Wes Anderson’s Bottle Rocket; those quirky and naive vulnerabilities echo through the concurrent storyline of Wichito Rico, 63.

both visually and audibly, along with that defiant glow of smiling through the storm. Positivity is a key player in the world of boy pablo. Given he was still a young man back when ‘Everytime’ hit it big, the rush of the last few years has given Muñoz a chance to adapt while keeping his head above water. “[I learned] how to cope… I mean, I haven’t learned everything about it, but I’m better at coping with stress and better at preparing myself for stressful periods. “So that’s that’s been a challenge,” he admits. “But I feel what I’ve grown most in is as a stage performer, and as a songwriter as well. I wouldn’t say I’ve changed too much. I think I’m kind of the same I was three years ago.” Muñoz reckons keeping that positive swell in both his music and his life “has a lot to do with the people that are around me,” he says. “My family are the best. They remind me where we came from, and where we where we’ve been before all of this. My parents have been super supportive since the start. And also my girlfriend is really good at reminding me of the person I am.” Muñoz comes across as a happy chappy, even now, reclining into his chair over a Zoom call. Always a smile plastered across his face; throughout his airy, pop-based tunings; or any promotional picture. But the journey to Muñoz’s being packaged in the world of boy pablo wasn’t as clear cut for one reason: “When I started making music I just made [whatever] was the first thing that came out of my head. “I don’t see myself as a super positive, super happy guy, but I really enjoy when people are good to each other,” he says. “When you can focus on being good and positive, instead of bringing yourself down and get depressed on your own. I went through a phase in my teenage years where I was really sad all the time, and I didn’t like that. So I guess maybe it’s a reaction to that? “I think it’s good to let out bad feelings, and sad feelings.

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I have a couple of songs that are not very positive, even though they’re not depressing songs,” he says referring a couple of the softer jams on ‘Wichito Rico’, including the genteel yearning ballad ‘te vas // don’t go’. “I love slow songs!” Muñoz enthuses. “It’s my favourite thing at the moment, making those songs. I tried to get in touch with a little bit of the sad side of love - most of the songs are based on real-life experiences, so even though we say like ‘the story of Rico’, it’s also personal to me. Especially the slow songs I think are very honest.” Although he’s been growing and learning in the vast open space Boy Pablo now resides in, Muñoz’s world on a lower level has certainly grown. His label, 777 Music, and management have all become a close-knit family - so much so that fellow wistful-playful lamenting labelmate Judah Just Kidding not only plays a character in the video for ‘Hey Girl’ but his first single, ‘All My Life’, is a direct continuation of the video, picking up where his character is left behind by Wichito Rico. Even NetflixBOY PABLO’S smash Tiger King TOP 5 SLOW is involved in Boy SONGS Pablo’s world “I think it’s the melody, now. The oh-so but also I really like recognisable nasal when slow songs have sneer of Rick really good sound… Kirkham having like the sound is more narrated two of the than the song, you music videos for know? Obviously, the ‘Wichito Rico’ (‘Hey song has to be good Girl’, and its followand make you feel like up ‘Honey’). After either nostalgic or, like, escaping those wilds bittersweet.” of America for the vistas of Norway, SUNSET “we contacted him, ROLLERCOASTER and he was like, Vanilla ‘Yeah, I’ll do anything MGMT that’s not Tiger King!’ Hand It Over Basically, it was a VAMPIRE WEEKEND really spontaneous Taxicab thing, but funny too,” Muñoz says. SONDRE LERCHE “We were just Why Would I Let You doing whatever we Go? like to be honest,” he BON IVER says of being able Holocene to exist in this selfsufficient and self-


fulfilling world of spontaneity. “I’m really happy that we can be in control of everything. It’s [also] exciting to show we have so many ideas. Me and my manager are really good friends; we look up to almost the same artists and persons creatively. We just want to create our own thing and hope that younger people will look up to us for what we’re doing.” Giving back is what Muñoz wants to do, to offer that same inspiration that came to him in the hopes of offering another burgeoning youngster, be it half-way around the world, or a Bergen local, the same breakthrough sunlight that came to him. Knowing that he’s been given a chance most never get, and all through the luck of an algorithmic draw (and the upbeat, boppy tunes, mind you) taking his global success and making it about the home around him is

another part of the Boy Pablo charm. A lot of Muñoz’s inspiration also comes from his local scene under those grey Bergen skies. “People are always super surprised that [the music] is so happy because it rains all the time over here,” he chortles. “I looked up to this artist called Sondre Lerche, and this band called Young Dreams, [they’re] basically my two main influences from Norway, and I hope to be an inspiration to people that are trying to make it, and music as well. “I always thought that Bergen has a very cool music scene,” he says. “You always hear about the never-ending burning wave of cool bands from Bergen doing their thing in Norway. I hope to be as inspiring as they were for me.” P boy pablo’s debut album

‘Wachito Rico’ is out now.



Y Beabadoobee Fake It Flowers

eeeee Potential realised, Bea's debut is exactly the bubblegrunge masterpiece expected of her.

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ou don't have to have lived it to love it. Whatever those tutting gatekeepers of indie past try to say, the cold hard truth is everything that came before is only there to be raided by each new generation. The true spirit of alternative culture will always be at its most pure in the youthful enthusiasm of those discovering a world beneath the mainstream for the first time. Though only born in the year 2000, beabadoobee has more than earned her stripes in amongst the racks of vinyl and handwritten sleeve notes where entrance exams are sat. The brooding, 90s rasp that runs deep and true through her debut album may cause

some to roll their eyes, but there's absolutely nothing paper-thin about 'Fake It Flowers'. Instead, it's a record confident in its own vintage worn skin. A wonderful juxtaposition of borrowed, gig-worn retromania and lemony-fresh excitement, it's pitch perfect in its influence, not once sounding tired or dated. The development from bedroom pop sensation to bubblegrunge icon suits Bea to the ground. From opener 'Care' onwards, that ear for a melodic, glistening hook sits perfectly with the rough and ready world of loud-quietloud distortion that often sits beneath. 'Fake It Flowers' - in truth

- couldn't be more authentic. Throughout its twelve tracks, it hits every emotional reference point a young adult could experience. There's the snotty, sweary stand of 'Dye it Red' - complete with its ready expression or emotion through hair colouring - while 'Sorry' has a brooding darkness within. It's two tracks with real teeth that actually stand out, though. Both 'Charlie Brown' and 'Together' possess a sense of muscular confidence that recall label mates Wolf Alice at their fearsome best. It's a passing comparison, but as Bea's vocals break and fight with crashing guitars, effortlessly layering upon themselves, the bleeding edge shows the true potential of

what could come next. Though sitting 'Fake It Flowers' alongside those great 90s indie records that laid the foundations for so much of what follows may seem both premature and slightly hyperbolic, it's also a comparison that would only be made by those who this album renders entirely irrelevant. 2020 has been hard enough as it is without Old Man Indie setting authenticity quotas 20-year old wonderkids could never meet. It's a time for reckless abandon and new possibilities. Grounded in the past but flying towards a braver future, this isn't for you, Granddad. The kids are alright. Stephen Ackroyd

Incoming. PUP

Curtis Waters Pity Party eeeef

What exactly does a 'TikTok hit' mean? It's easy to work out what hundreds of millions of global streams means for the popularity of a particular track, but how much of that attention actually sticks around for the long term? When so much of your attention comes from short, hooky snippets of a single song, are those people actually buying into an artist, or simply a vibe? One thing is for certain, there's much more to Curtis Waters than soundtracking video loops. 'Pity Party' is an album packed with a juxtaposition of difficult emotions projected through delightfully lazy day aesthetics. On more than one occasion, tracks open with the reassuring 'good job, Curtis' almost as if chasing away the anxiety of modern living. While 'Stunnin'' - included as a final track, as if to not detract from the rest - stands out, there's real depth to these Waters. Stephen Ackroyd

Molly Payton Porcupine EP eeeef

With ‘Porcupine’, Molly Payton manages to take classic teenage lamentation tropes and add her own spin. It’s sharply witty, with lyricism reminiscent of Maisie Peters and Nina Nesbitt, but sonically a throwback to 90s-era noisy garage-rock, with vocals that are part Florence Welch and part completely Payton’s own rich, cavernous sound. When ‘Warm Body’ kicks off - all moody lo-fi, fast-paced and highly strung - it's a lyrical exposé of epic groove proportions. All of the tracks on this record belong: on ‘I’m Too Smart’ she slows down the pace with lyrical content that is sensitive, sparkling with humour; ‘Going Heavy’ meanwhile is a smash-hit, and closer ‘Rodeo’ a babbling brook of sadness. Molly has only just begun her journey in creating wry, lofty music. Chloe Johnson

This Place Sucks Ass EP eeeef PUP's brand of punk is anything but the shiny, sanitised version that so often dominates 'these days'. Instead, it's a glorious, riotously good time. 'This Place Sucks Ass' might be the perfect title for an EP released in 2020, but it's by no means a review of what lies within. From the tumbling rattle of 'Anaphyalxis', to the brooding 'Floodgates' and the minute-pluschange of 'Edmonton', PUP remain brilliant. Good boys. Stephen Ackroyd


Positive Mental Health Music eeeff The first album to be released on underground label sensation Speedy Underground, 'Positive Mental Health Music' is nothing if not honest. Self-aware to a fault, the fact it was written by lead singer and songwriter Joshua Loftin in order to "work through a mental breakdown" doesn't mean it's awkward or difficult to consume. Indeed, there's almost something endearing to the emotional warmth hanging in the air. While it's unlikely to punch too far through its scene-mandated ceiling, it's an intimate record that is hard not to like. Stephen Ackroyd

Magick Mountain

Weird Feelings eeeef Magick Mountain - the project from Leeds staples Lins Wilson, Tom Hudson and Nestor Matthews - have pieced together colossal riffs, entwining harmonies and fistfuls of wild, distorted energy on their debut album, 'Weird Feelings'. With tales of infinite space, otherworldly escapes, and hazy dreams that weave together the supernatural and the visceral, the Yorkshire band are quickly carving out a place for themselves. Lead single 'King Cobra' really packs a punch and 'Zodiac' is full of ferocious energy, while 'Stranger Danger' and 'Colossus' are riff-heavy anthems that will cause absolute carnage in a live setting. It's an album full of exhilarating twists and turns that grip you entirely from start to finish. Charlotte Brennan

Ashton Irwin Superbloom eeeef

Katy J Pearson

Will Joseph Cook

Planet pop is an unforgiving place. Tackling its inhospitable atmosphere is hard enough supported by friends and colleagues under the cover of a group. Doing it as a solo artist is even more difficult. From the evidence of 'Superbloom', finding himself overexposed isn't something that troubles 5SOS' Ashton Irwin. Away from his time in one of the biggest bands on the planet, his first offering under his own name is nothing if not honest. Dealing with struggles with alcohol, substance abuse, mental health and self-image, it's a personal journey through inner thoughts. It's not just the emotion that's laid bare, either. 'Superbloom' draws on influences outside of the usual chart-friendly pop gloss. Owing more to Nick Drake, Silverchair or Stone Temple Pilots, it's a deeply intimate, textured portrait of a man finding calm in the eye of the storm. Stephen Ackroyd

From the jaunty Americana opening, 'Return' plays out like some sepia-tinted western/romance crossover, a charming rework of country music. The most endearing quality to the record is its romanticism. ‘Beautiful Soul’ finds Katy J Pearson warbling warmly to a companion over string accompaniment, ‘Hey You’ takes a more patient approach, a gentle nudge that says “I’m here for you”. The album’s title-track is a wonderful mission statement, a totally stripped-back affair that blooms optimistically. And a pair of upbeat numbers really find her in her element; crisp and refreshing, ‘Take Back the Radio’ radiates joy, while ‘Fix Me Up’ is the light at the end of the tunnel, an uber-catchy celebration of new-found confidence. Alex Cabre

If debut ‘Sweet Dreamer’ felt carefree and breezy, then ‘Something To Feel Good About’ sees those cares breezing in through a window someone forgot to shut. Written after a tough time, it shows. There's a sense of someone trying to figure it all out. Whether wanting to go where people go when they feel alone on ‘DOWNDOWNDOWN!’, or admitting that he feels like a driverless car on, erm, ‘Driverless Cars’, this feels like a new WJC vibe. Though some of the shorter songs might feel like a good hook in search of a home at times, there is still a sense that this is someone discovering their own path and working out where they want to go. Jamie MacMillan

Return eeeef

Something To Feel Good About eeeef

Boy Pablo Wachito Rico eeeef

A laid-back summer daydream of a debut, the long-awaited ‘Wachito Rico’ is not only Boy Pablo’s new record but new persona entirely, as Muñoz creates an alter ego to narrate through. The title itself is a Chilean phrase which translates as “handsome boy” characterising the perfect John Hughes-ian protagonist for the album’s subject matter of love, exploring its pitfalls and its triumphs which seem world-shattering during the impressionable teenage years. Even in weightier moments, Boy Pablo’s optimistic attitude floats above ass we experience the tortures of first love heartbreak all over again, navigating through the gaze of adolescent optimism all while sitting comfortably in our adult disillusion and disappointment. Phoebe De Angelis 67.

Incoming. TR







T R AC K * * T R


















K * * T RAC K



TV Priest Uppers eeeef

Ragged yet tight, sprawling yet focussed, 'Uppers' is a singular vision of a disparate time. It rounds up the usual suspects of our Un-united Kingdom, the pop culture, the insularity, the lies on the side of a bus, but manages to breathe new life into those old tropes by sheer force of personality. “We’re better off uninformed,” spits Charlie Drinkwater witheringly, carrying the same disgust as a young Nick Cave. One moment he's roaring uncomfortable truths, the next he is coming out with the sort of dark mumblings you might hear on a 3am nightbus. How they keep the momentum from this going until rooms can get sweaty and intimate again is a problem for another day. For now, enjoy another fine addition to a scene that shows no sign of slowing down. Jamie MacMillan

VIRTUAL AEROBICS This song is about the feeling of meeting somebody new and starting to text each other for the first time. It can feel like a mental exercise, hence the name ‘Virtual Aerobics’. The song reflects on the game of overthinking every message, wondering if the other person shares your feelings, and ultimately wanting this relationship to end up as something.

Babeheaven Home For Now eeeff

For many of us, 2020 has been a year of reflection – and West London duo Babeheaven are no exception. Four years in the making, their dreamy debut ‘Home For Now’ is every bit as thoughtful as it is forward-looking, exploring the complexities of human connection with a sense of wisdom and style. There’s a sense of control that comes with keeping things simple. The indulgent tones of vocalist Nancy Andersen’s voice bring comfort, drawing you into the foley-filled, immersive landscape the duo have managed to create. Bringing solace through its raw honesty, ‘Home For Now’ explores love, courage and intimacy across every stage of a relationship. A promising debut from a duo with music in their blood and ambition in their hearts. Melissa Darragh

68. DORK

Wallows Remote EP eeeee

So, lockdown huh? That was something. Animal Crossing was fun for a week or so, and once you’d rinsed Tiger King then what then? Most of us just stared blankly out of a window (if we had one), and did nothing more productive than getting out of bed five days out of seven. Not Wallows though. Instead, despite being isolated from each other as well as the wider world, they have still managed to produce one of the pop nuggets of the year. The pace of ‘Remote’ is breathless, the six tracks here packing more ideas into

sixteen minutes than some bands manage their whole career. From the psychedelic vibes that spiral out of ‘Nobody Gets Me (Like You)’, to the romantic yearning of ‘Coastlines’, this is a band that you just know will never want, or need, to settle down genrewise. There are hints of pop punk lurking at the edges, rubbing shoulders happily with the chilled ‘Wish Me Luck’ and frenetically twitchy ‘Talk Like That’. It is beyond crazy to think that it was largely stitched together in isolation, even the vocals being recorded on iPhone notes and passed around the band. Despite all that, it feels almost effortless for Wallows at this point (though it plainly wasn’t). After dipping their toes into so many different worlds here, it’s exciting to think about where they can go next. The answer is probably, and tantalisingly, wherever the hell they like. Jamie MacMillan

DIG WHAT YOU DUG This song originally started as a demo of Cole’s alone in his room. We had a writing session with Albert Hammond Jr. sometime last year and brought that song up and sort of half-worked on it. The inside joke “Dig What You Dug” started between us and Albert (we’d explain, but it won’t make sense, lol) and we thought it would be hilarious if that was the song title. We then decided to flesh out the rest of it independently and had our producers/friends Sachi DiSerafino and John Debold take a stab at producing it in a different way. Definitely one of the most “rock” leaning Wallows songs to date but with a weird computerised thing about it. NOBODY GETS ME (LIKE YOU) ‘NGMLY’ was inspired by early-2000s pop. We wanted to have lyrics that felt super universal and simple. The sentiment “nobody gets me like you” works well for that, because there’s really no way to explain why us as humans have intense connections with some people and not others. We also wrote this with Sachi/ John and had one of our fav producers Ariel Rechtshaid finish it off. Dave Fridmann mixed, which was another dream person to work with.

COASTLINES ‘Coastlines’ has actually been around since before our first album ‘Nothing Happens’ was released. We had just started doing writing sessions with producers which was a totally new process for us. ‘Coastlines’ happened after combining three different ideas from short demos we made with a wonderful producer named Cole MGN. His process was to write super simple chords, sing melodies over the chords with auto-tune for like 10 minutes, and then move on to another idea. ‘Coastlines’ was a hybrid from that, and we’re really happy with the sort of dancey-strokes-almost EDM direction that it’s taken. TALK LIKE THAT ‘TLT’ started a long time ago too. Braeden and Cole had just started working regularly with Sachi, and ‘TLT’ was one of the first ideas that came from the three of them. We brought it back around for ‘Remote’ and gave it new life. It was Sachi’s idea to turn it into more of a breakbeat/N.E.R.D-inspired groove. The legend Caleb Laven took that even further in the mix and ‘TLT’ became one of our personal favourite Wallows tracks to date. WISH ME LUCK ‘WML’ is one of the more dramatic-feeling Wallows songs. The idea started back in 2019 during a writing session, but we brought back the seed of that idea and turned it into something new. It started as us fucking around and trying to make something that felt like Post Malone. When finishing it for ‘Remote’, it sounds more like an 80s ballad/slow burn type thing. We’re really excited for Wallows fans to hear this because it’s one of the more pop-leaning things that Wallows has done. P


Monument eeeff

While 2016’s ‘Kindly Now’ seemed to set a precedent for further experimentation in production, ‘Monument’ is about as raw as music can get. With ‘Prayer’ in particular, a soul-wrenching goodbye to Keaton Henson's recently passed father, he moulds acoustic instruments along with his haunting vocal performance to craft a soundscape that is overwhelming and greatly absorbing, providing the perfect opportunity to wallow in the grief that he has been through. Unfortunately, the shining moments that tug at your heartstrings can be few and far between in longwinded verses with vague poetry attached, which can occasionally lead to it feeling directionless. Finlay Holden


Keaton Henson

27TH NOVEMBER 2020 FLOHIO Unveiled Smashing Pumpkins CYR 4TH DECEMBER 2020 Caro Burrows grandson Death of An Optimist White Stripes Greatest Hits 11TH DECEMBER 2020 Nilüfer Yanya Feeling Lucky? EP The Avalanches We Will Always Love You The Kills Little Bastards 8TH DECEMBER 2020 Viagra Boys Welfare State 15TH JANUARY 2021 Fickle Friends Weird Years (Season 1) EP You Me At Six SUCKAPUNCH



Yellow Days


There are two ways to tackle iDKHOW's debut album. Sure, you can buy into 'the story' footage of a mysterious band, gathered between 1964 and 1983 and released out of sequence - and that's all sorts of fun. It detracts from the more exciting truth at hand, though: Dallon Weekes is a master showman. Tackled head-on, iDKHOW are an alt-pop sensation no-longer in waiting. The fact Weekes spent near a decade in Panic! At The Disco would make it easy to draw lines of lineage, but he's already punching beyond those sequin sparkled boundaries. Showbiz shimmer and knowing winks are distributed freely. 'Nobody Likes the Opening Band' is a self-lampooning ear-worm, while 'New Intervention', 'Mad IQs' and 'Lights Go Down' head up a list of immediate anthems. We may not know how they found them, but we're glad they did. Stephen Ackroyd

Would you have put your money on the new Yellow Days album sounding like a cross between Motown, funk, smooth R&B, Kendrick Lamar and Anderson. Paak? Probably not, but it’s that what makes his return so exciting. At 23 tracks long, ‘A Day In A Yellow Beat’ sets its stall out as an album to dive into and revel in every tint of its world. Gloriously vibrant with modern soul pouring from its every note, it’s a rich and warm embrace that leaves you all fuzzy inside whilst merging different eras into one glorious pudding. Underneath its sunkissed brightness lies a gritty undertone, but its sheer colour is undeniable. On ‘A Day In A Yellow Beat’, Yellow Days shows just what he’s been sitting on. An extended trip in ever sense of the term, it's the era-smashing opus you never saw coming. Jamie Muir

Pioneers of pushing unexpected boundaries, Gorillaz are still doing exactly that two decades into their career, more so than ever with new album ‘Song Machine, Season One: Strange Timez’. Created with the idea that this would be a series of episodes made as and when mastermind Damon Albarn felt like it, the result is a body of work where each part feels uniquely its own, but when viewed as a whole makes perfect sense - like Black Mirror translated through the medium of song. With a list of credits that sounds like it shouldn't work (Elton John and 6LACK on 'The Pink Phantom', JPEGMAFIA and CHAI on 'MLS') but yet does, Gorillaz prove that in their world, they can do just about anything. Jasleen Dhindsa

Tomberlin Projections EP eeeef

Joe & The Shitboys

Sinead O’Brien

Sarah Beth Tomberlin’s music thus far has been hushed and intimate, as though performed in a self-imposed solitude, weary of the outside world. On ‘Projections’, she’s thrown the curtains open and is basking in the light; expanded arrangements breathe new life into her sound, so even the most sorrowful moments seem sanguine. Lead single ‘Wasted’ is short but sweet, hypnotic with its singular melody and playfully repetitive lyrics. ‘Hours’ blooms and wilts, while ‘Sin’ fills every inch of space, brimming with lush string sections and ethereal harmonies. She’s found beauty in the transient and can fondly reminisce. By piecing these memories together, Tomberlin has crafted a concise offering of bittersweet, expansive folk that faces heartache with a smile. Jay Singh

In their ten-minutes-long roast in the form of a debut album, 'The Reson For Hardcore Vibes', Joe & The Shitboys rant and rage over homophobes, meat-eaters, macho-men and, obviously, 'Wonderwall'. It's a fierce feast where you have to chew fast if you wanna get all this frenzy in. The shortest track, 'fuCk’, lasts only about three seconds. Re-applying a well-worn punk formula to contemporary issues, they make it work. Startled with the prevalence of cringe-worthy narrow-mindedness, under their sleek disguises of Joe (why is he not shit?), Ziggy Shit, Sammy Shit and Johnny Shit, Joe & The Shitboys cut the small talk and shout your bullshit back to you. Aleksandra Brzezicka

Sinead O’Brien steps up with a debut EP that cements her place as one of the most fascinating, exciting and unique talents around right now. Produced by Dan Carey (honestly, does the man ever sleep?), the four songs here are a perfect representation of an artist who sees the world differently to the rest of us. Continually blurring the lines between poetry, art and music, it is something to get fully immersed in, with themes of understanding the self, life’s duality and hidden cities tucked away in snatches of half-heard conversations and her own inner monologue. It is fitting that ‘Fall With Me’ offers an invitation to surrender, as by the end that is inescapable. Jamie MacMillan

Razzmatazz eeeee

A Day in A Yellow Beat eeeef

Sound Machine: Season One - Strange Timez eeeef


Girlhood Girlhood eeeef

There's a certain feeling that blooms when hearing Tessa Cavanna’s voice; it hits you with a strange nostalgia, perfect for when you need a moment to stop and think, or when you just want to let music wash over. You can hear the emotions dripping through every word. Each track has a different, organic introduction making the album unpredictable, but the duo manage to sustain that same, inspiring vibe from start to finish. From the healing message in ‘Queendom’ to the reflective storytelling in ‘Bad Decisions’, Tessa and bandmate Christian Pinchbeck have created something dazzling. It's clear that this album was brewed from a strong love of music, and its exploration of womanhood and relations is as beautifully magical as it is deeply human. Beth Lindsay

Pillow Queens In Waiting

Packing in a potent message of emotional meaning, 'In Waiting' is grunge-meetsalternative at its finest.

Declan McKenna Zeros

With a sprinkle of stardust, a glam swagger and an ear for a great hook, 'Zeros' sounds positively huge.


Mama's Boy

'Mama's Boy' is tethered in a world of belonging, focused on family, friends and the memories that shape us.

The Reson For Hardcore Vibes eeeef

Drowning In Blessings EP eeeef 69.



Run For Covers.


Photo: Luka Booth.

70. DORK



Incoming. arika Hackman is a firm fave, here at Dork. We

did a magazine cover, way back when. We’ve done chats aplenty and beyond-positive album reviews. End of year lists? Yep, she’s in them. She’s just good at stuff, y’ know? During lockdown, our Marika’s been working on a fun new project - a covers album, appropriately titled ‘Covers’. Featuring new takes on tracks by MUNA (‘Pink Light’), Grimes (‘Realiti’), Beyonce (‘All Night’), Radiohead (‘You Never Wash Up After Yourself’) and more, it’s a revealing insight into some of the songs she’s had on repeat. “When it comes to covers, I like to pick songs which I have been listening to obsessively for a while,” she explains. “It gives me a natural understanding of the music, and lets me be more innovative with how I transform it.” Self-produced between home and her parents’ house over the past few months, it became a handy vehicle for self-expression and experimentation, without the pressure of starting from scratch.

Hi Marika, how’s it going? What are you up to today?

Hello Dork. I’m very well thank you - currently sitting at my desk shivering and speaking in tongues whilst grappling with the concept of another lockdown and dealing with the constant fear that I might get a temperature and have to burn my house down along with all of my belongings.

Your new covers album sounds fun - what sparked the idea?

Well, I curiously had a lot of time on my hands, and thought it would be a great idea to put it to good use and write album number four. Unfortunately, I could not squeeze one iota of creative energy from my jaded little brain, and figured pulling twelve songs out of thin air would be impossible. Rather than learn Swedish, bake sourdough or get really really ripped, I thought the best plan of action would be to start with some songs which had already been written, and then I could be creative without the pressure of a blank page.

Have you dabbled much in covers before? Oh boy, do I love me a cover. My first ever release was an EP of five covers recorded at home (weirdly in the same bedroom I recorded this record), and then I went on to put covers on subsequent EPs. I even did a Christmas EP with some of the festive hits.

What makes a good cover, do you think?

I think it’s being able to reinvent something in your own musical style whilst still maintaining the essence of why you love it as a song, and even bringing those parts to the fore. It’s a balance between the identity of the song and your own artistic stamp I suppose.

Are there any covers by other artists you’re particularly fond of?

[Jackson Browne’s] ‘These Days’ by Nico is an obvious choice, but an iconic cover.

Was it tough picking the tracks you wanted to do? And then deciding what to do with them, too? Not at all. I decided to pick songs I already know and love because it’s much more rewarding that way, and a lot easier to wrestle with the skeleton of something you already have a deeper understanding of. I would start by mapping out the structure and then putting basic chords down and a main vocal and building it from there. Sometimes I had predetermined ideas about where a song should go, and other times it was more of an exploratory process.


exciting production-wise, so I’ve popped it on the shelf for now. I might revisit it in a few years.

How did you find the process of self-producing?

It was very natural, mainly because it was all at home using the limited tools I had at my disposal, which is how I have always worked. The only challenging parts were having to record vocals in noisy houses, and also knowing there wasn’t the safety net of someone else’s experience to cushion my ideas. That aside, it was very enjoyable, and I got a lot of new toys just before I started, which always helps to drive creativity. My Roland TR-8S drum machine features heavily and gives the record a solid backbone to move around.

Has working on this project influenced where you might take your own music?

Yes, definitely. That’s another reason I love covers, because you can try out lots of ideas on another writer’s template

Were there any covers that ended up on the cutting room floor?

Yes, just the one. I really wanted to do a cover of ‘Here Comes Your Man’ [by Pixies], but I had a go, and it wasn’t really sparking anything

What’s next for you?

I imagine a lot more of my answer to question one, whilst also writing my next album and trying to stay sane.

Do you have any predictions for 2021?

A palaeontologist will discover a prehistoric mosquito bound by resin, extract fossil DNA and bring dinosaurs back to life. He will show off these magnificent creatures to the public in multiple safari-style enclosures. It will be called Jurassic Park. Nothing bad will happen.

Marika Hackman’s album ‘Covers’ is out 13th November.


Did any shared themes emerge amongst the songs you were drawn to?

Hmmm, you tell me... I think I’ve been too involved to notice any patterns bubbling up. Certainly, there’s a feeling of isolation, but I think that’s a combination of how I approached the production and my preference for the more melancholy side of songwriting.

and see what works for you. It’s also an insight into new chord progressions and melodic ideas which I might not have thought about before. I love the sparseness of this record and that super ASMR vocal, so perhaps I’ll take that forward to the next album.

Marika Hackman Covers

eeeee There are no bad cover versions here.

over versions aren't easy. Far from it. While some may be content to just smash out something vaguely the same as the original, hoping that does the job, the only way for an artist to gain any sense of real longevity or value is to imprint something of themselves within. With lockdown project 'Covers', that's exactly what Marika Hackman has done, and how. Serving as a vehicle to express artistic thoughts without the pressure of a blank page, 'Covers' is a record of beloved songs recorded between her and her parents' homes, sitting far closer to the warm introspection of debut album 'We Slept At Last'. Sparse but brilliant, it's a record that both breathes new life and provides more than the odd dead-in-your-tracks moment. Take The Shins' 'Phantom Limb'. A song that plays so

Originally performed by Elliott Smith It takes a brave person to take on an artist as iconic as Elliott Smith, but Marika's take on 'Between The Bars' fits with her warm, enveloping vocal perfectly. Hopeful yet wistful, it's a take which fits perfectly to a mood.


Originally performed by Grimes It may take a second to get one's head around just what a Marika Hackman take on a Grimes modern classic might sound like, but the results are jaw-dropping. Dying light cast through a hazier window, a new palette loses nothing from the impact of the original, but adds something far more organic and permanent. Stunning.

All Night

Originally performed by Beyoncé Already a show-stopping moment, Marika still find a way to adorn a Beyoncé classic with something new. More sparse, it radiates with a simmering promise, finding a primal intensity that burns hotter than an electric heater.

hard on the iconic aesthetic of its originators, here it loses none of that melodic brilliance, but gains an intimate, yearning melancholia the original never suggests. Alvvays' cardiganfriendly anthem 'In Undertow' and its question of 'what's left for you and me?' becomes far more poignant, while even the so-cool-it-hurts MUNA gain new dimensions when projected through Marika's emotional prism. At a point where the art of the cover version has so often been reduced to quickly thrown together live session add ons - played for clicks and streams, not artistic invention - 'Covers' is something altogether more permanent. Never stunt like or cynical, it's a record that sits proudly alongside Hackman's original works, proof indeed of an artist who always leaves something of herself in everything she does. Stephen Ackroyd 71.


Matt Berninger

The Cribs Night Network eeeef

Serpentine Prison eeeff

There’s something particularly soothing about a new Cribs album coming in this, the year to be forgotten. One of the most consistent, but never boring, bands around, the brothers Jarman have always managed to bring a shambolic heartbeat; be it the determined drums of Ross, the slugging bass of Gary, or the jangling guitar of Ryan. Their eighth album, 'Night Network' is rife with their classic sparkle: everything is as it should be, the noise of three coming together, scrappy as ever, all the way through to rousing closer ‘In The Neon Night’ that feels like its swaggering down the high street after a good night out, and it’s 2007 again. ‘Night Network’ is a Cribs album to be sure. Offering a warming hope, it feels like a step toward something better. Steven Loftin

“Digging around my own garbage” is one way of describing songwriting, but then Matt Berninger always did have a way with words. Muted and subtle throughout, yet never less than charming, ‘Serpentine Prison’ is pretty much what you would expect from The National’s frontman. There’s a lot to love in the chilled, late-night-wheneveryone’s-gone-home vibe of ‘Distant Axis’, while the slow build of ‘Take Me Out Of Town’ is reminiscent of the heights of 'High Violet'. Skipping around in style, if not in tempo, it is a perfect balm to the chaos of life - a reminder that bangers aren’t all you need. Comfortably mid-paced, surprises are few but long-term fans of The National will undoubtedly love the pure undiluted Mattness on display here. Jamie MacMillan

Lucia & the Best Boys

The State Of Things EP eeeef Every release from Lucia & the Best Boys has been a stride upwards and outwards from their beginnings as the hazy solo project of Lucia Fairfull. They've explored a number of sonic avenues, and ‘The State of Things’ finds the trio indulging in a sinuous gothic slowness in line with The Cure or Depeche Mode. ‘Forever Forget’ is the best example of this, Fairfull’s sharp vocal intertwining with churned up bass as she muses on the bittersweetness of moving on from a difficult period. ‘The State of Things’ fits the trend of consistent excellence that Lucia and her best boys have been plotting for years. There’s no reason their next move shouldn’t be an equally cracking debut album. Alex Cabre 72. DORK


Does It Make You Feel Good EP eeeef On Joesef’s latest EP the soulful heartthrob cements his potential as one of our most exciting new talents as he subtly and intoxicatingly fleshes his tender lovelorn laments out into glorious pieces of pop perfection. Tracks like ‘The Sun Is Up Forever’ are full of joyous hope and positivity while a similar ebullience carries through the horn flecked summer rays of ‘Does It Make You Feel Good’. Loyle Carner adds his languid charm to ‘I Wonder Why’ while the skipping effortless bop of ‘Think That I Don’t Need Your Life’ is another example of how Joesef is beating away the blues with carefree exuberance as his falsetto flutters, swoops and soars around an easy going melody. Joesef’s rise is gathering pace. Martyn Young

Kurt Vile

Speed, Sound, Lonely KV eeeff Sometimes, it turns out, recording versions of one of your hero’s tracks can lead to them turning up and singing on them with you. Kurt Vile shows that there’s hope for stans everywhere as his love letter to Grammy winner John Prine led to a collaboration for a reprise of Prine’s ‘How Lucky’ on Vile’s latest EP. The whole record is a homage to country stars of years gone by, with the always mellow dreamer opting to shift the focus towards familiar sounds from his life on something that’s just 40% fresh KV material. With studio sessions dating back to 2016, this has been a long time in the works - and it’s the right time for KV to send them out into the ether. Ciaran Steward


Always In My Head eeeef

Fat Trout Trailer Park

APRE have honed in on an ear-catching, easy to listen to sound that is as symphonic as it is accessible and modern. Without need for flamboyant lyricism, they sing frankly, with open hearts and cracking voices. Whether it be the repetition of a hard-hitting rhetorical question, ‘Is That Really What You Live For?’ or the earnest displays of passion in ‘Bad Boys’, many of the tracks are elevated to unavoidably catchy banger status by their earworm choruses. But it’s in APRE’s musical depth that the album hits hardest, because while the songs are simple in their structure, they’re vastly detailed in their composition. Well-versed in DIY producing. this mini-album has made it clear that APRE can make an addictively rich alt-pop sound from farm to table. Connor Fenton

Taking his name from the beloved show Twin Peaks, Fat Trout Trailer Park's self-titled EP is littered with throwback influences. Layering 80s pop vibes with a more volatile garage-rock, he dives into the darkness of capitalism, returning to the surface absolutely raging. The EP feels like a testament to his absolute certainty - it leaves no room for hesitation. Flitting from the high-speed, high-energy opening track ‘Backseat’ to the more eerie and subdued ‘Gold’, there’s an unpredictability to the collection that makes it border on erratic. The result? A dynamic kind of post-punk, with a renewed anger that has been sorely missed from the genre over the past few years. Neive McCarthy

Fat Trout Trailer Park EP eeeef

This month, it's...

Dallon Weekes, iDKHOW Yes, Dear Reader. We enjoy those ‘in depth’ interviews as much as anyone else. But - BUT we also enjoy the lighter side of music, too. We simply cannot go on any longer without knowing if Dallon from iDKHOW what he has in his pockets. So we asked him. See? What did you last dream about? It wasn’t suitable for families, so I will have to decline to answer this one. Do you have any hobbies? Since I was a kid, I would always save old broken toys, and make new ones out of them using my dad’s tools. I don’t have a lot of opportunities now, but I never really grew out of that hobby. I like finding ways of putting things together that weren’t designed to go together. What was your favourite subject at school? Art was always my favourite. Do you believe in aliens? I don’t know. Chances are that it’s more than just us floating around the universe, though. What’s your favourite smell? Food. Baths or showers? I’m a bath man, but give me an hour or so in a multi-head shower, and I’m just as good.

74. DORK

That’s how I party.

If you could win a lifetime supply of anything, what would you choose? Dr Pepper. It’s my biggest vice. It would probably end up killing me, but what a way to go. What’s the most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to you? I slipped on a wet ego riser in front of twenty thousand people, but I did recover pretty gracefully. If you could have a superpower of your choosing, what would it be? Sign me up for whatever Superman is having. Who was your favourite musician or band when you were 14? Weezer. (‘Pinkerton’ is still one of my favourite records.) What have you got in your pockets right now? Razor knife. You caught me in the middle of some dad work. Have you ever been banned from somewhere? Not that I’m aware of. If we gave you $10, what would you spend it on? The finest sandwich that $10 could buy. What is your favourite time of day? Nighttime. The day is through. Your work is done. The kids are in bed. Nothing left to do

“I SLIPPED ON A WET EGO RISER IN FRONT OF TWENTY THOUSAND PEOPLE, BUT I DID RECOVER PRETTY GRACEFULLY” but relax with the Mrs. What’s one thing you’ve always wanted to try? Properly learn how to play the piano. I can write for piano all day, but I opted out of lessons as a young man. What’s your biggest fear? Letting my wife and kids down. How do you take your

coffee? Dr. Pepper > coffee. Have you ever seen a ghost? Have not. What was the first record you bought? I think it was Beck’s ‘Odelay’. What’s your breakfast of choice? I’m not that big on breakfast. I

usually skip it, but a fried egg with some salsa and Cholula hot sauce will do the job. Tell us a secret about yourself? Nice try. How punk are you out of ten? Probably like a 3. What’s the best film of all time? I could watch ‘The Shining’ anytime. It’s one of those rare perfect films. Have you ever sold your own CD or merch on eBay? I think I sold some clothes and some old gear once, to make ends meet between tours. What was the last thing you broke? I don’t break things. I fix them. Why are you like this? I do what I want. (Make that a hard 4 on the punk scale). iDHOW’s album ‘Razzmatazz’ is out now.

Down With Boring.

The week in music. Dork Radio. 8pm BST every Monday. Search ‘DorkCast’ on Apple Podcasts, Spotify & more.

death of an optimist

the debut album

out 4th december