DIY, May 2014

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DIY free / issue 29 / may 2014





th e

horrors In And Out of Sight






What’s on the DIY team’s radar? Victoria Sinden

Deputy Editor

good If you haven’t sniffed

DIY’s all-new new paper stock yet, now would be an excellent time. evil People are giving you funny looks now, right? Sarah Jamieson

News Editor

good There have been so


We kind of know how The Horrors feel. They lock themselves away in a studio, we sit in our (almost) windowless bunker crafting a magazine all month. They probably use a bit more hairspray, but essentially it’s the same. But lo! With new album ‘Luminous’ they come blinking into the light! And what an album it is too. We may have long since accepted The Horrors don’t have a bad record in them, but at some point they’re going to have to accept it; those huge A list festival headline slots can’t be too far away. Meanwhile, we’re still sat in the dark. The next issue waits for nobody. Stephen Ackroyd

good Next month is a big one for DIY. We’re relaunching big style with a new website. KEEP ‘EM PEELED.

evil Seriously, I’d just

like to see some sunlight. I’m starting to feel like Richmond from The IT Crowd.

many great gigs recently, and festival season is probably going to be our busiest ever. Bring on all the bands! evil You know that awful feeling when you haven’t eaten quite enough hot cross buns, and they’re about to leave the shops? Emma Swann

Reviews Editor good Wolf Alice sounding all big and gnarly on their new EP. evil Record Store Day mere days before payday? Boo. Louise Mason

Art Director

good Ringing up the band that shaped my life.

evil Every day can’t be

Quote of The Month “everything i like is



what’s on the diy stereo this month? Parquet Courts - Sunbathing Animal

Recorded in three ferocious sessions, Brooklyn’s most frustrated twenty-somethings are still kicking and screaming for their follow-up to ‘Light Up Gold’. The Antlers - Familiars

True to the album’s title, there’s a big sense of familiarity to The Antlers’ long-awaited return. Anyone drawn to tears by previous records will be reaching for the tissues again.

spent with Merrill Garbus and some leopards and tigers and bears and swans. Jamie Milton

Online Editor

good Being able to see Girl

Band again at this year’s Great Escape Festival, headlining the DIY Stage. evil Might need to upgrade on the old earplugs for this Girl Band gig…





6 sa m s m ith 1 0 ly k k e li 1 2 C onor O b erst


1 5 F o x es 1 6 C lean Ban d it 2 0 L ittle Dragon 2 2 festi v als


3 2 b roo d s 3 4 G lass A ni m als


3 5 T he A ci d 36 Tove Lo 3 8 H o z ier

features 4 0 the horrors Shine a light


4 8 T une - Y ar d s Eating the future 5 2 S haron Van E tten “I wanted to be more in charge� 5 6 thu m pers Good things come... 6 0 C hro m eo Up all night to get poppy

76 4


64 ALBUMS 7 6 li v e

Editor Stephen Ackroyd Deputy Editor Victoria Sinden Reviews Editor Emma Swann News Editor Sarah Jamieson Art Director Louise Mason Head Of Marketing & Events Jack Clothier Online Editor Jamie Milton Assistant Online Editor El Hunt Contributors Ana Byrne, Aurora Mitchell, Bevis Man, Charlie Ralph, Coral Williamson, Danny Wright, Dominique Sisley, Emma Cooper, Gareth Ware, Greta Geoghegen, Huw Oliver, Josh Baines, Laurence Day, Martyn Young, Matthew Davies, Michael J Fax, Sam Haughton, Shefali Srivastava, Stuart Knapman, Tim Hakki, Tim Lee, Tom Walters Photographers Abi Dainton, Carolina Faruolo, Mike Massaro, Nathan Barnes, Phil Sharp, Phil Smithies, Sarah Louise Bennett For DIY editorial 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.




“The album is a little bit rough around the edges; there are songs people will h at e . �

NEWS Sam Smith




As Sam Smith conquers hype and readies his debut album ‘In The Lonely Hour’, for the first time he’s able to look back on the most whirlwind of years. Words: Jamie Milton.


thoughts, my pains and my happiness,” according to Sam. “It’s my diary.”

“It is tough,” he admits. “But what I love is that I feel completely in control of my work. Some would say after [Naughty Boy collaboration] ‘La La La’ that I should have released an album immediately to keep the hype going. Or maybe I should have released my album the week after the BRITs. I love the idea that I’m doing this at my own speed.”

The title of the album, then, can work in two ways. A ‘... Lonely Hour’ could be a tear strewn state of affairs enhanced by cheap wine, or it could be a relaxed period of isolation accompanied by

peaking a week after he shared a stage with Louis CK, becoming the first ever artist to appear on Saturday Night Live pre-debut album, Sam Smith would be excused for being a touch arrogant. But this is a guy that managed to stay humble despite early assertions that he’s the definitive sound of 2014. By the time he picked up a BRITs Critics’ Choice Award, even he must have been feeling a slight hint of boredom; there’s been an album up his sleeve for months.

Sam makes it clear that “I don’t want to be riding on the hype.” That’s easier said than done. There needs to be a certain level of hype to ensure SNL slots and sudden appearances on stage with Taylor Swift. Right from the moment Disclosure collaboration ‘Latch’ put him on the map, this future-superstar’s had pressure on his shoulders. Two things have kept him going - the music itself and a no-bullshit mentality. “I was working in a bar two years ago,” he starts. “Everything has completely changed. My life is completely on its head. But do you know what’s stayed the same? I’m still living in the same flat I was two years ago. I’ve got the same friends, I’m still seeing my family. Everything still feels normal, which is amazing. I’ve been very cautious of the way I want things to be. I want it to be about my music.” Debut ‘In The Lonely Hour’ is the sound of a 21-year-old documenting everything but the partying. There’s “my

Initially he tackled his own insecurities in trying to battle the fact that he simply didn’t know if he’d been through enough in his life to write a solo album. “I was thinking ‘How am I going to write an album when I have no experiences?’ It’s hard. But then I realised I do have experience. I love people who don’t love me back and it’s horrible, and that’s what the whole project stems from. I learnt how to deal with loneliness.”



For his debut album, Sam was given all the time he needed to work to his own devices. No intervention, no ‘new ideas’ from outside. Here’s ‘In The Lonely Hour’’s defining elements. Soul music “I love Luther Vandross but I also love Lady Gaga. The stuff that really connects is the soulful stuff, and I love soulful music.” His childhood “I used to panic as a kid because I didn’t know what I wanted to do when I was older. I had panic attacks from the age of seven. When people were saying ‘Sam, you’re good at that’ I just ran with it.” Moving to London “I moved there on my own, paid rent by myself, cleaned toilets at a bar. I was just feeling extra lonely and sorry for myself.”

acclaimed records and fine cigars. “That ‘Lonely Hour’ doesn’t necessarily have to be a sad hour. You can make it into whatever you want it to be.” What’s most important above anything else is that all the flaws and rough edges of being a twenty-something are documented. Moving to London and feeling like a stranger - that’s in there. This isn’t a cohesive debut, either. It’s a collection of ideas that sprung up in writing sessions spread over twelve months. It’s a journey of discovery, minus the ‘gap yah’. “I hate, as a lover of music and a buyer of music, when I see an artist have their first video which is really low-budget, and then suddenly they go into fame and they have millions thrown at them,” Sam asserts. “They’re walking down the street, looking completely perfect, dressed in these designer clothes, when the reality is, the journey for these things is not like that. I want to be so much better than I am right now. It’s extremely important for me to grow and showcase the growth.” The breakthrough SNL performance happens to be the first televised slot Sam’s ever been happy with. He’s forthcoming in stating that ‘In The Lonely Hour’ is defined by its own flaws. “The album is probably a little bit rough around the edges, there’s probably something wrong with it, there’s going to be songs people will hate. I’m learning, and I’m not going to pretend that I’m a master of what I do.” This “insecure” individual, whose only source of contentment comes from within his music, seems to have figured out the perfect formula for conquering hype: don’t believe any of it. Sam Smith’s debut album ‘In The Lonely Hour’ will be released on 26th May via Capitol Records. Read the full interview in DIY Weekly. DIY


On the tour to rule them all, which of these two will be seeing red?

WOLF ALICE VS. SUPERFOOD They’re both members of our Class of 2014, but who will make it out as this year’s high scorers? Wolf Alice and Superfood are heading into the (tour)ring to decide.




You’ve just come off tour with Manic Street Preachers. How was that? It was really good. We’ve never really done anything like that before. All the bands that we’ve toured with [previously] all have quite young audiences and this was quite a lot of an older market. It was really, really nice actually.


You’re about to play a lot of your own headline shows, but you’ll be mixing it up with appearances at some festivals. I think they’re a really good thing to do mid-tour, because it means you get to go see other bands and hear some different music. It really gears you up. If you see a band who are way tidier than you, it just spurs you on a bit; you’re inspired by other people’s hard work.


The tour’s going to be a pretty hefty run; how do you think you’ll hold up in the face of a month’s worth of shows? We’ve done it before; I think


we did a tour, I think it was this time last year, that was around the same length, just minus the support band and probably minus the audience! I think we’re quite a tour-y kind of band. We like to work hard, and it is hard, but it’s fun.


You’ve invited Superfood to support. Are you looking forward to hanging out with them more? I think it’ll be really fun to have a really good band like Superfood coming with us. We’ve hung out them quite a few times now and we all seem to get along. Well, they might hate us, but we like them!


Will you be indulging in any on-tour pranking? Oh yeah, I’m sure there’ll be lots of pranks! I’ll leave that up to the boys though, because I’m scared of karma. If I do a prank, I’ll probably get something worse! Yeah, I’m sure they’re very good at that. They love the typical, ‘Oh, look, there’s a salt in your beer. How did that get there?!’

IN THE superfood CORNER...



You’ve just been on tour with We Are Scientists: how did it go? Yeah, it was really good. There was always the pressure to try and be funny as you pass them in the corridor! But yeah, it was really good fun. The shows were really cool. They have been in this game a long time... I know yeah. I always just feel like, when I’m talking to them, I’m letting them down with the banter. It was bad!


You’re about to head out on the road again, this time with Wolf Alice. It’ll be such a departure from the tour that we’ve just done. It’s gonna be sweaty, in 200, 300 capacity venues full of kids going nuts hopefully. We can’t wait. Is it nice to be heading out with songs from your ‘MAM’ EP? It’s great that people can come to a gig and sing along, but we’re so much more excited to play the new songs off our album.


This tour’s a fairly lengthy one, are you adequately prepared?

I think the first tour we did with Peace was a month or so; we were thrown in at the deep end. We’re always away from home, we have been for ages now. Plus, we’ve got a van and stuff now. We’re not doing it in a Ford Fiesta this time!


Is it gonna be fun to head out with a band of your peers like Wolf Alice? Yeah. We always hang out with them when we’re in London, but we haven’t had the chance to go out on tour together yet. It’s gonna be fun to see them every day!


Have you got any pranks up your sleeves?! Well, I’ve never actually been a part of pranking a band on tour before; maybe this should be the first one. I should start doing it. I’m gonna fill their drum kit with sausages! So when they go on and start playing drums, they start pulling out cumberlands. It might sound great though… I might get our drummer to start playing with sausages. Wolf Alice and Superfood will tour the UK from 1st May. DIY




Parallel Lines Promotions present


Dingwalls, Camden - Wednesday 14th May 2014 9


“ I was in su c h d eep pain . ” Lykke L i

No Rest For The Wicked Lykke Li ba res h er s o u l o n n ew a lb u m , ‘I N e v er Le a rn’. Wo rd s: H uw O liv er .

Lykke’s attempt at a cricket bowl needs improving. 10


he focal point of ‘I Never Learn’, Lykke Li’s intense, often heartbreaking third album, is a song called ‘Gunshot’. Track five of nine, it appears just before the flipside and revolves around one particularly brutal gut-puncher of a metaphor. “And the shot goes through my head and back / Gun shot, I can’t take it back,” Li broods in the most intense, but most upbeat chorus on the album. Elsewhere, there are shout-outs to poison, cracked hearts and cancer. Even by her standards, this is rather macabre stuff. “I was pretty surprised about that myself,” she admits. “That’s probably the highest point, and then it kind of goes back. That’s as far as you go and then you retreat. And every song around it tells a story.”

First single ‘No Rest For The Wicked’ is an incredibly lonesome thing. Chockfull of negatives and singular images, it’s the refrain (“Lonely I, I’m so alone now”) that really wrenches the heartstrings. But nothing aches like ‘Love Me Like I’m Not Made of Stone’, whose title is self-explanatory. Just guitar and voice, it signals a change in aesthetic for the enigmatic musician. “That version is the actual demo,” Li reveals. “When I write, things just come to me and I simply try to record them. I had a tape machine and I recorded it. Sometimes when I write, it’s so subconscious that I hardly even know myself what it means. Like, I’m trying to figure out as I’m singing it. That song really captures that, all the sentiment: like, ‘Oh my God, is this how I feel?’ It’s only now that I can reflect on it and understand how I was in such deep pain. I think that song carries a lot of deep guilt and shame. It was painful being me.” Her new strippedback, nearing minimalist aesthetic allowed Li to work on her music and lyrics in a more refined, more meticulous manner. “It was wonderful,” she says. “But it was also difficult to capture, because all I wanted was to capture something really alive, like I wanted you to feel like you held my beating heart in your hands. And sometimes I nailed it.” In the main part, she’s referring to the aforementioned demo, as well as ‘No Rest For The Wicked’, recorded in one take. Overall, she says, this paring down meant she had to step up to the plate. “The older you get, it’s all about refining and it’s really difficult to make something simple, so it became a real challenge,” she reminisces. “Every word and every chord had to have its place and kind of be perfect in its imperfection.” Lykke Li’s new album ‘I Never Learn’ will be released on 5th May via LL DIY at the Recordings / Atlantic Festivals Lykke Li will play at Records. Read the Latitude. See full interview in DIY Weekly. DIY for details.

“ I wante d listeners to feel like you hel d my b eatin g heart in your han d s . ” Lykke L i

Lykke Li has always been a little glum, yes, but this record plummets to new levels of spleen. No doubt about it. Honesty is the key motif, as she avoids the character-playing wiffle-waffle, pours her heart and soul, and fills the space by riffing on real-life emotion. Apparently, the album title surged out of the subconscious, and evolved into a powerful dictum for Li. “I was kind of stuck in a haze, and I was like, ‘What the fuck? How can I be here again?” she says. “Everything around had changed but I still struggled with the same thing. And I hate the fact you always feel like you have to be going somewhere, like the end destination is to be finished, or to be happy. But the truth is a lot of us are completely lost, and we don’t know, and that is also a state of mind, to not know who you are and where you’re going.”

NEws in brief


Hot Chip vocalist and all-round musical polymath (well, sort of), Alexis Taylor has announced details of a second solo album. ‘Await Barbarians’ will be the Londoner’s first with label Domino, and will be released on 9th June - coinciding with a string of UK tour dates.


First Aid Kit have announced plans to release their brand new album, ‘Stay Gold’, this summer. The sisters Söderberg will be following up their 2012 album ‘The Lion’s Roar’ with their third full-length on 9th June. Their new Mike Mogis-produced record will also double as their debut release through new label Columbia.


Cheatahs are already looking ahead to summer with plans to play a one-off London show firmly in their schedule. The band, whose selftitled offering was released through Wichita Recordings earlier this year, will be taking on The 100 Club on 21st May.

aim awards 2014

The Association of Independent Music (AIM) has announced the initial details of its 2014 Awards, taking place on 2nd September. DIY’s once again involved in the Golden Welly Award for Best Festival; we’ll be hosting the voting later this year. 2013’s winner was LeeFest. Tickets are on sale at


“ I ’ v e a lway s been p r e occ u p i e d with existential dilemmas.”

Double Life

Conor Oberst”

C o n o r O b e r s t h a s p u t o n h i s s o l o h at f o r n e w a l b u m , ‘ U p s i d e D o w n M o u n ta i n ’ . W o r d s : D o m i n i q u e S i s l e y.


ou can forgive Conor Oberst for seeming a little dishevelled. Smack bang in the middle of a whistle-stop European press tour to promote his new album ‘Upside Down Mountain’, his warm Nebraskan drawl sounds a little sleepier than usual. “We’re leaving tomorrow morning for Berlin,” he exhales, with an air of peaceful resignation. Despite any fleeting signs of fatigue, he remains effusive - with large doe eyes and soft, somnolent vowels. “I like London a lot, I’ve been here so many times.” Having been in the game for over two decades, Conor’s musical pursuits and creative collaborations have been vast and varied. A member of Bright Eyes, Desaparecidos, Monsters of Folk and many others, ‘Upside Down Mountain’ is his second ever solo record.


“I feel like I’ve been pretty invested in all the different projects and records I’ve made,” he says, “I think to a lot of outside people it’s sort of splitting hairs, like – ‘Why does this guy need so many bands?!’ - but to me they all sort of make sense.” He sees each project as a way of collaborating, fusing together different minds and ideas to create something new. “When I get to do a record on my own, I guess I’m a little more free to call the shots,” he ponders, before hastily adding, “but then again I produced the record with this guy Jonathan Wilson, who is such a big part of it… he comes from a bit of a different musical background than I do, so I think that the record is sort of where our ideals intercept a little bit.”

markedly different to 2011’s last Bright Eyes release, ‘The People’s Key’. “I kind of intentionally wanted the words on that to be very dense and almost cryptic - my hope was that if you started to listen to it enough it would start to reveal itself - but I think some people just didn’t want to listen to it that much so they never got to that part,” he laughs. “I felt like the music we were making was some of our most accessible pop music… so I wanted the words to kind of be the opposite - like, you’d need some kind of decoder ring to understand it.” With ‘Upside Down Mountain’, though, it’s back to basics - “I think I was just sort of ready to write in a more conversational style, you know? A lot of people call that confessional - which I don’t agree with because I’m certainly not confessing anything about myself – but I think conversational is a term I would use more.”

The new album sees a welcome return to more personal songwriting from Oberst – something

Conor Oberst’s new album ‘Upside Down Mountain’ will be released on 19th May via Nonesuch Records. Read the full interview in DIY Weekly. DIY

Over the years, it’s fair to say that certain themes have constantly cropped up in Conor’s songwriting. Whether it’s spirituality, humanity or religion, he has never been one to shy away from the bigger issues. “Some people will tell you it’s a waste of time to think about those things or to ponder them too much, because it’s not going to ever come to any solid answers,” he leans back, “maybe I should be over it by now or something, but I’ve always been maybe preoccupied with that. I guess those kind of existential dilemmas… To me that’s the real function of art and music, exploring that basic idea of the human condition and what we all have in common.” DIY at the Festivals Conor Oberst will play at Bilbao BBK Live and Latitude. See for details.















IN THE S T U D I O. . .



With First Aid Kit gearing up to release t h e i r b r a n d n e w a l b u m ‘ S t ay G o l d ’ t h i s June, johanna Söderberg gives a glimpse i n s i d e t h e i r s t u d i o.

L ana Del Rey debuts new material .


ana Del Rey has unveiled the first single from new album ‘Ultraviolence’. ‘West Coast’ gained its first play during Fearne Cotton’s BBC Radio 1 show last week: it’s a woozy, swerving, constantly shifting number that has The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach written all over it. Ahead of its first radio airing, the track was initially previewed at last weekend’s Coachella, backed by billboards sporting the verse line: “Down in the West Coast, they got a sayin’...” The new track also arrives alongside a video showing the singer beach strewn in a dramatic, black-and-white sequence, which you can watch on now. ‘Ultraviolence’ is still yet to have an official release date, but it’s expected in summer 2014. Lana is playing at this year’s Glastonbury Festival, with more UK appearances expected to be announced soon. DIY

We’re sitting in the control room next to the huge Neve board. It was once George Martin’s and as far as we know ‘A Horse With No Name’ by America was mixed on this board. That is pretty cool, we must say. We don’t know that much about the details of the technicalities of recording but we’re definitely very involved in the production from start to finish. Working with our producer Mike Mogis is such a pleasure. He is dedicated, intelligent and funny. We had a blast. He just gets what we’re about and we know he cares about what we think. Mike’s very open minded and likes to talk things through and try different options to really get a sense of what works and what doesn’t for each song. Most of all, he’s such a good friend. Here we are discussing different vocal arrangements. One thing that we tried on this record was to switch who sings lead and who sings harmonies. Now that Klara is better at harmonies I can sing lead more. We think it adds an interesting touch to a song when you switch the main vocalist like that. This is how we recorded most tracks on the record, with Klara and I in the same booth separated by a see-through glass. We like to be in the same room when singing because our voices are more synchronised when we can see each other. First Aid Kit’s new album ‘Stay Gold’ will be released on 9th June via Columbia Records. DIY 14

The Ezra Express


eorge Ezra’s biggest song is called ‘Budapest’ and yet criminally, young George has never actually been to the Hungarian capital. He planned on it once while inter-railing through Europe but he drank too much rum and got waylaid, the bloody idiot. Now he’s making amends by announcing one great big trip to Budapest. On the surface, it sounds a little bit like #Rihannaplanegate. He’s inviting fans to travel with him across several cities over five days, gradually picking up more people along the way. The trip kicks off on May 28th in Bristol, eventually ending up with a special show in Budapest on the 31st. Anyone hoping to get involved needs to enter a competition - all the details can be found on DIY


ould you rather be a boy, or a toilet? Louisa Allen, aka Foxes, makes a snap decision: “I’d rather be a toilet... Oh no, that’s horrible. I’d rather be a boy.” Foxes - known as Lou or Loui to her friends, hence the toilet or boy dilemma - got back from Miami yesterday evening and hasn’t quite recovered yet. “I just got off the plane and ran in the direction of my mum,” she confesses. To say being Foxes is a ‘mad’ job is a bit of an understatement. With debut album ‘Glorious’ on the brink of release, Louisa has already totted up some amazing collaborations – and there’s a Grammy with her name on it, after she featured on single ‘Clarity’ with Zedd, which won Best Dance Recording. “The Grammy is amazing. It’s quite surreal, when I think about it,” Louisa gushes. “It’s for a song I did with another guy. I was featuring. It’s amazing, that early on, to win something I’ve always dreamed of winning, but it makes me feel like I want to work a lot harder, so I can prove something with my own music.” For someone who says her 14-year-old self “did a little die” at working with Fall Out Boy, Louisa is very self-assured. She talks about the album’s name, and the search for a “one word line that had strength in it, and some confidence.” ‘Glorious’, the title track on the album, “sums up the album the most.” She explains: “It’s not a themed album necessarily, it’s just a girl, growing up and telling a story. It’s personal and it’s all sorts of things that have happened to me that I’ve put into words. And music, because that’s what music is! But yeah, it’s very personal. I’ve put a lot into it, oh my god, personally. I’m going to shut up.”

Boom Boom

N o t m a n y a r t i s t s h av e a G r a m m y t o t h e i r n a m e b e f o r e t h e y ’ v e e v e n r e l e as e d t h e i r de b u t ; b u t t h e n , not many art i sts ar e Fox es . Wor d s : C or al Williamson.

While her eloquence might be slightly damaged by tiredness, her enthusiasm is unhampered. She admits that being so personal with her music was mildly terrifying though. “It’s really scary, and you think, ‘I hope they don’t realise what that is about’. Sometimes I twist things around. It’s always nice when people come back and they’re like, ‘I’ve gone through that’. It’s nice because you know they’ve looked into it.” Louisa pauses. “I’ve just wandered off in thought... what was the original question?” Foxes’ debut album ‘Glorious’ will be released on 12th May via Epic Records / Sony. Read the full interview in DIY Weekly. DIY


NEWS clean bandit

NEws in brief


Drenge have announced dates for a June/July UK & Ireland headline tour. They’ll be stopping at: Hull’s The Welly (03 June), Oxford’s O2 Academy 2 (04), Cardiff’s The Globe (05), Coventry’s Kasbah (07), Derry’s Nerve Centre (30), Cork’s Cyprus Avenue (02 July) and Galway’s Roisin Dubh (06).

A Harmonious Marriage

C l e an B an d i t ar e e m b r ac i n g t h e i r ro o t s . Wo r d s : Sar ah Ja m i e s o n . P h o to s : M i k e M a s s a r o.


London duo Slow Club have announced plans to release a third album. They’ll be following up 2011’s ‘Paradise’ with their new offering ‘Complete Surrender’. Due out on 14th July, it’s headed up by a triumph of a title-track, which is streaming now over at


Having released his debut album ‘Tremors’ just last week, SOHN has now announced details of his biggest headline show to date. The Vienna-based producer will play London’s Shepherd’s Bush Empire on 12th September 2014. Tickets are on sale now.


Liverpool’s Circa Waves have just rounded off their NME Awards tour with Interpol, Royal Blood and Temples and have now confirmed a London headline show. They’ll take to the stage at London’s Lexington on 28th May, following festival appearances at the likes of Liverpool Sound City, Live At Leeds and The Great Escape.



orn from a classical string quartet that began at Cambridge University, Clean Bandit have got their sights on taking over the dance world, the pop world and just about everything in between. So far, they’re not doing badly: their Number One single ‘Rather Be’ has earwormed its way into unsuspecting audiences everywhere. What has been the recipe for their charttopping madness? The band’s violinist Neil Amin-Smith believes that the lack of a traditional ‘band structure’ is a major factor. “Strings are used a lot in pop music but really only as a bedding, or a harmony,” he begins. “Having the strings so prominent in the mix in the songs, almost like a counter-melody or something, differentiates it from other stuff. It kinda catches your ear.” Whilst their beginnings lay in using classical samples, which were remixed and looped by the band’s Jack Patterson, they’ve constantly developed their palette. The results – and their forthcoming debut album – have allowed the band to explore different styles using just a few core elements. “What we’ve done on the more recent stuff is that we haven’t actually used classical samples, we’ve just had original string parts,” Neil explains. “We don’t have a singer in the band, and it’s meant that we’ve worked with such different vocal styles. There’s no way that any one singer could’ve brought those different feels to different tracks. That’s been exciting.” Neil

knows it’s not without its pitfalls. “I guess in a way it must be harder for fans to kinda latch on to because there’s not someone to obviously identify with,” but it’s a prospect that means the band can evolve with every three minute output. “For us it’s definitely exciting that we can go in any direction.” Of course, when it comes to either of their core genres, there are naysayers and purists. Clean Bandit are no strangers to coming up against some opposition, but with their passions for both dance and classical music, it’s nothing that they can’t handle. “The band came about because Grace [Chatto, cello] and I were playing in a string quartet and Jack recorded that and messed around. So, the first gig we ever did, the audience was pretty much entirely made up of the fan base that we had built up as a string quartet and they really enjoyed it,” he laughs. “It went down really well.” As for that Number One single, it could hardly have been anything but a surreal experience. “I feel like it hasn’t really sunk in that we had a Number One! It’s not something I really ever thought was on the cards. It’s just really new to us; yeah, it’s mad.” Clean Bandit’s debut DIY at the album ‘New Eyes’ Festivals Clean Bandit will play at will be released Liverpool Sound City, Live on 2nd June via at Leeds, Latitude and Atlantic Records. Kendal Calling. See DIY for details.





ack White has returned. After news that The Dead Weather will conclude 2014 with a new album, as well as Jack’s continuing commitment to Third Man Records - which has most recently seen him collaborate with Neil Young - what hadn’t been anticipated was his solo return.

CAUSING CONFLICT A s t h e r e l e a s e o f O w e n Pa l l e t t ’ s f o u r t h r ec o r d, ‘ I n C o n f l i c t ’ , d r aw s c l o s e r , t h e A r c a d e F i r e c o l l a b o r at o r o f f e r s u p a n i n s i g h t under the album’s skin. words: s a r a h ja m i e s o n . p h o t o : p h i l s m i t h i e s .

In terms of this record, when did it all begin? What was the starting point? I had been writing lyrics since before ‘Heartland’ even came out and just accumulating a lot of material because I wasn’t really sure what direction I was gonna go with. So, I was doing a lot of experiments writing new fictional songs and also getting more into mining autobiographical material, part of which was inspired by being on tour with The Mountain Goats and seeing how [John Darnielle] was able to turn over his life into songs. That was the early stages, but it was really only summer 2011, when I started working with the band, that songs started to slowly get written. In April 2012, we ran the session in Montreal and recorded the bed tracks at Hotel2Tango in Arcade Fire’s studio. After that, it was just a question of me doing production at home. When it came to writing lyrics from a more autobiographical place, did you find it more of a challenge? I didn’t really find it any more or less of a challenge. Writing lyrics for me is always tough, and I think a large part of it is that I maybe hold myself to high standards. I throw out a lot of shit, and so it takes me a long time. At first, there was an emotional moment when I realised that the way I was writing about events that had happened in my life was very different; from myself as an individual behaving in certain ways in periods of my life and how that had nothing to do


with how I would treat that situation now, or even the way I would treat the situation last week. I became aware of this very changeable personality, which very quickly became the basis of the record: never this sense of being entirely honourable or entirely responsible or trustworthy. How does that tie in to the idea of this being a record which deals with insanity from a positive, or more “normal” standpoint? It’s not so much in a positive light, as in an equal state of being. It’s just that whenever I’m in a creative state whether it’s spending all day writing a piece of new music, or getting hopped up on coffee in the morning and trying to write lyrics - I definitely feel that there’s a connection to some manic state. I feel like my own diagnosed mental ailments kind of feed off those moments. Like a reverse of catharsis. A lot of the songs were meant to be framed as statements of support to my past selves, or other people that might be going through something that I may have gone through. Or, when the topic is of other people or experiences that I may not have had, but I’ve been very close with people who’ve been through that, it’s supposed to be a sort of love song, or statement of support to them. Owen Pallett’s new album ‘In Conflict’ will be released on 12th May via Domino. DIY

Nevertheless, the former White Stripes frontman has confirmed that he’ll release his new album ‘Lazaretto’ on 9th June. It’s a followup to 2012’s ‘Blunderbuss’ and it arrives as a Vault package (#20), part of Third Man’s subscription service. The album is set to be “pressed on split-colour blue-and-white vinyl and coupled with exclusive album art.” There’s also a “fold-out poster accompanying the album, featuring a classic National Archives photo that serves as a recurrent image throughout the album art.” There’s also a first taste of new music too. You can listen to ‘High Ball Stepper’, a mesmerising instrumental track, on DIY


NEWS little dragon


It’s Playtime L i t t l e Dr ag on j u s t wa n t t o h av e f u n . Wor d s : Auror a Mitchell.


t’s late on a Monday evening and hidden away three floors up at a photo studio in Southwark, Little Dragon are only just finishing a long day of talking about their new album. They seem exhausted, and it’s unsurprising considering this is a reflection of how hard working they are as a band. They’ve spent the past few years repeating the cycle of relentless touring, including a world tour with Gorillaz and going into their own studio in Gothenburg to record music.

“That’s the beauty with this job; you can be a kid for the rest of your life.” Y u ku m i N ag a n o

Having toured so much for 2011’s ‘Ritual Union’ and with such boundless energy in their performances, it’d be a safe assumption that they’d want to scale back with their new album ‘Nabuma Rubberband’, and they agree. “As much as we can, we try to maintain a good balance. It’s going to be a lot of touring but we enjoy that as well!” says bassist Fredrik Källgren Wallin. Drummer Erik Bodin chimes in. “Before we took the big break to write this album – there were definitely moments when it was all cracking up a little bit, but it was nothing we couldn’t handle.” Frontwoman Yukumi Nagano definitely feels that the fanbase they have is largely due to the live show they put on. “It’s not as if we came out of nowhere and had a big following of people behind us,” she explains. “We really had a fan base that grew from a lot of touring.” Keyboardist Hakan Wirenstrand is a constant source of one-liners. When talking about their collaborations with Big Boi, Gorillaz and other artists he laughs, “Something to put on your CV”. Yukumi gives more colour to the experience. “It’s nice to see artists doing what they’ve been

doing for so long. The one thing I felt was proven on the Gorillaz tour was there were so many people, ages and genres and you feel that they’re all artists. It’s the beauty with this job; you can be a kid for the rest of your life and play. You can do the same thing you were doing, dancing around in the mirror when you were ten, but on stage. It’s amazing in that way.” A recent experience that excited her in this way was Little Dragon getting to play on David Letterman. “That was huge!” she says enthusiastically, “it’s always been a dream, seeing other bands there and all of a sudden you’re on there doing it. It was surreal but also normal at the same time for some weird reason. For me, I feel Letterman is the peak.” Whilst they enjoy TV exposure, they’re not as concerned with radio. “People are very comfortable in the radio world hearing the same thing over and over,” comments Erik. “It’s sad when [being on the radio] affects the creative process,” adds Yukimi. “With us, we want to make something that’s innovative and new – if you’re trying to make something for radio then it’s not necessarily going to bring out anything innovative.” As Little Dragon has transformed and become bigger, the dynamic between the four close friends has changed with it and it’s something they really took into consideration with ‘Nabuma Rubberband’. “We’re four strong opinions together and sometimes we clash which gets really uncomfortable vibes but sometimes we harmonise and it’s a smooth ride.” Being with each other a lot has given them a safe connection but that’s not to say that they don’t experience the same loneliness that their solo peers face. “We deal with that too, but at least we’re four people experiencing it at the same time.” Little Dragon’s new album ‘Nabuma Rubberband’ will be released on 12th May via Because Music. Read the full interview in DIY Weekly. DIY




In association with

Festival season is in full swing. It’s time to get muddy, smelly and boozy with months ahead of dodgy toilets and brilliant bands to ease the pain. Get planning.


Blood Red Shoes, DZ Deathrays, Slaves, We The Wild, Ballet School.


The Hold Steady, Royal Blood, The Creases, Bleeding Heart Pigeons.


Jagwar Ma, The Kooks, Racing Glaciers, Embers, Soho Riots.


1st - 3rd May

liverpool sound city

iverpool is always going to be an integral part of musical history, but those with the keys to the city aren’t just going to sit and coast off the legacies of their previous exports: their mission lies in keeping the city a-buzz with new talent. That’s exactly what Liverpool Sound City does best.

Showcasing the newest, brightest and most enigmatic of new bands, while throwing in a few familiar faces for good measure, DIY will be taking over a chunk of Liverpudlian territory this year, too. As part of this year’s festivities, we’ll be playing host at The Garage, where some real treats lie in store. “We fucking love liverpool,” begins Blood Red Shoes’ Steven Ansell, who will be closing proceedings on Thursday evening.


“We’ve made two albums in Liverpool, and along with Berlin we consider it a home-fromhome. The last Sound City we played was really fun, in a tiny place. This time, it’s a bigger room, so we’ll see how it goes; hopefully it’ll be packed and everyone will be up for it.” The band are currently on tour in Europe, warming up for their return to the UK for a slew of tour dates alongside fellow Sound City goers DZ Deathrays and Slaves. It’ll also double as fans first real opportunity to get their teeth into the tracks from their new self-titled record. “It’s right at the end of the UK run so we’ll be at the top of our game,” Steven adds. “These have definitely been some of our best live shows since we began: our fans have been saying it and all our touring crew and people around us. The new songs have brought a whole new level to the live set. They’re more varied and more exciting, plus we can play loads of them live, unlike the third album, so it means we get to really really vary the set each

night and keep things really spontaneous and not play the same way. I think with this album we didn’t really gain a huge amount of fans in most countries, but we’ve cemented our place in the hearts of people who were into us already. They’re going batshit mental at these shows, and not just for the old songs you’d expect.” And if you’re a fan of the band, Steven’s advice is to see them while they can: their plans lie more on the other side of the Atlantic this time around. “This album we’ll be spending most of the time over stateside. We’ve been slowly building things up a bit over there, especially with the third album, and now things are starting to really work out. It’s such a vast country that if we really wanna smash it - which we do - we need to get over there and just do our thing - keep touring like crazy. So, after summer you probably won’t be seeing much of us at all over in the UK or elsewhere.” You heard the man... DIY

ELSEWHERE AT liverpool sound city JUNGLE

3rd May, The Factory Masters of mystery, this dance-funk collective may have revealed their identities at this year’s SXSW but they’re still undoubtedly high on the list of ones to watch. In fact, with a track like ‘Busy Earnin’ in their arsenal, they threaten to top it.


“I always have a good time in Liverpool.” Jagwa r M a’ s G a b r i e l Winterfield is looking forward to their he adline s et.


mack bang in the middle of their “Coachella sandwich”, Jagwar Ma are set to make a triumphant return to the UK this year, with Liverpool Sound City being one of their ports of call. “Just a few weeks ago we played Chile, Argentina, Columbia and Brasil,” explains the band’s Gabriel Winterfield, from somewhere in San Francisco. “It was amazing, I’d never spent any time in South America, let alone performed there. Great people, great vibe, amazing food.” The band have also begun to see that their

debut album ‘Howlin’’ - which was released last summer - has begun to take affect on the crowds. “I’m noticing that people are singing the lyrics more accurately!” he laughs. “Having said that we change our songs when we perform live as well so it’s not too predictable.” As for their return to the UK this month, the Australian trio are hard at work on creating a more immersive experience for their fans. “We’ve been working closely on the visual element of the show, to make the live performance a well-rounded sensual experience, and adding elements to the songs, even testing new ideas.” That’s something that’s set to feed into their LSC appearance too, as he touches on what to expect. “All of the above! I always have a good time in Liverpool.” DIY

2nd May, The Garage Fresh from touring alongside Interpol and about to support Arctic Monkeys, Royal Blood are a duo already wellversed in rock and roll. The only thing they’re going to have to get used to is playing on massive stages, because they’re definitely on the horizon; and not just when they’re supporting.


1st May, The Factory With the Brighton-based trio’s debut album on the cusp of release, a string of tour dates alongside Cloud Nothings and Metz following up their European jaunt alongside Blood Red Shoes, Kristian Bell and pals’ self-styled ‘surf doom’ (read: dark, looming blues-infused rock) will no doubt cause floors to shake and ears to rattle.


Festivals 2014

In association with





Pulled Apart By Horses, Holy Mountain, Amazing Snakeheads, Solids, Primitive Parts, Coasts, Happyness, Woman’s Hour, We Were Evergreen, Bearfoot Beware, IMP.


f any band is going to bring down the house at this year’s Live At Leeds, it’s going to be Pulled Apart By Horses. Not only are they ferocious in any and all live arenas they’re faced with, but this time, they’ll be on their home turf. The evening’s not going to be a quiet one, when it comes to DIY’s stage at the Brudenell Social Club. That much is for sure. “We can’t wait,” admits the band’s Lee Vincent. “Having time off to regroup, write and record has been amazing, but we’re definitely ready to get back in the van. It’s gonna be a shock to the system though,” he laughs, “we’ve definitely let ourselves go a bit!” Their headline set is due to take place midway through their triumphant return to the touring circuit, after having taken some well-deserved downtime to work on the follow-up to 2012’s ‘Tough Love’. “The album is done, and we’re just talking to potential mixers right now.


It sounds amazing so far and we’re incredibly happy with it,” the drummer divulges. “It’s quite varied I guess as far as direction goes, but its still definitely PABH. We wanted to inject more melody into things but without making things sound diluted or weak. It’s still pretty ferocious!” “We’ll be playing a few new tunes for sure,” he also confirms, looking ahead to their upcoming UK tour, “but we’re not gonna ram a load of new songs down people’s throats. They’ll be peppered subtly over a set of oldies. We’re gonna try and do some old stuff that we’ve never played live before too.” As for their stint at Live At Leeds though, there’s no joking around: it’s set to be one of the must-see sets of the weekend. “Oh, that is going to be pure insanity! The Brudenell is the epicentre of the Leeds music community and it always feels like going home when we play there. It’s gonna be one sweaty party!” DIY

O2 Academy Nominated for this year’s BRITs Critics’ Choice Award, gearing up to release her debut album, supporting Ellie Goulding at The O2 Arena: things are moving quickly for this nineteen-year-old, so catch her playing intimate shows while you can.


The Cockpit If volume and chaos is your cup of tea, the brothers Loveless are always more than willing to oblige, with The Cockpit being the perfect backdrop.


Leeds Uni Having already penned some brand new tracks back at Christmas, Yuck’s set marks the perfect opportunity to catch up with their glowing shoegazey bliss, whilst getting reacquainted with the new-look group.


Festivals 2014

In association with



Komedia Studio Bar, 9th May For a taste of the more international spectrum, look no further than Friday’s Dutch Impact showcase. DIY is a media partner for the afternoon event taking over Komedia, indulging in the likes of KiT, Bo Saris and traumahelikopter: they’re more impressive than a Cruyff turn.



Girl Band (pictured), Blaenavon, Satellite Stories, Lovepark, Powder Blue.


e do like to hang out at the seaside so luckily, DIY will once again be setting up camp next to Brighton Pier at this year’s Great Escape. In amongst the madness that is going to unfold across the city, Girl Band will be going head-to-head with Audio on the final night of the festival. If their recent live shows are anything to go by, you’re not going to want to miss this one. “From what I’ve heard it promises to be a laugh,” offers frontman Dara Kiely, as the band gear up for their debut visit to the weekender. “We haven’t played The Great Escape yet so I don’t know what to expect, but Brighton is always fun. Al [Duggan, guitar] finishes his exams that day so it’ll be a celebratory night.” Their performance follows the release of new single for Record Store Day, ‘The Cha Cha Cha’ - a different beast to their first single, ‘Lawman’. “It shows a slightly different side of the band,” Dara explains. “It’s a short, hardcore-y song. We have a few of them in the set. I really like the way the Beastie Boys have ‘Tough Guy’ after ‘Sure Shot’ on ‘Ill Communication’. It adds an extra dynamic.” And never fear, The Great Escape won’t be your last opportunity to catch the full force of Girl Band; they’re also about to head out on their very own headline tour. “It’s gonna be our longest tour to date. It’ll be great to play Scotland for the first time. [We] can’t wait!” DIY



Bermuda Triangle, 8th May If the seal of approval from FatCat Records isn’t enough to sway you, a first listen to ‘Bud’ sure will be. Honeyblood and their luscious but intense offerings should be top of the list when it comes to which new bands will gain your attention this year.


Digital, 10th May Having already caused quite the storm on the other side of the pond when they took on Austin’s SXSW, it’s safe to say that there’ll be similar scenes for Future Islands when they arrive at the seaside. Expect massive singalongs, passionate man hugs and some great dance skills.



Afterpartees noon

Taymir 1pm


Bo Saris







Festivals 2014

In association with

END OF THE ROAD 29th - 31st August

Biffy Clyro - ready to repeat the roaring success of Reading & Leeds.

New additions for End of the Road are headed up by The Gene Clark No Other Band, a new group consisting of Beach House‘s Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally, Fleet Foxes’ Robin Pecknold, Grizzly Bear’s Daniel Rossen and ex-Fairport Convention member Iain Matthews. Alongside this newly established supergroup, St. Vincent has been confirmed for the festival, taking place at the Larmer Tree Gardens in Dorset. Chad VanGaalen, Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks, Black Lips, Mazes and Alice Boman are also among the new additions.

WILDERNESS 7th - 10th August

Billed as a “multifaceted and delightfully freewheeling” festival, Wilderness has added a new batch of acts to an exciting bill already including Jessie Ware, Metronomy and more. Amongst the new bookings is Australian R&B talent Chet Faker, Irish sensation Hozier and Joan as Policewoman. There’s also the returning Slow Club, who recently announced their new album ‘Complete Surrender’. Jack Savoretti completes the list of new additions.


18th - 19th July

Deap Vally, Julio Bashmore and Slow Club are just three of the of the acts that have been confirmed to appear this year’s Truck. Elsewhere in the list of newcomers, you’ll find Dan Croll, Superfood, The Wytches and Canterbury, who will be joining The Cribs and White Lies at the Oxford weekender. Other acts already confirmed include Peace, Los Campesinos!, Lonely The Brave, Andrew WK and Swim Deep.



After last year’s glorious sun-kissed celebrations, T in the Park is back with another unmissable weekend featuring a host of the world’s biggest artists. Some of the most exciting names in music are Balado-bound this summer, and are set to wow the legendary T in the Park crowd over 11th - 13th July. Headliners Biffy Clyro, Calvin Harris and Arctic Monkeys will be joined by Pharrell Williams, Bastille, Haim, Tame Impala, London Grammar, CHVRCHES, Metronomy, Wolf Alice, Royal Blood and more. Thanks to festival organisers DF Concerts and founding partner Tennent’s Lager, we’re offering you and a mate the chance to win a pair of weekend camping tickets for this incredible festival. To win, just tell us which night Scots rockers Biffy Clyro will headline. Enter at now.



4th - 7th September

Isle of Wight’s Bestival has confirmed some new names for its 2014 bill. Additions to The Big Top stage include psych giants Temples, producers Bonobo and SBTRKT, and Darkside. The new additions join CHVRCHES, Beck, Outkast, Foals and Chic & Nile Rodgers, who are already set to play. Cate Le Bon, Dan Le Sac VS Scroobius Pip, DJ Yoda, Nick Mulvey, Denai Moore, Public Service Broadcasting, Radiophonic Workshop and Ady Suleiman have also been confirmed.

SLAM DUNK 24th - 26th May

Kids In Glass Houses, Gnarwolves and Mallory Knox top the list of new additions to this year’s Slam Dunk. The Welsh band, who recently announced their split, have confirmed that they’ll make a special appearance at the festival, with plans to perform their debut album ‘Smart Casual’ in full. Elsewhere, the events - which take place over May’s second Bank Holiday weekend - have just announced the third wave of acts set to appear on the bill, which also includes the likes of We The Kings and Save Your Breath.

latitude 17th - 20th July

An exciting batch of new acts have been announced for Latitude’s Lake Stage, curated by DJ and broadcaster Huw Stephens. Joining a bill that already features headliners Two Door Cinema Club, Damon Albarn and The Black Keys are production duo Bondax and Secretly Canadian signings Woman’s Hour, who recently announced that their debut album ‘Conversations’ will be released the same week as their Latitude appearance. Catfish and the Bottlemen, Luke Sital-Singh, Cate Le Bon, Only Real, Slaves, Gengahr, Circa Waves, Moko, Norma Jean Martine, Oliver Wilde, Sumie, The Bohicas, Soak and Spring King are also on the line up. “I love Latitude,” Huw enthuses. “I’ve been curating the Lake Stage there since the beginning too, and we’ve seen magic sets from so many bands from The xx to Bombay Bicycle Club to alt-J a few years ago. I think about the stage all year long, thinking would suit the stage, who would be good when and where and who would fit in at Latitude perfectly. “This year, I’m delighted that Bondax, Catfish and the Bottlemen and Luke Sital-Singh are headlining. Three bands with debut albums on the way, and on the start of a very exciting journey. I’m delighted Gengahr are on: I love what they’re doing. Cate Le Bon released her best album recently, ‘Mug Museum’, and is on top of her game.

Future Islands’ reaction when someone tries to tell Samuel he can’t dance.

FIELD DAY 7th - 8th June

Field Day has expanded its Sunday bill, announcing Future Islands. They’re joined by The Wytches and Lovepark. The now two-day festival has previously confirmed Pixies, The Horrors, Temples and Drenge amongst others for its second day. Saturday hosts the likes of Warpaint and Sky Ferreira, with Thurston Moore the latest name to be announced.

“I love the spirit that Spring King, Only Real and Circa Waves have onstage too and think they’ll have great sets. Everyone who sees Slaves falls in love with them, it’s just genuinely exciting to watch, and then there’s Elli Ingram and Moko who will smash it. I’m chuffed with the line up!” DIY is an official media partner at this year’s Latitude. With DIY and Latitude teaming up, we’ll be bringing you interviews, reports and more coverage before, during and after the fest. You’ll be able to find copies of our July 2014 issue in the Latitude supermarket, too. DIY 29

Festivals 2014

In association with


f e st i val

NEws in brief

15th - 16th August

The inaugural Jabberwocky takes place at London’s ExCeL Centre, with the newly reunited Neutral Milk Hotel as the main attraction. Kurt Vile & The Violators and Panda Bear will also play, along with Cleveland band Cloud Nothings, champions of ‘Mess’ Liars, New Yorkers Big Ups, Untold and Mick Turner. The new bands join Darkside, James Blake, Neutral Milk Hotel and Caribou.


Flow Festival, 8th - 10th August Helsinki’s Flow Festival has announced a new batch of acts. Joining the likes of Outkast and The National are DIY cover stars The Horrors, FKA Twigs and New Jersey beachcombers Real Estate. Marissa Nadler and Poliça complete the list of international additions, with local acts arriving in the form of Joose Keskitalo, Phantom, Pietarin Spektaakkeli and Aivovuoto.


Tramlines, 25th - 27th July Sheffield’s Tramlines Festival has added over twenty new names to its 2014 bill. Previously confirmed acts Katy B and The Cribs - will be joined this summer by Slow Club, Simian Mobile Disco and Funeral For a Friend. The Rifles, Sivu, Melé ft Slick Don, Ms. Dynamite, Shift K3Y, Screaming Maldini and LONE have also been added.


Secret Garden Party, 24th - 27th July Legendary troupe Public Enemy have been confirmed for this year’s Secret Garden Party. Amongst a batch of new additions for the festival are NYC dance enthusiasts Hercules & Love Affair, Scandinavian sister duo Say Lou Lou and kings of the summer soundtrack, Thumpers. Big Deal, The Hics, Josef Salvat and Rae Morris will also play.

GLASTONBURY 27th - 29th June

Glastonbury has confirmed its 2014 bill, with a huge number of acts joining the likes of the already-revealed Arcade Fire, who will be headlining, and Warpaint . Jack White has been confirmed for a Pyramid Stage appearance, while second headliners Kasabian, Elbow, The Black Keys, Lily Allen, Skrillex and Massive Attack are set to appear too. The bill also includes “Special Guests”, the third, unannounced headliner. Other acts scheduled to play include Lana Del Rey, Pixies, Disclosure, M.I.A, Angel Haze, Four Tet, Temples, Parquet Courts, Chance the Rapper, Courtney Barnett, Wolf Alice, Chlöe Howl, James Blake, CHVRCHES, Metronomy, Interpol, Royal Blood and London Grammar.



Green Man, 14th - 17th August Welsh festival Green Man has announced a new batch of acts, with The War On Drugs leading the way. Elsewhere, Panda Bear, Neko Case, Sun Kil Moon, Other Lives, The 2 Bears, Mutual Benefit, Woman’s Hour, Highasakite, Famy, We Are Catchers and The May Birds complete the list.

READING & LEEDS 22nd - 24th August

Fresh from their return to arms with new single ‘Heart And Soul’, Scottish four-piece Twin Atlantic have been announced for this year’s Reading & Leeds Festival. They head up a list of new additions that also sees Pulled Apart By Horses, Dry The River and Gnarwolves join ranks on the

BEACONS 7th - 8th June

Skipton, Yorkshire Dales festival Beacons has announced a new batch of names for its 2014 bill, with Charli XCX heading up the list. She’s joined by Erol Alkan, The Pains of Being Pure At Heart and Joanna Gruesome. There’s also Fat White Family, Cate Le Bon, Adult Jazz, The Wytches, Speedy Ortiz, Woman’s Hour, Slaves, Nai Harvest, Younghusband, Moko and Sivu. The new additions join Jon Hopkins, The Fall, Darkside and more.

KENDAL CALLING 1st - 3rd August

There’s been two new announcements to come from Kendal Calling. While Frightened Rabbit and Admiral Fallow lead the pack in the second wave of additions, the Lowther Deer Park weekender has now also confirmed Augustines and Example, the latter of which will be topping the bill.

Main Stage. Elsewhere in the list of new acts, ex-Distillers frontwoman Brody Dalle, electronic duo AlunaGeorge, garage-punks Slaves and those ruckus-causers The Orwells are also set to join proceedings. They’ll be rubbing shoulders with headliners Arctic Monkeys, Blink 182, Paramore and Queens of the Stone Age, who headline the event.

This year’s festival - the ninth event so far - has already confirmed Suede and Frank Turner as headliners, and has now also added Ocean Colour Scene’s Simon & Oscar, Jimi Goodwin, Team Me and more. They’ll be joining Clean Bandit, 2ManyDjs, Woman’s Hour and Breton, who are also set to appear.

DOT TO DOT 23rd - 25th May

Manchester, Bristol and Nottingham’s triple tag-team Dot to Dot Festival has announced its next wave of acts, following on from the confirmation of headliners Peace, plus Real Estate, Courtney Barnett and more. The new additions are headed up by Drenge, while there’s also the arrival of Macaulay Culkin’s Velvet Underground tribute band The Pizza Underground. Jaws, Anton Lockwood, Hudson Taylor, Luke SitalSingh, Amber Sun, The Heartbreaks and Lauren Aquilina complete the list of new names.

BILBAO BBK LIVE 10th - 12th July

Bilbao BBK Live has announced two additions to its 2014 event: chart-toppers Bastille, alongside Band of Horses. They replace Imagine Dragons, who’ve been forced to cancel their appearance. “We have to head back to the US due to scheduling issues with the second album,” the band explain. “We are working with the festival to figure out how to make it up to you as soon as possible.” These new additions join The Prodigy, Skaters, Parquet Courts, MGMT, The Black Keys and Franz Ferdinand.


NEu broods



T h e N e w Z e a l a n d N o t t s i b l i n g s h av e g l o s s y p o p - a n d m o d e s t y w r i t t e n i n t h e g e n e s . W o r d s : Ja m i e M i lt o n . P h o t o : E m m a S wa n n .


rother-sister duo Broods are one of pop’s most talked about new prospects, but they’re winging it, by the sounds of things. Struck with a lucky charm that’s affecting both Caleb and Georgia Nott, their recent ascent to stardom can be explained in simple terms: good old fashioned fortune. Or at least it seems that way. For instance: Caleb doesn’t even know the words to Broods’ songs half the time. “It’s shocking,” he admits, head bowed, guilt catching up on him. “Ask me now and I wouldn’t be able to tell you.” Then there’s the fact that a few years back, Georgia featured in the top twenty of a worldwide songwriting competition with a track that wasn’t even finished. “I always do these things on whims and they go really well,” she smiles, blissfully unaware that this happens to nobody else, ever. In January, they jointly decided to put their debut self-titled EP up online without a second thought. For free. And just like that the thing spread like bacteria that’s actually good for you. Containing ‘Bridges’ - a song co-produced with Joel Little, best known for collaborating with Lorde - the EP showcases future-leaning, heady pop. Production is glossy but there’s a nagging darkness to it all. To begin with, Georgia was responsible for most of that lurking despair. She’d write all the lyrics while Caleb (who’s spent years penning instrumentals) worked on the arrangements. “I like to submerge myself in this depressing state of mind, whereas Caleb’s like ‘This sounds cool’,” the sister-half sums up. Nowadays the roles are less clear-cut. One writes “emotionally” while the other writes “metaphorically,” but production falls on both sides and they’re both speaking from the same page.


Most recently the pair penned ‘Coattails’, which documents their heady rise towards the top. Written right after they got signed, it captures the excitement of seeing a bright future right ahead. In turn, it’s musically a step-up. Choruses are sharper, the words leap out instead of swimming around in fancy production tricks. It’s the sound of a band fully realising just how far they can go. So far it’s all bright skies. Maybe a little luck, but mostly a raising of the bar. Since putting out the EP, the pair have had nothing but positive comments. Haters are “gonna hit us in the face like a brick wall,” Georgia jokes. “[But] it’s about learning as you go, making mistakes.” There’s clearly a kinship between the two - as they sip matching fruit smoothies on a grey, chilly day in London - but this isn’t the conventional brother-sister musical relationship. They’ve been

writing together on and off for a year, but before then music wasn’t a great, running conversation. They only discuss writing when in the studio. “It must sound like we’re together all the time - we kind of are,” says Georgia. “We don’t even notice it anymore because we’ve grown up together,” Caleb backs up. “It’s been 24/7. We try to keep a brother-sister relationship as well as a working together relationship. In the studio we’re more focused on what we want to do.” If there’s anything the pair do share, apart from jealousy-inducing ice cold drinks, it’s modesty. Luck doesn’t come into it, despite claims that debut track ‘Bridges’ gained its name because Broods can’t actually write musical bridges. “We were compensating for all the bridges that we weren’t going to be able to make in the future,” says Georgia, with Caleb in firm agreement. “Yeah, we really struggle with those.” DIY

“It’s about learning as you go, making mistakes.” Georgia Not t

Broods aren’t too chuffed at the weather for their first UK visit. 33

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Glass Animals Oxfo rd’s fres h es t faces prepa re to rele as e d eb u t a lb u m ‘Z a ba’ o n Pau l Epwo r th’s l a b el , Wo lf To n e . Wo rd s : D o mini q u e S i s le y.

TITLE: ‘Zaba’ LABEL: Wolf Tone RECORDED: Autumn / Winter 2013 PRODUCER: Dave Bayley (Producer), Paul Epworth (Executive Producer). RELEASE DATE: 9th June TRACKLISTING: 1. Flip 2. Black Mambo 3. Pools 4. Gooey 5. Walla Walla 6. Intruxx 7. Hazey 8. Toes 9. Wyrd 10. Cocoa Hooves 11. JDNT 34


lass Animals are a band that liquify genre boundaries. That might sound clichéd, but this music isn’t quite rock, R&B or electro. If anything, it’s sultry late-night storytelling that slithers between all three. But there’s not an all-encompassing word for that. Recently signed to Paul Epworth’s new Wolf Tone label (the mastermind producer behind Adele, Florence & The Machine and Bloc Party), these four Oxford boys recently arrived back from SXSW as one of the most talked-about British exports. Earlier this year, during a tour with St. Vincent, frontman Dave Bayley managed to eat Annie Clark’s dinner on the first night. “She was a little angry for maybe half a day - but we’re cool now.” Since then things have levelled out. Debut album ‘Zaba’ is just around the corner, containing an album’s worth of woozy, playful songwriting by way of recent single ‘Gooey’. There is an abstract madness to Bayley’s lyrics, closer to rap or poetry than anything else. ‘Gooey’ itself includes sinuous whispers of “peanut butter vibes” and “icky gooey wombs” – it’s enough to make anyone wonder what confectionary-centric activities go down in the studio. “A lot of it ends up being stream of consciousness, it’s really weird - I’ll just be nodding off late at night, about to go to bed, and I’ll just get a couple of sentences in my head that flow really well and have a cool rhythm to them,” says Bayley. “It tends to be late at night, or sometimes first thing when you wake up, when you’re in the kind of sleepy daze, and slightly conscious… that’s a good time for ideas to come.” DIY at the On ‘Zaba’, half-conscious tales link up with distinct, hip-hop production. ‘Walla Walla’ sounds like Animal Collective being given free passes to the local water park, while closer ‘JDNT’ brings out the extremes of the group’s chillout grooves. DIY

Festivals Glass Animals will play at Liverpool Sound City and The Great Escape. See for details.

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NEws in brief A STAR RISING?

Here’s a new name to look out for: Alice Boman. The Swedish songwriter releases a new EP (‘II’) on 3rd June. Boman started out with last year’s ‘Skisser’ release: a collection of early, playful efforts. The new EP is headed up by ‘What’, which premiered on and is available on this month’s Neu Mixtape (page 39).

THE ACID L o n d o n , C h a t ’ s Pa l a c e


hen Ry X, Adam Freeland and Steve Nalepa collaborated for the first time, they probably didn’t think they’d end up here. A debut album round the corner, a Latitude appearance scheduled, about to embark on one of the most ambitious live stints this side of the Yeezus tour. That may sound overblown, but hold steady: the trio are the first (apparently) to employ a visuals system that responds intuitively to the music it’s backing. If The Acid chose to send out a wash of white noise tonight, their live debut at London’s Chat’s Palace, the room would probably surge into a single, thrashing strobe. Showcasing songs from debut ‘Liminal’, their intensely minimal electronic pop is fleshed out in full, blooming colour. On record, there’s an attention to detail that’s admittedly impossible to recreate entirely. Instead, Ry claims pre-gig that they’ve been able to collect a “palette” of sounds to be applied at a whim in the flesh. There’s no method, no autopilot. Songs like ‘Creeper’ are rendered even more frightening, bass notes nigh on turning the venue into rubble. ‘Animal’ flirts with a similar feeling, with the centre-stage Ry X applying sensitive, soul-spliced vocals into a mix that’s otherwise terrifying. Before the show, Freeland jokes that “we’ve got delusions of grandeur here,” but it’s easy to imagine the scale of this ludicrous goal-setting getting even bigger. DIY

DIY at the Festivals The Acid will play at Latitude. See for details.


Are you creating a different beast live? Ry X: We took what we did on the record and chopped it all up. Everything’s being played live but we’re still recreating the same stuff, apart from the analog aspects. There’s not a single beat coming out of the computer. I couldn’t stand the idea of being there with the microphone in front of a backing track. It hurts my heart. When did you make the decision to do that? Ry X: We went to a bunch of shows in LA and studied what was going on. We watched when drummers were playing on top of a beat or when someone was playing over the top. We looked at each other and went, ‘No way’. When playing live I’m used to dictating the flow. You’re responding to a room, to human beings. It’s still in its baby stages, this project.


Fresh from being Neu’s featured new band in the March 2013 issue, so-hot-rightnow NYC trio Wet are heading to the UK. The ‘Wet EP’ is out via National Anthem on 28th May, following on from the trio’s first live appearances on these shores. They play Brighton’s Great Escape, Live at Leeds and Liverpool Sound City, as well as appearing at London’s tastemaking New Shapes club night.


In very surreal news, Samantha Cameron has expressed her love for West London backwards-capped kid Only Real. Niall Galvin recently caught the attention of Sam Cam while he was played on Radio 1. He’s staying cool - he’s been in an Atlanta studio with producer Ben Allen, working on his debut album, expected for release this summer via Virgin / EMI. Before that, single ‘Cadillac Girl’ is out on 12th May.


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“Peo ple ca n r el ate a n d say, ‘O h it ’s o k , we m es s ed u p!’” Tove Lo


H o n es t y i s th i s Swed i s h s o n gwriter’s g a m e a n d yes , s h e h as th rown u p i n th e bath . Wo rd s : Jamie Milto n , ph oto: phil s mithies .


onsult the stories in Tove Lo’s bitterly honest ‘Truth Serum’ EP and it’s a bit like suddenly discovering all the parts of someone’s life that you don’t read about on Facebook. Getting high to push through a tricky relationship; arriving home wrecked with the “munchies”, eating too many midnight snacks, throwing up in the bath. That happens to people, even if they don’t tend to admit it. This songwriter, however (real name Tove Nilsson) has no qualms about putting reality to tape. “Oh, it’s all happened,” she happily admits, the night after her first ever London show, which gives faith in the fact that people really, really enjoy honest pop music. “I fall asleep in my tub a lot,” she says, continuing the embarrassing bathroom stories. “My flat is very cold and I love taking a bath when I come home. I don’t know why - it’s really weird. But I go to sleep and wake up when water goes up my nose.” There’s no real difference between Tove Lo the pop star and Tove Lo the person. She wears the same stage outfits in everyday life and she gets excited about her next night out. Fair enough she isn’t high as a kite at 1pm on a weekday, but she’s not the kind of individual to shy away from the subject.

that the person who wrote it is singing the song,” she says, in attempting to explain why the songs she writes resonate with so many. “A lot of people come back to me about ‘Habits’, saying ‘It’s so my life!’ Especially young girls, which worries me a bit!” Before Tove Lo, Nilsson was penning songs for other artists. She still is, in fact. Previous credits include Icona Pop, who she went to school with. Everything’s collaborative. If she writes on her own, the song ends up as a Tove Lo song, “because the only inspiration I have at that time is me.” If someone else is in the room, she gets into their headspace instead. “You can look at their reaction and you can tell when they’re really loving the song or being nice.” ‘Truth Serum’ specifically concerns itself with the pitfalls of a relationship. A little more unusual is the fact that Nilsson is claiming she’s the one that’s made some of the mistakes. “Sometimes it doesn’t happen for a girl to say, ‘I’m the bad guy in this.’ To admit you’re the one that fucked it up. I think that’s why people can relate and say, ‘Oh it’s ok, we messed up!’” Everyone makes mistakes - although judging by Tove’s recent DIY at the surge of attention, she’s Festivals Tove Lo will play at The yet to experience a Great Escape. See musical misstep. DIY for details.

“It’s a big difference when you can really sense 36


All the worst, most gory booze-ups end up being part of Tove Lo’s songs. But when asked to think about the best ever night out she’s had, she has to ponder for a while. “I think it was when I met my boyfriend in Bali,” she ends up saying. “I hung out with him and his friends and we had this best night ever, driving round the island by boat. Stayed up all night and went surfing the next day.” It’s not all warts and all in the life of Tove Lo.

NEu Recommended GOD DAMN

They get knocked down, they get back up again.

For the nicest band in rock, the future is looking exciting. The Black Country is full of hidden gems - the traditional pub tucked below Wolverhampton train station and God Damn, who are enjoying its finest cheese and onion cobs, to name just a couple. The two-piece have deservedly been a local favourite for a long time. “We’re like the band that never dies,” says guitarist and vocalist, Thom Edward. God Damn have more reason than most to have evaporated into nothing, after they unexpectedly found themselves a member down last year. They made the decision to continue as a two-piece whilst guitarist, Dave Copson, recuperated from an accident. “To me it feels pretty natural,” says drummer, Ash Weaver. “We know each other inside out anyway.” God Damn should prepare for early success to spiral. Especially since Thom declares their album’s “going to be a masterpiece.” (Greta Geoghegen) LISTEN ‘Shoe Prints In the Dust’ FOR FANS OF Drenge and Royal Blood challenging each other to a deathmatch.

DIY at the Festivals God Damn will play at Liverpool Sound City, and CC14. See for details.


Scandinavia’s oddest prodigy, signed to Robyn’s record label.

(Side)burning a match.


Derry songwriter is just 17 years of age, with CHVRCHES her biggest fans.


Fast, noisy and full of angry snarls and yelps.

Anyone championed by Swedish demigod Robyn is always deserving of more than a mere cursory glance. When it comes to Stockholm’s Zhala, it’s probably better to dedicate a hefty chunk of afternoon. Described by Zhala herself as “cosmic pop”, the sounds she weaves scurry between rave-dance and ritualistic pop mayhem. She toys with pace and rhythm like a spiteful warlock, and she’s not afraid to dive headlong into an ocean of early-’00s eurodance. It’s sublime. (Laurence Day)

What should first be noted about this seventeen-year-old Irish songwriter, Soak, is just how much melody she coaxes out of her stripped back setup. Her song ‘Blud’ is an expert showcase of her pop-folk sensibilities; the power in its simplicity. Now releasing music under CHVRCHES’ Goodbye Records, the future looks bright for Bridie MondsWatson. Amidst a post-Mumford folk scene that’s prone to being threadbare and road-weary, she’s about to inject some vibrancy. (Tim Hakki)

Brace yourself for a punk band who manage to be bold, fearsome and cerebral all in one. Birmingham trio Youth Man use the riot grrrl sound as a springboard for something a little more extreme. Fronted by the electrifying Kaila Whyte, debut EP ‘Bad Weather’ is a balls to the wall punk record. Their live shows across Birmingham are receiving rapturous praise at the moment, and with an appearance at The Great Escape in the pipeline they’re proving to be a hot ticket. (Tim Hakki)

LISTEN ‘Prophet’. FOR FANS OF Joining an intergalactic cult in the year 3000.

LISTEN The ‘Blud’ EP is out now.. FOR FANS OF A cross between Joanna Newsom and the melodic approach of Alt-J.

LISTEN The ‘Bad Weather’ EP is out now. FOR FANS OF Being caught between a hammer and an anvil.


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Fro m h u m b le Co u nt y Wi cklow to a s o ci et y- da m n i n g s o n gwriter - A n d rew H oz i er-


Byrn e i s a ny th i n g b u t a o n e- h it wo n d er. ph oto: phil s mithies .

hirlwind success isn’t a rarity. One casual Youtube upload can result in a year’s worth of attention, spiralling out of control. Andrew Hozier-Byrne’s story isn’t one of total coincidence. When ‘Take Me To Church’ emerged quietly and eventually morphed into a giant viral sensation watched by over two million people, it was the least that this polite Dublin-based musician deserved.

After years of writing, the track arrived at a good time. It offered the most refined, soul-spliced take of Hozier’s to date, and it landed alongside a video that took on prominent issues linking into Russia’s new laws against LGBT rights. Andrew’s aware that he might already have a reputation as someone capable of speaking on behalf of millions. “You don’t want to weigh yourself down heavily with it though,” he says. He’s keen to avoid a reputation as an overtly political songwriter. “Every song whether intentional or not is reflective of society in some way,” he says. “But there is a lot of artists like Paul Weller, Nina Simone or Stevie Wonder who were deliberately writing to reflect what the world was through their eyes.” The breakthrough ‘Take Me To Church’ formed a debut EP, released last year. It represented the first time that Andrew felt prepared to go out on a limb and share songs he’d been writing for years. It was only in the last year or so that he felt “close enough to stand over the project and move with it.” Often writing in a solitary environment, he’s never been connected to any one scene. He actually lives on the outskirts of Dublin, in County Wicklow, and it was rare for him to showcase material at shows or open mic nights. He was more conscious of developing without being under a spotlight. He’s clearly still learning, too. Talk turns to balancing out the benefits of “personal” songwriting and the creation of a character. He says that using the voice of somebody else is easier because “you can look at it from a different perspective.” But he admits that the songs are DIY at the “very personal and of course they’re reflections of myself. “But I don’t like the idea of indulging one’s emotional narcissism a little too much. We all do it, but it helps to keep a distance.”DIY


Festivals Hozier will play at The Great Escape and Latitude. See for details.


+ His second EP ‘From Eden’ is out now on Rubyworks. + He’s very different sounding from The Hoosiers, a flash-in-the-pan success from the late ‘00s. + Since being signed, he’s started buying CDs again, partly out of guilt and partly because “it’s a necessary part of what I’m doing. I used to listen to new music when I was younger but it’s nice to be challenged now and see what’s going on.”



little label

Neu takes a look at the record labels responsible for breakthrough releases, big or small.


Not content with giving you a free magazine, we’ve put together a free mixtape full of our favourite new bands; download from

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Dust In Your Eyes

Such is the intensity of Marina Sakimoto’s songwriting, it’s easy to forget she doesn’t even use drums in her songs. This is taken from an EP out now on Art Is Hard.

When you’re looking for new music, do you have any strict criteria? David West: Not particularly. We just like putting out things we enjoy listening to and bands we want to support. Because there’s two of us, sometimes we have to do a bit of arm twisting to convince the other one that we’re not completely deluded in our love of something strange, but on the whole it’s a fairly straightforward process. Releasing Flamingods’ LP last year was your first album release. Did everyone go to plan? DW: Although we thought we were ready to put out an album, it was definitely diving in at the deep end. We both work full time jobs alongside the label and with an album there’s so many extra things you have to consider. So yeah, a challenge but a really fun one that we intend to subject ourselves to again soon. What’s the thinking behind the flexi zine, which you’ve debuted alongside this Fear of Men single? DW: The idea for the flexi zine came about after being frustrated at how much we have to charge for 7” singles. It doesn’t really feel like we’re giving people that much when they’re spending £5. We realised that a flexi disc (a 5” flexible record) with a twenty page magazine would cost the same and be a ton more fun. We’re hoping it becomes sort of an irregular series of magazines for people to collect with each issue curated by a separate band. DIY

Belgian production team ULYSEE are rivalling Greek gods with their stirring, swelteringly hot production.


J U D E Crystals

Founded: 2011. Key releases: Flamingods, ‘Sun’ (2013), Family Portrait: Gum, Playlounge, Joanna Gruesome, Keel Her (2012). Any mention of the UK DIY scene needs to give credit to Art Is Hard Records, a label co-run by David West and Richard Walsh. Initially a humble project focused on clever merch and small runs of cassettes, the proverbial AIH offices have since hitched up to London, recently expanding to LPs by the likes of The Black Tambourines and Flamingods.

U LY S E E Wounds

Next in line to join Lorde’s ‘Royals’ elite, JUDE. specialise in passionate pop. Debut ‘Crystals’ aligns the stars for this West Palm Beach duo.




L a faw n d a h BUTTER

Hot on the tail of Kelela, here exists an exciting new producer fusing R&B with futuristic beats.


A l i c e B o m a n What

Malmö-based songwriter Alice Boman is an expert in asking curious questions, all through the means of pretty acoustic songs.


Sunni Colón

Voyage / Lightyears

Everything Thierry Tetsu aka Sunni Colón puts his name to is slicked back and blissed up to the skies. He’s being spoken about as the new Frank Ocean.


Anonymous Gothenburg act YOUTHCULT are schooled in WU LYF-style, hell-raising noise.


J LY Y Sierra Leone

Walls of noise stampede alongside JLYY, a new London band with an eye for the intense.


DEERS Bamboo

Madrid duo DEERS aka Ana and Carlotta like putting things upfront, in a way that feels totally fresh, battering down any sense of beenthere-done-that.


Eyes & No Eyes

The Drowned World

Eyes & Eyes provide a woozy dose of melancholy-led songwriting, delivered with intense intricacy.


c ove r h or roR S


Shine a L ight

A lway s o n t h e albums in and o n ly way T h e Words: Jamie

u p , n e v e r l oo k i n g b a c k ; fo u r better than ever: this is the Ho r r o r s k n ow h ow t o e x i s t . M i lt o n , P h o t o s : P h i l S h a r p.


ccove o vr eh or r roR S


hy woul d you trust other people ’ s

tastes more than your own ? ” F aris Ba d wan Back in black.


nce manic, precocious kids looking for a cause, The Horrors have since settled into a rhythm. By their standards, at least. Whereas once they were regarded as a bunch of chancers, today it’s simply presumed that they’ll churn out triumphant records on demand. Fourth album ‘Luminous’ gives credence to the belief that this is a band who don’t have a bad album in their locker. Missteps aren’t an option. Call them experts at this sort of thing, though, and they’ll simply shrug it off. “I’d say that as a band we’re probably unemployable,” says frontman Faris Badwan, who once flirted with the idea of architecture but decided against the ten years plus of studying. “If I’d taken that up, I’d still be doing it now.” Faris shunned a desk job for a life in music, but he’s still studying this current occupation. “For some people, especially when they’re nineteen or eighteen, which is how old I was when the band started, it’s a huge gap. Your life changes so much. The records you make would be an even more exaggerated part of that.” As has been proven before, The Horrors are subject to change. Surprises are still stored up a collective wizard’s sleeve, ready to be thrust forward at any moment. At the heart of new record ‘Luminous’ there’s a growing sense of adventure. The Horrors have never been the retiring types; now more than ever they’re reaching outwards. On it goes, this strange trip of theirs. Given their track record - the blitzkrieg punk of debut ‘Strange House’, its sudden rerouting into krautrock with ‘Primary Colours’, the stadium-beckoning drama of ‘Skying’ - The Horrors have set themselves up for a fall. Stick to routine for the first time in their career and they’re seen to have settled. Some might praise it, others will yearn to see them twist and stir again. Guitarist Joshua Hayward sums the situation up: “We always try to push ourselves. Is it predictable for us to do that? It’s strange.” The Horrors are by default a strange band. Faris is an outstanding but often retiring frontman. Joshua is the delegated ‘scientist’ of the group, but synth geek Tom Cowan runs close, his own recordings as Tom Furse being handed outlandish titles like ‘Discothèque Vimāna’ and ‘I’m Going To See The Stars (Or What’s Left Of The Stars..)’. Joseph Spurgeon, a founding member, steers away from interviews, instead doing the talking through increasingly complex work behind the scenes. Rhys Webb is often found in the band’s Dalston studio alongside Tom, tinkering with songs as the hours roll away. It’s Rhys who’s most keen to note the changes in the band of late, as well as their brilliant oddities. “Everyone’s outside interests, they’re the ingredients that put the band together.” Within the group, they each have their own assigned roles. “I feel like I have less boundaries in terms of what I like and what I feel is appropriate,” says Tom. “I’ll generally want to try stuff.” Joshua, who seems to guide a lot of the new record with these soaring, driven guitar parts, puts emphasis on the collective (“You can all get there together”), and Faris is in firm agreement: “Why would you trust other people’s tastes more than your own?” Together, as they always do, The Horrors shut themselves off from outside influence during ‘Luminous’. Two years straight they worked on this record, with a small albeit “crucial” gap in summer 2013 that gave them a brief stint of reflection (“We wanted more. That time to live with it motivated us and took us somewhere else,” says Rhys). There was no real conversation about how to bring about change or where the next step might lie.


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ith every record there’s a breakthrough. On album number two, ‘Sea Within A Sea’, saw in a new era of electronics, expansiveness and adoring acclaim. ‘Still Life’ from the band’s previous LP witnessed a sudden altering of intentions. Festivals beckoned. On this latest work, it’s ‘I See You’. The final four minutes of instrumental, lurching parts march on and on, galloping into the great unknown. It continues, the intensity amplifying second by second. It’s the most colossal-sounding track The Horrors have ever recorded. Like being able to peer into the studio itself, the breakthrough is tangible. It’s a chase, and it’s a miracle the thing actually ends. “I’m glad it does finish, because otherwise I’d be doing a lot of standing around on stage,” Faris dryly notes. “It opened up all these doors to us,” says Rhys. “Before, we weren’t particularly inspired,” adds Joshua. “We didn’t know how it was going to work out, or if it would be this intense ascent. It’s one of those great moments when you’re playing, and you’re still feeling the excitement of the unknown.” Then came the rest. True to the climax of ‘I See You’, ‘Luminous’ is an album devoted to the build. Given The Horrors’ past, it might be the only option; to keep exploring, to carry on moving and heading upwards. ‘In And Out Of Sight’ and ‘Falling Star’ in particular put emphasis on repetition. “It has a goal, which is to take a listener on an ascent in some ways,” says Rhys. “For us, if a DJ is to play a set, his role is to elevate. We were inspired by how we could incorporate that into our music - we like the idea of elevation and euphoria and how our sound can make you feel.”


ou c an ’ t g o b a c kwar d s . T he

thou g ht of that is terrifyin g . ” F aris Ba d wan



hen The Horrors first kicked and screamed, they did so with malicious intent. If the aim today is to make the listener “feel” something, the time around 2007 debut ‘Strange House’ was less a casual pinch, more a kick to the jaw. Sometimes this played out in a literal sense, live shows spiralling out of control. “We created our own unpredictability in the beginning,” Faris notes. “You

“W more .

e wante d T hat

time to live with it motivate d us an d took us somewhere else . � R h y s W e b b


c ove r h or roR S

never knew what was going to happen as a reaction.” He compares the chaos to a band he was in back in the days of studying at London’s Saint Martin’s College. “We did two The Who covers and one Kinks cover. It was pretty raw.” This abrasiveness surged on headfirst into The Horrors’ debut. “It was aggressive, the live show. It was a primal release. There were lots of fights. It was a natural result of playing that kind of music twice as fast as it was supposed to be played.” Hate was spewed, coins were thrown alongside mobile phones (far more brick-like back in the day than the current slick generation of screen-tappers). Support slots for Arctic Monkeys took disorder to its biggest stage. At one Aberdeen show, Tom remembers, his dad told him “how hard it was to sit there and wait for it to happen,” referring to the jeers and bloodthirsty boos. “Sometimes you could feel it building before you made it on stage,” Faris recalls. Not that any of this stopped them in their path. The ‘Strange House’-era Horrors were like a pinball capable of shooting out in any direction. The debut was written in three-day bouts in an “expensive” studio outside of chaotic tour dates. “We owe Universal about three-hundred thousand pounds,” Faris sort-of jokes. “We definitely cost a few people their jobs but you know, they’re all sociopaths…”


n one sense, The Horrors have levelled out. On the other hand, they’re incapable of working to anyone else’s routine. Since ‘Strange House’ they’ve always given the impression of being a band with limitless ideas and time. That’s true to an extent. Joshua admits that “we’re in a lucky position to be how we want to be. I don’t know how we’ve managed that.” But ‘Luminous’ was the first chapter in the group’s career that had no set, pre-determined end. The record could be finished at any point, barring some hideously drawn-out hiatus. “We gave ourselves the luxury of time - for the first time,” says Tom. Collectively, they “lived through” the record for an entire year. “You’re going to go through so many emotions through that point. And that feeds itself into the music,” notes Joshua. “It’s a year of your life. There’s nothing specific that can sum it up.” Whether it’s speeding through like a raging bull in the extravagant mid-’00s, or carefully leaning away from previous modes of thought like they are in 2014, here exists a group incapable of standing still. “We’re surprising ourselves as we go along,” enthuses Rhys, who later claims that “this is the most excited we’ve been about releasing an album. “There’s constant forward movement. It’s in a state of progression. We’re sometimes presented with the ideas and we’ll always be doing something different because that’s how life works. It’s the time spent working together and our confidence as a band, finding what we enjoy doing and how we work the best. That’s why there’s a constant step, usually a step forwards.” Rhys notes a “complete thread” in the band’s trajectory, of “exploring our ideas and focusing on the things that we enjoy the most.” This manifests itself in different ways. Faris remembers days of backflipping off a stage and overseeing brawls (“It took one guy to throw a punch and then the whole thing would go crazy,” Tom reminiscences with a slight hint of fondness). Today they err on the side of caution when it comes to all-out riots. But to call The Horrors a sophisticated band would be to grossly miss the point. They’re influenced by Detroit techno, they stay away from the hairspray this time round, and yes, festival-led hearts will lose their minds to ‘Luminous’ just like chin-stroking elders will appreciate the waltzing refrain of ‘Change Your Mind’. But the record’s makers aren’t fussed with self-indulgence or deep thinking appreciation. They never listen back to their own albums, with the exception of Rhys who’s currently enjoying the final pressing. “It will get to the point for me when [‘Luminous’] will go on the shelf,” he admits. There onwards, The Horrors will keep moving. Perhaps if they took several steps back and decided to look in from the outside, they might choose to do things differently, but change runs through this band’s system. It’s out with the last one, on to the next. “If you asked any of us a question about taste, and then you asked the same question in a year’s time, the answer isn’t going to be the same,” says Faris. “We just don’t want to repeat ourselves. What’s funny about being in a band is that the happier you are, the harder the next challenge is. You can’t go backwards. The thought of that is terrifying.” The Horrors’ new album ‘Luminous’ will be released on 5th May via XL Recordings. DIY



If The Horrors’ new album was a cake, it would glow, mutate while consumed and it’d get more delicious by the bite. Here’s what you need to make your own (don’t try this at home).

Lack of daylight

“It was pretty intense to be honest. It was a long slog and hard work.” Rhys Webb

Your own studio

“There’s a work-time. It usually goes on pretty late if it needs to. The risk with having your own space is if you work too hard and you drive yourself crazy.” Tom Cowan

Three months of festivals “We had

no choice but to leave the album there, because festival season took us through from June to September. There’s no real option to write in that time. It ended up being crucial to the album as a whole.” Rhys Webb

The ability to start again “We

recorded and mixed it twice. We had these songs and we thought we needed three more songs to make it a great record, and that’s what we did. That’s when we were aware of change working and how to make a difference.” Faris Badwan

DO YOU REMEMBER? Black eyes, cancelled gigs, controversy ahoy - this was The Horrors in the beginning. But was it really all that bad? “That debut record was pretty well received,” Faris says, on the band’s past. “Most of the reviews were really positive. And then by the next album it was, ‘After their terrible first album, The Horrors have...’, which is funny. The whole thing is not to be taken too seriously.” “It’s interesting watching that whole weird mythology develop,” adds Tom.


interview tune-yards

Merrill Garbus is quite excited about discovering her doppelgänger. 48

T u n e - Ya r d s is forging her own path. Words: Aurora Mitchell, Photos: Emma Swann.

Eating The future


et’s not pretend that the world around us isn’t falling,” Tune-Yards’ Merrill Garbus sweetly sings on ‘Nikki Nack’’s fifth track, ‘Look Around’. She’s right. We’re often attempting to disconnect from the reality of the state of the world - staring down at our shoes whilst walking and not taking a second to look up to notice the buildings above are getting higher and increasing in density. It’s a subject that Merrill has thought about a lot and comes back to often, but perhaps not something she expected to discuss whilst eating breakfast, in her


interview tune-yards

hometown of Oakland, California. The more left-field sounds that feature on the new album include a bag of rice, water bottles, a vinyl stool and lampshades and for her, these background sounds are really important; organic sounds as objects - as tangible things you can touch and see. “I think that’s a great way to put it,” muses Merrill. “I definitely come from more organic sounds and I miss them when they’re not there. We live in a very synthesised world in a lot of ways, a very digital world. It’s always nice to remind ourselves of the organic and the natural. If we’re not reminded of that then the implications are really scary.” One of the ways in which she did this for herself was going to Haiti, a trip that she’s keen to explain was only part of her journey making this album. “I’ve been not wanting to call this the ‘Haitian Tune-Yards album’ because it just isn’t that,” she carefully states. “The trip to Haiti was part of my musical education that we went through with this album. Nate [Brenner, bass] and I both took lessons in Haitian drums, I took Haitian dance lessons. Where I ended off at the end of the ‘W h o k i l l’ tour was just feeling like I had done all that I had in me and so it was important to rejuvenate my creativity and my sense of what I have in store musically.” Touring didn’t just affect the creativity though - with the incredible range of Merrill’s voice, it’s something that she has to take precautions with. “I have to get a massage on my throat because my throat gets so tense. That was another reason to take voice lessons, to make sure that I’m using my voice correctly. I wish a tour was just fun drinking parties but that has become less and less the reality which is good because it means I’ll probably live longer,” she continues, “I’m not wasted on stage, that’s for sure. With the looping, I can’t do any drugs or alcohol before the show - they’re just out of the question.” In terms of Tune-Yards’ live show, dancing is a big part of it and that’s something that translates to their recorded output. “I try to dance as much as possible. It’s a new level of connecting with what my body’s doing and that’s been wonderful.” It’s an art form which she would like more people to take seriously and participate in. “I don’t think we value dance enough in our culture. In Haiti, dance and music is inextricably linked with the revolution. Everything to do with their folkloric culture is part of the story of how they won their independence. You’re dancing in a particular spiritual energy and that was really powerful to me – a dance being a very powerful art form. I don’t go to a lot of raves but I think what people get from them these days is a transcendence. You’re transcending reality and getting in touch with something deeper you can’t put words or sounds to.” Being able to put sounds to “something deeper” is what the process of ‘Nikki Nack’ and being in Tune-Yards is about, and to do that Merrill drew from a variety of influences. “American folk music is one, there’s a little bit of traditional old, tiny fiddle on ‘Rocking Chair’ and a little snippet of my Dad playing one. I think folk music in general from Appalachia, where my parents brought me up with that music around in our household. ‘Time of Dark’ was very influenced by Khaira Arby, she’s this wonderful singer from Mali and we listened to a lot of her. It all gets filtered through what Tune-Yards is – a really fun and deep project for me and Nate.” This deepness is reflected in some of the darker themes


explored on the record, including ‘Stop That Man’ which alludes to George Zimmerman – the murderer of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin who was widely regarded as unfairly acquitted. It was also a dark period in Merrill’s life. “There was a lot of self-doubt, a lot of looking at myself honestly and without the lens of success and people applauding for you every night. I was really burned out at the end of the last touring cycle and scared. I think that’s where most of my dark feelings come from, feeling scared. The things that we often do to get rid of fear are often so selfdestructive – turning away from reality and from life and wanting to step away from our real lives. Watching myself do that and watching what I saw made me want to really get honest with myself about my behaviours and how I could grow as a person – growing as a person as well as a musician is really important to me.” She stops for a second, laughing to herself. “I could go on but you’re not my therapist.” Success is not always everything it’s made out to be and she makes a clear point of trying to stay away from getting comfortable with it. “Having that kind of success, it’s not like I’m Lady Gaga but for me, having that new notoriety – it can really fuck with your head and I

“I don’t think we va l u e da n c e enough in our c u lt u r e . ” Merrill Garbus

wanted to stay grounded and humble, in reality. Not in a fantasy that I’m going to be able to afford every health food that I could ever want and houses in the Hollywood hills. This is still a job, it’s still very hard work and it may not be what I want long term. I have to think, ‘What do I want out of music? What do I want out of my career? And what do I want out of this band?’ At the end of the day, this is just work.” Hip-hop is a particular love of hers and she name checks The Roots, Kendrick Lamar and Frank Ocean as artists she admires. She also acknowledges that it’s very much part of the lifestyle that she herself doesn’t want to become too enwrapped in. “All successful music gets commercialised. Tune-Yards is getting commercialised and at some point, I might wish for an album to not get critically praised. I want to keep making music that has depth too and I think it’s hard to write over decades. There’s always a danger of getting watered down and that’s why I wanted to travel to Haiti and study a music I’d never studied before, because I wanted to deepen my own sense of what’s possible and not do what every other band is doing right now.” For ‘Nikki Nack’, they brought in big pop producers in the form of Malay (Frank Ocean, Angel Haze, Big Boi) and John Hill (Shakira, Rihanna, M.I.A) – which was a decision Merrill was very unsure about because she loves to be in complete creative control, but it was an experience that turned out better than she could have hoped for. “Malay worked on ‘Hey Life’ and ‘Wait For A Minute’ and it was a beautiful lesson in production. What he showed is that we didn’t need much more than we already had. He worked his magic with creating

some very nuanced sounds that you can barely hear. They’re atmospheric with these really simple touches. He created this full sound. It was only on a handful of these tracks and they were so respectful of what Tune-Yards already was, respectful of each song. They’d be like, ‘Okay, this song is great already – how about we exercise this kick drum?’ It was more that they brought out the good in any song and cleaned it up, simplified things.” The album was recorded in various places, including a studio in Oakland and in the desert – it reflects the wide variety of influences on ‘Nikki Nack’ and although it was a challenge, it was the most straightforward recording of a Tune-Yards album. “The whole process was rather chaotic, it felt like ‘What are we doing?’ I think now I understand that’s the nature of a Tune-Yards album, it’s very patchwork-y. I don’t know if you’d call it normal but we wrote songs, we wrote some demos, we went into a studio for two weeks so we just do the whole thing and then we mixed it. It’s never been so straight forward and I think the reason for that is that it took place in the editing. There was a whole lot of amazing variety; it was up to me a lot to make sure that the album as a whole feels like it’s a cohesive

album. That’s where I’m the producer, I really need to make sure that the vision is clear and that it feels focused.” A song in particular that feels very different and sounds like a nightmarish children’s bedtime story is ‘Why Do We Dine On The Tots?’ It was rooted in a puppet show that Merrill created in her 20s. “It was based on the Jonathan Swift essay Modest Proposal, a satire about eating babies as a solution for poverty and hunger. I discovered it in a journal, rifling through for ideas I might’ve possibly had years ago. It seemed to really ring true, maybe I’m getting more comfortable with making an album like ones I grew up with – one that not only has music but that has some kind of world to it.” The themes on ‘Nikki Nack’ stem from this idea and Merrill finishes with a confirmation of that, “To me, a lot of the album is thematically about eating the future of our future generations.” Tune-Yards’ new album ‘Nikki Nack’ will be released on 5th May via 4AD. DIY

“ T h e r e wa s a lo t of s e l f d o u b t, a lo t of loo k i n g at m ys e l f h o n es t ly. ” Merrill Garbus


interview sohn Van Etten interview Sharon


Wo r d s : Da n n y W r i g h t.

is coming into her own.

Sharon Van Et ten With her fourth album and a new found confidence,


t’s a story that Sharon Van Etten recounts about the photo which adorns the front cover of her brilliant new album ‘Are We There’ that seems to best encapsulate everything that makes her such a wonderfully engaging and heartbreakingly tender songwriter. The picture – one of her friend screaming out of a car window – is personal, touching and vulnerable. “It’s of Rebecca, who has been a dear friend since I was in Tennessee. I’d moved to New Jersey and was writing songs in my parents’ basement just trying to figure out my life again. I went down to visit her one last time before she moved to Indiana and we both took turns screaming out of the window because we were in such transitional stages. “The photograph was the first thing that I ever gave my 53

interview Sharon Van Etten

boyfriend when we started dating about eight years ago. Then I never saw it again and so I just presumed that he’d thrown it away. But I moved in with him last summer and under his bed he had a pile of everything I’d ever given to him. It was covered in dust and kind of summed up where we were in our relationship. I knew that was going to be the album cover.” Sat in a chilly New York park, she is warm, friendly and has an infectious giggle. She’s been spending time “trying to catch up with friends and have a real life” but also “going into training mode” ahead of the release of the record and new shows. She’s humble and self-deprecating but can’t hide how proud she is of the new record. And for good reason: it’s stunning; vulnerable and open, while also confident and disarming. It shows off the majesty of her songwriting and her way with words: it’s poetic and achingly, beautifully sad at times. “It was a really emotional record to write but I’m also a lot more confident in who I am – it’s another growing pain, trying to figure stuff out. Every other record has been more of a reflection on my past but this is actually where I am right now so it’s really present. It’s dark and cathartic, but it’s one step closer to being more myself.”

“ I wa n t e d to be more in charge.” Sharon Van Et ten


And this record, more than ever, is all her. “It was made mostly by friends and my bandmates and it felt a lot more me. I learned from the last record. I had a great experience working with Aaron [Dessner, from The National] on ‘Tramp’ but at the end of the day I ended up feeling insecure about the big names that were attached to it. I was afraid that it overshadowed my actual songwriting so I made it a goal that I wanted to be more in charge and know that I was the one behind everything.” After working together on Boardwalk Empire, Sharon found a kindred spirit in producer Stewart Lerman, so she recorded ‘Are We There’ in his studio. “I learned a lot of lessons. I worked

with Stewart and he was the middleman so I wouldn’t always be the bad guy. And because I’m not a technical person with time signatures and stuff he was able to be an interpreter for me. Having that ‘outside person’ helped a lot.” Being surrounded by friends - as well as the confidence gained from the success of ‘Tramp’ - meant she didn’t have to hide anything, she could really pour her heart and soul into it. “I felt like I didn’t have a filter on. I felt less censored and more at home and at ease than I ever have been.” Her songwriting seems to have gone up another level too, although somewhat modestly she asserts that this album is where she “embraced the fact that my strengths are mid-tempo ballads and not rock songs. As much as I like to rock out sometimes those aren’t my inclinations. So I embraced the mid-tempo ballads and let myself be a little weird and a little funny.” But you only need to hear tracks like opener ‘Taking Chances’ and ‘Afraid of Nothing’ to realise how much of a vast understatement the term ‘mid-tempo ballad’ is. These are darkly sublime explorations, songs unfurl beautifully, never afraid to push themselves to their emotional limits. “For ‘Taking Chances’ that was me really going for it and ‘Afraid of Nothing’ is trying to be who I am and showing myself to you, whether that be the audience or my lover. It’s saying this is who I am – can we do this together?” On ‘I Know’ she sings, “I sing about my fear and love and what it brings” - it’s a nice summation of what she’s about. Endearingly open and emotional, exploring a range of themes, always bearing her soul. “Almost everything I write is emotional. When I write stuff a lot of the time I don’t know what I’m writing about until I’ve really lived with it and asked myself what it is I’m writing because a lot of it is stream of conscious lyrics. So it’s like a 9-month psychoanalysis of myself but it’s very true.” Much of the album focuses on her on-off eight-year relationship and the beauty and challenges that brings: “You know, the struggle between trying to have a relationship and also pursuing a career and trying to find a balance and also being honest with myself.” The intensity of the record can be best seen on ‘Your Love is Killing’, which she’s nicknamed “the beast”. “That one is just relentless. I wrote that when I was on the Nick Cave tour and I was going through a really tough time in my relationship because I chose to go on that tour as opposed to being at home with my boyfriend. “It’s about how you love somebody and you see what you’re doing to that person. Everyone’s faced with that and you see the pain in them all the time and it’s facing it and dealing with it. So performing that is confusing because it’s really cathartic but there were also shows when I was on the verge of tears too.” There is also a lighter side to the album that can be seen on last track ‘Every Time The Sun Comes Up’, which features the line: “I washed your dishes then I shit in your bathroom.” It’s a song which nearly didn’t happen. “I had this demo for a while that I called ‘My Springsteen jam’. All I had was the chorus and my band were like, ‘Just riff over it – you can redo it’. But it was at that time of the night

when we were all a little silly and we were trying to clean up as we were working and broke glasses and the bathroom was where you washed the dishes. “I was more making a joke about the night because we were just having fun. I was just letting myself be silly for a change and I really didn’t think that would make the record but after talking to everyone they said it would be nice for my audience to see that I have a sense of humour even when there’s all this darkness.” Now it’s time to take the album on the road – yet live shows have always been something she has found daunting. But, after tours with people of the calibre of Nick Cave, her confidence is high. “The tours with people like Nick Cave help with my confidence but it’s still a really nerve-wracking thing to do especially

“ I f e lt l i k e I didn’t h av e a f i lt e r on: less c e n s o r e d, and more at h o m e . ” Sharon Van Et ten

when the way I write is so open and vulnerable. My confidence level is pretty high at this moment but it’s still a weird thing to do to go and sing in front of these people about your life. “It’s not like I have these fun pop songs, they’re pretty heavy, and expect people to want to listen to what I have to say. I’m proud of the songs for being me and true but I’m always going to be a little nervous.” Sharon Van Etten’s new album ‘Are We There’ will be released on 26th May via Jagjaguwar. DIY


interview thumpers

UK fan s hav e had a b i t o f a wai t f o r T h u m p e r s ’ d e b u t - b u t n ow i t ’ s f i nal ly h e r e . Wo r d s & Ph ot o s : E m ma Swan n .

Good Things 56


eriously, have you ever heard of a band asking their label not to release their record?!” Thumpers’ John Hamson, Jr. has a point. The band – completed by vocalist / guitarist Marcus Pepperell – are in the curious position of being a British band, one based in the UK at that, whose album is already out in the States – released back in February via Sub Pop - but not yet here. “They wanted to do it last summer,” he laughs, “and we were like, please, just wait for those UK kids to catch up!” Marcus chips in, giggling. “We felt bad for them! We were like, don’t get bored of us, but we wanna do this.” “It’s not that bad,” John muses on the fact things aren’t quite going as seamlessly as they could be for the pair, “if you over think it... when we over think it, in a cold, dark, night, then yeah, it’s scary. But just coming back from America, where it’s out, the difference in reaction... it’s easier, it’s like, OK, this feels good.” “Whereas when it’s out and you haven’t even been to the place yet,” Marcus continues, “that feels unreal and out of control. It makes for a different kind of postgig chat, when the album’s out. In America we were asked some detailed questions about things, and that was really good.” The duo have recently returned from a trip Stateside, where they performed at SXSW festival, and, more importantly, met their Sub Pop family. “It was the first time we’d had to meet the massive majority of the label,” Marcus explains. “Only two people had seen us play.”


“That was fucking scary,” admits John. “A lot of the main people, like the press guy, hadn’t seen us play, so they could just fucking hate it, and be like, what have we done? We’re off the project! But


interview thumpers

they did the exact opposite, and they’re now ramping up their expectations. Especially radio.” He laughs, remembering a conversation. “The radio guy was just like...” he trails off. “The thing I love about them, they’re straight up. The radio plugger there was like, I wasn’t going to start working on your record until I’d seen you play, and I knew you were gonna come back and that there’s commitment. Because I’m not going to waste my time. Normally, people like that just blow smoke up your arse! It was refreshing.” It wasn’t only the industry that warmed to Thumpers’ sound - the gigs they played in the States, excluding maybe their appearance at SXSW, were “wild”. “This was the thing,” Marcus continues, “the least busy show in America was in Phoenix, a headline show with four other bands who were on their way to LA. It was a kind of stop-off gig, even at that show people went for it. It wasn’t like oh, there’s nobody else here, I’m too embarrassed to do anything. Be it a Thumpers attitude, or an American attitude... whatever it was, it was great!” Back to the UK. Marcus and John recorded ‘Galore’ in “segments”, and – as they’re keen to point out – it means it doesn’t feel as old now as it might. “It’s weird,” John says, “it doesn’t feel like that long ago, which is great.” “In previous bands,” Marcus adds, “you end up demoing the same song like, twenty times, trying out producers, but here we were the producers, we recorded it, tracked it, over a period of a year finishing it. ‘Galore’, the last single, that was only finished in January.” And when starting, they weren’t even sure if they wanted to be a ‘band’ at all. “For the longest time,” Marcus explains, “all the recording we did was experimenting on how to be new again. How to excite ourselves. It was about getting to a place where we didn’t know what we were doing again.” His band-mate agrees. “When we started the process, we were very much on auto-pilot, in a way. To get to somewhere musically exciting, we had to change the way we worked. We had to find the reasons to actually go through all this again, because we kind of didn’t want to.” “Yeah,” Marcus affirms. “We felt pretty chewed-up. But, listening back to the


album, it does still feel fresh, because we staggered it. It feels like a progression rather than one moment in time which we can distance ourselves from. It still feels... I dunno, new.” Which is, they laugh, just as well. “We tried really hard to make sure the record came out as soon as possible,” John is still keen to apologise for the band’s apparent tardiness this side of the Atlantic, “but it’s just the way shit goes. That’s the other thing we were worried about, we had so much support and I didn’t want it to seem like a fuck you, because obviously it wasn’t, we did everything we could to try and... At least we have one now.” They’re also – obviously – keen to play the record to Brits post-release. “We did a short run of dates in February,” John explains, “and we hadn’t really toured properly, it was super encouraging, all the rooms were full, and the sort of atmosphere we always dreamt that we wanted. Every show was like that.” Marcus continues. “When people turned up, like, with ideas of how they wanted to act at a show. I went to see Metronomy at Brixton the other day; the people have heard the songs before, the audience were just there for a Metronomy gig. It felt like on this tour people were coming out with an idea of what it would be like, with their fucking game head on.” As for their hopes for the album, they’re pretty simple, according to John. “I hope it develops people’s idea of us,” he says, “because we’ve released quite a few singles so far, and – surely every band says this – there’s a deeper side to us. We’re not just a singles band.” Marcus’ is even easier than that. “What I hope people do with the album, is listen to it really loudly. You need to turn your stereo up. There are so many layers, as well, the way we recorded things, it was like throwing stuff on, different sounds, different things, different percussion – really stacking. It’s a stacked album, and I think it benefits a lot from being played really loud.” Thumpers’ debut album ‘Galore’ will be released on 19th May via True Say Recordings. DIY

DIY at the Festivals Thumpers will play at Liverpool Sound City. See for details.

“There’s a deeper side to us. We’re not just a singles band.” John Hamson, Jr.


interview chromeo

The most pimp-dressed non-pimps that ever existed. 60

Up All Night to get poppy

W e l co m e t o t h e wo r l d of


2.0, where funky

pop t r i u m p h s s e t t h e a g e n d a .

Wo r d s : Ja m i e M i lt o n .


n the time that Chromeo put pause on delivering hitafter-hit of funk-stamped pop, their sound has come into vogue. Suddenly everyone’s obsessed with it. Nile Rodgers is the most celebrated, go-to guitarist around. Funk’s flavour just got tasty again. While they’re not even beginning to claim that they’re responsible for this surge in attention, Dave 1 and P-Thugg have work to do. “When it goes out of vogue - as these things do, we’ll still be making it,” the former claims, real name David Macklovitch. It’s music they’ve “campaigned for” from the start, right from when they were musical toddlers ten years back to the point where they’re still “students”, as Dave insists. Fourth album ‘White Women’ could be the making of them. Not only is it arriving in the midst of funk’s post-’Get Lucky’ revival, it’s also the pair’s first real attempt to write a collection consisting entirely of gigantic hits. It’s not something they’re disputing. The follow-up to 2010’s ‘Business Casual’ has “more sheen” and it’s “bigger”, by their admission. The song ‘Jealous (I Ain’t With It)’ is labelled “the most accomplished thing we’ve ever done” by Dave 1. “It feels poppier. For us that was a challenge, it wasn’t a concession. We just wanted to improve. It definitely feels like Chromeo 2.0.” This is an act that’s evolved from day one. In 2004, when breakthrough ‘Needy Girl’ took their name around the world, they were just a couple of chancers. They had no idea of how to tour, what making an album involved, what it meant to be a band. “Pardon the pun,” Dave jokes, “but when ‘Needy Girl’ came out that was us ‘Getting Lucky’. “It was a miracle there was one good song on that album because I had never sung into a microphone before. We were just two hip-hop kids experimenting with synthesisers. I understand why people doubted us for a long time - I don’t blame them.” Since that time, Chromeo have lived up to the occasion. Followup, 2007’s ‘Fancy Footwork’, is by the pair’s own estimations a “culturally significant” record. They’d be correct in thinking that. This wasn’t luck striking twice. Everything was a leap, the songs


W interview chromeo

more tightly-wound. Mid-2000s club crazes had something to latch onto. “It locked in with a really cool electronic music current at the time,” says Dave. “We wanted this new album to be a similar qualitative and creative leap.” Back in the ‘Needy Girl’ heyday, there was no way to quantify quite how well it was doing. This was “before the internet”, or at least before everyday internet users got their fix 24-hoursa-day. “How are you supposed to know you’ve broken through? There’s no metrics. We didn’t have SoundCloud plays. We didn’t have YouTube views. We didn’t have a Myspace player! You were just getting word from people that DJs loved the song, and one email a week from a random guy.” Cut to the present day and everything you need to know is there: whether a gig’s sold out; how many views a video’s picked up; the finite details of a band’s popularity. It’s even easy to tell when someone’s fibbing - fake views and false interaction are about as inconspicuous as a giraffe in a bungalow. That’s why today Chromeo are feeling the pressure more than ever. “People have shitted on us,” Dave admits. “Now I wanna make a show where nobody shits on us, where you can’t shit on us.” ‘White Women’ has the hits, there’s no doubting that. ‘Old 45s’ in particular is the kind of song summer 2014 is crying out for. “It’s got a bit of Tears for Fears, a bit of Top Gun soundtracks in those guitar solos,” Dave lists off. “It’s got those earthy harmonies. It still has humour, which you know to us is cardinal.” Then there’s the collaborations. Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig sings the highest falsetto he’s ever attempted. Solange appears on a Chromeo record for the second time with

“I unders tand why people doubted us for a long time - I don’ t bl ame them.” D a v i d Macklovitch


the smooth jam ‘Lost On The Way Home’. Toro Y Moi aka Chaz Bundick crops up on ‘Come Alive’. In the song’s video, he’s even convinced to dress up as a school caretaker. Chromeo have a habit of getting their guests to try something new, to reach out beyond the reason they’ve been asked to appear in the first place. “The important lesson we learned as Chromeo is that we can’t afford to make our music in a vacuum. We’re part of a conversation.” If the sound and perspective’s modernised on ‘White Women’, as has the pair’s approach outside of music. This is an album that’s been announced on Craigslist, via Buzzfeed, through a question and answer session online (a Reddit AMA). Each tiny detail links up to Dave and P-Thugg’s awareness that they were one of the world’s first “internet bands”. It’s not something that’s documented in museums or awarded with platinum plaques, but it’s an achievement that belongs to Chromeo and very few other groups. The campaign for ‘White Women’ was their way of giving back, in a sense. “It was paying tribute to the fact that we’re one of the quintessential internet bands, and we’re proud of that.” It’s in an awareness of their past that Chromeo are able to keep up with the present day. Funk’s recent run of form isn’t a coincidence, but these things go in cycles. With ‘White Women’, then, there’s no sudden latching onto the zeitgeist. ‘Get Lucky’ can’t be recreated, even if Chromeo are the only remaining group capable of being handed that kind of baton. So they’re not even attempting it. Instead, they’ve refined, sharpened and given a facelift to what emerged before. All with a little help from their friends. Chromeo’s new album ‘White Women’ will be released on 12th May via Parlophone. DIY


A guide to the star names on ‘White Women’, in Chromeo’s own words. Ezra Koenig Vampire Weekend (‘Ezra’s Interlude’) - “He had this song that he wrote and I’ve always wanted to put it on a Chromeo album. We were in the studio, I freestyled the lines and he was like, that works.” Chaz Bundick Toro Y Moi (‘Come Alive’) - “It’s out of jealousy that I got him on the record. Every girl I brought to my house would be talking about Toro Y Moi and I was like, ‘Who is this kid?’ I knew Toro Y Moi the chillwave artist. So I was like if you can’t beat them, join them.”

Solange (‘Lost On The Way Home’) - “That song is totally unchartered territory for us. We had her on the last record so in the back of our minds we knew it would make sense.”


A n g e l O l s e n / A r c h i e B r o n s o n O u t f i t / B l oo d R e d S h o e s / B o N i n g e n / B r i a n E n o & / f o x e s / g r u f f r h y s / h a m i l t o n l e i t h a u s e r / ka t y b / l a s e r a / l i t t l e d r a g o n / / s h a r o n va n e t t e n / s w a n s / t e l e m a n / t e m p l e s / t h e b l a c k k e y s / T h e h o r r o r s /

Less ‘El Camino’, more bright yellow Lamborghini.

S eee

the black keys Turn Blue (Nonesuch)


wagger is a trait that has long been associated with rock‘n’roll. Ever since the characters that influenced Grease’s Danny Zuko and his leather-jacketed delinquent pals in the 50s, there’s an assumption that rockers are, well, ballsy. And yet, with the worldwide smash that was 2011’s ‘El Camino’, countless prime-time television appearances, main stage festival sets and the complete ubiquity of its lead single, ‘Lonely Boy’, The Black Keys never quite seemed to have it. Sure, Dan Auerbach could riff the riffs and howl the howl, but he – and even moreso partner in crime Patrick Carney –

always seemed all a bit unassuming. If nothing else, ‘Turn Blue’ is the album to put that idea to bed. As sun-soaked Los Angeles as it’s possible to get this side of a Best Coast video, it’s less ‘El Camino’, more a bright yellow Lamborghini. It’s glossy; it’s slick; it’s letting the world know that The Black Keys are big enough and successful enough to use every trick in the book – or studio. From the pulsating disco of lead single ‘Fever’, to the made-for-sync ‘In Time’ that appears to have curiously taken a smidgen from Charli XCX / Icona Pop’s ‘I

K a r l H y d e / C h r o m e o / CH V RCHES / Co n o r O b e r s t / C r e a t i v e A d u l t / f a l l o u t bo y l o n d o n g r a m m a r / l y kk e l i / o w e n pa l l e t t / p i x i e s / p u r e x / s e a n n i c h o l a s s ava g e t h u m p e r s / t o m w i l l i a m s & t h e boa t / t u n e - ya r d s / w e w e r e e v e r g r e e n / w o l f a l i c e

trackLIST 1. Weight of Love 2. In Time 3. Turn Blue 4. Fever 5. Year in Review 6. Bullet in the Brain 7. It’s Up To You Now 8. Waiting on Words 9. 10 Lovers 10. In Our Prime 11. Gotta Get Away

Love It’ in its chorus, via the sleaziest of 70s soft rock numbers in the record’s title track, ‘Turn Blue’ is the product of a band feeling to be at the peak of their powers. The key word there is feeling – because it’s also a largely confused album. There’s little of the raw bluesrock that made their name; only the first half of ‘It’s Up To You Now’ nods that way. ‘Waiting On Words’ could sit easily on a Robbie Williams record, while closer ‘Gotta Get Away’ hints at going the full Elton John. ‘Year In Review’ bows down to disco, and ‘In Our Prime’ changes tone more often than a teenager’s mood ring.

There’s odd sprinklings of synths here and there – one might guess this is the touch of long-time collaborator Danger Mouse – but weirdly the songs work better when leaning towards his sound than the pair’s own: ‘Fever’, ‘Year In Review’ and ‘10 Lovers’ easily stand out, while the Americana-tinged ‘Weight of Love’, ‘Bullet in the Brain’ and ‘Turn Blue’ might suit Sunset Boulevard at dusk brilliantly, they won’t do similar for a rainy British afternoon. Much like that fancy sports car, ‘Turn Blue’ is big, bombastic and very well made. Just, at points, a teensy bit ostentatious. (Emma Swann) LISTEN: ‘Fever’, ‘Year In Review’, ‘10 Lovers’

DIY at the Festivals The Black Keys will play at Bilbao BBK Live and Latitude. See for details.





Hour of the Dawn


La Sera



The Horrors

(Hardly Art)

(Moshi Moshi)


With The Vivian Girls calling it a day earlier this year, Katy Goodman’s La Sera side project is now unburdened by other distractions. Perhaps it is just coincidence, but ‘Hour Of The Dawn’, her third album under this name, does sound like it’s had a weight lifted. It is her most energetic solo release to date. It still delivers a lot of what you’d probably expect from her: a series of garage pop tracks with a hefty debt to 1960s girl-bands, but there’s a little less whimsy and a bit more punch than earlier attempts. There’s also more spite, and definitely more of a focus on the ol’ axe all over the record. More punk-pop than pop-punk, ultimately, it is very, very hard to dislike ‘Hour Of The Dawn’. (Tim Lee) LISTEN: ‘Losing To The Dark’

‘Steam Train Girl’ is the beating heart of Teleman’s debut, ‘Breakfast’, injecting some much needed post-punk attitude in to assure things don’t get too much like stainless steel. Thomas Saunders, Jonny Sanders and Pete Cattermoul may be robots now (as opposed to Pete and his Pirates), but they sure know how to write a real earworm - the soaring ‘23 Floors Up’ is a ballad worthy of electric dreamlands; a song destined for a montage on the next best sci-fi flick. They clearly know how to write excellent pop songs, and with Teleman they’re doing exactly that - only with a refreshing electronic twist. These pirates are machines now, making Teleman’s debut nothing short of electric. (Tom Walters) LISTEN: ‘Steam Train Girl’

(XL Recordings)

Photo: phil sharp

The Horrors are in the form of their lives.


Breaking big. The Horrors have never lacked purpose. They’ve kicked, they’ve screamed, they’ve experimented and they’ve decided to break big. All of this with formidable intent. On ‘Luminous’, everything pieced together before this moment makes greater sense than ever. Every minute detail of this album is there for a reason. Champions of the new, they still have time for their past. ‘Jealous Sun’ is the heavens-falling-in centrepiece previous album ‘Skying’ cried out for, while this record’s standout ‘I See You’ is simply the next logical step in a career that keeps going. In an environment where bands are championed for simply surviving, The Horrors go several steps further. Fragments of the group’s past link together and the future illuminates in unison. ‘Luminous’ is the album they’ve been destined to make. (Jamie Milton) LISTEN: ‘In And Out Of Sight’


Owen Pallett In Conflict (Domino)

A lot to love. Owen Pallett’s 2010 masterpiece ‘Heartland’ was all immaculately arranged suites of orchestrally underpinned songs that sounded simultaneously timeless and out of time, each track stuffed with meltingly gorgeous motifs and the kind of melodies most songwriters would kill for. ‘In Conflict’ isn’t quite there: Pallett still sings like a choirboy, still crafts songs that nearly burst with swooping strings and balletic brass, still displays a penchant for lyrics that teeter on the edge of embarrassing but remain firmly stuck in the memory banks. It’s an undeniably strong album, in which existing fans will find much to love. It just isn’t quite ‘Heartland’. (Josh Baines) LISTEN: ‘On A Path’


Tom Williams and the Boat Easy Fantastic

(Wire Boat recordings)

‘Easy Fantastic’, the third album from Tom Williams and the Boat sees the Kent-based band sit somewhere between mid-paced indie and alternative folk: with Tom’s well-spoken intonation and the repeated apprearance of warm, fuzzy guitar lines, it’s a bit like Noah and the Whale trying their hand at interpreting Ryan Adams’ ‘Gold’. Along with his seafaring pals, Williams proves adept at blasting through both slightly faster (‘Hurricane’, ‘Suzanne’) and slower (‘All Day’, ‘Satellite’) and with the lyric “25 and still alive” even makes youth sound fitting. (Emma Swann) LISTEN: ‘Hurricane’


chromeo Old Fears


The opening seconds of Chromeo’s ‘White Women’ could easily be mistaken for Katy Perry’s gigantic, brilliant ‘Teenage Dream’ single. They’ve cleaned up - without sacrificing their grubby, crude sense of humour, mind you - and they’re writing the cleanest, most shiny pop songs of their career. Recruiting big names is a smart move. On ‘Lost On The Way Home’, Solange gives edge to the album’s moody ballad. ‘Ezra’s Interlude’ witnesses Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig pouring his heart out through an emotive falsetto. Whoever’s involved, they’re always fronting sharp-edged, flawless pop. (Jamie Milton) LISTEN: ‘Old 45s’


Photo: emma swann


eeee eee

Conor Oberst Upside Down Mountain (Nonesuch)

Although ‘Upside Down Mountain’ could do with a little more lyrical variety and structural experimentation, it is strong. Conor Oberst travels further into the ground that he’s previously edged towards, and his sweet, heartfelt lyrics suit this more energetic approach. ‘Kick’ and ‘Night at Lake Unknown’ make up a dual highlight on the record, fusing the vigorous enthusiasm of other tracks with his talent for raw, unusual words and their delivery. He’s also careful not to lose the vulnerability and vocal closeness that have always made his music so appealing – which is crucial to the album’s success. (Anna Byrne) LISTEN: ‘Kick’


Thumpers eeee

Sean Nicholas Savage Bermuda Waterfall (Arbutus)

Though this eleventh effort isn’t a huge departure from Sean Nicholas Savage’s now signature sound, on ‘Bermuda Waterfall’, seductiveness is turned up a notch, the loveable lo-fi scratchiness just about creeps through again and the cheesiness is now reeking through the rafters. Sure, at times it sounds like he’s taking the piss - but at others he’s the most tender he’s ever been. If ‘Other Life’ was his offbeat indie romance flick, ‘Bermuda Waterfall’ is his first major and elegant blockbuster, and things can only get bigger - and jazzier for Savage from here on out. (Tom Walters) LISTEN: ‘Hands Down’

Galore (True Say)

Positively vital. ’Galore’ is the perfect title for Thumpers’ debut album - joyous, showy and maybe even a little cheesy, it sees in a sound that’s teeming with youthful energy. The pair bring to music what a toddler brings to perspective when they see the world for the first time. Everything feels new, previously unencountered by Marcus Pepperell and John Hamson Jr. The leading duo dress up tracks in tonguetwisting choruses, soaring synths and a sense of triumph that’ll only be matched if England miraculously make it past the group stage at the World Cup. Summer 2014 is the best one yet, if Thumpers have anything to do about it. Positivity has no bounds, and in ‘Galore’ this London duo has successfully created a prescription for crummy moods, rain soaked commutes and even the slightest hint of misery. (Jamie Milton) LISTEN: ‘Come On Strong‘


Lykke Li I Never Learn (LL / Atlantic))

Big, bold and heart-wrenching. ‘I Never Learn’ has been billed as the final entry in a trilogy following Lykke Li’s debut ‘Youth Novels’ and follow-up, ‘Wounded Rhymes’. It’s been an absorbing listen and, just like all the best trilogies, this final instalment is big, bold and heart-wrenching. Li has always worn her heart on her sleeve and here “the hurt and the pride and the confusion of being a woman,” as she has puts it, is viewed through an album of songs that sound more epic than her previous work and makes good on her promise that she’s found her voice. Lyrically it’s as honest and open as it could possibly be. That a recent romantic split has informed the songwriting is clear just by looking at the titles: ‘I Never Learn’ and ‘Never Gonna Love Again’. Yet for all this lyrical intimacy, it also sounds huge. To say the songs on ‘I Never Learn’ are power ballads is an understatement. They have been layered so much that on first listen it’s easy to be blasted away. Instruments are doubled up upon each other and Li’s voice sounds mesmerisingly huge. These are the most powerful of power ballads. This chapter may be closed but ‘I Never Learn’ shows that Lykke Li remains a fascinating character. Just like love itself, it’s an album you will fall for despite (or even because of) its flaws and imperfections as much as the real moments of truth and beauty it provides. (Danny Wright) LISTEN: ‘No Rest For The Wicked’



Creature Songs (Dirty Hit)

Fucking massive. Yeah, Wolf Alice are really Nineties. Yeah, it’s grunge – but this is 2014 grunge. The angst oozing from the guitars of Ellie and bandmate Joff Oddie is tangible, whether accompanied by the yells of single ‘Moaning Lisa Smile’ and the even fiercer follow-up ‘Storms’, or the near-whispers of final two ‘Heavenly Creatures’ and ‘We’re Not The Same’. Vocals which themselves spew ennui through both loud and quiet. There’s ‘Moaning Lisa Smile’ with a chorus that’s nothing short of glorious. ‘Storms’ is even louder. The gem of the EP, it’s blistering, riff-driven grunge with a pop chorus that’s guaranteed to cause mayhem wherever it’s played. ‘Heavenly Creatures’, meanwhile, is more melodic, almost atmospheric, and closer ‘We’re Not The Same’ tops off the mood in style – it’s a breakup song in the most traditional sense. Be deceived at your peril: they might resemble the cast of an old Nickelodeon telly series, but Wolf Alice are very much the here and now. (Emma Swann) LISTEN: ‘Storms’




Little Dragon Nabuma Rubberband (Because Music)



To Be Kind (Mute)

If anything, since their return in 2010, Swans’ aura has grown. Dark, foreboding and biblically powerful, vast and sprawling, draping itself over the landscape, ‘To Be Kind’ isn’t an album to be treated lightly. Nor is it an album that lends itself to being dipped into - the two hour plus running time and average track length of ten minutes sees to that – but it is an album that, with a little bit of dedication and a bit of effort leaves you agog. A unique and wonderful achievement from a unique and wonderful band. (Tim Lee) LISTEN: ‘Bring The Sun / Toussaint L’Ouverture’



creative adult Psychic Mess (Run For Cover)

If you were to make a list of what a perfect punk album ‘should’ sound like you could run through ‘Psychic Mess’ ticking the boxes without much doubt. However if the question was ‘Does Psychic Mess stand up as a perfect punk album?’, it’d take an almost dangerous level of kindness to suggest ‘yes’. Creative Adult just sound like they’re spitting at the bus stop and trying to convince someone older to buy them the smallest, cheapest vodka. (Matthew Davies) LISTEN: ‘Charismatic Leader’

To cut to the chase, Little Dragon are primed to hit the big time. On ‘Nabuma Rubberband’, their drumand-synths minimalism is more refined, the bass lines more prominent, the hooks almost embarrassingly memorable. They’ve never been ones to sing about birthday cakes and ecstasy, but a much more sombre, sinister mood drifts throughout. Boisterous lead single ‘Klapp Klapp’ and its accompanying Zombie-themed video set the appropriate macabre tone, and while their brash, ‘attitudinal’ pop continues on ‘Paris’, the band also bring the slow jams: Concentrated in the higher octaves, the incredibly delicate arrangement of ‘Cat Rider’ begs for Drake to steal the backdrop and spit a couple of verses over the top - a true marker of brilliance. (Huw Oliver) LISTEN: ‘Underbart’


Tune-Yards Nikki Nack (4AD)

Even catchier, even bolder. It’s fair to say listening to Tune-Yards is unlike listening to anyone else. Merrill Garbus creates a rainbow of sounds pouring from the speaker, raining down in vivid, joyous life-affirming Technicolor. Now she returns with ‘Nikki Nack’, an album which remains just as idiosyncratic but is even catchier and even bolder. Sonically, where the saxophone played a central part last time, here it’s drums and synths. In a strange way this helps capture the chaos Garbus brings and means ‘Nikki Nack’ contains some of the most immediate music she’s made to date. Garbus is a bright light in the night shining out. With her own scream she’s telling her story in only the way she can. Brilliantly. (Danny Wright) LISTEN: ‘Water Fountain’


Gruff Rhys tells DIY’s Gareth Ware about the story behind ‘American Interior’.

When and how did the idea for the record come about? I decided to do a tour of America following the journey taken by an explorer called John Evans between 1792 and 1799 – though it only took me about three weeks. We started writing songs for the record to go with that tour, so we had some ready to go and then I wrote some others while I was actually on tour and then also recorded most of them while I was on tour as well. I stopped over in Omaha in Nebraska and laid them down there. Was there a sense of occasion in retracing his steps across America? Yes, it was very personal in that sense. It was a story that’s been in the family for a very long time and he was a pretty serious guy so I hope I’m not destroying his legacy by depicting him as a three-foot high felt avatar. His adventure was very real so I do feel a sense of responsibility! There is an element of tragicomedy involved as well and it’s a story I’d like to think was possible. It’s almost an incredible story in a way, because it’s so unusual. I like the idea that there will be some people that might think the whole thing’s just been made up. DIY

eeee eeee

Pure X Angel

(Fat Possum)

Pure X have always been adept at creating atmosphere within their records, and the band, newly expanded to a four piece, have distilled their sound even further to its purest natural form on third album ‘Angel.’ Where the previous two albums were dense and tortured, ‘Angel’ is light. It’s the first record the band has made without distractions of touring, and as such, it’s their most lucid and focused to date. It has a sublime sense of atmosphere and texture; a dreamy kind of lysergic beauty permeates each of the tracks. ‘Angel’ is a perfect example of a band growing and evolving with each record. Pure X have emerged from a dark abyss into beatific splendour. (Martyn Young) LISTEN: ‘Starlight’

Gruff Rhys American Interior (Turnstile)

gruff revisits his family history. The beauty of Super Furry Animals was that, while their albums were playing, there was absolutely no doubt that they were your favourite band in the world. Ever. That’s a talent that Gruff Rhys carries through to his other output, and it’s still going strong on ‘American Interior’. The record is based around the story of distant relative John Evans, a twenty-two-year-old Welsh farmhand who, in 1792, travelled Stateside to search out a Welsh-speaking Native American tribe. Released across four formats (there’s a book, app and film too), in reality it’s Gruff’s sense of fun that shines through. Stick it on, he’ll still be your favourite solo act in the world for at least 45 minutes, probably longer. (Stephen Ackroyd) LISTEN: ‘100 Unread Messages’




Sharon van Etten Are We There (Jagjaguwar)

As disarmingly honest as ever. In light of the success and acclaim Van Etten gathered post-2012’s ‘Tramp’, you would have hoped her life, in general, should have improved. Good for her, but potentially bad for her craft. But actually, while ‘Are We There’ is undoubtedly a lot less venomous than ‘Tramp’, it’s still full of doubt, full of confusion and still delivered with a naked honesty. It also sounds grander. There’s a hint of Warpaint in the loops of ‘In Love’, ‘Tarifa’ carries its brass with a jaunty sense of occasion and ‘You Know Me Well’ is a rather magnificently dramatic ballad. It all smacks of an artist with a growing sense of belief. Van Etten has gained in confidence and widened her scope, and the results are impressive. (Tim Lee) LISTEN: ‘Your Love Is Killing Me’


We Were Evergreen Towards

(Mi7 / Island)

It’s unfortunate when a band shows promise, yet when it comes to the crunch fail to deliver. That’s exactly where ‘Towards’, We Were Evergreen’s nonetheless interesting debut falls. While the Parisian trio may show deft musicianship and experiment here and there, the majority of the record is just not memorable enough: a large amount of the album being easily forgotten before one has even reached the end of it. Highlights ‘Overnight’ and ‘Kilmore’s End’ provide proof that when the band’s skill matches their scope they will be something truly worthwhile - the latter a casual ballad that allows the impressive vocals of Michael Liot to shine - but for the time being ‘Towards’ provides an interesting preview of a future talent that nonetheless makes for a largely uninspiring listen. (Charlie Ralph) LISTEN: ‘Overnight’



Brian Eno & Karl Hyde Someday World (Warp)

On paper at least, ‘Someday World’ sounds an exciting prospect, one that sees legendary producer Brian Eno create the musical frameworks in which Underworld’s Karl Hyde is then responsible for filling. Yet it’s experimental at best and at its worst, messy. Hyde’s vocals, seemingly less intrusive on Underworld records, protrude sharply. His anodyne voice makes the dated ‘A Man Wakes Up’ feel far longer than its four minutes, a song that isn’t helped by its superfluous guitar noodling. Ultimately, ‘Someday World’ is undeniably disappointing. For something that promised so much and to deliver so woefully little is an injustice to each respective side of the partnership. If the best songs are the ones where Eno’s input is the more enjoyable of the two, it makes this joint effort somewhat redundant. (Bevis Man) LISTEN: ‘Strip It Down’


Joey santiago on the making of the first new material in over ten years...

how did you find recording in Wales? It’s great over there. You’re in the middle of a field which is made for horses. We didn’t have to go anywhere to go... so that’s all there was: work, work, and er, more work. How did you keep it a secret? We tried to keep it very hush hush - I didn’t even tell my friends and family! I think the citizens of Monmouth are used to not blabbing things out, or no-one would come to the studio anymore. And why did you keep it a secret? Because it might not have been any good! We could have all shaken hands at the end and said “nope!”. This isn’t going to be released. We didn’t know what was gonna happen. DIY

Pixies attempt to build a house from scratch.



Indie Cindy (Pixiesmusic)

if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. When Pixies’ last album, 1991’s ‘Trompe le Monde’, came out, Nirvana’s ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ had just been released, and grunge was about to take over the world. But that soft/loud dynamic owes much to the Pixies. Things are no different on ‘Indie Cindy’, which sounds like it was written when Black Francis and co were at the height of their powers. ‘Indie Cindy’ is a very good album, with plenty for Pixies fans to get excited about. It doesn’t show them in a new light, largely picking up where ‘Trompe le Monde’ left off all those years ago, but as the saying goes, if it aint broke, don’t fix it. (Stuart Knapman) LISTEN: ‘What Goes Boom’


Hamilton Leithauser Black Hours (Ribbon)

Wearing its sound on its classic sleeve, ‘Black Hours’ is a record that’s half rock, half big band. It begins with ‘5AM’, a solemn torch song with desolate piano and quivering strings. There’s the trembling ‘St Mary’s County’’s beautiful balladry. It’s that sense of freedom that keeps coming through, via the ramshackle handclaps and bar room stomp of ‘Alexandra’. The Walkmen may have gone but what’s come in their place is an album as big in heart as it is in ideas. Re-energised and ready to take on the world this is an album that feels vintage and present. (Danny Wright) LISTEN: ‘Alexandra’




Archie Bronson Outfit Wild Crush (Domino)

That ‘Wild Crush’ passes by in a flash isn’t so much a flaw as by design: Archie Bronson Outfit’s fourth long-player (and first without founding member D Hobday) lasts just nine tracks and 32 minutes. It’s a mixed bag: while the frenetic guitars of opener ‘Two Doves on a Lake’, the riffs of ‘Cluster Up & Hover’ and the garagey vibes of ‘Hunch Your Body, Love Somebody’ are familiarly and adorably oddball, the remainder ends up meshing towards one mellow, psychfuelled and not-that-memorable whole. (Emma Swann) LISTEN: ‘Two Doves On A Lake’


Foxes Glorious (Epic)


Bo Ningen III (Stolen)

If Alice, of Wonderland fame, had fallen down one rabbit hole, then another, then another after that and a few more she might have met Bo Ningen, the Japanese-born London-residing robe-wearing, guitar-twirler psych-heads who probably struggled to be as straightforward as to call a third album ‘III’. There’s something overwhelmingly natural to ‘III’ and it’s absolutely demanding of the full attention of anyone in earshot. Realistically it’s impossible to sell, hard to evaluate and downright awkward to quantify. But whatever the hell Bo Ningen are doing, and somehow it feels almost so natural it’s instinctive or involuntary to them, they’re doing it very, very, well. (Matthew Davies) LISTEN: ‘Slider’

It really is glorious. Since releasing her first single in 2012, Foxes has, much like her namesake, been one to watch; lurking in the thickets with the occasional mad dash across the mainstream. Louisa Rose Allen’s days of being semi-under the radar could be numbered though, with the release of this debut. ‘Glorious’ is sweeping, dramatic electro-pop, full of intention and power – and it captivates. ‘Let Go For Tonight’ is a pounding, house-piano ride through the thrills of a hookup and roars out of the speakers, while the simplicity of ‘White Coats’ percussive beats and relaxed warmth sounds like an update of Janet Jackson’s ‘Runaway’. Dark and light, sweet yet savvy, layered but not overproduced – Foxes has created a work that embodies all these dichotomies and walks the line between them perfectly. (Shefali Srivastava) LISTEN: ‘Glorious’ “PARP”


games WE’RE USING OUR PHYSICAL HANDS TO PLAY THESE GAMES We’re still cavorting around crumbling battlefields in hulking, heavy duty robots and, aside from our real lives, we’re also still playing Titanfall (EA). Having recently dropped from the sky to the regular old Xbox 360 alongside the Xbox One, the slick, futuristic shooter shows no signs of powering down with a wealth of free DLC set for release this year. On top of that we’ve been coping with serious moral dilemmas in episodic slices of genius from Telltale Games in both The Walking Dead: Season Two and The Wolf Among Us. Having launched the renaissance of the point ‘n’ click, their success has also shown choose-yourown-adventure can be a viable narrative technique and make people get all teary. While The Walking Dead’s slow-burning, emotive story takes a toll on your feels, The Wolf Among Us caters for the more action-orientated gamer, packed with QT gameplay and punching, punching, punching and crime-solving.


Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number (Devolver) is set to kick open a door in your face and then shoot the rest of the room’s inhabitants over and over again within the course of 2 seconds. The neon-tinted sequel will be spilling blood later in the year and focuses on the aftermath of its predecessor in which the masked and iconic Jacket murdered pretty much the entire Russian mafia.

Tomodachi Life (Nintendo) is finally arriving on these shores in June for Nintendo 3DS and will possibly be the most surreal experience you’ll get to play with in your hands since the first blushes of sexual awakening. This curious hybrid of The Sims, Animal Crossing and every soap opera looks like the most terrifyingly insane cheese-dream you’ve ever had. You’ll be able to create characters then watch them go about their daily lives on an island, experiencing love, hate, and writing rock songs about coffee, apparently. Prepare to be confused and enthralled.





Photo: Abi Dainton

katy B KOKO, London


katy’s b-eaming.

amden’s grand old theatre resembles a night at the opera, and mere weeks on from hitting the number one album spot with ‘Little Red’, Katy B puts on a vibrant hometown show in the welcoming, and suitably scarlet, venue. There’s also an expectedly clubby vibe, for a setlist of dancelaced pop, but with most of ‘Little Red’ on show there are plenty of ballads alongside the bangers too. Dressed to suggest casual elegance in front of a (big red) backdrop with her name etched out, Katy kicks off with ‘Hot Like Fire’, priming the already hyped crowd for more. Sold out and rammed to the rafters, with arms flailing over the balconies and bodies spilling onto the stairs, the audience hang onto every word. Dedicating ‘Easy Please Me’ from ‘On A Mission’ to all the singletons, gets everyone moving – coupled and uncoupled alike – to garage-tinged R&B, while her superb quartet of backup dancers pump it up, as they do throughout the more uptempo moments of her set. The slower songs, such as ‘Tumbling Down’ or ‘Crying For No Reason’ stand out by their acoustic renditions, and allow her authentically gorgeous voice do the talking: no OTT vocal gymnastics needed here, thank you. But the re-workings don’t stop there. Paying tribute to her influences, Katy deftly weaves in homages to classic 90s dance; d’n’b power ballad ‘Broken Record’ turns into a medley of rave, funky and house with Baby D, MJ Cole and Tina Moore thrown into the mix, and gets a big reaction, much to Katy’s delight. But the biggest surprise is Ms Dynamite grooving onstage midway through the ragga-flecked finale of ‘Lights On’ to shoot her rapid fire verse, before going into recent collaboration ‘Dibby Dibby Sound’ – and the whole place goes mental. Beaming, bouncing, and barely stopping to breathe all night, Katy can give herself a well-deserved pat on the back for giving the 24-hour party people here something to really rave about. (Shefali Srivastava)


Photo: Carolina Faruolo

bloody good.

Blood Red Shoes The Black Heart, London

Blood Red Shoes have always been a band who just suit playing live. A band who make a noise not in keeping with their number. Tonight is loud, sweaty and totally thrilling. Especially the new songs. The opening instrumental ‘Welcome Home’ careers forward with a breathless, breakneck momentum. ‘A Perfect Mess’ swirls menacingly, while ‘Everything All At Once’ is pitched someway between the stark clank of The Kills and the sludgy desert-rock of QOTSA. Earlier tracks, particularly a highly strung ‘Don’t Ask’ and a vitriolic, venom-spitting version of ‘I Wish I Was Someone Better’, are more obviously punky. But old or new, they are performed with enviable purpose: not the effervescence of the enraptured, more the enraged energy of the terminally underwhelmed. It is not the most flawless show they’ll play. Which after some time away, perhaps isn’t surprising. But as a crunching ‘Je Me Perds’ concludes in flailing, desperate abandon, it is hard to imagine a more enjoyable one. (Tim Lee)

Angel Olsen

Photo: Nathan Barnes

Dingwalls, London


Angel Olsen employs a steely demeanour as she sings, but in between songs is relaxed, joking with her drummer to take his shoes off if he wants to and bantering with the crowd when they shout out words of encouragement. There’s no need for theatrics with her, the drama is all plain to see in her vocal talent and grip-like stare. That she has talent beyond her years is clear as day at ‘Forgiven/ Forgotten’ as she injects an electrifying amount of power into the chorus. If producer John Congleton made ‘Burn Your Fire For No Witness’ a palatable, softer Olsen, she shakes off any of its whimsy on stage. Live, there is a rawness to her that leaps out at you from her icy gaze and a palpable anger. For the second part of the evening Olsen is left solo with her guitar and the crowd is treated to a deeply personal performance. The band then re-join Olsen for ‘Stars’. As she wails, “I wish I had the voice of everything” during the encore, there’s something haunting about seeing the stage lit up in flashing red lights with winding guitars and her ferocious voice and unblinking stare as a mesmerised crowd looks on. (Emma Cooper)

voice like an... angel?


Rock And Roll: Saved.

Fall Out Boy The fact that Fall Out Boy are returning to Wembley is more important than you’d think. For their last proper visit back in 2008, they were a little worse for wear. The toll from life on the road and their ‘Folie à Deux’ misgivings had been hung around their necks. Now though, that’s all changed and they’ve grabbed their second opportunity to fill the iconic venue with both hands. Full of energy, the four-piece burst on to the stage: donning balaclavas and waving flags, opener ‘The Phoenix’ is just the first sign of unity amongst the rejuvenated foursome. Charging full force into the set, these first moments are so commanding that it’s more than enough proof they’ve always been deserving of stages this size. Running through a show that mirrors their previous headliner stint in the US, there’s barely a second to breathe, save for the few songs they perform acoustically, on a stage erected in the middle of the vast room. It’s a moment that’s both charming and intimate; feeling almost like a campfire singalong, just with however many thousand people joining in. The rest of the songs though - whether “the hits” or song from their newest effort ‘Save Rock And Roll’ - are muscular and lean, glorious but still possessing It’s a bit chilly in Wembley, yes, but Fall the punk edge which made them so appealing Out Boy are taking the mickey. in the first place. (Sarah Jamieson)

photo: Sarah Louise Bennett

Wembley Arena, London


CHVRCHES Photo; Nathan Barnes

The Forum, London

saturday night vibe.

If CHVRCHES have been criticised in the past for being too static on stage, it’s a label they seem determined to shake off this evening. Whilst there’s the lingering impression that Lauren Mayberry still feels most comfortable attached to her mic, she’s grown her on-stage persona and throws shapes at the back of the stage as the beat drops, silhouetted against their lit-up logo. Their tracks are all the more impressive for their live setting. The dark 80s synth of ‘Science/Visions’ becomes more brooding and industrial with echoed vocals, florescent lighting and crashing drums. The more syrupy pop tracks are heavy on the bass creating a perfect Saturday night vibe. Say what you will about CHVRCHES but for a band with such structured, electronic pop songs they certainly know how to evoke strong emotions in a crowd. From the mohawked Camden crust punk shouting along to all of the words to ‘Tether’, to Mr average Joe dancing wildly and alone at the back of the room and not giving a shit, there’s just something in the shining pop and somewhat shy demeanour that make CHVRCHES impossible not to fall in love with. The electric atmosphere at Forum tonight is only testament to that. (Emma Cooper)


Photo: Carolina Faruolo

games a ‘mesmerising’ performance.


Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London

Temples arrive on stage to the symphonic crescendo of Gunter Kallman Choir’s ‘Daydream’, as well as a deafening welcome from the raucous crowd, and launch straight into ‘Colours to Life’, its crisp melodies catalysing the masses as they progress from mere nods and foot-tapping to jumps and fist-pumps in a matter of minutes. Adam Smith’s kaleidoscopic keyboards continue to hypnotise as James Bagshaw’s distinct vocals and searing licks from his enviable range of guitars soar out to eager throngs. As the set progresses, the crowd wail along to ‘A Question Isn’t Answered’ before opting for a rowdy-yet-wordless appreciation of boisterous b-side ‘Ankh’ as the chorus possesses their flailing limbs. Theirs might be a psychedelic experience that involves beer and distortion rather than blotters and daisychains, but the hedonistic sentiment remains the same. (Sam Haughton)

get your trox’ off.

London Grammar

Photo: Nathan Barnes

Troxy, London

A huge queue snakes around the Troxy tonight, and girls are waiting outside with handmade signs pleading for tickets for this sold out show. It’s a reminder, if any were needed, that London Grammar are huge right now. During the show guitarist Dan Rothman stares out at the audience and still seems disbelieving at the band’s rise: “This has been the most incredible year of our lives.” He’s not wrong. They open with ‘Hey Now’, which eases the crowd in to the show and gives Hannah Reid the chance to showcase her smoky, deep vocals; a voice that has seemed to define what the band are about. Yet though on record Reid may be the central figure, tonight is proof that Dot Major could justifiably claim to be the star: there’s a more than a little of the Jamie xx about how he builds up songs to fill the live space, bringing tracks like ‘Wasting My Young Years’ and ‘Strong’ to life and creating something more pulsating than found on record. As they finish with the magnificent ‘Metal And Dust’, the screen behind the stage shines out the band’s name. In ten-feet high lights. It’s been that type of year for London Grammar. (Danny Wright) 81

c Indie

D r e a m boa t

Of the Month


Marcus Pepperell thumpers Nickname I use Pepperell, my mum’s maiden name, for all things THUMPERS-related. I have a few friends who call me Marcu. Star sign Pisces. Once I had a girlfriend who put a lot of faith in this book about star sign compatibility. After that I went out with a girl who used to make up horoscopes for a newspaper. I never got a chance to introduce the two, which saddens me. Pets I don’t have any in London but my parents have a dog, Luna, and a cat, Jaffa. At one point all the animals in my family household were named after foods. Favourite food Pizza(s). Drink of choice Pabst Blue Ribbon. I don’t know why. Favourite scent Ah, pine maybe. Not as a deodorant, just for cars, offices, that type of thing. Is that weird? Favourite hair product I don’t use it. Oh, maybe just salt-spray sometimes. I think I might believe in star signs more than I do in the effects of most cosmetics. Except toothpaste. Choosing the exact right toothpaste is important.