W E E K L Y
DIY I SSUE 5 2 / 24 TH MARCH 201 4
Future Islands. Is this the most talked about band in the world right now?
THE FREE MUSIC WEEKLY| THIS WEEK... LIARS, TOKYO POLICE CLUB,|
WOMAN’S HOUR, THE HOLD STEADY,| CHVRCHES, FRANZ FERDINAND| AND LOADS MORE! |
THE FREE MUSIC WEEKLY / 24TH MARCH 2014 / ISSUE 52 / THISISFAKEDIY.CO.UK
462 KINGSLAND VIADUCT, 83 RIVINGTON STREET, LONDON, EC2A 3AY EDITORIAL: EDITOR: Stephen Ackroyd firstname.lastname@example.org DEPUTY EDITOR: Viki Sinden email@example.com REVIEWS EDITOR: Emma Swann firstname.lastname@example.org NEWS EDITOR: Sarah Jamieson email@example.com ART DIRECTOR: Louise Mason firstname.lastname@example.org ONLINE EDITOR: Jamie Milton email@example.com ASSISTANT EDITOR: El Hunt firstname.lastname@example.org SCRIBBLERS: Bevis Man, Carolina Faruolo, Danny Wright, Emma Cooper, Kyle MacNeil, Matthew Davies, Sean Stanley, Stuart Knapman, Tom Connick, Tom Morris SNAPPERS: Abi Dainton, Carolina Faruolo, Nathan Barnes, Mike Massaro, Phil Smithies, Sarah Louise Bennett, Sinéad Grainer COMMERCIAL: PRINT / WEEKLY : Rupert Vereker email@example.com (+44 (0)20 76130555) ONLINE: Lawrence Cooke firstname.lastname@example.org (+44 (0)20 76130555) HEAD OF MARKETING & EVENTS: Jack Clothier
future islandS: Look who’s laughing now
THIS ISSUE... NEWS
F**KED UP, WOMAN’S HOUR, MAZES, LIARS & MORE
GLASS ANIMALS “I spent a lot of time around psychiatric patients, it definitely contributed to the lyrics.”
FUTURE ISLANDS “This is a great album, each of these songs is strong.” TOKYO POLICE CLUB “This record is trying to be bold.”
LIARS, TOKYO POLICE CLUB, THE HOLD STEADY, FUTURE ISLANDS, HOWLER, CHVRCHES & MORE
Where can you actually watch music on TV anymore? Jools Holland, sure. There’s the odd appearance on a chat show - but then the UK doesn’t have the nightly jamboree of chatter our stateside chums have. Those slots are reserved for the biggest acts with the most likely to chart releases to plug. But just look what can happen when a truly interesting band gets a platform. A month ago, Future Islands’ fourth album was great, but likely to be one just for the anointed to treasure. Not now. One appearance on Letterman, one impassioned rendition from Samuel T. Herring later, and they’re the new saviours of music. “Did you see that band last night?” the world asked. Yep, we did. And that’s why music is brilliant. Stephen Ackroyd, Editor
DIY is published by Sonic Media Group. All material copyright (c). All rights reserved. This publication may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form, in whole or in part, without the express written permission of DIY. While every effort is made to ensure the information in this magazine is correct, changes can occur which affect the accuracy of copy, for which Sonic Media Group holds no responsibility. The opinions of the contributors do not necessarily bear a relation to those of DIY or its staff and we disclaim liability for those impressions.
WHAT’S ON THE DIY STEREO THIS WEEK?
S. CAREY ‘Range of Light’ (Album) Head over to thisisfakediy.co.uk and you’ll be able to hear the Bon Iver member’s gorgeous new album in full exclusively on DIY (from Monday 24th March, PM). LYKKE LI ‘I Never Learn’ (Track) Every song is a power ballad on Lykke Li’s new album, each one dressed up in customary Scandinavian sadness. But sadness is a blessing, right?
NEWS EDITED BY SARAH JAMIESON
MADE OF GLASS F**KED UP ARE BACK WITH A NEW RECORD AND TOUR.
“What do you do after you do your pretentious rock opera concept record?” AS THE CANADIAN PUNKS CONFIRM PLANS TO FOLLOW-UP ‘DAVID COMES TO LIFE’, DIY LOOKS BACK AT WHAT F**KED UP FRONTMAN DAMIAN ABRAHAM LET SLIP ABOUT ‘GLASS BOYS’ LAST YEAR.
**ked Up are back and they’re ready to unleash the follow-up to their massive ‘David Comes To Life’. Not long after announcing the newest edition of their Zodiac series - a 12” bearing a 14 minute track titled ‘Year of the Dragon’ - it seems that the Canadian noise titans will be back just in time for summer. The band, whose ambitious rock opera landed back in 2011, will release their brand new ten-track record ‘Glass Boys’ on 2nd June through Matador Records. They have also confirmed a handful of UK dates, taking place this June, playing Manchester, Newcastle, Leeds and London with Scandinavian punks Lower supporting. A lead track has also surfaced: ‘Paper the House’ is a fist-pumping, pounding, all-encompassing preview, appearing midway through the record. Listen to the song on thisisfakediy.co.uk.
“I think this record came as a reaction to the last year of the band, you know? Being in the band and realising that the level that this band has obtained is all I’ve ever wanted. Not that this band is ‘popular’ or anything, but I never wanted to be in a really popular band. All of the bands that I like aren’t very popular, so it’s funny to realise that’s what we’ve got, but to achieve all of this, compromises had to be made. It’s the idea of looking at the scene - or in a broader context - looking at the music world, the entertainment world and realising that it’s not necessarily the world that birthed this band, or the bands that I grew up with. I think it’s a bit of a paradox. I think this record is hopefully us trying to address how to cope with that in the context of the band. So yeah, it’s still really pretentious!
“All of the bands that I like aren’t very popular” DAMIAN ABRAHAM “It’s weird because obviously, with the way I sing and the vocal style I have, it’s not like on every record I want to take it to a new place. You don’t want to add in operatic bits, things like that. But I think lyrically is where I want to push myself on this record. I think with all of the other albums, there’s a level of masking involved. You know, hiding behind an omnipresent narrator, or - as on the last record - hiding behind a character. With this one, I think everything should be out there, open.” DIY
PHOTO: JONNY SCHENKE
Yuck, Of Montreal AND More To Play CC14
he first batch of acts has been announced for this year’s CC14 formerly the Camden Crawl - which takes place on 20th and 21st June. London’s NW1 & NW5 postcodes will be taken over during these two days, with DIY hosting its own stage at the Underworld on Saturday 21st. Acts confirmed for the full line-up include The Field, shoegazers Yuck, hip-hop experimentalists Shabazz Palaces and veterans ABC. Steve Mason, Atari Teenage Riot and Mouse on Mars are also among the acts selected by this year’s curators. Tickets are on sale now. DIY
Lonely The Brave REVEAL Debut
onely The Brave have announced plans to release their debut album, ‘The Day’s War’ this summer. The band, who released their ‘Backroads’ EP back in October last year, will be unveiling their first fulllength on 2nd June. “We’re really excited about it,” guitarist Mark Trotter told DIY, when the album was completed. “We’re really, really happy about it, and we’re proud of it. “If people identify with it and people are passionate about it, that’s more than we could ever ask.” To celebrate the release, the band will make a special live appearance in London when they play at Camden’s Dingwalls on 4th June. DIY
THIRD TIME UNLUCKY? THERE ARE PROBABLY BETTER WAYS TO BEGIN RECORDING A NEW ALBUM THAN BY HAVING YOUR VAN BROKEN INTO AND GETTING SNOWED IN. THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED TO MAZES WHEN IT CAME TO ALBUM NUMBER THREE. NYC, The Big Apple, the Concrete Jungle. The land of hope and dreams has always been a promising prospect for bands, so it’s no surprise to hear of Mazes crossing the Atlantic and setting up camp. Sometimes however, things don’t always go to plan. “We had a really bad start because Jonny [Schenke], who produced the record, came to pick us up from the airport,” begins Jack Cooper, Mazes’ frontman, “and we had to drive into Brooklyn to pick up some equipment of his. When we went to his flat, we didn’t know what it would be like in the studio, or where we would be able to get beer and essentials like that, so we went to this place on the corner right near his house. When we got back, the van had been broken into.”
That’s not where it ended, either. After a long day of police reports, they eventually arrived in Cornwall, NY. “We got up to the studio house pretty late at night, and we were feeling pretty delirious. We woke up in the morning and I’ve never seen so much snow in my life! Where we were staying was at the top of the hill, and we had to dig our way to the studio. I have to say, I was definitely the slackest at digging...” The experience led directly into the way in which they recorded the album; work became their sole priority. “We couldn’t leave, there were no distractions, no bars or no shows to go to. We’d just get on with it, and record from the moment we got up to when we went to sleep. There was nothing better to do!” he laughs. “It was almost like a corporate team building exercise every day.” As for the record, Mazes were keen to utilise their talents. After a year spent touring in support of second album ‘Ores & Minerals’, the band had found their groove, and were determined to showcase it.
NEWS IN BRIEF A BIT OF BLISS Tune-Yards, Sleigh Bells and Hercules and Love Affair are some of the first acts confirmed for this year’s Blissfields. Chlöe Howl, Luke Sital-Singh, Wolf Alice, Dan Croll, Famy, Nick Mulvey and 2manydjs have also been announced for the festival, which takes place from 4th - 5th July at Vicarage Park, Winchester. A BIT OF ALL-LIVE Tame Impala have announced plans to release a new EP called ‘Live Versions’. The eight-track offering features songs from their past two albums in live form, unsurprisingly, using recordings from a show in Chicago last year and will be released for Record Store Day on 19th April. “I think [‘Ores & Minerals’] was really pieced together. We made the decision to record it ourselves and, in hindsight, I’m not sure it was the best decision but it worked out in the end. A lot of the album, we had to cobble together, as it were and it was very collage-y rather than recording it live. Obviously we toured quite a bit for the record, and all of the songs took on a different quality when we were playing them live. “I guess with the first album, we didn’t really know what we were doing, and then when we started playing the second one live, we hit upon this thing where, ‘OK, this is what we’re good at, playing like this’. That started to inform the way I wrote songs, which it sounds obvious and kinda stupid to say that because it’s the way it should be. You don’t realise these things immediately when you’re a band, or when you’re creating something. It takes a while for you to find your thing, I suppose...” Mazes’ new album will be released later this year via FatCat Records. DIY
HAVING AN EXPLORE Gruff Rhys will play a sixnight residency at London’s Soho Theatre to celebrate the release of his new album ‘American Interior’. Alongside a performance, Gruff will be offering up a Powerpoint presentation based on the life of the legendary Welsh explorer John Evans, the subject of his new record. It takes place from 5th - 10th May. MAKING A RACKET Jagwar Ma, Factory Floor, Glass Animals and Say Lou Lou have all been added to this year’s Liverpool Sound City. The event, which takes place from 1st - 3rd May, will now also be playing host to Public Service Broadcasting, East India Youth, Blood Red Shoes, PINS, Bird, Ratking and The Sunshine Underground.
the hold steady
AS ‘TEETH DREAMS’ IS FINALLY UNVEILED, CRAIG FINN REVEALS ITS INNER WORKINGS. Your last record ‘Heaven Is Whenever’ was released back in 2010. What’s the primary difference between that album and the new one? I think the big thing for us is that Steve [Selvidge] joined on the touring of ‘Heaven Is Whenever’. He didn’t record it but he was on all the tours and he really fit in well with us. On this record, he’s a member of the band and he wrote and recorded with us. I think that’s the biggest difference. I think it became way more of a guitar record. During the break between records, you released your own solo album. Did that have an effect on the newest Hold Steady full-length? It definitely did. I think the biggest way that the solo album influenced this album was I was just kinda anxious and fatigued of doing stuff at such a loud volume all the time. For me to be able go out and do the solo album, which was a lot quieter, it kinda allowed me to flex that muscle and get that satisfaction. Then, it made me excited to go loud again, and be in a loud band again. Lyrically, what are the themes that you touched upon during ‘Teeth Dreams’? Well, I was talking a lot about anxiety. I met this doctor at the beginning of the recording process, and he was talking about how over half of his visits are about anxiety. He’s just a general doctor. I was thinking, maybe we live in these really anxious times. There’s part of me that thinks we do, and then there’s part of me that thinks anxiety is just part of the human condition, and that people in the 1900s were anxious too. So a lot of the songs are about this anxiousness and the way we deal with that. The Hold Steady’s new album ‘Teeth Dreams’ is out now via Washington Square. DIY
The Prodigy To Headline Bilbao BBK Live ELSEWHERE ON THE BILL THE LIKES OF PARQUET COURTS, DAWES AND SKATERS CLAIM THEIR PLACE.
ilbao BBK Live has confirmed The Prodigy as its third headliner, joining the already announced The Black Keys and Franz Ferdinand. The festival’s ninth edition also welcomes in Parquet Courts to its 2014 bill. Dawes, Eskean Kristö and Skaters, who recently completed a rather raucous live run of the UK, complete the list of new additions. “We are quite used to crazy situations,” Skaters frontman Michael Ian Cummings muses, thinking back to the dates. “The Leeds gig was definitely a highlight, but it was also a nightmare for our tour manager. “We booked a last minute show in Hull on the same night but we didn’t tell her. So we were like, ‘Ok so tonight we’re gonna play another show’, and she was like, ‘What?!’” Needless to say, their stint on the Bilbao BBK bill will be their main priority. The fest’s new additions join ranks with the already confirmed Phoenix, MGMT, Chet Faker, White Lies, Conor Oberst and Foster the People. This year, we’re officially teaming up with Bilbao BBK Live as an official media partner. That means we’ll be bringing you extensive coverage - news, interviews, exclusives and much more. Bilbao BBK Live 2014 takes place from 10th - 12th July. 3 day early bird tickets (inc camping) are available until 25th March for £90. DIY
WITH THEIR BRAND NEW ALBUM, LIARS HAVE FOUND MAGIC IN THE MESS. WORDS: DANNY WRIGHT
wasn’t thinking about making the next record. I was just making stuff with what I’d learned from ‘WXIXW’ and having fun with it. And that’s how the record began – there wasn’t really any kind of plan.” Angus Andrew is in a relaxed and refreshed mood, and you can hear it in Liars’ new record ‘Mess’, a blast of primal, electro-ecstatic, throbbing artnoise that’s full of adventuring abandon. It’s another sonic sidestep on Liars’ journey to becoming the most unpredictably brilliant band around. And yet we should probably expect it by now: since their debut they’ve shed genres and played with expectations. The trio – Angus Andrew, Aaron Hemphill and Julian Gross – have produced seven albums that manage to sound uniquely like Liars while not sounding anything like each other. It’s a hard trick to pull off but one that Liars always manage. How do they do it? “The weird thing is that we’ve never been at odds about what the next step should be,” says Julian. “We’ve all just been on the same page. So someone’s like ‘Let’s f**king do electronic stuff’ and everyone’s like ‘Yes, totally.’” Angus concurs: “None of us are hung up on one way of looking at the band, so we can put away instruments and pick up brand new stuff and that keeps us on our toes.” And yet ‘Mess’ can be seen as a continuation of the band’s experimentation with electronics that we saw on last album ‘WIXIW’ – and it seemed natural to continue in that direction and
see where they could take it. “Writing with electronic music is such a limitless well of possibilities,” notes Aaron. However, where that album was contemplative and introspective this one is more immediate – a word that the band uses a lot when talking about the album – and more based on instinct than analysis. “With ‘WIXIW’ when we started out we said we wouldn’t put any limit on how long it would take and that took two years,” Angus explains. “And though that was cool in a way it was also possibly detrimental. You get a little bit bogged down in all the possibilities. With this one we wanted to record it as soon as possible and not give ourselves a chance to question what we were doing. On the last album we had the computer manuals open trying to figure out what to do – with this record we could have fun with it.” “It’s a lot more fun and carefree in that sense,” Julian adds. ”With ‘WIXIW’ we were a bit more OCD and we were poring over everything. This time it was more immediate.” And it’s something that you can hear on the record: the sense of the band having fun. It was one of the quickest records that they’ve recorded and that lent itself to a more instinctive, instant sound. “It’s more fun,” Angus says. “Sometimes we can over intellectualise what we’re doing and you can lose momentum and spark by doing that and this one was the opposite. We went crazy a bit.” Liars’ new album ‘Mess’ is out now via Mute. DIY
60 seconds with... george ezra
THE FIRST RULE IS...
TO CELEBRATE THE RELEASE OF HIS NEW EP, GEORGE EZRA GAVE UP A LITTLE BIT OF HIS TIME FOR A (VERY) QUICK CATCH UP.
HOWLER ARE GOING AGAINST THE GRAIN WHEN IT COMES TO THE FOLLOW-UP TO THEIR DEBUT ‘AMERICA, GIVE UP’.
hen the world first got wind of Howler, they were very much the new cool kids on the block. Having been picked up by Rough Trade Records in 2011 thanks to their sneering but effortless brand of rock and roll, the world quickly became their playground. With the release of their swaggering, rough-around-the-edges debut, ‘America, Give Up’, they sure did cause havoc. Now, after countless months on the road and an array of ‘cool list’ nods, they’re back with a sophomore record and it’s not exactly going to match what most bands come back with when it comes to album number two. “That was the whole selling point for this record,” offers up the band’s frontman Jordan Gatesmith. “My least favourite thing is when second records become about tour, or how hard touring is: ‘Oh my god, I tour all the time, I go to all of these places, blah blah blah’. Right before we started writing this record, we said ‘Right, no tour songs. That’s rule number one.’”
this time around. Whilst Jordan assures us that it’s still set to bear a few of their bratty undertones, this album looks to portray a more satirical and dark narrative around the band’s home. “I think this whole record continues the approach of this overall dissatisfaction. You can’t write punk songs - you can’t write music - if there’s not something eating at you, that you’re conscious about. “This time around, whilst it’s not overtly political, it is a kind of satire on broad themes like capitalism. I feel like this record is a painted landscape, kinda of America, and of this strip mall infested land. It’s about a schizophrenic society and fighting your way through it.
What we can be sure of is that this is a band with something to say. Whilst with ‘America, Give Up’ they teased the listener with the youthful arrogance that makes rock and roll so great, this time around, they’re set on making more of a statement.
“I’ve been telling a lot of people that this is a - quote unquote - ‘mall goth’ record. I wouldn’t say that ‘mall goths’ are our target audience but that whole concept of that whole scene has definitely been something that I’ve been looking at.” He laughs. We assume he’s referring to teenagers rebelling by listening to heavy music, dressing in black, and congregating in public places to ruffle the feathers of onlookers. “Yeah! A huge influence on this record [has been] messing with the idea of capitalism and almost making fun of pop music - quote unquote - ‘mall’ music, and twisting it, making it dark.”
The theme of their sophomore effort is also set to be a little more left-of-field
Howler’s new album ‘World of Joy’ is out now via Rough Trade Records. DIY
Hello! How’re you doing? I’m very well thank you, I’ve just woken up in Copenhagen. From what I remember I like this town a lot. You’re in the midst of a rather hefty headline tour - how’s life on the road? The tour has been amazing, I’m so happy that my first headline tour could be such a big one. How has it been to get to perform the EP? Have any of the songs taken on a different life in the live environment? A lot of my songs grow differently live to the recordings at the moment. It’s still just me and my guitar so things are bound to change. You’re going to play your fair share of festivals this summer? I grew up looking forward to doing myself over in the yellow camp at Reading festival each year. I soon discovered there were a lot more festivals I could attend and started to do so. I love them, it’s an escape from everything else. To be able to play a load of them is a treat for me. You’re also just about to be announced for Latitude. Yes! I love Latitude, managed to really lose all sense of direction in those woods a few times. A brilliant festival. Latitude knows how to deliver. George Ezra’s new EP ‘Cassy O’ is out now via Columbia Records. He’ll play Latitude this July. DIY
UNCOVERED WHAT’S HIDING UNDERNEATH MUSIC’S DIRTY SHEETS?
WE HEARD IT ON THE GR APE VINE The National’s MATT BERNINGER might be busy touring, but it seems he’s been finding other ways to stay occupied too. Following on from singer JOY WILLIAMS posting a photo of the pair together on Instagram, the frontman has confirmed he’s collaborating with both her and WALTER MARTIN of The Walkmen on separate projects. Fresh from appearing onstage together during the latter’s recent US tour, it seems THE FLAMING LIPS and MILEY CYRUS are pairing up again. This time, they’ve recorded a cover of The Beatles’ ‘Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds’ for an upcoming covers album. Despite Jack White claiming that THE RACONTEURS are back in business, Brendan Benson seems to have other ideas. Speaking to Billboard, he revealed: “That’s kind of off the table. It always felt spontaneous, and I think it remains that way. We never planned a breakup. All of us but one live in the same town, so [in the future] it could very well happen… or not.” In an unexpected move, Broken Social Scene’s KEVIN DREW has released a body butter. Following the unveiling of his new solo effort ‘Darlings’, his Tequila Lime Body Butter is available for $20 per 150ml, from cosmetic company Wildrose Magnolia.
JOINING THE BIG LEAGUES
aving spent the past two years honing their skills and practicing their art, 2014 is sure to be the year Woman’s Hour make it to the big leagues. With just a handful of tracks to their name so far, they’re being patient when it comes to the release of their forthcoming debut full-length, but that’s not stopping them from playing massive shows already.
“Brixton is going to be the biggest show we’ve ever played,” explains Josh Hunnisett, speaking of their forthcoming tour supporting Metronomy, which kicks off this week. “It’s incredibly exciting. Personally I’ve listened to Metronomy for a long, long time. It’s kind of amazing to be asked to play with them.” “It’s also the chance to play in a different environment,” Fiona
Burgess offers. “I learn such a lot from these kinds of tours. It’s such a step up. I feel like we’re still learning how touring works. You’re almost learning how other professionals do it. You’re watching and observing, taking mental notes all the time. That challenge I find really positive.” “It’s like we’re going on a field trip, taking notes,” adds Will Burgess. ”And just playing live in front of loads of people - it’s just cool.”
It’s not the first time that the band have undertaken a significant touring stint: their first run of the year was supporting Anna Calvi. “It is cool,” begins Fiona, “but what I learnt on the Anna Calvi tour is that the smallest things you don’t think about become excruciatingly obvious. It’s cool but it’s also a painful process to begin with.”
WITH A MASSIVE UK TOUR KICKING OFF THIS WEEK, IT’S ANOTHER STEP UP FOR WOMAN’S HOUR. “There was one show where it was like ‘Oh f**k’, we couldn’t hear anything in our monitors,” comments Will, before Fiona continues: “Even gigs where everything goes wrong, you’ve just gotta keep going. No-one out there knows anything is going wrong.” “It’s such a serious production tour, this kind of thing,” adds Josh. “Smaller shows, if you get onstage 15 minutes late it’s kind of alright. With proper tours, you’ve got to be bang on. A production assistant will come up to you and say ‘Right, you’re on now.’ Bang, bang, bang, it’s well oiled, you’re off stage. We’re going to be able to take away a lot from that kind of experience.” Metronomy and Woman’s Hour head off on tour this week. Woman’s Hour also play Kendal Calling this August. DIY
HAVE YOU HEARD? THE BEST NEW MUSIC FROM THE PAST SEVEN DAYS...
NEWS IN BRIEF
LET’S GET LOUD Knebworth’s Sonisphere Festival has added some new names for its 2014 bill. With Metallica, Iron Maiden, The Prodigy, Deftones and Slayer already on the line up, new names have been added in the form of Gallows, The Bronx, Band of Skulls, Gary Numan and 65daysofstatic. The festival runs from 4th - 6th July.
TRACK OF THE WEEK
THE HORRORS SO NOW YOU KNOW
The second track to be unveiled from the band’s forthcoming ‘Luminous’ is a little more succinct than previous cut ‘I See You’, but still manages to pack a whole lotta synth-led expanse in to its not entirely short five minutes. Album ‘Luminous’ is released on 5th May via XL Recordings. Tune-Yards Water Fountain If the northern hemisphere were waiting on a track to celebrate the arrival of spring, then this first single from Merrill Garbus’ third LP is definitely it. Whether it’s the repeated “Woo-ha!”, the infectious percussion or the line “a 2lb chicken tastes better with friends,” there’s no more fun to be had all week. Album ‘Nikki Nack’ is released on 5th May via 4AD. F**ked Up Paper The House ‘Paper The House’, the lead track from F**ked Up’s forthcoming ‘Glass Boys’ is a suitably high-energy thrash-out, pairing strong melodies with frontman Damian Abraham’s trademark roar. Album ‘Glass Boys’ is released on 2nd June via Matador.
Merchandise Figured Out A track the Floridian band have contributed to a split LP for Record Store Day probably isn’t indicative of anything much, but ‘Figured Out’ shows a far more subdued side to the recent 4AD signings, sounding expansive and, well, a bit 80s. PEACE WORLD PLEASURE Got a second album on the way? The big rulebook of British bands demands a string section. Peace have clearly been doing their reading, but Harry and co. don’t leave it there. Oh no. Rapping? Sure - if that’s what you call the line somewhere between Blondie’s ‘Rapture’ and Robbie’s ‘Rock DJ’. Even more remarkable, it works; and in spectacular style too.
JAWS Think Too Much, Feel Too Little The Birmingham scamps have channeled a bit of summertime 80s funk on this latest number - even if the lyrics are a bit less positive, ‘Think Too Much, Feel Too Little’ does well to soundtrack brighter skies. It’s set to precede an album later this year. Friendly Fires & The Asphodells Before Your Eyes ‘Before Your Eyes’ is almost nothing like the dancefloor anthems to which Friendly Fires usually put their name. This is a wholly understated, woozy number, as the Fires boys pair up with Andrew Weatherall and Timothy J Fairplay for a double A-side single.
MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM Somerset House will again be playing host to an array of acts during their Summer Series this year, with CHVRCHES, Bastille and Clean Bandit all confirmed. This year’s event will run from 10th 20th July, with Daughter, Franz Ferdinand, Kelis and Sam Smith also set to headline. IN THE DEAD OF NIGHT Django Django are the latest act to put their name to a Late Night Tales compilation. Ever the referentialtypes, their mix contains a blend of acts, from composer Philip Glass to Canned Heat, TNGHT and The Beach Boys. Best of all? There’s a closing spoken word section from Benedict Cumberbatch. The compilation will be released on 12th May. ELECTRIFYING Portishead, Outkast, Beck and Foals have been confirmed for Electic Picnic festival, with Pet Shop Boys, London Grammar, St. Vincent and Slowdive also on the line up. This year’s event takes place from 29th 31st August. SELL YOUR SOUL Newly signed to 4AD, Merchandise are keeping up their ultra-indie credentials by announcing news of a split LP alongside Destruction Unit and Milk Music, for this year’s Record Store Day. The band will also play a show in London this summer, when they take on the Islington Assembly Hall on 19th June.
EDITED BY JAMIE MILTON NEW MUSIC.
DISCOVER MORE: THISISFAKEDIY.CO.UK/NEU
You’ll find out everything you need to know from Flyte by watching their ‘We Are The Rain’ video. Lead singer Will Taylor does most of the work. He begins by appearing in a fold-up chair, butt-naked in Piccadilly Circus. After that he conjures up a shrine to Desert Island Discs’ Kirsty Young and he dons a loose Partridge-style suit complete with a mouthwash ad smile. The guy knows what he’s doing, and it gives Flyte’s chirpy summertime songwriting a funny, tongue-in-cheek touch. A debut single is out on paradYse Records, 18th April.
Youth Man arrive kicking and screaming. Not a single person is spared. Back in January the Birmingham punk trio played a Neu Presents, ‘Hello 2014’ show to see the year in. Bleary eyed, post-Xmas hangovers were swept to one side. Talk about a rude awakening. Youth Man are designed to shake up the senses. We premiered their ‘Wide Awake’ video last week, which sends a victim of narcolepsy on a romantic continental trip. Check out our recommended bands and more on thisisfakediy.co.uk.
ourting with WU LYF and Los Porcos for nearly three years now, FAMY’s arrival in 2011 seems a distant memory. WU LYF split and Los Porcos are in their infancy of course, so it would be understandable if there was a hierarchy of prioritisation for the Francerooted four-piece. There’s no suggestion that the two are even related on ‘Donkey’, and it’s good to hear FAMY sticking to their own blueprint. The title track proves to be a triumphant and grandiose proclamation of their selfassurance as they chant “FAMY is here” amongst a dramatic clamour. The rousing ‘Donkey’ is a bit of a curveball for the rest of the EP’s tone - time spent
in the south of France richly informs ‘A Ho A Hand’ and ‘Hebrew’, which has an off-kilter rhythm that suggests a dash of elegiac introspection. Rounded off with a faithful cover of Minutemen’s ‘History Lesson Part II’, FAMY extend part III with levity or possibly flippant intent. They have confidence in abundance and though The Minutemen wrote the lines for them, there’s a real statement of seriousness in their work. For four lads from west London who met at school, they’ve created a release that doesn’t sound one bit rootless. Like all good cults, FAMY’s is one full of restless fervour and intent. It’s been a long time coming. Sean Stanley
GLASS ANIMALS THIS OXFORD BAND’S RAPID ASCENT WASN’T EVEN HALTED WHEN THEY ACCIDENTALLY ATE ST. VINCENT’S DINNER. THINGS ARE LOOKING UP, THOUGH. WORDS: DOMINIQUE SISLEY. PHOTO: LIAM CUSHING.
ith warm, woozy beats and seemingly mystical songwriting, Glass Animals liquify genre boundaries. That might sound cliche, but this music isn’t quite rock, R&B or electro. If anything, it’s sultry late-night storytelling that slithers between all three. But there’s not an allencompassing word for that. These four Oxford boys just arrived back from SXSW as one of the most talked-about British exports. “[We met] at school when we were about 13,” remembers Dave Bayley, the band’s disarmingly soft-spoken frontman. “We were the only four guys at school who were into slightly leftfield music, finding new bands, and sneaking out to go and see in-store shows... that’s how we bonded.” After a few years of musical experimentation through
Myspace-publicised bands, they turned their backs on the slowly building buzz to concentrate on going to university. Joe Seaward, the band’s drummer, studied anthropology in Brighton while the other two members - Drew MacFarlane and Edmund Irwin Singer (both multi-instrumentalists) studied music. “My studies were pretty much opposite to anything to do with music,” acknowledges Dave, who specialised in neuroscience. Disparate backgrounds could easily have weaved their way into songs the group currently sport. “It definitely contributed to the lyrics… I spent a lot of time around psychiatric patients, they just have these really amazing, really strange stories that stick with you.” There is an abstract madness to Dave’s lyrics, closer to rap or poetry than anything else. The
band’s latest single ‘Gooey’ includes sinuous whispers of “peanut butter vibes” and “icky gooey wombs” – it’s enough to make anyone wonder which confectionary-centric activities go down in the studio. “I’ll just be nodding off late at night, about to go to bed, and I’ll just get a couple of sentences in my head that flow really well,” says Dave. “It tends to be late at night, when you’re in a kind of sleepy daze. That’s a good time for ideas to come.” DIY NEED TO KNOW + A debut album is out this summer. + On their recent tour with St. Vincent, Dave managed to eat Annie Clark’s dinner on the first night. “She was a little angry, but we’re cool now.” + Dave was born in Massachusetts, raised in Texas. “It was a good place to grow up.”
RESORTING TO PLAN B Kwabs has announced details of his new single, ‘Pray For Love’. Previous tracks came produced by Vienna-based 4AD signing SOHN. This new one’s attracted an even more familiar name: Ben Drew aka Plan B. Regardless of producer, there’s little doubting Kwabs’ ability to paint emotions in shades that don’t belong on other songwriters’ palettes. Listen to the track on thisisfakediy. co.uk. Kwabs plays this year’s Latitude, running from 17th - 20th July. RATKINGKRULE NYC-based hip-hop force Ratking are on the brink of releasing their debut album ‘So It Goes’. Permanent best bud King Krule just moved to New York, as it happens, and he’s provided a cutting chorus to the group’s new ‘So Sick Stories’ song. An accompanying video has them wrestling with striking imagery from their beloved city; disused graveyards and citypiercing skyscrapers. ‘So It Goes’ comes out on 7th April through Hot Charity. PLAYING IT SAFE? Liverpool-based trio All We Are are the latest signings to Domino/Double Six, and their new single ‘Feel Safe’ justifies the big billing in four sweeping minutes. Deftly arranged, delicate to the touch, it’s a sweeping, modest showcase of subtle funk. The trio - guitarist Luis Santos, drummer Rich O’Flynn and bassist Guro Gikling - have returned a more refined force from early demos. Expect huge things.
future is now
HARD-WORKING, PROLIFIC TO THE EXTREME, ELEVEN YEARS TO THE GOOD - AFTER ONE EXTRAORDINARY TELEVISION PERFORMANCE HEADS ARE FINALLY TURNING FOR ONE OF THE WORLD’S MOST DARING BANDS, FUTURE ISLANDS . WORDS: JAMIE MILTON.
f there’s a word or phrase that usually reverberates around Austin, Texas during SXSW festival, it’s “Queue”. Or “Taco”. Sometimes “Sleep” but that one’s more of a rarity. In 2014, however, something stirs on the makeshift stages and in the stuffy tents. Talk turns not to habits or alcohol brands, but to a group lifting their equipment from venue to venue, as they always do. Future Islands. A band that’s existed for eleven years. They’ve made four records including their latest, ‘Singles’. Cult fandom’s come their way. But nothing on this level. They’re without a doubt the most talked about act at the festival. They probably didn’t even need to show up for this to happen, either. Two weeks before they hitch up to Texas, everything shifts for the Baltimore trio. Making their televised debut on David Letterman, they run through a rendition of ‘Seasons (Waiting On You)’. As they always do. Nothing’s different in the way frontman Samuel T. Herring pounces and prowls on stage, going from bellowed chant to guttural growl. The chestpumping, passionate defiance of it all isn’t anything new for the band themselves. But it is to most people. Casual viewers might think they’re watching a drunk and disorderly Jack Nicholson stumbling on stage looking for his keys. Or a modern day David Brent giving his own Saturday Night Fever dance routine. For the vast majority this is like nothing they’ve seen before. It’s brave, distinctly uncool, bordering on hilarious. Above anything else it’s a brilliant spectacle. Overnight it makes Future Islands a miniphenomenon. They don’t become superstars, so to speak. But let’s not play it down. This is a game-changing moment for a band who’ve worked day-in, day-out for the past decade. The timing isn’t a complete coincidence, either. This fourth album marks the band’s first on 4AD. It was finished before they signed their biggest ever deal. Called ‘Singles’, it’s the sound of a group aware that they’re “getting better at what we do,” in the words of bassist / guitarist William Cashion. They’re writing their
Greatest Hits all in one go. Always a modest band, finally Future Islands are letting a little bit of arrogance into their system. “It was definitely us being arrogant,” admits Samuel, “maybe for the first time. We’ve worked really hard and let the work prove who we are. But this is a great album, each of these songs is strong. And I believe that each song stands in its own world.” One televised slot did all the work that a thousand gigs managed, and more. Future Islands are one of the most hardworking bands on the planet. The break in touring that led to ‘Singles’ was their first in seven years. Three months they went without seeing each other. Herring left the house he shared with the other members, William and keyboardist Gerrit Welmers. “I was in a weird zone, dealing with some things,” he says, reflecting on the time. A trip to the West Coast had him working with another songwriter, one-onone, for the first time. Things didn’t click, but it was a beneficial experience. “That was an interesting time for me. It opened me up to my own voice in a different way. Even that’s reflected in the album.” When the band returned as a trio, they got to work without hesitation. The itch was back. Of the break, Samuel talks about all three of the group needing a “well of ideas, inspiration to be flowing again” by the time they went back into the studio. Things clicked back into gear. Trying to work with other people “doesn’t really work the same,” he admits. ‘Singles’, then, was the output of a group realising the extent of their strength, understanding that there was something
special within the trio’s chemistry. “They’re not saying a lot, they’re just playing,” Samuel says of his bandmates. Indeed, the frontman speaks almost every sentence on behalf of the others in conversation. He makes the eyes, he growls the growl - he’s the focus. But behind the persona is the glue of the group. They all rely on each other. Samuel’s job is to “bring out the emotional bodies of the music - I see where the melody takes me, what words pop out and continue on with the idea.” As for the remaining two, “Gerrit feels the emotion of the keys and William feels the emotion of the bass.” It’s a formula that’s stayed resolute from 2008 debut ‘Wave Like Home’ onwards. Live, they benefit from working with a new drummer, Mike Lowry. But overall this is the same band playing the same way they always have. A break gave them this extra stride in their step. Still, for the most part it’s a cliched but resolutely true case of hard work paying off. The current situation, the sudden momentum - this is Future Islands’ pay raise. This was the first time all three members went into the studio with an album already written in full. Each song was perfected. Sudden jolts of inspiration might have entered the process, but for the most part it was a rigid routine. Samuel actually admits his slight regret at not allowing for the “interesting moments” and “experimentation” of previous albums. “It’s still a learning process,” he says. But there’s no doubting the pride behind ‘Singles’. “With this record, our biggest ambition was just to write the strongest songs that we could. And I think we accomplished that.”
“WE WANT TO MOVE PEOPLE’S FEET AND THEIR HEARTS.” Samuel T. Herring
A GUIDE TO FUTURES PAST... ONLY JUST CLOCKING ON TO THE BRILLIANCE OF FUTURE ISLANDS? IT’S NOT TOO LATE. THERE’S A STACK OF RECORDS TO GET STUCK IN TO, THOUGH. BEST GET STARTED.
‘WAVE LIKE HOME’ (2008)
After a self-released EP, ‘Little Advances’, in 2006, this was the band’s first full-length. Instead of bellowing out phrases at the front, Samuel T. Herring is part of the decor, here. A whole lot less streamlined than what they’re sporting today, it was recorded in 2008, eventually picking up a release on London label Upset the Rhythm.
‘IN EVENING AIR’ (2010)
Now they’re calling themselves a pop group, but this is Future Islands’ new wave record. Distinctly 80s, with shades of New Order bubbling under the surface, if ‘Singles’ is a romantic record, this is a lot more abstract. Herring’s vocals are muffled, barely audible too. Still, it’s an impassioned record, the band’s first on Thrill Jockey.
‘ON THE WATER’ (2011)
A quick follow-up to their second work, this was the first sign that Future Islands were getting slicker about the way they went about things. Again going slightly under the radar, ‘Balance’’s chorus of “it just takes time” seems brilliantly prophetic.
On record there’s a significant difference between 2010’s muffled, beautiful ‘In Evening Air’ and the sharp, succinct pop of ‘Singles’. 2011 LP ‘On The Water’ acts as a bridge between the two extremes. Throughout all three albums, there’s the same feel, the same heart-stopping emotion that’s become such a constant. Despite this, ‘Singles’ is exactly that - a collection of astute, chart-ready giants that just so happen to be performed by oddballs.
I SAW IT ON THE TELLY! THE NOW FAMOUS LETTERMAN PERFORMANCE DIDN’T JUST GET SWEATY-PALMED BLOGGERS TALKING. HERE’S A SELECTION OF THE REACTIONS:
“Amazing performance on letterman i watched it 3 times in a row”
“I showed my son that Future Islands Letterman performance. “Why can’t you do that, Dad?” Why indeed, son, why indeed.”
“Just watch those eyes & moves, in love…”
FRED MACPHERSON, SPECTOR
“Best TV performance I’ve seen in a LONG time.”
HOW TO DRESS WELL “Letterman performance is a total inspiration.”
“We’ve always seen ourselves as a pop band,” says William. The three of them met in art school, which might explain their ability to make the simple sound grossly adventurous, sometimes too much. “We’re always trying to write a pop record and a pop song.” Samuel backs this up. “We might not be radio pop but I feel like we are pop in the sense of the subject matter and the natural feeling of the songs. We try to write simplistic, catchy songs, because that’s what appeals to us. We’re telling songs about love and loss, very universal ideas.” The group’s ultimate mission is “to entertain”, he says. “We want to move people’s feet and their hearts.” The Letterman performance saw these big, abstract mission statements come into fruition. Opening with the deal-breaking ‘Seasons (Waiting On You)’, new album ‘Singles’ is by a thousand miles their sharpest-sounding work. There isn’t a song that edges over the five minute mark. With all-encompassing truths being dished out on the regular, it’s put to the band that they’ve written their most romantic record to date, sealed with a kiss. “I’m not so sure,” is their response. “I have romantic ideals in my head so that’s what it really comes from. ‘Singles’ is definitely not the only record that deals with those. ‘In Evening Air’ deals with it but more on the side of loss, ‘On The Water’ deals with it but more on the side of retrospection and introspection on. I think this one is much more outward… There’s an optimistic view in these songs but I think that has to do with our confidence as songwriters and musicians. We’ve been doing this for many years.” On previous records the frontman’s grizzly, hardcore punk roar was ever
present. Here it shows its face on special occasions. ‘Spirit’ hints at it. ‘A Song For Our Grandfathers’ - the album’s passionate family tale; a centerpiece goes one step further. ‘Fall From Grace’ reclaims the scream alongside equally hysterical instrumentation. Herring says his customary style of singing simply comes from not being able to reach some notes. Perhaps he’s just become a better vocalist, not a tamed beast.
“IT WAS MEANT TO HAVE AN AIR OF CONFIDENCE” Samuel T. Herring The only one screaming on that nowfamed March late night edition was Letterman, himself. “Buddy, come on! Hey, thanks very much. Nice going! How about that?! I’ll take all of that you got! Future Islands! That was wonderful!” It’s impossible to imagine any of this hysteria matching up with a different guy fronting the band. Samuel’s unique style is a persona, there’s no doubting that. He admits to seeing Joy Division’s Ian Curtis perform and having his mind blown. For a band sporting music that’s often ambiguous and playful, the singer is something tangible to latch on to. Even though there’s always been someone at the front, pouring his heart out, Future Islands are well and truly standing up to be noticed this time. The cocky, swaggering album title is there for a reason. “It was meant to have a strength to it. It was meant to have an air of confidence, in our craft and what we do.” Since finishing the album, this newfound belief has manifested into something even more formidable. All of a sudden these humble musicians are riding their own wave of momentum. Don’t expect it to stop anytime soon. With thousands diving into their back catalogue by the day, finally we’re witnessing a brilliant band reach a whole new level. Future Islands’ new album ‘Singles’ is out now via 4AD. DIY
THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL TOKYO POLICE CLUB ARE OUT TO MAKE A STATEMENT, THE BAND’S GREG ALSOP EXPLAINS. WORDS: EMMA SWANN.
t was great,” Tokyo Police Club drummer Greg Alsop says of the band’s recent trip to South by South West. “It was kind of a lastminute decision to go,” he adds, “we hadn’t been since 2008, and it was up in the air for a couple months whether we were gonna be there or not, but we’re really glad that we went. We got to play the new material for some people and had some great shows.” That’s new material from the Canadian four-piece’s forthcoming third full-length, ‘Forcefield’, released this week. Not that its content was as fresh to the Texan crowds’ ears as it should have been. “It leaked about a week ago,” he says, “so some people had heard it when we were down there!” He doesn’t seem particularly annoyed.
“THE DAY WE FINISHED THE RECORD, WE ALL PACKED UP OUR BAGS AND LEFT FOR OTHER ADVENTURES.” GREG ALSOP
“It can be kind of a bummer for the artist,” he explains, “just ‘cause you’ve worked so hard at it and you want it to be a big deal when it comes out and people get at it, it’s nice to have that ‘letting it out of the gate’ sensation, but I mean, if people have heard it and like it, then it doesn’t really matter to me how they got to hear it.” For anyone who got to know Tokyo Police Club via ‘Nature of the Experiment’ or ‘Be Good’ from debut EP, ‘A Lesson in Crime’, or even the blistering pop-punk of breakthrough and sometime MTV2 staple ‘Your English Is Good’, the synthheavy slick pop of ‘Forcefield’ might come as a bit of a shock. Not least through mammoth eight-minute-plus opener, ‘Argentina’. Greg laughs. “The first part of that song was kinda like the first building block for the record. We had been writing for about a year and a half before it turned up, and once we figured it out... I don’t like using metaphors, but it was like a blueprint for what we wanted to do with the rest of the record. We felt like we’d finally landed on something with it, and then Dave [Monks, vocalist / bassist] had the idea to bridge that first part with part three, which was a song called ‘See It Clear’, with this middle ditty he’d written. It just worked. We demoed it one day and had it, it was basically demoed the same way that it ended up on the record right now. It felt like a bold statement. If anything, this record is trying to be bold. And hopefully succeeding at it.” Bold is a word Greg also uses to describe what’s probably the closest crude comparison for ‘Forcefield’ – Phoenix’s ‘Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix’. “I’m a huge fan of that record,” he enthuses. “I think Phoenix really went for it, and came up with something new. So if that’s your comparison, I’ll gladly take it!”
“THIS RECORD IS TRYING TO BE BOLD. AND HOPEFULLY SUCCEEDING AT IT.” GREG ALSOP ‘Forcefield’ was worked on in the band’s home town of Toronto – though both Dave and Greg have since departed south of the border – Dave to New York, and Greg to Boston. “We all moved right afterwards,” he laughs. “Like, the day we finished the record, we all packed up our bags and left for other adventures.” After the band – completed by guitarist Josh Hook and keyboardist Graham Wright (both still living in Toronto) – finished touring previous LP, 2010’s ‘Champ’, Greg explains they spent “about two years writing the record, then another year and a half demoing it and recording it. We didn’t come up for air much at all between touring ‘Champ’ and starting work on this!” Production duties were shared between Doug Boehm, who had previously worked as an engineer on ‘Champ’, and Dave Monks himself. “It was a collaborative effort,” Greg affirms. “For the first time, with this record, we had a direction in mind, and a sound, and it
was a lot less just going in to a studio for months and seeing what happened. It was very mapped out and planned beforehand.” The band begin their UK tour this week in Glasgow. And, as Greg’s keen to point out, they love touring the UK – for reasons both gig-related and, well, not. “We haven’t been to the UK since... god, 2010?” he says. “It’s always really exciting to go over, it’s such a different experience. It’s distinctive. The shows are just crazy, you guys have bizarre fans over there, compared to a lot of American or Canadian audiences. People are a lot more active than we’re used to. We’d never seen people moshing to our music before we went over to the UK!” Perhaps that’s related to the younger drinking age this side of the Atlantic? Greg laughs. “Oh, yeah! Maybe they’re just drunk. I don’t know if that’s a pro to your country, or something to support the American 21 age limit! It’s definitely a different experience. “The first year and a half that we toured America,” he adds, “I was the only one who was over 21, so there were definitely times when three quarters of the band had to wait outside the venue until it was time to go on stage and then had to exit immediately afterwards!” But the thing Greg and his band mates are looking forward to most this week is... “Marks and Spencer triangle sandwiches.” Tokyo Police Club’s new album ‘Forcefield’ is out now via Memphis Industries. DIY
REVIEWS EDITED BY EMMA SWANN
liars Mess (Mute)
xpect the unexpected, surely the only useful approach when anticipating anything Liars produce. Effortlessly changing gear, scene, style, genre, anything they can take their hand to they can wipe away and recreate with the other hand. The trio’s constant metamorphosis is somewhere between a natural reflex and an indelible signature of the band. Already Liars have reached their seventh album. How many bands have made seven good albums in a row? By the quickest and shallowest of counts, only Radiohead and
Nine Inch Nails can immediately offer themselves as recent candidates. Critical darlings Arcade Fire only last year released their fourth album, while Liars’ fellow New York breakthroughs The Strokes and Yeah Yeah Yeahs have managed five and four respectively. So here’s the pitch – We’re Liars, we’re going to make another brilliant album and we’re going to make it significantly different to our existing output. To attain this seemingly unlikely end Liars have plundered the shinier ends of synth-pop and rave-fuelling electronica. The results are astonishing. Dancing is back. Colour is back. Spiky keyboards, shout-out lyrics and mixtape style merging of song to song is back. Cool, subtle and nonchalant is out. ‘Mess’ is in.
Opening with a heavily computerised vocal of “Take my pants off…” but soon descending into “…eat my face off” Liars are showcasing their trademark sinister twist, this time on the glossy, dramatic over-sexuality of Peaches or The Presets. Insistent bouncing synths run on into the darker and industrial electro of ‘Vox Tuned To D.E.D’ and ‘I’m No Gold’, with Angus Andrew’s unique deep, entrancing croon in the foreground of what could pass for backing from Danger or Kavinsky. Liars are playing French electro at its own game and walking away with blood-stained leather jackets and the sweet taste of victory. They’re making it all look so damn easy, moving from a reclusive bizarreness to room-
owning charisma yet keeping it so intense and twisted that it couldn’t be anything but Liars. Each subsequent track is pure showmanship and the band toy with the audience even more so with playful titles like ‘Pro Anti Anti’, a murky track titled ‘Can’t Hear Well’ and ‘Left Speaker Blown’. With overwhelming confidence the Brooklyn-based trio present 11 songs of unerring quality and an almost uncountable numbers of flicks and tricks. The chaos and individuality only pose one question that is ever more pressing as each twist and turn produces another surprise or delight; how long can you be extraordinarily good before you become legendary? Liars look closer than ever. Matthew Davies
tokyo police club Forcefield (Memphis Industries)
orcefield’ may as well be titled ‘curveball’: anyone expecting the brash, hyperactive, “your English is good!”-yelling Tokyo Police Club of yore is best looking away immediately. This, the Canadian quartet’s third full length (ignoring 2011’s ‘Ten Songs...’ covers project) just isn’t that band. At a guess, bar playing other people’s songs, since the release of 2010’s ‘Champ’, the Ontario gang have been hard at work listening to a lot of Phoenix alongside honing their skills. Because much of ‘Forcefield’ sounds just like it could’ve been made by Thomas Mars and pals. And it’s really, really good. What they’ve not lost from the old days is the ability to write a hook: whether it’s ‘Feel The Effect’ and its repetition of the title, or the brilliantly paced ‘Gonna Be Ready’ and its “upset / incredible headache / how bad / I’m calling a medic” that reads like it shouldn’t work but does so effortlessly; ‘Forcefield’ is full of them. Like, yes, Phoenix, or when Mystery Jets dropped the pots and pans and picked up those 80s-tastic synths, these are pop hits of the arena-filling kind. Literally: they’d fit right in next to Two Door Cinema Club’s O2-baiting radio staples. Yes, there’s still the odd nod to The Cribs’ guitar sounds, or the punk-ish intros to both ‘Tunnel Vision’ and ‘Gonna Be Ready’, but the former breaks down quickly enough in to something that’d fit in perfectly on The Strokes’ ‘Comedown Machine’, while there’s even a hint of showtunes on the piano-led ‘Through The Wire’. Even a track called ‘Toy Guns’ sounds impressively grown-up. Opener ‘Argentina’ lasts eight minutes. So while fans of the band’s more lo-fi beginnings may stare, open-mouthed, bemused at the central role played by synths on ‘Forcefield’, there’s every chance they’ll be gaining a slew of newbies, should these many choruses be set loose. Emma Swann
FUTURE ISLANDS Singles (4AD)
easons change,” observes the opening lyric of Future Islands’ new album, which is funny, because this is a band immune to change. The severe kind, at least. That’s because they started out sporting extreme, anxious pop and a step anywhere else would just be a diversion. Eight years since forming, four albums deep - there remains
no other band sounding remotely like Future Islands. Their cocktail of stabbing synths and Samuel T. Herring’s coarse, all-emotions-at-once vocals is the kind of sound that isn’t worth touching from the outside. With ‘Spirit’, Herring howls in the same manner he always has. The synths sound sharper than ever, though, like they’ve endured a facelift without the wooden smile after-effect. ‘Doves’ flies like its very subject, off-kilter rhythms deceiving from what’s essentially a massive pop song, doused in “ooh-hoo” chants like it’s auditioning for a talent show. It’s easy to forget the sheer audaciousness of what Future Islands are doing. On paper, Herring’s stubbed out cigarette vocals, tap-tap drum patterns and cheesy 80s hooks should, as a trio, be rendered ridiculous. Instead these
deranged components act as one, swinging into motion in one fatal blow. That it comes out sounding seamless is another thing altogether. Jamie Milton
tHE HOLD STEADY
Teeth Dreams (Washington Square)
hree years on from ‘Heaven is Forever’, sixth album ‘Teeth Dreams’ could have come at any point during The Hold Steady’s ten year career thus far. On the surface at least, very little has changed. The band still insist on riding their brand of likeable rock’n’roll, punk roots and America-centric storytelling, yet there are a few noticeable tweaks. The opening minute of ‘I Hope This Whole Thing Didn’t
Frighten You’ is more muscular than anything in the band’s back catalogue, largely thanks to the addition of guitarist Steve Selvidge. The band’s strength has always been their ability to craft anthemic rock songs that reminisce in long hot summer nights, past glories and the idolisation of enigmatic women (‘The Only Thing’). The laid back ‘Almost Everything’ gets closest to reproducing some of those finer moments, and is by far their most contemplative track here. Craig Finn’s rousing vocals still provide the focal point for a lot of the songs, yet frequently, such as on ‘Runner’s High’, the mid-tempo melodies and lifeless riffs lead frustratingly to nowhere. Whilst ‘Teeth Dreams’ isn’t a bad album, it feels pedestrian compared to what The Hold Steady are capable of. Bevis Man
ee Foster the People
oster The People’s Mark Foster has made it perfectly clear in the runup to release that ‘Supermodel’ is “not the record that people are gonna expect,” and in that sense the band’s second full-length certainly delivers. The synthesised, catchy hooks devised by the former music jingle writer were the calling card of 2011’s ‘Torches’ but here, they’re few and far between. Similarly, while the globally chart-topping ‘Pumped Up Kicks’ was a song about teenage psychosis, there was no getting away from its light and breezy nature. By contrast, this is an album that has been ushered in with ‘Coming of Age’ as its single. Precociously indicative of the step-change the band are hoping for, it’s already enough to make you think twice about pressing ahead. Doing so only makes you wish you hadn’t. This departure from their earlier style has made them not more distinctive but instead, far more derivative. Railing against social conformity in a track like album opener ‘Are You What You Wanna Be’, only highlights how sanitised their music has come to feel, with the smart electronics and memorable bass that peppered their debut relegated to mediocre background production in an all-too-often flat and hollow musical landscape. It’s also only made worse by those tracks that do stand out. Acoustic album closer ‘Fire Escape’ makes for a nice, genuinely reflective change, while ‘Best Friend’ and the terribly named ‘Pseudologica Fantastica’ actually seem capable of bringing together the elements that sit disparately throughout the rest of the album with a flash of the band’s former promise. But then those latter two tracks are punctuated
by a pointless choral interlude, and you can’t help think that this is an album that suffers from having altogether too much surface and not nearly enough substance. Tom Morris
eee Ghost Beach Blonde (Nettwerk)
t’s difficult knowing what to make of something that sounds as instantly familiar as Ghost Beach’s debut. On the one hand, the chords are wellworn pop staples matched by skilful, if unoriginal production. On the other, ‘Blonde’ sounds like the best forgotten album Duran Duran ever made. The duo describe their sound as “Tropical Gothic Pop” which, for once, feels like an accurate selfassessment from a new band. It’s also a vital confirmation that Ghost Beach are fully aware of the much-travelled musical highway they’re on, and the only thing that stops ‘Blonde’ from sliding into a derivative 80s sinkhole. Because let’s be straight, Josh Ocean sounds like someone who should always be followed by a large wind fan in which his sumptuous (if as yet imaginary) mullet should be allowed to flow forever free. Synthmaster Eric “Doc” Mendelsohn meanwhile, has taken nothing but the bounciest bass lines and most shimmering of guitar chords from the era to give them the occasional contemporary EDM twist. But hell, it’s fun. This really is the ‘GTA Vice City’ of albums and ‘Blonde’ certainly holds its own against a comparable catalogue of platinum-selling originals. Ultimately, this is either the musical equivalent of seeing your old clothes in a vintage store, or this album has been hardwired into our central nervous system. It’s praise enough to say that after several listens you can’t quite decide which one it is. Even higher praise is that you still want to go back and listen to find out. Tom Morris
World Of Joy (Rough Trade)
here’s often a tendency for a second album to have less energy than the first. Not to suggest that the band are going to be keeling over with Fender made Zimmer frames for instruments; but a skiff of the youthful vitality and aggression is lost. Alternatively, second album woes can come in the shape of a record which is far too similar to the first. Luckily, neither is applicable to Howler. Listen to the first few seconds of ‘Al’s Corrall’ with its explosive guitars and Black Lips zeal; and that problem’s been defenestrated like a One Direction fan at a Bullet For My Valentine gig. Perhaps more exciting than their continued gusto though, is the odd tangent in sound and experimentation with something a little
Chuck Ragan Till Midnight (SideOneDummy)
huck Ragan’s very much a singersongwriter where what you see is what you get. The gravel-throated Hot Water Music frontman has been forging a career as a forthright, heart on his sleeve solo artist for the best part of a decade and on fourth full length ‘Till Midnight’ Ragan doesn’t stray far from that same path. Despite ‘Till Midnight’ bearing his name, Ragan owes a lot to backing band The Camaraderie. Bassist
different. Take ‘Here’s The Itch That Creeps Through My Skull’. It’s jam-packed with Smiths-y chorus guitars and an eighties feel that is quite the curveball, considering their debut almost solely consisted of brash beach-punk. Best however, is ‘Don’t Wanna’. It’s a bowl of perfectly blended punkporridge that would get the nod from Goldilocks and some headbanging from the three bears; sounding impressively classic. It also sums up a fantastic compromise that Howler have achieved on the best bits of ‘World Of Joy’. It’s half mature sound and half youthful energy, progressive but at the same time transgressive, filled with roller coaster rides about booze, teenage romance and school dropouts. It’s - as Goldilocks would say - ‘just right’. Kyle MacNeil Joe Ginsberg and drummer David Hidalgo (of Social Distortion) drive the record forward, ensuring that feet are tapping throughout. Meanwhile John Gaunt’s intricate fiddle melodies and interludes add colour and flair to proceedings, bringing the album to a whole new level musically. While ‘Till Midnight’ does move Ragan forward, there’s still a sense of familiarity. The themes of family and distance will be recognisable to fans of his solo work, as well as Hot Water Music’s material. Few people do impassioned, rustic folk rock so well. Stuart Knapman
LIVE EDITED BY EMMA SWANN
The Forum, London
HVRCHES were pushed into the limelight quicker than most. After posting first track ‘Lies’ online it was only a matter of months before they were hitting best new music polls and selling out shows. With such notable success it’s little wonder that they’ve already turned their hand to assisting other emerging artists with the launch of their label, Goodbye Records. Their first signing, SOAK, is tonight’s support.
swallowed up by the stage at The Forum but the 2000+ capacity venue doesn’t daunt her in the least. Instead she interjects cheeky Irish banter between her delicate songs, each one led by dreamy vocals.
The contrast between the two acts is sure to be a good one. With an impending set of dazzling synth-pop on the cards from the Glasgow trio, singer/songwriter Soak provides a gentle opener. With simply an acoustic guitar and otherworldly vocals it is her confidence that is most astonishing of all. At the age of 17 her tiny frame is
If the band has been criticised in the past for being too static on stage, it’s a label they seem determined to shake off this evening. Lauren Mayberry picks her moments and remains her modest self most of the time, allowing her girlish vocals to slice through the huge dance beats. Whilst there’s the lingering impression that she still feels most
Ever the professionals, CHVRCHES take to the stage bang on 9pm entering to a heady atmosphere of flashing lights and the crowd already dancing to the thudding bass line of ‘We Sink.’
comfortable attached to her mic, she’s grown her on-stage persona and throws shapes at the back of the stage as the beat drops, silhouetted against their lit-up logo. With glimmering synth and a euphoric chorus it’s little wonder that the crowd go wild for ‘Gun’. Their enthusiasm is matched onstage and the band gives an energetic performance. As Martin takes centre stage for ‘Under The Tide’, he dances for his life, flinging himself into the air when the lilting verses drop to a club-worthy beat for the chorus. It’s difficult not to get swept away by the pounding bass and several thousand people dancing along. The tracks are all the more impressive for their live setting. The dark 80s synth
BOMBAY BICYCLE CLUB Great Hall, Cardiff
PHOTO: NATHAN BARNES
of ‘Science/Visions’ becomes more brooding and industrial with echoed vocals, florescent lighting and crashing drums. The more syrupy pop tracks are heavy on the bass creating a perfect Saturday night vibe. Say what you will about CHVRCHES but for a band with such structured, electronic pop songs they certainly know how to evoke strong emotions in a crowd. From the mo-hawked Camden crust punk shouting along to all of the words to ‘Tether’, to Mr average Joe dancing wildly and alone at the back of the room and not giving a shit, there’s just something in the shining pop and somewhat shy demeanour that make CHVRCHES impossible not to fall in love with. The electric atmosphere at Forum tonight is only testament to that. Emma Cooper
ome bands are just destined for festivity. Two songs into their return to Cardiff University’s innocuous Great Hall, Bombay Bicycle Club have wheeled out a three-piece horn section. Bringing the total number of bodies on stage up to nine, the carnival atmosphere on both stage and floor goes through the roof. This inclusivity has become key to Bombay’s mantra. This year’s ‘So Long, See You Tomorrow’ is a melting pot of influences from frontman Jack Steadman’s worldwide travels, and it flourishes in the live environment. Backed up by a series of projections that mirror the artwork of the album, it’s a damn sight more interesting than your schoolmate’s endless Instagrams of Thailand. Set highlight ‘Feel’ is probably the best illustration of this change, the Bollywoodesque intro segueing into a synth line as thick as the layer of sweat the crowd is slowly gathering. The classics get an airing too, with ‘Evening/Morning’ and ‘Always Like This’ prompting a predictable mass of poorly timed clapping and people clambering onto their mates’ shoulders. If one gripe is to be made, it is with the pacing of the setlist – every time the festival atmosphere is risen by a ‘Shuffle’, it’s quickly brought crashing back down with the slow build of an ‘Eyes Off You’ or ‘Whenever, Wherever’ (which Steadman dedicates to Shakira with a wry smile). With the run-up to festival season gathering momentum, let’s just hope they’ve brought the weather with them. Tom Connick
FRANZ FERDINAND The Roundhouse, London
t must be reassuring to sell out two nights at the Roundhouse, not that Franz Ferdinand have anything left to prove at this point. Emerging from behind the drums and standing on podium-esque steps while the audience explodes, frontman Alex Kapranos skips all formalities and jumps into a spotless setlist, bringing to life all but one song from ‘Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action’. The fans, some of them spotted queuing outside of the venue hours before doors, confirm the hit status of tracks like ‘Evil Eye’ and ‘Love Illumination’ with guitarist Nick McCarthy balancing elegantly between strings and keys. Some of the tunes from the electro-friendly ‘Tonight’ are given a revamp to work with the current guitar-focused mood, and they even allow themselves to cleverly mash-up ‘Cant Stop Feeling’ with ‘Auf Achse’, adding a bouncy twist. ‘Lucid Dreams’ is also rearranged towards the rockier side, leading to an explosive long version of ‘The Fallen’ which includes an old school introduction of each band member. “I’m gonna burn this city! Burn this city!” reply the excited fans to Kapranos’ leading statement of ‘This Fire’. The band leave the stage - but it’s Saturday night, and nobody wants to go home. “Do you wanna hear another one maybe?” asks Alex, and the overwhelmingly positive answer even manages to put a (tiny) smile on bassist Bob’s face. The five song encore finishes with an extended version of ‘Outsiders’ with the band gathered around Paul’s drum-kit, and brilliant new song ‘Goodbye Lovers & Friends’ sends us home confirming that, if you’re comfortable enough to end your set with a track from the album you’re touring, you’re definitely doing things right. How to reinvent yourself by just being yourself, but better; a book written by Franz Ferdinand. Carolina Faruolo
GIG OF THE WEEK
Johnny Marr BRUDENELL SOCIAL CLUB, LEEDS MONDAY 24TH & TUESDAY 25TH MARCH
MONDAY 24TH MARCH Bristol Metronomy, O2 Academy Glasgow Band of Skulls, QMU Leeds Johnny Marr, Brudenell Social Club London Broken Bells, Shepherd’s Bush Empire Nottingham Dan Croll, Bodega Sheffield Gnarwolves, Corporation TUESDAY 25TH MARCH Aberdeen Gnarwolves, Tunnels Brighton Katy B, Concorde 2 Glasgow Franz Ferdinand, Barrowland Leeds Johnny Marr, Brudenell Social Club London Angel Olsen, Dingwalls
Provided he’s recovered in time from that recent broken hand, the former Smith and all round legendary guitar bloke Johnny Marr’s two night stint at what’s possibly the best-loved venue in all the UK will definitely be one to catch.
Manchester Band of Skulls, The Ritz Oxford Metronomy, O2 Academy WEDNESDAY 26TH MARCH Hull Gnarwolves, Fruit Leeds Franz Ferdinand, O2 Academy London Dan Croll, Scala London Katy B, KOKO Manchester Wild Beasts, Albert Hall Norwich Metronomy, UEA THURSDAY 27TH MARCH Bristol Frànçois and the Atlas Mountains, Colston Hall Chester Gnarwolves, The Compass Glasgow Wild Beasts, The Arches London Band of Skulls,
Shepherd’s Bush Empire London The Men, Village Underground Oxford Katy B, O2 Academy Newcastle Franz Ferdinand, O2 Academy FRIDAY 28TH MARCH Birmingham Katy B, The Institute Bristol Dan Croll, Thekla Cardiff Johnny Foreigner, Clwb Ifor Bach Glasgow You Me At Six, O2 Academy Liverpool The Men, East Village Arts Club London Big Deal, St Pancras Old Church London Metronomy, Brixton Academy Oxford Suede, O2 Academy SATURDAY 29TH MARCH Belfast Royal Blood,
Limelight Cardiff Manic Street Preachers, Motorpoint Arena Glasgow Frànçois and the Atlas Mountains, Stereo Glasgow You Me At Six, O2 Academy Guildford Johnny Foreigner, Star Inn Liverpool Dan Croll, Kazimier Manchester Katy B, Academy SUNDAY 30TH MARCH Bristol Wild Beasts, O2 Academy Edinburgh The Amazing Snakeheads, Sneaky Pete’s Leeds The Men, Brudenell Social Club London Suede, Royal Albert Hall Manchester You Me At Six, O2 Apollo