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EDITOR’S LETTER Blimey and indeed Charlie, DIY is in print - who’d have thought it? In your hands, dear readers, you hold the first ever copy of our humble publication to find its way past the keyboard cat, off the magical land of the internet and onto that hallowed medium of dead tree. We’re not wasting our leafy friends’ sacrifice - we’re pretty damn sure we couldn’t have jammed more brilliant ‘stuff ’ in here if we’d tried. Which, obviously, we did.
Dancing Days. There’s 60 Seconds with new Queen of the charts Katy B, a cutting chat (sorry) with Young Knives, and a heart to heart with Patrick Wolf.
We’ve already name-checked our Chazza, so it’s only fitting that Noah And The Whale make our debut cover. Mr Fink tells us why his troupe of nu-folk rapscallions have gone all pop for new album ‘Last Night On Earth’.
Add to that a whole raft of reviews, Olly Murs and Andrew WK (yes, Olly Murs and Andrew WK) take on the hottest singles and the latest from the worlds of film, games, style and tech and we’re pretty sure you won’t get more bang for your buck anywhere else. Especially as we’re free.
Elsewhere we’ve got chin wags with Bright Eyes, returning Mercury winners Elbow and Swedish popstrels Those
And none of that includes a few words with Chase & Status, a free download mixtape of the hottest new sounds, our guide to Manchester or introductions to fresh blood Braids, Austra and Kyla La Grange.
to brew up some even more amazing schemes, and will be back(! Back!! BACK!!!) in June as a monthly mag. Until then, check thisisfakediy.co.uk for all the latest news, reviews, interviews and other ‘stuff ’.
A quick note. After this pilot we’ll be heading back to the lab for a few months
DIY Magazine is contract published by Rewind Creative Media Ltd on behalf of Sonic Network Limited. All material copyright (c). All rights reserved. This publication may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form, in whole or in part, without the express written permission of the publishers Rewind Creative Media Ltd. DIY Magazine: 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 Rewind Creative Media Limited or Sonic Network Limited holds no responsibility. The opinions of the contributors do not necessarily bear a relation to those of DIY Magazine or it’s staff and we disclaim liability for those impressions. Distributed nationally. 6 thisisfakediy.co.uk
ISSUE 1 APRIL 2011
s w e i h v Tec e e r
v e 80 Li am s s 5 G -8 lm m 82 -87 Fi bu les 86 -89 Al ing 88 -95 S 96
le 90 ha us at e W St Th e l e& d s p as An ye o h h E y s e e C oa ht p 0-31 5 N rig o nom cle rad 3 -3 B r o n a s 32 -54 Ne etr ch U g P ive re 52 -57 M t in n ui u 56 -60 D orn ng K ag olf 58 62 M u M W 5 Yo are ick -6 l 7 S 64 6 C tr R 8 66 6 Pa A 6 ne L -7 U s ce 74 ck G ew S e ra h E N p ap R 0-14 7 Po ixt t On y T dio Wit ls 1 -1 M rs B tu s ia t 16 -19 Fi ack e S nd en 18 -23 Tr th co ess ith 20 -25 W In 0 Se ng n e 24 -27 6 ri io id k ion 26 -29 Sp ash e Gu trac sat 28 -41 F yl d er t 36 -47 St oun onv Las 9 42 S C & In irst F -4
The Great Fe!ival Headliner Swap It must be difficult booking a festival bill. There are so many these days: Glastonbury, Reading & Leeds, T In The Park, Isle Of Wight, Bestival, Latitude, V Festival… the list is seemingly endless. But, there are only so many bands capable of filling that all important headline spot. It’s an easy excuse to make; there are more festivals than ever before, and only so many acts to go round. Wherever you go, the same few pop up, from the lucky names on the limited but heavily rotated Radio One a-list to the band behind that tune you buy your baked beans to in Asda. As if that didn’t narrow the field enough, not all of those artists are capable of playing such a spot: the climax of what is likely to be a high profile, expensive event, on a huge stage to thousands of tired, drunk revellers 10 thisisfakediy.co.uk
that span as far as the eye can see. For all the airplay they got with recent supersmash ‘You & Me’, could you imagine Nero taking on the main stage crowd at Reading or Leeds? Didn’t think so. How about Adele? She’s had huge chart success of late. Unfortunately, in festival terms, she’s no Kings Of Leon. And there lies the problem. Kings Of Leon. Kasabian too, whilst we’re at it. Over the past few years the two of them have jumped
into bed with almost every major festival going. They’re at it this year too, thanks to Rock Ness and Isle Of Wight. Is it lazy booking? Is it symptomatic of the much debated state of the industry? Are attendees not that bothered about having such little choice? It’s probably all of the above. Even Glastonbury, a festival celebrated for its diverse booking (hooray for Beyonce), are this year sharing a headliner (Cold-
Festival goers tell us where they’re heading this year.
ELISHA 20, London I want to go to Bestival because I like the line up and all of the acts that are playing there. It’s a bit different.
A Few From Huw CHARLIE 22, M. Keynes I’m going to Secret Garden Party because it showcases up and coming artists as well as established acts. It’s basically a mini Glastonbury with loads of emphasis on entertainment, not just music. Loads of arts, crafts, and spoken word. There’s always a theme. This year it’s origins and forefathers, and there’s a parade on the last night!
However you look at it, there seems pitifully little concern that 2011’s announcements seem to tell the same old story - Foo Fighters, Arctic Monkeys and Coldplay are already topping multiple bills. Identikit booking? Not cool. To join the debate, visit thisisfakediy.co.uk.
I’m excited to see bands like Yuck and Esben & The Witch getting a lot of attention with their albums. Frankie & The Heartstrings too. I think a lot of new artists like Chad Valley are really exciting. He’s from Oxford; his electronica’s really good. Star Slinger as well, he’s a Manchester based broken, hip-hoppy, electronic musician.
play) with T In The Park. And when a festival tries to go it’s own way, you get Latitude. We’re happy with The National and Suede - though they couldn’t headline a bigger festival - but Paolo Nutini? Is it that acts like Bright Eyes won’t sell enough tickets as a headliner, or does booking bigger name acts that might not fit the bill create a self fulfilling prophecy? Reading & Leeds organiser Melvin Benn, meanwhile, has pointedly stated this year the headliners for his event will be exclusive - how many bill topping options does that leave to pick from?
Radio 1 DJ Huw Stephens tells us about some of the bands he’s got his eye on.
TOM 20, London I’m off to Sonar festival, in Barcelona. I went last year and it was really good.
People go “rock’s dead”, but thanks to bands like The Vaccines, and White Lies - who are back with a new album - that seems to be untrue. UK hip-hop’s still strong, with people like Maverick Saber, and DELS - DELS has got an amazing album coming out on Big Dada Records. There’s also this guy called Screw Fizz.
SCOTT 18, Scotland I’m going to T in the Park this year because I live about half an hour away from it. I went last year as well.
Eagulls I’m very excited about too. They’ve got a single out on Not Even Records through Moshi Moshi which is really good; they’re a proper band so I’m excited about them. Read the full interview online at thisisfakediy.co.uk.
NEWS LABEL PROFILE
Label Profile: Pink Mi! Big Scary Monsters has 100+ releases to its name. Holy Roar counts Rolo Tomassi and Gallows amongst its roster. Blood & Biscuits is an exciting London start up. Together they’re Pink Mist, Earth’s most awesome indie label collective. How did Pink Mist come about? Whose idea was it? Simon, Blood & Biscuits: Come to think of it, it might have been mine. Alex, Holy Roar: It stumbled along for a while until Kev gave it a prod and kicked our asses into gear. Kev, Big Scary Monsters: The three of us are all good friends and have worked together on a few things in the past, so the collective is really a progression of that. Running an independent record label these days can be hard (and lonely!). Simon: We’re all running our own DIY labels and figured rather than all hiking up this mountain separately, we might as well do it together. Kev: Plus it gives us a good excuse to get together each week and debate emo vs metalcore! Can you tell us a bit about what it is, and what your plans are? Kev: Pink Mist is a means to promote our bands to a wider audience, first and foremost, through our joint samplers, showcase tours and our combined web presence. Simon: I guess the simplest way of describing it is a label collective. The idea is that each label remains separate, but Pink Mist is the name of the collective. Kev: For now it’s just the three labels and we each manage a couple of bands under the Pink Mist name, but further down the line 12 thisisfakediy.co.uk
we have more elaborate ideas for expansion, hopefully allowing us to discover and work with even more great bands than ever before. It sounds like a great idea, pooling your respective resources... Kev: That’s exactly it! Between the three of us we have a number of years experience in the industry but each of us are better at certain things, and in slightly different fields. Simon: There’s a really strong DIY scene in the UK which none of the ‘big indies’ are even going near. I think this is an opportunity for us to embrace the community we’re part of, and act as a platform for the new bands emerging from that. Are you going to recruit any other labels into the fold? Simon: I think so, yes. What is key about this relationship is how naturally it’s come around, out of us knowing each other for years. The hours we’ve spent together in Bodeans and Whetherspoons are the backbone of this operation! Alex: In future we would also like to open the door to other labels we love that release great music and do whatever we can to help them, if they need it... Kev: There are a lot of awesome labels releasing some really good music out there. Pink Mist will release compilation album ‘Hello Pink Mist’ on Record Store Day, 16th April.
Lucy Tesco looks at just why we should be excited by the return of DFA 1979. Everyone’s got their knickers in a twist about the year 2012. What’s gonna happen? Why does the Mayan calendar stop there? Speaking of the Mayans, has anyone thought to find out if they’d warned of 2011? This is a pretty important year... for pop music. If the news of Pulp reforming wasn’t enough to get the butterflies in your tummy fluttering all over again, then the surprise announcement of cult canadian duo Death From Above 1979 returning surely should be. The news came as a (very welcome) shock to all those who remember the bitter end of the Toronto dance punk outfit. On top of the world, touring non stop, basking in an enthusiastic following, the band’s split in 2006 was heartbreaking. No more kick ass shows, no more kick ass songs, no more kick ass tees... The resounding echoes of their one and only record, ‘You’re A Woman, I’m A Machine’, establish DFA79 as one of the most important outfits of the last decade. While active, they never seemed to conform to any scene, instead presenting a delicate ‘f**k you’ to the pressures of the modern music biz. The two piece set up of drummer / strummer included a hefty role for synth electronics; the seemingly directionless fuzz drawing comparisons with a hardcore punk style. Both members had played in hardcore groups before, and the influence bled through. Would electronic music today be the same if Keeler had not experienced his brief and beautiful affair with Grainger? For a band that technically only existed for such a short time, their outreach seems almost fairytale-like. One album, one great big continuous tour and one incredible graphic design statement - that’s all it took. Today, it’s a few go-down-in-history reform gigs, tomorrow, a place in the music hall of fame? Death From Above 1979 will play HMV Forum, London, on 4th and 5th May. Tickets are on sale now.
TOP FIVES Leeds’ Jumbo Records is quickly approaching its 40th birthday. Opened in 1971 by Hunter Smith, they’ve been based in both the Merrion Centre and Queens Arcade, before finding their current home in the St. Johns Centre, in the heart of the city. Many of the original team continue to work there, including Hunter and first ever employee, Trevor. We tracked down their staff in order to compile a Top 5 list of “What’s that playing?” moments - a selection of their favourite customer ear-tweaking, plugplaying shop stereo hits.
Record Store Day April 16th will see independent record stores come together to celebrate their continued existence with a series of limited-edition releases and in-store live performances. More than 150 of the UK’s music retailers are to take part in this year’s Record Store Day which sets out to prove that while the high street’s given up on all but the Top 20 albums, you can still get excited about buying new music. Record Store Day began life in the USA in 2007, and is now organised over here by Spencer Hickman of London indie superstore Rough Trade East, who describes it as “a day of celebration fuelled by the enthusiasm of artists and fans for record stores”. While it’s important to support independent record shops all year round, Record Store Day makes it easier to introduce them to the record-buying public, especially those who may otherwise be intimidated by the records in plastic wallets, strange grouping of artists, or soundtrack of elephants wailing over minimal beats. OK, we made that last bit up, but you get the picture. Why should the average music fan make the effort? Jon Tolley of Kingston’s Banquet Records explains. “Morally, you have people involved [in the store] because they care. It’s our business because we love music. We try not to guilt people in to shopping with us, rather to do so because it’s a better service – sometimes on knowledge, sometimes on price, sometimes on unique product. Mostly, 14 thisisfakediy.co.uk
the independent record shop does, and should, act as a central area, a focus point, for music in its community. Without an everpresent place in the community, their local music scene would invariably suffer. “Each store is different. Some specialise in different music types, some give value in different ways – who’d have thought a coffee shop would work?! Independent shops can all complement each other, customers can like different aspects of different stores, and that’s nice.” Hayden Thorpe of Mercury-nominated Cumbrians Wild Beasts is a fan of independents. “There’s something wholesome and organic about listening to the music you’ve got from them. I can’t help but carry an unnerving guilty feeling with the download culture. It lacks a risk, a thrill if you will. I want to study the sleeve, the words, the small print, the texture of the paper and then decide whether to take the plunge or not. I don’t want the safety net of having a preview listen. I don’t want a buffer. I want to be confronted. I want to be challenged. I want to find the most unlikely obscure piece of music and feel like I’m the only person in the world who’s ever heard it then watch with satisfaction as the rest of the lazy world catches on. It’s purist. But isn’t anything worth having?” Find your local participating independent record shop at recordstoreday.co.uk.
WILDBIRDS & PEACEDRUMS
It trumped everyone doing the punk-funk revival and came across like The Clashmeets-’Dirk Wears White Socks’ era Adam and the Ants. It stood out from the pack and was the real kickstarter behind the ‘gettin’ down’ of the early 90’s scene. BOOKS The Way Out Books are one of those groups that came along and clearly set new goal posts. Electronic? Collage? Songwriting? The lines are blurred. Hearing is believing, and every time they’re played in-store, there are new converts. MOUNT KIMBIE Crooks & Lovers An exceptional balance between electronica and dubstep. It didn’t grab me right away but grew on me the more it was played until it became one of my albums of 2010. AVI BUFFALO Avi Buffalo As easy as putting it the CD player, pressing play and counting the customers coming up to ask about it. YELLOW MOON BAND Travels Into Several Remote Nations... Probably never in the history of Jumbo has one record been more guaranteed to get customers to come to the counter and ask what’s playing. If you like prog, psych, freak folk or whatever: it’ll get you in the end.
On Second Thoughts... Derek Robertson takes another look at Lennon’s Bed-In For Peace. 1969 was a pivotal year. The decade that had finally blown away the gloom and austerity of the post war years was drawing to a close. And John Lennon tried to change the world by staying in bed. Now, I’m all for free love and being optimistic. After all, Altamont was still six months away and the squares hadn’t won yet. But what mighty gesture did one of the most prominent figures (and couples) in the counter culture movement happen upon to show discontent with the Old World order? They refused to get up. Having moved into the Presidential Suite of the Hilton and invited the world’s press as witnesses, they warbled on about how we should all grow our hair and refuse to leave our slumber pit. Well, that showed them. Take that war mongers! It’s amazing that amongst all the bad art they plastered
the room with, they didn’t conjure signs saying “Careful Now” and “Down With This Sort Of Thing”. And they weren’t finished there. Two months later they repeated the stunt in Montreal, after one night in the Bahamas heat proved “too much”. Two years later came Lennon’s magnum opus, when he invited us to “imagine no possessions”, but surely it’s hard to imagine “living life as one” while swanning around an all-white Art Deco mansion, complete with matching baby grand. “It’s easy if you try”? Yes, it’s also easy when you’ve accrued all the trappings of a millionaire rock star, including a psychotic wife. Obviously, he should be praised for trying something, but what exactly did he achieve? Raise awareness of Vietnam? Who wasn’t painfully aware of the untold
horrors perpetrated in the name of freedom? Maybe flower power was destined to fail if the best their self-appointed figurehead could come up with was acting like a petulant teenager. No, much like Bono, the sad truth is that he was all too aware of the power of his own image, and far too adept at playing the media game. Recall that, in Amsterdam of all places, they turned up not by bus or bike, but in a brand new white Rolls Royce. Working class hero indeed. It’s ironic that even today, the same students who proudly hang that image on their walls and bleat about “change” are the most likely to be found in Starbucks, tapping away on an iPad in between sips of their double tall, half-caff, skinny caramel mochachino. And I can’t help but feel that somehow Lennon would approve. Plus Ça change, I guess. 15
POP SCENE: MANCHESTER
!"#$%&'(') MANCHESter The Pigeon Post’s Matthew Britton tells us about his hometown, Manchester. The common and persistent image of Manchester is a city blighted by rain, inhabited by lads in parka jackets; smoking and swearing before heading down to watch some football and have a fight. If you’re into that kind of scene, it still seems to be a viable lifestyle for quite a few people, as a walk down Market Street at any hour of the day will tell you. For the rest of us though, Manchester is a city constantly trying to reinvent itself. Having one of the biggest student populations in the world means that every September gives a chance for the region to start afresh – one invariably squandered on the various drink-deal nightclubs, regardless of the many culture festivals thrown each year. The Northern Quarter offers a glimpse of something different, however, harbouring most of the city’s young, creative workforce. Along with its countless bars and cafés, it encapsulates Manchester’s current unease at its place in the world - not quite the chest beating arrogance of the hacienda days, but going about business with a certain pride. There is a sense that, despite the recession, the city is really working towards something important, gaining a sense of character and purpose that only elevates with every passing season – striving to be fashionable and desperate to be DIY, the best appraisal of the city is that now, at least, you’ll never be left bored on an evening. For those willing to venture out, the cup positively runneth over. thepigeonpost.wordpress.com.
PLACES TO VISIT COMMON BAR 41 Edge Street, Northern Quarter Hang out of the movers and shakers in Manchester, furnished with some excellent DJ sets. THE CASTLE HOTEL 66 Oldham Street, Northern Quarter Far from just your standard boozer, this is one of the most beautiful buildings in Manchester. DEAF INSTITUTE 135 Grosvenor Street, off Oxford Road Has played host to many of the city’s recent musical triumphs, whilst showcasing the hottest emerging bands on the planet. NORTH TEA POWER 36 Tib Street, Northern Quarter An antidote to the many hundreds of franchise coffee outlets plaguing every city centre – boutique teas and tasty cakes. GOOD GREIF ‘ZINE STORE in Soup Kitchen, 31-33 Spear Street, Northern Quarter Selling the kind of limited run prints where you can practically feel the gargantuan effort put into each page. OKLAHOMA CAFÉ 74-76 High Street, Northern Quarter Like stepping into another world entirely – a novelty gift shop twinned with one of the best snack stops in the city. BAND ON THE WALL 25 Swan Street, Ancoats Millions were spent on its refurbishment and not a penny was wasted. Undoubtedly the best sound system in the city. WHITWORTH ART GALLERY Oxford Road, next to Whitworth Park A mix of conservative and fiercely contemporary art, it’s largely overlooked by the students who bus by it each day.
BANDS TO WATCH In terms of music, Manchester is a bizarre place to live. The Courteeners can sell out an arena and Shaun Ryder can still sell over a thousand tickets to play a few songs, but it’s an area that also incubates some of the most intriguing sounds in the UK. WU LYF have spent the past 18 months pretending not to care about everyone hyping up their brand of heavy pop. Finally they appear to be letting music do the talking rather than wrapping their grizzly indie pop up in needless layers of mystery. Already bands are lining up to take their place; CHRISTIAN AIDS have made waves, not only through their charity baiting name, but also through their dark, hypnotising witch house-tinged electronica. One of the most encouraging things has been the diversity of quality acts coming through – D/R/U/G/S have gone from playing deeply atmospheric electro in opening slots to touring Europe, DUTCH UNCLES are finally managing to find an audience for their swirling math-pop and EGYPTIAN HIP HOP are yet to show signs of ageing in their hypnagogic musings. Stuff you should look out for? The woozy beats of STAR SLINGER have already set the pulses of every blogger racing, BROWN BROGUES ramwhilst shackle racket never fails to thrill with their crash-bang-wallop noise. Those who like their pop to sound like golden era Spector should try check out THE LOUCHE F.C., and for those who don’t already have more than enough to be going on with, there’s WEIRD ERA, YOUNG BRITISH ARTISTS and PATTERNS to remind you that guitar music doesn’t have to sound like it’s been stolen from 1994.
MiXtAPe As if it’s not enough to furnish you with a free magazine, your good friends at DIY have gone one further. Begging, stealing and borrowing (well, maybe not stealing - Ed) from some of our favourite bands and labels, we’ve put together our first Mixtape. Twelve brilliant tracks long, we’re giving them to you free - just head to thisisfakediy.co.uk/mixtape to grab your copy. 1 2 3 4 5 6
CYMBALS Single Printed Name GIRLS NAMES Seánce on a Wet Afternoon YUCK Coconut Bible TIMES NEW VIKING No Room To Live DANANANANAYKROYD E Numbers WYE OAK Civilia
7 8 9 10 11 12
GUARDS Taxi Cab VIVIAN GIRLS I Heard You Say JOHNNY FOREIGNER Harriet, By Proxy JUMPING SHIPS The Bad Outweighed The Good STAGECOACH Hieroglyphics HOLD YOUR HORSE IS You Show Up
2 4 1
FIRST ON: THE BEST NEW BANDS, BEFORE ANYWHERE ELSE
fir! on: BRAIDS Braids have been playing in and around their native Canada for a few years now without finding their way to our shores. Luckily for us, the band’s album ‘Native Speaker’ is due out in the UK this spring. We quiz lead singer and guitarist Raphaelle Standell-Preston to find out more.
Hello Raphaelle, how are you all? We’re good. Just in the van right now driving to Cincinnati. The sun is setting, a Cracker Barrel and Texas Roadhouse sign is sparkling in the distance... You’ve been together for a few years, but you’ve not done much in the UK yet. The UK has always seemed like a far off, very wonderful dream. It’s coming closer though and the dream is becoming less on the clouds and more in front of us. Having formed during your final year of high school, and spent a year practicing obsessively, you must have very understanding parents. Understanding to the point that some of them would allow us to practice in their homes and would feed us so that we could practice more. We’re very lucky. Taylor’s mother said to me the other day: “You four are doing what we read about in self help books, following your dreams. You’re an inspiration to all of us.” If I said that didn’t make me tear up then I would be lying. Did it feel a bit of a risk at the time, not going into further education or a fulltime job? No, we were still quite young, 17, none of us felt like, “Jeez I really want to go work for an oil exec, or at the Gap all day.” There was a little bit of hesitation to not con20 thisisfakediy.co.uk
tinue going to school, but it faded very quickly. For Katie it was a little different because her parents really wanted her to go to University. When she said no there were some hairs raised, but everything settled after a while. Why did you move from Calgary to Montreal, rather than, say, Vancouver or Toronto? The music scene in Vancouver and Toronto is quite different to that of Montreal. In Vancouver it’s very noise and grunge focused. In Toronto it’s like everyone is wearing a leather jacket. As for why we chose Montreal, Austin, Katie and Taylor really wanted to go to McGill, I had been told by numerous people that it was magical, so with that we all packed up and moved away together. I think Montreal is the most fun. You’ve self-recorded and self-produced your debut album - how did you end up doing it all yourselves? Before embarking on recording we discussed the desire to have as much creative control as possible. We didn’t really know what we were getting ourselves in to. We went back to Calgary for the summer and had figured that we’d record the album there. By the end we’d recorded the drum beds for five tracks. It was a very steep learning
curve! We’re all very glad that we did it though. How do you go about creating your music? What’s the process like? It tends to vary a lot. A more common scenario is that a member will have written a series of chords, or even just a lick, and they’ll play it usually while setting up or poking around. One of us will fox our ears and say, “Ah, this is so good, keep going,” and we’ll jam on it for a time and build something up, then rip it all apart, then build it up and rip it apart until we’re all happy. It usually takes quite a while, it has to pass through everyone. Do you each hold similar ideas as to how you want to sound? Somewhat. We butt heads sometimes but for the most part we’re on the same page. A song is usually written when we’re on the same page. Have you shifted much musically since you first started out? Where can you see yourselves heading in the future? Oh yes. We used to be a folk band. Now we are experimental pop. We’re heading towards the horizons of minimal house. But only a little bit minimal house. Braids’ debut album ‘Native Speaker’ will be released on 4th April via Kanine.
FIRST ON: THE BEST NEW BANDS, BEFORE ANYWHERE ELSE
fir! on: AUStra Canadian newcomers Austra are shaping up for big things. With more bands in her back catalogue than most A&Rs have in their phonebooks, frontwoman Katie Stelmanis is no stranger to the stage. But what makes this band any different to the others? We catch up with Domino’s latest signing to find out. Introduce yourselves! Who are you and what do you play? The core members of the band are myself, Maya Potepski on drums, percussion and a lot of the programming, Dorian Wolf on bass, and then I recently recruited Ryan William on keyboards. Where does the name ‘Austra’ come from? It’s my middle name. I used to just go by my own name, Katie Stelmanis, and people were like “Oh, it’s so hard to say,” so we changed it to something even harder to say! How would you describe your sound to someone who’s never heard it before? I would describe it as dark, dramatic but also kinda dancey. Are there any themes or ideas running through your material that tie it together? I don’t really have lyrical themes, just be-
cause lyrics come last for me; they’re not a priority. It took us such a long time to sort out recording that our material ranges from over three years of writing - it’s years of compiling the best. How did that impact on the way the record turned out? The older stuff sounds very different. When we finished mixing, Maya and I went in to our studio (i.e. bedroom) and had to totally rearrange a lot to make it sound more cohesive. We’ve been reworking songs for such a long time because they were never released and we don’t want to not release them. How do you go about writing new material? Pretty much all the music starts in my bedroom, on my computer. I like to base things around melodies, but there are some songs I like to build around drum and bass.
You’ve played in lots of different bands, how do you think those experiences influenced the way you work as Austra? I don’t think I’ve ever played or participated in a band that was anything like what we’re doing now. I feel like an anomaly. Most of the bands I’ve played in have played a role, but I think most of my inspiration comes from my previous training as a classical musician. I feel that filters in a lot more. How did your signing to Domino come about? It’s exciting. It actually happened randomly at SXSW last year. We just got scouted and six months later, we signed a record deal. I think it’s kind of funny because that’s what’s supposed to happen at SXSW but never does. I don’t know, we felt lucky! Austra’s debut album ‘Feel It Break’ will be released on 16th May via Domino.
fir! on:Kyla La Grange Not shy of a bit of drama, Kyla’s music explores all things dark and twisty. Team that with some soaring notes and added dynamic melodies, and you know you’re on to a good thing. With her debut single recently released and an album in production, you can expect to see a lot more from this indie-pop-folk-rock princess. You’ve been playing music for quite a long time, how did you start out? As a child I joined lots of drama and singing groups, and always really enjoyed it. When I was at school we’d have this big performance where we could dance or sing, and I always used to sing. I wrote songs at home on my own but I never had the guts to perform them. At university there were so many open mic nights I plucked up the courage, went along to a few, didn’t know anyone and just played my songs. Then you moved to London? When I left university, it was like “Shit! London: where do you even start?” How do you even start trying to play music in London? I put a couple of tracks up on MySpace and people listened to them and booked a few gigs. It was all quite organic. How would you describe your sound? I suppose it’s sort of a big crossover of
folk and indie and pop and rock, and it’s all quite depressing. Epically depressing, I think. What can people expect from your live show? Big choruses and lots of quite odd dancing on my part. When I’ve looked back at videos of gigs, I just think, “Goodness, I look half deranged,” but I think that ties into writing and not wanting to over think it. When I’m on stage, I don’t want to think about what I look like. That’s why I always end up looking like a complete idiot.
Marcus Foster and Matthew & The Atlas, who are amazing. What can you tell us about the album you’re working on? All the tracks for it are written but we’re still recording, so we’re trying to work out the way they’ll be recorded. I’d say it’s half way there because when recording often you do one version and everyone’s like, “Oh, no, I preferred it when it had these drum beats!” So then you have to do another version. But, yeah, it’s getting there.
You’re down to play SXSW - who are you looking forward to seeing there? God, there’s quite a lot of people. I’m really looking forward to seeing tUnEyArDs, who no one seems to have heard of. They’re really weird and beatsy and fun.
When do you think we’ll be able to hear it? I would like to release it early next year but it really depends on what happens with the tracks and how it all comes together. I know of bands who’ve had their whole album recorded and then the label kept putting it off and putting it off, so you never know, it just depends. Definitely in the near future.
The stage we’re playing, The Communion Stage, has some fantastic people like
Kyla La Grange’s debut single ‘Walk Through Walls’ is out now via Noir. 23
TRACK BY TRACK YOU ANIMALS – CRIMES, CREEPS & THRILLS
*+,&-$./$*+,&You Animals Crimes, Creeps & Thrills Newcomers You Animals release their debut album, ‘Crimes, Creeps & Thrills’ on 25th April, littered with guitar-pop anthems-in-waiting. But don’t let us tell you that – the band’s Ryan Needham lets us in on what’s what on the record in their own words.
THEME FROM YOU ANIMALS “A party song – definitely tongue-incheek – but with a touch of darkness at its heart. This is about finding someone or something that drags you back up on your feet when you’re at your lowest, and clinging on to them (or it) for dear life.” WHAT YOU WANT “Continuing on from the first song; the person I thought was saving my life was actually leading me down a path that would end in a much darker place. It’s about growing up, making choices and living with the consequences.” WHAT A SHAME, LORRAINE “This is a true story about a girl we knew. You’d see her around and she always seemed completely untouchable but also quite lonely. I eventually got to know her and she was a really unique person; she opened my eyes to a lot of things. One day we saw on the news that she had killed herself. There was no note and no warning but for some reason nobody really seemed that shocked. I know that must sound terrible but it almost made sense, you couldn’t imagine her getting old and I think she almost liked that idea. Another sad story wrapped in a pop song.” COMMUNICATE “We tried to convey that feeling of frustration you get when you can’t put into words what you’ve always wanted to say. It’s a statement saying nothing, or at least ‘I’ve waited all of my life to say this and now when I finally have the chance I can’t think of a single word’.”
HALFWAY TO HEARTBREAK “This song is about realising that after years of blaming the other person it was actually you who f**ked up the relationship and then dealing with the fact that it’s far too late to do anything about it. Sorry lost its meaning a long time ago. It’s a song of two halves; part of it is about looking back at what you had and part of it is about dealing with what you’ve lost.” WESTERN BRIDGE “This one speaks for itself. I don’t want to ruin it by over explaining something that is already quite clear. It’s about not seeing what is right in front of you.” YOU LEFT YOUR HEART IN THE CITY “Childhood memories and learning to let go of the past; it’s as much about times and places as it is about people.” EVERY DAY IS LIKE FRIDAY NIGHT “This is about a friend of ours who got involved with some pretty dark stuff. It all started out with her just wanting to have a good time, but she never wanted the party to end. ” RUN OF THIS TOWN “A song with a split personality. Lyrically this is kind of the opposite of ‘Communicate’, but with the shoe on the proverbial other foot. It’s about letting someone dig their own grave and taking some kind of sick pleasure from it as you see them finally start to come unstuck. Then again it’s about letting someone know that no matter what they do or put you through, you will always be there for them, and would do anything for them. Love, it f**ks you up.”
OWN WORST ENEMY “The subject matter of this one is a little more light hearted than some of the others. Escape, disappear, jump down the rabbit hole. A lost weekend. Sometimes the best way of dealing your problems is by saying f**k it, let’s get wasted.” ALL THE RAGE “When we were writing this one I was thinking about the bad things in people that somehow seem attractive. You know it’s a bad idea to get involved with these people but we still do it. It’s great for a while but eventually when the party ends you’ve got to clear up. Is the mess worth it? Definitely. The second half is a lament to a thought that crops up in ‘What You Want / What You Need’ about time getting the better of us all in the end.” SHOTGUN VALENTINE “The final track sums up a lot of the themes and emotions of the entire album. Again, I don’t want to ruin it by spelling it out, but it deals with misplaced nostalgia, hindsight, memories and f**ked up relationships. In writing this it’s become clear that all those things are a recurring theme of the album, but I don’t think we realised at the time how deeply some things actually affected us. The worrying thing is that we seem to need this emotional warfare to write the songs! I’ll have to go and let someone else f**k up my life again for album two...” You Animals’ debut album ‘Crimes, Creeps & Thrills’ will be released on 25th April. Listen to it now exclusively at thisisfakediy.co.uk.
IN THE STUDIO THE VICTORIAN ENGLISH GENTLEMENS CLUB
0($*1'$%2345") The Vi"orian English Gentlemens Club Cardiff trio The Victorian English Gentlemens Club are currently holed up putting the finishing touches to their third album, the follow-up to 2009’s ‘Love On An Oil Rig’. We gatecrashed to get the scoop.
The Victorian English Gentlemens Club aren’t exactly known for their straight down the line, boring attitude to music. A band that have previously taken to the stage with their own child mannequin, it’s no shock to discover their new record will have an unconventional title (‘Bag Of Meat’), or that it will contain “layers of brutal noise”. “The album has two halves,” the band explain. “The first set of songs we finished were a reaction to the last album, the second half of the record is more a return to our early stuff - quirkier and emptier, more vocal-lead. We’d been listening to early African music, and it started coming in through backing vocals and chants, which turned in to lead vocals. 26 thisisfakediy.co.uk
“We started to use a mandolin we got in India, and put it through octaves and echoes to make it sound like a fairground.” It isn’t all going to be African chanting, though – there’s a fair few mentions of the P-word. “We aimed to make it experimental but pop, with songs that change direction and don’t do what they’re told. The songs on here are short, nearly all under three minutes. We don’t like excess in our music; we ditch anything ‘unfunctional’ or useless. We class it as pop music, though. Weirdo pop.” The Victorian English Gentlemens Club will tour across the UK and Europe later this year. ‘Bag Of Meat’ is due in June.
60 SECONDS WITH KATY B
67$%'&"(48$9521) Katy B Katy B is no stranger to hard work. Born and raised in Peckham, South London, it’s no wonder she’s one tough cookie. Gaining respect in the largely male-dominated underground scene can’t be easy, but Katy is definitely on a mission. Your debut album is out in April - how did you go about writing and recording it? I used to go to [record label] Rinse’s studio once a week to lay down my ideas. I’d get loads of instrumentals from producers and I’d pick the ones I thought I could do something with. Are there any stand out tracks on it for you? What are you most proud of ? I love ‘Why You Always Here’ because it’s sad but has attitude and hope. It takes me on a roller coaster of different emotions, and makes me want to dance. You’ve been around on the underground scene for quite a while. How’s the pop world treating you? I’m still working with the same people I was working with three years ago so it feels exactly the same for me. It’s just on a bigger scale, I guess. I’m a lot busier. How important is it to you to stay involved with Rinse? They are my label and production team, it’s like a big family. I’ve been with them from the beginning. I love their ethos and passion and I feel really a home at Rinse. Last year, you participated in the Red Bull Music Academy. How was that? The lectures were amazing! I really enjoyed Busy P’s lecture he was really funny, and Moody Man’s was outrageous. You can watch them on the website [redbullmusicacademy.com]. The students were lovely too, it really made me see how much of London is ingrained in me, meeting everyone else from all over the world.
Having attended BRIT School, RBMA and doing a Popular Music degree at Goldsmiths, do you think it’s important for musicians to be formally educated? I don’t think it’s essential, as loads of amazing musicians in this world are self taught. A lot of becoming a musician or an artist is from life experiences but I do feel that it gives you a good foundation, and allows you to meet other like minded people. If you need a band they’re all there in your class, or if you want someone to write you a song there’s a songwriter. BRIT School has given us some pretty big names recently. Who should we be looking out for at the moment? My friend Joe Worricker is releasing his album soon on Rough Trade, The Illersapiens, a sick live Hip Hop band based in Brixton, have a new EP coming out soon, and Paul Saunders has just signed to Atlantic, I’ve heard. He makes beautiful folk music. Katy B’s debut album ‘On A Mission’ will be released on 4th April via Rinse.
LOADS OF AMAZING MUSICIANS IN THIS WORLD ARE SELF TAUGHT. A LOT OF BECOMING AN ARTIST IS FROM LIFE EXPERIENCES
INTERVIEW CHASE & STATUS
END CReDitS Guitar rock is dead, and drum and bass belongs in the nineties, or so the fable goes. However, Chase & Status seem to be defying those odds on a rather dramatic scale. They’ve got their own record label, two albums and long tours under their belts and you can barely turn on your radio these days without hearing one of their many, many collaborations. It’s all a far-cry from the infamous Manchester meadows parties. “I remember my sister going to things like that, dressed like that and leaving the house at stupid times,” laughs Saul. But nowadays, the twosome are setting their sights a little bit higher. After successful collaborations with the likes of Dizzee Rascal (“It just worked really quickly”) and Polydor’s latest soul signing Liam Bailey (“I was blown away”), their next target might be a little-known fella that goes by the name of Kanye. “We’ve never worked with Kanye West and we’ve heard a lot of different things about him,” Will gushes. “Good and bad,” Saul interrupts “To get a session with him would be great fun,” concludes Will, but Saul doesn’t seem quite so convinced. “There are other great people that have had a fantastic year, like Ellie Goulding.” Nevertheless, if there’s one thing the two agree on it’s that when it comes to collaborations, it’s very important that you get along. “Being in the studio for a long time can get on top of you,” Saul recounts, “Also, because we go on tour a lot we want people to perform with us. When you’re on tour, it’s like a travelling family - you’ve really got to be getting on well.” So who’s on the tour bus this time, can we expect a Dirtee Disco? 30 thisisfakediy.co.uk
“It would be hard to get Dizzee on the whole tour with us because he’s a busy guy,” Will shrugs. “Yeah, it’s easier to get up and coming people” Saul explains. “Also, we take it in stages where we perform songs that we didn’t do on the last tour. Although, it’s a staple that we’ll have Tempa T doing ‘Hypest Hype’.” “On the last tour, ‘Hypest Hype’ was just coming out and I remember it was great because the first time we did it, no one knew it!” Will continues. “It’s a nervous time, you know. Gradually, as it’s started to get on the radio now, people sing every single word, and you can see he loves it.” October this year will see the duo out on the road again on another massive UK tour. “The reaction you get, the crowd reactions, the energy – we’ve done a million and one gigs and it’s just like wow, this is why we do it.” Will enthuses. “It’s always really rowdy but in a fun way. There’s never any trouble. We’ve never had to stop the music or seen a fight and that’s really nice.” As well as all the music-making, Chase & Status also run their own label, MTA Records. “We’ve got some exciting things happening with the label. We’re doing for our artists as much as we can. We were on independent labels and we’ve always thought we could do it better. It’s very rewarding – not financially, by any means – but in seeing those guys happy and succeeding. We’re helping them do that.” And they’re always open to new offers. “We’re always keen to hear new music.” Saul assures us. “We’ll sign a band if we love them.” Chase & Status’ new album ‘No More Idols’ is out now via Mercury Records.
“WE GO ON TOUR A LOT. IT’S ALWAYS REALLY ROWDY, BUT THERE’S NEVER ANY TROUBLE. WE’VE NEVER HAD TO STOP THE MUSIC.”
COVER STORY NOAH & THE WHALE
LIFE GOES ON Noah & The Whale’s new album, ‘Last Night On Earth’, marks a dramatic shift in sound from their previous records. Emma Swann speaks to the band’s Charlie Fink and Tom Hobden in their rehearsal studio to find out how they went from folk to pop. Photography: James Pearson-Howes
stories in the songs, what we wanted to say, what we wanted to express. There wasn’t a committee meeting where we said ‘we’re gonna go pop’, ‘we’re gonna get some beats’, but a big part of the writing was condensing the songs, to be direct in that way.” The cleaner, fuller sounds on the record aren’t only down to personal tastes or the listening habits of the band. Instead, it was the need to stretch themselves musically that did it. Bandmate Tom Hobden chips in. “We subconsciously wanted to flex some of our musical muscle, just to see if we could do it.”
on’t bore us, get to the chorus!” This mantra, adopted by the band throughout the creation of new album, ‘Last Night On Earth’, explains perfectly the changes in Noah & The Whale’s sound. Gone is the jolly whimsy of their debut along with the dark emotional depths of their 2009 follow-up, ‘The First Days Of Spring’. In their place? Pop. Slick, polished, huge and immediate pop. “I think more than anything it was instinctive, what felt right to us at the time”, explains frontman, songwriter and co-producer on the new album, Charlie Fink. “What we were listening to, the 32 thisisfakediy.co.uk
“I think we really did push ourselves on this album, took ourselves out of our comfort zone a little,” continues Charlie. “It is drastically different to what we’ve done before, and like Tom says, we’re still trying to find what’s within our capabilities.” Noah & The Whale have emerged from the muddy banks of south-west London’s prolific folk conveyor belt to become one of 2011’s great British pop hopes. ‘Last Night On Earth’ is the first new material from the band since the departure of their original drummer, Charlie’s older brother Doug, in August 2009 - just days before the release of the second album. And it’s one mighty departure in sound for the quartet.
So vast is the gap between the new record and its predecessors, you’d be forgiven for thinking the band behind it wasn’t one often mentioned in sentences alongside banjo-wielding scruffs, Mumford & Sons, or Mercury-nominated singer/ songwriter (and former collaborator), Laura Marling. Last time around, Noah & The Whale were literally heartbroken, their sound delicate and subtle, personal and intimate; the band’s second album is very publicly a record of its frontman’s state of mind following the break-up of his relationship with Marling. Here, the only sadness on display is the slightly macabre sheen over a message of ‘let’s get on with it’. It’s no coincidence the first single taken from it is titled ‘L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N’. It’s also near-cinematic in places, thanks mostly to Charlie’s foray in to film-making following the completion of the last record, a process which culminated in “a fifty minute narrative that’s conventional in every other way except for the fact that the backbone is its soundtrack”, and literary in part, too: Charlie falling in love with the Frank O’Hara poem ‘Having A Coke With You’ lead directly to ‘Just Before We Met’, and Bukowski’s collection ‘The Last Night Of The Earth’ gave us the album’s title itself. Each song is now a short story (when asked if entirely fictional, we get a coy “I couldn’t possibly say” and nothing more). “It’s such a different writing process when
COVER STORY NOAH & THE WHALE CONTINUED
you’re writing a song. With a film you’re filling in the gaps for people. With songs you’re implying and letting them go off and create the furniture. So I think with the songs, the narratives, it was trying to imagine scenes, and trying to give them those little details.” We meet Charlie and Tom at the band’s current home-from-home, an east London recording studio-slash-rehearsal space. They’re here in preparation of taking ‘Last Night On Earth’ on tour, and as Charlie explains, they’re taking everything a little more seriously than last time around. “With the last record, we rehearsed for about a week before we went on the road, maybe less. This time, we’ve been in here for a couple of weeks already, and we’re really focused. There’s gonna be a lot of touring this year.” The band were able to spend longer making ‘Last Night On Earth’ than either of their previous records, a fact described as “very beneficial”. “The last two albums, they were both recorded within a month, the writing was longer, but this, we took as basically being a nine-month process. I 34 thisisfakediy.co.uk
think you can tell, with the intricacies and directness this time around. That was a big part of us taking time, being able to refine it to the essential parts.” This nine-month process began in the very room we’re sitting in, the band having spent time here in early 2010 preparing demos to take to Los Angeles to record with Jason Lader (The Mars Volta, Julian Casablancas), the album’s other co-producer. Some of these recordings even made the final cut. “We purposefully tried to make the demos as good as we could, just in case. You capture something when you play a song for the first time, there’s an excitement, something that’s hard to get again. So there are a few things that remain: the main drum pattern on ‘L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N’, that was recorded in here, as was the vocal on ‘Wild Thing’.” With Charlie also taking on production duties, the additional level of control the band had over the record’s sound suited their agenda. “We had a clarity of vision
of what we wanted to do, and Jason was great because he’s an incredible engineer, and getting, realising the sounds you hear in your head, that’s often the hardest bit, and he facilitated that.” Summer in LA is more than merely geographical miles away from the cold, wet London of the January and February they spent beginning work on the album. Both appear to have had their say on ‘Last Night On Earth’. It seems we’re not the first to wonder how. “I don’t know, what do you think? I get asked this, and I never know what to say. We had a pretty clear idea what we were going to do. “But I think you probably are more inclined to make uplifting music when it’s summer, although I personally find it harder to write then, I don’t know why, I think maybe it’s more distracting. You can always hear in an album the mood of the studio, however, how the people are feeling, and it definitely influenced that, I think. When you’re in LA in the height
“YOU CAPTURE SOMETHING WHEN YOU PLAY A SONG FOR THE FIRST TIME, THERE’S AN EXCITEMENT, SOMETHING THAT’S HARD TO GET AGAIN.”
of summer, you’re obviously going to have a different take.” Tom suggests the literal location of the city, away from friends, family and familiar nightlife may have also played its part. “I think it gave us more focus. When you’re in LA you’re in a different environment to the one you’re used to. We didn’t have people we could just go out and see on the weekend.” The album features many guest musicians, but we’re not talking Kanye-style cameos in this instance. Here We Go Magic’s Jen Turner makes an appearance, as do gospel singers the Waters Sisters, in addition to The Black Crowes’ Adam MacDougall and percussionist Lenny Castro. Charlie has a simple recipe for anyone wanting additional names on their list of credits. “If you want to find people to play on your record, do a record in LA. Everyone’s there. “We had this thing about wanting the backing vocals to sound like they do,
and we were talking to Jason about it, and he was like ‘I did a Jenny Watson record with these gospel singers, the Waters Sisters’ and then ‘they were on that Michael Jackson tune’ [both start singing ‘Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’ ...badly] and Jen Turner, she was in an old band of his. I think as much as anything it was more people being around, in the studio, and saying ‘sure, why don’t you just try and do this’, ‘you’ve got your move, put some of that on it’.” Even though it’s now around eighteen months since Doug’s departure – leaving in mid-2009 to pursue a career in medicine – the remaining members don’t yet know how this has changed the band, as he’s still very much a part of how Noah & The Whale operate. “It was essentially four of us on this record, just a different four. It’s still pretty much the same, although it’s hard to say as there’s a natural progression of the band anyway, and
Doug’s still been a big part of this record. He played on the demos and we talk to him about ideas, even down to the artwork. I always email him about things, to get his opinion. Who knows, he might come back one day.” With “wanting to make an album that would work live as well, to have the excitement to go and play songs that have energy to them”, it’s no surprise the band have extensive touring plans – which we’d assume include various high-profile festival slots throughout the summer. Does that mean we’ll be hearing new versions of old favourites? “Some of them. Some we’re being quite faithful to, others we’re just revisiting. I wouldn’t say we’re altering them that drastically. “Honestly, I’m just so excited about getting on the road again, playing songs. I can’t wait.” Noah & The Whale’s new album ‘Last Night On Earth’ is out now via Mercury Records. 35
STYLE SPRING ESSENTIALS Hooded sweat by Emporio Armani, jeans by Duck & Cover, all from scottsonline.co.uk
SPRING ESsentIAlS This month DIY helps you get geared up for the sun and the ever looming festival season; Scotts is the brand authority for every essential item you need to be seen in this spring.
Art director: Matt Hambly Stylist: Neesha Sharma Model: James Cox @ AMCK Photography: Ewelina Stechnij Grooming: Keti Nikolova using Dermalogica
STYLE SPRING ESSENTIALS Sweat top by adidas Originals, jeans by Henri Lloyd, all from scottsonline.co.uk
Marl T-shirt by Fred Perry, navy chinos by Dockers, bag by The Duffer of St. George, Lacoste white pumps, all from scottsonline.co.uk
STYLE SPRING ESSENTIALS Black polo by Original Penguin from scottsonline.co.uk
Checked shirt, cream shorts and denim trainers by Original Penguin, all from scottsonline.co.uk
STYLE TROPHY WIFE
tROPHY WiFe Words: Emma Swann Photography: Sam Bond Styling: Gemma Swan Oxford trio Trophy Wife describe their laid-back math-pop as “ambitionless office disco”. We’re yet to discover whether anyone’s photocopied their nether regions to the sound of ‘Microlite’, but would question the ambitionless part of their claim - they’re already causing quite a buzz. Jody (vocals), Ben (keys) and Kit (drums - wonder if he’s ever nicknamed ‘Drum Kit’?! - Ed) take their influences from artists as varied as The Notwist, Hank 42 thisisfakediy.co.uk
Marvin and Tortoise, but we’d say think the last Foals record, just slicker and less fuzzy. It’s a comparison not entirely misguided: the bands toured together towards the end of last year. Trophy Wife’s new single ‘The Quiet Earth’ / ‘White Horses’ is out now via Moshi Moshi.
Ben wears blazer and shirt - stylists own Kit wears coat by Merc Jody wears coat and jumper - stylists own
STYLE TROPHY WIFE Jody wears shirt by Merc, coat by Henri Lloyd
Kit wears cardigan and jacket by Henri Lloyd
STYLE TROPHY WIFE Ben wears coat and shirt by American Apparel
Kit wears cardigan by Henri Lloyd Ben wears shirt by Andrew Buckler Jody wears jumper by Topman
!yle guide Here are a few things we’ve got our eye on this month. We recommend the Superman Converse - they’ll be flying off the shelves.
1 Oakley Frogskin sunglasses surfdome.com , £148.99 2 Lyle & Scott canvas shoes lyleandscott.com, Price: £60 3 Luke jeans luke1977.com, £90 4 Atikin T-Shirt 5 atikin.com 5 Raw Power Summertime T-Shirt rawpowertshirts.com, £39 6 Analog Wolfgang Shirt surfdome.com, 49.99 7 Puma 917 bass trainer puma.com, £50 8 Levi’s Sawtooth shirt levi.com, £75 9 Boxfresh Litorius t-shirt,boxfresh.co.uk, £25 Boxfresh Calvus shirt,boxfresh.co.uk, £55 Boxfresh Bacciverus jacket,boxfresh.co.uk, £65 10 Smudged Ink satchel iconbrand.com, £35 11 Converse hi converse.com, £50 12 FLY53 T shirt fly53store.com, £25 13 The Duffer of St. George Orian shoe jdsports.co.uk, £34.99 48 thisisfakediy.co.uk
SOUNDTRACK MITCH CORBETT
Mitch Corbett Just over twelve months ago, following a successful mission to Scotland, professional surfer and Cushe Team rider Mitch Corbett suffered from a life threatening head injury on a night out in Newquay. The 23-year-old was placed in an induced coma and it wasn’t certain he’d fully recover. One year on, and after a miraculous recovery Corbett is healthier than ever and leading the way in UK surfing, marking a return to form by surfing a newly discovered wave in Britain. Here, he shares some his favourite tracks with us.
NEIL YOUNG ‘Hey Hey, My My’ This track is very special to me at the moment, as I have just recovered from a serious head injury that almost took my life. I now know that you can be here today and gone tomorrow, so I’m trying to make sure I take full advantage of every moment. The lyrics in this track are pretty much exactly how I am living my life now and I love to just get amped off it! ARMIN VAN BUUREN ‘Light The Skies’ (Electrobounce mix) I got into this track on a trip I did with some really good friends to southern France. It’s just so uplifting and could drag anyone out of the lowest of lows! Well, that’s how it makes me feel.
THE CURE ‘Lullaby’ I’ve loved The Cure since I was around 18 and I have been playing them non-stop ever since. I have bought pretty much every track they have produced, ten times over. This tune stands out when I play their albums, as it is just so catchy. It’s one of those tracks you can play anywhere, any time and to anyone, knowing that it will be enjoyed. BEN HOWARD ‘The Wolves’ Ben Howard is also a surfer from England. This track reminds me of a surf trip to northern Scotland that I went on just before my head injury. The waves absolutely blew my mind. We also came across a wave that we had never seen before and managed to surf it the next time we visited. I am
led to believe I was the first surfer to ever ride this wave. So the memories associated with this song are pretty good. INXS ‘Don’t Change’ I’m listening to this track at the moment. The waves are really good today, and when I get a chance to get myself amped for a surf I will always press play on this bad boy! EDWARD SHARPE ‘Home’ I first heard this band over New Year’s. I was in Ireland – the trip was a mission to get some huge waves. I ended up sharing a house with two American lads who we had never met, and they were heroes. One of the boys introduced us to a few new artists, including Edward Sharpe and this album.
THE NAKED AND FAMOUS ‘ Young Blood’ I’m really into this band at the moment. I’m just really digging the chick’s voice. She sounds really original, and the beats are funky as! VAN MORRISON ‘Days Like This’ I had never listened to any Van Morrison until I pressed shuffle on my friend’s iPod. We were in a remote part of Indonesia at the time and there was a lot of waiting around for tides before getting to surf. I’m not a major fan but this track is a beauty! JJ CALE ‘Fancy Dancer’ Even though his music is used on a section of a surf movie that my favourite surfer, Australian Joel Parkinson, has starred in. 51
INTERVIEW BRIGHT EYES
FOLK OFF Following four years away working on ‘other projects’ Bright Eyes, the original darlings of the blogosphere, return with the remarkable ‘The People’s Key’. Emma Swann finds out what it’s like to get the band back together. Photography: Adrian Nettleship
Back, back, BACK!!! The return of Bright Eyes might seem more of a traditional comeback if it didn’t feel like they’ve never been away. Previous album ‘Cassadaga’ may have emerged all the way back in 2007, but since then we’ve had Conor Oberst’s escapades with chums the Mystic Valley Band, plus both his and Mike Mogis’ involvement in the Monsters Of Folk project. Still, new album ‘The People’s Key’ is the band’s first in “damn near four years”. It’s worth getting excited about, too. Gone are the familiar string arrangements, the band’s third permanent member Nate Walcott replacing them with vintage keyboard sounds, and Conor’s instantly recognisable vocals are stronger than ever. It’s upbeat, and designed that way – Bright Eyes didn’t just press ‘pause’ on their way out, as Mike explains. “We didn’t want to go back to what we were doing when we stopped, because it was sort of depressing, really. That’s a little harsh, but it kinda makes you want to chuck up.” Conor agrees. “I think every record is a reflection of where everyone is in our collective lives-slash-interests. I think you make what you want to hear.” Mike carries on. “Because we all had different projects it felt like something new, which is kind of nice considering we’ve been around for sixteen years or something.” ‘The People’s Key’ was recorded in the band’s own studio in Omaha, Nebraska, a situation Conor describes as “the best of both worlds. Essentially like home recording, but your home is super hi-fi.” It 52 thisisfakediy.co.uk
INTERVIEW BRIGHT EYES CONTINUED
“WITH EVERY RECORD WE’RE GOING TO SAY IT’S OUR LAST, JUST TO DRUM UP A LITTLE BIT OF EXCITEMENT”. took around nine months to complete, the band being able to record ideas, leave them for a while, and return with fresh ears. “We would work on something, and then we’d go away for a month, and then come back and revise, or rearrange something, or add new parts. It’s like letting paint dry, then putting another coat on top. That, over and over again, until you get a nice, deep colour.” Having their own studio space, away from the producer’s clock, didn’t only allow them to spend almost a year perfecting ‘The People’s Key’, it also directly affected their new direction, according to Mike. “We spent the better part of a decade collecting gear that we find helps us make the sort of sounds and the sort of record that we want to make. It’s the only studio in the world that has that specific collection of stuff, whether it be instruments or actual recording devices.” Included in the new mass of equipment is Nate’s collection of keyboards, whose prominent role is the most obvious difference between ‘The People’s Key’ and previous records. They’re part of the 54 thisisfakediy.co.uk
band’s shift to being what Conor calls “more pop than folk.” These new additions to Bright Eyes’ sonic spectrum may be electronic in nature, but they’re a long way from electronica, as both Conor and Mike are keen to express, the former stating “It’s about as electronic as apple pie!”, with Mike continuing, “It’s just not as folky a sound, the synths that are on there you can find on a Cure record”. The other notable change is a further shift away from the personal and emotional to the near-political. We’re not talking Conor’s brilliant ‘When The President Talks To God’ or the band’s outrage at American immigration laws via ‘Coyote Song’, but the shared experience of humans, the affect of technology on us all, and thanks to the opening monologue, the creation of Earth via lizard men. This monologue comes courtesy of Danny Brewer, a friend of a Texan studio owner Conor met while recording his second record with the Mystic Valley Band. It’s not scripted – those words are Brewer’s own, mid-conversation, and he believes them.
“I’d heard him discussing these sorts of things, and without realising, some of the seeds of the songs I think go back to these conversations that I’d had with him. I think it’s a way to hopefully slow down the listener’s attention span and get them in a better mindset for the rest of the music. “I called him up and was like ‘Can you go in and basically record a conversation?’. I was expecting fifteen minutes or something, and he sent ninety. Then, there was a great deal of listening to it, and editing, picking out our favourite parts, before adding a musical element to it. “It wasn’t scripted, it was just him speaking. It’s just the way he is.” If rumours are to be believed, ‘The People’s Key’ might not just be Bright Eyes’ new album; it could also be their last. Conor is keen to allay our fears, though: “With every record, we’re going to say it’s our last, just to drum up a little bit of excitement. It’s the last... for now.” Bright Eyes’ new album ‘The People’s Key’ is out now via Polydor.
US & THEM Nero. No, we’re not referring to the CD burning software, the popular coffee chain or the Roman emperor. We’re talking about the breakthrough musical duo consisting of Daniel Stephens and Joe Ray. Signed to Chase & Status’ MTA Records and producers of that track you couldn’t escape hearing at the start of the year, Nero aren’t doing too badly. “The success of ‘Me & You’ surprised us,” Joe explains modestly. “We knew it had cross-over potential, but we didn’t think radio would pick it up the way they did.” The twosome were catapulted into the limelight at the start of the year with a spot on the BBC Sound Of 2011 poll, but they’re not new to the scene by any means. “It can take time to develop your sound. Of course we wouldn’t have turned down success earlier but it’s good to learn your trade properly.” And learn they have. With a list of celebrity fans, Nero are not short of admirers. “We knew Chase & Status were fans, I think it was our ‘Blinded By The Lights’ remix that really got them into us,” Joe says of their label bosses. “They were setting up MTA Records and invited us in for a meeting.” 56 thisisfakediy.co.uk
Simple as that, eh? With dubstep currently enjoying its time in the limelight, the likes of deadmau5 headlining festivals in major venues such as London’s Victoria Park, the future is looking bright. “I think dance music is here to stay. More and more it seems like that’s what people want to hear.” So what’s next for Nero? They’re in the studio as we speak with an album on the way. “It’s almost finished our end!” Joe enthuses. “It’s mainly just us and our vocalist Alana,” he pauses coyly. “There is one collaboration but it’s slightly up in the air and I don’t want to jinx it!” Nero will play LED Presents… Deadmau5 Live at Victoria Park on 11th June.
ALL CHANGE With their ever-changing line up and their constantly evolving sound, it’s hard to nail down just what Metronomy are. Sitting opposite DIY, and with a new album on the horizon, Joseph Mount is happily tucking into a pizza. Words: Harriet Jennings. Photography: Phil Sharp “I wanted to change,” he smiles. And change they certainly have. Metronomy started life as a bedroom-based operation for Joseph Mount; a nice little hobby making music on a battered old computer. However, a hobby with a name always has a little bit more going for it. “It comes from a young boy - me aged 16, 17 - thinking “Metronomy... that’s a bit like ‘metronome’, and it’s also like the word ‘astronomy’! Haha!” But I’m very happy I’ve stuck with the name. The great thing about it is that it sounds great in every language. French and Japanese people have a particularly nice way of saying it.” The name was about all that stuck. 2006 saw Mount move to Brighton and release debut album ‘Pip Paine (Pay the £5000 You Owe)’, which soon caught the attention of his contemporaries. It wasn’t until Erol Alkan’s regular inclusion of single ‘You Could Easily Have Me’ in his sets that it occurred to Mount that Metronomy could be set for big things. Live requests filtered through, and Joseph recruited friends Gabriel Stebbing and Oscar Cash to help him perform. “I don’t like it when you feel that bands aren’t really pushing themselves,” Joseph explains, and perhaps that’s why follow up ‘Nights Out’ had the air of a second debut album, if such a thing were possible. This time vocal-led and with Joseph taking his place in front of a microphone, the record proved to be a great success. Acquiring critical acclaim, and allowing Joseph and co. to tour worldwide, it put Metronomy firmly on the map. “We ended up, after the last album, touring for what felt like two years.” But put58 thisisfakediy.co.uk
ting on a show has always been important to Mount. Famed for their strange dance routines and light shows, Metronomy have built themselves a solid live reputation. “If you’re a band of our level, it really counts. People don’t tend to buy CDs as much as they used to. If the record label sees you’re doing potentially well somewhere, they’re like, ‘Go there! Tour! We wanna sell more!’” But life on the road isn’t always sunshine and rainbow dust; “After a while, you do just wanna go home, watch telly and sit down”, he shrugs. “You do need breaks. You need reasonable breaks.” With the album release imminent, Metronomy are trialling new material on the road. “We’ve started playing the new ones now. It will definitely help with the show. What’s nice about it is, because this record’s a bit more atmospheric, when you put it alongside the songs from ‘Nights Out’, we have a much more dynamic set.” It’s not always easy to mix in something new, however. “It’s always really nervewracking because the songs that people know they sing along to, obviously, but then when you start a new one they just stop moving and listen really intently. It’s really weird, and you have to wait until the very end to see if they liked it - if they clap or not. But by and large, it’s going really well. I think the fans seem very into it. I think they get it, they really get the whole thing.” Which is lucky, considering the new album is all change once more. This is the first record since 2009’s lineup switch, which saw Gabriel leave and Anna Prior (drums) and Ghenga Adelekan (vocals and bass guitar) step forward.
“The new album is called ‘The English Riviera’, and after the last one, I wanted to change; to do something different, just for the sake of keeping things interesting. To do something that felt like it was a kind of progression. “Because our previous stuff has been so computer-based and programmed, I wanted it to be much more musical in terms of people playing. Me, Oscar, Anna and Ghenga, and also Gabriel, who used to be in the band, he played on the album quite a lot. “It was the first thing that I’ve done in a studio, and because previously it was all bedroom stuff, it sounded, I guess, quite like bedroom stuff.” With a new studio environment to work in, Joseph felt that he was able to explore new musical ideas. “I’m really used to knowing what the potential is, what the possibilities are. If you’re just working on your own in your room, you kind of know: you’re limited by yourself. “To know that I was going to take it into this place, I was able to consciously not finish songs so that there was this space to enjoy it. Because I don’t actually know how to use a studio, I was working with an engineer, a guy called Ashley Workman. It’s a conscious thing, trying to be more sociable.” Constant change and a concerted effort to progress in terms of sound certainly keeps things interesting. But how will fans know what’s coming next? And, more importantly, how will Joseph know if they’ll like it? “People still like the classics. They don’t
H E ST MO FI UF ST N F. E I A N IN SH S S JO G IN O YA F G O TI EA , YO N A BLE L R. U S T TH N F Y H E OW EE OU IN RE I L ’R G CO ’M TH E G IS J RD JUS IS ET US S T CO T N EN IN T R E M R SE G C EC ES V O L OR O OU F L OS DI U S O E N T. U O T G ” N- M O -
INTERVIEW METRONOMY CONTINUED
know the new ones yet,” he answers confidently. “The most enjoyable thing is just recording stuff, and then as soon as you’re getting closer to finishing it, you feel this sense of looming fear. Once it’s done the press people start sending out samplers or playing people stuff and then you realise that, oh my God, now I’m just nervous until the record comes out. Then you see what happens.” Metronomy have no need to fear the critics, with numerous publications rating the last album very highly indeed. “I guess when it happens - the first time it happens - it’s just a really nice surprise. But then, because it’s happened once, your bar is set quite high.” Of course, that can impact on the way you write. “I guess on a subconscious level it’s like, “Oh shit, they think it’s good, keep doing good things.” You can’t help but imagine what they might think of it. It’s obviously a bit of an unhealthy way to do stuff, to try to imagine that you’re trying to please people. I think, maybe unless you’re so drug-addled that you literally can’t think, it’s impossible to not.” It seems that word of Joseph’s talents has reached the pop world. After doing remixes for the likes of Gorillaz 60 thisisfakediy.co.uk
and Franz Ferdinand, and collaborating with Kate Nash and Florence & The Machine, Mount has been approached to write with Girls Aloud member Nicola Roberts. “We did a few things...” he smirks. “I’ve always been really interested in writing with different people, and I’ve always been into pop music and found it interesting. For a while, I’ve been doing lots of little bits and bobs with people. Like there was some Sophie Ellis-Bextor stuff that I did.” Try as he might, there’s no steering the conversation away at this point. We want to know more about the Nicola situation. “An email just came through saying “do you wanna have a go at writing some songs with her.” It’s like “well, yeah”. It’s a no-brainer for me. I’m a fan. I guess you get people who try to do that because if you do a song with her and it is a hit single, you’re gonna make some money. “It’s such a ridiculous situation to find yourself in that you’re just going from seeing this person on TV or in tabloids, and the next thing, you’re embarking on this creative adventure together. It’s kind
of the exact opposite of the way that you see those people in the press. You’re suddenly in probably the most... well, not quite the most... intimate situation, where you’re talking about lyrics and song meanings. It’s very surreal but very enjoyable.” So could the future see Metronomy taking a turn for the pop? “I do that as a hobby more than anything. It’s just fun.” Whatever Joseph Mount has up his sleeves next, we’re sure it’ll be different again. Metronomy’s new album ‘The English Riviera’ will be released on 11th April via Because Music.
“I’VE ALWAYS BEEN REALLY INTERESTED IN WRITING WITH DIFFERENT PEOPLE, AND I’VE ALWAYS BEEN INTO POP MUSIC. IT’S A NO-BRAINER TO WORK WITH NICOLA ROBERTS.”
INTERVIEW DUTCH UNCLES
Sounds Like Pop Dutch Uncles have been battling through the crowded Manchester scene for quite some time. With their second album (and UK debut) pending, we catch up with vocalist Duncan Wallis and drummer Andy Proudfoot to talk recording abroad, concept albums and playing in London. You’ve just released ‘Face In’ as a single - but it’s not on the album, is that right? Duncan: ‘Face In’ is a catch up song, really. It’s from our first album [‘Dutch Uncles’] that we released on a German label about two years ago; it’s always been a live favourite. Now that we’re a bit higher profile and have a UK label we thought we’d make it a quick release before there’s any chance of it getting too late. We’ll move on to album stuff after it because there’s only so much time left before that comes out and we definitely want to give a taste of the album. You just mentioned about your German album and label, was that very different to your experience this time around in the UK? D: Very different. Andy: Yeah, hugely different. In the songs and in the production. We had a couple of producers and some of the stuff was stripped right back to the bare bones thinking about what the song should be and what it should sound like. Whereas the first album was kind of ‘get in, bash it out, do it and it’s finished’. D: The first album, it was done in Hamburg. We recorded in a concentrated two week block in a really nice, big millionaires studio-type-thing. I don’t know how we 62 thisisfakediy.co.uk
got it for so cheap! When we made the second album, it started out actually as sort of a DIY project. We were doing it while at university in Salford but then the label came along, Memphis Industries, and they started to help fund it. A: The first one took two weeks, versus this one which is like six months. Have you got any gossip for us about the new album? A: There’s a fully a cappella track on it. D: Well, it’s not strictly fully a cappella. There are some instruments involved. A: It’s completely different to anything we’ve ever done. And we’ll never be able to play it live. D: We’ve worked out ways of making tracks go into tracks at times. Obviously, not the whole album - that would be nauseating. A: Make it a bit like a concept album. That’s something we’ve always wanted to do. D: It was really strange, our tracklisting came at the last minute. Literally, the last minute! It was really odd because I had a vision for what it should be that was completely different. But in this different one, there was a concept. So it’s kind of become a bit of a concept album. There’s definitely a story there.
Are there any tracks that stand out for you as favourites? A: There’s one song called ‘XO’ where we’ve done a rejig of something by a composer called Steve Reich - an instrumental guitar piece. It’s one of our favourite pieces of his and we were like, ‘that sounds like pop’. So we mixed it all together and Duncan piled some lyrics on top of it. I’m really pleased with the way that turned out. You’ve sold out two London dates. How does that feel? A: It’s good. London is, on the whole, very good I think. When we did our first headline show here, in October, we sold 50 tickets and we were like, how has that happened? We’ve never sold anything in London. D: It came at the right time, that gig. We were starting to think London is such a big place. A: It’s really encouraging. It takes the pressure off. Sometimes certain members of our band do feel nervous and just a bit sick if they’re going to play to no one. It’s nice to know that there are going to be people there. Dutch Uncles’ debut album ‘Cadenza’ will be released on 25th April via Memphis Industries.
INTERVIEW MORNING PARADE
ESSEX BOYS Tipped for the top, Morning Parade have a big 2011 ahead of them. Straight out of Essex and recording in the studio of one Damon Albarn, frontman Steve Sparrow explains what it’s like to be a band on the up. Essex. For the county that gave us Damon Albarn, it’s still not best known for its musical progeny. Instead, first thoughts turn to the perma-fake-tanned antics of ‘The Only Way Is Essex’. “Finally someone has caught the essense of the things I dislike about Essex the most,” Morning Parade’s Steve Sparrow admits. “I think the first time I saw it we were in a hotel room while recording the album. My initial reaction was ‘what the f**k is this?’” In case there’s any doubt, Morning Parade are a million miles away from anything you’d catch on an ITV2 reality show. That doesn’t mean their roots aren’t important, though. “I think it plays a part in every artist and their music,” the frontman muses. “It has an effect on what you’re trying to achieve. In our case it motivated us - where we come from has a good music scene. There’s a lot of competition and that gave us a good grounding.” Chances are they’re going to need it. Despite being together for almost four years (“It’s always been on an upward trajectory”), 2011 has seen the hype machine start to whirr in earnest. Tipped as fabled ‘ones to watch’ by everyone from XFM to HMV and signed to Parlophone, it’d be difficult not to feel a bit of pressure. Not that it seems to be bothering Sparrow: “Ultimately, it’s up to the public to decide what they like. Our concern lies with what we’re happy with. If the rest of the world likes it, then that’s great. I think a lot of the time these polls aren’t just influenced by the music. Sometimes it’s how much is being spent on marketing, so we try not to take much notice of it, but obviously it’s nice to be included.” Alongside great reception comes great opportunities. With a debut album to be 64 thisisfakediy.co.uk
recorded, Morning Parade found themselves coming full circle, working in the studio of aforementioned Essex icon Albarn. “When we were told we were recording there we were overwhelmed a bit,” the singer explains. “Before, we’d only done a couple of days in the studio here and there. It’s not a commercial studio - it’s got Damon’s mark all over it. You can turn on any random synth in any room, press a couple of buttons and before you know it, you’ve got a Gorillaz song.” With enough tracks for an album in the bag, most bands would get their record out as soon as possible. That’s not how Morning Parade do things, though. “We always have songs on the go, even now”, Sparrow reveals. “We recorded about fifteen songs we were really happy with, but we wanted to push for more. Initially we were unsure if we should hold them back, but what if we never got to release them? What if, God forbid, we didn’t get the chance to make a second album? We decided to put everything we’ve got into this first one.” The record should drop later this year (“maybe at the end of summer? We haven’t even tracklisted it yet”), but before then there’s a whole heap of live stuff to get out of the way. With a jaunt around Europe coming up, festivals are also on the horizon. “I’m not sure how much I’m allowed to say,” he admits. “If I could play any slot it would be something sentimental. Maybe the Queen’s Head on the Thursday night of Glastonbury? That’s kind of like opening the festival, with all these new bands. That’s where we’d like to be for now, but in the future - who knows?”
INTERVIEW YOUNG KNIVES
“RECORDING THE ALBUM WAS HARD WORK, BUT WE HAD A POOL. THAT CHEERS YOU UP!”
Young Knives; a band of three men, containing two brothers, one of whom goes by the name House Of Lords. A quirky concoction to say the least. Best known for their zealous live performances and penchant for tweed, looking like your old high school Geography teacher is not enough to warrant chart success on it’s own. After all, Top 40 hits and Mercury Music Prize nominations never were his strong points. Words: Harriet Jennings. Photography: Verena Stephano-Grotto
“It’s funny, isn’t it? Even though our other albums have been in the Top 40, they weren’t in it for long,” Young Knives frontman Henry Dartnell begins. “On our second record we followed a logical progression from the first, which was to be quite cynical about things; ‘us against the world’. It gets a bit stale after a while, if you keep looking for fault in things and making half-jokey comments about people. That’s not quite what the second record is about, but there is an element of it.” In reality, Young Knives have been missing in action for a while, substituting mainstream success with trying to evolve sonically. “It seemed worth taking our time over it - that’s what the plan was, not to rush it out,” Henry explains, speaking of the band’s third album, ‘Ornaments From The Silver Arcade’. “We spent a long time touring the last record so we did it in about a year and a half. It might have been two years that it took to actually get it finished. It’s quite a long time really. “We tried to cross over between writing some really good melodies, and also trying to make tracks rather than just straight songs. We took quite a lot of influences from dance and soul records, trying to work 66 thisisfakediy.co.uk
out a way of making something different. And actually, what we ended up with was quite a lot of different sounding things.” But with all this talk of change, they’re still the Young Knives we know and love. “It still sounds like Young Knives but we went through a bit of a phase of trying to work out how to make music again. It seemed like what we’d done, we’d done; there’s no point making another one that sounds exactly the same. We spent quite a long time writing lots of different songs and trying to approach music in different ways. “We were a bit worried that it was going to be a record that sounds really differ-
ent all the way through, and in a way it kind of does, but that’s how I like records sounding. I don’t like to put on a record and every song sounds the same as the last - I quite like the idea of having a mixtape of ideas.” Working alongside producer Nick Launay, the band spent some time recording in LA, which must have made quite a change from rainy ol’ Blighty. “I didn’t see a lot of it because we spent all of the time recording! It definitely wasn’t a miserable time of our lives and it was pretty much good fun the whole time we were there. Hard though, hard work, but we had a pool. That cheers you up! And Nick Launay did Arcade Fire and he’s also
done stuff like Talking Heads and Public Image Ltd - stuff that we really like. “We had this choice of whether we’d go with a proper old school producer like him or someone younger who’d try and make something a bit more trendy. We thought that what we wanted to do was make sure that these songs came out good. We wanted to go in with someone who cares about the songs, rather than a knob-twiddler. So that’s what we did, and I think it’s worked.” ‘Ornaments From The Silver Arcade’ sees our trio take a turn for the upbeat, and Henry sticking firmly to his guns. “I think the first couple of records that we wrote were quite harsh and challenging, if
you listen to the whole record. I thought, “I just wanna write an album that’s full of things that are positive - making a sound that people will enjoy listening to.” It’s more inviting than the second record was. “We wanted to see if we could marry credible music with upbeat music, and I guess you do just end up sounding poppier. But that’s good, that’s fine. We just decided that a more uplifting record would be a fun thing to do. Like an experiment.” But some experiments do fail, as we all know, and with Young Knives being out of the picture for a few years, are they worried that this might be one of them? “I know we’ve still got lots of fans who are
waiting to hear us. It will take a little bit of time, and it might not hit Top 40 straight off but then who cares about that, really? I’d rather it was a slow build up than getting smashed up to oooh, number 32 for a week and then no one hears of it again. It’s not about that; it’s about keeping it going rather than getting chart positions. “It’ll take a bit of building up to get people to remember us. That’s always the way, if you take a big break. But I think if we hadn’t, we’d have come back with a less good album - I think it was worth the risk.” Young Knives’ new album ‘Ornaments From The Silver Arcade’ will be released on 4th April via Gadzook. 67
INTERVIEW CLARE MAGUIRE
“I’VE BEEN GOING INTO THE STUDIO EVERY NIGHT AND WRITING BECAUSE I JUST REALLY ENJOY IT.”
Expe" The Unexpe"ed After a mass scramble to sign Miss Maguire in 2008, she’s been safely tucked away in the bosom of her new label, Polydor... until now. An appearance in the BBC Sound Of 2011 list saw the Birmingham beauty brought back to the attention of the music industry. Labelled as the next Adele or Amy Winehouse, and marketed as a ‘Voice’, you might think you know what you’re getting with Clare. But be warned, things aren’t always what they seem. You’ve been under lock and key for three years following your deal with Polydor. What have you been doing in that time? I’ve been doing a lot of writing. The whole record took me four or five months, but I think I was training myself and going in with different people to prove what I was doing. Can you tell us about the album? Yeah, it’s called ‘Light After Dark’ and I like that title because I think it’s quite visual. A lot of the music is uplifting but it still has a deeper sentiment to it, and it’s quite epic. Each of the tracks have a different emotion to them. Has your style has changed over the time it’s taken to finalise the record? My musical style changes quite a lot because I get influenced by different times in my life, things that I see, conversations that I have. Musicians as well. My track ‘Ain’t Nobody’ was remixed by a dubstep artist called Breakage, and that inspired me to go into the studio with him and do some tracks. It’s always developing because I’ve got really eclectic music taste; I don’t like to just 68 thisisfakediy.co.uk
stick to one particular thing. At the moment people probably think it’s a certain thing but in the summer, it could be really electronic dance. How do you go about writing? I like to go into studios and I like to be inspired by things that are in the room. The past three weeks I’ve been going into the studio every night because I really enjoy it. Are you writing for a future album? It’s just tracks that I can give out free on Twitter and things, really. I think I write mainly for the live show. What can fans expect if they see you live? Expect the unexpected! I love visuals, I love the whole pin-up style, I like colour. It’s very emotive, but it’s going to change. I’m just starting out so I don’t have much budget, but hopefully the more it goes along the more I’ll be able to explore it even more and push it further. You’ve worked with quite a few people, who has been your favourite? I think everybody’s been brilliant in their different ways. I did the record with Fraser
T Smith who’s great because he has no ego and he just let me do what I needed to do. Then I worked with Richard X, Mark-Anthony Tieku and Sam Dixon, who allowed me to explore different genres and different sides to my voice, which is exciting. Everybody’s been great. You left school at quite a young age to pursue your singing career. Did you ever have a back up plan? Not really. I just always wanted to be a musician; that was the path I chose and I stuck to it. It was like tunnel vision. I was really obsessive about it to try and make it happen, and it did. I was lucky. Which is the bigger influence: your Irish heritage or your Brummie background? Oh, I think both of them at exactly the same time. My Irish heritage is important because of my grandparents, and my voice really comes from that. But then growing up in Birmingham, and being around that real working class environment, it’s inspiring at the same time. I love Birmingham. Clare Maguire’s debut album ‘Light After Dark’ is out now via Polydor.
IN CONVERSATION WITH... THOSE DANCING DAYS
those Dancing DaYs In anticipation of their second album and another cascade of glossy Scandinavian feel-good pop, Peter Bloxham has a conversation with Those Dancing Days singer Linnea about development, creativity and the importance of taking things seriously… sometimes.
Hi, Linnea. What have you been up to recently? Well actually this Saturday we played on Swedish television! How was it? It was crazy! We’ve never really done anything like that before. It was a Swedish awards show for musicians [P3 Guld Public Radio Awards]. It was a lot of fun and a lot of people liked it, so it was good. So you’ve not done much in the way of television gigs before? Not that big, no. Nerve-wracking? It was! Ha. When people talk about Those Dancing Days you often hear words like ‘cute’ and ‘adorable’. Do you think as you mature musically that perception might start to change? Yeah, this record is different because we have grown up. We started when I was fifteen and I’m twenty now, so of course it sounds different. We never really liked being called ‘cute’ and ‘bubblegum pop’ and stuff, but we also didn’t say “OK, let’s make these songs more mature”. It was just a natural progression. Was that difficult to deal with, not being taken seriously? I read about people asking if you would like them to tune your guitar for you and such. Has that improved? It definitely has. We still meet people who wonder what we can really do ourselves, but it was particularly great when we played on Saturday - people who didn’t know us as much were saying “I didn’t know you sounded like this, this is good!” So it feels good 70 thisisfakediy.co.uk
with this new record because we’ve proved that we’re both capable on record and live. With the performances on the new record, there’s an almost euphoric sense of movement and energy that comes through. Is there some sort of new enthusiasm you’ve found as you’ve spent more time together as a band? I think these songs are closer to our hearts. We’ve always written our own songs and they’ve always been meaningful to us, but maybe even more so now since we’ve gone through more in life, so we feel more when we perform them. We are so proud of this record and these songs so it’s definitely more so now than before. Has the creative process changed much since you started out? Things have changed a lot. We recorded the EP [2007’s ‘Those Dancing Days’] with our friend [Max-Måns] and he is the same age as us, so it was new for both of us. This second album was recorded with Patrik Berger, who’s been working a lot with Robyn, and he is really very good. He told us “No you’re not ready, you need to go away and rehearse, you need to know your stuff. I’m not going to record with you until you do!” It’s good to have someone strict and forceful around you sometimes, right? It can get the best out of you. Yes! I was like “Yes, you’re right! Let’s do this!” while some of the others were like “...What?”, haha. It was really good for us because we’ve always done this for fun but you have to put the effort in if you want it to be as much as fun as possible. We went back and rehearsed for a couple of months and then we recorded and it was really, really good. Everyone
IN CONVERSATION WITH... THOSE DANCING DAYS CONTINUED
was saying “Ohh, you really can hear the difference and that you’ve been rehearsing more.” Which must be a great thing to hear to build enthusiasm. It’s nice to know the effort was not pointless! You guys sound like you’re having fun, but when does it start to feel like work? I always look upon this as work, because I’m just that kind of person. I think the other guys are a lot more “Woohoo, this is fun!” but for me I need to be serious to feel good about it. If you see it as work you can do so much more with it. You can control things that happen around you and decide for yourself. It’s healthy to separate it. When we have our meetings and we talk about money and stuff then it’s “OK, let’s focus,” and when we play we can say “Let’s have fun.” When we’re on stage, it’s never work. Have you played any terrible shows? Well, I think this last year we’ve only really done good shows! Although at one of our first gigs in London we had a couple of football guys in the audience who were doing... inappropriate things. 72 thisisfakediy.co.uk
It had to be London, didn’t it? I’m really sorry about London! Haha, don’t worry about it. We were really young then so we were like “Ohhhh! What are you doing?!” Oh, we had another show in Kingston where everything went wrong. We got on stage to find the support act had spilled beer on the keyboard so it didn’t work and we had to borrow one from the other, nicer, support band. Then I couldn’t hear myself at all so we just played wrong and just hated it, it was horrible. That was the worst gig I have ever done. So your two worst were both in London! Sorry! I guess London owes you a really good gig? Oh, we’ve done a lot of good gigs in London, too. OK, when have you felt happiest on stage? Hmmm... Hard question! All of the shows we’ve done recently have been just great, but I think that’s because we’ve been playing the new songs and people are really approving. I remember in the beginning, in something like 2008, we played this Swedish festival called ‘Peace
And Love’. There’s always a really good feeling there and the crowd was crazy, so we’ve always carried that with us. That concert was just such a big surprise that people loved it so much. So what are you guys looking forward to over the next couple of months? We’re going to Europe - I’m really excited about Berlin actually because it’s on my birthday! I’ve never had a birthday on tour before and I love Berlin. Then we go to the US for SXSW. SXSW is exciting. I’m really nervous actually! More nervous than before you had to play on TV? Yeah! I always get sick, and it’s going to be an intense festival, and there’s going to be so much fun going on... I’m sure you’ll be OK, you just need to pace yourself a little bit! Haha, yes. I’ll try. Those Dancing Days’ debut album ‘Daydreams & Nightmares’ is out now via Wichita Recordings.
INTERVIEW PATRICK WOLF
time for mr wolf? Patrick Wolf is a master of vivid and provocative imagery. His early work was dark and relentless before he saucily suggested he could put us in the Magic Position and took a striking turn for the upbeat. Latest album ‘Lupercalia’ promises to be his happiest yet. Branded as a “festival of love”, Patrick’s newest effort sees the iconic artist explore his more romantic side. We catch up with Patrick to talk about rocky relationships, Lady Gaga and being banned by the Catholic Church.
Your new album ‘Lupercalia’ is out at the end of May. What might people expect from it? It’s a very honest, confessional album. Lyrically, it’s meant to be the words that you would say to your lover on your wedding day or before they fall asleep. It has a very protective energy to it. There are moments of saying ‘this was what I was like before I met you, this is how I’ve changed’. Sonically, as a producer, I wanted to use instruments that were like all of those emotions of falling in love for the first time and surrendering to joy, happiness and optimism, so big brass sections and big string octet moments.
a different way. I’m happy to be here now. I’m happy to be in love and grateful for the things that I’ve achieved.
used as vinyl B-sides so people can still hear the best work. It was just time to start a clean slate.
Lupercalia is an old festival, isn’t it? It was a fertility festival about bringing love to the city of Rome, into adverse, hard times. It was banned by the Pope and by the Catholic Church. Researching it, it was like, “This is me! This is me! This is my life. This is this album!” It’s Romulus and Remus suckling off the wolf, which is kind of like me and my fiancé living off Patrick Wolf for the last few years. Patrick Wolf provides for us, in a way. It’s a festival of love about a wolf in a city – it’s perfect.
So you don’t think you’ll ever go back to that album? No. I’m constantly writing, and a lot of the time, the songs just have to be thrown away so you can write better stuff.
Has London played a part in previous records? I think that ‘Lycanthropy’ was an album that had London in it. It was a time that I was very stuck in London and wanted to escape the city that I was born in. But this is about, after all the touring and all those hard moments of feeling lonely and away from home, not wanting to run away anymore.
Your last album was going to be a double album, and then it was going to be in two parts; is this the second half that you promised? There are parts that are. It started off with ‘The Conquerer’ as the second album but I felt that I was stuck again in a quite rebellious, aggressive place as a writer. I didn’t want be that person anymore and I didn’t really feel I was making any development. Turning 27 and growing up, I felt like I was still stuck as a teenager, in a way. I wanted to make sure that I was growing so it was time to really get rid of a lot of the work I was writing.
London has returned to this album but in
Some of the songs from that album I’ve
It also has an Arabic influence because I wanted to document London, so there’s Armenian flute, duduk.
With ‘The Bachelor’, you did some fanfundraising after you left your label. Do you think that’s something that you might explore more in the future? The fan-funding thing was amazing - that was the most genius part of that - but doing Bandstock was just raising the money. What happened after that was having to do all of the label aspects of it, and that’s when I really appreciated what labels do. They take a lot of weight off your shoulders so that you can really focus on performance, being a musician, writing, being in that world, that quite protected world, where you can just create. I would never write it off in the future, and hopefully it serves as inspiration for young bands starting and established bands that want to keep on releasing, but right now I’m very happy to have the weight taken off my shoulders. You’ve had a relatively rocky relationship with some of your labels in the
“IT’S A VERY HONEST, CONFESSIONAL ALBUM.”
INTERVIEW PATRICK WOLF CONTINUED
“I’M HAPPY TO BE IN LOVE AND GRATEFUL FOR THE THINGS THAT I’VE ACHIEVED.” past, haven’t you? I think that with Polydor it was tricky because I was on a subsidiary and the subsidiary basically folded. I’d already started to demo quite a tough record with ‘The Bachelor’ and I wasn’t going to change my vision and they weren’t happy with it. I never change what I do just to be safe with a record label. I’ve always wanted to have a label that trusted me and believed in what I do, even if it might not be commercially viable. Your sound has changed quite a bit over the years. Is it important to keep evolving? It just happens quite naturally, I think. I have quite a short attention span. The moment that I’ve done something, I hate repeating it. Even with the tours, I change the arrangements constantly. Which style of song is your favourite to play live? I don’t know. My tours have been everything from ‘Wind In The Wires’, where it was just me and a drummer totally live, to ‘Lycanthropy’, which was just me and a laptop. My band has grown with each record, and now it’s going to be a small, brass woodwind section and string quartet. I’ll never forget that I can go back to just one instrument and vocal. I think it’s important to remember, as a performer, that you don’t need a twenty-piece band; 76 thisisfakediy.co.uk
but if you are going to use it, use it well and use it for a reason. Your new video for ‘This City’ is a bit different to some of your others. A lot of my work hasn’t always been so extreme, visually. It just so happens that my last few albums have been quite provocative. It was important that the song really speaks for itself. It becomes boring to me that everything should be so conceptual. Sometimes it’s alright to show joy and happiness, and just the simplicity that comes with falling in love. There is a young lady in the sea with not many clothes on... The video reminded me of a day with a group of my best friends on the sea. The politics of whether somebody is naked or clothed to me is just irrelevant. Everything is so highly sexed in music videos, but nudity can be very innocent. Working with Ryan McGinley on the artwork really made me think of how oversexed most imagery is now, and in quite a cheap and nasty way. I don’t think the video is particularly heterosexual or homosexual; it’s just a very innocent exploration of love and friendship. Lady Gaga is quite a big fan of yours. Yeah, she has been known to say that.
Would you ever think about collaborating with her? I wouldn’t say no! Of course not! I think if any artists approach me, I’m always up for some form of collaboration. I don’t get asked much. Maybe I come across as someone who’s quite hard to reach or talk to. Talking of collaborations, you worked with Patti Smith recently on her tour? It’s the fourth time I’ve played a show with Patti. She asked me to play the viola and the harp but to improvise. That’s a lot of how her original shows were with the Patti Smith Group. She’d get a four or five musicians together and not rehearse and just play – just keep it spontaneous. People don’t normally approach me for collaborations but there have been a few really great ones. Marianne Faithfull, Tilda Swinton, Patti and Nan Goldin were my four most memorable. It’s nice to be asked. It can be quite lonely being a solo musician and going out there and being a bit of an island, so when someone like Patti comes along and believes in your work and believes in you like that, it means a lot. Patrick Wolf ’s new album ‘Lupercalia’ will be released on 31st May via Mercury Records.
REVIEWS TECH | GIGS | GAMES | FILMS | ALBUMS | SINGLES
TECH CHECK HEADPHONES
Fed up of spending your morning commute listening to tinny speakers? Are your dancing beats drowned out by next door’s drone? Have your earphones recently returned from an adventures in the land of the washing machine? Perhaps it’s time to check out some of these classy cans instead.
Klipsch Image One
Philips O’Neill ‘The Stretch’
CX310 Adidas Original
Paul Frank Ink’d
RRP £129.99 Perfectly practical in (almost) every way, these headphones have the handy ability to fold flat. No longer will you be forced to wear your pride and joy around your neck – gutted. It’s time to find a new accessory. They come in a stylish black finish with silver and leather accents, have an ever-useful tangle-resistant cable and even talk to your iPhone.
RRP £42.99 Featuring the iconic Adidas blue and the Originals logo, the CX310 earphones from Sennheiser come complete with various headpieces for a personalised fit. Blending together quality sound with great functionality, they also boast a brilliant two year warranty, and with bass-driven stereo sound these are a good investment. 80 thisisfakediy.co.uk
RRP £349.99 Labelled as the “state of the art” flagship product on the ever-growing Beats line, this pair promise to let you “hear it like the pros.” Probably more one for the studio producers or hard-core audiophiles of the group, they’re not cheap but do promise an array of ambient-noise cancelling abilities to provide you with that silent studio space wherever you are.
RRP £18.99 If you like your music accessories to put on a more fashion-friendly front, these affordable Paul Frank earphones from Skullcandy ought to do just the trick. Complete with token monkey mascot, they’re the cheapest of our bunch retailing at under £20 – peanuts! (Peanuts. Because monkeys like those, get it?)
RRP £99.99 Like a good pair of boots, these headphones are your most comfortable possession – but only after a bit of wearing in. Tested on O’Neil’s toughest boarders, they’re big on longevity and made from enough stressresistant material to see you through your A levels.
RRP TBC The latest model from Urbanears certainly looks different. With inter-locking clips, you can hang your brightly coloured audio bits around your neck whilst you’re not using them. The clever construction isn’t just for our amusement, however; it creates a direct sound whilst blocking pollutant noise, dontchaknow.
Butlins, Minehead Atmosphere. As important to a festival as the bands playing. Sometimes words just don’t get that across, which is why we’ve dedicated a whole page to photos. This month we’ve got Bloc. - a three day event held at Butlins (one of the best nontraditional gig venues of all time, and we’re not just talking about that time your Auntie Jane did Abba in the talent show), that features a myriad of men-with-laptops. Here are a few of our favourites from the weekend: Jamie XX (top), Four Tet (left) and Magnetic Man (bottom). Photography: Phil Smithies. 82 thisisfakediy.co.uk
Gig Guide Most months, there are a lot of gigs; especially true if you’re in London or one of the other big cities. It can be difficult to know what to go and see, can’t it? Well, we’ve trawled the April listings for you to pull out a few of the best. APRIL
Leeds Metropolitan University Dancing is baffling. Why are humans so obsessed with moving their limbs in time with a tune? Why when some of us try does it end up looking like a freak-puppet show gone wrong? Perhaps Darwin can explain. Not Charles - Deez is your man. Often at gigs you’ll find fashionable, solemn faced twenty-somethings nodding along impassively to ‘niche’ music you’ve never heard of. The realm of Darwin Deez is not such a place. This is a place of adolescent light-heartedness, where you can have a boogie without being judged, and wear a headband and not be ashamed. Not that we’re partial to either, you understand. It all kicks off with the band, minus Darwin, lined up front of stage shaking a leg. This really gets the crowd hyped for the entrance of he who we’ve all come to see. His lo-fi album was recorded with nothing but a laptop so there aren’t many intricacies to translate into the live performance, which works heavily in his favour. The rag-tag post-pop we have all come
to love comes across beautifully in all its simplicities. The crowd know every word and are wrapped around his finger, even before he plays ‘Radar Detector’. When the opening strums of said song begin the whole place blows up with enthusiasm, the energy of the crowd finally bubbling over into utter madness. The same can be said of ‘Bad Day’, a song which shows off Deez’s pure pop sensibilities through managing to create a melodic pop song with lyrics like “I would like to be your girlfriend so I could dump you”. Cracking stuff. It’s like being at a karaoke club; there are covers (Paul Simons’ ‘Call me Al’), the aforementioned dancing throughout (from both the crowd and Darwin) and of course there’s music, which by the way is alright. What it is that Darwin has captured so well with this performance is the reckless abandon of a teenager, not caring what others think and having fun regardless. Whether you love him or loathe him you can’t deny he knows how to put on a hell of a show. (George Boorman)
01 Peter Bjorn & John @ Stereo, Glasgow 01 UNKLE @ O2 Academy Brixton 02 Kyuss Lives! @ HMV Forum, London 02 Jessie J @ O2 Academy, Birmingham 03 Bright Light Bright Light @ Riversie, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne 03 No Age @ ICA, London 03 The Vaccines @ The Ritz, Manchester 04 Noah & The Whale @ Thekla, Bristol 04 Does It Offend You, Yeah? @ Heaven, London 05 Treefight For Sunlight @ Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen, London 05 The Blackout @ The Garage, London 05 Cold Cave @ The Lexington, London 06 Dum Dum Girls @ Komedia, Brighton 07 Errors @ Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club, London 07 DELS @ Hoxton Bar & Kitchen 07 Wiley @ The Plug, Sheffield 08 The Victorian English Gentlemens Club @ The Lexington, London 08 Pantha Du Prince @ Queen Elizabeth Hall, London 09 The Vaccines @ HMV Institute, Birmingham 09 Oneohtrix Point Never @ Queen Elizabeth Hall, London 09 Dazed Live Festival @ Various Venues, London 10 James Blake @ Southbank Centre, London 10 Jose Gonzalez @ De La Warr Pavillion, Bexhill On Sea 10 Professor Green @ Mandela Hall, Belfast 11 I’m From Barcelona @ Tabernacle, London 11 Beady Eye @ Rock City, Nottingham 12 Architecture In Helsinki @ XOYO, London 12 Lykke Li @ Trinity Centre, Bristol 13 Steve Mason @ Scala, London 13 Cee Lo Green @ O2 Academy, Bristol 83
Alex Sunday/ Rex features
Camden Dingwalls, London It’s you, Dave Grohl, and a few hundred of your closest musical kin. The Foo Fighters frontman is in your face, ‘Big Me’ - still a career highlight - jangling round your rock-addled noggin. The band have been playing for two hours straight, and they’re nowhere near finished yet. And to think, just a few hours ago your Saturday night involved Ant, Dec and maybe a stuffed crust. Secret gigs are great. Everyone with a degree of common sense knew this was coming. From the minute XFM started reporting unspecified ‘rumours’ of a low key date it became obvious something was afoot. Still, a largely unheralded ticket link at 2pm on the day of the show was enough to spark a scramble no 84 thisisfakediy.co.uk
matter what the warning signs suggested. “You wanna hear the new f**king record?” Grohl asks, launching into the opening sledgehammer of ‘Bridge Burning’. What follows is a front to back run-through of ‘Wasting Light’. New single ‘Rope’ is a worthy addition to the Foo Fighters lexicon, ‘White Limo’ sounds just as brutal live as recorded and ‘These Days’ is without doubt an anthem in waiting. Granted, it’s slightly labour intensive for the band, but all first listens should be done this way. Still, after eleven new songs it’s no surprise the greatest hits are going to turn things up a notch; ‘All My Life’ acts as a surefire way to shake the foundations. Pulling more than a fair share from the first half of their repertoire, ‘My Hero’, ‘Stacked Actors’, ‘For All The Cows’ and ‘Hey, Johnny Park!’ all remind just how good the Foos
can be. The standards are almost all present too - ‘Monkey Wrench’ and ‘Everlong’ both provoking rapturous receptions. Heading ever closer to the three hour mark, there’s no room for the feinthearted. Finishing, in Grohl’s own words, “where it all started”, ‘This Is A Call’ provides a last chance for it all to kick off. Anyone who wants to measure the fun factor needs only look to Pat Smear’s face. Fully integrated back in to the band, you’d have no problem believing he’s having the time of his life. They may be back to the enormodomes before long, but small, darkened rooms are where rock bands belong. In a better world, shows like tonight’s wouldn’t be a rare occurrence. A couple of Geordies and a pepperoni passion doesn’t even come close. (Stephen Ackroyd)
Simone Scott Warren
The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart King’s College London Student’s Union
You can see it in your friend’s eyes when you mention you’re off to see The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart. You can see the saddened, pitying despair with the limitless indiepop obsession. You see them be a little bit sick in their mouths at the name. You understand this time they may, just, have a point. It‘s a fair cop, that name is hard work; it’s oh-so earnest, oh-so needy and pretty damn limp. We can get past a ropey name for a band that do the right things though, and Pains (we’ll just stop at Pains ok?) not only do the right things, but know the right things too. When ‘Ride’ took the My Bloody Valentine template and added just that bit more pop suss to the glorious racket, the next logical step, the right thing to do, was take ‘Ride’’s refinement and chase it towards a sweet indiepop conclusion: add even more jingle to the jangle, gaze into eyes and souls as well as at shoes, make it even more immediate and deal in some heartfelt specifics rather than lyrical cloud watching. Pains did exactly that, and it
worked; the first record was a satisfying gem and the early live shows buzzed with the twitchy anticipation of watching a band on the up-and-up. And tonight? The eagle-eyed will have noticed that, so far, this has all been waffling bluster and precious little to do with the actual gig. That’s no accident, instead it’s a piece of good old-fashioned stalling before having to admit that tonight’s only pretty good, which is pretty much not good enough. The recent talk coming out of Camp Pains has been of a sound with more meat on its bones, of the speakers being turned up to, ooh, at least 7. You can hear it in ‘Belong’, but you sure can’t tonight. There’s an air of inertia from both band and audience which really wasn’t expected; the new songs don’t ignite on first listen and the older songs suffer slightly in the mire. Only ‘Come Saturday’ swaggers with their normal bravado, the rest floats gently by. This isn’t giving up on the band nor complete despair. We’ll be back for sure, but it’s a write-off for tonight and, worse, an open invite for more pity in those friend’s eyes. (Dave Rowlinson)
14 Mi Ami @ Corsica Studios, London 14 Manchester Orchestra @ XOYO, London 15 Her Name Is Calla @ Green Door Store, Brighton 15 Claire Maguire @ Oran Mor, Glasgow 16 Jeniferever @ Buffalo Bar, Cardiff 16 Wild Beasts @ Rough Trade East, London 16 Ghost Poet @ XOYO, London 17 Adele @ Ritz, Manchester 18 The Xcerts + You Animals @ Camden Barfly, London 18 Wretch 32 @ XOYO, London 19 Trail Of Dead + Rival Schools @ O2 Academy Islington, London 19 Buena Vista Social Club @ Royal Albert Hall, London 20 Battles @ ICA, London 20 The Airborne Toxic Event @ Camden Barfly, London 21 Metronomy @ Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff 21 Adventures In The Beetroot Field Takeover @ Fabric, London 22 IA Hawk And A Hacksaw @ Bullingdon Arms, Oxford 22 Rolo Tomassi @ Trof, Manchester 23 Villagers @ Liquid Rooms, Edinburgh 23 Mount Kimbie @ Arts Centre, Norwich 24 Dinosaur Pile-Up @ The Hop, Wakefield 25 Talons @ Bull & Gate, London 26 Johnny Foreigner @ Hare & Hounds, Birmingham 27 Dutch Uncles @ XOYO, London 27 Amp Fiddler @ Jazz Cafe, London 28 Half Man Half Biscuit @ The Auditorium, Leicester 28 Best Coast @ Queens Social Club, Sheffield 28 Diplo @ Koko, London 29 Live At Leeds Festival @ Various Venues, Leeds 29 Chromeo @ O2 Academy Brixton, London 30 Times New Viking @ Nice N Sleazy, Glasgow
For more gig listings, visit thisisfakediy.co.uk/guide.
OUT NOW & COMING SOON
Drool with anticipation over these future faves
(EA) PS3, PC, Xbox 360
Release Date: 25/03/11 Shifting the action to New York City in the year 2023, Crysis 2 drops players into a crumbling city in the midst of an alien invasion. Harnessing the superhuman abilities of a Nanosuit, you’ll be blasting the tentacles off those non-earth scumbags in the least xenophobic way possible.
Dead Space 2
(EA) PS3, Xbox 360, PC If Dead Space 2 was rated on how many times you’ll s**t yourself, it’d be several hundred s**ts. Luckily, that’s all Dead Space 2 has in common with s**t; it’s an exhausting and terrifying thrill ride. Ramping up the action, the scares, and disregarding the bumbling disorientation and step-retracing of its 2008 predecessor, Dead Space 2 is practically without fault. Playing as insurance-salesman lookalike Isaac Clarke, you must blast and sever your way through hordes of horrendous alien-mutant-corpse-hybrid things on the way to destroy The Marker, thus ceasing the alien threat. The true jumps come from Isaac’s inner turmoil and personal torment from the events of the first game! Not often you get a trigger-happy protagonist with a genuine tortured conscience. Without spitting in disgust, Dead Space 2 is a linear game. But that’s by no means a bad point. In fact, the moments where you lose the comfort of the way-point marker (this points you in the direction of your objectives) are actually bewildering. Being led through, essentially, a screeching fun-house of a game is the crux of the joy. Helped by a range of weaponry, telekinesis and a stasis ability that freezes opponents and objects, it crams in as much overwhelming action and horror as possible. If the original Dead Space was as close to Alien as a game could get, Dead Space 2 is undoubtedly the action-hard genius of Aliens.
(THQ) PS3, PC, Xbox 360
Release Date: 11/03/11 Near-future first person shooter in which the Korean People’s Army invades the USA. Written by John Milius (Apocalypse Now, Red Dawn), the game charts the economic downfall of the US and the unrest of the nation, so it’s exactly the sort of thing you want to be pondering while lounging on a beanbag at 1 AM wearing a headset.
(Valve) PS3, PC, Xbox 360
Release Date: 21/04/11 Sequel to the 2007 wormhole-abusing puzzle-platformer, Portal 2 is sure to expand on the successful formula of shooting holes in walls and going through holes in walls to come out of other holes in other walls. Oh, and, don’t worry, GlaDOS returns. The cake may be a lie.
Retro Game Of The Month
FOUR XBOX INDIES YOU MAY HAVE MISSED
WTF Was That Award: Incident At Dreamy Vale Church
Like Streets Of Rage meets The Bill. Inappropriately dressed policewomen battling hordes of hat-wearing skeletons! YEAH! It’s good to see British cops in a game for once, battering folk with truncheons just like in real life. Although, we can’t remember them being dressed in short skirts and knee high socks at the student riots.
(Datasoft, 1984) – Commodore 64
YEAH! Bruce Lee! Jeet Kune Do expert! Fighting extravaganza, surely! Well, no. Instead, we have a stiff, semi-racist, yellow skinned sprite with bizarre black gloves like a strangler in the shadows - it’s more about crawling up furry directional poles and collecting lanterns to unlock a vault o’ gold. We imagine there’s some sort of story, but it seems that you guide Bruce around maps encountering only two enemies along the way – a fat green hulk chap called the Green Yamo, and a ninja with the least amount of stealth imaginable. With barely no AI, a lot of the enjoyment comes from kicking them into explosions or falling on their heads from great heights. Speaking of which, Bruce Lee is the slowest falling character ever. In the time it takes for him to drop from a platform you could make a sandwich, eat the sandwich and consider making another sandwich. Eventually you’ll arrive at a vault of gold protected by a dragon wizard firing blocks from its mouth whom you can electrocute to death to secure yourself a comfortable future spending gold blocks at Tesco. It’s a memorable and explosive platformer, but what really works is the two-player mode allowing you to take on the role of the enemies, crushing your pal under the Green Yamo’s massive pants. Watch our video review at thisisfakediy.co.uk/games.
El Shaddai: Ascension Of The Metatron With some hailing it the most beautiful action game of all time, El Shaddai’s blistering style is sure to get gamers right into its origins with gusto. Err. Well, see, it’s apparently based on biblical mythology as narrated by the ‘heretical’ Book Of Enoch, part of the Dead Sea Scrolls and created by the geniuses behind Devil May Cry and Resident Evil. It’s an unlikely tale to build an action game from and it’s due for release this spring. So, it got us thinking – what other ancient biblical stories and parables would make BELTER FIGHTING GAMES? The Nativity 3D Battle your way through a busy Bethlehem in pursuit of a flashing star in order to deliver gifts to the baby Jesus in his manger; all in eyeball-melting 3D! Multiplayer: with up to three co-op wise men. The Good/Bad Samaritan Heavy Rain-style quick time event game in which you can shape the world around you! Choose to help the helpless, or beat and rob them, leaving them for dead at the side of the road. Multiple endings, including Satan or God as the final boss. Super Turbo Garden Of Eden Fend off snakes and humility in this Streets Of Rage style beat-a-thon. Playing as Adam or Eve, you pulverise your way through the Garden Of Eden in an effort to populate the earth. Collect 100 fig leaves for optimum embarrassment, with unlockable incest.
Aban Hawkins & The 1000 Spikes
With the deceptive luxury of 1000 lives, this 8-bit retro platformer is a slice of genius.
Top Pick: Return All Robots
Gorgeous puzzler in which you guide dim-witted, one-directional robots around laboratories. So charming and addictive you’ll forget you’ve been stuck on one level for hours.
Avoid Like Rabies: Bounce!
Try-too-hard ‘wacky’ bat and ball game. Looks like it’s based on a drawing snatched from a fridge door in a mental asylum. At least it’s trying to be different.
Dir. Richard Ayoade When appearing on a popular quiz show last year, fellow panellists asked Richard Ayoade if he hoped people would like his film to which he replied, “I just hope they see it”. With endless buzz and glowing reviews, it’s a given people will (hopefully) flood to the cinema to see this original, funny and thoroughly British adaptation of Joe Dunthorne’s novel.
out. On the more obvious end of the comedic scale, Paddy Considine plays a
THE DESPERATE BID TO OFFICIALLY BECOME A MAN BY GETTING OFF WITH A GIRL IS A WELL WORN MOVIE CLICHÉ BUT THERE’S NONE OF THE TYPICAL CRUDE, SPERM BASED HUMOUR HERE.
Set in Swansea and narrated by Oliver (Craig Roberts), a perpetually lugubrious 15 year old only interested in two things; keeping his parents’ crumbling marriage together and losing his virginity to Jordana ( Jasmine Page), whose perfection is only blighted by the odd breakout of eczema. The desperate bid to officially ‘become a man’ is a well worn movie cliché but there are none of the typical crude, sperm based gags here.
hackneyed life coach with an enormous mullet. Dubbed by Oliver as a “hippylooking twonk”, he is horrified to find him bonding with his mother Jill (Sally Hawkins), a woman so repressed she’s as tightly wound as the knitting on her immaculate twin set. Meanwhile his depressed father Lloyd (Noah Taylor) is stuck in a job no one understands and his marriage is so painfully mechanical, Oliver knows when his parents have had sex just by the delicate positioning of their bedroom light switch.
The humour is sharp and scenes set in the schoolyard with bullies and quick witted students are a particular stand-
It’s tempting to not want to over exaggerate the high points of Submarine but at the same time, it is as close to perfection
as a film can be. Newcomer Roberts is an adorable yet imperfect lead and Page man-
ages to toy with Oliver’s affections with the slightest of flirtatious smirks. The laughs may tail off slightly toward the end but all the elements fit seamlessly into another and while Submarine may only find a small but dedicated audience, this is a rare treat which gets better with each viewing. Widely known as Maurice Moss from The IT Crowd, writer and director Ayoade shouldn’t have to worry about people not seeing his first film as Submarine is a near flawless comedy that’s fresher than anything produced on both sides of the pond in years. If anything, Ayoade should be worry how to follow it. (Limara Salt)
Cave Of Forgotten Dreams
Following on from Neil Marshall’s Centurion comes Kevin McDonald’s version of the legendary Ninth Spanish Legion, who went missing in Scotland AD 117. Unfortunately, The Eagle isn’t quite as good as it thinks it is. Channing Tatum is Marcus Aquila, son of one of the Ninth, and after being wounded in a crunching attack on his garrison, Aquila is given an honourable discharge. To redeem his family name, he takes his slave Esca ( Jamie Bell) north of Hadrian’s Wall to recover the missing golden eagle standard of the Ninth. The two leads are good, and it’s fascinating to watch the balance of power shift between master and slave. Interesting sojourns with a savage tribe of Picts, and with Mark Strongís survivor of the Ninth, are all too brief. Despite sumptuous cinematography, The Eagle somehow never quite manages to raise itself. (Alex Mullane)
A Werner Herzog production in 3D? It’s no action blockbuster, but a thoughtful meditation on “what constitutes humanness”. Discovered in 1994, the Chauvet Cave in the South of France is hailed as one of the most significant prehistoric art sites. How the eccentric Herzog managed to convince the French Government to allow him access is a tale in itself. An almost spiritual experience, it’s a privilege to see inside the cave; however, clocking in at an initially palatable 90 minutes it drags in places. It raises many questions on the creation of art and birth of human consciousness, but that the assembled experts are frankly as clueless to the answers as the viewer is ultimately frustrating. Still, the wry postscript to this mysterious and haunting archaeological documentary is pure Herzog, involving radioactive albino crocodiles and the director’s laughout-loud narration. (Christa Ktorides)
Looking on paper like an embarrassingly bad rom-com, Chalet Girl is actually a deceptively sharp look at British class snobbery surrounded by fluffy romance and fluffier snow. A radiant Felicity Jones channels Bridget Jones via Ellen Page as fast food worker Kim, who accidently gains employment at a posh ski chalet in St. Anton (like you do). St Trinian’s star Tamsin Egerton is wonderful as the multi-dimensional “baddie”, and the script rises far above simple bitching and catfights. However, Jones’ key relationship with Gossip Girl star Ed Westwick is no fairytale romance (he’s far from honourable) and it’s hard to get behind. Warm and genuinely funny, it’s a sparky movie with winning performances from all involved. There’s enough polish from Traill in the snowboarding scenes to make this an endearing British version of Drew Barrymore’s Whip It. (Becky Reed)
PREVIEW: Thor The idea of Shakespearean thespian and director Kenneth Branagh turning his RADA-trained eye to a Marvel comic is just too brilliant to miss. A diverse cast, Chris Hemsworth is unrecognisable from his cameo as George Kirk in J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek, having beefed up for the titular otherworldly being banished from Asgard by his father Odin (Anthony Hopkins). Also bringing some acting clout is Tom Hiddleston as evil, human-hating half-brother Loki and Natalie Portman as the scientist who discovers him crashed on Earth. Expect weighty themes of familial discord alongside exciting hammer smashing, and a pleasing amount of humour judging by the trailers. It looks like Thor will join his future Avengers buddy Iron Man (all the Marvel superheroes come together in Joss Whedon’s megamovie, out May 2012) in a fun-packed, visually stunning spectacle that doesn’t take itself too seriously. 89
ALBUMS <,&-$%2"+/;;; Behind every album there’s the story of its inception. Granted, sometimes it’s boring, but occasionally it’s actually quite interesting. DIY catches up with Elbow’s keyboard player and home brewed producer Craig Potter to find out just how their latest album ‘Build A Rocket Boys!’ came into being.
What was your starting point? We started writing on the road, as we were touring with [last album] ‘The Seldom Seen Kid’. We made an effort to make sure we had rooms backstage at most of the venues so we got started straight away. We’ve learned from mistakes in the past that you have to keep up with the writing rather than take too much of a break or it takes too long to get back into it. Your last album was created in a more linear fashion than your previous efforts, is that a method you’ve carried forward? Yeah, it was the same from about half way through. We get fifty odd ideas that whittle down to 11 or so songs, about half of which we think are definitely going to make the album, then we start to put them together and think what could come next. Where they could sit on an album and what songs might be missing, what the album might need. So yeah, it was done in a very similar way. Not from the very beginning, but we wrote songs 90 thisisfakediy.co.uk
for the first year or so and then started putting it together. Was it difficult, starting to write this new album on tour? It was, we were quite hungover at the time. It was “Come on, come on, get up. We’ve got a few hours before soundcheck and we should get something done.” But other than that it’s good. It’s good to be knocking around a venue and popping in and out of the writing room. Did the live shows you were playing influence the record at all? Once you’ve played arenas and things like that, it’s difficult to not think about it but it doesn’t make a difference in terms of writing the songs. It’s strange, the best stuff that works well in arenas isn’t necessarily always the big anthemic jump around ones. A lot of our quieter songs from the first album and from way back work well because they’re quite grand sounding even
though they’re laid back tunes. Guy’s said that ‘Build A Rocket Boys!’ bears a resemblance to your debut. Was there an effort to go back to your roots? No, not at all. We started writing stuff with a bit more groove, which we had done in the past. A lot of it comes from the songs; I think this set is by far Guy’s strongest, and as a result, I think the album is definitely our best yet. But it wasn’t like “Let’s do an album like [debut LP] ‘Asleep in the Back’” at all, because personally I think ‘The Seldom Seen Kid’ tops it. The Mercury win for ‘The Seldom Seen Kid’ saw a lot more eyes on Elbow. How have you balanced the expectations of your long-time fans, with the new ones? You can’t really do anything other than sit down and write songs, to be honest. There’s maybe more pressure in some ways but it’s not as much as when we were writing ‘The Seldom Seen Kid’ because we didn’t know
Build A Rocket Boys! It’s not bleak up north, it’s positively glowing. That’s the impression Elbow give: few others can do warmth quite as well, fewer still shifting significant numbers at the same time. Yet toasting the odd marshmallow over the crackling embers of ‘Build A Rocket Boys!’ probably wouldn’t be too much of a stretch. With more critical and commercial recognition than strictly healthy for the ego, it would be remiss to suggest there’s no pressure afoot. Brits, Mercurys and Ivor Novellos can turn great bands into desperate, head-spinning wrecks, such is the pressure to do better next time. Of course, there was always the chance that a truck load of awards would force a band so assured to adopt a more mainstream stance. The shivers of ‘Lippy Kids’ make any such fears seem ridiculous at best; Elbow are a different beast to their greener peers. ‘Seldom Seen Kid’ was far from their debut, and with experience comes a quietly confident stride a well worn path that belies outside expectation.
whether it was going to be released, we didn’t have a label at the time. You could think that maybe we should make sure that this is more commercial, but pressures come from all over the place; at the minute, we’ve got a much bigger fan base so in a way we know that we’re going to sell a certain amount in the first month anyway, we know it’s going to do pretty well. So there’s maybe less pressure because we know that a lot of people will hear it. There’s a lot of really stripped back arrangements on this album, which is something that we’ve always wanted to do. It’s almost like the album that we’ve always wanted to make. How does the dynamic work when it comes to producing your own band? I don’t walk around and shout at people. We’ve always produced our own stuff, it’s just that I’ve taken on that lead producer role; I’ve gradually built the skills to take that on. Everyone gets involved in how things are gonna sound so there’s no big
separation or anything like that. It must be tempting to keep tinkering with the record during the production stages. How do you know when it’s done? There are different ways of looking at this. As far as mixing and recording, there’s one way of thinking that a mix or a production is never finished. It’s like anything creative really, it’s abandoned; it’s like “there you go, there it is.” Some songs just have to be a certain way. There’s a song called ‘The River’ on the new album that is just piano, guitar and vocal, oh, and choir as well. It’s a very stripped down arrangement and it had to be like that. There was no question, we weren’t going to add anything else. So there are always songs like that and then there are songs that you feel that you have to tinker around with but I suppose it comes from experience. We know that less is more. Elbow’s new album ‘Build A Rocket Boys!’ is out now via Fiction.
Even when embracing the odd touch of the electronic, eight minute opener ‘Birds’ does so with a sense of contentment that couldn’t be matched. It’s no shock to discover Guy Garvey returned to his Bury roots to pen the record - an elongated love letter, it’s enough to conjure up someone else’s memories as if they were your own. Single ‘Neat Little Rows’ and its neighbour ‘Jesus Was A Rochdale Girl’ juxtapose just what Elbow do best. The former a restrained stomper based around a single scale, it’s the kind of track nobody else would see as a comeback contender. The latter, a largely acoustic lesson in raw brilliance, simply wouldn’t work without Garvey’s heartfelt but unassuming tones. Together they’re as good an indication as any that the cult of new can’t tick all the boxes - some require an act to actually have lived a bit first. That’s not to say ‘Build A Rocket Boys!’ is flawless, but then that’s part of its charms. If anything, ‘satisfyingly weathered’ may fit the bill best - its imperfections only serve to hold your interest further. Clearly capable of provoking goosebumps, watery eyes or more likely all of the above - if anything Elbow are more ponderous than before. Greater success, in hindsight, was never going to change much. (Stephen Ackroyd) 91
Fluttering between a new found sense of immediacy and the more familiar sound of their self-titled debut, ‘Euphoric Heartbreak’ is a triumph. Laced with an overwhelming sense of momentum across the album’s eleven tracks, the band lurch from shimmering pop (‘The World Is Yours’) to anthems (‘Dream Dream Dreaming’). Quieter moments like the picturesque ‘I Feel Wrong’ counter the more electro-heavy ‘Euphoria Take my Hand’ - an explosion of energy that surpasses anything on their debut. Having learnt to run with their creativity, it’s a thrilling prospect as to what Glasvegas can achieve next time around. (Bevis Man)
Topping their debut ‘White Fields’ was a big ask, but Vessels have done it. Playing to their strengths whilst never letting things become overwhelming, the turns of pace on ‘Helioscope’ seem less jagged and unpredictable than before. It’s not a white-knuckle ride, more an album that hangs around long enough for you to appreciate the ability on display. The quality control is fantastic; nothing but the highest of standards suffice for this band. ‘Ever onwards, ever upwards’ seems to be Vessels’ M.O., and more power to them; they’ve set the bar for 2011 postrock. FAO all contenders: come and have a go if you think you’re hard enough. (Gareth O’Malley)
Hunx And His Punx
Banjo Or Freakout
On the surface Hunx And His Punx appear to be a gimmick. Is it Grease in drag? John Waters or Phil Spector? Really ‘Too Young To Be In Love’ is more nostalgia than novelty; the Shangri-Las lovingly repackaged as gay garage. But, despite all of his wonderfully overthe-top outfits and trashy videos, Hunx’ music remains perfectly restrained. He may bring the humour, innuendo and sleaze, but there are real feelings in his lyrics as he unleashes his inner lovesick teenager. We all know falling in love and having your heart broken hurts, but rather than sit and mope it’s a lot more fun to dance and sing about it instead. (Digby Bodenham)
Noise pop seems to be all the rage these days, but the one thing that saves the genre from becoming overpopulated is the fact that there are many different approaches. Alessio Natalizia’s idea was to immerse himself in repetitive soundscapes; taking melodies and pushing them as far as they could go, and then a bit further. He’s a little late to the party, but this doesn’t mean his debut album under the Banjo Or Freakout moniker can’t be enjoyed; there is something uniquely captivating about songs like recent single ‘Go Ahead’. As it is, though, there’s promise that has a way to go before it is fulfilled. (Gareth O’Malley)
Euphoric /// Heartbreak \\\
Noah And The Whale Last Night On Earth
Anyone suggesting that now is the time Noah And The Whale should be leaving the ‘nu-folk’ scene behind probably deserves the odd looks they’ll receive. With the more-than-slightly-closeto-home Laura Marling and Mumford & Sons both taking home Brits it would seem that donning new threads for their third album might be more than just a small misjudgement. Yet, having arguably helped kick all that off with debut ‘Peaceful, The World Lays Me Down’, it shouldn’t be too much of a shock to see this leopard change its spots.
Sophomore effort ‘The First Days Of Spring’ was hardly a jaunty laugh-a-minute experience. Moving on from that - a painfully honest account of frontman Charlie Fink’s break up with Marling - starts to make more sense. Jaunting still, but as close to logical as we’re getting. As it turns out, a touch of the Eno and a side order of vintage synth suits Noah And The Whale well. Opener ‘Life Is Life’ seems almost like a second birth. “Took apart his old things, set them all on fire”, Fink aptly recounts. If that’s not a literal metaphor, it should be. With the palette cleansed, ‘Tonight’s The Kind Of Night’ seems an almost hands-in-the-air affair. Hinting more to Springsteen’s American love affair than Brandon Flowers’ indie pop anthems, change remains in the air - though admittedly, a reassuring familiar one. Like a well worn pair of loafers, you’d struggle to claim earworm of a lead single ‘L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N.’ is anything close to pulse-racing, but its warm refrain is as infectious as they come. From there on in, it’s as easy as riding a bike. Even the intro to ‘Give It All Back’ - sounding more than a bit like an iPhone ringtone - doesn’t detract from a track built for sun-drenched road trips. Noah And The Whale’s downbeat phase is definitely over. Sometimes the best decisions make no sense at all. (Stephen Ackroyd)
Too Young To Be In Love
Banjo Or Freakout
Title track and opener ‘Stay Kids’ will be swimming around your head for days. With a slow build and huge release like The Beach Boys (Carl Wilson-led era, of course) fronting Mercury Rev (and that’s the ‘Deserter’s Songs’ phase), ANR’s sheer blast of euphoria wants you to hold onto your youth, and there’s rarely been a more rousing call. That the rest of the album doesn’t come close to touching its stupendous overture is a pity, but by no means cause for embarrassment. What we’re left with is a charming collection of songs that never quite takes off in the way some teasing crescendos suggest it might. (Matthew Horton)
Katy B prides herself as being part of a movement, strung together by pirate radio, the assistance of Skream and countless others. Her debut persists with the slick mainstreaming of dubstep that brought her to the fore through singles ‘On A Mission’ and ‘Perfect Stranger’. Bar a bizarre spoken-word dedication to her family, friends, and producers, much of the rest is what you’d expect. Mellow, sweet tones contrast with a frantic, infectious energy in new single ‘Broken Record’ and the 1am mood of ‘Why You Always Here’. Despite lacking in variety, ‘On A Mission’ is as good a statement of intent as there’s been for some time. ( Jamie Milton)
Micachu & The Shapes
It surprises many to learn the eccentric talent of Mica Levi was refined at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where she studied composition. After all, her debut album under the Shapes moniker suggested few of the common composer characteristics. Her latest, wildly ambitious project isn’t Micachu & The Shapes’ second album proper, but it is one for the collectors. During ‘Chopped & Screwed’’s half-an-hour, Levi familiarises herself with The London Sinfonietta, performing the album’s entirety in what seems like one take. It’s an uncomfortable listen, but that’s the appeal. ( Jamie Milton)
It’s refreshing that, amongst the deluge of nu-rave, electro-pop, and chillwave of recent years, there are still bands who believe the familiar intimacy of the humble guitar cannot be replaced by synths, Pro Tools or GarageBand. That Mazes have managed to put their own stamp on the garage rock sound is quite a feat for such a young band. You can sense the ghosts of The Buzzcocks, Television, The Kinks, and even early REM hovering in the background, but at no point do you get the feeling they are guilty of copy and paste. Their love of lo-fi and the warmth associated with analogue recording shines through. A pretty damn good start. (Derek Robertson)
Chopped & Screwed
On A Mission
Smoke Ring For My Halo The title of Kurt Vile’s latest, ‘Smoke Ring For My Halo’, could easily act as a style guide for the eleven tracks herein; the musings of a moseying stoner, gathering impressions of the world through oak-aged vocals and hollowing, deep reverb. There’s a latent headiness to be found in the density of the song structures, but that’s not to say this a difficult album. Far from it. Stick it on repeat to get yourself fully immersed. (Emily Kendrick)
A Thousand Heys
Those Dancing Days Daydreams & Nightmares
Those Dancing Days’ debut record wasn’t perfect, but it was a beguiling charmer. For album two, ‘Daydreams & Nightmares’, they’ve beefed up the sound. It doesn’t always work; sometimes you wish that the lyrics had the venom to stand up to the extra fire. But this is a minor quibble, first rendered irrelevant and then blown away by ‘Fuckarias’. Seriously, you don’t want to be on the end of this tongue-lashing. Don’t put up a fight, just give in now. (Dave Rowlinson) 93
Matt & Kim
Cage The Elephant
‘Sidewalks’ is an altogether pleasurable effort from Matt & Kim, but ultimately it falls short of its ambitions to bridge the indie-tomainstream gap. While pushing hard to hone their pop prowess, the Brooklyn duo have unfortunately sidelined much of the do-it-yourself magnetism that defined their past success. The winning formula of slapdash drums, catchy synths and shout-back choruses remains, but it is all too often overproduced. Their enthusiasm and playful ability to create jovial Hipstamatic daydreams, however, makes this record an easy departure to swallow despite its flaws. (David A. Thomas)
The Dears were never that original, but part of their charm lay in Murray Lightburn’s ability to mix various strands of indie rock in a pleasant, appealing way – there was never any “Dears” sound, just a blend of the best of college radio. And that was all well and dandy, for a while. Here though, they borrow so openly it’s a wonder they don’t have their lawyers on speed dial. The opening of ‘Thrones’ is uncannily similar to ‘One Day Like This’ by Elbow, while ‘5 Chords’ references Arcade Fire and The Cure in the space of three minutes. Some restraint would go a long way to giving them their own voice next time round. (Derek Robertson)
To listen to Ladytron is to be transported to a sinister futureworld where everything is chrome, streamlined and ergonomically sculpted, running smoothly to their metronomically precise soundtrack. The band have long been creators of a shiny brand of electronica, with never a beat out of place nor a synth stab wasted. Refined electropop at its peak, it’s a joy to have the best of their work from the past decade collected together in ‘Best Of 0010’. They’ve even managed to sneak in a brand new track, ‘Ace Of Hz’, right at the end, hinting at a shift away from the grittier, industrial sounds of last album ‘Velocifero’. (Becky Ross)
The problem with making rock music is that you’re often left with the burden of sticking to one specific sound. On hearing single ‘Shake Me Down’, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Cage The Elephant, a band renowned for jarring venue walls with thick, heavy sound, might have alienated half their fan base. It’s a no-strings-attached, straight-up pop song, but it’s hardly indicative of the rest of ‘Thank You, Happy Birthday’. Unfortunately in detaching from their sound of old, the Kentucky five-piece appear to have struggled to discover a new, fullyformed image and every attempt at something new sounds forced and overdone. ( Jamie Milton)
‘Bread & Circuses’ may not be the comeback The View were hoping for, but neither is it an unmitigated disaster. There’s nothing to grab you, smack you around the chops and demand undivided attention. There’s no real standout track, or anything to make you reach for the repeat button. But it does all bobble along quite breezily. It seems the Dundee boys are stuck in a musical no man’s land, neither progressing nor leading off in a thrilling new direction. Ultimately, they find themselves treading water, never quite as fresh and sparkly as their initial handful of whopping great bona fide pop hits; you’ll only find fleeting glimpses of the band’s former glory here. (Becky Ross)
There’s some kind of magic at work on Wye Oak’s third long player, ‘Civilian’. Over the album’s ten tracks, the duo – consisting of Maryland’s Andy Stack and Jenn Wasner – showcase curious reserves of garage rock, a shoegaze temperament and a disquieting age. The balance of these disparate elements to their character is difficult to get to grips with at first; for every weathered vocal, there’s a tumultuous cacophony of noise elsewhere to keep you holding on. A deep and interesting affair which leaves the listener feeling older, wiser, and in mind to discover what tricks Wye Oak still have hidden up their sleeve. (Emily Kendrick)
When Guillemots frontman Fyfe Dangerfield embarked on his solo jaunt at the end of 2009, he claimed he was spurred on by a cache of songs that wouldn’t fit his band. Straight away there’s a question mark against that belief; opening title track ‘Walk The River’ is as austere and slavishly structured around angular 60s beat pop as anything on his lone debut ‘Fly Yellow Moon’. Further in, ‘Vermillion’ is more of the same, sailing unexpectedly close to The Moody Blues in its stately drama. An album which dwells on skies, stars and unknowable things we can pin our hopes on; Guillemots still feed our hunger for the big, the wild and the honest. (Matthew Horton)
Fresh from producing tracks for Shakira (yes, really), The Shoes have rafted in a veritable smorgasbord of pop star friends to help create their own masterpiece. From Gonzales, to Esser, to CocknBullKid, with each guest there’s a new vibe, and the result is a schizophrenic, eclectic joy to behold. The problem? Phoenix. Whilst The Shoes have provided a strong body of work, the worry is ‘Crack My Bones’ will find itself being unfavourably compared to its Gallic predecessor ‘Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix’. There’s a danger that The Shoes will simply be ignored due to their apparent tardiness on the scene. Which would be a great shame. (Simone Scott Warren)
Bread & Circuses
Best Of 00-10
Walk The River
Thank You, Happy Birthday
Crack My Bones
The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart
With the twee indie pop numbers of their debut, PoBPaH hit on the formula for fast-track hipster stardom. Two years later, that same scene has moved on. ‘Belong’ sees the band take the hallmarks of their original sound and up sticks to the cramped territory of stadium pop-rock. The fuzz is replaced with reverb, the simple nostalgia of the lyrics moved to a languidly heartbroken tone and, on tracks like ‘The Body’, they even swap the cheap organ sound for sweeping, synth grandiloquence. Your take will depend on which version you prefer; the much loved PoBPaH of old, or 2011’s shiny new model. ( Joe Skrebels)
Ornaments From The Silver Arcade There’s plenty of colour evident in the new Young Knives record, that’s for sure. There’s a ‘silver arcade’ in the title, multi-coloured platforms in the album artwork, and the music is perhaps their most colourful to date. There’s brightness and vibrancy everywhere you look. Young Knives have found reasons to be cheerful again, and the result is their most uplifting - and arguably their best - work yet. (Gareth O’Malley)
‘Silesia’’s structure is as important as the sum of its parts; both immediate and a grower, the rewards are plentiful. Just as the tension in ‘Hearth’ is built up over four minutes before culminating in a glorious release - the moment that everything about this record falls into place is a genuine revelation. By the time the closer’s last notes ring out, ‘Silesia’ has come full circle, ending on a high note just as it began; the listener left drained but content. Jeniferever have refined their already impressive sound, producing an album that is well worth spending a more than a while discovering. (Gareth O’Malley)
The Morning After Girls
Queens Of The Stone Age
Like seeing through the dark, smokefilled rooms it seems suited to, ‘Alone’ becomes increasingly hard to pinpoint over its twelve tracks. Each song hazily surrendering to the next, the album lacks the immediacy to create landmark peaks, but has the ability to not fall into noticeable troughs. While not lacking in character, it fails to build on the interest it creates - not helped by The Morning After Girls’ fairly uninvolved lyrics throughout. Not a night time album, nor made for the daytime, it fares best on the cusp of sleep. Whether that’s because of its sleepy repetition, its comfortingly easy nature or just because it’s a bit dull is hard to say. (Matthew Davies)
In 1998 Josh Homme introduced us to Queens Of The Stone Age. The band’s self-titled debut was quite the hello, displaying a soonto-be trademark sound; drawn up, rough on the edges. Remastered, the record sounds fresh - still relevant after all this time. The recent trend of heavy-riff rock bands, as seen with the Dead Weather and Them Crooked Vultures, only goes to show that this blueprint of heavy alt rock will never fade away. There’s always room for a loud, straight up, no nonsense guitar album - with the added bonus of three extra tracks. (Lucy Tesco)
Queens Of The Stone Age
The Chapman Family Burn Your Town
You only get to make your first album once so you can forgive The Chapman Family for wanting to take their time. Grim, northern, a little bit pissed off and occasionally self-indulgent, ‘Burn Your Town’ is also quite surprising; the band effortlessly shifting from the dramatic murkiness of tracks like opener ‘A Certain Degree’, to catchy, entertaining and full-of-life pop as seen on their current single, ‘Anxiety’. A confident debut. (Harriet Jennings)
CELEBRItY SINGLES All the best things come in twos; Jack and Meg, PJ & Duncan, Andrew WK and Olly Murs. Yes, we did just say that. When it came to finding a couple of likely sorts to pen our single reviews, DIY could go nowhere else. One good at wearing hats (which means you’re dead clever - just look at Dumbledore), one unrivalled in bringing the party - we’re hoping this is the start of a beautiful friendship.
The Kills Satellite
Jamie Woon Lady Luck
Panic At The Disco The Ballad Of Mona Lisa
Safari So I See
My favorite part is the beginning - I’ve never really heard anything like that. I enjoy the singing, more or less. I’m not sure what I’m supposed to get from this; it’s not a thrilling feeling - it’s mellow, but it’s got a dark spark. It’s pretty harsh and aggressive while also being very low-key. There’s a nice tension because of that. The music makes me think that the people making it are working very hard, and that’s nice. 10/10
I like The Kills and this is something quite different from their usual bluesy rock. It’s still got their groove running through but it’s got a heavier, fuller sound I’m not as mad about it as some of their previous releases. I like the feel of backing track at the beginning of the song but it gets quite repetitive by the end. It would be good to hear whether their new album ‘Blood Pressures’ is going further down this route. 5/10
This is fantastic - what a cool vibe. I really like the vocal phrasing and delivery. It’s good to hear someone sing with such strength and openness. He doesn’t sound like he’s trying to sing - he’s just singing. It just sounds like him, and I don’t even know him. That’s a huge accomplishment, to sound like yourself, and not like a singer. I love the verse drum beat, too. Great and strange riff - original and new sounding. This is risky. 10/10
LOVE Jamie Woon - he’s got so much soul! I read he’s a Brit School graduate like Adele, Jessie J and Katy B! He reminds me a bit of Jamie Lidell, and brilliant 90’s R&B - he’s a very talented singer. This track is quite basic and doesn’t jump out at me, it’s mainly just showcasing his voice, so although I’m a big fan of Jamie as an artist I am giving this 7/10.
I’m glad music like this exists. It makes me feel like someone else. It feels like it has nothing to do with me or my life, yet I’m hearing it in my life. It makes me think of friends and people I don’t know. It makes me think of them listening to this in their car. I love the ending breakdown and build up with the layers of guitar. It has an emotional and detached vibe. I also like the way the singer is singing in a lower voice. There is power here. 10/10
Hadn’t heard of his band before today. There’s a lot going on in this track but they all sound like a very talented group of lads. I like how different this is from start to finish – half way through there is a breakdown and it sounds like it’s changing into a different song. It’s instrumental for nearly a minute before the vocals come back in and it builds again. I imagine they would be a good band to see live - giving this track 6/10.
The lyrics are nice because they tell a story. The song also follows a nice structure, and the chorus has a surprising and impressive melody - those are some high notes. The singer does what is required. It makes me feel like a Mona Lisa child. I like the production - you can turn it up and it sounds great; loud even when the volume is turned down low. I always like that. Great recording quality - well crafted and executed. 10/10
I like this band, and was a fan of their last album ‘Pretty.Odd.’ This is their first single off the new one ‘Vice & Virtues’ I believe, and I think it’s great. The chorus is strong and catchy and the lyrics are darker than usual, although they could be ambiguous as they are talking about the famous painting Mona Lisa. Love the trippy video as well - give this a 8/10.
This is right in the middle of the road for me. It still has a nice energy and I like the dance four on the floor approach, especially the keyboard riff, which has a “house techno” feel. I also like the “I need you” breakdown - I wish that was more epic. The tempo could either be a bit faster or slower, but it’s clear they don’t want to be too intense, and there’s nothing wrong with that. I like the band’s name; I’ll give them a point for that. 10/10
I hadn’t heard of Safari before but I do like the sound of this band. There’s a good mix of guitars and keys in this track, and the vocals are great. It’s simple with a lot of repetition, which is actually what I like about it, as there’s lots of instruments going on in the background; I don’t think it needs any more lyrics. Will be giving this a 7/10.
FIRST AND LAST COCKNBULLKID
What better way to get to know someone than ask them the first and last time they did… well, a lot of things. We corner Cocknbullkid Anita Blay for a few of her firsts and lasts in preparation for the release of her first album. See what we did there? Instrument you learnt to play? It was a guitar. A piano. Or the panpipes actually. I bought some panpipes from a market and I decided to try to learn them. I don’t know why. They’re quite simple but I still haven’t mastered them yet. I don’t know if I can pull it off!
Time you entered a recording studio? It was about ten years ago, a studio that I ended up working at in North London. I first started recording there, learning how to use equipment and stuff. I was there for about three years. Last week. I had to do a pitch for an advert.
Time you played live? Maybe 2003. So that’s like… eight years ago, at Joe’s Cafe. There were loads of different artists performing. It was when I was part of this studio in North London and we’d put on showcases there. Last night at Heaven. That was really good. Metronomy were very, very good.
Record that inspired you? ‘Never Say Never’ by Brandy. I used to love Brandy. I listened to her loads when I was younger. I played that to death. I knew all the words to every song. Maybe the Beach House album. That’s good. I listened to that loads as well. ‘Teen Dream’, I think it’s called.
Song you wrote? I wrote it with my cousin and my brother when I was about seven, and I think it was called ‘Every Step I Take’. It was awful, obviously. It was called ‘Don’t Call Me Babe’, for another artist. I’d actually been writing it for Nicola Roberts of Girls Aloud.
Musician you met? It must have been my music teacher at school. Devlin. I just met him about an hour ago, he was doing an interview.
Gig you went to? When I was younger, I used to enter all of the Capital FM competition things
to win tickets to go and see your favourite band. I won one to go. It was like a roadshow thing and 5ive were playing and Another Level. Atomic Kitten maybe. So that’s my earliest memory of going to see a live music event. Last Thursday I went to watch The Shoes. They’re a French duo - they play electronic music. And Man Like Me, they played at XOYO. It was a good night. They’re one of my favourite live bands. Musical collaboration? With my cousins and my brother at about seven. It was with The Shoes. They sent me some tracks that I’m going to write to. I’ve started doing some vocals for them. Format you bought music in? Probably the cassette. Definitely the cassette actually. An mp3. It was an iTunes download, I think. Cocknbullkid’s debut album, ‘Adulthood’, will be released in April 2011 via Moshi Moshi.