Page 1


a l u n ag eo rg e l au r a m a r l i n g e d i t o r s t h e s e n e w p u r i ta n s alunageorge l aura marling editors sigur r贸s

free | i s s ue 2 0 | J ULY 2 013

DEAP VALLY Raw Material





Before the end of this year we’re due new albums from Franz Ferdinand and Arctic Monkeys. Katy B has a new record out. There are the debuts from ace new bands like HAIM, CHVRCHES and Drenge. MGMT will be back before too long now. The big beasts are most certainly stirring. Before then it’s festival season proper, though. By the time you read this, Glastonbury will be done and Reading & Leeds will be less than two months away. Summer might just be starting, but we’re on the fast road to the end of 2013 now. Best start work on those Album of the Year lists.

What's on the DIY team's radar

Victoria Sinden Deputy Editor GOOD: We’re working on some pretty exciting live gigs for later in the year. Watch this space. evil: DIY Towers is moving this month. Anyone want to give us a hand shifting boxes of CDs and magazines? Didn’t think so. Louise Mason Art Director GOOD: Marnie Stern.

GOOD: Sky Larkin

are back. Their new album sounds awesome. It’s out later this year.

evil: Prosecco.

Which I will not be drinking at any festivals this year.

I want to be her when I grow up. evil: Another photoshoot almost ending in a 999 call out. Death by watermelon.

Sarah Jamieson News Editor GOOD: When the sun came out at Download Festival, it was really rather glorious. evil: Camping! Please consider this my official resignation from tentdwelling... At least for another year. Jamie Milton Online Editor GOOD: Having a Neu residency at The Old Blue Last, with tons of great new bands playing. evil: Moving to London and getting the bug for going to shows every single night. You could catch worse, I suppose.

this issue has been brought to you by...


Terrible face tattoos seen at Download.


Less tooth in the DIY team.

136 45 Minutes we spent in Josh Homme’s dressing room.

Total number of Reese’s Peanut Cups Sarah got for her birthday


Unsightly sightings of Jake May. Please send help. Or new jeans.


Puppets that need a new home due to DIY relocation.


co n t e n ts 6

k at y b


h e a lt h

Editor Stephen Ackroyd

Deputy Editor Victoria Sinden Reviews Editor Emma Swann News Editor Sarah Jamieson Film Editor Becky Reed Games Editor Michael J Fax TV Editor Christa Ktorides Staff Writers: Gareth Ware, Sam Faulkner Art Director Louise Mason Head Of Marketing & Events Jack Clothier

12 b o s n i a n r a i n b o w s 14 s i g u r r 贸 s 16 q u e e n s o f t h e s t o n e a g e 22 m o n e y 26 l a u r a w e l s h 27 p a w w s 30 d e a p v a l l y 38 s m i t h w e s t e r n s 40 a l u n a g e o r g e 46 l a u r a m a r l i n g 48 e d i t o r s 52 t h e s e n e w p u r i t a n s 56 f u c k b u t t o n s

r eg ul ars 6n e w s 22 n e u

82 u n c l e e dd i e 4

r e v i e w s 58 a l b u m s 70 l i v e

78 f i l m

80 g a m e s

Online Editor Jamie Milton Deputy Online Editor Jake May Assistant Online Editor El Hunt Contributors Alex Lynham, Andrew Jones, Coral Williamson, Dan Carson, Danny Wright, David Zammitt, Hannah Phillips, Hugh Morris, Huw Oliver, Ian Paterson, Johnny Owen, Martyn Young, Matthew Davies, Nathan Standlee, Sam Cornforth, Tim Lee, Tom Doyle, Tom Walters Photographers Eric Pamies, Fraser Stephen, Leah Henson, Mike Massaro, Sarah Louise Bennett For DIY editorial tel: +44 (0)20 76137248 For DIY sales tel: +44 (0)20 76130555 For DIY online sales tel: +44 (0)20 76130555 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.

Come to the Dance


The Pastels



2LP CD DL - Out Now

Jon Hopkins IMMUNITY

2LP CD DL - Out Now

LP CD DL - Out Now

About Group



in the studio katy B


magine being Katy B right now: breakout bass music is everywhere and your 2011 debut album ‘On A Mission’ is widely regarded as its place of birth. You’ve essentially transformed the pop landscape with your innovative mix of UK funk, dubstep and drum ‘n’ bass and have since opened the way for massively successful crossover acts like Rudimental, Disclosure and Jessie Ware. Now, it’s your turn again. These are weird times for the Peckham star. As if to demonstrate, she has just played in front of 12,000 screeching teens at a Girl Guides convention in Birmingham: “It was surreal because it was a Saturday in the middle of the day and I was really hot and in the middle of this arena,” Katy tells us. “There weren’t even any guys in the audience. Basically you can imagine the sound of screaming when the boyband before me went on. It was intense.” Strange to say, Katy seems unburdened when chatting about her forthcoming second album. Whilst her early singles ‘Katy On A Mission’ and ‘Easy Please Me’ were personal tales of disenchanted club-going and sub-bass booms, her as-yet-untitled follow-up might well represent her realisation of adulthood. It’s a more mature album, primarily about love: falling for ‘the one’, being in love and jumping hurdles. Take lead single ‘What Love Is Made Of ’, which is apparently about cosying up in the after-hours, inspired by the “euphoric and warm” beat itself, a creation of long-time collaborator and Rinse FM founder Geeneus, someone she describes as 6

her ‘missing hand’. “It made me feel very cosy and I just wanted to explain that and get that feeling across. The cosiest I’ve ever felt is when I’m lying in bed with someone that I love and just feeling like the world doesn’t matter. There’s no work to go to, there’s nothing to worry about. That person who loves you for who you are and you’re looking into their eyes and they’re looking at you. For me, that is pure happiness.” Stop retching at the back: Katy’s serious. “That sounded really cheesy, but that’s what I wanted to convey. The song was me thinking ‘Why do I feel like that? What are the ingredients of having feelings for one person? What is their Je Ne Sais Quoi?’ I think I just watched a TED talk and felt really scientific about it.” If the subject-matter sounds sober, then the promo video tells a completely different story, as we observe a group of bodypopping shady types (namely the Essex Drifters) re-enacting Need For Speed-esque drifts while Katy looks on in restrained contemplation. It’s already a YouTube hit. So, what about other future singles? She’s unsure at the moment, but one of her favourite tracks is headover-heels love song ‘Tumbling Down’, which makes pioneering metaphorical use of a wall. “It’s about your wall tumbling down,” Katy makes clear, “like how you’re falling down to someone’s feet.” Of course, this isn’t the first we’ve heard from the singer since ‘On A Mission’. The two year gap between releases was bridged by the ‘Danger

EP’ last December, a free download of collaborations with the likes of Diplo, Wiley and Iggy Azalea. Its centrepiece was her duet with Jessie Ware, an ode to late R&B singer Aaliyah. “I really wanted to get Jessie Ware on a tune. I thought it would be a good song for her, because it’s written from a kind of female perspective, and she absolutely killed it. I felt an amazing excitement that she was on my tune.”

“ I

d i d n ’ t t h i n k t o o m u c h . ”

Katy obviously has a knack for working with others. Her very introduction to success came via a feature on Magnetic Man’s ‘Perfect Stranger’ and her debut album was littered with collaborative efforts: Zinc, Benga and Geeneus on production, old-hand Ms Dynamite contributing vocals. This time, she’s roped in a host of world-class knob-twiddlers including Skream, Fraser T Smith, Jacques Greene, even Jamaican reggae maestro Stephen McGregor. It’s a diverse mix of talents and one sure to bear fascinating results. But who would her ultimate partner-incrime would be? “Pharrell, I think. I know it’s quite an obvious one but I’ve loved everything he’s ever done.” Katy B’s new album will be released later this year via Rinse / Columbia.

NEWS in the st u d i o : k at y B Words: Huw Oliver


in the studio health

in the st u d i o : HEA l TH w o r d s : j a m i e m i lt o n


lame it on the t-shirts. HEALTH’s ‘Get Color’ dates back to 2009, but the LA group’s last record has taken on a reputation of its own standing, a momentum that few late-00s albums tended to stir up. It might be down to the fashion store, where for years, fans of the group have worn mottos from the record like ‘YOU WILL LOVE EACH OTHER’ emblazoned on their front. Or, more likely, it’s down the fact that nobody, to this day, has made music that sounds anything like it. To buckle the formula is tempting, but when selfprofessed insomniac Jake Duzsik talks about the band’s eventual follow-up at 1am Pacific Time, he’s careful


not to dissociate HEALTH with all things abrasive and cutting. “Accessible...Less cerebral, potentially,” he hesitates, scurrying for one finite phrase to describe an album being touted in some circles as more melodic than the piercing, squirming noise on the last record. “If we tried to replicate [‘Get Color’] I don’t think we’d necessarily do as good a job,” he says. “It’s definitely less atonal than our earlier work. I’m very proud of our first records but I don’t want to re-do them.” Cut to a low-key London show one month later and everything is atonal. All remains ungodly and severe. As relative staples of their set ‘USA Girls’ and ‘Die Slow’ writhe amongst the crowd, so too do the new tracks.

Doubtless, there’s something else there. God help us if it’s maturity - Jake happens to squirm at the phrase “veterans” - more, the songs sound tailor-made for something bigger. Crystal Castles’ Alice Glass stands at the front in this basement venue, watching on. You wonder if she too is imagining these tracks soundtracking misty, strobe-filled tents such as the ones her band’s become so established with playing. Before they could even consider following-up ‘Get Color’, HEALTH had one mighty distraction. They brought it on themselves. Tasked with soundtracking a ‘Max Payne’ videogame, one quick job became a big chunk of each member’s daily life. “At passing glance we thought the work was going to take 3 or 4 months. It ended up being 15 months.” Initially Duzsik and co. were asked to provide one piece, soundtrack one scene. In the end they got asked to provide the entire score. “It was a situation where you know you have a certain task that you have to accomplish, so you end up taking on a new task in order to put off the other one. This happened to be a much larger task.” In between 2009 and 2013 EDM became ‘a thing’, dubstep went from underground movement to chart staple; everything changed, essentially. Fortunately for HEALTH, noise bands remained separate entities, not necessarily in vogue, more odd creatures casual chancers are unlikely to approach. That might explain ‘Get Color’’s staying power. “I find that certain things might date faster, or people will move on when they’re part of a specific scene... [‘Get Color’] didn’t feel like it was part of a movement - our music might take longer to gestate.” When Jake states: “We didn’t really think about making that record nearly as much as we thought about making this one,” you can tell he’s not fibbing. Hence his avoidance of using concrete phrases, genres, to describe this follow-up. Live, takes from the new record sounded beast-like. But be it a more melodic turn, a complete shunning of everything HEALTH do best, you’ve every reason to expect something standalone, minus an expiry date. Without so much as placing it in the sleeves of their releases, that’s been the group’s ethos: to push and push and push convention ‘til it buckles. 10 years in the game, there’s little stopping them from continuing down this track on album number three. HEALTH’s new album will be released later this year.

S t i ll T o C o me As if the first half of this year wasn’t enough to whet our musical appetites, the second half is looking just as bright. Here’s a taste of what’s coming up.

F RAN Z F ER D INAN D It’s been well over a year since they headlined 2012’s Field Day, and even back then, we were resolutely sure that Franz Ferdinand had an album ready to unleash at any moment. Keeping us waiting that little bit longer, the Scottish four-piece have finally rewarded our patience by letting us in on the details surrounding their followup to 2009’s ‘Tonight’. Their new ten-track record ‘Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action’ is due for release through Domino Records on 26th August.

HAIM Alright, so we’re not entirely sure of when they’re set to release their debut, but Haim are currently hard at work perfecting their first offering. The last remaining members of our Class Of 2013 to unveil plans for the release of

their debut, they have, however, hinted that it may be right around the corner. The Sound Of 2013 winners are also getting ready to open for Rihanna this month, but let’s keep our fingers crossed that the sisters will give up their full-length soon.

A R C TI C M ON K E Y S It’s been two years since ‘Suck It And See’ landed in our laps, and now we’re getting antsy for a new record from those Arctic Monkeys. Now normally spending most of their days on the other side of the Atlantic, the Sheffield quartet have, however, been in the studio in previous months (according to their mums, at least). Having offered us their Record Store Day offering ‘R U Mine?’ early last year, they’ve now revealed a brand new single titled ‘Do You Wanna Know?’ Well, if it’s the release date they’re offering up, yes, yes we do. 9







b r i e f Summer Camp will follow up their

2011 debut ‘Welcome To Condale’ this autumn. The duo are set to release their self-titled album on 9th September through Moshi Moshi. M.I.A. has previewed her forthcoming

album with a brand new cut in the form of ‘Bring The Noize’. Taken from her fourth album ‘Matangi’, you can check out Maya’s new song now on

Jay-Z surprised us all by announcing the release of his brand new album ‘Magna Carta Holy Grail’, due on 4th July. Released in conjunction with Samsung Galaxy, users can also gain behindthe-scenes-access to the album. Technology, eh?

CHVRCHES Share Their Beliefs DIY is rather fond of CHVRCHES. In fact, ever since we first heard their brand of intricate sugary electro-pop last year, we’ve been hooked. So, you can no doubt imagine our glee when the Scottish trio broke silence on their forthcoming debut album. Having previously teased us with singles such as ‘The Mother We Share’ and ‘Recover’, the band have now confirmed that their first record, titled ‘The Bones Of What You Believe’, will be released on 23rd September in the UK via Goodbye

/ Virgin. The band’s Martin Doherty recently gave us a few clues as to what to expect: “It’s a bit more diverse, there’s two songs that I sing lead vocals on. It’s more of the same in terms that it’s big aggressive pop in places, not your standard X-Factor style pop. There’s a few cinematic moments on there and we explore a more 80s Moroder sound to an extent as well which is something I’m definitely a fan of.” Let’s begin the countdown!

Yeah Yeah Yeahs will be making

an intimate appearance ahead of their slot at this year’s Latitude festival, when they perform at London’s Islington Academy. The trio are all set to play the warm up show the day after their T in The Park slot on 15th July.

Thirty Seconds To Mars have

confirmed plans for a nine-date UK and Ireland tour, set to take place this winter. The trio will be showcasing their new album ‘Love, Lust, Faith + Dreams’ in arenas across the country, with support coming from You Me At Six. Waxahatchee has confirmed she’ll return to the UK for a one-off headline show later this year. Katie Crutchfield will be bringing her new album ‘Cerulean Salt’ to London’s Scala on 22nd October.


MGMT Set For UK Live Return It’s been a bit of a while since we were last graced with the presence of MGMT, but they’re back! And they’re bringing their live show with them. Having released their sophomore effort ‘Congratulations’ over three years ago in 2010, the duo - Andrew VanWyngarden and Ben Goldwasser – will release their long-awaited third album later this

year, but in the meantime, have planned a tour of the UK and Europe this autumn. OCTOBER


12 Glasgow, ABC1 13 Wolverhampton, Civic 14 Manchester, Apollo 16 London, Forum



Midnight Juggernauts - UV - Pub 68x99

2013/06/19 - 15:25


news bosnian rainbows

Six Degrees Of S e pa r at i o n B os n i a n R a i n bo w s a r e n ’ t j us t t h e br a n d n e w p ro j e c t of T h e M a rs Vo l t a ’ s O m a r R odr i gu e z - Lo p e z ; i t ’ s a mu c h mor e c o l l e c t i v e a ff a i r . Wo r d s : S ar ah Jam i es o n


P h o t o s : E m m a Swa n n


f there’s one thing evident from meeting Bosnian Rainbows, it’s that this project is very much a group effort. Regardless of the musical legacy that Omar Rodriguez-Lopez has achieved for himself with The Mars Volta, he’s not taking the limelight this time around. “It’s a band of four band leaders. It’s completely collaborative and a complete collective,” he states, sat amidst his band members in a hotel suite. “Everybody here has their own projects, and nobody has any reason to be here besides wanting to be here.”

in just the creation of music, it seems. The band firmly believe that art imitates life, and that it’s of great importance to spend as much time together as possible. That’s why they’re living together, on the road and off. “Music is only a by-product of whatever’s happening with the people,” offers Omar. “When people are miserable, they make miserable sounding music. When people feel fresh and alive, their music sounds like that. So, yeah, it all starts with the experience that you’re having as a human

While Rodriguez-Lopez may be the member to initially catch your eye, look at the band’s line-up for a little longer and you’ll definitely recognise some faces. In fact, Bosnian Rainbows bears its own very unique edition of the six degrees of separation. Drummer Deantoni Parks was a long-standing “We d on’t try member of both The Mars Volta and Omar Rodriguez-Lopez to do any thing. Group, simultaneously working We’re just with John Cale. Nicci Kasper d o i n g i t. ” previously played alongside Parks In Dark Angels, who RodriguezLopez was eager to introduce to Teri Gender Bender of The Butcherettes, whose album Omar had previously produced. being. Nobody can be just a musician, or just an artist With such an intertwined history, it’s only logical to just a rock star, or whatever. wonder why now was the right time to begin such a Whatever it is, you have to be a human being first. collaborative affair. When closing the door on his career’s most creatively consuming bands last year, Rodriguez“I think one of the things Lopez admitted to wanting to take a break from music that seems intangible and altogether. What was it that persuaded him otherwise? “It is hard to make people was just good timing,” offers Teri, before Omar confirms, understand is that we don’t “Life worked it out for us.” “Life is smart,” Teri nods, try to do anything. We’re smiling much more innocently than her stage presence just doing it. This is our would allow you to believe. expressive outlet so, again, the music is a by-product Their collective mentality is mirrored much further than of who we are as people.

We’ll live together, and cook together and we’ll be hanging out, watching movies and we’ll do that for a good three weeks straight. Just laughing and doing something, then all of a sudden, we’ll find our way to the living room, which is where the equipment is. It’s not like we planned to make our way there, but we’ve been living together doing all this stuff and then we find ourselves in the same room at the same time. Then, we’ll play for an hour and a half and six songs come out. It’s not like we’re having to think in a special way, we just have to be ourselves.” “It’s trying to find the most sincere expression that we can possibly make,” adds Kasper, “and that comes less from scrutinising and pre-planning. It’s more of a natural thing. It’s been like that since the beginning

with this group, so we just kinda go with it and it works.” “I don’t see it as a project, I see it as a family.” Teri happily dispels all doubts. “I thank god every day that I have two families: my mom, and these guys. How much cooler is that?” Bosnian Rainbows’ selftitled debut album is out now via Republic Of Music.


news sigur r贸s

Back To Basics Sigur R贸s A re M i x i n g Things Up Wo r d s : S ar ah Jam i es o n








of Sigur Rós, their newest

about Sigur Rós. Their vast and ethereal

filled. To do so, the trio

a wholly different side

from cult movies to prime time television,

experiment, and explore

decade. Whether it was in the bleak climatic moments

“Maybe the difference is

Sky, or ‘Ágætis Byrjun’s ‘Starálfur’ in the Wes Anderson

player quit,” Jónsi suggests,

our homes and minds. More directly, their albums have


here’s something wonderfully familiar

needed to be creatively

soundscapes have soundtracked everything

felt it was time to further

filtering into our lives for well over a

a new, darker territory.

of ‘()’s ‘Njósnavélin’ in Tom Cruise’s blockbuster Vanilla

just because our keyboard

cult classic The Life Aquatic; their music has infiltrated

“and we knew we had to something


full-length to







loudness is tremendous, some

menacing and there’s an urgency pumping through

‘Kveikur’s veins that, at times, feels terrifying, yet

comforting. It’s almost as

come to represent so much

though after the lulling,

and ‘spacious’, ‘haunting’ and


musically. Words like ‘glacial’

bewitching nature of their

‘expansive’ have never sounded

finally been plunged into

so warm and inviting.

For a band who are gearing

up to celebrate their twentieth anniversary next year, this is no mean feat. Now, they’re daring to fight against all previous

expectations and change their

“ W e

k n ew

h ad

t o

we d o

s o me t h i n g d i f f e r e n t , d o s o me t h i n g d r a s t i c . ”



cold water and their hearts are pummelling. Just like

the translation of the title

itself – a wick, or kindling

- they’re igniting again. “This is a fresh start for the

three of us, so, we thought

that it suited the album

audience’s perspective. “It’s a

quite well. It’s the idea of

of us that people will be used

something coming to life.”

something exciting, and

little bit different to the side to seeing,” offers the band’s

Twenty years in, and still evolving.

frontman, Jón “Jónsi” Þór Birgisson. The bow-wielding,

do something drastic. We

are definitely more prominent now than on other albums.

maybe experimented a bit


used to.”

things; a lot more with the

XL Recordings. Read the

An important factor in the somewhat new direction of


Sveinsson. Having left, according to the band in their

The results are astonishing.

life in the band and it was time to do something different,”

undeniably familiar ring

angelic voice himself confirms, “The drums and the bass

went back to basics. We

Yeah, it’s a little bit different to the band that people are

more, and tried different

the band lay in the departure of keyboardist Kjaratan

recent Reddit AMA session, because he had “spent half his

computer, and stuff like

Whilst still bearing that




‘Kveikur’ is out now via full interview in the 10th

June issue of DIY Weekly, available now via Apple Newsstand.


news queens of the stone age


ike Clockwork’ may have only been out for a month, but it’s already becoming an album of legend. Whether that’s down to its creators, Queens Of The Stone Age, its contributors or simply the circumstances in which it was born, it’s a record that marks a change in the tide for all involved. The band’s frontman, Josh Homme is arguably one of the most recognisable and prolific figures in modern music. Standing firm at a grand 6ft 4, he is regarded as one of the most solid and dependable artists of our current era. Nevertheless, it seems that ‘...Like Clockwork’ also tells of the struggles which he personally faced, ahead of its inception.

Entering the studio to begin work on an album that barely even had roots, they were there to weather the storm, whatever it was set to throw at them. “There were a couple of songs there that seemed like they had the beginnings of something,” Josh explains. “But, there was no more reason to wait, so it was like, let’s just bet everything on something and win or lose. My old

not gonna quit on it until it’s represented accurately. “You’re kind of in this situation where there is no stopping, there is no giving up. We’re here until it’s right. It’s a foregone conclusion and you know that’s what’s going on. It’s just a matter of hanging in there, but you can sense when it’s incorrect. Nothing else matters. There’s no outside anything, which makes it more intense and it means

Investing Time Jos h Homm e ’ s n e w a l b u m h a s f i n a l l y l a n d e d . Wo r d s : S a r a h J a m i e s o n , p h o t o : S a r a h l o u i s e b e n n e t t

Following a creative period of time away from his primary project throughout 2008 and 2009, Homme underwent knee surgery and briefly, he admitted at the time, died on the operating table. Shaken and confined to bed rest for months afterwards, the musician seemed to succumb to his demons, fading into – what he has called – “the fog”. “I was very burnt out personally, and I was trying to rebound from…” he begins, trailing off. “I’ve always been pretty hard on myself and I was just trying to come out of it all a little bit. It took me a second, but everyone was pretty gung-ho to make a record.” He pauses once again, before making his rather poetic conclusion. “Turns out waiting around for something to change is the wrong way to change. So, we decided to start.” So goes the mentality of Queens Of The Stone Age. 16

man was always like, ‘If you’re always worried about your problems, maybe you should go focus on someone else’s for a while.’ So, work is always good because you can pay attention to something else.” And just like that, they had committed to making their album with no real idea of how long it could take. “It’s not that it wasn’t working, but you know that you have the beginning of something good and you know you’re

nobody from the outside could do anything to help. At all. “I guess it’s inevitable if you’ve been around for a while to have to face stuff like that. I mean, rock’n’roll is awesome, but if you really want to give yourself over to it, sometimes it’s complicated.” Queens Of The Stone Age’s new album ‘...Like Clockwork’ is out now via Matador Records.

“ I’ve

a lway s

been pretty hard on m ys e l f.

” 17

festivals 2013

1 2 t h - 1 4 t h JU LY


his month sees T in the Park celebrate its 20th year with headline sets from the Killers, Mumford & Sons and Rihanna. And if those stadiumbusting behemoths weren’t enough, the three-day event, taking place across the weekend of 12th - 14th July at Balado near Kinross, will also host guaranteed-to-be-awesome performances from Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Kraftwerk and My Bloody Valentine. It’s not just established artists or ‘golden oldies’ either, as DIY Class Of 2013 alumni are out in force. There’s local (well, ish) electronic kids CHVRCHES, Californian sisters HAIM, rowdy south London riot-starters Palma Violets, Los Angeles punks FIDLAR, B-town boys Peace and AlunaGeorge on the lineup that’s also chock-full of DIY favourites. Alt-J, British Sea Power, Disclosure, Deap Vally... the list isn’t quite literally endless, but it’s not far off. Also expect to see lots of rain, yellow T-branded rain ponchos, Irn-Bru.


1 8 t h - 2 1 s t j u ly


aking the festival pace down a little is east of England jolly Latitude, which combines a pleasing-to-the-ears musical line-up with a plethora of comedians and other talky folk. Over the weekend of 18th - 21st July, Suffolk’s Henham Park will host headliners Bloc Party, Kraftwerk and Foals, alongside other notable noises from Cat Power, Beach House and Local Natives. DIY Class Of 2013 is represented with Swim Deep and CHVRCHES, while there’s Neu favourites Drenge and Jagwar Ma, and Canadian noiseniks Japandroids peddling their musical wares. There’ll be laughs (hopefully) from the likes of Mark Watson, Marcus Brigstocke, Tim Key and Dylan Moran, plus Adam Buxton’s BUG makes an appearance on the Comedy stage. There’ll also be words from Thurston Moore, Germaine Greer and Hadley Freeman among lots of others.

Benicassim 1 8 t h - 2 1 s t j u ly


f you’re looking for sun and sea in addition to the sounds of a festival, then a field somewhere in the British countryside probably isn’t it. So this is where Benicassim steps in, surrounded by various beaches, and the bands starting later on, allowing for plenty of seaside (or bar-side) time beforehand. This year’s headliners feature Queens of the Stone Age, Arctic Monkeys and The Killers, with Beady Eye and Primal Scream along for the ride, too. There’s also Beach House (quite appropriately), Everything Everything, Johnny Marr, AlunaGeorge, Palma Violets and loads more over the four-day Spanish event. Oh, and you can camp for eight days if you want. Where’s our passports?


1 2 t h - 1 4 t h JU LY

If muddy fields – or fields at all – aren’t your thing, then Wireless’ move this year to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in east London might be. With Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z bringing their Legends of the Summer tour on Sunday (and each headlining the Friday and Saturday respectively), it’s a distinctly R&B-flavoured line-up for the event, which takes over Stratford between 12th and 14th July. Jessie Ware, Katy B, Frank Ocean and Kendrick Lamar are among the acts set to play over the three days, with Neu favourites Chlöe Howl, Sinead Harnett and Roses Gabor heading up the new music end of the deal. Oh, and will be there.

1 9 t h - 2 0 t h JU LY Truck will once again take over the sleepy Oxfordshire countryside this July - in association with DIY - with the two-day event’s main feature a rare 2013 live outing for The Horrors (we’re hoping for a sneak peek of new material, of course). If that’s not enough, then there are sets from The Joy Formidable, Frankie & the Heartstrings, TOY, Rolo Tomassi, Bo Ningen, Spiritualized, Ash, and Tall Ships among the massive line-up.


1 2 t h - 1 4 t h JU LY

12 October, 2pm - 6am

Moderat Pantha Du Prince Jon Hopkins No Age Jazzy Jeff Dopplereffekt

King Midas Sound 40+ More acts

The Invisible

to be anounced

Tall Ships

across 10 stages

Letherette Seams Mazes DjRUM Fear of Men Paws Typesun

Various Venues, Bristol

Motor City Drum Ensemble

Artifact Futureboogie DJs Pardon My French My Panda Shall Fly Girl Band Moko

ÂŁ30 Tickets still available at










NEu new music. new bands.

“ M a i n s t r eam g u i t a r o r p o p m u s i c i s n ’ t r eally t h e place f o r b i g i dea s . ”

N at h a n S ta n d l e e Manchester’s most unafraid band. Photos:

speaks to o p i n i o n at e d, Emma S wa n n .

W h o M a k e s Yo u r M o n e y ? 22


aving formed in Manchester roughly two years ago over a mutual love of music, books, and shared ideologies, MONEY wasted no time in putting their own stamp on the city’s music scene. In choosing off-the-wall venues such as Salford’s Sacred Trinity Church to host their live shows, and The Bunker - a building that sits in the shadow of Strangeways prison - as their creative hub, the band made their intentions immediately clear; nothing about MONEY would be ordinary. These bizarre, unique methods helped rapidly establish a devout fanbase and an almost mythical reputation. The casual observer could be forgiven for mistaking them for some sort of cult. A single release on Sways Records last year offered another boost to their ever-growing profile. Now, after recently signing to Bella Union, and on the eve of releasing debut album ‘The Shadow Of Heaven’, MONEY find themselves approaching the pinnacle of a swift and spectacular rise. And the key to it has, in reality, been something very simple: honesty. A quality frontman Jamie Lee possesses in abundance.

are unwilling to wander into such dangerous territory. “Putting such lofty ideas in a good piece of writing, which can have perfect clarity, is absolutely fine. But trying to cram them into a three minute pop song, which can be interpreted in so many different ways, is incredibly difficult.” Nevertheless, with MONEY, no topic is taboo. They’re willing to embrace that constant struggle in order to “create the world afresh on their own terms”, a quote that probably best encapsulates the band’s ethos. It’s all part of their inherent oath to honesty; their desire to help the listener become comfortable with feelings in themselves that maybe they were previously too afraid to broach. “All the bands I love are very open and confessional. It’s a very powerful feeling when someone admits something outrageous, or dangerous, or ugly, and you think ‘God, I wasn’t even willing to admit that to myself.’ Admitting those things to the public gives people the power to understand themselves and others in a way they may have never thought possible.”

“Mainstream guitar or pop music isn’t really the place for big ideas. Pop musicians in general don’t have the intellectual authority to be able to pass judgment on the kinds of ideas we’re singing about, like man’s relation with God, or the technological looking glass in which we see the universe or the natural world.”

But this form of open-ness hasn’t always come so easily, and Lee is adamant about the role Manchester has played in forming MONEY’s current belief system. “Manchester is a completely surreal, poetic place. Magical actually. I think the people there are so genuine, and unafraid to speak their minds, and it’s got so many different factions, races, and cultures. I think it’s just a very genuine place that doesn’t try and hide itself.”

Lee is incredibly up-front about the lack of truly open musicians in pop music’s current climate. Even so, he understands why so many

Despite their undoubted love for Manchester, MONEY chose to record upcoming debut album ‘The Shadow Of Heaven’ in the altogether

different surroundings of London, a decision that was completely necessary, according to Lee. “We wanted to leave the distractions of Manchester behind. We were in London to do a job, which seems appropriate, considering nobody in Manchester has a job. If we’d stayed there, we probably would have just spent all day in the pub.” The temporary decamp to London also offered Lee an opportunity to let his vivid imagination come up with a fantastical but brilliant concept of what this short pilgrimage represented, which provided a lot of the inspiration for their prominent lyrical themes of self-discovery, isolation, and finding human truths in the face of hopelessness. “I like to fantasise a lot and imagine Manchester in kind of biblical proportions as this kind of underworld. In classic literature, you have characters who, when they die, have to go down to this underworld where they discover some sort of grand human truth. So, if Manchester is this genuine, honest, violent and confrontational place, I like to see it in those terms. And the people there, like the guys who sit on bar stools all day at the pubs, aren’t just hopeless, but they represent hopelessness. So it’s like a helldescent. We’ve gone down into the underworld, and we’ve returned to the surface with our vision of it.” You’re probably trying to decide whether such statements are utterly insane or beautifully poetic. Either way, you can’t deny that their approach is damn-well interesting. Their music will likely split opinion in a similar manner, but by God, it’s bloody worth giving it a chance. 23

NEU recommended






Chichester is a town uncompromising and habitual; quintessentially British. It certainly isn’t the place you’d expect a band like Traams to abide. Freshly inked to FatCat Records, ‘Mexico’ is a standalone free download track, the sound of a band that know exactly what they’re aiming for and who wear their influences on their sleeve: the yelp of a young Andrew Falkous here paired with the wonkiness established by bands like Abe Vigoda and Women. (Tom Walters)




Information on Chess Club Records’ JUNGLE is a little thin on the ground. Essentially the strength of the connection depends on how much personality is poured into the recordings, and that’s precisely where their appeal is rooted. There’s delightfully psychy guitar at play on ‘Platoon’, but it’s the warm, searching male vocal which stamps essential human vitality all over it. There’s more subtle tweaks on the AA-side’s other track, ‘Drops’. Trust us, JUNGLE will be massive. (Dan Carson)




Julia Brown recently rose from the ashes of Maryland band Teen Suicide. Although it’s early days, they’ve already released their debut album ‘to be close to you’. It is a lo-fi release in the truest sense, the songs recorded straight onto tape, going handin-hand with the sleight, intimate songs that radiate warmth with every bittersweet touch. Everything Julia Brown capture conveys charm; they’re an extremely loveable group. (Sam Cornforth)

NEu Recommended



Two Post Louis songs unveiled to date reveal a project fascinated in the beauty of a brief glimpse. Robbie Stern, ex-Cajun Dance Party, has various calling points. The sedated 90s rock pulse of ‘This Could Be A Bridge’ could be compared to fellow CDP alumni Yuck, but for the most part Stern and Stephanie revel in subtleties. A collapsing, cinematic mid-section in ‘Oldsmobile’ sums them up best. Vocal loops; loose, barely-there percussion parts; and a sleepy, majestic build. (Jamie Milton) 24



You’ll be relieved to know that FTSE doesn’t focus his productions around stock-rates or investment banking lingo. Instead he roots his works around basic human emotions. The real game-changer occurred when a couple of months post-uploading track after track of instrumental experimentalism, FTSE started singing. Similar to when Disclosure revealed themselves to be talented at basically everything, FTSE’s anything but a one-trick pony. Invest your funds in this guy. (Jamie Milton)





Christopher Laufman, aka Wise Blood, is a rare, authentic pop anomaly whose music is immediately striking for all the right reasons: it intrigues the senses with its hip-hop waver and wobble; it shines with a strong, hazy summertime vibe that’s perfect for sipping cider in the sunshine and most importantly, there’s mesmerising melodies underneath all the oddities. Debut album ‘id’ will be unleashed this August. (Tom Walters)

NEu iYes

s k i n ny d r e am


ot on the heels of January’s ‘Hello 2013’ showcases, this past June Neu teamed up with The Old Blue Last in London to put on four nights of exciting new bands. Last time round now-Neu staples Wolf Alice, Superfood and MT played some of their first ever shows, and a similar sense of anticipation greeted the likes of Gaps and Skinny Dream when they took to the stage for the aptly sweltering ‘How June Is Now’ showcases. Yes, that’s what we called it. How June Is Now. On 8th June a handful of dreamy, guitar-rooted acts went to-and-fro. Seattle’s Seapony were the more established

g ap s

act on the bill, but Southend newcomers Skinny Dream took scuzz to new, unrelenting heights, while the charming Issy Wood told tales of “taking downers on Upper East Side” in her ode to New York. The second showcase on 15th June was entirely the opposite, aesthetic-wise. Guitars were shunned to one side for Crvvcks and the almighty Kirk Spencer, while IYES and Gaps - both Brighton acts - took the trip up to the capital to highlight a careful balance between impassioned acoustics and those all-important electronics. Small steps they might’ve been, but each act across the two nights gave vivid indications of exactly where they’re heading. 25

NEU laura welsh



photo: emma swann

A l l I n h i b i t i o n s U n r av e l l i n g :

Laura Welsh Wo r d s : J a m i e M i l t o n


o a vast majority, Laura Welsh’s emergence at the very beginning of 2013 looked like a bolt out of the blue. ‘Unravel’ announced itself as a gorgeous, soulful debut single, recorded with producer du jour Dev Hynes, of all people. Yet in many senses it’d been a long time coming. A good couple of years before speaking to Laura in a cosy London cafe, she put a halt to playing gigs under the names Laura & The Tears and Hey Laura. She shunned the spotlight, opinions, everything. A songwriter with experience, with momentum to boot, she took a risk. “That year was important, to step away from everything,” she says. Her twelve months out consisted of isolationism, looking after number one. “I was writing songs for my 26

taste. It was more about feel. I didn’t think too much.” She then sought out producers, the right people who could fledge out these tracks into something resembling an album. “With the producers, it’s about who you get on with, who you click with,” she says. Hynes and Robin Hannibal of Rhye hooked up with Welsh in LA, where tons of ideas some of which Laura self-professes to have hurriedly recorded on her phone, on the tube - came into being. These songs aren’t from one place, an overwhelming sorry state, despite the time alone. Love crops up, but as do other vital ideas. A forthcoming debut album “has different shades and textures” to it, where odd, underlying feelings crop up almost sub-consciously. “I find that it’s difficult to control your emotions

- it’s easier to express these things in songs rather than talking about it.” In ‘Unravel’, these emotions, aptly, come undone. Fear, regret, what have you. Laura has a knack for expressing everything in finite, cutting detail. The same goes for her perspective on starting afresh. “There are always lots of opinions in music. It’s really important to trust your own instinct,” she declares, well aware that things have turned a page. Confidence isn’t so much emerging as spilling out from all sides. Twelve months is nothing in the grand scheme of things. But Welsh is now at the stage where taking a brief hiatus today would, thankfully, be frankly ridiculous. Laura Welsh’s new EP ‘Cold Front’ will be released on 14th July via Polydor.



S h o w U s Y o u r Paw w s L u c y T a y l o r o n go i n g f r o m p l a y i n g t h e f l u t e f o r M G MT , t o b e i n g a f u l l y - f l e dg e d p o p s t a r . Wo r d s : J a m i e M i l t o n


ucy Taylor isn’t completely new to the game. For years she’s been involved in projects - some more prominent than others - without ever really being at the forefront. Sitting in a sunny East London park, she glows at the prospect of being the centre of attention, the very person audiences turn up to see. But there are, y’know, odd compromises that every willing pop star has to make. “The songs are all about stuff that I’ve had going on in my life,” she explains. Which is fine, nothing unusual there. “But it’s like I’m telling my parents about my life.” You can imagine the Taylor family - while being ridiculously proud of

their daughter, obviously - peering in at songs like ‘Slow Love’, lyrical snippets such as “if you want it you can steal my love.” But it’s refreshing to hear someone project honest storytelling within a pop track, even if it does buckle formula in the process. ‘Slow Love’ is about a relationship lasting, about two people embracing the whirlwind first months of their time together. For a while Lucy Taylor was on the brink of being the singer who wrote hooks. After featuring in Kele’s ‘What Did I Do’, she was prompted with countless toplines for dance tracks. “With writing hooks I can’t get my teeth into it,” she explains. “I have a lot of musical experience that I wanna use. I wanted to start

something new that I had complete control over.” The backstory doesn’t stop there. She’s even played the flute for MGMT on ‘Electric Feel’, touring with the band when ‘Oracular Spectacular’ was the standout album of summer 2008. “That’s when I got the bug,” she astutely declares. With her debut single she doesn’t so much root towards huge crowds as catapult herself right into the very centre of a ready-made arena. Ambition at the forefront, she’s making a bold move, never looking back. And it all comes down to the autonomy, the ability to project something personal and entirely of her own making. “Pawws was my way of starting something where I get the final say.” 27

N o t c o n t e n t w i t h g i v i n g yo u a f r e e m ag a z i n e , w e ’ v e p u t t o g e t h e r a f r e e m i x ta p e f ull o f o u r favo u r i t e n e w b a n d s ; d ow n l oad f ro m /mixtape

neu mixtape

The Orwells Other Voices

Jay Arner Don’t Remind Me

This basement recording of a song eventually produced by Dave Sitek is proof of Chicago’s blossoming scene of freaky-types who play catchy songs with their guitars. Mario Cuomo is a loon-like frontman.

Seemingly waking up in a stir from his bed in Vancouver, Mint Records signing Jay Arner details endless regret in his ‘Don’t Remind Me’ track.

Two Jackals Cartagena

When they first emerged, all Bowie-channelling, Night Engine were basically pleading with a cynical audience to do as this song suggests, give ‘em a chance. We’ve come round. These guys are referential, but only in the sense that adored classics are finding a new lease of life.

Every element of Two Jackals’ recent ‘Cartagena’ single settles into its skin, comprised of soft, melting tones and eerie guitar lines. It’s pure darkness, but it’s executed with such grace you barely notice.

Kodak To Graph Rakshasa (Feat. Monsoonsiren)

There are goodness knows how many producers out there wielding tactile atmospherics from an endless pool of samples, but you’re unlikely to come across a more assured and exciting craftsman than Michael Maleki.

Ryan Hemsworth Perfectly

Night Engine Give Me A Chance

Deafkid Time

Former backing-band of Ghostpoet, Christopher Lockington and Florian Sauvaire have honed their craft, this Deafkid project being one of the of the UK’s most promising and endlessly creative in a long time.

Beta Blocker And The Body Clock Ylang Ylang

Production prodigy Ryan Hemsworth’s latest EP is titled ‘Stay Awake’, and you can almost picture him putting the final, excitable touches to lead track ‘Perfectly’, way past everyone’s bedtime. The guy’s unstoppable.

Fuzz-fused specialists Beta Blocker And The Body Clock know their way around the art of driving tight melodies through hard-edged production.

Pure Bathing Culture Pendulum

The ringing piano chords, echo-chamber aesthetic of NO CEREMONY have become something of a familiarity, but the squirming, robotic vocals that grace a lead track from the group’s debut album remain something to behold.

Sarah Versprille and Daniel Hindman’s debut ‘Moon Tides’ full-length is the sound of music reaching its full cinematic potential.




sounds from my cit y

NEU n e w s

brighton In S o un d s F rom My Ci t y, N eu asks s ome of mu s ic’ s cr eat ive tal ents to tell u s all ab o u t t h e mo st exci t i ng ban d s on t h ei r d o orst ep. Merchandise have released a new video for ‘Totale Nite’, the title track of their recent critically acclaimed EP. Watch it now on thisisfakediy.

Lancaster production duo Bondax are set to tour the UK this autumn, announcing a series of dates taking place between September and October 2013. Temples will tour this autumn,

Sam Orton works at FatCat Records, a Brighton-based label responsible for standout releases from the likes of Breton, Mazes and The Twilight Sad. Sam’s given us three recommendations on the most exciting acts emerging from the seaside.

Regal Safari

Regal Safari make lush and intoxicating electronic music. Their gigs have a strong visual element and are very much “live” (analogue equipment, rather than a couple of blokes with MacBooks). They’re slightly mysterious but have put out a couple of new tracks recently, hopefully a sign of more to come.

Occult Hand

Occult Hand like to coordinate their costumes, but don’t let that put you off! They make spooky and atmospheric music with a filmic quality (think Lynchian). Live they use antiquated tape equipment, keyboard and eerie vocals. The repetitive tape loops feel a bit like being trapped in a film still.

Van Stonholdt

Van Stonholdt is the solo project of multi-instrumentalist Stephen Stonhold, who also plays live with Gross Magic. His intense recordings are full of guitars and cello, with a backdrop of driving drumbeats and echoes of Kurt Vile. The excellent ‘21st Century Problems’ EP was released on cassette last year by Where To Now.

kicking off on 3rd October at Guildford’s Boileroom, culminating six weeks later at London’s Electric Ballroom. London four-piece fuzz-pop triumphalists Wolf Alice have announced plans to headline Camden Dingwalls this October. The group’s biggest show to date, it takes place the night before Halloween (30th October). Aussie four-piece San Cisco have announced two shows prior to their dates at this year’s Reading & Leeds festivals: Southampton’s Joiners (19th August) and London’s Sebright Arms (20th). London producer FTSE’s shared his debut video, for the ‘Tidal Wave’ track featuring Saint Saviour. Watch it now on 29

cover deap vally


Raw Material Deap ro ck

Va l ly ‘n’

are roll

W o r d s : E m m a S wa n n ,

at tacki ng head


Photos: Mike Massaro



cover deap vally

his isn’t about gender. Except it is.

people are going to say.”

Women in bands are not ‘a thing’.

“It’s the assumption that’s the most frustrating,”

Lindsey Troy and Julie Edwards are not

continues Lindsey, “that because we’re dressed this way,

‘women in music’. Deap Vally is not a

we’re trying to appeal to male fantasy.”

‘girl band’. Women have proven again and again that we can shred (Exhibit A:

“There’s also a double-standard,” Julie interjects. “Some

Marnie Stern), or growl and roar our guts out like any

skinny little waif can wear tiny shorts and look like she’s

man can (B: Eva Spence). In any case, a band is about

just chilled and relaxed, and I wear tiny shorts and look

the noises coming through the speakers, not whether the

like I’m a hooker? That’s just the body I was given. Why

person making them has a penis or not.

don’t I have the right to wear tiny shorts?”

“The thing about Deap Vally,” drummer Julie, sat on

“We’re having fun,” Lindsey offers. “The whole idea

a sofa in a chilly west London studio, explains, “is

of rock ‘n’ roll is to have fun, and be over the top, and

inherently we’re feminists. We can’t help it, because we

be flamboyant. It’s like a heightened reality. We play

live in a woman’s world with a woman’s point of view.

hedonistic music, the whole vibe of Deap Vally is

There’s no man involved.” Yet Deap Vally are still forced

hedonism. It’s not buttoned-up music.”

to battle suspicion that there’s a man plotting their every move. “We haven’t had it a lot, [but] one time, in a review it said ‘I sincerely hope that these girls are doing it themselves, and that there isn’t some mastermind behind them’. It’s disgusting. Let’s get the fuck past that.” Guitarist Lindsey, unsurprisingly, pulls no punches either. “It comes down to the stereotype that goes along with women dressing skanky. People see women in short shorts and platforms and a lot of make up and the immediate assumption everyone wants to come to is that you’re just a dumb whore.” Today, Lindsey is sporting tiny velour hotpants with

“It’s raw, it’s not perfect. That’s not the point.”

tights and a leather jacket. Julie has trousers on. Both are displaying their midriff. In Deap Vally’s world, that’s a lot of clothing. But it’s not an invitation. And like everything else, it’s a deliberate statement. “We never thought it would be as controversial as it is,” admits Julie, “that seems really silly to us. But we’ve faced a lifetime of butts and thighs, and at some point you want to just, like, take it back.


n the stereotypical canon of rock music, woman is typically painted as prey, fantasy, damsel or victim. Deap Vally’s woman is not. To suggest they’re flipping things completely on their head would be an overstatement, but society

still seems so predisposed to the masculinity of rock ‘n’

“We want to be strong and we want to be fearless, and dressing that way is part of it. We’re not afraid of what 32

roll that it’s impossible to finish listening to ‘Sistrionix’ without sporting a massive grin. “You’ve got the hands


cover deap vally


to touch a thousand hips,” snarls

perfection. There’s expression.” “Yeah, but that was like, later years.

Lindsey on ‘Your Love’, a nod to the male gaze with a knowing wink.

Neither Lindsey or Julie grew up

Then I got way in to 90s rock,

Songs like ‘Woman Of Intention’

listening to rock ‘n’ roll, and while

grunge. I love heavy music, probably

and ‘Gonna Make My Own Money’;

there’s no rule dictating that records

because it’s the opposite of musical

the literal hands-off message of

can only be made in the style of those

theatre; it’s visceral and cathartic.”

‘Raw Material’; the stalker-ish

owned pre-puberty, the grandeur,

recollections of ‘Creeplife’.

excess and pure emotion of bluesrock is so ingrained in ‘Sistrionix’,

The album was recorded in the pair’s

it’s still a surprise. Because while

home town of Los Angeles. “I think

Lindsey was avoiding 90s R&B (“I

it was good,” Lindsey says, “for the

didn’t relate to it at all, it’s not the

first album especially, to record it at

world I came from... I had a Doors

home.” They worked with producer

album, then Hole and Nirvana,

Lars Stalfors, who, the pair state,

then ‘Californication’”) and fighting

“has a knack for making it sound

with school friends over Titanic

live.” It isn’t live, of course, but over

star Leonardo DiCaprio (“he wasn’t

its eleven tracks does maintain the

aware of it, but we were”), Julie was...

whirlwind of energy, the force and


ferocity that is Deap Vally. “I was a weird and sheltered nerd,”

“The whole idea of rock ‘n’ roll is to have fun, and be over the top.”

“We’d track everything in the room

she says, in a manner as close to

at once,” Julie explains, “because

sheepish as Deap Vally get. “I

we wanted to have some bleed and

listened to classical music and

some imperfections. It’s funny to try

musical theatre. I wasn’t ‘with it’, I

for that; the tendency nowadays is

was in my own world,” she laughs.

to clean up everything just because

“When I was, like, 12 or 13, my

It’s impossible post-00s to mention

you can. We really wanted all the

brother gave me Pink Floyd’s ‘Dark

the words ‘blues’ and ‘rock’ and not

crap in there. To me, a record that’s

Side Of The Moon’ and it literally

follow them somewhere soon with

all perfect and cleaned up has no

scared me. I hated the saxophone

‘Jack’ and ‘Meg’. More so if you also

context. It doesn’t exist anywhere. I

bits in it. He gave me My Bloody

happen to be discussing a two-piece.

don’t get it. What is it about? It’s just

Valentine’s ‘Loveless’, and I

There are moments in ‘Sistrionix’

a song in a vacuum, it’s meaningless.”

remember being like ‘this is weird’,

where it’s equally as hard to avoid

and then suddenly falling totally

imagining what it’d sound like with

And, she adds, none of her or

in love with it, realising that I was

the production skills of Third Man.

Lindsey’s favourites are polished,

disgusted by musical theatre. I just

And many others where Lindsey’s

either. “Like Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ ‘Fever

didn’t know! Nobody had shown me

glitchy, rough, guitar noises echo

To Tell’ or Led Zeppelin, it’s raw,

the light.”

Nashville’s new king pin. It’s not exactly a shock to find out the pair

it’s not perfect. That’s not the point. I think all studio engineers should

“In high school you listened to Nine

hear that loud and clear! There’s

Inch Nails, though,” Lindsey butts in

something more important than

to point out.

are big fans. “The White Stripes were killer,” Julie 35

cover deap vally

says. “My brother’s band, Autolux, played a few shows

Billy Bragg’s political songwriting is oft suggested to be

with The White Stripes in New York and I went back in

Frank Turner; a man who may have written ‘Thatcher

like, 2003 or 2004, and I was just so blown away by Jack

Fucked The Kids’ but since then has occasionally

White. I was just like, ‘WOW’. He’s such an incredible

appeared to be closer to her progeny in opinion than

performer, he’s so commanding, he has so much talent.

not. Should, say, Jessie Ware - to use one of the most

He’s so willing to take risks, and in The White Stripes he

prominent women in pop right now - speak out politically

was supreme.”

because of her gender while nobody’s asking the same of collaborators Disclosure?

“As a teenager,” Lindsey says, putting the Stripes’ influence in context, “when there started to be that resurgence, I think at the time it was referred to as retrorock? That was one of the first times I felt really excited about what was happening in contemporary music.” “There’s a radio station in LA called KROQ ,” Julie continues, “and they’d basically been playing the worst garbage imaginable for so long, and all of a sudden there was this renaissance of actually listenable, cool music on there. I think there are so many more female drummers now than ever. We totally have Meg to thank for that.”


“We’ve faced a lifetime of butts and thighs.”

oes the same stand elsewhere? At one level, it would appear not. The line-up for

But there are women speaking out. Grimes’ poignant blog

this year’s Reading & Leeds Festival, just

post of a few weeks ago highlighted the discrepancies

one barometer of what’s currently popular

between how the industry treats her to her male

in mainstream rock/alternative circles,

contemporaries. “I’m tired of men who aren’t professional

features proportionally few women. At the time of press,

or even accomplished musicians continually offering to

just three of the weekend’s main stage artists feature

‘help me out’ (without being asked),” she wrote, “as if i

permanent female members (The Lumineers, We Are

did this by accident and i’m gonna flounder without them.

The In Crowd, The Pretty Reckless); Deap Vally’s peers

or as if the fact that I’m a woman makes me incapable of

on the BBC / Radio 1 Stage number only Azealia Banks,

using technology. I have never seen this kind of thing

HAIM and AlunaGeorge.

happen to any of my male peers.”

And Julie’s not sure either. “I don’t know,” she admits.

While Solange took to Twitter to declare, “I find it very

“In the 90s there were so many women tearing it up and

disappointing when I am presented as the “face” of my

tearing it down and speaking their minds. I don’t even

music, or a “vocal muse” when I write or co-write every

feel like that’s happening now.” Lindsey agrees. “It’s

fucking song. How can one be a “vocal muse” to their

different. There are a lot of women in bands, but there’s

own melodies ,story telling, and words they wrote?

not that same attitude of rebellion that the 90s had.”

Sexism in the music industry ain’t nothing new.”

If there is a lack of rebellion in the mainstream however,

Kate Nash’s re-invention as a Riot Grrrl for the 21st

it stretches further than female musicians. The heir to

Century also has her visiting schools to get girls to make


a racket. “I didn’t want to make it a big deal,” she recently

“When you do your thing,” Aino Jawo added, “and you’re

told DIY, “don’t make a big deal out of women being able

happy with what you do, you don’t need to put energy

to be musicians, that’s fucking weird, and so patronising.

into hate. We’ve come a long way [with feminism], but I

But, actually, there aren’t that many, so you feel really

see a long way to go.”

contradictory. To generalise across all females in music is, ultimately, “People would ask me, ‘do you write your own lyrics?’

as silly as the behaviour each of the few examples here

But they never ask if I write my music. I was getting

recount. No male musician is ever claimed to speak

really bitter and angry about the way things are now,

for all mankind; why should any one woman? Or two

and there’s nothing I can do to change that. But what


I can do is try and change it for another generation. So they don’t grow up even asking each other those kind of

“I think people who like strong women like us,” Julie

questions, they just know that women can be musicians.”

concludes. “People who don’t want to see women being courageous and bold, they won’t like what we’re doing.”

Indeed, as Icona Pop’s Caroline Hjelt explained earlier this year, “It’s very important that girls help each other

Deap Vally’s debut album ‘Sistrionix’ is out now via Island /

out and support each other, and lift each other up.”

Communion Records.


FEATURE smith westerns

Growing Pai n s S m i t h

W e s t e r n s

t r a v e r s i n g g r o u n d

o f

t h r e e

t h e

a l b u m w i t h

a r e

r o c k y n u m b e r

e a s e .

Words: Sam Cornforth



rowing up isn’t always fun. Commitments, challenges and pressures suddenly dominate dayto-day living; the carefree days of youth are long gone. Smith Westerns however are taking it all in their stride. Back in 2009, they left college to release their bratty lo-fi debut; fuzz was abundant, but hiding behind it were distinctive melodies and good ones at that. A revamp on their follow up ‘Dye It Blonde’ made music fans fall hard for the Chicago band, as their gorgeous hooks were placed in the limelight alongside blasé guitar riffs. The transition was staggering, and they’re at it again with ‘Soft Will’ - their third and most mature record yet. The youthful vigour that fuelled their stompy garage rock has been transformed into a more intricate, gleaming sound. Their most personal record to date, ‘Soft Will’ couldn’t have been as accomplished as it is without the success of its predecessor. “The more touring we did the better musicians we became,” Cullen Omori, the band’s effortlessly cool frontman, explains. “When we first started the only time we would really practise is when we would play a show,” he laughs, before adding: “I like one genre of music intensely then I move, so I think it is a mixture of us becoming better musicians and getting even more eclectic tastes.” But it wasn’t all smooth sailing. “We were unprepared to go crazy touring and that is what we ended up doing, so we were really burnt out,” he sighs, bitter-sweetly. “I think when we were touring ‘Dye It Blonde’, the last thing I could think about doing was recording new music. We were really exhausted.” Thankfully, once the toll from their heavy touring commitments subsided the initial ideas for ‘Soft Will’ started to flicker and bubble into life. “I didn’t even want to play my guitar and I didn’t really want to be writing music, but the first song that happened was ‘3am Spiritual’. I wrote a rough sketch of that in November then me and Max [Kakacek, guitar] spent the next eight months laying down songs.” Retreating back to their home town was a challenge in itself. The trio - Cullen, Max and bassist Cameron Omori - were only 19 or so when they left, but when they returned a few years later they found a city that had evolved in their absence. “Coming back to Chicago and having a real stay here was definitely different because in that time period lots of local bands we had been friends with had disappeared.” Over the course of ‘Soft Will’, it’s a theme they often return to as they explore having to adapt to once again find their niche. “It was a different landscape, so finding our footing in that played a part in the songwriting process,” Cullen asserts. Smith Westerns have consistently delivered dose after dose of heartfelt disillusionment that is instant yet endearing.

Unlike a cheap one night stand, the ten tracks on this album make your heart race and knees weak, like falling in love for the first time. The value that the band place on the album being a start to finish listen is clear, a sentiment that Cullen echoes. “It is hard now because of the internet and people skipping forward to where they see the break happen, so we wanted ‘Soft Will’ to be an album that you would listen to in its entirety and enjoy it, as well as listening to the tracks alone and them still being good. It is kind of hard because of the internet and people picking and choosing what they want to hear.” It’s apparent how much time and effort was spent nurturing ‘Soft Will’ into the record that they wanted to make. When asked what the title means, the frontman starts babbling away and apologising that he isn’t putting it into words as best as he can, such is the importance of the title and concept of the album. Quickly regaining his composure, Cullen states: “‘Soft Will’ is basically the minor convictions and promises you make to yourself at certain times. It is the changing and maturing, so the idea you have at one point in your life isn’t always a belief that you will hold. Something at the time you believe really heavily in, so lots of the songs are things I feel like I heavily believe

in now, or have gone past, but at the time it was really necessary to believe in them. That is the idea of ‘Soft Will’.” If you need evidence for this sparkling, more introspective sound, look no further than album opener ‘3am Spiritual’; its gentle origins dreamily amble by to make the flourish of lush keys and Max’s guitar solo even more rewarding. “With ‘3am Spiritual’ you have to commit to the entire song so you can put the beginning into perspective,” Cullen explains. At the opposite end of the spectrum is the immediately woozy finale ‘Varsity’. “Out of all the songs on the album I feel like it is the most immediate. There is this thing with all our songs where we try to find the right mix between wanting it to build and being a song that evolves, but at the same time something that doesn’t lose everyone’s attention.” ‘Dye It Blonde’ was a promise of vast potential that has been achieved in sensational style. Maturing may be difficult for some, but not these guys. “I guess you just make different things as you grow up,” Cullen ponders. Not many bands though have blossomed quite as vividly as Smith Westerns. Smith Westerns’ new album ‘Soft Will’ is out now via Mom+Pop / PIAS Cooperative. 39

interview alunageorge


X Marks The Spot

T o g e t h e r , A l u n a

a n d

G eo r g e m a k e


f o r m i da b l e pa i r i n g . W i t h

t h e i r

d e b u t a l b u m t h e y

p r ov e

t h e y ’ r e wo r t h t h e

h y p e .

Wo r d s : Da n n y W r i g h t, P h o t o s : e m m a s wa n n 41

interview alunageorge


luna Francis and George Reid have an irresistible chemistry. There’s an effortless spark in the way they interact, in the in-jokes and the way they look at each other to reaffirm what they’re saying. “We get on personally really well,” George agrees, grinning. “Both of us can see the funny side of something and we never take ourselves too seriously. Musically it was pretty immediate too.” “I think we were pretty lucky that somewhere in our ears and heads we were heading in the same direction, and that direction was quite vague when we first met,” Aluna expands, a wide smile on her face, eyes sparkling. “We came from quite different places but we were like, ‘Let’s go to there!’ X marks the spot but we didn’t know where the X was.” She laughs, “You can have that for the heading!”

really surprising and seeing the results of that has been really nice. It’s put us in front of a much wider audience.” They seem to be enjoying the attention. “We’re in quite a privileged position to be in that people actually want it to be good. It’s nice that people have expectations,” George adds. It seems they’re ready. ‘Body Music’ is an album that takes their distinctive sound and builds on it. Poppy but weird; R&B yet with some indie sensibilities, as well as a heap of soul. Did they realise they had such a unique sound when they started making music together? “I realised that Aluna’s voice was very distinctive, that was pretty immediate,” George nods, while Aluna elaborates: “I was really impressed by the working style we had and what came out of it - which was ‘Make No Mistake’. It was the first song we did and it was happy and easy going and fresh sounding.”

“If people think it

“It’s rare when that happens,” George notes, nodding.

sounds unique, then

And AlunaGeorge are a rare band. After meeting through Myspace in 2009, it’s been a fast rise for the duo. Last year they were the most written about band on the internet, the bloggerati falling for the irresistible mix of George’s sharp, playful and inventive beats and Aluna’s sensual, soulful vocals. This was followed by taking second place in the BBC’s Sound Of 2013 list, as well as being shortlisted for the BRITs Critics’ Choice Award.


Now, with the release of their debut album ‘Body Music’, they’re set to prove they’re worth the buzz. And they can’t wait to get the album out there. “I think all the support we’ve been getting from January on through the year has increased our excitement and we’re beginning to step up our live performances,” George explains. “The exciting thing for us is to see how people react when they see the whole package, so that when they come to our gig they’ll recognise more of the songs.” Did the hype add to the pressure? “It has made us more excited,” Aluna says. “’Cos before that we thought we’d just plod along and keep releasing the odd single here and there and build things slowly. But then that was all 42

“It was after a while we realised that together that we have something unique,” George continues. “I found it really difficult to find a sound that was ‘me’. It’s bloody impossible to get to that point - I tried a lot of things before getting to here and if people think it sounds unique, then wicked.”

Now, with the album done, they hope that it’s enduring - one that isn’t just the sound of 2013. “While we were creating it we wanted to make a record with a really nice line running through it sonically but also produce something that’s quite varied so it takes you through a lot of feelings and vibes but without feeling disjointed,” Aluna explains. “And we want it to be long lasting; an album that people share and grows in their minds, that they can listen to again and come back to.” George concurs: “I guess that would be the ultimate – that they come back to it like we do with the albums we love.” That brings the conversation around to their influences. What music do they listen to – and does that influence their sound? “We both listen to Radiohead and Jeff Buckley – that’s where we come together in our influences,” Aluna says. “Also, we’re both into different types of weird, glitchy electronic music. George is more into Flying Lotus and I’m more into Boards Of Canada.”


interview alunageorge

“I guess everything you listen to ends up influencing the music you make in an indirect way, but there’s no really direct influence,” George ponders. “And we listen to so much anyway – our attention spans are too short to hone in on anything specifically and having all the music you could ever want a finger click away means you can listen to anything.” That idea of taking on a multitude of sounds and influences certainly comes through in what they do. It also helps to explain the rich sonic palette they draw from and the myriad odd sounds you can hear all over the album, like on tracks such as ‘Attracting Flies’ and ‘Lost And Found’. “The weird noise on ‘Attracting Flies’ that sounds like a flute is actually Aluna’s voice sampled,” George enthuses. “It really is just messing about at a computer until someone says ‘Yeah that’s alright’. That or one of us is giggling at the sound – ‘Yeah this is really good’, and we’ll be laughing.”

advert. “When that happened I was completely and totally baffled,” Aluna laughs. “I had no real idea about what it was. It was one of those things that got mentioned, we had half a conversation and then we saw it on Twitter and we were like ‘Oh no what’s happened? Why is everyone going Tesco and AlunaGeorge’? “But it was alright. It is a big thing to think about. Bands are more and more getting pushed into a position where they need to work with a brand and we need support to put on our shows so it’s definitely something to consider. It just needs to be the right brand.” George is even more pragmatic: “My grandparents saw it on TV so it’s alright with me!” And now, with the first album done, they can begin to look beyond the immediate horizon. “It’s nice to get that weight off our shoulders and play some gigs,” George admits. “Because we’ve delayed playing live for quite a while, it’s only really just starting for us,” Aluna adds. “We‘ve only done a minitour, we haven’t done a support slot, and a lot of countries have said ‘You haven’t been here yet’. So between now and August we’re playing about twenty festivals; then we’ll be doing our own tour in September and probably a year of live slows.”

“We were

Lyrically Aluna takes inspiration from observing the lives of other people. “That will inspire the storyline,” she explains, “and it’s how I relate to [them] that fills in the gaps.” George meanwhile explains that she has the skill of creating something out of very little. “A couple of songs on the album have come from when I’ve said something like ‘You know when this is like that’. I say about three words and she’ll take that and make it into a song.”

like, ‘Why is

everyone going Tesco and


“It’s very hard to get perspective on your own experiences,” Aluna adds. “The songs which are actually about me and George were done when we were away for a week in a studio and we were in our own world; we couldn’t get the internet.” It’s those songs that mean the most to them. “There are a couple that have a personal connection ‘Superstar’ and ‘Outlines’. Whereas with ‘Attracting Flies’ it’s not a personal thing to either of us so it’s fun to sing.” George laughs, “It’s like it’s fun to tell the embarrassing story about a mate, but it’s not fun for the embarrassing story to be about you.” In the internet age it feels like the band have had to develop in the spotlight; make decisions as they go along, reacting to the increase in their popularity as it happens, whether that’s with the singles they release or where to share their music. Or having their song on a Tesco 44

Having played relatively few shows, how the album is sounding live? “We’ve tried to keep it as similar as we can for the live show ‘cos we took so long getting it to sound how it does on the record,” George explains. “We’ve got a live drummer and a bass player. It fills it out nicely and it just changes the dynamics with it close to you, you just feel it that little bit more.” “I think for a lot of the shows we’ll be relying on ourselves,” Aluna says. They’re not indulging in fancy light displays, or over the top visuals just yet. “It feels a little like cheating at this point. People are expecting something from us but they’ve never even heard us once yet in most cases so I don’t think they’re expecting us to be all guns blazing. We’re just gonna play our songs and let people get to know us, and then later… we’ll be shooting me out of a cannon.” They look at each other and laugh. AlunaGeorge’s debut album ‘Body Music’ will be released on 29th July via Island Records.


interview laura marling

“Oh fucking hell, why do I bother?� The highs and lows of being Laura Marling. Wo r d s : E l H u n t



aura Marling is in an entertainingly sarcastic mood. She’s stuck in a departures lounge waiting for yet another flight across America, after driving from Chicago to Toronto the previous day. Her last flight got delayed, then further delayed, and then cancelled. “That was probably one of the worst days of my life,” she says, wasting no breath on embellishment. “When you’re away from home and things start falling apart it becomes the worst, most harrowing experience. I had no one, my phone didn’t work, I had my flight cancelled, no way of renting a car. It was awful. Those kinds of days you think ‘oh fucking hell, why do I bother?’ She laughs dryly. “But when it’s good,” she adds, more optimistically, “traveling is definitely fantastic, it’s euphoric and amazing and I feel very lucky.” We suggest Duty Free, and Laura chortles again, this time with a genuine cackle. She deploys well-executed sarcasm; “I wish.”

as possible. Lyrically, there wasn’t an effort to make it more honest sounding – but I’m not surprised people hear that. Nowadays I don’t feel so exposed. I don’t sort of wriggle in my skin.” Honest ‘Once I Was An Eagle’ might be, but don’t expect to hear Laura pouring her heart out with full unrestrained vulnerability. As always, she writes using mythology and timeless story telling, with one layer of subjectivity. Mythology and canonised legends gave her a “kick” of inspiration, she says, when she first started songwriting. “I enjoy the old, the very old moral based allegory style stories. I think it’s a nice way of not just creating fiction, but creating fiction with a purpose.” She pauses for a moment before emitting a short cackle of amusement. “Not that I any way think my music is moral! I’ve stuck with that [allegorical] device, attributing emotion to inanimate objects and using imagery. It’s a device for removing yourself. That’s how I feel comfortable.”

At first it’s hard to imagine Laura Marling living it up in LA with a golden tan, playing beer pong and sporting a Lakers vest. She seems to have adapted pretty well, though, and Privacy is still fundamentally important to Marling, but it’s she’s not craving Yorkshire Tea or Marmite. Actually, she as if there’s a smaller divide remaining. Her lyrics are more only really misses a few things about honest, with more clarity; a change that England. “Moving away from your Marling partly puts down to getting home country makes you realise how older. “I think maybe the time is coming “I miss the special friendships are. That’s quite when my age is less significant, less so S a t u r d ay hard.” She also misses sitting down than when I was a teenager. I’m a lot less Times to solve a puzzle every weekend self-conscious than I was at 17. That’s C r o s s wo r d . ” in the broadsheets. “I miss the allowed me freedom I think, and also Saturday Times Crossword. I was freedom of thought. You stop thinking thinking about that this morning, about yourself quite so much. Other what a sad thing to do!” Laura tried than that I’m a better guitar player than other wholesome hobbies before deciding she was properly I used to be.” “into crosswords.” “I did try knitting,” she deadpans, “it’s not my bag. I cook a lot, too, when I’m not touring.” Is she Beyond this album release, Marling doesn’t really have hiding any culinary skills fit for Masterchef? “I’m afraid a plan. “As far as I’m aware I’m traveling for a long time, not,” she says, doing a commendable job of seeming entirely touring and such, and then probably record another one. Oh serious. “I worked in a kitchen so I wouldn’t be eligible. You gosh, I’m trying not to look too far into the future.” Leaving can tell I’ve considered it, though.” her to hop on yet another flight, we point out that plenty of her fans have their own plans for her future already – she With a dry sense of humour and a clipped British accent, gets an unbelievable amount of marriage proposals at gigs. Marling is certainly very matter-of-fact. She has the ability For the first time she giggles uncontrollably. “I think that’s to reduce rambling ideas to a single concise sentence, a skill just funny,” she guffaws, “very funny.” Composing herself, that comes through in the clear, cohesive narrative running she sighs. “Oh, they wouldn’t know what they were in for...” through her latest album. Simplicity, and increasingly, honesty, is something her music embodies. “The stripped Laura Marling’s new album ‘Once I Was An Eagle’ is out now back sound of [‘Once I Was An Eagle’] was really via Virgin. intentional, I felt like the contents of the narratives were quite complex, and therefore I wanted to make it as simple 47

interview editors

A New Chapter

It’s been a tough few years for Ed i t o r s , b u t t h e y ’ r e b a c k w i t h a vengeance. Wo r d s : H u g h Mo r r i s

“ I t wa s a s da r k a s i t ’ s b e e n fo r t h e b a n d . ”



here are several moments in conversation with Tom Smith that his voice cracks. He speaks softly, eloquently, choosing his words carefully, but deep, almost exhausted breaths mid-sentence and the rise and fall in his cadence give away just how troubling times in the past 18 months have been for Editors. “You start a band as four people and you just sorta’ hope you will stay those four,” he says. “You admire those bands that have longevity and careers that twist and turn but ideally the line up stays the same – and those four friends from university would end up in their 40s making record and still be friends.” He pauses. “But life doesn’t always work out like that.” The storyboard lead singer Smith had planned out for his band when it formed in 2002, after four friends studying music technology at the University of Staffordshire started playing music, is clear. After 2005’s debut album ‘The Back Room’ placed them second in the album charts and made them an enviable name, it probably looked like it might all work out. A musical happily ever after, if you will. But after two further records, both reaching Number One in the UK, global tours and a musical progression from alternative rock to synth-laden electronic indie, Smith and two other bandmates, Russell Leetch and Ed Lay decided they could no longer make music with guitarist Chris Urbanowicz. And the fairy tale shattered. “There were lots of discussions. It wasn’t just an overnight thing,” explains Smith. “It was the culmination of a year, maybe a year and a half, of rehearsals and recording sessions with Chris and things gradually deteriorating. [Chris leaving] was very traumatic for lots of reasons – and immediately before then it was as dark as it’s been for the band.” Smith sounds tense and still a little bewildered about how the band’s musical relationship began to break down: “We did lots of recording with Flood [critically acclaimed rock producer Mark Ellis] – and it’s fucking Flood y’know – you go into do a record with him and it’s meant to be, y’know? But we came out and some of them

were shit, some of them were good, but not good enough, and you live with them for a couple of weeks and for the first time in our career it just stopped being exciting.” It sounds reminiscent of the dawning realisation of the end of a marriage. He repeats, summing up, “It was the first time in all four new recording sessions that we were just like, ‘oh, we’re not getting that feeling.’” The statement released by the band when Urbanowicz left in April 2012 cited disagreement over the band’s musical direction. Such an allencompassing euphemism has been trotted out by dozens of bands over the years and gives little insight into or indication of the strain and stress involved when a band loses a member. It’s clear that Urbanowicz leaving was more than just a change of line up. It was the end of everything Editors had created. “Chris had a very unique way of doing things, a signature sound, you could say. His guitar sound next to my vocals was Editors what were - and he’s gone now.” Could Editors have ended there? They came close to cancelling a headline performance at Belgium’s Werchter

Festival last summer, a move that might have marked a more uncertain future for the band. But despite Smith’s gut feeling to cancel, his two remaining bandmates decided to press on and play the show. This is perhaps another trait in Smith; everything is carefully calculated. Each decision, each track, album and show is thought through and the pros and cons weighted. Perhaps this makes the moment four became three all the more significant. Smith says the decision to prompt Urbanowicz’s departure was tough but liberating. “You get new people into the band and all of a sudden it is very exciting and immediately the rehearsals were the opposite of what it had been. So, yeah, a funny old time and one I’m still very sad about.” Listening to the new album, ‘The Weight Of Your Love’, it’s clear this marks a watershed in Editors’ growth that ended with what Smith calls a “synthesiser journey” on third album ‘In This Light And On This Evening’. The storyboard that runs parallel to his enduring hope for a band of old friends is one Smith is now free to follow to the end: his goal to create a timeless, grandiose rock album. 49

interview editors

Listen to the new record and you hear little of the trauma that beset the band. It’s full, built for stadiums and festival headline slots and far removed from the electronic darkness of the last record and further removed from the idiosyncratic hooks of ‘The Back Room’. The liberation Smith speaks of is clear: it feels like the slap you give yourself to shake yourself out of a stupor, like the splash of cold water to the face to combat a pernicious hangover. Smith says a friend told him bands’ careers can be broken down and classified into groups of three records, a theory he sounds convinced by. “It does feel like the beginning of a new chapter, as cheesy as that sounds, and I think it would be a disservice to Chris to say anything other than that,” he says. This step is a step away from the relative niches of indie and synth rock and a step towards the broader appeal of mainstream rock albums of anthems and ballads. It is an appeal Smith is drawn to. Despite two Number One albums and a platinum record in ‘The Back Room’, Smith notes with a slight irritation Editors have never been championed by the British press: “In mainland Europe we continue to be talked about and relevant, whereas in Britain, even when we were at our most popular – whatever that means – we were always slightly eclipsed by someone. We always kinda existed in the shadows.” He says ‘In This Light And On This Evening’ could be called an identity crisis, “if you were being cold”, and sounds surprisingly self-conscious when considering how critical views of the band line up next to their ranks of fans. “Part of me likes the fact that we’re bigger than people think we are,” he says. “We have a fanbase. We have people who love what we do no matter what grumpy journalists say. But then there’s a part of me that’s like, “For fuck’s sake”, and I want more.” The PR behind the album speaks of the “freeness and abandon” involved in the recording process: perhaps this is the freeness and abandon that comes with realising it’s OK to want to be big and to want to make a big record. ‘The Weight Of Your Love’ may well bring the now fivepiece out of shadows but it’s only likely to endear them to music press in its unashamed aim to turn Editors into a stadium band.


And it could work. They’ve had enough changes of face in previous records that only fans that picked them up on their last effort should be surprised they’ve changed tack again now. Something about the way Smith talks of a new chapter and the confidence with which he speaks of the way ‘The Weight Of Your Love’ is presented, simply and without pretence, exhibits a comfort in the singer also audible through the album. Maybe it is the way Editors began life in the alternative indie heyday of the mid-noughties with a dry, understated sound that has slowed the progress of Smith’s desire to create a more traditional, sweeping rock album. Recorded at Blackbird Studios in Nashville, America, the album channels Smith’s love of simplicity in music from REM, his favourite band, to The National. “There’s a directness in what they do.” He doesn’t seem the type to come out and say it, but it’s clear what Editors have their sights on – and there’s an air of make or break to it. Smith has decided the band’s time playing around with genres is over and now’s the time to try and break from the pack - “We’re not

old old, but we’re in our 30s and most of us have got kids. We certainly don’t feel connected to the new bands that come out.” It’s not commonplace for musical types to come out and admit they feel disconnected by new bands, but this is symptomatic of the comfort and confidence Editors are striving towards, their new goal of timeless recognition. From the softly spoken music technology graduate whose voice cracks when he speaks of the best friend and bandmate who left to the lead singer who knows what his band have created and is not afraid of trying to take it to the top, there’s a refreshing honesty to Smith. “You do feel a little bit indestructible when you go through something so traumatic. We’ve gone through the hard times and come out fighting.” He notes the cliché in what he’s trying to do with his band’s new chapter, but he knows, too, that it can come true. Editors’ new album ‘The Weight Of Your Love’ will be released on 1st July via Play It Again Sam.

“ W e h av e p e o p l e w h o l o v e w h a t w e do , n o m a t t e r w h a t g r u m p y jo u r n a l i s t s s a y . �


FEATURE these new puritans

Playing 52

The Field O n ‘ F i e l d O f R e e ds ’ , T h e s e N e w Pur i t a n s m e rg e c l a ss i c a l , a v a n t - g a rd e a n d p o p i n t o som e t h i n g t h a t ’ s c om p l e t e l y t h e i r o w n . Words:




FEATURE these new puritans

sampling a hawk, and spending a full day smashing panes

of glass for the track ‘Light In Your Name’. “It sounds

like a novelty thing when there’s too much focus on it.”


ack Barnett, the man at the heart of These

New Puritans, is talking about writing

the band’s intensely sublime new album

‘Field Of Reeds’. The follow up to 2010’s universal praised ‘Hidden’, he’s perhaps

surprisingly not suffering from the weight of expectation. “I didn’t feel that, no. It’s

not like we’re a massive pop band. If we were and we’d had

a big hit I can imagine a pressure to recreate that success. But I was just concentrating on making this record.”


nd it’s thanks to his singular vision that These New

Puritans are now a band it’s becoming harder and harder to define. Where the imperious ‘Hidden’ was

a dark and thunderous mix of ferocious taiko drumming,

orchestral flourishes and mind-melting electronics, ‘Field Of Reeds’ succeeds in


imilarly, he’s reluctant to pick a favourite song on the record because, he says, “I don’t really have

favourite songs, it’s more that I have favourite

moments. Like the moment on ‘Organ Eternal’ – when we got recorded that I knew we had got it right and I was really

pleased how that came out. We put a lot in to this and we all drive ourselves into the ground making it right, so it’s

rewarding when those things happen.” And ‘Organ Eternal’ is a wonderful moment on a record full of magnificent

pieces; of striking beauty and deft arrangements. It’s an album that gently demands your attention, that

is complex and intense without being overwrought.


hough the band is also made up of Tom Hein on

bass and Jack’s brother George Barnett on drums, the album was written solely by Jack (“George

is a good songwriter but he’s so focused on

being calm, studious and a




It’s an

album, which, though drastically different to

its predecessor, is just as

astonishing. Yet that’s not



drumming. I’ve never

" It ’ s n o t l i k e

met a musician with a

narrower focus on the

w e ’ re a mass i ve



undertake. The complex instrumentation

People have been saying


that, but to me this is just


itself more than any other we’ve done before.

There isn’t much outside of it that informs it and there

aren’t any soundbites to tell you what it is,” and he’s sometimes reticent to get involved with the triviality of

talking about specifics or revealing too much. “I don’t

really want to talk about that,” he says, when asked about 54

“ just

Reeds’ took a year to

see the big difference.

that “the music on this album speaks for


yet in total ‘Field Of

can hear: “I can’t really

hen announcing this new record, Jack stated


as piano and voice”,

p o p ba n d . ”

the music we’ve created.”



scored and arranged,

before they brought together huge orchestras to

record it. Just take ‘V (Island Song)’ which, during its







throbs to de-tuned piano and orchestral sweeps.


t even features the little known magnetic resonator

piano, seldom even featured in contemporary classical

music, and it was only by chance that they came to

use it: “I had the idea of the sound I wanted to create

without any real knowledge of how to make it. Then a

music and found Elisa. He admits that during rehearsals

put us in touch with Andrew [McPherson] who’s a

fresh impetus as a singer himself. “I’ve really enjoyed

friend of Graham’s [Sutton, who produced the album] professor of digital music. So we went along to have a

demonstration and he showed us how it worked. It’s an amazing thing, it’s like a trap that you place over a piano

which takes five hours to calibrate. Magnets resonate the strings, making these incredible sounds that you might

associate with electronic music. A lot of sounds you might think are electronic on here are actually made by this.” h





for the live performance he’s found it has given him a

singing with two different voices – it’s so different to

what I’ve been used to and only doing fifty percent of the singing means you can relax more and take things in.”


e’s about to go off to Japan, and on to support

Björk in America. He’s excited by the chance to play the album live after some intense rehearsal time






perfect sound shows just



These New Puritans

“ T h e m o st i m p o rta n t t h i n g with singing is

Jack. And this album,

t h at y o u reall y

even more than their previous works, seems

particularly personal

mea n i t . ”

and close to Jack’s romance






connection he feels for this album. Yet he had said after Hidden that he was “never going to sing again”. “I

probably did say that, I can’t remember if I meant it at the time or not. But it became really important that it was

me singing on it. I love singing these songs – though I also like having all different voices on it, these different

characters coming in to the songs. The most important thing for me with the singing is that you really mean it.”


he incorporation of Fado singing, a Portuguese blues style, courtesy of Elisa Rodrigues, also helped bring a new perspective to the album.

“It was obvious to me that there had to be this female

going well. “There’ll be a seven-piece band

and the set is 50/50 between this and the last album. It’s been

good to see how they contrast



other and how we can make them work together. This album than



the setlist, he says it’s

is a lot more melodic

heart. He mentions the


away the secrets of

take their roles as

musicians, especially


he’s unwilling to give












instruments, even just playing it on piano if you wanted.”


ield Of Reeds’ is a remarkable achievement, one

that exists in its own universe and doesn’t seem to fit in with any records around in 2013. No simple

descriptions do it justice. It also makes you wonder where the band will go next. And Jack is unsure himself. “I couldn’t

tell you. I’m always writing but I’m certainly not thinking of another album yet. Let’s get this one out of the way first.” These New Puritans’ new album ‘Field Of Reeds’ is out now via Infectious Music.

voice,” he says. So he did some research into the style of


interview fuck buttons

“ O u r

f i r s t

n e v e r

b e e n

p r i o r i t y t o

h a s

s u c c e e d . ”

P u s h T h e B u t t o n Af t e r


dur i n g


O lym p i c s , back a l bum . 56

sur p r i s e


p ro p e r Words:



Lo n do n

But tons





Dav i d

Z amm i t T .


t’s hard to believe that almost four years have passed since Andy Hung and Ben Power lit up the winter of 2009 with the kaleidoscopic synth-euphoria of their second LP, ‘Tarot Sport’. Since then, their cathedral-sized electronica has been repurposed by Danny Boyle to soundtrack the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games, while both halves of Fuck Buttons have channelled their energies into respective solo projects. They return this summer with ‘Slow Focus’, another triumph of left-field dance on a mammoth scale and their first work that has been fully self-produced. However, while it may have seemed like a hiatus both Hung and Power maintain that they never lost momentum as a duo. “Fuck Buttons was still going,” says Andy. “We were writing and we toured for about a year and a half after ‘Tarot Sport’ came out.” While Ben achieved critical acclaim under his Blanck Mass moniker, it’s clear that the getting his teeth back into the collective process is something that he relished. “It’s always nice to bounce ideas off somebody else and the working relationship between Andy and I is pretty unique. We can almost tell what the other person is thinking before anybody needs to communicate verbally.” Though they never strived for the mainstream, the mention of the Olympics sees them brim with pride. “It was a real honour,” says Ben. “It was amazing when it happened and it was very surprising. It wasn’t something we outwardly tried to chase after ourselves. Somebody came to us, so that is quite an amazing thing to happen.” Andy also sees Boyle’s choice as evidence that music can transcend the rigidity of labels or any clearcut idea of the accepted norm. “History has demonstrated that having our name wouldn’t necessarily be a good move. The first question we’re asked is, ‘You’re not going to get on radio with that name…’ and it’s true, but at the same time I would never have thought we’d get played at the Olympics and we did. So we are treading new ground and we’re really hopeful of where we can go.” And what about the name? They must be sick of the question. “Oh, fuck off,” Andy laughs. “We started our band and at the beginning it was just fun at the time, and the name came of that.” Indeed, Ben’s quick to point out that, after all, there are always ways to get around it. “It’s possible to censor these things as needs be. On the back of the Olympics CDs they’ve called us F Buttons, and that’s happened when tracks have been on the radio too and it’s

fine. It’s still us.” Critical darlings from day one, the level of their music’s success has come as a bit of a shock, even to its creators. “It always surprises me,” says Ben, “because, as far as ambition goes, our first priority has never been to succeed. First and foremost it’s been to enjoy ourselves and make music that we both love, that we can listen to at a later date and play live.” That’s not to say, however, that their journey to avant-garde acclaim was a smooth one. “Our live shows in the beginning were relatively antagonistic,” muses Andy, “and were designed to be so. We often got quite aggressive reactions. For instance, our second show, we were playing in this pub. We were only ten minutes into the set, the power got shut down and the landlord came through the crowd and said, ‘This is not music.’” With their work so heavily layered, it may seem hard to imagine the transition of Fuck Buttons’ sound from studio to stage. Luckily, given that they have a smattering of festivals and a UK tour to contend with in the second half of 2013, it isn’t an issue, and Andy’s excitement is tangible as he talks about how the songs come to life when performed. “The way we write music is quite traditional,” he says, comparing it to the process of a rock band. “There are a lot of current musicians who write their music and then deconstruct it for the live show, but these songs were built to be played live.” Indeed, Ben’s effusive in his embrace of both settings. “We love to play live and we love recording. I love every aspect of it, really. It’s quite a privilege to do such a thing.“ The sheer scale of the experience will make their show a must-see when it rolls into town in September. “It’s so surprising,” says Andy, “I always forget how powerful loudness can be. Because we write these songs in our bedrooms, in quite domestic environments, you can’t really play them that loud but when you’re on the stage and these crappy instruments that you’ve accumulated are being amplified through these massive PAs you can’t help but feel that it’s amazing.” Have the UK’s most abrasive act have ever fallen foul of neighbourhood watch? Andy is disappointingly diplomatic. “In cities, noise complaints are a very common tale. I need it to be at a certain level for neighbours. Everyone needs to get on with each other, don’t they?” Fuck Buttons’ new album ‘Slow Focus’ will be released on 22nd July via ATP Recordings. 57


Sigur Rós, then. Surely we all know what to expect by now, right? Makers of records full of sweeping grandiosity and ten-minute epics almost tailor-made for breathtaking nature documentaries, untranslatable lyrics in a made-up language and an overall aura that will leave you wanting to run outside and hug a glacier. Or something.

in the equivalent phrase to what we, in our finest Anglo-Saxon, would deem ‘growing some bollocks’. The result feels less like accidentally walking into David Attenborough’s funeral and more like some incredible, unrealised score for an immersive, imagined Icelandic crime drama. Dark, brooding and near-thundering opener ‘Brennisteinn’ would be the scene setter, all atmospheric shots and intrigue. ‘Hrafntinna’ would be the cue for the crack investigation team to tensely piece together the puzzle, with the title track building to a heady conclusion befitting of the final moments, the whirlwind of images as the net closes in relentlessly ever-more rapidly.

Well, think again. Because for new ‘un ‘Kveikur’ they’ve clearly been surfing whatever the Icelandic version of Urban Dictionary is and taken great, joyous interest

The concept of Sigur Rós as a cinematic entity may not be the newest of notions, but to do so in such a readily imaginable (not to mention in such a thrilling and

Sigur rós Kveikur (XL)


TRACKLISTING Brennisteinn Hrafntinna Ísjaki  Yfirborð   Stormur Kveikur Rafstraumur  Bláþráður Var  

dynamic) manner, demands attention. It also at times marks the moment the band are at their – whisper it – angriest. Parts feel like a tightly-coiled spring, threatening to descend into barely-controlled fury and ferocity at any second; a throbbing, pulsing maelstrom of sounds simultaneously depicting the tensions of daytime or the nocturnal subversion of the night. That’s not to say the band have totally foregone their way with a soaring, euphoric melody. While the drums may more closely resemble artillery fire rather than percussive instruments, ‘Ísjaki’ retains a sense of melodic grandeur that immediately – unmistakeably - harks back to what fans of the group’s earlier work might have been expecting. The same could be said of ‘Stormur’ and the near-choral, rapturous ‘Rafstraumur’ – there’s that other-worldly Icelandic brilliance that’s

become de rigeur, but it’s busier than previous efforts and there’s an added sense of muscularity and purpose being liberally injected into the mix from all corners throughout. Whereas back in the day the likes of ‘Takk’ could’ve made for a passable leftfield Mother’s Day gift, the same definitely can’t be said of ‘Kveikur’. But is that a bad thing? The answer is an emphatic no. As wonderful as the records were - and indeed continue to be - the reinvention of Sigur Rós as clandestine creatures of the night, thunderous and full of chest-out bluster is a development that carries an intrinsic visceral thrill their output could never lay claim to. Remember the old adage that it’s the quiet ones you needed to watch out for? If you needed further proof of its validity, that reassurance has just landed. (Gareth Ware) 59

reviews albums



The Weight Of Your Love (PIAS)

Remember that scene in Martin Bashir’s Michael Jackson documentary when old MJ stands in the shop picking out what he wants to buy? ‘Two of those, and one of those...’ etc? Well, imagine Editors doing that in a room full of influences and musical styles and you’re getting somewhere. ‘The Weight Of Your Love’ is a proper everything bar the kitchen sink affair, ranging from the gothic pop of opening duo ‘The Weight’ and ‘Sugar’, to incendiary Echo And The Bunnymenesque lead single ‘A Ton Of Love’. In all the stylistic change and mixed results, one constant remains: the power of Tom Smith’s voice, whose rich tones adds an undeniable quality to proceedings. With a bit more focus and a more cohesive feel, this could’ve been a great record. (Gareth Ware)





Me Moan (Sub Pop) Having secured critical acclaim for his debut album ‘All Hell’, it seems Daughn Gibson’s firmly left his trucking past behind for good, as follow-up ‘Me Moan’ sees him switching his genre-spanning samples up a gear, with a much more detailed and darker sound. Lead track and album opener ‘The Sound Of Law’ is a frantic three-minute mix of bold, tumbling percussion driven by his husky drawl, which seems to lead the theme for ‘Me Moan’: a bigger sound and richer arrangements but still with that crackly quality that made ‘All Hell’ so immersive. (Hannah Phillips)



Olympia (Domino)

It’s hard to get away from the fact that Austra’s Katie Stelmanis has something of a voice. It sits at the centre of a lot of their songs, acting as a big, attention sucking black hole from which which many of the other elements struggle to escape. On 2011’s ‘Feel It Break’ it found a perfect counterpoint in slightly withdrawn, icy planes of electronica. Here, the voice remains much the same (and no less impressive) but the backing is a bit warmer, a bit lusher and a bit less lonely. Where the debut accompanied it with a wintery blast of gothic noise, here it goes for a right old knees up. It meanders a touch in the middle, but ‘Olympia’ is a genuinely bold attempt from Austra to expand on their debut while retaining most of what made them stand out in the first place. (Tim Lee) 60

Turbines (Full Time Hobby) In the three years since their last full length, ‘...And Then We Saw Land’, Tunng frontman Mike Lindsay has upped sticks and moved to the isolated Icelandic town of Husavik. Absence appears to have made the heart grow fonder and the band have returned with an album as cohesive and accessible as any they’ve previously released. Amid the dextrous fingerpicking of the gorgeous ‘Bloodlines’, Lindsay sings of being “warmly kissed on the hand and the cheek” and, to be honest, it’s hard to find a better analogy for the experience of listening to ‘Turbines’. The band’s most accomplished album yet. (Johnny Owen)

here. After presumably spending the night somewhere and doing a bit of the old horizontal tango, it’s time for the infamous ‘walk of shame’. But Troy has “sunshine in her stride,” and doesn’t seem to care or accept blame. Quite rightly. It’s not exactly Mary Wollstonecraft, but all the same Deap Vally are refusing to take bullshit from anyone. When I was ten years old, I saved up and bought ‘Tragic Kingdom’ by No Doubt, and like many girls my age, spent the following few years wishing I was Gwen Stefani. That album didn’t leave my Sistrionix (Island/Communion) Walkman. Enlisting several friends, we Deap Vally first burst onto the scene with started up a rather terrible all-girl ‘punk an angry, pounding manifesto of intent; band’, whose name shall remain secret. “I’m gonna make my own money, gonna Perhaps wisely I eventually decided to write buy my own land.” They’ve got the same about other people’s music instead, but the basic idea at heart, but their absolutely spark was still there. Worshipping pop divas frenetic and slightly terrifying brand of just didn’t hold the same appeal as getting rock makes Virginia Woolf look rather shoved around sweaty punk venues with meek in comparison. Playing off the two low ceilings and ear-bursting speakers. That sparse elements of the band with thrashing was probably the record that first made me aggression, much of this album is a grating think about feminism, too. Deap Vally’s series of notes held up by crashing drums ‘Sistrionix’ holds a similar kind of irresistible and Lindsey Troy’s unstoppable vocals that energy. If the next generation of kids roar and screech in one onslaught. There’s looking for touchstones grow up hearing not much in the way of motif at first – unless this, the world will be a better, and probably a universal sense of loudness and sassiness a far more fun place. Being a female in the counts. It’s immediate and hard-hitting in music industry doesn’t deserve lauding or the same way as most blues rock. ‘Walk Of praising by itself. Smashing the patriarchy Shame’, with its bluesy chord pattern plays in three chords and some tongue-in-cheek with an old idea particularly cleverly. Deap lyrics, though? That’s musical woman power Vally aren’t telling the tale of Smokestack right there. (El Hunt) Lightnin’ or their Hoochie Coochie Man


Deap Vally

TRACKLISTING End Of The World Baby I Call Hell Walk Of Shame Gonna Make My Own Money  Creeplife  Your Love A Lie Lies Bad For My Body  Woman Of Intention Raw Material   Six Feet Under


reviews albums

The production is sky-scraping, allowing the slowly developing song structures to be fully and powerfully realised. ‘Prince’s Prize’ in particular is a smorgasbord of retro gaming noise blended with fuzz laden low end and crackling synthesisers – it should sound twee and shit, but it doesn’t, it sounds really great. This gives way to the sinister tones of ‘Stalker’, one of a pair of 10 minute long closers which build the album to a striking denouement. The second of these, ‘Hidden XS’ is arguably the highlight, its repeated motifs seeping into your psyche almost by Slow Focus (ATP) osmosis and producing a quite startling Music as art. You remember that, right? effect, especially if you’re in possession of a Before it was all just a download-whatdecent pair of headphones through which you-want free for all and everything lost to funnel every last drop of noise. There is any sense of permanence or meaning? Well crystalline beauty on offer here as well as with their third album, ‘Slow Focus’, Fuck thunking great passages of dirty, nasty noise Buttons have produced a truly, genuinely and it is this rise and fall which makes it a) beautiful piece of art. At times bleak and so compelling and b) best listened to in one nigh on disturbing yet always thick with go, all the way through, with no breaks. Far complexity, it’s a record which takes many, be it for us to suggest that this might be a many listens to get to grips with and rewards record best consumed with the enhancement repeat plays with almost unbelievable of some drugs but if you were to do that depth. Kicking off with the eight minutes one can only imagine that the impact of an of swirling, mechanical brilliance that is already wonderful record would be increased ‘Brainfreeze’, it ebbs and flows and oozes exponentially. Buy it, love it, get really high with delicious ease and grand intent. to it, thank us later. (Tom Doyle)

9 Fuck Buttons


TRACKLISTING Brainfreeze Year Of The Dog The Red Wing Sentients  Prince’s Prize Stalker Hidden XS




Bosnian Rainbows

Bosnian Rainbows

(Clouds Hill) The Mars Volta, Bosnian Rainbows ain’t. Tracks like ‘Red’ pulse with electro-dreampop textures that wouldn’t be out of place on a Death In Vegas record, while the darker ‘Morning Sickness’ isn’t a million miles away from the electro-indie of Metric. Writ large of course are Omar Rodriguez Lopez’s guitar figures, sometimes obstinately abstract, sometimes more straightforward. Whether it’s the reversed riffs of opener ‘Eli’, or the more textural patterns of the first half of ‘Turtle Neck’, it’s very different; Omar and friends still have a lot more to offer. (Alex Lynham)



Without Your Love

(Nihjgt Feelings) ‘Without Your Love’, the debut from San Francisco producer Chris Dexter, requires you to invest all your time and emotion. There are no quick fixes; you have to give yourself over to oOoOO’s distinct world. Dexter’s sound is otherworldly and distinctly atmospheric; almost unmusical. He is a master at playing with texture and tone, speed and space, measures sound and moulds it, almost imperceptibly, into something quite beautiful. There’s no doubt that it’s a difficult listen. You can be left feeling drained and exhausted. What is clear, though, that if you give yourself over it is incredibly rewarding. (Martyn Young)


About Group

Between The Walls (Domino) When it comes to super-groups, About Group aren’t exactly what springs to mind. But their keen sense of jazz/electronic experimentation certainly doesn’t lack intrigue. ‘Between The Walls’ finds them attempting to structure their free-form method further while still trying to balance their quest for a live, spontaneous feel. It’s Alexis Taylor who takes centre stage for the most part; there are even tracks here that could quite easily be adapted versions of long-lost Hot Chip songs. But when the songs sway away from the vocal focus point, things start to get messy and slightly unfocused. ‘Between The Walls’ is wonderfully unhinged; it just still needs a little more structure. (Hannah Phillips)

29/07/13 AlunaGeorge Body Music Swim Deep Where The Heaven Are We? vuvuvultures Push / Pull 05/08/13 pond Hobo Rocket Raffertie Sleep Of Reason 12/08/13 washed out Paracosm White Lies Big TV 19/08/13 Braids Flourish / Perish Crocodiles Crimes Of Passion DIana Diana Julia Holter Loud City Song Little Green Cars Absolute Zero No Age Object Ty Segall Sleeper Zola Jesus Versions

26/08/13 Franz Ferdinand Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action MONEY The Shadow Of Heaven 63

reviews albums


Empire of the Sun Ice On The Dune

(Virgin) A band comfortable in their own skin can be a wonderful thing. Granted, when talking of Empire Of The Sun, that skin is likely to be augmented with facepaint, glitter and a silly hat, but on their second album the duo-from-down-under have clearly resolved to be the best they can be by being themselves. Luckily for them, through either serendipity or good planning, that’s exactly what’s required. ‘Ice On The Dune’ is the euphoric dance-pop album everyone was expecting, but with summer striving to make a go of things and a chart dominated by a plethora of acts not averse to a good synth line, the five year gap since 2008’s ‘Walking On Dream’ is quickly forgotten. Of course, Steele and Littlemore have attached a suitably extravagant concept to the record - something about a stolen headdress - but Empire Of The Sun’s true art lays far more in their ability to pick out a tune than tell a story. Fundamentally ‘Ice On The Dune’ is the definitive Empire Of The Sun album. It just so happens that, right now, that’s the album we needed them to make. (Stephen Ackroyd)


thriftstore masterpiece

Trouble Is A Lonesome Town (Side One Dummy)

It was the sinister storytelling of Lee Hazlewood’s 1963 original that prompted producer Charles Normal to assemble this star-studded musical collective for an orchestrated homage to the underdog of the songwriter’s works. Featuring notable names such as Frank Black, Isaac Brock, and Pete Yorn, the ensemble take on the weepy blues tales of the fictional little town as an all-star cover band. But without Hazlewood’s original gravelly vocals, distinctive baritone and sparse acoustics, it verges on being a little corny. (Hannah Phillips)



The Distance Is So Big (Bridge 9)

‘The Distance Is So Big’ brings together everything Lemuria have done previously and refines their formula to the point of near perfection. From the relentlessly catchy chorus of opener ‘Brilliant Dancer’ to the dulcet closing tones of ‘Ruby’, they gambol from one track to the next with shimmering ease, effortlessly knocking out moments of distilled beauty imbued with a sense of self-effacing modesty that only the most concrete of hearts could fail to warm to. Sheena Ozzella’s voice is as lilting and hypnotic as ever, teasing out the hooks of tracks like ‘Scienceless’ with a subtlety that will prick your ears on the first listen but will be truly under your skin by the fourth or fifth. To hear it without a beaming smile slapped across your face is difficult, to do so without even the flicker of a grin, surely impossible. (Tom Doyle) 64


Midnight Juggernauts Uncanny Valley

(Record Makers) There is little about Midnight Juggernauts that doesn’t ooze the aura of a spaced out cosmic stroll. ‘Uncanny Valley’ is exemplary of this. Presumably no accident, each song reverberates with a sedate out of this earth feel complete with twinkling synths, hushed vocals and universal echo. It builds and flows well – sort of like an intergalactic journey – but the astronomical tinge grows tiring. Slick production and a consistent sound make for easy listening but if you pay too much attention it all starts to sound a bit contrived and cheesy. But so’s space, really. (Hugh Morris)


Smith Westerns Soft Will (Co-op)

Smith Westerns are steeped in the same evocative sadness as Girls, the same downbeat playfulness of The Beatles, and a nostalgic hint of just about every other decent psychedelic guitar band bygone. There’s stoned out reverb, hints of Galaxie 500, nods to Ride in those sprawling jam sections, and a slightly muzzy effect that makes every note sound like it’s gradually falling away from you, like a siren tearing the opposite way down an otherwise deserted city road. In this third release, the band seem more comfortable and self-assured in their sound than ever before. There’s a gorgeous use of synthesiser, and at times reaches spiralling heights. ‘XXIII’ is beautifully constructed as the beginning of a piano gradually meets with swelling waves of orchestral haze, ethereal synthesisers and grating guitar. It’s not quite like listening to the Sagrada Familia being built before you, but it comes close. This is guitar music of epic ambition. It has the complexity to be thoroughly engaging, but it also flows with satisfying ease. (El Hunt)



The Blackest Beautiful

(Epitaph) On planet rock, letlive. have toiled under the weight of hyperbole for the last 18 months. ‘The Blackest Beautiful’ is a punch in the gut to whatever expectations you might have, and from the moment the wailing, squawking, samba infused of opener ‘Banshee’ kicks in it is apparent that the band have gone hell for leather to step out of the shadows and into their own light. The quick step verses give way to a chorus which, sure, is catchy, but it isn’t an earworm slipping silkily into your ear, it’s an insect gnawing its way beneath your skin. The unhinged-ness that makes this band’s live show such a presence has finally made it to record. (Tom Doyle)



With Love (4AD)

‘With Love’ is a two-disc set of 33 tracks that encompass personal reflection with spectral evocations of dance music’s history filtered through Zomby’s singular prism. With particular reference to disc 1, you can trance a journey from early primitive hardcore to hard edged break beat jungle, garage and ultra modern trap sounds. The second disc is perhaps closest in tone to the reflective, dark and atmospheric sounds of ’Dedication’, and it’s here that the dark heart of ‘With Love’ reveals itself. It’s a flawed collection that is on a par with Zomby’s previous work but it is also a collection that is minted in the producer’s unique persona. (Martyn Young)


Nadine Shah



Love Your Dum And Mad

(Apollo) Everything about Nadine Shah’s debut album has been exquisitely put together. It’s a broodingly dark and theatrical cocktail of bruised hymns and starkly breathtaking vocals with Shah conjuring up dark tales of love, revenge and regret that Nick Cave and PJ Harvey would be proud of. And those acts are two of the closest touchpoints here. The PJ comparisons, especially, will be inevitable and there are definite similarities to be drawn with her distinctive and bold vocals which lean towards the dramatic. An album that beguiles and bruises at every turn. (Danny Wright)

Unreal (ATP Recordings)

After the strict and straightforward guitars/drums/bass/vocals setup of Yuck, erstwhile frontman Daniel Blumberg has well and truly opened the instrumentation flood-gates with new project Hebronix. Sure, his charming, strained vocals and fuzzy, post-grunge guitar work is still there, but now we have flutes, string sections, horns, and synthesisers all making appearances. And it makes for fun listening, for the most part. At other times, it’s nothing but an utter mess. A simultaneous flute and guitar solo during ‘Garden’, hastily followed by an impromptu string quartet breakdown, was only ever going to end in disaster. (Nathan Standlee) 65

reviews reviews albums albums



r ec o mme n ded a l b u m s t h e

Surfer Blood

f r o m

l a s t


m o n t h s

yeah yeah yeahs Mosquito

The magic here is less visceral than their debut, but far more accomplished. (Emma Swann)

Pythons (Warner)

Rowdy anthem ‘Swim’ has become synonymous with Surfer Blood, and so it is a little disarming when ‘Pythons’ kicks off with the decidedly clean-sounding ‘Demon Days’ instead. The tangled, salted, tresses have been trimmed and plumped into slick quiffs, the two day old stubble has been eradicated. ‘Pythons’ has a kind of charm to it, though, in the same way as an old cuddly toy that makes irritating squeaking noises but has a really cute little face. ‘Say Yes To Me’ and ‘I Was Wrong’ are not scuzzy and flecked with dirt, but it’s nigh on impossible to forget their melody, just as it’s hard not to think nostalgically of American pop-punk straight afterwards. These two songs are fittingly named too, because this is an album that evokes an instant “no” response. Yet listening to it a few more times, the temptation to be overly negative fades away. The main issue with this album is that it is not terrible and it is not brilliant. It is simply there. It’s hard to feel anything other than nonchalance towards ‘Pythons’. (El Hunt)


Waxahatchee vampire weekend

Modern Vampires Of The City Their most complete record. Full of heart and full of ideas, it’s big, clever and brilliantly odd. (Danny Wright)


Silence Yourself

Squalling guitars and wiry bass lines might not be a new idea, but Savages make it sound vital. (Danny Wright) 66

Cerulean Salt (Wichita)

‘Cerulean Salt’ is the second album under the Waxahatchee name by prolific Alabama native Katie Crutchfield, and there’s a supremely evocative richness to these songs of love, hope and despair. It’s a record characterised by a nostalgic longing for the past and naïve idealism for the future. From delicate opener ‘Hollow Bedroom’ which details a relationship where she confesses, “I knew they’d hear our breath through these walls,” it’s clear she’s a songwriter who’s incredibly honest and unafraid to give every aspect of her being to her music. It’s a wonderfully satisfying listen. While it’s always been clear that she is a talented songwriter, ‘Cerulean Salt’ represents an outstanding example of Crutchfield’s talent blossoming into one of US indie’s most vital and compelling voices. (Martyn Young)


TRACKS Nine Inch Nails


Came Back Haunted

A Grave With No Name

Whirlpool (Stare Records) Whereas 2009’s ‘Mountain Debris’ and 2011’s ‘Lower’ were recorded in his bedroom, ‘Whirlpool’ is Alex Shields’ first professionally assembled album. And this, together with contributions from Linda Jarvis of Echo Lake, Akiko Matsuura of Comanechi, and Ides’ Alanna McArdle, brings fresh life and depth to these fuzzy soundscapes. It’s the sound of faded Polaroids, of a nostalgia that feels real but is hard to place, of youth and wasted moments. While sometimes its 80s and 90s alt-rock influences are sometimes too obvious, it’s still a record to get lost in. (Danny Wright)

‘Came Back Haunted’ seamlessly blends the Numan-ish origins of ‘Pretty Hate Machine’ with the glitch synths of ‘Year Zero’ while maintaining the ferocity and tension of ‘The Downward Spiral’. Each familiar element falls and rises with grace and swagger but in new ways and new combinations. An old master returns, he’s still painting with the same paints, but he’s creating masterpieces that bring the walls of the gallery down around them. (Matthew Davies)


‘Gun’ isn’t the proof of potential chart-stardom that ‘The Mother We Share’ might’ve been, but it is the sound of a band honing their craft when they could have stuck to one winning formula. Even within the flurried synths and verse-bridgechorus structure, it offers something new. “I will be your gun, and it’s you I’ll come for” is hardly a cliched romantic gesture, but Lauren Mayberry has always had a knack for sapping the joy out of the rest of the group’s bloodthirsty backdrops. All-out melancholy rarely sounds as nigh-on euphoric as this. (Jamie Milton)

no age C’Mon Stimmung


Benin City Fires in the Park

(Audio Donoughts) ‘People Will Say’ is a pretty strong statement to introduce ‘Fires In The Park’. They’re essentially inviting you to critique their album, which is brave, sort of. But the thing is, it’s such a promising debut, with a great mix of tracks to boot, that it’s not going to invite that much criticism. There’s nothing samey from song to song; ‘Wah Gwan’ follows newest single ‘Faithless’ but sounds entirely different, reminiscent of Ghostpoet’s slower beats, but with less drama. Its uniqueness might not be to everyone’s tastes, but it’s good, so you should probably tell all of your friends about it. (Coral Williamson)

Raw and unrelenting, this is everything No Age are meant to be. Sure, the fancy packaging and vivid descriptions can be a pleasant sideshow, but when business time knocks you’re only concerned with one primary goal: To lose your bearings, go crazy, and let loose to the sound of controlled chaos. As the sort-ofchorus goes, there’s “no place to hide”, and that’s just like listening to No Age in the best of circumstances. This is as good as it gets for the LA duo. Heady heights indeed. (Jamie Milton)

Beck Defriended

Like buses, it appears two Beck albums may be coming along at once - one acoustic, one studio. ‘Defriended’, if taken as a taster of where a mooted full length later this year may take Hansen, is at the very least interesting. It’s not a ‘Devil’s Haircut’; instead off kilter beats, bass and sparse electronica make a track that’s more about ideas than it is immediacy. It almost certainly won’t be anyone’s favourite Beck song, but it’s a good sign, proving in his time away he has still been trying out new things. (Stephen Ackroyd) 67

reviews albums

9 Kanye West Yeezus (Def Jam)

‘Yeezus’ isn’t a battle between the genius and the lunatic. When an artist like Kanye West appears to show two, conflicting sides - one perfectionist, the other reactionary, often dumb - there’s only a minuscule chance that it’s all in an audience-aware cause. Appearing on reality TV, walking head-first into a traffic sign; some loyalist fans might label these acts proof of his love of performance. Chances are it’s just a talented guy looking like an idiot. Kanye’s ‘genius’ emerges from his ability to play both roles, to embrace his conflicts and make them the subject of his records. You can praise Yeezy to the heavens for his ability flip the formula, raise the game, draw talent from the most curious of depths. But ‘Yeezus’ isn’t quite a forward-thinking groundbreaker. For one, it lacks female guests and credits. Lyrics often run into a dead end of foolery - “Eatin’ Asian pussy, all I need was sweet and sour sauce” - to the point where you’re often listening to this record like it’s some examination, not just of Kanye’s character, but of your ability to read him. ‘Blood On The Leaves’ samples one of the most powerful, remarkable race-documenting songs of our time, by Billie Holliday, and accompanies it with a TNGHT track and tales of taking pills for the first time. It’s a conflicted little bugger, is ‘Yeezus’. The issue being, Kanye’s often brilliant. ‘New Slaves’ is unrelenting in its double-meanings, its spot-on documentation of expectations on black America, where the poor “don’t touch anything in the store”, and for the rich it’s “come in, please buy more.” Its flick-of-a-switch from abrasive, Daft Punk-produced verses to Frank Ocean’s pitch-shifted, repeated cry of “I can’t lose”, backed by a sample of Hungarian band Omega, is a eureka moment, a validation of ‘Yeezus’’ wild, almostunattainable expectations. ‘Black Skinhead’’s casual swerve from “minimal” 68

click-tracks & thumping percussion - the kind you might otherwise expect to hear in These New Puritans ‘ ‘Hidden’ - is remarkable in itself. That it’s accompanied by canine-like roars and rhythmic, breathy huffs helps take things to another level. Musically, there are moments here that out-class, out-wit ‘My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy’. It’s a rock album, but only in the most modern of definitions. Guitars are almost non-existent. When they are used, such as in the post-party comedown of ‘Hold My Liquor’, conventional solos are inverted, warped into odd reflections of their former selves. It’s Ratatat meets theatrical pomp. And of course it works.

TRACKLISTING On Sight Black Skinhead I Am A God (Featuring God) New Slaves Hold My Liquor I’m In It Blood On The Leaves Guilt Trip Send It Up Bound 2

The beauty of ‘… Dark Twisted Fantasy’ however was its ability to be judged from two standpoints. You could either immerse yourself, geek-out on Kanye’s every meaningful quip. Or you could freak out at Minaj verses, Gil Scott-Heron closing stanzas and the sheer lunacy of goodness knows every track. With ‘Yeezus’, we’re judging a very different beast. It’s far from perfect, but when did perfection ever emerge from something so unhinged? No Rick Rubin, no Superman on the planet can keep Kanye in his place when he’s in this kind of form. Often it yields some of Yeezy’s finest moments, other times his most uncomfortable. The difference here being that on ‘Yeezus’, you find yourself looking for standout moments. On the previous record they’d hit you all at once like a diamond-filled avalanche. That doesn’t stop ‘Yeezus’ from being remarkable. Its choice of standpoint is to tire of convention, both politically and musically. It makes use of new fads, just like on ‘808s and Heartbreaks’ when ridiculed autotune became a point of mastery, and sources all their riches. It’s Kanye doing what he does best, but it’s also the sound of a rapper pushing himself for all his worth. Ranging from intimidating to wonderfully eye-opening, it’s always forthright, and it barely falters. (Jamie Milton)



field day v i c t o r i a p a r k , Lo n do n

ph oto: Emma Swann



ime and time again, Field Day has proved as interesting and fresh as any UK festival. This year is no different as Glasgow’s latest electro-pop sensation CHVRCHES draw a massive crowd despite an early 3pm billing. Vocalist Lauren Mayberry has come on leaps and bounds since their early shows. Her self-confessed inanimation appears to be lessening and she commands the stage with banter in between songs. “My mother is visiting London,” she tells us, “but has gone to watch Muse instead of our band.” Cue disdainful boos from the admiring crowd. There’s no noise bleed from the other tents while CHVRCHES ply their trade, as there has been in past years. The main stage does still sound a little quiet however, as Solange takes to it. The sound of chatter is prevalent throughout her set. Regardless, the crowd are all ready to bust a move when ‘Losing You’ drops. Daughter show exactly how far they’ve come over the last two years with an engaging, crowd rousing set in the several thousand capacity

Laneway tent. They create a set of swirling and suffocating intensity that sees a higher proportion of ‘sit on shoulders’ moments than any other at on the day. As ‘Human’ rings out around the tent, there is a genuine communal sense that we’ve just seen one the best performances of the day. Four Tet meanwhile provides the photo opportunity of the day with giant balloons which are thrown into the crowd. As the sun goes down and the inflatables bounce across the Hackney skyline, there is a warming groove to soundtrack it. It’s the kind of ambient electronic set that bids farewell to the sunshine that has bathed the day so beautifully and transitions us into the light shows of the night. The festival nearing its end, Animal Collective are charged with closing the show. Presenting their more mellow, spaced-out refinements, it’s perhaps a tactical final act from the promoters as they bring about a more muted end than you’d expect - but an understandable and respectful choice. Long may Field Day continue. (Ian Paterson) 71

photo: Emma Swann



B i r t h d ay s , Lo n do n

t’s a strange experience, sitting in the upstairs bar above the Birthdays basement, a couple of hours ahead of HEALTH’s late-night show. Crowds from below begin to filter out, having witnessed an earlier performance, not ‘matinee’ per se, but certainly one lacking late-night thrill. When the second scheduled set comes round, however, it becomes immediately clear that the sheer, mutating ferocity that’s so associated with HEALTH hasn’t let up in the slightest. The set opens and closes with a screech, ending abruptly with a crowdsurf and the assuring declaration from frontman Jake Duzsik that “this show was better than the last one.” The new songs don’t reach the severity of ‘We Are Water’ or even the more streamlined ‘Die Slow’. Something about them cries out for a bigger venue, smoke-filled festival tents; the tracks showcased amongst ‘Get Color’ highlights and their ‘Goth Star’ Pictureplane cover have the potential to sound huge. Rubbed up against the more screeching, established cuts, they don’t have the desired impact every single time. But for the most part, bass shakes the walls, speakers come close to breaking point. Call it melodic, call it streamlined, call it pop if you have the guts. The truth is this band are still a terrifying prospect, and it’s due time they aimed for a higher calling, out of intention or otherwise. Festivals are often anarchic, occasionally horrifying experiences. Sooner or later they’re going to be soundtracked by something aptly apocalyptic. (Jamie Milton)


photo: Leah Henson

parklife H e at o n Pa r k

The weekend starts inauspiciously with the majority of opening acts billed incorrectly in the Parklife programme. In the programme that had the stages identified incorrectly. That same programme that cost a fair few attendees a fair bit of money. After watching Quadron not be Quadron and the surprising transformation of Danny Brown into AlunaGeorge, it is refreshing to turn up to watch The Temper Trap and actually get to watch The Temper Trap. The epitome of the surprisingly-interesting stadium rock band, Dougy Mandagi’s voice rings out loud through a series of crowd-swaying anthems peaking at set closer ‘Sweet Disposition’. The crowd swells into the largest audience of the weekend for the bouncing exuberance of Rudimental and that chart-topping flavour runs through into a slick and sultry Jessie Ware set. To this point Saturday hasn’t exactly raced along but a consistent quality is shattered by a completely lacklustre performance from The Maccabees. Fortunately if there’s a British charttopper who can be trusted to energise a crowd it’s the multitalented and altogether thrilling Plan B. Tailor-made for the bassline-loving crowd, he delivers raucous drum and bass as well as a surprisingly guitar-based Rage Against The Machine-style aural assault. While the laddish banter of Plan B is fully in-keeping with the Parklife atmosphere, he delivers it with a wit and intelligence that most of the weekend’s other acts fail to match. Rushing to the relatively small HudMo tent on Sunday, Action Bronson leads a high energy set of old school beats and rhymes, often from the centre of the crowd. With the crowd chanting, the best atmosphere of the weekend rolls into life when he is joined on stage by one of hip hop’s up and coming stars… A wild Danny Brown appears. The skinny jeans wearing, crazy haired entertainer runs through countless absurd tales of exaggerated drug use and caricature sex obsession. Hilarious, friendly, excitable and humble, Brown easily steals the show as the must-see act of the weekend. Once bitten by the disappointing indie bug of The Maccabees the day before, the best way to finish is with a lowcommittal stroll through chart-botherers Rita Ora and Example. The latter delivers a characteristically cocky set before setting off a final explosion of rowdiness with the infectious ‘Changed The Way You Kissed Me’. Selling itself as the alternative to ‘alternative’ Parklife was always going to find itself in a bizarre context from the conveyor belt of super-club DJs to the Nando’s stall. When it hit the right note though it roared into top gear and sated a need for a pounding bassline and slick rhymes. (Matthew Davies) 73

Primavera Sound

photo: Eric Pamies


Primavera sometimes feels like a sprawling car park. Yet it’s also idyllic; the weather is perfect, and the sea and the orangeade sunsets and cloudless skies provide the perfect backdrop to what is always a strong line up. It’s something many of the acts recognise. As Damon Albarn looks out from the main stage during Blur’s imperious Friday night headline slot he stares up into the dark sky above the shimmering water, doing that middle distance gaze, and shouts “Hola, La lunar”. His band have lost none of the vitality of last summer’s Hyde Park show. ‘Tender’ is typically monumental, the way ‘Trimm Trabb’ launches off is still spellbinding and ‘This Is a Low’ has tears welling up. In a change to the usual setlist they end with ‘Song 2’. It means you find yourself hugging strangers, sweating and pogoing all at once. Liars are ever dazzling. Nick Cave is in imperious form with his Bad Seeds, and considering Wu-Tang Clan are all in their forties their set is one of the most energetic. Hot Chip – in front of a packed out crowd – bring our festival to an end. It’s been emotional, it’s been messy. It’s been a triumph. (Danny Wright)

Slam Dunk

U n i v e r s i t y of H e r t fo r d s h i r e There’s something about listening to pop punk in the summer that makes Slam Dunk one of the most wonderful days of the year. It’s a Bank Holiday weekend and the sun is gloriously shining; Hatfield University is quickly getting sweaty. The Vans Off The Wall stage is packed for Gnarwolves’ debut visit to Slam Dunk South. Overflowing out of the space, the audience is already in full swing; voices raised, crowdsurfers surging towards the stage, meanwhile The Story So Far instantly inject a dose of adrenaline into their audience. Blasting through a set fuelled with tracks from their most recent three albums, The Wonder Years’ crowd sings back with utter conviction, and it’s hard not to feel a little taken aback. Deaf Havana open their set with a rather interesting cover of Robbie Williams’ ‘Let Me Entertain You’, and frontman James Veck-Gilodi has mostly lost his voice. An obvious issue throughout, the new look six-piece do their best to overcome problems. All Time Low end proceedings. With the sun setting and many a satisfied punter singing along, their set carries that wonderfully reassuring sense of nostalgia. That’s the wonder of Slam Dunk; it’s the place to discover some of your new favourite rock bands, while getting reacquainted with some of your golden oldies. (Sarah Jamieson) 74

photo: Sarah Louise Bennett

photo: Fr aser Stephen

To r o Y Mo i T h e A r t S c h oo l , g l a s gow

The live version of Chaz Bundick’s avant dance pop is a far more immersive and lucid experience than on record; in the spirit of any number of futuristic 70s funk bands Toro Y Moi’s live sound is a melting pot of loose-limbed organic instrumentation and dance grooves filtered through a sensory kaleidoscopic prism. There are a few barriers to full ecstatic dance floor release tonight in Glasgow though. Due to the odd stage shape, the band are huddled together in an almost perfect circle with Bundick, the ostensible focal point, awkwardly facing side on away from the audience. It’s an unsatisfying set up, which almost renders the audience privy to an exclusive jam session. The self-effacing Bundick is at pains to point out that the set up is down to necessity not any such rock star demands from himself. It’s fortunate though that his excellent band are a joy to watch as the switch from elastic funk jams and dance grooves to airy synth pop and back again. Much of the material tonight comes from this year’s ‘Anything In Return’ album, and highlights like the slinky, light on its feet glide of ‘Harm In Change’ and the airy qualities of opening song ‘Rose Quartz’ set the mood well. The band keeps up the dynamic between upbeat tracks aided by an excellent light show and languorous pieces like the delicate ‘Touch’. There is a nagging sense of something missing though. The audience seem reticent to truly let go. The second half of the set sees the band becoming ever more lost in their own swirling sound. By far the best number of the night is a wonderful elongated version of debut album highlight ‘Still Sound’. As the bubbling groove takes on a life of its own the vibe changes perceptibility, most people are unable to hold back any longer. Ultimately, resistance to the beat and to the rhythm is futile. (Martyn Young) 75

reviews fashion


S u n d ae B est I c e a n d

c r e a m c h i p s ,

h o u r s

a n d

a n d S o

s u m m e r

a r e

c e l e b r at e

( h o p e f u l ly ) s u i ta b ly

t h e

a s

s y n o n y m o u s

n e x t

wa r m e r

pa s t e l

f e w

a s

m o n t h s ’

c l i m e s

w i t h

l o n g

t h e s e

s h a d e s .



f i s h




6 5



1 // Ice cream sunglasses £3 Primark 2// Mens’ ShortS £40 ShoreLeave at Urban Outfitters 3//Brookhaven Baker t-shirt £13 4//Paperchase 11” Satchel Lemon £105 5//Unicorn sweat £25 6//American Apparel Nail Lacquer in Cotton £9 7// Spot shirt £32 Topshop 8//Lacoste Marcel Boat shoe light blue £57


8 Wadjda

Released: 19/07/13 The first film to have been shot entirely in Saudi Arabia from the country’s first female director (Haifaa al-Mansour), this is a vivid, joyful drama told through the eyes of a tenacious 12-year-old Riyadh girl, Wadjda (Waad Mohammed). Like the Middle East’s answer to the Dardenne brothers, al-Mansour weaves a deceptively simple storyline about a bicycle with perceptive dialogue; uplifting and eye-opening, the film rests on young Mohammed’s shoulders with her wicked sense of humour. It covers gossip, clothing and relationships from a unique perspective in cinema, but the injustices Saudi women face every day are not swept under the carpet. A gorgeous film, confidently shot - even if al-Mansour had to direct her young stars from a van via walkie-talkie to avoid causing offense. A genuine triumph. (Becky Reed)


You See Me 8 This Is The End 8 The Bling Ring 6 Now

Released: 28/06/13 Famous comic personas are being killed as the apocalypse arrives, and only friends Seth Rogen, James Franco, Jonah Hill and more are left to survive. Vulgar, silly, violent and very weird, This Is The End is consistently hysterical, if not big or clever, and has a surprisingly strong heart to the piece as well. Not as self-indulgent as it may originally appear, the film is in fact a comedic highlight of the year and will keep you giggling throughout - and the soundtrack is pretty killer to boot. (Andrew Jones)


Released: 05/07/13 Sofia Coppola’s dramatisation of the fame-obsessed teenagers who broke into the homes of Paris Hilton, Orlando Bloom and others is a fascinating and intoxicating account of celebrity culture. Coppola’s heady style complements the sympathetic, natural performances from ringleaders Katie Chang and Israel Broussard, but it’s an astute Emma Watson who delivers her best performance to date as a shallow burglar. Like gossip rags and vacuous selfies in motion, it’s an engrossing film for our time. (Becky Reed)

Released: 03/07/13 With Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine in a twisty-turny film about magicians, it’s easy to get a Nolan vibe from Louis Leterrier’s glossy thriller. Jesse Eisenberg, Isla Fisher, Woody Harrelson and Dave Franco are terrific fun, but criminally wasted, as the illusionists carrying out spectacular public heists, but the focus is foolishly on bickering FBI and Interpol agents Mark Ruffalo and Melanie Laurent. The clever trickery is dazzling, but the high energy soon fizzles out along with the daft plot. (Becky Reed)

Eli Roth T h e s tar r e v e al s al l ab o u t h i s return to acting and directing in Af t e rs ho ck an d T h e G r e e n I n f e r no.


e’ve not seen him act on screen in a major role since Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds, but now writer, director and producer Eli Roth gets in front of the camera for Aftershock, a grindhouse horror from Chilean director Nicolas Lopez, and back in the director’s chair for The Green Inferno, an eco-horror set in the Amazon rainforest. We catch up with Roth while he is in the UK for Glasgow’s FrightFest, where he reveals it wasn’t his intention to star in Aftershock. “We wrote it and I wanted to be there as a producer and we thought we could save money,” he laughs. He tells us about the tragic origins of the story, inspired by Chile’s deadly earthquake of 2010 and how it affected leading lady Lorenza Izzo. A fan of Lopez’ unconventional 2004 teen film Promedio Rojo, Roth persuaded the writer and director to tackle both a genre flick

and an English language movie. “I thought that after The Last Exorcism I was in a position to help him crossover and we thought we’d write a science fiction movie,” explains Roth. “He started telling me about what happened in the earthquake in 2010 and it was terrifying. A friend of Lorenza Izzo’s, the bar fell and chopped his hands off and everyone was looking for the hands but the building was shaking so people are running and trampling and kicking the hands. Then they got the hands and tied them off, Lorenza walked through a plate glass window and she was cut up. People were smashing and looting, it was suddenly helicopters and marshal law. It’s horrific, and we realised that there hadn’t really been an earthquake movie since Earthquake and anything that had been done recently had been done with CG so we wanted to do something old school and do it practical and really

break shit and drop things and make it terrifying.” After filming on location in Chile, Roth cast Izzo in the first episode of his series Hemlock Grove, before dragging her to the Amazon for The Green Inferno. Roth reveals he wanted his return to directing to be a “real statement,” adding “I wanted to do something that would be the film that I would be remembered for, that would obliterate the others. I found these locations in the Amazon that were unbelievable. I went further up the river than anyone had ever gone before to shoot.” Alas, the innocent folk of the village were subjected to Roth’s warped introduction to film. “We brought a generator and a television and we showed them Cannibal Holocaust,” he laughs. “I told the producers we were going to show them E.T. or Wizard Of Oz. There were like five-year-old kids who all signed up to be cannibals!” (Christa Ktorides) 79

reviews games

games DIY

Retro Game



Mo n t h

r ec o mmme n d s The Last Of Us (Sony) PS3

The Last Of Us should be an uninspired snore-fest. The story of a man protecting a girl as they travel across a post-apocalyptic America, defending each other against infected humans and gun-toting desperate survivors. But it’s surprisingly devoid of cliche, with an explosive human story so well acted you’re expecting Oscar nominations. The careful execution and pacing works wonders and every kill you make feels heavy and necessary. Simply spectacular – a defining moment for this generation of consoles.

ArcaniA: The Complete Tale (Nordic Games) PS3, Xbox 360

2010’s celebrated action-RPG returns, combining both Gothic 4 and the expansion pack Fall Of The Setariff on one disc, allowing maximum nondisruptive-constant-playing-nessness. Gothic 4 was never the slickest game around, abandoning a tight story for action-heavy gameplay, but fans won’t be disappointed with this newly released collection so you can relive the tale of revenge, magic and love. Oh, and killing.

The Warriors (Rockstar) PS3

Can you downlooooaddd iiiittt? Yes. The 2005 Rockstar action title was a bit of a game-changer back in its day mixing the open world wandering of GTA with the tight assassinations of Manhunt into a mixing pot of slick, 70s-style brawling. Now available for PS3 as part of the PS2 Classic collection with flashback missions, free-roam fighting and brutal, unpredictable violence, it still holds up as the best brawler you’ll ever play while wearing a leather waistcoat. 80

Captain Blood

(Infogrames) Commodore Amiga, 1988 Here’s a game with one of the best back-stories you’ll never encounter. Captain Blood decides not to even bother telling it. Who needs a story? Hell, let’s not even bother telling you how to play the game at all. Infogrames’ infamous brain-buster goes so far as to hint that somewhere, beneath all the confusing, cosmic, blue lumps and bumps on the screen is a game. Probably. We think. The story of a programmer sucked into his own video game and separated into twenty-five clones of himself, five of which he must kill (?) is never apparent. In fact, the only way to even find out what you’re supposed to do is read the manual. Evidently that’s a last resort, so what you’ll do is click around the screen until you realise you’re at the helm of a space ship that’ll take you flying around galaxies to interrogate aliens and, ultimately, find your clones. Thing is, nobody speaks English across the galaxy because, well, why would they? So, Captain Blood soon becomes a quest to decode alien languages, manoeuvre through inter-stellar landscapes using a crude radar and become a maniacal destroyer of worlds. And all for what? No fucking idea! Captain Blood is a mysterious, confusing and intriguing product of the 80s. But in a good way; it never relies on action or cheap gun-battling, and we could all do with a little more confusion in our play-things. Completely unique, undeniably weird, and utterly engrossing.


The yearly E3 conference in Los Angeles shows off the industry’s brand new toys, where smug companies pimp their warez (both soft and hard) for whooping journos and eager fans. But what came out tops this year?


Microsoft went games heavy with sixteen new titles, but were ultimately speared in the digital gut by Sony who unveiled that the PS4 will impose no restrictions on sharing and reselling games. Ouch!


Games genius Hideo Kojima put his wee excited face on and revealed the new game will be episodic like a TV series, hopefully not like Mrs Brown’s Boys.


The new CD Projekt RED title will be open-world, a series first for The Witcher. With a sprawling map full of surprises and tangents, apparently it’ll take 40 minutes to traverse it on horseback. In the game, that is.


Monolith Soft unveiled a new open-world mech title for Nintendo known only, for now, as X. The multiplayer robobattling is created by the team who made Xenoblade, so it’ll be champion.


The Xbox One exclusive from Insomniac Games sees imaginative use of weaponry such as, what looks like, a gun that fires vinyl records. Cue mass hipster fainting session.

p r ev i ew s

Beyond: Two Souls

Grand Theft Auto V

Rayman Legends

Release Date: 08/10/13

Release Date: 17/09/13

Release Date: 30/08/13

(Sony) PS3

Starring none other than Ellen Page and Willem Dafoe, this supernatural thriller about a young girl haunted by an invisible entity. With the ability to play as the ghost itself, there’ll likely be a less passive approach to the gameplay than with David Cage’s previous masterpieces, plus he’s also promised that each segment is different, never repeating sequences or actions.

(Rockstar) Xbox 360, PS3

Based around three disparate criminals, GTA V’s Los Santos is set to be the biggest city yet and the three unlikely partners will set about taking apart the streets in the pursuit of the almighty dollar. Looking like it’ll mix the strongest elements of the previous titles and discard the chaff (cough, Niko Bellic’s moaning face, cough), it may be the series’ glorious return to form.

(Ubisoft) Xbox 360, PS3, PSV, Wii U

The long-awaited direct sequel to Rayman Origins continues its predecessor’s fresh take on old-school platforming as you control the cheery gaming icon and his pals in a running, jumping and kicking adventure through mythical worlds hidden in paintings. Just never ask how Rayman manages all this without a visible set of limbs. 81

back page uncle eddie

E dd i e A r g o s i s h e r e t o h e l p w i t h a ll yo u r p r o b l e m s . Who is cooler? Fans of Star Wars or fans of Star Trek?   Confused. - Greg Hughes (Still Corners), London Dear Greg from Still Corners. What an embarrassing question, everybody else in the world knows the answer to this except you. I’ve just googled it and the answer is so well known that there has never even been any debate on the matter - none  whatsoever - not even on Sci-Fi message boards and those dudes love to debate stuff. By asking me this in such a public forum you have humiliated yourself. DIY has millions upon millions of readers and from now


on whenever one of them passes you in the street they are going to giggle and cover their mouths whispering to each other “there is Greg from Still Corners he doesn’t even know who is cooler fans of Star Wars or fans of Star Trek, I’ve known since I was three, hehehe what a loser.” In fact it will probably be engraved on your tomb stone “Here lies Greg from Still Corners, the man who had to ask who is cooler fans of Star Wars or fans of Star Trek.” The answer is Star Trek, us fans of Star Trek are much cooler. Thanks. Eddie Argos X

Where are we going to get the money to throw an amazing party and which fantastic beach shall we hold it on? - Caroline Hjelt and Aino Jawo (Icona Pop), Sweden Rob a bank. Miami. Good luck.



available in the app store now 83


DIY, July 2013  

Featuring Deap Vally, AlunaGeorge, Editors, Laura Marling, Queens of the Stone Age, Sigur Ros and more.