Reading & Leeds - they may not be the last festivals of the year, but they're certainly the point where we start to think about putting away our sunglasses and buying a coat. Still, there are few better ways to say goodbye to the summer. There's always a band on one of the smaller stages that causes a crush - this year we're backing Alt-J, which is why they're on our cover. Even Harry Styles likes 'em. Elsewhere you'll find our guide to the acts you just can't miss at the annual rock jamboree. We've also grabbed a few words with pop princess in the making Jessie Ware, rent-a-gobs of the moment Spector, and the mind numbingly brilliant Purity Ring. We're in Micachu's Docklands lock up, introduce you to the amazing Charli XCX, and have chats with Twin Shadow and Yeasayer. Enjoy.
GOOD: The new Bloc Party album is a thing of beauty, if you find beauty in loud riffs and ear splitting beats. All the best people do.
EVIL: Chelsea fans. Did you know your official TV station has ‘done’ a comedy song for your new Belgian wonderkid Eden Hazard? Well, they have. Look it up -on YouTube, then cry with shame.
WHAT'S ON THE DIY TEAM'S RADAR
Victoria Sinden Deputy Editor GOOD: Jessie Ware punning: “Some Ware, Over The Rainbow”, “Ware Is The Love?”. Also: The Newsroom, and Bat For Lashes (love her). EVIL: Sad times for Rounder Records: the Brighton record shop closed in July. Emma Swann Senior Editor GOOD: The return of We Are The Physics. Even though I knew it was coming, and, er, I'm a bit biased. EVIL: Festival mud. A couple of inches more rainfall and that'd be the second pair of Docs all but written off in twelve months. Harriet Jennings Features Editor GOOD: Foreign festivals. A trip abroad and music all under the good ol’ banner of work. No one tell the boss, eh? Oh. EVIL: Childhood bands making a comeback. I’m looking at you, BSB, Sean Paul, and potentially you too, P!nk.
Sarah Jamieson News Editor GOOD: Someone is going to have to pry The Gaslight Anthem's album 'Handwritten' out of my hands because I. Cannot. Stop. Listening. EVIL: This weather! Make up your blooming mind already. Becky Reed Film Editor GOOD: Mind-blowing documentaries with true stories you honestly couldn’t make up. We review Searching For Sugar Man, and this month’s shocker The Imposter freezes the blood. EVIL: 2011’s London Film Festival opener 360 finally dribbles into cinemas. Expect a big shake-up this autumn. Christa Ktorides TV Editor GOOD: Jonathan Rhys Meyers is to play Dracula on the small screen. I'm scrubbing my neck clean in preparation. EVIL: Robin van Persie announcing his intention to leave the mighty Arsenal at the end of his contract.
THIS ISSUE HAS BEEN BROUGHT TO YOU BY...
Cadbury's Creme Eggs: We saw a deal on a website. Next thing there's the better part of 300 chocolate eggs in the office fridge.
The number of hours certain DIY scribblers spent stood in the rain waiting for Blur to play a couple of songs on a London rooftop. For services to mid nineties Britpop, we salute them.
O 50 3
Amount of Cadbury's Creme Eggs currently in the office fridge.
Shades Of Alt-J: The best sidebar that never happened. Sadly, they're not that good at erotic fiction. Prudes.
Number of said band's shows members of DIY's editorial team are going to see next month. New music first.
Number of times Hundred Reasons' debut 'Ideas Above Our Station' has gone on the office stereo this month. November is going to be awesome.
Member of the office who thought Batman was part man, part bat. We won't tell you who it was - the shame would be too much.
CO N T E N TS
Editor Stephen Ackroyd Deputy / Online Editor Victoria Sinden Senior Editor Emma Swann Features Editor Harriet Jennings News Editor Sarah Jamieson Art Director Louise Mason Film Editor Becky Reed Games Editor Michael J Fax TV Editor Christa Ktorides Editorial Assistant Jamie Milton Staff Writers: El Hunt, Jake May Head Of Marketing & Events Jack Clothier
MICACHU & THE SHAPES
WA R P E D T O U R
A LT - J
Adam Bychawski, Alexia Kapranos, Andrew Backhouse, Aurora Mitchell, Ben Marsden, Charlie Ralph, Colm McAuliffe, Coral Williamson, Dani Beck, Danny Wright, Gareth Ware, Greg Inglis, Heather McDaid, Huw Oliver, Jack Urwin, Jessica Bridgeman, Joanie Eaton, Joe Skrebels, Jonathan Hatchman, Kosta Lucas, Linda Aust, Martyn Young, Matthew Davies, Simone Scott Warren, Wayne Flanagan, Wendy Davies, Will Graham
READING & LEEDS
Phil Smithies, Sam Bond, Wendy Davies
J E S S I E WA R E
Y E A S AY E R
R EG UL ARS
6 N E W S 22 F I R S T 82 B A C K
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O N P A G E
R E V I E W S 60 70 75 76 78 80
A L B U M S L I V E T E C H F A S H I O N F I L M S G A M E S
DIY is published by Sonic Media Group. 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 DIY. 25p where sold. 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 Sonic Media Group holds no responsibility. The opinions of the contributors do not necessarily bear a relation to those of DIY or its staff and we disclaim liability for those impressions. Distributed nationally.
INSIDE MICACHU’S DOCKLANDS HIDEOUT WITH NEW ALBUM ‘NEVER’ ON THE STREETS, WE INVADED MICACHU’S CAVERN OF GLITTERING DELIGHTS. The brisk morning air on alighting the DLR doesn’t feel like London; the quiet Docklands area is strangely peaceful. Not at all the place you’d expect to be at 10am on a Monday looking for a studio, then. It’s only when we’re directed to a line of royal blue shipping containers that it dawns on us that this is Micachu’s ‘personal space’, and inside is an Aladdin’s cave of musical wonders. Emerging sleepily (she’s just returned from a festival in Sweden) we sit with Mica Levi (for it is she, etc - Ed) in the middle of her room, strewn with everything from 7”s, scribbled ideas on post-it notes and floral garlands. There’s a small acoustic guitar on the floor, tucked behind a shelving unit piled with records, whilst a smattering of handmade instruments live in unseen corners. She’s constantly apologising for the mess. There’s no need, it’s a little bit amazing.
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As the larger ‘collective’ Micachu & The Shapes, there’s a new album afoot. ‘NEVER’ (don’t forget the capitals), their second full-length, is as exciting and eccentric as you’d expect. Kind of pop, but not as we know it, it more than matches the standards you’d demand from the youngest individual musician to be granted artist-in-residence status at London’s Southbank Centre. “I just write here...” she says, looking around the room we’ve invaded. “I didn’t have this then [when recording the last album]. Marc [Pell, drummer] had a little studio over in Stratford, actually on a street called Abbey Road. It was really fun to record in there. “We try and get all prepared before [we enter the studio]. You have to be precise about that, otherwise it can go on forever. If you try and get the recording organised beforehand, then you just need to get a good take.” When a project seems centred around one individual, it’s always a matter of debate just how much the rest of the group have to do with the creative process. The Shapes, though, are far more than just hired hands. “I’ll write the songs and the main idea of it,” Mica explains, “but in terms of how it fits, the structure of it - little bits and bobs that’s something we do together. “We tried to do something that was quite rock and roll, quite 60s. I wanted to try and do something really traditional;
what I thought was an actual ‘album’. Do it almost like a school project.” Speaking of projects, an instrument catches our eye in the corner of the room. Looking like a hollow box with strings and even a pipe attached, we can’t help but ask what it is. “That’s called the Chopper,” she laughs. “It is a copper pipe, yeah.” The home-made equipment doesn’t play much of a role on their latest effort, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t expect to see more inventions in the future. “I feel a bit sheepish talking about it, really,” Mica tells us. “It’s just an interest. I don’t think on commission I could make somebody an instrument that would be as good as a carpenter would make, but it’s nice to do it yourself anyway. It’s exploration. You hit brick walls and you have to problem-solve. You start off with a sound that you want to get, and you’re aiming to work towards it. So, when it comes off that’s great.” Even if Frankenstein’s orchestra (that’s a compliment, in case you’re wondering) won’t be making an appearance, that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few ‘interesting’ parts to listen out for. “Marc did this deep breathing thing...” she trails off. “But, then he started to turn this weird shade of purple so we made him stop.” Health and safety first, kids. Micachu & The Shapes’ new album ‘NEVER’ is out now via Rough Trade.
TWO DOOR CINEMA CLUB RETURN
It feels like a long time (at least two years...) since Two Door Cinema Club burst onto the scene with their 2010 offering ‘Tourist History’, but now marks the start of a new chapter. No, they’ve not finally decided to tell their mums about what they’ve been hiding in the basement; they’ve kept things a bit more traditional and recorded a new album, ‘Beacon’. Having spent the last nine months (no pregnancy gags - Ed) a little more quiet than usual, the County Down three-piece have been busying themselves with the follow-up to their platinum debut. Now we finally know when it’s due (September, if you’re wondering), the questions can start. We called up guitarist Sam Halliday to find out what we can expect.
“We’re just excited for people to hear new songs,” Sam enthuses. “I feel like ‘Tourist History’ has just been out for so long that we’re in a different place from it now. It’s the last thing that people have heard from us and we want to get out something fresher and more of what we’re into at the minute.” So far, so The Same As Every Bloody Musician Always Says, but we’ll let him continue. We’re nice like that. “The first album was written over a few years, and they were just the best songs we had written in that time,” he explains. “Whereas, with this one, we moved into a house together for four or five months, full time. It being so long since we had been together properly, there were so many ideas to go on we were never really 8 thisisfakediy.co.uk
got stuck on anything. Everything seemed to fall into place.” Two Door Towers seems to have been a good thing, then; at least nobody is complaining about the state of the kitchen. It’s no wonder the three piece are in good spirits. On release, few were expecting their debut to land them in the middle of the mainstream circus, and yet by the end of its run the band found themselves headlining impressively large shows and, we presume, sporting pretty big grins with it. “There’s a bit more confidence this time around to do our own thing,” Sam confirms. “It has a flow to it, which is a lot harder to do with your first album because the songs aren’t really connected. It’s not like a concept album or anything! It’s just a collection of songs that we wrote, but they’re closer together.” Produced by Jacknife Lee, the band travelled to Los Angeles to record. “It was amazing,” we’re told. “You’d step outside and there’d be amazing scenery. It was so inspiring I know Alex [Trimble, Two Door’s frontman] was saying he had written some of the lyrics before, in Glasgow, but when he got to LA, he rewrote a lot of them because it wasn’t really true to how he was feeling when he got there.” An album about sun, sea and sand, then? You never know. Two Door Cinema Club’s new album ‘Beacon’ will be released on 3rd September via Kitsuné.
TOY GEAR UP FOR DEBUT “I think everyone's really thrilled. You never really know how it's going to turn out. There's always a bit of an element of surprise but it worked perfectly. It's just how we wanted it to be.” That sounds promising, then. We're chatting to Tom Dougall, frontman of TOY, to find out about their forthcoming self titled album. When it comes to recording a debut, there will always be a bit of pressure, but it seems as though TOY's experience was dialled right up to eleven. “We started recording at the end of April, and we did it in ten days straight. We had a very short amount of time to do it,” he explains, “which was kind of good actually. We really went for it. We had just two or three takes sometimes. That gave us with quite a lot of pressure to get in done in such a short amount of time, but I liked that. I think we all work best under pressure.” Pressure is one thing, but it's the difference it makes to what's on the record that really matters. “There's definitely an
energy to it," Tom confirms. "There's an immediacy. It's all recorded live - there's a few overdubs, but all of the basic tracks are done live altogether. I think you can definitely tell; when bands do that, there's a different feeling. It makes the recording more exciting. All of our favourite records were done in that way. I don't think you need to spend ages and ages agonising over every tiny little thing.” Recorded alongside Dan Carey, in his studio in South London, the band will be releasing through Heavenly ("They got it straight away") at the start of September. As with any debut, there will always be a sense of expectation. But, if this album were to fall into anyone's hands, what is that would really take their fancy? “It might not be everyone's cup of tea, but you can get lost in some of the music, and it hopefully takes you somewhere.” TOY's self-titled debut album will be released on 10th September via Heavenly Recordings.
N E W S IN
B R I E F PURE LOVE have unveiled their
debut album title as ‘Anthems’. The eleven-track effort was produced by Gil Norton in Brooklyn, and will be released through Vertigo Records on 1st October.
AT THE DRIVE-IN have
announced plans to play a show in London ahead of their appearances at this year’s Reading & Leeds Festival. They will play O2 Academy Brixton on 28th August.
THE FLAMING LIPS
recently set a brand new world record for playing the most live shows in 24 hours. Beating previous title holder Jay-Z, the band played eight gigs across the Mississippi Delta as part of the MTV O Music Awards, with twenty minutes to spare.
TILLY & THE WALL have
revealed their first new album since 2008’s ‘o’. The Nebraska five-piece look set to release ‘Heavy Mood’ on 2nd October through Team Love, and it will be ten tracks long.
THE GASLIGHT ANTHEM have announced five
UK shows, scheduled for October, support for which will come from Blood Red Shoes. The NJ four-piece will making the following stops: London O2 Academy Brixton (15, 17), Manchester O2 Apollo (18), Glasgow O2 Academy (19), Birmingham O2 Academy (20).
N E W S IN
B R I E F Having released two albums - 2009’s ‘Do The Job’ and 2012’s ‘Build’ -
are splitting up as the band “has become an ongoing struggle that’s too difficult to continue with.”
will be heading out on an Arena tour later this year. They’ll play: Nottingham, Capital FM Arena (26th November), Birmingham, NIA (28th), Liverpool, Echo Arena (29th), Manchester, MEN Arena (1st December), London, The O2 (2nd).
seems to be slowly creeping back into the spotlight, but only just. He’s created three new songs for video game, ‘Sound Shapes’. Other artists contributing material include deadmau5 and Jim Guthrie.
COACHELLA have announced
they will be putting on a musical cruise this December, featuring the likes of Pulp and Hot Chip. The S.S. Coachella will set sail from Florida on 16th December.
is set to release his first long-player, ‘Tender Metal’, on 10th September via the Apple App store. Yes, you read that right.
THE XX will perform three shows to celebrate the release of their forthcoming second album: London Shepherd’s Bush Empire (10th September), Cardiff Coal Exchange (11th) and Edinburgh Usher Hall (12th).
ZOLA JESUS “I NEED TO ESCAPE” Zola Jesus may be super busy over the summer with a whole heap of festival appearances, but that doesn’t mean she’s forgotten about her new album, the follow up to 2011’s ‘Conatus’. DIY tracked her down just before her set at Latitude Festival to find out how it’s going.
“It’s all swirling around inside of me. I’ve started writing a bit but nothing is concrete,” she tells us. “It is time to turn myself inside out again. I need to remove myself for a bit and escape, work diligently on my next record. I’ll be playing shows sporadically in the meantime, though.” No mean feat; Nika’s only just starting to get over her nervousness about being on stage. “I think I’m finally getting to the point where I can get over the initial fear of being on a pedestal in front of a mass group of people staring at me. But it’s still very intimidating. In the past I was so overwhelmed and terrified all I could do was pace back and forth and barely even get the words out my mouth. “I feel very happy now to get on stage and just focus on performing, rather than being distracted by the existential pressures of having to deliver some sort of raw unhinged primal humanness of being a person on stage in front of other persons. It is a very bizarre concept, something I think if I saw a bunch of ants doing I would be very perplexed by. But it’s a part of my path, so don’t question it just do it!” Good thing too. You’d be right to think that the grand old age of 23, with three full-lengths already under her belt, she must be something of a workaholic. “Making music is very compulsive for me. It’s hard to slow down. Not only is it a very cathartic process, but it’s also an incredible puzzle that I feel like I’ll never quite solve.” Zola Jesus’ album ‘Conatus’ is out now via Souterrain Transmissions.
CHRISTOPHER OWENS “I AM LEAVING GIRLS” The future of lauded retro-sort-ofslacker-sometimes-rock duo Girls is in doubt, after vocalist Christopher Owens revealed he was leaving the band. In true 2012 style, he posted a series of tweets announcing his departure. Owens told fans: “This may come as a surprise to many and has been an issue of much thought for me. My decision was not easy to make. I am leaving Girls. My reasons at this time are personal. I need to do this in order to progress. I will continue to write and record music. More will be announced soon. I thank you all for everything.” This leaves the other half of the band, JR White, in limbo – he hasn’t revealed what he plans to do yet, with or without the Girls name. Girls were last seen with last year’s muchloved ‘Father, Son, Holy Ghost’.
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BAND OF HORSES SET THEIR SIGHTS HIGH Imagine you’re in a band that two years ago received a Grammy nomination for ‘Best Alternative Album’. It’s now time to record the follow up. You’d play it safe, right? More of the same. Status quo (not that Status Quo, mind - Ed). Don’t mess with a winning formula. Unless you’re Band Of Horses, that is. In which case you bring in a new producer, and record an album with a far greater emphasis on a live sound, while describing your last effort as relying too heavily on technology. “There was a lot going on personally that added a very melancholy element to that record. In this case, things are a lot more light and carefree. There weren’t so many tumultuous things going on,” says head horseman Ben Bridwell when questioned on how ‘Mirage Rocks’ (their latest record, in case you're wondering) differs from ‘Infinite Arms’.
of the UK Top 20? “Not because of it as such. With the whole Grammy thing, the biggest pressure is that you don’t want to let down the people that were with you from the beginning. It’s tough to deal with because you lose some fans along the way as you become more popular. I feel like I don’t want to stray too far off course, or let anyone down. “Then, there’s the added pressure of being on a major label. They don’t want you to sell 50,000 albums, they want you to sell 500,000 albums. Or a million. These things definitely enter the consciousness, but at the same time I’m not a good enough songwriter to steer things one way or the other. Things just sort of fall at random until a song is done."
At least it sounds like this time round the birth was less, shall we say, difficult. “The one before took too damn long,” Bridwell admits. “But with this one it felt like a much more efficient process. It took less than two months, which might seem like quite a lot of time in the studio but compared to the album that preceded it, it was about as short as it could have possibly been.”
But while he’s sure about the challenges the band’s newfound success brings, ask him what he hopes listeners will take away from the new record and there’s a near tangible pause at the end of the line, as he mulls it over. “I’d like to think that there are certain songs that are a return to form, so I hope existing fans will pick up on that. I want new fans to pick it up that perhaps didn’t enjoy, say, the first record and find something interesting. I hope people aren’t turned off by it.”
There must have been been an element of pressure following on from a Grammy-nominated album that knocked on the door
Band Of Horses’ new album ‘Mirage Rock’ will be released on 17th September via Brown / Columbia Records.
RADIOHEAD N E W S RECORD AT THIRD IN MAN STUDIOS B R I E F ADELE
has announced that she is expecting her first child. The global superstar has now not only sold 3.69 million copies of her album ‘21’, but will be having a kid with boyfriend Simon Konecki.
TALL SHIPS will be releasing
The world got a little closer to being one great big supergroup this month, after manof-a-thousand-bands, Jack White, revealed Radiohead – yes, THAT Radiohead – had recorded at his Third Man Studios in Nashville. Speaking to BBC 6 Music, White admitted he couldn’t say much, but did reveal that while he didn’t join in the Oxford band’s fun by playing with them or producing, “They came and recorded at Third Man” (a real chatterbox, our Jack - Ed). Radiohead aren’t the only legendary music types who’ve joined Jack at his Nashville complex – have a browse through our guide to some of the highlights and more, erm, interesting moments in the Third Man lexicon.
BECK While we're still, yes, waiting
on the alien-loving multi-instrumentalist to release a whole new record (he's still not responding to our begging letters for more Sex Bob-omb garage rock thrasha-thons), his recent Third Man 7” proved quite the country-tinged quick fix.
TOM JONES When it was
announced the showbiz legend and king of the Oompa Loompas was working with Jack White, more than a few curious eyebrows were raised. But, guess what – it worked – Jack's howling guitar matching Tom's vocal ferociousness. Just as long as Jessie J doesn't get any ideas.
their debut album this October. ‘Everything Touching’ will be released on 8th October through both Big Scary Monster and Blood & Biscuits.
LANA DEL REY and A$AP ROCKY have been
hard at work on the collaboration front. Whilst A$AP takes a lead role in Del Rey’s epic Kennedy affair-style video for ‘National Anthem’, the starlet contributes her vocals to Rocky’s album track ‘My Bitch’.
DEFTONES' Chino Moreno has said that the band’s next album could be released as soon as October. In a recent interview, the frontman explained they hoped for the follow-up to their 2010 album ‘Diamonds Eyes “to be finished by summertime.”
have plotted the final shows of their career in November, during which they will perform their debut ‘Ideas Above Our Station’ in full. Joined by the reunited Hell Is For Heroes and Cable, they’ll play at: London Coronet (22), Manchester Academy 1 (23), London Forum (24).
INSANE CLOWN POSSE
If it weren't for this one we might have thought the Thom & Co. story a joke. Take Mozart's twisted sense of humour, noisy siblings JEFF The Brotherhood and add lyrics and vocals courtesy of the Detroit hip hop duo, and a new take on 'Leck mich im Arsch' is born. Ahem. 13
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FIRST LISTEN: Bat For
Lashes - Laura. Check out a taster of Bat For Lashes' third full-length ‘The Haunted Man’, and read our first impressions.
LIVE AT THE LAMB
Eugene McGuinness The first in a new series, our mate Eugene pops down to The Lamb and serenades us with a few ditties from his new album.
WIN TICKETS FOR BEACONS FESTIVAL
The Skipton event will host sets from the likes of Wild Beasts and Japandroids. Grab a pair of free tickets on the site now!
BIG IN CROATIA
Glasgow foursome We Are The Physics found themselves in the middle of a Croatian media storm, following the release of brand new single, ‘Goran Ivanisevic’. Or almost, as vocalist Michael M explains, they’re not quite Balkan superstars just yet. “I think we’re only famous there in the same way wearing sunglasses and sporting a Hitler hairdo is famous over here, as an extra ‘and finally’ on the news. A kind of post-misery chuckle.” The single, the first taken from the band’s forthcoming second album, is about the infamous, eccentric and much-celebrated eponymous tennis star. Another consequence of the single’s success in eastern Europe is the discovery they’ve been saying his name wrong all this time. “We were fairly sure we were saying it wrongly,” Michael admits, “but we never thought anyone outside the UK would hear it. And his name was always pronounced like that on TV here – so we got on the side of the BBC Wimbledon mob.” We Are The Physics’ new single ‘Applied Robotics’ will be released on 13th August via DIY Records. The band are also currently filming scenes for Stuart Murdoch’s forthcoming musical feature film, ‘God Help The Girl’. 14 thisisfakediy.co.uk
PLAY AROUND WITH SOUNDS We’ve been fans of Daughter for a while now, so couldn’t wait to find out what they’re coming up with when we heard they’d started work on their debut album. “I think we’re getting more and more interested with sounds,” one half of the duo, Igor Haefeli, tells us. “It’s probably going to come across in the album that the songs started out more with sounds.” “Yeah,” agrees Elena Tonra, who originally began Daughter as her own solo outfit. “With the two EPs, they were very much songs written acoustically first and then we experimented. Now, we can start with a piece of music and write to that. I think it’s progressing.” And evidently, their change in structural approach has been reflected in the recording process. “We’re going to be recording in a few different studios,” confirms Haefeli. “We just wanted to get the best sounds we could," explains Elena, understandably. “We’ve been working at Rock Of London, which is just off Hackney Road. Then, 123 over on
Brick Lane. We’re going to record quite a lot at home too, actually, because it’s all borrowed gear and it’s quite a nice environment. It's all just kind of sound things! We want to get as good sounds as possible." Daughter are currently working on their debut album, which will be released via 4AD.
WARPED TOUR 2012
WARPED TOUR WHAT IS IT GOOD FOR?
QUITE A LOT, ACTUALLY. ANY FAN OF PUNK ROCK IS LIKELY TO REGARD THE WORDS “WARPED” AND “TOUR” WITH ALMOST MYTHICAL REVERENCE. THERE’S SOMETHING A LITTLE BIT SPECIAL ABOUT THE STATESIDE TRAVELLING FESTIVAL - AND NOW IT’S COMING TO LONDON. Since 1994, when founder Kevin Lyman first came up with the idea for a twomonth travelling festival of punk and skateboards, Warped has gone from strength to strength. Playing host to every rock band worth their salt, the list of those who have appeared is endless. Heck, it’s punk rock summer camp: why wouldn’t you want to be there?
“I think one of the first times I heard of the Warped Tour was in the lyrics of ‘The Rock Show’ by Blink-182 at 13,” tells Jenna McDougall, frontwoman of up-and-coming Australian outfit Tonight Alive. “All I knew was that every band I cared about had played the tour and that if I ever played in a band that would be all I wanted to do.” “It’s a place where people can just be themselves without anyone giving a f**k about how they look, talk or act,” 16 thisisfakediy.co.uk
explains Vic Fuentes, of Californian post-hardcore band Pierce The Veil. “It’s total freedom for one day.” And along with freedom, there’s a definite sense of equality throughout the touring party, as Chris #2 of Anti-Flag is quick to emphasise: “It’s a level playing field. We get the same chance as other bands at the top of their scene. It’s a great chance for a large number people to see lots of music.” The Warped Tour is a magical place. Bands that almost nobody has ever heard of go on to play to hundreds of people every day. As well as birthing giants of the rock community, it also gave a certain pop megastar her break. “A few years ago Katy Perry was playing a side stage for 50 people,” Keith Buckley of Every Time I Die remembers. “I saw Paramore in front of maybe a hundred in one city a few years ago. Right now, Dead Sara is playing for a few dozen a day. Mark my words, that band will be
doing far bigger things." “For me,” begins Cyrus Bolooki, drummer for New Found Glory, “Warped Tour is all about the family backstage between the bands - we’re all the same when we’re at the shows. We all unite to put on amazing performances throughout the summer.
“IT’S AN HONOUR TO EVEN BE ASKED TO PLAY.” LOSTPROPHETS I can remember going to some of the first years of Warped Tour in South Florida back in the late ‘90s, seeing punk bands that I love like Blink-182, MxPx, Millencolin, but also seeing other styles of music. Artists like Eminem, Deftones, and others. I’ll never forget New Found Glory’s first time playing in 1998. There are so many great memories for us.”
And even with bands who are fairly new to the tour, there’s a sense of camaraderie and respect. “I remember going to see Piebald at Warped Tour in NYC when I was 13 years old. Ever since seeing them that day, I wanted to be a part of the tour,” reminisces Tim Landers of Boston five-piece Transit. “From our standpoint, we couldn’t have picked a better year to hop on. Bands that we love headline every night.” “I remember seeing Taking Back Sunday as a fan and thinking ‘I want to play this tour some day’,” tells Tay Jardine of We Are The In Crowd. “And now I’m playing the tour with them! It’s such a great experience.” That’s a sentiment mirrored by Mayday Parade’s Jake Bundrick: “It’s pretty incredible knowing you’re doing a festival with a band like Taking Back Sunday or The Used who you’ve listened to and looked up to. Our band formed because of those bands.”
“WARPED TOUR IS ALL ABOUT THE FAMILY.” NEW FOUND GLORY For the first time in seventeen years, Warped will be leaving behind American soil and setting up camp for one night only in the UK, at Alexandra Palace in London, meaning us Brits can finally go to the rock show. “For us, it’s an honour to even be asked!” says Stuart Richardson, of headliners Lostprophets. “It was a no-brainer, we didn’t even have to think about it. Warped Tour has become such an institution and it’s awesome that they’re trying to bring it to the UK, so for us to be asked, we were definitely honoured.” Warped Tour UK will take place on the 10th November at Alexandra Palace in London. Acts on the bill include Lostprophets, Brings Me The Horizon, New Found Glory, Less Than Jake and Architects.
MEEEEEEMORIES, LIKE THE COOOOOORNERS OF MY MIIIIIIND Misty watercolour memories, of the Warped Tour.
SHAUN COOPER TAKING BACK SUNDAY
“Being in the pit for the Lordz of Brook lyn in 1995.”
VIC FUENTES PIERCE THE
VEIL “The things I remember most are at our signings and meet ‘n greets. I love talking to our fans face to face and getting a chance to thank them for supporting us, and giving them a chance to express to us what our band means to them. ” JAKE BUNDRICK MAYDAY PARAD E
“I once heard a story of a guy crowd surfing who couldn’t walk. The crowd lifted him to the front and it was so cool. The thing that made it better was seeing the crowd lift his wheelchair up and crowd surf it to him. That moment had to have been so incredible. “
KEITH BUCKLEY EVERY TIM
E I DIE “Whenever the tour comes to Buffalo (our home town) my dad cooks his speciality chicken wings for the whole tour. All of my friends and family are there on that day. Two worlds collide and merge perfectly. It’s special.” CHRIS #2 ANTI-FLA
G “Playing in 2000 with Green Day and Weezer was amazing. Moving from the 3rd and 2nd stages to the main stage. playing last in our hometown of Pittsburgh and having one of our best shows ever. There are almost too many to list!”
A DAY IN THE LIFE
TONIGHT ALIVE’S JENNA MCDOUGALL TELLS US ABOUT A TYPICAL DAY ON THE WARPED TOUR.
In the middle of what looks like some kind of neanderthal dance move onstage.
Up early and ready to hit the stage in St Louis with my Entertainers Secret and my trusty Australian flag!”
Freshened up and off to a signing at the Arnette tent.
A little overwhelmed by the heat but more than happy with the set!
At Press for some interviews!
Taking some time out on our band wagon, listening to Brand New. In line for dinner at catering with my new favourite soda: Mandarin Lime.
Ending my day right with The Used.
d live i y 60 SECONDS WITH...THE HEARTBREAKS WE GRAB MATTHEW WHITEHOUSE AND JOSEPH KONDRAS RIGHT BEFORE THEY HEAD ON STAGE FOR OUR MERC LIVE GIG. How did growing up in Morecambe influence the record? Joseph: I’ve always been of the opinion that this band couldn’t be from anywhere other than Morecambe, which is a small seaside town. The place is kind of tacky and tragic, and romantic, but there’s a lot of hope and light there and that definitely comes through in the music and lyrics. Edwyn Collins produced a track on the album, how was he to work with? Joseph: To work with Edwyn Collins was an absolute privilege and a joy. Matthew: He’s very kind, and he’s very funny. Very self-deprecating, and very humble. He’s a lovely man. What can we expect tonight? Matthew: We’re playing a couple of new songs, we’re playing one that comes out on the Japanese version of the album. Joseph: I think tonight will be good. We’ve not done a show like this for a long time, like a small club show. We do arenas normally. It’ll be good and sweaty, a good little pub gig. We’ll play with the set a bit. 20 thisisfakediy.co.uk
TURN A FEW CORNERS FROM LONDON’S OXFORD CIRCUS, TUCKED AWAY FROM THE HOARDS OF SHOPPERS, AND YOU LAND RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE SOCIAL: OUR HOME FOR THIS YEAR’S DIY AND MERC LIVE GIG SERIES.
THE HEARTBREAKS + DEXTERS
Setting up camp pre-match (our first gig doubles as a screening for the England vs Ukraine match), we ready ourselves in the busying room for openers, Dexters. Playing before such a tense match was always going to be a bit of a job, but it seems as though these boys could’ve kept the crowd’s attention in their sleep. Next up was, well, the Euro match in question. After a questionable first half, let’s just agree that the less said about the game the better. But hey, England scored a goal, and we won. It’s then, at around quarter to ten that the fun really begins. The Heartbreaks begin their set and it takes mere moments for the crowd to begin the dancing. With the majority of our audience already singing the words back to them, the four-piece blast through a set of tracks from their debut, ‘Funtimes’.
THE MILK + ME
It might be a little grey outside for our second Merc Live gig, held just a couple of weeks after the first, but it’s packed when we get down into The Social. And we’re not just saying that, promise. Wading through the bodies of tonight’s crowd, we’re greeted with the mammoth sounds of this evening’s opening act, ME. It’s hard not to blown away by the huge sound they create in such an intimate setting. But tonight, it’s all about our headliners, The Milk. Already on the cusp of some extraordinarily exciting things, the band transform the basement room into a full on dance party. Finishing up by demanding the entire room sit down on the floor, it’s with utter triumph that The Milk finish things up, and we’re left wondering, what on earth could happen at our next show?
DIY has teamed up with Pop Bubble Rock! to take over the main room at Bloomsbury Bowling Lanes in London every first Saturday of the month, and The Lanes in Bristol on the last. The UK’s most super fun clubnight features a unique mix of everything from Blink-182, Sum 41 and Weezer to Stevie Wonder, Alphabeat and Katy Perry. There’s also bowling, karaoke, cinema, arcade games, a 50s diner, and much much more. For more information, head over to facebook.com/ popbubblerock.
Oh, and did we mention the super-cheap drinks?
Pop Bubble Rock! will next take place on 25th August in Bristol.
COMING UP... AUGUST
2ND Mafia Lights, Old Blue Last, London
4TH Pop Bubble Rock!, Bloomsbury Bowling Lanes, London
The lovely folk at Alcopop! Records recently let DIY join them for their annual alldayer, Alcopopalooza. Located at Brixton Windmill, London the event had a star-studded line up featuring the likes of Stagecoach, Sam Isaac, Lexi ( JoFo), Stephen (Tellison), Jumping Ships, GFT, Katie Malco and Dexy. Don’t worry if you didn’t make it, our man-on-the-ground took a whole heap of photos for your perusal, just to whet your appetite for next year...
22ND Saves The Day + Tellison, The Peel, Kingston Upon Thames
25TH Pop Bubble Rock!, The Lanes, Bristol ..........................................
1ST Pop Bubble Rock!, Bloomsbury Bowling Lanes, London 5TH Jeffrey Lewis, The Borderline, London
13TH The Xcerts, The Borderline, London
15TH Southsea Festival, Albert Road, Southsea
20TH Smoke Fairies, The Haunt, Brighton
30TH Underground Festival, Guildhall, Gloucester
FOR UP TO DATE LISTINGS, VISIT THISISFAKEDIY.CO.UK/EVENTS.
FIRST ON CHARLI XCX
CHARLIXCX JAMIE MILTON INTRODUCES POP’S NEW SUPERSTAR IN THE MAKING.
“I’ve been thinking a lot about my second album,” says a flu-ridden Charli XCX, a 19-year-old with big ideas evidently unhindered by a petty virus. “And I’m in two minds. I’m undecided whether to do a massive Belinda Carlisle meets Bjork record, or I’m thinking about going down the other way by doing a Trent Reznor rap record, with witch-house s**t meeting gangster... Trent Reznor-ness.” Bold claims from someone just on the verge of bringing out her debut album proper. But it’s easy to forget that Charlotte Aitchison has been in the game for five years now, from performing nursery rhyme rap at the age of 14, up to now, where she’s been in L.A. recording with Ariel Rechtshaid. Five years is a long time. You’re bound to get restless, keen to develop bright, bold plans. Not that any of Charli XCX’s songs to date fail to represent something daring on their own merit. This first album we’re talking about isn’t standard pop fare. During our conversation she details a debut projecting a “rush of emotion”, whether that be love, loss or a state of calm. “I suppose it’s like a ‘teenage bedroom poster world’ record,” she says. “It’s my first album, [so] it’s very much like my first love and my first loss, and both are on display.” Charli claims to have written a good chunk of the album while in a good place, in “crazy love, while I was super happy”. Recent track ‘You’re The One’ would testify such a statement. Lyrics like “Happiness cries and the tears are dreaming / My body is screaming / No I’ll never be leaving” don’t require too much in-depth analysis. In an album put together over the course of five long years, the recording mic was switched on when Charli hit her emotional peak.
She denies the idea that her debut will consist of “glitterball” pop, though. Recording in Sweden with Patrik Berger (Lana Del Rey, Robyn) had the ideal effect: “After I watched The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo I just saw another side of Sweden... So in ‘You’re The One’, which I recorded over there, the verses especially remind me of the country; dark and slouchy - something which I would never usually associate with that country.” Asked to summarise the record, she gives quite the answer: “For me this is where s**t should be going, it is pop music but it’s a mixture of dark, serious ballads, with an almost gangster style.”
“THE WORLD IS MY OYSTER.” You get this nagging sense though, when listening to Charli’s music, that she’s yet to settle into her own skin. Mixtapes contain sonic snippets where she’ll sing bursting choruses on top of Jai Paul or Blood Diamonds, whereas on record her experimental side is yet to fully come to light. I ask her if she’s worried about this album lacking cohesiveness, at mercy to the sheer amount of ideas she’s got going around her head. Her reply is convincing: “I feel like for me, when I listen to this record, I don’t feel like I sound like someone who’s confused, listening to loads of s**t that doesn’t make sense. I hope that’ll be conveyed when other people listen to it.” Her ambition is almost contagious. As soon as she details her aims as a popstar, you want to see her first five albums
materialise right in front of your very eyes, right this second. “I wanna be able to make people cry and breakdown, as well as making them feel amazing and beautiful... and luscious.” She cites Björk and Robyn respectively as artists capable of doing just that; “whenever I listen to a Robyn song, especially something like ‘Dancing On My Own’, I feel like I wanna cry and I embarrassingly did at a concert, when I supported her a while back. And Björk: I wouldn’t necessarily call Björk a popstar, for instance, but when I listen to her songs, I want to have a breakdown. She makes those kind of songs that gets me tingling every time I hear it. I want to be judged as one of those musicians.” She’s not wrong when claiming that “I feel like the world is my oyster at the moment.” Second album discussions continue over the course of our interview, and you can only encourage her bright ideas, all of which sound fascinating, verging on unheard of. “Maybe I should do a Beyoncé and write a double album. I can definitely see myself doing that.” She then backtracks; “I don’t know... I might just wanna write another pop record.” One thing’s for sure; despite spending the past five years taking it slow, being on the cusp of stardom without seeing things develop quite to the stage where she’s at now, Charli’s enthusiasm hasn’t exactly been dented. You can only hope that such a scale of ambition can come to reality. If that’s the case, we won’t just be viewing the beginnings of the successful popstar, we’ll be seeing the makings of a true superstar. Charli XCX’s new single ‘ You’re The One’ will be released on 30th July via Asylum Records.
FIRST ON PROFILES
R ECOM M ENDED 1
Following earlier glimpses of their neo-noir bliss across the internet, including a cover of Crushed Beaks' ‘Close Ups’ as well as a handful of earlier tracks, it was Torches' track ‘VTOO’ that really opened eyes to the band. However, their new single 'Sky Blue & Ivory' showcases something that is very special indeed, incorporating Charlie Drinkwater’s baritone vocals with crunching guitars and primal beats to provide a back drop of texturised instrumentation. All in all it’s vaguely reminiscent of the sounds produced by acts such as Editors and White Lies, having gone on to flit between the indie world and the mainstream, gaining a reputation of alternative darkness. They seem predestined to follow in the footsteps of acts such as The National and achieve a glorious cult status. ( JH)
2 P L A Y L O U N G E You could listen to one of Playlounge's most recent tracks, the pun-centric 'Conor, Oh Burst?' approximately 1152 times in 24 hours. Think of every moment when you hesitate, when your brain switches off or when you begin to procrastinate - now, fill those gaps of mindlessness with a swift 1 minute 25 second spin of this very song and I can guarantee your day will be renewed. Because Playlounge, like Japandroids - and we say they sound similar, but they only do in the loosest of senses - give you this sense of clarity, of rejuvenation, like only the most triumphant rock bands can. These feelings: they can only be expressed through crashing drums and guitar solos, hence the two-piece's set-up. In April, a beckoning crowd at London's Old Blue Last turned up to a DIY Presents show and left having seen this band light up the room. You can only imagine the rest of the country, bit by bit, being similarly spellbound. ( JM)
Guilford duo Nick Wilson and Lucy Benton initially pricked ears up in the early summer days of 2011. Demos ‘Here To Me’ and ‘Sleep’ seemed to encapsulate their lo-fi, shoegazing sound. Then, after only a few tentative live performances, they disappeared without a trace. Fast-forward a year and they’re back with three extra band members, and more importantly, a new demo to their name. While not straying too far from their original sound, Wilson’s explosively warped guitars propel ‘Stay With Me’ into new levels of sheer intensity, dangerously teetering along a thin line that nears breaking point. In the high paced world of new music, 12 months is a long time away for anyone. But fans will soon forget that if Carousels’ future material is on par with what has come before it. (WF)
Everybody loves Virals, right? Not those irritating videos of bearded women falling down the stairs whilst rapping 1980's hip hop tracks, but Shaun Hencher's new project. Having already gained a load of experience from sticking his fingers into a range of different pies, most notably his former band Lovvers, Hencher has moved on to create a solo project. Virals has already released a couple of singles, each embracing a 1970s punk feel, as was presented to Hencher in the strangest of dreams, featuring a band called 'Virals', but underneath the garage rock guitars, a fundamental dose of Britpop sensibility is omnipresent. While tracks such as ‘Magic Happens’ and ‘Coming Up With The Sun’ incorporate distinctly upbeat notions of sundrenched glee. Leading us to question, just what will be next in line for Shaun Hencher? ( JH)
5 THE CHILD OF LOV A single demo has been floating around the web. Equipped with stylish camel-clad artwork, your average bypasser might assume that it's the work of someone who knows what they're doing, someone with experience in how this silly music game's played. Excitable, high-pitched but by definition, extremely soulful, vocals help reaffirm this initial impression. The Child Of Lov’s debut track 'Heal' is a twisted summer anthem, defined by jerky guitar sections and the occasional vocal interjection of "Got to, got to, heaaaal." Whoever this singer may be, their attitude is plain to see. DIY's been in touch with the guy behind the project and so far it's only been revealed that The Child Of Lov really did start in one guy's bedroom. This hasn't stopped the mysterious musician from being picked up by Damon Albarn and DOOM, enlisted on a forthcoming collaborative project. Talk about things happening fast. ( JM)
Multiple musical goods are bubbling up underneath Canada's musical crust. Sooner or later the scene will dissipate, the hype for Grimes and Doldrums and all their contemporaries will die out and we'll move on to other locations to gawp at. But for the time being, Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver: all eyes are on you. D I A N A, a trio hailing from the first of these three talentproducers, are without a shred of doubt the most exciting, freshest act to emerge from the area. Their saxophone solos might leap out of cheesy Casio synths; their songs might be shamelessly 80s-leaning, with nu-balearic undertones, but both of their initial tracks - taken from a complete, yet-to-be-unveiled work of songs - are gloriously eclectic works of stylish pop. A tantalising taste of all things catchy, with house influence lending life to a cacophonous blend of weird, daring sounds. ( JM)
FIRST ON SPLASHH
“WE MUST BE DOING SOMETHING RIGHT.”
THE DREADED TERM ‘HYPE’ IS NOT JUST AN ABSTRACT WORD ASSOCIATED WITH CERTAIN EMERGING BANDS, IT’S A DIFFERENT MINDSET ALTOGETHER. On the sweatiest evening of the year so far, London’s Old Blue Last was packed for a DIY Presents show. The number of fans turning out to see Japandroids, a celebrated punk band with two albums under their belt, and Splashh, virtual unknowns with a few mp3s to their name, was just about equal. Throughout the past few months, whispering cliques of industry people have huddled together, passing around the word “Splashh” like a bunch of school kids sharing a cigarette. And yet detached from these packs of wolves is a vast majority of people who have yet to hear a single track from the Australiabred band, now residing in this country’s capital. 26 thisisfakediy.co.uk
“I hope it’s not going to go on like this for too much longer,” admits singer Toto, as the majority of our conversation with him and bandmate Sasha centres around industry plaudits and showcase gigs. Splashh have become the current hype band, but they’re focused on spreading their name beyond current circles. “It’s hard to focus on the music aspect while doing all that other stuff." It’s not as if Splashh weren’t ready for the circuit of hype to come streaming in, but they’re keen to focus on other things, like refining a live show that began haphazardly, as drummer Tom had to be flown in from Australia two days ahead of the band’s first gig together. While they call their home of Byron Bay, New South Wales “paradise”, it seems these guys are staying put in England, “where summer never ever comes...” It began when Toto’s brother Skype-ed him in his final year of high school; “he called me going ‘man, so many hot girls, so many great parties!’ So before I even finished school I’d decided I was moving to London straight away.” Sasha joined him late last year, and both members took
to the bedroom to practice songs that would later become the founding pieces of their first two releases. It’s worth ignoring the buzz surrounding this band and just grasping why they’ve made such an impression in the first place. David West, co-founder of label Art Is Hard, was the first to truly expose Splashh to the blogs: “When a band comes out of nowhere with a debut track as great as ‘All I Wanna Do’, you know that they are going to be pretty special,” he tells us. “It’s been really exciting to watch their rapid ascent. It’s a nice reassurance that we must be doing something right.” The “rapid ascent” shows no signs of coming to a halt. I ask Toto if he feels like all of this is going to his head, or whether he truly enjoys playing gigs to a crowd of A&Rs. “I don’t really think about it”, he replies. “When I’m on stage I completely forget about it. That makes me feel like we’re doing it for the right purposes.” Splashh’s new single ‘Need It’ will be released on 30th July via Luv Luv Luv.
THEHISTORY OFAPPLEPIE WHEN STEPHANIE MIN FIRST STARTED THE HISTORY OF APPLE PIE, SHE HAD NO PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE... Her partner in crime, Jerome Watson, had been in a handful of fairly lowkey bands, but to her this was new. Completely new. Almost overnight she went from singing into a hairbrush in her bedroom to being hounded by record labels and industry folk keen to sign up the fledgling act after hearing one song uploaded, for fun, online. “It was weird getting emails off managers and press people wanting to know about the ‘band’ The History Of Apple Pie,” Steph tells us. “I mean, we weren’t even a band. We were a couple trying to make some music together out of boredom.” The duo have since recruited a few new members to enable them to perform live, but the sound has remained much the same: all noisy guitar parts and interesting harmonies; charming in that way lo-fi pop so often is. Steph’s learnt to play guitar, too - in part so she has something to do with her hands. “I remember a cringeworthy couple of first gigs,” she grimaces, “where I was almost a little too Napoleon Dynamite on stage...”
We’re talking in the lead up to the band’s newest single release, ‘Do It Wrong’. It’s their first for a while - a pair of 7” vinyl having produced a flurry of excitement and a couple of solid gold pophits last year - but then they’ve had more important work to do: “Writing, touring, recording, relaxing.” “We’re spending a lot of time on it [the much-anticipated debut album] at the moment trying to get it exactly how we want it to sound. We’ve gone back to the drawing board a few times as we’ve been trying to hit the nail on the head with achieving that balance between sounding well produced, but raw and energetic." If you’re thinking that this sounds like an awful lot of work, you’d be right (well, not the “relaxing” bit - Ed). The History Of Apple Pie are no strangers to long hours, and it’s a good thing too; who ever got anywhere without a bit of elbow grease? “It’s important just to keep going - slacking around gets bands nowhere...” The History Of Apple Pie’s new single ‘Do It Wrong’ will be released on 6th August via Marshall Teller Records.
news AIDEN GRIMSHAW has announced details of a UK tour, which he'll embark upon in support of his forthcoming debut album 'Misty Eye'. Visit thisisfakediy.co.uk for details.
DEAP VALLY will release their debut single 'Gonna Make My Own Money' on 30th July, ahead of their forthcoming appearances at Reading & Leeds Festival this summer.
DAUGHTER have been confirmed as support for three dates on Beirut's upcoming tour. They'll head out together in September. Post-punk four-piece SAVAGES are playing a joint headline tour with Palma Violets, hurry and you might just catch their last few shows.
has confirmed a bunch of new additions, including Jessie Ware and Willy Moon. The event will take place at Shoreditch Park, London, on 31st August.
THEME PARK have unveiled plans to release a brand new single, 'Jamaica', on the 13th August through Transgressive Records.
SAUNA YOUTH have announced details of their debut album,. The Brighton-based four-piece, fresh from a tweaked line-up, will release 'Dreamlands' on 3rd September. 27
FIRST ON MIXTAPE
NOT CONTENT WITH GIVING YOU A FREE MAGAZINE, WE'VE PUT TOGETHER A FREE MIXTAPE FULL OF OUR FAVOURITE NEW BANDS; DOWNLOAD FROM THISISFAKEDIY.CO.UK/MIXTAPE
1 ELI MARDOCK THE WORLD YAWNS
Perhaps the gentlest opening we could possibly hope for, ‘The World Yawns’ comes courtesy of Eli Mardock, a Nebraska singer who’s taken some time off between this and his previous project, Eagull Seagull. ( Jamie Milton)
2 EAUX LUTHER
London trio Eaux's 'Luther' is the kind of track that deserves to be listened to properly: in pitch black as you sit in private at 1am, giving the music your full attention. It's then that the dark, brooding electronics can take full, gripping effect. ( Jake May)
3 URSA MINOR WILD FLOWERS
One listen of Ursa Minor’s ‘Wild Flowers’ and you’ll feel you’ve been dragged through all four seasons. The beauty of spring and the sight of autumn leaves; the warm energy of summer and a sense of melancholy; the depths of winter. ( Jamie Milton)
4 FLIGHTS OF HELIOS DYNAH AND DONALOGUE
"Grief folk" is how Oxford's Flights Of Helios describe the sound of 'Dynah And Donalogue'. With a singing-style comparable to Antony ('& The Johnsons') Hegarty, the track evidently comes straight from the heart with its raw emotion clear. ( Jake May)
5 KEEL HER PRIZE CATCH
Lo-fi pop machine Rose Keeler-Schäffeler continues her apparent life mission of writing six hundred gazillion songs with 'Prize Catch'. The song hears Rose's usual scruffy guitar pop backed by a drummer and further guitarist to delightful effect. ( Jake May)
6 POOR MOON HOLIDAY
Fleet Foxes' Christian Wargo and Casey Wescott team up with brothers Ian and Peter Murray as the Seattle-based, evidentlyfar-more-than-just-a-side-project Poor Moon. Present still are gorgeous vocal harmonies, but an acoustic folk sound is built upon with layers of delicate instrumentation to create a wholesome, Grizzly Bear-ish retro-pop sound. ( Jake May) 28 thisisfakediy.co.uk
7 MOSMAN ALDER RAISIN HEART
With a chorus filled with chanty choral backing vocals, plenty of snare rolls and a string section, it'd be a disservice if we didn't mention that Mosman Alder sound a little bit like The National and Arcade Fire. Not that that's a bad thing. ( Jake May)
8 SEASFIRE UNDONE
Beneath the falsetto-ed, Abel Tesfaye-channelling croon of Seasfire’s ‘Undone’ is a warm electronic pulse, and the occasional amp-imploding guitar riff: it's everything a sex-obsessed song ought to be. ( Jamie Milton)
9 LEVEK BLACK MOLD GROW
Two years after first coming to the attention of music bloggers worldwide with ‘Look On The Bright Side’, David Levesque now wants us to ‘Look A Little Closer’ (the title of his debut full-length) at the first track from his forthcoming album, ‘Black Mold Grow’: a psychedelic pop journey, packed full of glorious textures of lush instrumentation. ( Jake May)
10 IDLES 26/27
Hints of The Twilight Sad and Foals’ ‘Total Life Forever’ LP flutter around Idles' ‘26/27’, as curse-addled lyrics and the odd burst of angst sit atop a sparse structure of muted guitar lines. ( Jamie Milton)
11 SYRON BREAKING
South London’s Syron has appeared on tracks by Rudimental, and received seals of approval from The xx and Pete Tong, so it’s due time we all caught on. Material so far is rooted in the burgeoning UK garage scene; with ‘Breaking’ taking a techno synth line into unchartered territory. She sits somewhere next to Katy B or early Jessie Ware. ( Jamie Milton)
12 GOAT GOATMAN
Call this an introduction to “voodoo-pop”. Goatman are a Swedish troupe, based somewhere in the dark, murky village of Korpolombolo. ‘Goatman’, taken from a debut album due out 20th August, showcases the band’s spellbinding, gung-ho approach. If it sounds terrifying, it is. But it’s also terrific. ( Jamie Milton) 29 29
ALT-J VS THE WORLD
EVERY YEAR, THERE’S ONE BAND PLAYING THE SMALLER TENTS OF READING & LEEDS THAT PACKS THE PLACE. WITHOUT A SHADOW OF A DOUBT, FOR 2012 THAT HONOUR BELONGS TO ALT-J. When we imagine Alt-J at home, in the studio, out and about - whatever it is they do when they’re not on stage, or talking to nosey people like us - we envisage them plotting. Plotting and scheming, with maniacal grins on their faces. Perhaps an unsettling-looking cat perched somewhere nearby; a shark with a frickin’ laser beam swimming underfoot. “Mwahahaha,” they cackle. “Mwahahahahahaha.” Alt-J, you see, are taking over the world.
It’s been an interesting few months for the boys. Having spent the last three and a half years together, it’s only more recently that things have really begun to take off: they’ve taken the charts by storm (#19 counts as a storm, right?), won over Radio 1, and scheduled in major festival appearances like they’re just another show down the local. “I’ll let you into a secret,” Joe Newman whispers to us conspiratorially when we meet.
“There’s this band. It’s my band, but I don’t want people to know about it…” Unfortunately Newman isn’t letting us in on the secret to their success, rather he’s talking about the attitude of some of Alt-J’s original fans from back-in-theday who weren’t always so happy sharing “their” band. “I think people like the idea that they’ve discovered something and they can show off with it. They can cherish it. I think people like to have discoveries and secrets with music.”
Well, the cat’s well and truly out of the bag now. Releasing their debut album ‘An Awesome Wave’ towards the end of May, the band were instantly met with critical acclaim and a legion of new followers. “When we finished the album, I thought it was really good,” explains bassist Gwil Sainsbury, when we ask if any of the success could have been anticipated. “But I think I probably thought it was really good, but pretty niche. I wasn’t convinced that it would get Radio 1 play, or anything like that.” “I was aware that people were going to like the album,” adds Newman, “but I wasn’t aware of the abundance of opportunities that happen after your album is aired and played in different places and talked about by certain people. We were really proud of the album, so I always knew that it was going to be liked. At the end of the day, if we like it, then we’re comfortable that other people are going to like it. But I didn’t expect the kind of emails we were getting; that was bizarre.” That’s understandable. As an album, it’s almost intimidating in its intricacy, sewn together with a dialogue inspired by literature and art. Everything from the track titles to the simplistic lyrical chants are layered with meaning. It’s nothing short of a creative masterpiece, but no one ever expected that to translate to the mainstream so quickly. “I think most of the time, whether it’s ideas or music, a lot of things that start off as niche but are good, or innovative, become part of the mainstream because they help change things gradually,” muses Sainsbury. “I just think our music is quite interesting. If you get other people into interesting music, and then that becomes mainstream, that’s f**king great! Imagine if all music became interesting. That’d be great, wouldn’t it?” Ah, word of mouth. Let’s try something. Think of the most popular currentlyactive band you can think of, right now. One your mum likes. One you can’t open a tabloid or gossip blog without seeing. One that has teenagers going crazy. Who have you come up with? It’s One Direction, isn’t it? Well, a certain Harry Styles (don’t pretend you don’t know
who that is) has just name-checked Alt-J on Twitter to over 5 million followers. “What does that mean?! I have no idea what that means!” exclaims Sainsbury, in something we reckon is half-mocking, half-fact, before keyboardist Gus UngerHamilton voices what we’re all thinking. “They understand what it means. They know that when they tweet about something, it causes a furore. If they were like, ‘I think the Olympics are rubbish,’ they know that would be picked up by newspaper. Similarly, if they endorse a band, they know what that means.”
“IMAGINE IF ALL MUSIC BECAME INTERESTING. THAT’D BE GREAT, WOULDN’T IT?” Which is true. As it turns out, the one tweet from the curly-haired tyke gained the band around one thousand extra followers and counting, as well as 4,605 retweets and 3,930 favourites at the time of writing. “I’d be interested to see how it relates to album sales,” comments Newman. “If even two or three percent of his followers bought the album, it’d go straight to number 1 next week,” adds drummer Thom Green, matter-of-factly. Now that’s something to think about. It’s not as if actual, tangible signs of their domination are difficult to spot either: anyone travelling on the London Underground has probably run into an Alt-J ad, plastered with their pseudoiconic triangular artwork. “I hadn’t seen one until the other day!” tells Sainsbury. “I had just heard rumours about them, and seen a few Twitter pics.” Was it strange to see? “It was weird. I don’t think it really sinks in until you’ve finished it all and then look back. We were talking about it the other day,” he gestures towards Unger-Hamilton, “and
you said you can’t wait until you’re an old man and you can look back at your newspaper clippings and stuff.” “It’s weird because there are so many people behind what goes into that one poster,” says Green, “and we know it’s happening; it’s all planned to be there, but it’s a weird feeling, actually seeing it. Because we’re so attached to it, it’s not that shocking. Every hour that we’re not sleeping is Alt-J.” “You get desensitised to the development because you’re just living it day-by-day,” adds in our frontman, “and you see the growth happen very gradually. But, to be honest, you do have moments when you pinch yourself.” That’s something that must naturally occur during the band’s live performances. Faced with a slew of festival appearances this summer, they have already experienced their fair share of surreal, as Sainsbury reminisces. “When we played Southside Festival in Germany, we were told by our promoter to ‘Expect a couple of people. You’re pretty much opening the festival. You haven’t sold any records in Germany, so don’t expect anyone to come.’ So, we’re sound checking and there’s no one there. Then, as we finish up sound checking, the tent seems to be at capacity, which was...” “3,000,” answers Newman, without a flicker of doubt. “We were just like, ‘Wow’. It was so unexpected. I was genuinely expecting to play to ten, twenty people. It was just such an incredible thing." With a meteoric increase of interest, it should be no time before they’re taking on much larger venues. Already having sold out their October show at London’s Electric Ballroom, they recently announced a one-off show in the capital, at the big much larger O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire. It sounds like it’s just a matter of time until the band take on much more ambitious live stances. “I think when we get comfortable with playing those stages, it will lead to other things,” says Newman. “We’re going to be doing a lot of live performances for the rest of our career, so we want to not only deliver the music that the audiences have heard from our album, but actually give them an experience. Once we get really comfortable playing on stage, we’ll start to branch out and think ‘How can we engage with the audience?’ Make them leave thinking ‘Wow, their set was great, but did you see what they were doing?’”
For the meantime at least, the band know exactly what their plan is. Riding high on the success that ‘An Awesome Wave’ has already granted them, the four-piece will end their summer playing slots at the iconic Reading & Leeds Festival. The importance of such an opportunity - being that band, playing a smaller stage with a likely audience capable of causing some kind of safety hazard isn’t lost on them. “My first festival was Leeds,” explains Green. “So, yeah, it’s weird that we’re playing. I was in bands at that time when I was younger, and we’d have a look at the drummer onstage and think, ‘Man, he’s got the best job in the world.’” There’s no denying that something special is going to happen that Bank Holiday Weekend. World domination awaits. Alt-J’s debut album ‘An Awesome Wave’ is out now via Infectious. The band will play Reading Festival on 24th August and Leeds Festival on 25th August.
DIRECTIONERS VS ALT-J HARRY STYLES' FANS RESPOND TO TWEET-GATE.
"What's your favorite @alt_J song? Mines breezeblocks, but the video is intense #bitartistic" - @teganmaddison "Fantastic album!! Been on Soundcloud for 2 days listening. When is it out in the states?" - @kellyannbrown
"Their music is really GOOD!!! Everyone Listen This!" - @Love2BGinger
"Thank you @Harry_Styles for the hint. It's 2.43am, I'm lying in bed and listening to @ alt_J. Feeling very content and clearheaded. Happy." - @islondoncalling "WOO, I LOVE ALT-J SO MUCH, BREEZEBLOCKS." @EmmaTomlinson_x
"I love @alt_J, breezeblocks is such an amazing song" - @emilycoombes "I LOVE ALT J OMG MARRY ME" - @maiadutoit_
"Is that a tv show or smthn... #clueless" -
"Matilda by @alt_j is amazing!!!" - @grace_redwood
"Is this sarcasm? Oh, Harry Styles I misjudged you" - @georgia_kay "Why the f**k are you follow alt-J WHAT IS THAT" - @wankingnarry "Currently listening to alt-j and i like it .... a lot.... maybe too much... oh no." - @isabella_styles
"Your #UpAllNight album is more greater <3 muchlove" - @zaynismy1ddream
"Breezeblocks has to be like single of the year or something." - @mollystelce 33
WHILE YOU CAN
HERE ARE JUST A FEW OF THOSE WHO HAVE TRODDEN READING & LEEDS' WELL-WORN PATH TO MEGASTARDOM. WHO THE XX WHEN 2009 ALSO THAT YEAR MARINA & THE DIAMONDS, THE TEMPER TRAP, PULLED APART BY HORSES WHO FLORENCE & THE MACHINE WHEN 2008 ALSO THAT YEAR WILD BEASTS, YOU ME AT SIX, FRIENDLY FIRES WHO BOMBAY BICYCLE CLUB WHEN 2007 ALSO THAT YEAR KIDS IN GLASS HOUSES, FOALS, THE HORRORS WHO THE MACCABEES WHEN 2006 ALSO THAT YEAR KLAXONS WHO ARCTIC MONKEYS WHEN 2005 ALSO THAT YEAR MYSTERY JETS, WE ARE SCIENTISTS, THE NATIONAL WHO FRANZ FERDINAND WHEN 2003 ALSO THAT YEAR KEANE, RAZORLIGHT WHO MUSE WHEN 1999 ALSO THAT YEAR ERM, LLAMA FARMERS?
FESTIVALS READING & LEEDS
THERE'S MORE THAN ONE BAND TO GET EXCITED ABOUT AT READING & LEEDS THIS YEAR. FROM LEGENDS TO HOT YOUNG HOPEFULS, MAKE SURE YOU DON'T LEAVE HOME WITHOUT OUR GUIDE TO THE MUST SEE SETS OF 2012.
READING & LEEDS 36 thisisfakediy.co.uk
AT THE DRIVE-IN
It seems like a long time now since that first frenzied announcement regarding the reunion of At The Drive-In, but remember how excited we all were when it first happened? The curiosity, the not-quite-knowing-everything, the idea of actually finally getting to see them live (y’know, if you didn’t first time around - Ed)? Well, that time is almost upon us, and frankly, we don’t quite know what to do with ourselves. Competing with a certain main stage headliner – really, we might have to judge you just a little bit if you go there instead – their performance is set to be the most explosive of the weekend. Doubling as their first live appearance in the UK in over ten years, there’s absolutely no excuse not to be jamming yourselves in amongst the chaos.
Everybody knows that the best thing to do at a festival is drink a copious amount of alcohol, fall over in the mud and then dance around. What band could be more perfect to soundtrack such activities than DZ Deathrays? Whether your choice of drink is the £4.75 pints of Tuborg, or the band’s favourite liquor (or not so much now, after that video for ‘The Mess Up’) Jägermeister, there are no finer partiers than this Australian duo. You’d be silly to miss them setting the Festival Republic stage alight this August. They’ve already owned the likes of The Great Escape and SXSW festivals, so what’s one more notch to their belt? Get ready for carnage, and bring some dollar chills; it’s going to get messy.
PARAMORE If there’s one band on this year’s line-up that are definitely going to draw attention, it’s Paramore. And that’s not just thanks to frontwoman Hayley Williams’ hair colour. Oh, no. Not only are the rather adored band going to be warming up for the mighty Cure, but this will be their first UK performance as a three-piece brothers Josh and Zac Farro having left the band back in late 2010. There’s even the possibility of new material, since they’re currently locked away recording album number four. Paramore are the perfect Reading & Leeds party band. Heading up a main stage littered with those inspired by both their music and ethos - we’re looking at you, You Me At Six - no matter what you like to say you think of them, we know you’ll be singing ‘Misery Business’ at the top of your lungs before Robert Smith’s wrinkly old face even comes in to view.
Reading & Leeds is a rock festival; there’s no point denying it - all the angular haircuts and skinny jeans in the world won’t stop this being the domain of the loud. If you’re looking to turn things up to eleven, then you’ll be wanting to head down to the Lock Up stage, where it’s Touché Amoré that are shining most brightly. Already placed firmly at the forefront of the recent ‘Wave’ hardcore movement, Touché Amoré are five captivating Californians that are already causing a truly thrilling stir. Snarling with aggression and painfully simple eloquence, their songs encompass what is brilliant about hardcore and punk rock. Shimmering with intensity, their (no doubt) short but sweet set is guaranteed to leave you wide-eyed, breathless, and wanting more.
TIMES LIKE THESE Dave Grohl is Reading Festival. Probably Leeds too; though his tally chart shows two less appearances at the northern leg. That’s not his fault (Leeds only joined the party in '99) - as he brings his Foo Fighters back for their third headline appearance in the last decade, this is very much a home crowd. His first Reading with the Foos is already that of legend. Since then it’s been nothing but win - from the refusal to quit when main stage jobsworths tried to cut them short at Leeds 2002, to the headline slot fireworks that followed. 2012 sees Grohl return almost 20 years to the day since he first topped Reading’s main stage with Nirvana. If that’s not an excuse for something special, we don’t know what is.
The band’s first appearance at Reading Festival. Even back then they were top-of-the-bill material, headlining the Melody Maker Stage, following the likes of Echobelly and The Bluetones. The set goes down in Reading history, as people scale poles and crush in to get a glimpse of Grohl’s postNirvana project.
Starting an upward trajectory that’s yet to waver, Foo Fighters play the Main Stage. Fourth from the top, they precede Supergrass, Prodigy and Beastie Boys. The Bluetones, it appears, have followed them across.
Foo Fighters’ second Main Stage spot, just before Primal Scream and headliners Oasis, and their first at the newly launched Leeds’ leg. Once again they’re sharing a stage with The Bluetones. Don’t worry, they’re not coming back this year.
Hurrah, the band’s first Main Stage headline instead playing alongside Muse and Ash. Other notable billings that year include The Strokes and an opening slot for Death Cab For Cutie.
A second headline slot, this time sharing billtopping duties with Iron Maiden and Pixies. There are also appearances from The Killers and Kings Of Leon, while some band called Arctic Monkeys play half way up the smallest stage. Rumours fly around the Reading site that Dave Grohl & Co. are to play a secret set on the BBC Introducing Stage as The FF’ers. They don’t. It’s actually a short-lived band called - you guessed it - The FF’ers.
This year. The band's sixth appearance at Reading. Their fourth at Leeds. The third time they're headlining the entire event. If the festival was to have a house band, Foo Fighters would be it. 39
GRIMES The intro to Grimes’ ‘Oblivion’ could probably be the soundtrack to just about everything this year. Getting on the bus? Walking upstairs? Taking your shoes off ? It needs a bit of synth. Sunset on a wet Saturday in Berkshire, or late afternoon on a miserable Sunday up north? Even more so. It doesn’t even really need suggesting that the Canadian may be one of the must see acts of Reading & Leeds 2012. The poster girl of modern blog pop; if you can get yourself in to the inevitably heaving confines of the Dance Tent, expect screams of the Bieber Fever kind.
SAVAGES Savages are already one of the most talked-about acts of the year. There’s a reason for that – they’re bloody good. By concentrating on their live performance before getting anything recorded and ‘out there’, they’ve avoided the trap of many a buzz band. In fact, we’d go as far to say that seeing them live far outweighs anything you’ll hear from them on record, even if that lexicon currently does only extend to two songs. You can’t mic up a thousand-yard stare, after all. Enigmatic but not inaccessible, the quartet’s massive, cavernous sound should translate just as well in a stuffy, muddy tent as in any sweaty basement or sponsored concert hall. 40 thisisfakediy.co.uk
FRIDAY Iâ€™M IN LOVE SIMONE SCOTT WARRENâ€™S LOVE OF THE CURE IS TOTALLY NORMAL, HONEST. Three years ago, Brixton Academy. I had sat through a dull awards ceremony, on the promise that, The Cure would take to the stage and play a few songs. Given that we're essentially talking about the soundtrack to my 1989, and I seldom let 14 year old me do anything anymore (believe me, it's been years since I spent my Friday nights at the local roller disco), this was to be the pinnacle of my month. Nay, year. Imagine my dismay when, just as Smith and co unleash the swirling keyboards and heady bassline intro to 'Just Like Heaven', and my friend looks at me, all doe eyed, and whispers the words; "We have to go now, or we'll miss the last train". Now I could've slept at the train station, at that moment I probably could have ripped out her vocal chords to stop her from speaking such monstrosities, but no. I left, my heart breaking with each step that took me away from sound of Robert Smith spinning on the dizzy edge. And that, that's proper friendship. Because when you're stood at that mainstage at Reading or Leeds, watching
Fat Bob and his interchangeable band of merry men, maybe thinking to yourself that you know no Cure beyond 'Friday I'm In Love', and you spy a woman old enough to know better looking a little 'emotional', that could well be me. Like his old sparring partner Morrissey, Robert Smith has always been miserable. In 1991, I could find no better band to see me through my teenage angst, torturing my parents by plastering my bedroom with pictures of Smith in various states of lipstick malfunction. I genuinely picked my first serious boyfriend because he owned the same 'Boys Don't Cry' t-shirt as I did, (total nightmare co-ordinating wardrobes, I don't recommend it). If you never forget your first love, mine wasn't really him, rather it was the relationship's soundtrack, from 'Catch' to 'Pictures of You'. At the end, he got his first car, a banana yellow Fiesta that meant I could no longer be seen with him, and as the tears hit my pillow, all six minutes of 'Apart' played repeatedly. But that was twenty years ago - a fact that will be rammed home as we watch them celebrate the anniversary of 'Wish'
- and I didn't ever consider the pull on the heartstrings that they could still evoke, even as a grown woman. Assuming that you aren't me and you're reading all this thinking, excellent rant old lady (bit too much information in places, obviously), but why would I want to watch a two hour set by any band? There's the obvious argument that they're still massively influential, you only need to look at/listen to the Horrors to see that, or consider Crystal Castles, fortunate enough to be touched by the hand of Smith - musically, not literally, those at Latitude a few years ago know what happens when someone does that to Alice Glass. But there's another, even better reason for swaying gently in the mud to 'Lovecats', better than that bit from the Mighty Boosh where Vince claims to have the best hairspray ever ("Goth Juice, made from the tears of Robert Smith"). It's because they're really, really, genuinely, brilliant. And if you don't find yourself searching out their back catalogue after their set, then you have a heart of stone, my friend. Who's the miserable one now? 41
INTERVIEW EUGENE MCGUINNESS
FROM MILES KANE’S BACKING BAND TO SUITED AND BOOTED FRONTMAN, SARAH JAMIESON ENTERS THE CONTRADICTORY WORLD OF EUGENE MCGUINNESS. PHOTOS: SAM BOND.
V O YA G E Sitting down with Eugene McGuinness, it’s easy to feel a little underdressed. As we discuss the release of his forthcoming album, ‘The Invitation To The Voyage’, in a Shoreditch pub, he’s polished and coiffed, oozing that kind of effortless cool we all covet, deep down. But the best part about it all? You know it’s entirely natural. “I’ve always felt like a new thing each time I’ve done something, which is kind of weird,” he begins, sitting legs crossed and not a hair out of place. “But I suppose I’ve never had a hype machine. I’ve been allowed to do my own thing. It gives me the breathing space to make very honest, real records. I’ve never been bigged up and then knocked down.” And that seems to be why his latest album – actually the third in his discography – feels a little more like a debut. Having spent his early life as a touring member of Miles Kane’s band (“I love Miles’ fans! Miles’ fans are amazing!”), McGuinness originally released his self-titled debut back in 2008, before fronting Eugene & The Lizards for his second effort ‘Glue’. But it’s now, four years on from his first release, that Eugene is comfortable in his own skin. “This record is definitely how I see the next few records being, identity-wise. In your mid-twenties, you start to realise where you antennae is pointing, which I probably didn’t have when I was a bit younger. I was just kind of enjoying it. This is a little bit more serious.” His thought process on this matter, however, is a little less conventional: “It’s
quite liberating when you know all of the things that you don’t like. As grim as that sounds, there’s all sorts of things where it’s like, ‘You know what? I don’t like this and I don’t want to be seen in this way.’ It frees up all the things that you want to embrace.”
“IT’S QUITE LIBERATING WHEN YOU KNOW ALL OF THE THINGS THAT YOU DON’T LIKE.” Wanting to create the perfect ‘modern pop record’, Eugene joined forces with two rather impressive names; both of which make perfect sense when tailoring your next full length to a certain fit. “The early part, and the majority of the record, is done by Clive Langer, who’s done stuff with Bowie, Morrissey, Elvis Costello.” A resumé that instantly clicks when paired with the singer’s image, and surely must’ve added a whole new level of surreal to the process. “Clive didn’t really need to make a record with some little snotty kid. I always liken Clive to Rocky, coming out of retirement for the world title, but he was great."
For the traditional elements of songwriting, Langer was ideal, but for that modern pop sheen? Who better than Dan Carey, who most recently worked with Santigold: “He was amazing as well. He gave it, sonically, this shine that I wanted. So, you’ve got two sort of contrasting worlds there, but both represent quite heavily what I’m about. I represent quite contrasting things. "The whole process carved its own identity with these people. Working very, very closely with these people, we were really splitting hairs, but we loved it because there was no compromise.” So, what is it that Eugene hopes that he’s created with ‘The Invitation To The Voyage’? Embodying, as he admitted, two entirely contrasting sides of the spectrum - his crisp shirts and slicked back hair paired with catchy, unadulterated melodies - what does he want the listener to take away from his record? “It doesn’t matter. As long as, when you get to the end of the song, you have to listen to it again immediately... that’s the aim. Whenever I listen to music, what I’m looking for is, as soon as it’s over I want to hear it again. I want to play it to death. Know it off by heart. For a song to get to the point where it’s pointless pressing play because it’s in your bones, that’s what I want.” Eugene McGuinness’ new album ‘The Invitation To The Voyage’ will be released on 6th August via Domino. Watch him in session at thisisfakediy.co.uk.
D LOVE THEM OR HATE THEM, FEW BANDS DIVIDE OPINION LIKE SPECTOR. FRED MACPHERSON IS OK WITH THAT - HE’S JUST TRYING TO BE LIKE CLIFF RICHARD. EMMA SWANN FINDS OUT MORE. If you’re at a festival this summer, chances are you won’t miss Fred Macpherson. He’s easy enough to spot. It’s the glasses; sauntering around with his slicked-back hair, suit and shoes like a modern-day Bryan Ferry, one thing’s for sure, it’s certainly not an accident. On the afternoon we speak to the Spector frontman, for all we know he’s sitting at home in his scruffs after a speedy trip to Specsavers. But we’d rather not consider that. It’s less fun. If music had a three-strikes rule, Spector would be Fred’s last chance. Thankfully, the London-based band’s ability to churn out earworm after three-minute earworm would indicate they’re not about to disappear any time soon, with the release of debut album ‘Enjoy It While It Lasts’ in August, copious festival appearances throughout the summer and beyond – and an obligatory trip to Japan after that. After his stints at the helm of cult London band Les Incompétents and the strictly ‘on a break’ Ox.Eagle.Lion.Man, it’d be easy to assume Fred was looking for the easy life. Regular appearances on telly, support slots with Florence & The Machine and Kaiser Chiefs – it’s got to beat dingy basements and sleeping on dirty floors. But Spector’s music isn’t cynical. They might be, but the songs aren’t. “For me, the pop song is an art form,” he explains - boldly. “That simplicity and purity is what we’re trying to attain rather than someone just thinking we’re making a cynical attempt at moneymaking or success.” 45
“TO TRULY UNDERSTAND THE PAST, YOU HAVE TO EXIST ALONGSIDE IT.”
That one statement sums up the dichotomy between Spector’s music – simple, unfussy guitar pop – and their collective personality. “I think we’re quite annoying characters” - he pulls no punches - “and I think it’s the attitude people respond to. But that doesn’t actually bleed in to the music. The writing and recording is a pure experience, but I think people imagine that because we like to talk bulls**t, that it does.” The music, then. ‘Enjoy It While It Lasts’ was recorded in various London studios with various producers between late last year and “a few months ago.” Conscious of bands releasing material as soon as the hype machine grinds in to overdrive, Spector deliberately took their time. The decision to work with many people was also pre-planned, the band opting to match producers and tracks to “suit the full palette and emotion of the record.” “It’s a bit of a menagerie,” he adds, “a Nicki Minaj-erie, if you will.” (Oh dear - Ed.) But the music won’t cut it alone. Fred’s very clear on this, to the point where we’d not be surprised to find a tatty Moleskine in his gig bag with the words ‘SPECTOR POP MANIFESTO’ inked on the cover in Tipp-Ex. “I think you have a responsibility to entertain, rather than just create art,” he asserts, “to me that’s one of the ways I understand pop. It’s the point where art and entertainment meet. If one was to be a pure artist, I don’t think you necessarily need the audience’s response, let alone adulation. But we like people like Cliff Richard, or Kanye West,
or Tom Jones. So much of what these people do is about getting the audience’s reaction, and reacting to the audience and creating a relationship with the audience.” Wait - what? Cliff Richard and Kanye in the same sentence? We have to let Fred continue – he’s on a roll. “You’ve got to let your music do the talking, but more than that, you have to create a full identity and idea. You have to build something that is beyond just a three-minute song. I don’t think we’ve fully worked it out exactly; that’s what’s exciting about this. Just one day we’re talking to people and being brutally honest, and then another day we might go on TV and just lie and talk crap and entertain ourselves, and maybe alienate others.” So you can dislike Spector without hearing their music, and get them without liking it. Fred’s also adamant the London quintet are not an indie rock band. For one, they’re not indie at all – the album’s released via Universal spinoff, Fiction. And in any case, the medium isn’t the message. “I wanted to use the set up of drums, bass, guitar and vocals because it was the language I grew up with, and therefore the one that made most sense to me, but the music wasn’t put together by five guys jamming. In fact, that hasn’t happened once in the entirety of our whole career.” He’s aware he sounds pretentious, the five-boys-in-a-room being “just one of the colours on a palette.” Then the K-word crops up again. Kanye. “He’s doing what people like David Bowie and
Madonna have touched on in the past, which is managing to stay so much in so many different styles and utilise culture and interact with culture in a way that makes him very current. He understands the technological age that we live in. “These days you have to be a creatorslash-curator, because the internet allows all the history of culture to be available to everybody at any one time, and so it’s not necessarily just enough to be influenced by the past. To truly understand it, you have to exist alongside it.” If it sounds as if the Spector boys have given as much – if not more – thought to what happens outside the studio, or off stage, you’d probably be right. But it’s not a mission to re-claim, re-define or change pop; refreshingly, not one mention of good, bad, high-brow or guilt crops up in our entire chat. They’re just on a mission to live it. To be pop. As they see it. “There’s just so many different layers of bulls**t around, and I think stuff gets in the way of the excitement and simplicity of what pop music is, and that’s why I use the word pop, because for me that’s what the best music is. It’s taking emotions and pains and happinesses and loves and excitements and translating that in a way that people can connect with.” Spector’s debut album ‘Enjoy It While It Lasts’ will be released on 13th August via Fiction.
INTERVIEW JESSIE WARE
110% POP STAR
A LITTLE BIT OF THIS, A TOUCH OF THAT, 110% POP STAR. HARRIET JENNINGS SITS DOWN WITH JESSIE WARE. PHOTOS: SAM BOND. If Dr Frankenstein was alive in 2012, and had an avid interest in pop music, the creature he’d be trying to create would have a lot in common with Jessie Ware. We don’t mean aesthetically, before you start sniggering at the back. Drawing influences from the likes of Prince and Destiny’s Child, picked up by Pitchfork and revered by Radio 1, Ms Ware is a little bit of a lot of things, but indisputably the one she has in abundance is star quality. Hailing from South London, and with her curriculum vitae including everything from football journalist to being part of Jack
Penate’s backing band, Jessie Ware is no ordinary singer. Despite her ample qualifications (seriously, stop sniggering), pop’s new girl next door is more than happy to talk to us about the best way to get to her native Brixton (we did it wrong), meeting superstars and just what the hell we’d all do without an iPhone. First world problems, eh? You can’t define a pop star. Britney was one, but then so was Bowie, and The Beatles. What, exactly, do they all have in common (other than record sales, don’t be clever)? Zilch. Zero. Zip. Without getting all ‘je ne sais pas pourquoi’ about it all, there’s no definitive rule book
on how, who or what makes a popstar. It’s far more complicated than that. “I grew up looking at pop stars,” Jessie says strongly. “If people want me to be a pop star, I’ll definitely have a good go at it. I guess when the album comes out it’ll feel real. At the moment, it feels like I’m in a parallel universe. I’m not going to be doing dance routines, as much as I’d love to. I don’t think I’m that kind of pop star. But it’s a compliment that people think I could be.” Firmly part of the MTV generation, Jessie’s roots lie strongly
in good, old fashioned pop, soul and R&B. Quite rightly, she’s proud of it too. “I love pop music,” she says, sipping on a cup of tea in her publicist’s back room, “I’d like to think that I fit a little bit inside everything, and that’s maybe why they’ve tapped into it,” she explains when we ask her about her wide ranging fanbase. “I’m not an out and out indie leftfield. I love soul music and I love dance music - and that’s kind of the Rinse thing, the electronic thing. There are definitely pop elements in my music and I want there to be, but I also wanted to stay in tune with the electronic music that had helped me to become a singer. They gave me the leg up.”
“THE WHOLE MAKING AN ALBUM THING WAS DAUNTING FOR ME.” Keen to tip her hat to where she started out, Ware’s relationship with London radio station Rinse and the associated ‘underground’ movement was what initially lent her a way in. Collaborating with SBTRKT on 2010’s ‘Nervous’ brought Jessie from backing singer to centre stage. With a record deal, a voice and a bubble of interest, she’s set to work honing her craft with the guidance of Julio Bashmore, The Invisible’s Dave
Okumu and Kid Harpoon. “The whole making an album thing was daunting for me,” she explains. “I think it would’ve intimidated me if I had’ve gone in with these big pop writers and big pop producers but actually, I don’t think anybody really knew what I was going to do. I think people were thinking I’d maybe do a kind of dance vocalistesque album. I was in such a state about how to write I was just freaking out. Actually, the people that I wrote with on the album are the people that I felt the most comfortable with in the studio and that there was a real bond with. It wasn’t just churning out another hit for radio, it was like, ‘What do you want to do?’ or ‘What do you want to say?’. They really nurtured me. “The studio environment was really positive and romantic. I appreciate that every person that’s been involved has tried to make it as special for me as possible, like ‘it’s an occasion, let’s enjoy this.’” And with the album done, there’s nothing Jessie can do but wait. “I’m treating it like a pregnancy,” she laughs, “No, not that third trimester thing. You’ve got to pace yourself and just keep calm. I’m so busy with other things that that’s going to be a nice little present at the end of August.” But as any seasoned singer knows, there’s a lot more to being a pop star than just having a cracking debut album, even if your fanbase is chomping at the bit. There’s videos to think about, image, performing live, the logistics of touring; and on top of all of that, there’s always the possibility that you’re going to leave a lot of people disappointed too. “You’re either going to pleasantly surprise them or they’re going to be like, ‘oh...’” she shrugs. “But I like to think that I feel more confident. Without sounding cocky, I know I can sing live. The whole recording and writing stuff
is more daunting because I came from being a backing singer. That was just how we did it.” Jessie laughs and pauses, “But I still need to work on my chat. My chat is awful in between songs. I’m terrible.
“WITHOUT SOUNDING COCKY, I KNOW I CAN SING LIVE.” “When I was a backing singer, I didn’t have to worry about it, you can get away with things. But now you have to take it ridiculously seriously, and I want to. I feel like at least I got the experience of having loads of fun. Now it’s no drinking before gigs, no drinking after if you’ve got another show - it’s a job really. I am quite strict. I’ve got to be because if I don’t sing well, people won’t really give a s**t. You’ve got to be on point all the time.” With latest single ‘Wildest Moments’ already causing quite the stir, and ripples of rave reviews emerging on the internet, it’s only a matter of time before Jessie Ware’s credentials as a chart-humpingbehemoth will be called upon. She might only be dancing on her own at the moment, but it’ll not be long before there’s a field full of followers devoted to pop’s newest princess. Jessie Ware’s debut album ‘Devotion’ will be released on 20th August via Island.
INTERVIEW TWIN SHADOW
“Maybe I’ll have my own motorcycle gang one day,” muses George Lewis Jr. of Twin Shadow, “but for now I like to ride alone at my own pace, it’s more a relaxing thing for me to get away from life.” Succumbing to the lure of two wheels and the open road some eight years ago, George has been biking ever since. For the video of his new single ‘Five Seconds’, he plays the leader of an as yet fictional gang called the Teds who steal the prized motorcycle of a rival gang member, handily giving Twin Shadow the excuse to show off a few tricks whilst saddled on his Triumph too. Lewis certainly looks the part, blazoned on the front cover of his second album wearing a studded leather jacket against a faded blue background. And as our fascination with bikers refuses to die down thanks to landmark films like Scorpio Rising, Mad Max and Easy Rider spanning three decades, all this highway folklore has given rise to one enduring anti-hero; that of the lone driver, a figure lurking in the wing mirrors of Springsteen’s ‘Nebraska’ and Nicolas Winding Refn’s ‘Drive’. It’s a subject that Lewis himself is fan of. “I love biker movies, I always did even before I had a motorcycle, the Wild Ones, all the Peter Fonda stuff. I am always fond of those things, those guys in those movies really doing all the stunts themselves.” ‘Confess’, released two years after his debut ‘Forget’, is intrinsically linked to this particular hobby. According to Lewis, its genesis comes from an accident in which he had been riding, somewhat carelessly by his own admission, with a friend and careered off the road luckily escaping with minor injuries. “It made me think about what it was I wanted to achieve in life, and I very much found this positive answer, in that I do want to be a part of it all and I do want to share my ideas and my love with everyone. That’s what I came to, and I was able to put that into the record.” This coupled with the rigours and the excesses of touring led to a renewed affirmation of life. “I just realised I don’t want to be dead, I want to join the party,” says Lewis, grinning. In the apex and the aftermath of the
crash, something sparked for Lewis, but do all his creations require an element of risk or danger? “I don’t think you need those moments, I think everyone has them regardless. Life is always shocking whether it’s watching the news or something else.” Regardless of that incident, ‘Confess’ has a momentum, a force that the somnolent tones of ‘Forget’ did not possess. Its pounding drumbeat has the rumble of a well-oiled motor engine; the production has the sleek sheen of chrome chassis. That pace and urgency also imbues the songs: ‘Five Seconds’ begins with the sounds of heavy breathing, ‘Golden Light’ describes the thrill of the chase that is lost once satiated. “I think as a person I have grown a lot in the last two years and the record reflects that change within myself. I am enjoying more aggressive music again. I’m quite tired of sleepy music.” What has remained unchanged between records is an unmistakable throwback to eighties pop, although it is difficult to pin Twin Shadow to any one artist from the era: Prince, Duran Duran, Fleetwood Mac, are all apt comparisons. ‘Confess’ appropriates these icons so effortlessly and with such conviction that it is difficult to fault him for it.
“I’M JUST NOT A FAN OF WORKING WITH PEOPLE.” Perhaps it's the record’s self-production that lead to the less restrained results. “Yeah I’m just not a fan of working with people, it’s hard for me...” he says. “But I collaborated well with Chris Taylor [Grizzly Bear bassist and Terrible Records label founder who produced Lewis’ debut]. I have a hard time believing enough in a person to give them any creative control, I guess.” So often such revivalism can be rather hollow, but ‘Confess’, as its title suggests, is a series of intimate tales of past encounters and relationships.
“I didn’t actually name the record - I wanted to call it ‘Believe’ - but a friend of mine [gave me the idea of naming it] ‘Confess’. That made a lot of sense because that’s what it felt like, most of the songs are confessing to someone how you feel. And I couldn’t use ‘Believe’ because Justin Bieber’s record is called ‘Believe’.” Perhaps it’s better not to incite the wrath of Biebz and the Beliebers.
“LIFE IS ALWAYS SHOCKING.” With such personal subject matter and a rising profile, it must be inevitable that the parties involved will hear of said confessions. “I don’t think about it when I’m recording because I like to be fearless about that stuff. But I do sometimes deal with people who have heard things and they know it’s about them. Then sometimes people are like, ‘that song is about me,’ and it’s not about them, that happens all the time.” If this album is a form of confession for Lewis, is putting to record all of one’s misdemeanours a way of atoning for them or a painful replaying of the past? “It’s both, it’s so complicated, there’s no catharsis from it. You can get it off your chest but feel bad that you did or you can get if off your chest and feel great. It’s more about sacrificing your own feelings so that people can connect to it in a way. That’s the more important part of it for me.” However, confession isn’t necessarily always the best option, as the penultimate track ‘I Don’t Care’ attests too. “In the song I’m saying I am enjoying this moment with you, you don’t have to tell me everything about yourself. Sometimes the truth is not worth it. This moment should be about just us enjoying it for what it is.” There is perhaps a story to be told for every song on ‘Confess’, and if pressed Lewis might well divulge them, but then where’s the fun without any mystery? Twin Shadow’s new album ‘Confess’ is out now via 4AD.
TRUECONFESSIONS ADAM BYCHAWSKI EXPLORES THE MYSTERY BEHIND 4AD’S GHOST RIDER, TWIN SHADOW. PHOTOS: PHIL SMITHIES
I’m chatting to Ira Wolf Tuton, bass player
and one third of Yeasayer, when I mention that singer Chris has cited David Bowie’s album ‘Lodger’ as a big influence on their new fulllength, ‘Fragrant World’. “I feel like that’s a longstanding influence,” he begins. “Bowie is one of those artists who over his career has successfully redefined himself with every album. He’s never pigeonholed himself. As a career it’s a pretty honourable one to emulate.” It seems like a philosophy that informs Yeasayer’s every move. Three records in and their ever shifting sonic experiments have seen them progress in a constantly forward trajectory.
Ira is somewhat stoical and understated when
describing how happy he is with their third fulllength - the bulk of which was “finished by last July” - however, seeing it as “a vehicle to move on to the next thing.” “I’m really happy with the way that it came out and the experimentation we did. It feels like a valuable testament to a moment in time. It’s a move forward from [second effort] ‘Odd Blood’ and it definitely feels like a different album. That’s natural because it’s a different time in our lives and we’re dealing with different issues. We’re just different people.”
THE SWEET SMELL OF PRO GRESS FEW BANDS ARE MAKING THE STRIDES THAT YEASAYER ACHIEVE WITH EACH RELEASE. DANNY WRIGHT INVESTIGATES.
We’re speaking as they prepare for the release, and on the day they embark upon the first gig of their tour to promote it, in Richmond, Virginia. It shouldn’t be hard - ‘Fragrant World’ is brilliant. Something different to their previous material, it’s a dense, throbbing and genre spanning frazzled pop record, which wears its influences on its stylish, colourful sleeve. “It’s definitely a lot more R&B focused,” Ira tells us. “That’s always been a pretty strong influence for everybody in the band, but there are only so many things you can squeeze into a record and still maintain a cohesiveness. It was certainly a part of all the songs in a deeper sense than on the previous two records.” It’s this attitude to making music
and always thinking about what’s coming next that demonstrates the band’s unwillingness to stay still. As with the previous two albums, this is a record full of fascinating sounds and experimentation, with the band taking technology and using it to
playing the album in front of people. It doesn’t have to be a fake thing, like I’m trying to hawk my wares in front of the crowd. I don’t like going to shows when people are just standing there staring at their shoes. A live show is about so much more than that. I’m looking forward to getting that energy and feedback again. You can only talk to your friends and people who are in your inner circle for so long.”
Indeed, the release of this record has been very focused on the
fans. ‘Henrietta’ was shared with them first and spread virally while the whole build up to the release has been directed almost solely at them. Ira explains: “In some ways it’s kind of an experiment. You send it to a small group of people who’ve really been loyal and are creative. We’ve been sustained to this point by these people and this is an acknowledgement of that. There’s “HOW DO YOU RELEASE also the idea of how do you release A RECORD IN 2012?” a record in 2012? There really is no way. How do you get music out? It’s
sculpt pop shapes. “I think that’s the interesting that this is as valuable a really exciting thing about making “IT DEFINITELY FEELS way as anything else. And it will get music. We’re in a pretty creative as far and wide as a massive release.” LIKE A DIFFERENT time, particularly on a personal level, and we want to take advantage of ALBUM. WE’RE JUST Whilst this is undoubtedly a new that. There’s so much technology DIFFERENT PEOPLE.” and exciting chapter for Yeasayer, it’s and you don’t need to have an also these fans who will ultimately engineering degree to understand define what this record means. it. Even from recording our last When I ask if there’s an overarching record to this one we’re able to use theme to the album, he says: “That’s one of those ‘talk about technology that didn’t even exist back then.” art’ questions, isn’t it? We try to produce a cohesive record that represents a time and point in our lives; people interpret it how “It really feels like a new electronic movement. You know, they want to interpret it. We’ve done our end of the deal and there’s people like Gold Panda and others doing very exciting now we’ll see how that question will be answered.” things. I think when our last record came out a lot of people were into the 80s but now people are making the type of music Yeasayer’s new album ‘Fragrant World’ will be released on 20th that’s looking forward and creating genres – and a lot of that’s August via Mute. coming out of England. I feel you guys have a really strong, valuable powerful movement that’s going on now.”
With the record finished, Ira can’t wait to get back to playing live. It’s the place where the band believe they will discover the record’s real worth. “I think we’re all about the energy. I like
INTERVIEW PURITY RING
PURITYRING CANADA HAS MUSICALLY BEEN PRETTY BUSY OF LATE, AND RECENT 4AD SIGNINGS PURITY RING ARE ANOTHER IN THE LONG PROCESSION OF QUALITY LINEAGE. WORDS: AURORA MITCHELL
When ‘Ungirthed’, the first single from Montreal-based Purity Ring, was unleashed back at the start of 2011, it was lapped up so quickly that the limited 7” pressing sold out in a flash. One song in - well, two, if you count b-side ‘Lofticries’ - and the hard-to-pigeonhole electro pop duo had already established themselves a fan base; a bloody keen one at that. The lingering hope that this lone release would form into a longterm project quickly became reality, their debut album ‘Shrines’ landing this summer. But talking to Corin Roddick and Megan James, it’s clear that even they are surprised by how quickly they’re moving.
placed there. We mention the strong connections to anatomy and nature within the artwork of the album and the singles, most notably with the use of a certain grass eating, cloud-like creature you often see in fields. “There are a number of reasons we use sheep so frequently,” Megan tells us. One is that the artist who creates the artwork loves to use them in her work; the other, because “they’re lovely, simple and puzzling creatures.”
Whilst the pair had previously performed together for a short time as part of Gobble Gobble [now Born Gold], the original intention was not to form a band. They had talked about the possibility of writing music together “at some point,” but Corin didn’t feel ready to jump straight into another project. The actual birth of Purity Ring happened coincidentally, whilst he was making ‘Ungirthed’; the song absolutely needed vocals, and it just so happened that Megan was the most interesting vocalist that he knew. Although unsure of how well her vocal style would work over the track initially, once finished, it was obvious that there was something pretty special in the works; “I knew that we were going to be a band,” Corin asserts.
“WE DON’T FINISH A SONG IF IT DOESN’T HAVE A SPECIAL FEELING.”
Whilst some bands end up recording many more songs than they need before
promptly leaving them on the cutting room floor, for Purity Ring, pretty much every song made it on to the album. “We don’t make an effort to finish a song if it doesn’t have a special feeling,” Corin imparts. Luckily for us, their less than prolific nature adheres to that age-old adage, quality over quantity. And whilst the recording process for ‘Shrines’ is
Confessing to pulling their lyrics from Megan’s old journals, an act of not insubstantial bravery, Purity Ring’s attention to wordcraft continues through to the christening of the album tracks; each an amalgamation of two separate words - ‘Belispeak’, for example, from “belly” and “speak”. “They’re really just words plucked from the songs,” Megan explains. “Some of them happened really quickly and others took a while to find the right flow of articulation. That’s the most important part of words to us, I think; articulation over meaning.”
perhaps a little different to some, lacking the elaborate tales of artists seeking refuge in isolated places in search of inspiration, the duo’s separate locations did little to hanker the collaborative process.
Many meanings can and are derived from Purity Ring’s music, but it seems that few of these are intentionally
“I work on a track and send it to Megan, she sends a demo back to me with vocal ideas, we get together and flush
"SHEEP ARE PUZZLING CREATURES."
it out and then I spend a lot of time alone with it,” Corin tells us. Megan’s angelic tones are often juxtaposed with graphic imagery - however, the strangely beautiful contrasts aren’t conceived on purpose. “I couldn’t do it if I was trying,” she explains, “Every seemingly contradictory element is unassumed to us.” Despite the assertion from Corin that he is “not big on collaborations,” on their song ‘Grandloves’, the pair team up with Young Magic to share some vocals. “I loved the Young Magic track ‘You With Air’ and had approached [frontman] Isaac about maybe doing a remix,” Corin enthuses. “I messed around with it a bit, but felt like I couldn’t do much justice to the original song. While this was going on, I was working on another track with Megan and then I realised that the a capella for ‘You With Air’ fit perfectly with what we were already making.” Whilst ‘Ungirthed’’s popularity surprised the duo, their music reached the ears of 4AD, and, as Corin says, “It soon became clear that they were the right label for us.” Sharing their new home with fellow Canuck and Polaris Prize nominated Grimes, we tentatively question whether Purity Ring think they have a chance at being nominated next year. “We would be very much honoured to be nominated for next year’s Polaris Prize,” Corin beams, “some of our friends are nominated this year – we hope they win!” And while he’s quick to assert that “good music can come from anywhere,” Megan interjects, pointing out that she definitely listens to a lot of her friends’ music, name-checking Cousins, Braids, Cadence Weapon, Kuhrye-oo and Each Other in the process, as “all lovely Canadians who live everywhere.” And whilst all those acts are certainly worth adding to a Canada Special playlist, it wouldn’t be complete without Purity Ring themselves; if all falls into its rightful place, headphones will be blaring with their infectious songs throughout the summer. Purity Ring’s debut album ‘Shrines’ is out now is 4AD.
KCAB s to ry
Jack Tatum, aka Wild Nothing, started out with no fanbase, and recorded 2010's critically-acclaimed 'Gemini' from his bedroom. Now, ahead of the eagerly anticipated follow-up 'Nocturne', the one-manband tells Coral Williamson how having fans has changed his outlook, what pop means to him, and why he prefers using a more traditional studio set up. How are you feeling about 'Nocturne's release? I'm feeling really good! It's been a while since I finished it, so I'm really excited now for people to actually get to hear it. I'm excited, and anxious, and a little bit scared. It's only natural for a second album. Are you scared of there being a 'sophomore slump', or is it because you have a bigger fan base this time? I'm not necessarily worried about anything like that. You're always kind of curious about how people are going
to react to it, especially now that I'm approaching it from the standpoint of actually having fans. Before the first album I didn't have that, so it's like, I have those people in mind now, and how they're going to react to it. You wrote a lot of it while in Savannah - did that affect the writing process? After the first album came out I was living in Savannah for about a year; geographically, it didn't have much to
do with how the album turned out, in a lot of ways this album was interesting because I split up the process a lot more. Last time I was recording and writing all at the same time, but for 'Nocturne' I was in Savannah, I was working on a lot of songs, but just the writing process. Then I recorded the album in New York over a period of three weeks. Between writing and recording, was it
a faster process than with 'Gemini'? It was slower, I definitely spent a lot more time on it. I selfedited myself a little bit more this time. I definitely approached it differently, writing all the songs then going in to record them in a studio, in a confined space of time. It was definitely a slow process, I took my time. Would you say you prefer working in a studio now to home recording? I'm always going to enjoy home recording, I think now for me it feels more like a part of the process rather than the entire process. It's good to be able to do a certain amount at home writing-wise, but I always wanted to record in a studio. If I could've with the first album I would have, so to be able to do this one in the studio felt really good and natural. It's opened a lot of doors for me. That makes sense. Wild Nothing has always been just you when recording, then a whole band on tour. Was it any different this time? This process was more or less the same. I wrote all the songs on my own, and then when it came to recording I played all the instruments except for the drums, I had a drummer come in for the sessions, Jeff Curtin, he plays drums in a band called Small Black and he's a friend. For the most part, it was still very much me writing all the parts. I guess that means you can't get into any arguments during recording as well. Yeah, it makes it all pretty streamlined. It was just me and the producer for the majority of the recording. Who was the producer? It was Nicolas Vernhes, he has this studio in Brooklyn called Rare Book Room. He's done a lot of pretty amazing noteworthy contemporary albums; he's done a couple of Deerhunter albums, and he produced the newest Atlas Sound record, so that was what drew me to him. Is 'Nocturne' still pop music? Yeah absolutely. I would say it's more 'pop music' than the last one. I loosened up a little bit in terms of doing what felt natural instead of cherry-picking from particular sources. And for me, I wanted it to be a pop album, I'm interested in pop music, and the idea that a pop song is extremely structured. It has hooks, and I really wanted it to be an album that was immediate, but also rewarded with repeat listens. After a few listens, I think I can say you've accomplished your goal. Can you talk us through some of the themes in 'Nocturne'? It's got such a positive dream-pop sound, but then there's the title... I found when I was writing these songs, I would sometimes have dry spells, and I wouldn't be able to think of anything. It was really frustrating and I would trash a lot of stuff. But for whatever reason, I always kept coming back to the process at night, I found that I would get my best ideas then. I wasn't sleeping very well when I wrote it, I would stay up extremely late, I couldn't get to bed until four or five in the morning. I started to associate these songs with night time, and then once the album was done I would listen to it, and I would find that they just seemed to make more sense to me in the middle of the night. It's kind of like this thing of being sleep deprived... It's not necessarily that I think they're dark, but they're night time songs. There's something calming and eerie about them. That's the essential theme of the album: night. Wild Nothing's new album 'Nocturne' will be released on 27th August via Bella Union.
9 WILD NOTHING Nocturne
Being far too much of a youngster to remember the 80s first-hand means that while you can admire it, it’s still difficult to fully grasp the nostalgia that was woven throughout Wild Nothing’s debut ‘Gemini’. Playing musical hopscotch with the hazy wares of Pavement, the synth-peddling of Cocteau Twins and just about anyone in-between who can write a decent hook, his previous full-length was an unabashed homage to the past. While Jack Tatum’s seemingly insatiable appetite for all things dust-covered and retro is still fully apparent, sophomore effort ‘Nocturne’ sees our hero looking forward too, establishing himself amongst his contemporaries. This is no disappointment; swamped with an abundance of earworm hooks, there’s a wealth of musical goodies to keep everyone happy. The title track is a particularly high point with grooving melodies and, contrary to the night bird track name, positively sun-drenched production. It wouldn’t be a total surprise if ‘Nocturne’ provided you with your daily intake of vitamin D – this is wholesome, homemade music fit for the summer. Even without spending the latter years of the 20th century holed up in a university bed-sit making dreamy guitar music with lazily meandering melodies, it’s easy to detect those vibes hanging in fluffy little clouds, hovering over ‘Nocturne’ – but even ignoring them completely, the record makes perfect sense. For every little nod to music gone by, there’s a hundred waves of acknowledgement to the likes of Deerhunter, Ariel Pink, and the experimentalism of Xiu Xiu; a familiarity that puts you at ease despite a consistently inventive approach. Tatum has previously cited the Microphones' ‘The Glow, Pt. 2’ as his favorite record of all time, sharing Phil Elvrum’s meticulous ear for crafting listenable oddball pop. This isn't a copycat record, though; rather a fervent music fan drawing a very complicated dot-to-dot of everything that catches his attention. It might sound like a catastrophic mess before sitting down to listen, but stand back to look at the finished picture and it all makes effortless sense. An album settled into the present, content to live without a time machine; it doesn’t matter if you have no interest in decoding ‘Nocturne’s musical genetics – this is a record of soundscapes able to stand up all by themselves. (El Hunt)
MICACHU & THE SHAPES
Enjoy It While It Lasts
Some bands are made to split opinion, some do it entirely by accident. When it comes to Spector, a decent argument could probably be made for both. A band that deal in Great Big Pop Songs (with the capital letters intended), it seems mostly down to their enigmatic frontman that Spector manage to drive so many wild. He's been around the block, that's for sure - but ex-tabloid fodder or not, Fred Macpherson knows exactly what he's doing. Even the title of their debut album, 'Enjoy It While It Lasts', seems especially self aware, considering the number of radio-friendly unit-shifters it's home to. 'Chevvy Thunder', 'What You Wanted' and 'Never Fade Away' all have what it takes, if you're fuelled by a desire to win over those still open to a bit of guitar pop. While many may find something to rebel against in their column-friendly mouthpiece, Spector know how to write a tune. Of course, this strategy comes with a fatal flaw; for some, Macpherson is a more interesting subject than his songs. If it's a choice between his, or Reverend & Co's 'real music' society - as pop stars go, we're better off with Fred. (Ben Marsden)
PASSION PIT Gossamer
'Gossamer' is, in case you were wondering, another name for spider silk. It’s pretty versatile stuff, and spiders (the clever little blighters) can single-handedly weave it into all manner of things; webs, trip wires, parachutes, nests, hammocks, rope ladders (alright, not the last two, but the point still stands). ‘Gossamer’, then, seems the perfect title for Passion Pit’s second album; an intricate sound net, pieced meticulously together by the equally versatile Michael Angelakos – front man, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist rolled into one. If debut album ‘Manners’ left us sure we knew what Passion Pit stood for, this smashes our preconceptions wide open. This second effort has been written by a man who was whisked away by overnight success, and has now been given time to reflect. Though 'Gossamer' is a fine album, it's also a very different one to its predecessor. (El Hunt) 62 thisisfakediy.co.uk
It's hard to talk about this record without banging on about Micachu's other releases - but that's because she just doesn't sound like anyone else. 'NEVER' has the restless energy and immediacy of 2009's 'Jewellery' with the obscure churning creaky groans of last year's 'Chopped & Screwed', Mica Levi's live record with the London Sinfonietta Orchestra. She reckons it's a stripped-down straight-up rock and roll album, but we're not sure we go for that- it's hectic mixed up nonsense, layers of wierdo tunings and changes, all rolling and scraping along like an wonky ball of scrap metal. There's no room for time wasting here - ideas come and go, then we're out and on to something else. It's a frantic diverse ride - from 'Holiday'’ sounding like a sea-sick Beach Boys singing through a metallic egg slicer, to the 1950s Lynchian fairground ballad of 'Nothing'. There aren't many bands mixing grime, classical and vacuum cleaners, and even less doing it through as solid songwriting as this. It's self produced, it's effortless and it's smart, but most importantly it's fun. (Louise Mason)
Idea Of Happiness
If Sydney’s Van She’s second album is an attempt to reflect the climate of their hometown, then the electropop foursome have outdone themselves. 'Idea Of Happiness' is a sunkissed cruise through a midsummer night’s dream of synth pop. Barely a note, noise or nod to the 80s is out of place. Even the song titles leave little room for manoeuvre. ‘Coconuts’ could be a Toto instrumental and the spectre of Wham! is never far from view – in fact, the entire album is positively drenched in 'Club Tropicana' opulence. The nature of 'Idea Of Happiness' ensures that all cynicism needs to be checked in order to enjoy even a smidgen of the album. If anything, the twelve cuts are primed to become wide-eyed club anthems, Tropicalia for the twenty-first century. And if Van She ‘feel Calypso’, who are we to judge them? Dizzyingly uplifting, as camp as a weekend at Butlins and effortlessly iridescent. (Colm McAuliffe)
Nothing Bad Will Ever Happen
London-based foursome Dignan Porch may be making spurious claims with their title of their second album – 'Nothing Bad Will Ever Happen' – but this doesn’t mean such startling optimism is misplaced. Originally a vehicle for frontman Joe Walsh, their first release as a full band is a shimmering, occasionally sharp, psych-pop exercise in lo-fi. An album steeped in pastoral bliss, albeit with bursts of rustic weirdness, ‘Never’ and ‘Sixteen Hits’ shamble along at a leisurely pace set by gently chiming guitars before being entirely overrun by shards of squealing distortion. However, the noise never threatens to entirely mask the effortlessly fine grasp of melody. ‘Darkness’ could be Sonic Youth covering XTC and ‘Sad Shape’, driven by snare fills and organ stabs, is the album’s stand out melange of distorted and melodic sounds. A fine exercise in pearly, bleary-eyed acid pop. (Colm McAuliffe)
MATTHEW DEAR Beams
New York City-based musician, DJ, producer and all round electronic auteur, Matthew Dear has been making mindblowing inventive dance music for over a decade. His fourth album ‘Beams’ is avant pop at its very finest; a record positively bubbling over with ideas and ambition. The key to Dear’s success is his dexterity when it comes to sound and dynamics. The sixminute long tropical collage of ‘Her Fantasy’ sets the mood best, with typically deadpan vocals but with a strange soulful quality at work as well. Writing pop songs through his own idiosyncratic filter, nothing is ever straightforward or obvious but always manages to sound just right. It's rare for a musician previously thought of as challenging, even slightly impenetrable, to pen an album that's so warm and opening yet still dazzlingly inventive. It's safe to say Matthew Dear has pulled it off to tremendous effect. (Martyn Young)
THE CAST OF CHEERS The Cast Of Cheers
So summer has galloped away like a fat kid chasing after a van full of biscuits, but fear not; serotonin-boosting joy can be summoned up simply by listening to ‘Family’ - the debut album from The Cast of Cheers. With a CV boasting credits for Foals and Slow Club, it’s a thrill to learn producer Luke Smith is on hand for TCOC’s first outing - but to say ‘Family’ simply steals these band’s mantras would be just plain wrong. It’s like saying Matt Smith’s Doctor is a copycat of Patrick Troughton’s - thematically you may have a point, but did he have a fez? While TCOC high-five the 'indie greats' of the noughties there’s a whole new blood coursing through them, resulting in an album that’s fresh yet already sounds like a classic. It’s as they say - you have to look to the past to look into the future. Wibbley-wobbly, timeywimey. (Andrew Backhouse)
DAN DEACON America
Dan Deacon is a man for whom expressionism and ambition knows no bounds. Throughout his career, he has carved out a reputation as something of a maverick; hard to pin down and even harder to categorise. Deacon’s music is a kaleidoscopic mix of frenetic electronica and pulverising sounds - a sometimes awkward union of noise and pop constantly fighting against each other. His third full-length finally achieves a certain degree of harmony, making the grandly titled ‘America’ perhaps the best expression yet of Deacon’s immense talent and occasionally bonkers musical spirit. A concept album of sorts, the album veers wildly between noisy exuberance and a graceful dreamy calm with Deacon effortlessly combining all the facets of his creative mind that he has developed over the years. 'America' is a challenging yet supremely powerful record from a musician at the very top of his game. (Martyn Young)
THE GASLIGHT ANTHEM Handwritten
Hailing from what seems a Mecca of rock 'n' roll, New Jersey's Gaslight Anthem have paved the way in embodying their home state's notorious musical flavour with a refreshingly genuine feel. No over-production or dramatics here; The Gaslight Anthem thrive on honest, straight up music, and album number four - 'Handwritten' - has surpassed all expectations. Not quite a new Gaslight Anthem, more a rejuvenated form - the record sees the band perfectly crystalise their own sound while branching out tentatively in new directions. Opener '45' proves both addictive and memorable, while 'Howl' reaffirms that this is a group more than capable of producing catchy, enthralling gems. 'Handwritten''s mid-section sets sail into newer territories, fully indulging in the band's blues side. 'Keepsake' holds a slow, chugging guitar teamed seamlessly with Fallon's raw vocals. It isn't overpowering, yet certainly feels 'big' enough for packed out megadomes and adoring masses to fall under its spell. 'Too Much Blood' continues the trend, mixing those restrained vocals with more powerful counterparts. Some moments feel somewhat reminiscent of Fallon's recent work with side project The Horrible Crowes, but that's not a pitfall; it shows a band taking in new influences where it'd be easier to just stick to the straight and narrow. High points include the powerful 'Mulholland Drive', which proclaims "I'd just die if you ever took your love away", and the lingering acoustic finale of 'National Anthem'. A heartfelt number that sees the album end on a poignant note, there's a certain power masquerading as subtlety, proving captivating even on multiple listens.
For a band who have found themselves consistently compared to others, 'Handwritten' shows a desire to break down their own barriers and build up something new. Sure; their roots will always run deep, but here the lyrics are a little more personal, the band a little more developed - it seems that this is the start of a new and exciting chapter for The Gaslight Anthem. (Heather McDaid)
Foals are the latest act to take part in record label !K7's 'Tapes', a series of mixtapes that has received contributions from The Rapture and The Big Pink. "I think a lot of Foals fans are very adventurous," the band's keyboardist - and main curator of the release - Edwin Congreave explains. "I also don't see the mix as particularly 'out there', so I hope nobody feels too challenged by it!"
Composing a mixtape is something that everybody has surely done at some point: an incredibly stressful task with an endless amount of tracks and sounds to choose from. The pressure to compile a great collection is even greater when you are one of the UK’s foremost progressive bands. Foals are the latest act to compile a mix for German record label !K7 in their tapes series, following on from the The Rapture and The Big Pink. Fortunately, they're a band perfectly adept to this format with a wide range of musical tastes and breadth of influences. ‘Tapes’ is a breathlessly exciting collection of dance music both old and new, weird and very much wonderful. (Martyn Young)
LIANNE LA HAVAS
Is Your Love Big Enough?
Lianne La Havas is an artist that seems to divide opinion. Not like Marmite, she's not really strong enough in flavour to divide such love/ hate contention, but perhaps that, right there, is where the problem lies. Across the board, debut album 'Is Your Love Big Enough?' has received a mountain of middling reviews, topped off with a peak of more patient prose and a few stabs of scathing scores. The irritating thing is that you want the album to be good. La Havas is a competent performer and a great stage presence but on record, she loses whatever it is that makes her stand out as special. Autobiographical 'Au Cinema' showcases some of her brighter storytelling moments while 'Age' nicely advertises La Havas' sense of humour. 'Is Your Love Big Enough?' hints at some of her more sparkling moments but overall, it's an album shrouded in mediocrity. (Harriet Jennings)
LAWRENCE ARABIA The Sparrow
New Zealand’s Lawrence Arabia (aka James Milne) recalls the halcyon era of Scott Walker and Jacques Brel with The Sparrow - a brooding, elegant collection of exquisitely arranged baroque pop. Opener ‘Travelling Shoes’ evokes the weary love-cry of a man permanently on the move, wryly delivered in a half-sung, half-spoken tone that recalls vintage Ray Davies. ‘Bicycle Riding’ is a sparse piano and vocal driven number which could come from any era, while "I had to kneecap my friends just to keep up" – not just an idle boast – is the refrain from the wonderful ‘Early Kneecappings’. Equally beguiling is ‘The Bisexual’, adorned with seductive brass trills amid an almost sleazy arrangement. 'The Sparrow' is a masterful album, aligning lyrical nous with musical charms. If Lawrence’s previous efforts were a little slight, he's more than muscled up now. (Colm McAuliffe)
In 2010, Teengirl Fantasy released their debut full-length '7AM' – an album that still manages to sound relevant despite electronic music progressing swiftly within the past two years. Impressively, Teengirl Fantasy have moved on too; their new record 'Tracer' seeing the duo create a more chaotic sound. Opener ‘Orbit’ spirals into view with arpeggiated synths and a booming, sparse drum line that dissolves into a rapidly ticking beat. Panda Bear's appearance on ‘Pyjama’ is as experimental as Animal Collective but with a darker tone. An eerie drone arrives before a mesh of clanking noises accompany his harmonious, pitch-changing vocals. Ending on ‘Timeline’, with club and 2-step vibes keeping the idiosyncratic strokes of the rest of the record, album two sees Teengirl Fantasy sonically more expansive and impressive than before. (Aurora Mitchell)
GARETH WARE TRACKS DOWN ATHENS, GEORGIA BASED REPTAR TO DISCUSS THEIR RECENTLY RELEASED DEBUT ALBUM, 'BODY FAUCET'. How would you describe the record's mood? The record is somewhat manic, full of questions of identity and figuring out
how to fill the world around you, but also has hope in it and offers a way through the clutter and through the madness. Was it difficult to juxtapose quite heavy topics and themes alongside such bright, sunny melodies? To us, it feels like a very natural juxtaposition. There have been plenty of songs throughout the years that have seemed happy and bright at first, but take on a different emotional character when you consider the lyrics. I think the effect in the end is that the lyrics
The Invitation To The Voyage
When Eugene McGuinness is good, he's very, very good. On the track that really made us sit back and pay attention to his comeback, 'Shotgun', he's nothing short of outstanding. Punchy and demanding attention, it's infectious in the darkest way possible. Reinvented like the best pop stars are, 'The Invitation To The Voyage' has been on our must watch list ever since. The question was always going to be if our hero could pull it off for a whole album, and by and large, he can. There's an intensity to McGuinness' second full-length that hints at something quite special - from the "freaks" in his secret lab on 'Lion', through to the oddly catchy vocal morse code of opener 'Harlequinade'. "Tomorrow we will rush and crush on the underground," Eugene croons on 'Sugarplum', showcasing the kind of urban pop that dominates 'The Invitation To The Voyage'. This is a man who's returned with a licence to thrill and a nice pair of trousers to match. It's not always successful - stuck in a sandwich between two singles, 'Videogame' seems somewhat weak, but where he hits the spot McGuinness really is the definition of the modern man about town. This is one invitation we're more than happy to accept. (Ben Marsden)
take you to some dark, confusing, thoughtful or otherwise difficult places, but the music keeps you moving so you have a way out of that headspace and don't get bogged down for to long in any negative mood. What do you hope people will get out of the album? I hope they get a sense that the have a way to deal with the difficult things in their life. I hope our music and live show give people a way to dance out their demons.
Being named after the dinosaur in the 90s Nickelodeon TV show Rugrats, it’s safe to say that Athens, GA based quartet Reptar don’t always take themselves too seriously; their full length 'Body Faucet' is a mixed bag of colourful, intricate indie-pop and melancholic slow burners. Opener ‘Sebastian’ bursts into life with stop/start guitar riffs that echo Vampire Weekend, squelching synth undertones and shapeshifting vocals that go from yelping to crooning to gravelly. With a clapping section and sing-alongs added for good measure, it's a festival anthem in waiting. By ‘Ghost Bike’, however, the mood has changed completely, as soft guitar musings, pacing drums and atmospheric piano retell the story of witnessing a friend die and being the one to survive it. Overall, Reptar have pieced emotions together - both euphoric and heartbreaking - to create a debut that, although perhaps too varied in places, is a great starting point. (Aurora Mitchell)
AIDEN GRIMSHAW MISTY EYE JESSIE WARE DEVOTION BLOC PARTY FOUR ARIEL PINK’S HAUNTED GRAFFITI MATURE THEMES YEASAYER FRAGRANT WORLD
ELBOW DEAD IN THE BOOT
THE VACCINES COME OF AGE AMANDA PALMER THEATRE OF EVIL TWO DOOR CINEMA CLUB BEACON ANIMAL COLLECTIVE CENTIPEDE HZ JENS LEKMAN I KNOW WHAT LOVE ISN'T
10/9 17/9 TOY TOY THE XX COEXIST
LOWER THAN ATLANTIS CHANGING TUNE MUSE 2ND LAW THE KILLERS BATTLE BORN BAND OF HORSES MIRAGE ROCK
GREEN DAY UNO LUCY ROSE LIKE I USED TO
15/10 BAT FOR LASHES THE HAUNTED MAN
PURITY RING Shrines
Curiosity killed the cat - so the saying goes. Today, where the business of new music is fuelled by the fast moving internet, there's more than one thing for our feline friends to be scared of. It’s the far meaner, less forgiving hype that often kills the poor moggy; or at least scares it off into a corner where all it can do is produce a series of ear-splitting meows rather than music. ‘Shrines’, Purity Ring’s debut, is arguably one of the most hotly anticipated records of 2012, and thus faces even more potential pitfalls than your average release. If there’s one sure-fire way to convert chatter into a one-way ticket to the stratosphere of success, though, it’s timing (plus, y'know, a shedload of talent). Purity Ring have both these things, with a rare streak of luck on their side; they seem to have released ‘Shrines’ at the perfect moment. ‘Crawlersout’ kicks off proceedings with eery, jolting waves of synth that morph into a down-tempo groove of glittering melodies and snappy rhythms. Saturated with blooping and crisp drum beats, ‘Belispeak’ perfectly showcases Purity Ring’s ear for the slightly twisted, while ‘Obedear’ veers from the warming backdrops peddled by Four Tet to the sinister bleepage favoured by the likes of Crystal Castles. Choose between chillwave and witchhouse you say? Purity Ring like both of them, and marry them expertly. It’s easy to forget that this is an electronic record simply because it feels so organic - and therein lies its greatest victory. There hasn’t been an album this genuine, exciting and plain heartfelt since The xx’s debut – Purity Ring 1, the curse of hype 0. (El Hunt)
YELLOWCARD Southern Air
Built on the solid foundations of their career to date, Yellowcard's eighth full-length offering sees them deliver an equally well-rounded and truly delightful album. Opening track 'Awakening' ignites the sound of fierce conviction, before 'The Surface Of The Sun' captures everything that's great about this powerful five-piece. Already-released single 'Always Summer' is designed to be the soundtrack to just that, while 'Here I Am Alive' and ballad 'Telescope' are perfectly formed anthems in waiting. Featuring a string of impressive guest spots from Alex Gaskarth (All Time Low), Cassadee Pope (Hey Monday) and Tay Jardine (We Are The In Crowd), and recorded with long-time producer Neal Avron, 'Southern Air' isn't a major step away from the band's previous work but a return to the original fire of their early years. It's spirited, it's slick and it could well end up being this year's essential pop-punk record. ( Jessica Bridgeman)
THE VERY BEST MTMTMK
The debut album by The Very Best, 2009’s ‘Warm Heart Of Africa’ was a massive critical success, combining the rich organic sounds of traditional African music with a dazzling array of electronic sounds and influences. For the much anticipated follow up the duo of Malawian singer Esau Mwamwaya and London-based producer Johan Hugo (for it is they, etc) ensconced themselves in a makeshift studio in Mwamwaya’s hometown of Lilongwe. Cut off from all distractions, they have crafted an album that sets the ebullient charm of their debut against deeper and darker sounds, while losing none of their bewitching singularity. ‘MTMTMK’ is still immediately recognisable as The Very Best, but markedly bigger in every sense. While it may not quite carry the same dazzling shock of hearing something truly different in the way their debut did, it's a record that carries on the spirit of the debut while progressing their sound at the same time. You can't say better than that. (Martyn Young)
THE BEST OF TRACKS
From The Roots Up Delilah is a bit of a wonderkid – signed to Atlantic Records at 18 years of age, scoring writing and recording with Chase & Status, grabbing the attention of R&B/funk great Chaka Khan and touring with Prince - she's packed an impressive CV that's only lacked her own album. Until now that is. With 'From The Roots Up', Delilah - together with a whole host of bright homegrown stars - is doing her bit to modernize R&B with a grittier, more thrilling edge. Occasionally there are times where the album frustratingly relies on overdone conventions, but 'From The Roots Up' remains a great showcase of Delilah’s promise and willingness to rise to the challenge of reinvigorating a genre in need of a change. (Kosta Lucas)
BLUR UNDER THE WESTWAY
There's a fuzzy feeling deep down that few bands can evoke. A kind of 'happy sad'; a nostalgic pull that forces eyes to well up, hearts to swell and goosebumps to rise. Damon Albarn has that emotion on tap. When Blur are in a contemplative mood, they're capable of turning even the hardest soul into a slushy mess. That's how we find them on 'Under The Westway'; a ballad, the kind of which they've grown in to with age - a love letter to London - there's more than a touch of The Good, The Bad & The Queen present, but crucially with a magic ingredient - chemistry. Like a grown up sibling of 'For Tomorrow', lyrically there's a hint of the woozy resignation of age, a spark of hope, and a definitive marker that, as a collective, Blur can still cut it. If this was the end, it'd be glorious. The hint that it isn't is even better. (Stephen Ackroyd)
TWO DOOR CINEMA CLUB SLEEP ALONE
THE FLAMING LIPS
The Flaming Lips & Heady Fwends
The Flaming Lips are the ultimate party band, but stripped of balloons you're often left with an awkward truth; Wayne Coyne's voice is kinda weak. With a cast of cohorts you worry he'll be shown up, but instead we're left with a reminder of what a great band the Flips are. It's an achievement to have a duet with Yoko Ono and it not be the most bats**t crazy track on your album; that award goes to the Neon Indian collaboration 'Is David Bowie Dying?', which teeters on the edge of 'unlistenable'. The duet with Ke$ha is bombastic, while the Edward Sharpe number feels like a port in a storm of insanity. But it's Erykah Badu who steals the show, proving once and for all, you really can kiss her glittery ass. (Simone Scott Warren)
Being massively successful has its advantages - Two Door's triumphant return doesn't see a need to reinvent their particular take on the musical wheel. Dusted down, polished up and clearly packed full of confidence, 'Sleep Alone' may have a touch more sparkle than previous offerings, but at its heart it has the kind of wide-eyed shimmer that made us fall in love the first time around. If it ain't broke... (Ben Marsden)
THE XX ANGELS
Normal practice when returning with a second album is to come packing a barnstorming single, ramping up the sound of the debut while making a play for a wider audience. The xx have long established that they are no normal band - grand statements are not in their nature. Their comeback sounds just as you would imagine; understated, dark and elusive, yet full of hope. ‘Angels’ is an impossibly beautiful hushed lullaby. A soulful and plaintive ballad about the crushing emotional intensity of being in love, typical of many that graced their first album. The sparse instrumentation feels almost expendable: ‘Angels’ is very much about the power of the voice. On this evidence, forthcoming second full length ‘Coexist’ may be an emotionally richer and deeper work from a band who seem to be at the very peak of their powers. (Martyn Young)
BLOC PARTY OCTOPUS
If you were to make a list of things your average Bloc Party fan would want for Christmas, you'd probably find a return to the angular guitars of 'Silent Alarm' near the top of the list. We've never quite imagined Kele Okereke as Santa, but someone somewhere has been a good girl or boy - 'Octopus' has more than a hint of their brilliant debut about it. Guitars stutter, vocals yelp, drums thump and we all get very excited indeed. God Bless Bloc Party. (Ben Marsden)
ALBUMS FROM THE LAST 3 MONTHS HOT CHIP IN OUR HEADS
Hot Chip have always been able to effortlessly, mix euphoric, colourful tunes with just the right amount of emotion. On 'In Our Heads', they’ve produced another record that is uniquely and superbly them. (Danny Wright)
CIAN CIARAN Outside In
Behind almost every great band lies an unsung driving force. Cian Ciaran has been the keyboard player, sonic alchemist and general creative lifeblood behind the idiosyncratic shape shifting pop of Super Furry Animals since they formed in 1993. In downtime from SFA duty Ciaran has regularly produced electronic techno tracks and DJ’s under the guises of Acid Casuals and Paps, but this year sees him finally step forward with a solo album released under his own name. A record of beguiling beauty that will pleasantly surprise anyone familiar with his work, ‘Outside In’ is rooted in grand orchestral pop, melody and harmony. A charming curiosity that will brighten the heart of anyone lucky enough to come across it; a pleasant and rewarding surprise. (Martyn Young)
Cheeky For A Reason Having emerged from the bottomless bucket of indie bands in 2005, The View have probably dropped a little deeper than some other acts that became popular during that time; after high praise for their debut 'Hats Off To The Buskers', they’ve received a lot of slagging off. That aside, The View are a band who know how to write a catchy chorus or ten - which they prove on 'Cheeky For A Reason'. It's almost a shame though, that they’re firing off the best track of the album as the first one. 'How Long', also the first single, shines with an catchy chorus and almost boyband-like, clear vocals. Unfortunately, it also sounds a little too familiar even at the first listen, a feature of almost all of the tracks - even more, most even resemble other bands. Perhaps a little too cheeky. (Dani Beck)
JAPANDROIDS CELEBRATION ROCK
Raucous, rambunctious and ruddy well brilliant, 'Celebration Rock' is almost certainly the most thrilling ride of 2012. (Stephen Ackroyd)
FUTURE OF THE LEFT THE PLOT AGAINST COMMON SENSE Future Of The Left have
finally completed their original quest. Not only do they not sound like anyone else, no-one else can sound like them. ( Joe Skrebels)
THE WALKMEN HEAVEN
'Heaven' is a marked departure from the downcast pessimism Walkmen fans have become accustomed to. A high point in the era of the guitar band. (Matthew Davies)
Poor Moon Everyone knows side-projects are a dangerous game. Sound too similar and your very existence is questioned, change too much and your fans don’t care. As if that's not enough pressure to deal with, the perils are doubled when half your band are taking time out from a mega-sucessful group like Fleet Foxes. Thankfully, Poor Moon have found a functional balance on their eponymous debut album - while the gentle reverb of multi-part harmonies rings very familiar, it’s been transposed into the fresher environs of the‘60s guitar group. As an experiment, it's not entirely without faults - feeling a little light on substance at times, but Poor Moon are never found short of delightfully wide-eyed touches of oldfashioned pop magic. (Joe Skrebels)
Hold Fast Kicking off with the energetic ‘Afterglow’, fresh-faced Sheffield 'lads' The Crookes show that they haven’t lost their youthful exuberance. A bona fide dancefloor hit in the vein of Arctic Monkeys, it’s thoroughly enjoyable and tremendously danceable. Their aesthetic of smart pop for a discerning crowd continues with ‘Stars’ – a song that best showcases singer George Waite’s warm and distinct voice. It’s a heartfelt tale enhanced by Beatles-esque instrumentation. Lead track ‘Hold Fast’ is another highlight; a sped-up, blissed-out indie hymn that adulates The Crookes’ self-styled image as “four teddy boys in Battersea”. Framed by vibrant harmonies and perfect pop, The Crookes definitely deserve their breakthrough this time around. (Linda Aust)
KOTKI DWA'S ALEX TELLS EMMA SWANN ABOUT THEIR DECISION TO TEAM UP WITH THE NATIONAL TRUST, AND HOW THEY'VE USED THE PRESTIGIOUS PROPERTIES IN THEIR WORK. What made you decide to look in to partnering with the National Trust? We got our hearts set on calling our new album 'Staycations'. We wanted to partner with somebody interesting, to help us explore this as a theme in more detail, so we thought of the National Trust because they own so many 'Staycation-destinations'. You're recording in various different properties, is that right? We've been recording in some weird and wonderful places. Recently did some synth in a chapel in Bath. We've done a lot of the vocals in London properties too, in Hackney and West London. Have you discovered any interesting facts about the places you've been yet? Yes, we pick up facts along the way and let them inform our process. For example, Sutton House in Hackney was built as a retreat from The Plague back in the day - so we recorded the first track on the album there, which mentions a plague of sorts.
RUN, WALK Health
Run Walk’s first, and it would appear only (the band split after their recent appearance at 2000 Trees), album is represented by a symbol. We can't print the 'official' title - the font we use in the magazine doesn't even contain the character. It was okay when Ed Sheeran did it (well, he had to do something right - Ed), because we knew what a + was called, but who knows off-hand what a caduceus is? For those not in the know, it’s the stick Hermes carried around in Greek mythology, as well as the symbol of medicine in North America, because they got it confused with another stick a couple of centuries ago. Idiots. And why does that automatically mean the album’s called ‘Health’? Clocking in at just under half an hour, it’s easy to say that we'd have liked a bit more to remember them by, but what there is to listen to is one great album. With only 100 copies being pressed, you’d better hurry if you want to get your mitts on one. (Coral Williamson)
ET TU BRUCE Suburban Sunshine
The music of Et Tu Brucé is quite nicely summed up by their name: it’s probably nice and easy to google, and sounds quite clever, but that acute accent on the e is bloody annoying. And that’s pretty much how you’ll feel about their debut album ‘Suburban Sunshine’. When it’s nice, it’s nice, but there’s almost too much of a mellow tone, and the harmonious pop gets annoyingly grating. Even worse, for all of Et Tu Brucé attempts at sounding different, the result just sounds a little bit boring. Opening with the energetic almost-rock of ‘Dress Me Up in Bruises’, the album quickly slides into a more chilled-out soundscape, one that is almost certain to be touted as ‘summer listening’. ‘Never Say Trevor Again’ feels like it would be great if it didn’t have the strange sense of an in-joke, while closer ‘It’s All Nothing’ seems grittier than everything that comes before. Where was this on the rest of the album? (Aurora Mitchell)
KOTKI DWA Staycations
There are few better kept secrets than the consistently brilliant Kotki Dwa - without doubt one of the more sparkling of hidden gems the British music scene has managed to squirrel away over recent years. Thankfully it's one foresight that seems to finally be changing for the better - and it's about time too. Aptly, as a summer soundtrack 'Staycations' serves as a great alternative to more expensively lauded alternatives. Produced alongside The National Trust (look up the concept online - it's fascinating), it's yet another example of the three piece doing things not just differently, but with more imagination and flair than many their peers. Few others manage to marry music and aesthetic as well as Kotki Dwa, with every aspect perfectly pitched and immaculately considered down to the smallest detail. If only every band was this creative. (Stephen Ackroyd)
LIVE TINTHEPARK This year’s edition of T In The Park is likely to go down in history as the wettest of its 19 years. Unfortunately, the event happened to coincide with one of the most miserable weekends in living memory. This review could quite easily consist of just the word mud repeated ad infinitum, as the Balado site became a quagmire of gargantuan proportions. Some music does take place though, and despite the dreadful conditions, a strange perverse celebratory mood takes hold. Friday is very much the calm before the impending storm. With the weather remaining dry throughout and the grass relatively green, it could genuinely be described as a nice day. Friday’s line up however, is very much skewed towards contemporary mainstream pop. There's a strange vibe this year, with many more interesting acts marginalised on smaller stages. While Olly Murs, Example and Professor Green commandeer the two main stages before Snow Patrol deliver another functional headline performance, it's left to the bands on the two outside tents to provide the thrills.
The Cribs have played T In The Park three times previously, but never in their natural habitat - a tent. Fresh from releasing their outstanding fifth album, the Jarman brothers are in visceral mood with their set ending in a pleasing howl of feedback. Returning Manchester veterans (no, not those ones) New Order close the night with an astonishing career defining run through of over 30 years of peerless pop. Saturday is when the deluge comes, forcing DIY to seek refuge wherever possible. Fortunately two of the day’s best bands are on at King Tuts'. Alt-J provide some suitably soothing sounds with their clever take on understated indie, and Blood Red Shoes blow away any early morning cobwebs with a positively blistering set. As the rain pours incessantly and the mud becomes ever thicker, the crowd are in dire need of a pick up, which for the packed out Transmission Stage comes in the form of Django Django. Many words have already been expunged on The Stone Roses following their comeback Heaton Park shows. As such, their headlining set on Saturday feels like a slight afterthought with not quite the 70 thisisfakediy.co.uk
same level of anticipation. As John Squire’s swirling guitar ushers in opener ‘I Wanna Be Adored’, there is a palpable sense of something in the air; however, this excitement quickly dissipates and their set is oddly flat despite the excellent musicianship of the band. Sunday’s festivities are largely found on the Transmission Stage as three new bands at different stages of their career make their T debuts. Zulu Winter are competent without ever really taking off, Howler by contrast are a whole lot of fun. Spector are easily derided, but you can see why they are on the cusp of mainstream success. The devotion in the audience of largely teenage girls is striking and there are sing-alongs aplenty. As the final night draws on and spirits begin to flag the crowd are given a welcome lift by worshiping at the church of Guy Garvey on the mainstage. Elbow are consummate festival performers and they have the crowd in the palm of their hands culminating in a massive communal sing-along to ‘One Day Like This.’ Later, Kasabian do their reliably proficient festival show on the main stage, but for more discerning punters The Horrors are a more challenging proposition closing the Transmission Stage. As everyone resolutely tries to navigate their way through the quicksand-like mud and the fireworks go off overhead, there is a quiet satisfaction and sense of pride among the survivors who have made it to the end of a festival blighted by terrible weather, but enlivened by some splashes of colour amidst the gloom. (Martyn Young)
HOPFARM In a crevice of Kent sits a festival worthy of a midnight snack for the nostalgia famished. Smothered in likeable, non-conformist attributes and lathered in rich taste - Hop Farm offers a wide range of musical backgrounds with absence of ego, whilst still retaining bursting passion and enthusiasm. Gently isolated amongst the early afternoon breeze, Jose Gonzalez willingly hypnotises a bright-eyed crowd on the main stage. A walk away, raw possessiveness perfumes the air around the big tent as chorus yells of Lianne La Havas’ ‘Forget’ radiate through the site like a destructive tsunami of sound. Bringing Friday to a dramatic end, headliner Peter Gabriel exhales an array of the grand. Saturday highlights include the unrefined authority of Patti Smith and her band, followed by a melancholic, powerful performance by Damien Rice. Now, what can be said about Bob Dylan? Odd, uncharacteristic, confused. ‘Honey, Just Allow Me One More Chance’? Er, no. Hop Farm may not be the ‘in’ festival, but it provides a service to which it’s entirely faithful to. ( Joanie Eaton)
LES EUROCKÉENNES To go in to all the specific nuances between British festivals and this one in France would take bloody ages, and bore even the most interested parties quicker than you can ask 'Do they serve frog's legs?'. We'll leave it at this – there's a lot to be said for a culture of buying half-pints by default, and the mud is very, very pink. Other than that it's business as usual: the weekend's surprises come from the massive crowd at Scottish alt-pop merchants Django Django surpassing even the expectations the omnipresent 'Default' suggested we have, and the lack of one at Alabama Shakes following their unfortunate clash with 2012's first lady of pop, Lana Del Rey. Elsewhere, Justice's lightshow is spot-on perfection, The Cure could probably get away with just playing their second encore repeatedly for over two hours, while Jack White's set finds a new gear after technical issues force him to complete 'We're Going To Be Friends' with absolutely no electrical accompaniment. Is this where we scratch around for rudimentary French to make a bad pun? Oh, alright then. Magnifique. (Emma Swann)
LOVEBOX2012 You never know what sort of show you're going to get from Crystal Castles or even if they will last the distance. This time around - for the Friday of Lovebox 2012 - we get a slashedback half-hour set which includes a rave-inspired new track alongside the likes of 'Airwar' and 'Alice Practise'. Headlining the first day are Hot Chip, fresh from the release of their new record and dressed to geek chic perfection with Alexis in his oversized t-shirt leading the charity shop charge. From the gorgeous cowbell-propelled 'How Do You Do It?' with its "make me want to live again" refrain, to a steel drum rerouted 'I Feel Better', there are dancing feet aplenty. For Saturday's festivities, Groove Armada return with a one-off greatest hits set to celebrate 10 years of the festival they created. A welcome return. There will be few times that a band like The Rapture will ever be introduced by a drag queen but this epitomises the free-spirited carnival that is Sunday at Lovebox. It's an energetic set, flirting seamlessly with raw Strokes-like garage rock and frenetic rave mayhem. Closing the festival is the inimitable Grace Jones, who takes us on a musical journey through French chanson and reggae into disco and even rock on a furious 'Demolition Man', banging a pair of cymbals together as if her very life depends on it. Every song is accompanied by a costume change, showing off her unique collection of hats and the perfect excuse for her trademark blend of eccentric banter. Having kept the crowd waiting nearly 30 minutes there's just enough time to pull out 'Pull Up To The Bumper' and 'Slave To The Rhythm', the latter given more twists and turns than her hula-hooping hips. Truly one of a kind. (Greg Inglis) Photos: Emma Swann
DRAKE Barclaycard. Vodafone. Pepsi Max. Everywhere. Welcome to the world’s most corporate affair. Fuelled by typical braggadocio, Drake ascends to serenading horns, cheesy drum fills, dropping mass bundles of N-Bombs and telling us simply how wonderful he is. Surrounded by funereal monochrome, two huge screens depicting visuals of volcanoes and blown up apartment blocks, himself adorned in a simple black hoodie and excessive gold chain, our splendid set of lugubrious emo-rap gets underway. Just like Minaj before him, Drizzy is in prevailing control of the stage. For the most part, it’s just him and a mic in clear view, striding from one side to the other, as if totally unaware of the crammed park in front of him. But his stageshow also comes with its fair share of pyrotechnics. Shattering my hopes and dreams when Rihanna doesn’t appear for ‘Take Care’, the stage is set ablaze for ‘HYFR’ and dazzling fireworks shoot off into the LDN sky. As he closes with ‘Headlines’, the screens now covered in intricate Mallarmé-esque fonts, we realise what an incredible 90 minutes we’ve just passed. He may well be the maximo park coolest motherf**ker on earth. (Huw Oliver)
RIHANNA It's the final day of Wireless and by God, does it look like Hyde Park has been through the wars. With entire areas of its once grassy land cordoned off as newly-formed muddy lakes, the 'arena' is shrinking in on itself. By the time Rihanna takes to her Egyptian-themed stage, the heavens have opened. Make no mistake, she is definitely the Only Girl In The World that we'd be waiting around in this for. With a gasp-inducing Rated R performance, Rihanna delivers Rockstar 101: this, ladies and gentlemen, is how to close a festival. The singlestuffed set spans her six album career, with special nods towards 'Talk That Talk' and 'Loud', including a rare performance of 'You Da One'. Unfortunately, it seems there's little Rihanna can do to keep things under control, and with Hyde Park descending into that by now infamous hopeless place she's always singing about, by the time we're advised to "go hard or go home" in her rendition of 'Hard', we have to opt for the latter. (Harriet Jennings)
REGINASPEKTOR O 2 A P O L L O, M A N C H E S T E R
“Regina! Play Reginasaurus!” It is always a sign of a solid and creative back-catalogue when an obscure fan request is made at a gig, even if the performer in question tonight, Regina Spektor, does not play fiddle to it. Spektor may now be a fully-fledged major label recording artist whose audience recently included Barack Obama, but tonight at Manchester Apollo, she shows that she still retains a good deal of the dorky quirks that made her Spektators fall for her first time around: from finger drumming her microphone (‘Ain’t No Cover’) to singing a song in her native Russian and donning an Italian accent about as convincing as Nicolas Cage in Captain Corelli’s Mandolin (‘Oh Marcello’). Based on this performance, ‘Regina 2012’ is not quite the punk pianist who beats a chair with a drumstick (‘Poor Little Rich Boy’). Nor is
she that girl who sang about how "someone next door is f**king to one of my songs." Regina 2012 is however a female with an idiosyncratic vocal talent, poetic sensitivity and a classical proficiency which she showcases flawlessly with the help of her band of cello, drums and keys. Regina’s voice has noticeably matured from breathy to a more powerful instrument on recent tours and her professionalism was dealt a bad hand when she announced after an hour that she had "broke a bone in her throat" and apologetically left the stage to seek medical assistance. Despite her vocal setback, ‘Reginasaurus’ continues to prove herself as a unique type of performersongwriter and artist whose live show and stage presence never fails to be anything short of charming. (Alexia Kapranos)
AINT NO COVER THE CALCULATION ON THE RADIO SMALL TOWN MOON ODE TO DIVORCE BLUE LIPS PATRON SAINT HOW ALL THE ROWBOATS EET CALL THEM BROTHERS (FT ONLY SON) MOLITVA DANCE ANTHEM OF THE 80S BETTER, DON’T LEAVE ME (NE ME QUITTE PAS) OH MARCELLO BALLAD OF A POLITICIAN FIREWOOD THE PARTY FIDELITY SAMSON
ISLEOFWIGHT Placed far too low down the billing for her current status, Lana Del Rey mesmerises and charms the crowd in the Big Top. Friday's highlight however, comes from the superb Best Coast, whose live show takes on a darker, punchier sound than one might expect, emitting an almost Pixies-esque quality. Saturday brings the unashamedly brilliant Madness, the decidedly average-but-well-meaning Elbow and legions of The Worst People In Human Existence (thank you, Jessie J and Tinie Tempah for dragging them out). Biffy Clyro follow with one of the weekend’s most powerful sets. They even have the balls to cover that Matt Cardle Christmas #1 from a couple of years ago... Eventually the clouds clear and warm sunshine breaks through, just in time for Gallagher the elder. Chucking in a couple of old Oasis numbers, the High Flying Birds go down a treat. Of course, I could’ve spent the weekend up to this point picking leeches off my body and still given the damn thing a great write up - because, to paraphrase Renton in Trainspotting: “Who needs reasons when you’ve got Springsteen?” Announcing the E Street Band have a “f**kin’ boat” to catch, Bruce Springsteen closes with a cover of the Beatles’ classic ‘Twist And Shout’, in front of a ridiculously over-the-top fireworks display. Well played, Bruce. Well played. ( Jack Urwin) 73
Somerset House has returned with its annual summer series – a SOMERSET programme of open-air HOUSE, music events that go ahead come rain or shine. LOND ON Thankfully, Ye Olde British Weather shows mercy and the air is both warm and buzzing with excitement for French shoegazers M83. Mainstream success has been a long time coming for this band, with ‘Midnight City’ having propelled them into the public's consciousness. It’s refreshing to see that they haven’t let the song define them, with the track springing up in the middle of tonight’s set, although it does get the biggest crowd response. The upbeat numbers are where M83 really excel. ‘Reunion’ delivers remarkable amounts of energy, while the wonderfully chaotic ‘Teen Angst’ is another highlight, with green and purple lights dowsing the stage’s backdrop to provide both an eerie and euphoric feel.
Photos: Wendy Davies
UK TOUR OCTOBER 2012 15
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Unfortunately Somerset House, despite its magnificent appearance, isn’t really the right venue to fully appreciate M83’s sound. Whilst those at the barrier appear to be fully immersed, those further back aren’t as engaged. Despite this, it’s difficult not to marvel at the sheer enthusiasm on display. (Wendy Davies)
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NEW ALBUM OUT SEPTEMBER 10 T H 12” / CD / Digital ALBUM LAUNCH SHOWS 22nd Sept - CARDIFF - Clwb Ifor Bach 25th Sept - LONDON - The Lexington racehorsesmusic.com
TECH THE GIZMOS AND GADGETS WO RT H G E T T I N G E XCI T E D ABOUT THIS MONTH
Remember when it was still exciting to take a CD player and speakers out to play? Replicate that – while earning precious cool points – with the Duo Deck. Not only does it allow you to play precious records on the go, thanks to its in built speaker and battery power, but it also includes a tape deck. So those limited edition cassettes you've got gathering dust can finally be fit for purpose.
AUTHENTIC BOARDWALK PHOTO BOOTH $11,000
Inspired by pushing all four members of Alt-J into one during our cover shoot, we thought we'd find out how much it'd set us back for a real, genuine, pull-faceswith-yer-mates photo booth. Turns out it's more than we've got behind the sofa in the office, but we can dream, right?
IPHONE SHUTTER GRIP
How many times have you gone to grab your phone to make a quick snap of something happening right in front of you, only to be disappointed with a blurry disaster staring back at you? The iPhone shutter grip slots on to your phone, letting you stop, go and click exactly when you want. Plus you can switch from photo to video and back at the press of another button – and even mount the camera to a tripod for super-still shots.
CANON EOS 650D £699.99 RRP
Canon have updated their entry-level DSLR series meaning not only can you budding photographers get great snaps of their friends at this summer's events – possibly huddling under a solitary umbrella – but for the first time, you can also film them in full HD creating havoc without losing focus. Pair with the new 40mm 'pancake' lens and you'll even fit it in your pocket. Maybe.
T r i b a l b e a T
1/Brookhaven Aztec T- Shirt £15, Exclusive to scottsmenswear.com 2/ASOS Denim Jacket With Aztec Print £45, asos.com 3/Duck And Cover Tucker Aztec T- Shirt £25, scottsmenswear.com 4/Aztec Hip Flask £12, urbanoutfitters.co.uk 5/Wimbolt Tailored Shorts £55, merc.com 6/Tyler Tyler Black Zig Zag Woven Belt £35, liberty.co.uk 7/Brookhaven Girl Navajo T- Shirt £19, Exclusive to scottsmenswear.com 76 thisisfakediy.co.uk
1/Timeless Kasey Tribal Sandal £30, asos.com 2/Sam & Lavi Journey Tunic £92, farfetch.com 3/Premium Aztec Sequin Skirt £75, topshop.com 4/Oasis Tribal Embellished Shift £65, oasis-stores.com 5/Aztec Border Silky Kaftan £35, accessorize.com 6/Aztec Stripe Flippy Hem Tunic £24, topshop.com 7/Maxmara Egizi Tribal Necklace £198, matchesfashion.com 8/Chevron Weave Cuff £8, accessorize.com
KEVINMACDONALD THE ACCLAIMED FILMMAKER ON HIS EXTRAORDINARY ACCOUNT OF BOB MARLEY THE MAN.
It’s a freakishly cold and wet day when we meet Kevin Macdonald in a London hotel. Whereas most of our interviewees arrive (late) in posh cars, the Oscar-winning director apologises for having to take a few minutes to dry off after cycling across the city in a torrential downpour (“I bike everywhere”). As first impressions go, it’s a good one. It’s also probably responsible for the 44-year-old Scotsman’s youthful appearance, not tarnished by impactful documentary-making (Touching The Void). Macdonald, from a family of filmmakers, also successfully dabbles in features, directing Forest Whitaker to one of those little gold men for his portrayal of Idi Amin in The Last King Of Scotland, and remaking classic BBC drama State Of Play for the big screen. He returned to documentaries for the astounding Marley, which is released on DVD 20th August. Focusing on Bob Marley the man, rather than the icon, it’s a moving, often amusing, account. “I felt there had been quite a lot of books about Bob, a lot of articles, documentaries made 15 years ago, and none of them quite added up,” states Macdonald. “I never really knew who this person was. I didn’t understand him on a human, empathetic level. So that’s what I became intrigued by - the person, the man behind the icon.” I ask if it’s true that Marley didn’t give many interviews. “I don’t think he liked journalists. He would be really disruptive during interviews and uncommunicative. He felt he shouldn’t have to explain himself to these Babylonian types. Also, because people weren’t that interested - it grew, but it was really a cult thing up until the last couple of years of his career.” The film shows previously unseen photographs of Marley in his youth in Trenchtown, Jamaica. “There’s no footage of him performing or otherwise until 1972 or 1973, so for ten years of his career there’s nothing. It’s tricky when you’re making a film, but it’s a reflection that he came from a desperately poor country where nobody had cameras. Even if they did have cameras, they weren’t filming Rasta bands, as they were considered to be scum.” The inspirational sight of Marley uniting the leaders of the People’s National Party and the Jamaica Labour Party is a highlight. However, the director doesn’t back away from the more unsavoury aspects of the star’s character. “Bob’s kids, who control the estate, wanted to make a film like this, as they didn’t know the man as they were so young when he died. They’re the first ones to talk about Bob’s faults: the ganja smoking, the womanising. By having those things in the film, you give the man shape and shade.” Getting co-operation was sometimes tough, with the likes of Bunny Wailer taking eight months to persuade. “There were a couple of people that got away; I wanted to interview Stevie Wonder, as Stevie played a couple of key gigs with Bob. He’s notoriously hard to pin down.” However, Macdonald stresses the importance of using people who knew Marley personally: “He doesn’t need to be bolstered up by having an interview with Bono or something.” (Becky Reed) 78 thisisfakediy.co.uk
RELEASED: 01/08/12 Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane makes his directorial debut with this lairy, juvenile and deeply funny adult comedy. Mark Wahlberg once again proves why he's an incredible comic talent, playing a flawless straight man to the MacFarlane-voiced teddy bear that's been his companion since childhood. The vulgar party animal Ted is the result of old-fashioned magic, in that's he's real: drinking, dating, working, and offending everybody within earshot. Superb CGI and Wahlberg's reactions honestly make you believe Ted is a real character as the two stoners drift along with a touching bromance. The bewitching Mila Kunis is refreshing as the fun-loving, non-nagging girlfriend whose patience is eventually tested, causing Ted to move out and Wahlberg attempt to be responsible. Of course, it all goes wrong, with wild parties and punch-ups loaded with amazing cameos and hilarious and obscure pop culture references. A very silly, but conversely clever, fairy tale for grown-ups. (Becky Reed)
OF MY 8 SOUND VOICE
SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN
RELEASED: 27/07/12 This hugely inspiring documentary tells a true story so incredible, you could not make it up. Swedish filmmaker Malik Bendjelloul follows the trail of American singer-songwriter Sixto Rodriguez. Dubbed the new Bob Dylan by anyone who saw him perform in Detroit in the '60s, Rodriguez recorded two acclaimed, but flop, albums before fading into obscurity. Rumours flew of his onstage suicide - by immolation or gunshot, depending on who was telling the story. The film follows the adulation Rodriguez received in Apartheid-era South Africa. What happened when a journalist investigated Rodriguez's rumoured death during the 1990s? Played out like a mystery, the revelations are extraordinary, humbling and moving. (Becky Reed)
RELEASED: 03/08/12 Rising American actress Brit Marling proves herself to be a singular voice in modern sci-fi following the haunting Another Earth. The fiercely intelligent writer and producer stars as Maggie, the delicate, beguiling leader of a cult who claims she is from the future, the year 2054. Beautifully low-key and realistic, director Zal Batmanglij's subtle thriller follows a documentary-making couple (Christopher Denham and Nicole Vicius) who infiltrate the group and have their own beliefs challenged. A low-budget film originally shot as a web series, original ideas and confident execution make for science fiction that challenges without any special effects or explosions. (Becky Reed)
RELEASED: 17/08/12 Rebellious young princess wants to be independent, leaves home, and has to overcome an evil witch's curse in order to save her family. It hardly seems like something that comes from the minds of those who created Up, Wall-E and Finding Nemo. However, subverting these tropes with varying degrees of subtlety makes Brave the wondrous work of cinema that it is. Most Disney princesses are, however independent, defined in the end by their princes - not Merida (voiced by Kelly Macdonald). Two of the film's biggest strengths are the obviously-stunning visual effects and the authentic score that provides a good aural backdrop to the scenes of Scottish beauty. Pixar are as imaginative, subversive, loveable and entertaining as they ever were, and Brave is more than proof of that. (Charlie Ralph) 79
GAMES ASSASSIN'S CREED III
(Ubisoft) – Xbox 360, PS3, PC, Wii U RELEASED: 31/10/12 AND 23/11/12 (PC)
Set against the backdrop of the American Revolution, you play assassin Connor Kenway spanning 30 years of his life. As usual, you'll traverse your way around environments with stealthy acrobatics and encounter all manner of historical figures in American history including George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and Bruce Willis. The last bit's a lie.
CALL OF DUTY: BLACK OPS II (Activision) – Xbox 360, PS3, PC, Wii U RELEASED: 13/11/12
The iconic war-a-thon returns, with a backdrop of an all new controversial futuristic setting, featuring future warfare technology like flying drones and robot walkers. Don't worry, the story spans from the 1970s all the way through to the 2020s. A Call Of Duty with a sense of choice and a conscience? Bring on the robots!
HITMAN: ABSOLUTION (Square Enix) – Xbox 360, PS3, PC RELEASED: 20/11/12
Forget what you might've seen or heard (cough cough – nun assassins?), Hitman: Absolution isn't going to be the soul-less husk of action people are afraid of. It's a welcome return to stealth-laden gameplay and silent assassination with an emphasis on choice. Make no mistake, Hitman is back with a bald bang and promises to be so well-polished you'll see your reflection in Agent 47's bowling ball cranium.
AMAZING 7 THE SPIDER-MAN
(Activision) – Xbox 360, PS3, PC, Wii, DS, 3DS
Free-roaming Spidey returns as he web-slings across Manhattan in a story that acts as a curious epilogue to the recent movie reboot. Ignore the dialogue, the voice-acting and the suspect graphics, swinging around the city is a delight, with heaps of collectibles and side-quests to enjoy. The main campaign itself features lacklustre Arkham-lite combat with repetitive and restrictive indoor environments, but it's hard to beat that freedom when you finally get your friendly neighbourhood Spidey outside. Contains spoilers from the moment you put the disc in...
LEGO BATMAN 2: DC SUPER 8 HEROES
(Sony) – Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, 3DS, DS, PSV, PC, Mac
Taking its cues from a more light-hearted set of Batman movies, rather than Christopher Nolan's gritty and psychotic caped crusader, LEGO Batman flaps his cape for an encore. With hidden collectibles, joyous co-op gameplay, new powerful costumes to solve puzzles and the added bonus of becoming an open-world adventure, this has the fun of the original and more. The wealth of DC characters on show is fantastic and taking to the skies with a little LEGO Superman is a blast. Split-screen issues and the frustration of just not knowing what to do can often make you want to rip off Batman's teensy weensy LEGO head for a quick chew but, overall, you won't be disappointed. 80 thisisfakediy.co.uk
GAME OF THE MONTH
GHOSTBUSTERS I ain't 'fraid of no accountancy. A game like this – a video game of a blockbuster movie – there's no way it would get away with this nowadays. Can you imagine The Dark Knight Rises: The Video Game where the first ten minutes is just organising your finances? Ghostbusters plays (g)host to some of the weirdest gameplay elements ever. Essentially, it's a bunch of mini-games strung together, but so successfully that it never feels like it. This is just hypnotic brilliance! Most of the 'action' takes place waiting and staring at an overhead map of New York City buildings with the centre of ghostly activity, Zuul, in the centre. Yellow ghosts float in towards Spook Central; if a house flashes red on the map, it means they've got a ghost, and you'll drive there to bust some ghouls.
THE WALKING DEAD KILL THE BRAIN So, we've just finished the latest episode of The Walking Dead video game series which means, like everyone else, we're replaying the whole thing making different decisions to see how it all pans out. The weirdest thing about TT Games' latest adventure is that they've chosen the zombie genre – one that's known, in games at least, for its frantic action. Dead Island's RPGhybrid added a little depth, but concentrated too much on numbers, and the DayZ mod for ArmA 2 is loaded with terrifying atmosphere. But, what the Walking Dead series has done is incorporate a tense, believable and immersive story to the whole thing! Activision have announced an alternative action game based on the TV series, but TT Games have delivered something more akin to the graphic novels. Considering the majority of the action here is played out by tapping one button to trigger animations, why does this work?! In
short – characterisation. The Walking Dead's strength is in following flawed characters, with clashes arising at every turn. Decisions that you know will alter the course of the gameplay for the duration of the entire series soon become heavy. With no good or bad options, and decisions that can often kill off a main character, you rarely come out without a sense of guilt and doubt. Gaming too often casually throws consequence-less decisions at you, while The Walking Dead has fleshed out its story so much that you'll feel the effects of each decision long after they've left your fingers. In one of the most cerebral games we've played it's no wonder you have to pummel those zombies through the brain. It'll be that you'll use more than your trigger finger here. The Walking Dead Video Game series is available to download for Xbox 360, PS3 and PC.
BE SURE TO DOWNLOAD
With limited equipment, you'll end up returning to the HQ to stock up on traps a lot, especially if you've been slimed or killed your fellas by crossing the streams. As the PKE rises, the Keymaster and Gatekeeper head towards Zuul – once both of them meet up, all hell breaks loose. But only if you've made enough money. Just like in real life. And then you're met with your account number so you can start the game again with more cash. If you fail to save the world, but make more money, you'll have, in essence, won. Is Ghostbusters all that's wrong with capitalist society? Just, wow. Everyone – play this now.
BATTLEFIELD 3: CLOSE QUARTERS DLC (EA) – Xbox 360, PS3, PC
Expand your Battlefield experience with four new maps for rapid, multi-death gameplay that sees team spawns disabled and frustratoshrieks enabled. These maps are arcade in the rawest sense with multiple hidey-holes, close spawn points, non-stop action and nowhere to camp. Two new multiplayer modes are included – Conquest Domination and the ever rage-worthy Gun Master that sees players level up through 16 different guns and finish off with only a knife! Intense, unpredictable and controller-destroyingly worthwhile!
BACKPAGE WITH OLD-TIMERS PLAYING EPICALLY LONG SETS THIS SUMMER, WILL GRAHAM ASKS:
HOW LONG IS TOO LONG?
How long is too long? Thirty eight songs, probably, if you’re anything but the biggest Cure fan in the world. Three and a half hours - almost certainly - if you’re not a Springsteen obsessive. That’s officially Quite A Bloody Long Time. Bruce has been regularly stringing things out for that long on his recent tour, while Robert Smith’s troupe would struggle to fit more songs in their bags for their current festival headlining jamboree if they tried. Is more really, y’know, more? Value for money, right? Maybe. But really, is there anything less ‘rock ‘n roll’ than a set so long you could pop out, watch Titanic and still come back for the encore? For once the authorities are clearly the true guardians of the punk rock spirit, pulling the plug on The Boss’ Hyde Park set as it meandered its way over curfew with Paul ‘Macca’ McCartney in tow. Of course nobody expects to turn up to a twenty minute thrash fest in a muddy swamp - not from the headliner, at any rate but can any band play for that long and really not be carrying too much baggage? Have we really reached the point where we need legends to play Supermarket Sweep with their back catalogue? Which raises another question - how long is too long, and what is not enough? Does a world of one track downloads and disposable music call for a return to the Smash Hits Poll Winners Party template - loads of acts, a few songs each - play the singles and get off ? It might be fun, but probably not. Springsteen can probably be forgiven for some indulgence at least his London show was his own audience; they knew what they were letting themselves in for. At festivals anything more than an hour and a half is asking for the dunderheads to descend. Really, Bob, it’s in your own interest. Shut up and play the hits.
we are THE PHYSICS applied ROBOTICS new single 13th AUGUST wearethephysics.com 83