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D i s c l o s u r e G o l d P a n d a Wa x a h a t c h e e J a g wa r M a

f ree | i s s ue 1 9 | j une 2 013

the national Funny Songs About Death


city and colour the hurry and the harm

the new album featuring the singles ‘thirst’ and ‘of space and time’

out 3rd june 2013 2

EDITOR’S LETTER Midnight screenings of blockbuster films. Turns out they’re actually quite fun, if the cinema can, y’know, show the movie. Congratulations to the Cineworld at London’s O2, then, for failing to air the end of Iron Man 3’s debut showing. Imagine if we did that with band names. This month you might read our cover feature with seminal US crooners The National without interuption, but you’d also be able to enjoy features with the risque Waxahatch and the culinary genius Gold Pan. We’d be big fans of the Daft Pun album review, but nobody would want to go to Livepoo Sound City. Liverpoo. Snigger. It’s important to finish what you star..... <snip>

GOOD: ‘Smooth evil: I just

Sailing’ on the new Queens Of The Stone Age record is the best kind of funky.

used the word funky without any irony whatsoever.

GOODVSevil What's on the DIY team's radar

Victoria Sinden Deputy Editor GOOD: DIY hosted stages at both The Great Escape and Liverpool Sound City last month. Busy busy. evil: Tjfhwefgnu. Thinking of evils is hard. Jake May Deputy Online Editor GOOD: Touching in real life Mac DeMarco during his excellent set at The Great Escape when he jumped into the crowd. evil: Secretly not having the guts to touch in real life Mac DeMarco during his excellent set at The Great Escape when he jumped into the crowd but lying to all of my friends that I did.

Jamie Milton Online Editor GOOD: Finishing university, finding refuge in The Great Escape and being as drunk as The Orwells’ frontman, Mario Cuomo. evil: A perfectly good pair of shoes were destroyed during Merchandise’s Great Escape set. It was probably worth it. Louise Mason

Art Director GOOD: The volume of

‘Get Lucky’ comedy remixes on the internet, obviously peaking with ‘Get Clucky’. evil: The 5am police raid in my hotel at The Great Escape... wrong room, apparently.

this issue has been brought to you by...



Songs played by Parquet Courts at a secret Great Escape show before being pulled short. Crowds weren’t happy.

Days Jamie spent cursing the fact he wasn’t Ryan Hemsworth.




Photoshoots this month that involved a sheet of glass and a hammer. Smashing.


Members of The People Jake attempted Minutes Stephen spent to give love bites to thinking Jamie wanted National on which we have photoshopped at The Great Escape. to be Thor (Chris sunglasses. Gross, Jake. Hemsworth). 3

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Editor Stephen Ackroyd Deputy Editor Victoria Sinden Reviews Editor Emma Swann News Editor Sarah Jamieson Film Editor Becky Reed Games Editor Michael J Fax TV Editor Christa Ktorides Staff Writers: Gareth Ware, Sam Faulkner Art Director Louise Mason Head Of Marketing & Events Jack Clothier Online Editor Jamie Milton Deputy Online Editor Jake May Assistant Online Editor El Hunt Contributors Andrew Jones, Anna Byrne, Coral Williamson, Danny Wright, David Zammitt, George Smale, Hannah Phillips, Hugh Morris, Jack McKenna, Jack Parker, Jon Hatchman, Laura Eley, Martyn Young, Matthew Bridson, Matthew Davies, Sam Cornforth, Shefali Srivastava, Tom Doyle, Tom Walters, Will Richards Photographers Carolina Faruolo, Fraser Stephen, Hannah Cordingley, Leah Henson, Mike Massaro, Sam Bond For DIY editorial tel: +44 (0)20 76137248 For DIY sales tel: +44 (0)20 76130555 For DIY online sales tel: +44 (0)20 76130555 DIY is published by Sonic Media Group. All material copyright (c). All rights reserved. This publication may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form, in whole or in part, without the express written permission of DIY. 25p where sold. Disclaimer: While every effort is made to ensure the information in this magazine is correct, changes can occur which affect the accuracy of copy, for which Sonic Media Group holds no responsibility. The opinions of the contributors do not necessarily bear a relation to those of DIY or its staff and we disclaim liability for those impressions. Distributed nationally.


NEWS photos: mike massaro, emma swann


O n e o f t h e b i gg e s t a n d m o s t e x c i t i n g f e s t i va l s f o r n e w m u s i c , t h i s y e a r ’ s e d i t i o n o f B r i g h t o n ’ s T h e G r e at E s c a p e p r o v e s n o d i f f e r e n t. E m b l a zo n e d o n t h e l e g i o n o f t o t e b ag s c a r r i e d ac r o s s t h e c i t y a r e t h e l i k e s o f M e r c h a n d i s e , Pa r q u e t Co u r t s , M Ø, CHVRCHES , a n d S u p e r f ood. I f a b u z z b a n d i s n ’ t p l ay i n g t h e s o u t h c oa s t o f E n g l a n d t h i s w e e k e n d, t h e y ’ r e n o t

deap vally

wo r t h b o t h e r i n g w i t h .



t doesn’t matter who started the fight, one way or another Superfood (The Haunt, Thursday) are going to finish it. If their Birmingham brethren Peace have proved divisive players over the past twelve months, they’re nothing in comparison to this lot. Like Menswe@r’s genetically perfect test tube baby, whether that’s seen a good or bad thing (or even means anything at all) will more than likely indelibly colour any opinion. For what it’s worth, the four piece do what they do really rather well. Each and every trick from The Big Britpop Handbook is played to perfection. It’s early days still, but the battle lines are undeniably already drawn.

Mac DeMarco (Corn Exchange, Thursday) is

an odd live performer. With a cheeky wink and a goofy smile, he’s a character that looks incapable of writing and performing with any kind of self-control - but as soon as a song starts he’s the ideal artist. Songs taken from both of his excellent guitar-pop albums are performed beautifully, making the kind of show that stands hairs on end. Although it’s a set fairly void of his usual messing around (which, it turns out, he saves for his later show at the Green Door Store where he crowd surfs while playing guitar and hangs upside-down from the rafters), the Canadian still manages to incorporate Rammstein’s ‘Du Hast’ into the set and squeeze in a shouty screamo version of ‘Blackbird’ by The Beatles. Excellent fun.

They may not be the kind of band you’d expect to see gracing the line-up of a festival like this, but Kingston, Pennsylvania’s Title Fight (Concorde 2, Thursday) are no strangers to straddling genres. Using their brand of aggressive pop punk to meld together the most powerful moments of hardcore and poignant eruptions of shoegaze, the result is chaotic but electrifying; proven by the sheer ferocity of their performance and neverending stream of crowd surfers. Whether it’s in the delicate sentiments of ‘27’, or the mesmerising fuzziness of ‘Head In The Ceiling Fan’, here are a band pushing the boundaries and preconceptions of their genre to a whole new place. “We’re going to start slow and then get fast,” says Raph Standell-Preston, one half of Montreal duo Blue Hawaii (Brighthelm Centre, Thursday) at the start of their set. And indeed they do. To begin with it’s all delicate electronics and Standell-Preston’s beautiful,

Mac DeMarco


news the great escape

mournful vocal, before the tempo rises, the bass gets heavier, and the beats louder. By the end it’s more like a nightclub dance set, the everswelling crowd finding it increasingly difficult to not bop their heads and shake their hips. With a queue winding well out of the door, we’re only just lucky enough to squeeze ourselves into Komedia for the second performance of Deap Vally’s (Komedia, Friday) weekend. Dressed perfectly for the summer heat of California, their outfits are maybe a tad optimistic for the weather here in Brighton, but their set still comes packed with enough rock and roll punch to have the whole room working up a sweat. Debuting an array of the explosive tracks from their forthcoming debut full-length ‘Sistrionix’, this hair flailing, head banging duo are nothing short of captivating. You can’t help but wonder how the hell they manage to make such an insatiable racket. deap vally

young fathers

“The Great Escape was an adventure and we are all really grateful we survived. It was close but we did it.” Superfood


By 1am The Haunt has reached its sticky, murky peak, which is ideal considering the band taking to the stage. Rumours abound before the show that Merchandise’s (The Haunt, Friday) Corn Exchange set the previous night wasn’t all that great; that spacious halls weren’t the finest companion to a band sporting fierce, progressive punk. If this was the case, The Haunt provides a polar opposite. Carson Cox looks Terminator-esque in his rectangular sunglasses, spilling water out into the front rows of undying fans. The songs themselves find a fitting home here, particularly when ‘In Nightmare Room’ spills unrelenting energy into the already flailing arms and hoarse, returning voices.

If the two skinny guys from Berlin on stage just past Midday on Saturday decided to sport robot outfits, there’s a good chance they could be associated with a ‘Daft Punk mk.II’ arrival. It’s all in the basslines. A venue so dark you can’t see your own tapping shoes comes to life with Roosevelt’s (Komedia, Saturday) expansive electronica. The only downside is the setting itself. It’s so quiet every landing of feet from excitable dancing fans is audible. More ‘Get Louder’ than ‘Get Lucky’, but that’s no disservice to the duo’s disco-filled set. Stumbling into a pitch black venue out of the bright Saturday seaside sun just in time, Teleman (Smack, Saturday) play a short, effortlessly charming afternoon set before their headline show that night. Highlights are new single ‘Steam Train Girl’ and debut ‘Cristina’, with instruments and vocals stripped down with a politely economical fragility, letting the intelligent songwriting shine through. Everything’s got a hook, and every note and word flows with a fun charm. They’re not a band to yell for your attention, though; they’re far too well mannered and busy making perfect pop music.  Nothing deters The Orwells (The Haunt, Saturday) tonight. Age barriers certainly didn’t stop these guys - aged between 17 and 18 from getting their hands on some booze in the early evening. Frontman Mario Cuomo races onto the stage, long blonde locks entangled in his microphone wire. “I’m piiiiised”, he openly declares, before kindly clarifying, “in America that means mad, but I’m just really druuuunk”. What follows is a perfectly-wound set, a balancing act between foolish

brooke candy

concrete knives

everything everything


carnage and meticulous craft. Beered-up Cuomo doesn’t miss a note, and even amongst a broken string and an air conditioning machine that waves a deadly smell – the collective after-effect of three days of Brighton booze-ups - into the crowd, The Orwells apply astonishing method to their charming madness.

we can only describe as a rather bizarre stripping routine (oh, alright, Zachary took his top off ) and we’re not sure what could’ve ended the night better. Well, okay, maybe if they had stayed fully clothed...

Strictly speaking an after-party set, all surviving TGE revellers are packed in tight for Parquet CourTS (The Loft, By the time the final band on DIY’s “This is our first time here and it’s Saturday). From start to finish fans stage begins, Audio is pitch black and always exciting to play somewhere chant the New Yorkers’ ‘Stoned And rammed. A mismatch of coloured we haven’t played before. It’s one of Starving’ track in between songs, clothing and variously dyed hair, those festivals that a lot of people talk about and say that it’s a really Swim Deep (Audio, Saturday) even though the centrepiece of the good experience. It’s great to be here!” emerge – a few minutes late, we’ll group’s ‘Light Up Gold’ record doesn’t Temples admit – in front of the packed out make an appearance in their set. The room to showcase their shimmering show is hampered slightly by sound brand of pop, as the home stretch of issues, which prevent an encore. the weekend kicks in. Feeling like a perfect ending to the Those desperately craving something more should be amply weekend’s events, tracks like ‘She Changes The Weather’ and satisfied by the transition from ‘Master Of My Craft’ to ‘The Sea’ are the ideal ditties to have a bit of a dance to, all ‘Borrowed Time’, a highlight of the album that finds true the while proving the band to be one of the most exciting to form in the company of drunken fans bouncing around a emerge from their home scene of B-Town. Throw in what sweaty room after midnight.

“The Great Escape was really great! Cav tried to get with Iggy Azalea and failed. We all had a big moment playing the Corn Exchange, for about two seconds I thought I actually was Mick Jagger. I ate so well, fish cakes for breakfast, saveloy for lunch and a cone of salty chips for pudding.” Swim Deep



news killer mike


tlanta rapper Killer Mike is the true definition of a contemporary legend in the rap game. From his beginnings more than 10 years ago as an associate of Outkast, Michael Render has progressed to become one of the genre’s most vital, visceral and incendiary voices. Last year’s ‘R.A.P Music’, produced by El-P, is a certified hip hop classic; an album that thrills, questions and provokes. As he prepares to embark on a series of European festival shows, DIY caught up with Mike in his barbershop in Atlanta. It’s now almost a year exactly since ‘R.A.P Music’ was released. What are your feelings on the album now looking back on it with a bit of distance? I’ve been overwhelmed because last year in rap was better than the first 8/9 years of rap put together for me because it featured one of my real rap fantasies; to be one of the premier rappers who is appreciated by real rap fans. How does the dynamic work between El-P’s beats and your rhymes and focus? The simplest explanation I can give you is this: when you hear me on an El-P beat then God meant for those two things to happen. I was made to rap on an El-P beat. It doesn’t mean I won’t ever work with another producer but it’s definitely important to understand my seriousness when it comes to my allegiance. How did you formulate this partnership into something more concrete with Run The Jewels? As a rapper, you like to be in the presence of other rappers. El was going to do a solo EP, so he was starting the process of that and we were talking and kicking it. Somewhere in the whole conversation it came to, “Yo El! Why don’t you let me jump on the whole EP with you?” In less than two weeks, we did the whole entire album. It’s brutal; it’s a lesson in the brutality of rhyme. We’re really going hard.

RunTheJewels K i l l e r M i k e & E l - P h av e b i g p l a n S W o r d s : M a r t y n Yo u n g

Run The Jewels sounds like nothing else out there. Is it your intention to go against the mainstream? I think that what we do together is just different and bears no relation to what’s out there because, let’s be honest, what’s out there is just a variation of whatever’s popular. That’s part of what’s plaguing our music. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery but it’s also a great way to create a shitty formula to create more shitty songs. Killer Mike and El-P’s new album ‘Run The Jewels’ will be released later this year via Fool’s Gold.


W o r d s : Dav i d Z a mm i t t

TV On The Radio Album On The Way






b r i e f haim have been confirmed to support


lot has been made of the break TV On The Radio intended to take in 2009, but that announcement was followed by a new album, the superb ‘Nine Types Of Light’, and a tour within just two years. Only a week after its release, however, multi-instrumentalist Gerard Smith passed away after a battle with lung cancer. In the context, a sabbatical would be understandable, but they’ve persevered. “I think I mentioned that we were taking a hiatus for a year and that hiatus only ended up being seven months,” the band’s Tunde Adebimpe explains. “Honestly, that’s probably the longest we’ve been not recording or being on the road for about six years.” When it comes to the workings of the band, the group are currently benefitting from a relatively sanguine disposition. “Right now, it feels like a very easy process and it’s great. We were just at Dave [Sitek’s] place and

Rihanna on her upcoming UK tour. The superstar will embark upon a nine date run this summer, with the trio opening her Manchester Arena shows on 12th and 13th July. recorded two new songs.” And what about the type of sounds we’ll be hearing? Adebimpe doesn’t give much away, save to suggest, that they might go a little bit heavier. “Everyone’s always tinkering. I can only speak about the song that I had a bigger part in writing, but there’s sort of a Danzig vibe.” TVOTR have also split from Interscope, their home since 2006 opus, ‘Return To Cookie Mountain’. The effect of their newfound autonomy is immediately telling and Tunde’s excitement is tangible. “Right now we don’t have the pressure of a label being like, ‘You know, you guys should do something.’ Right now, it’s a far clearer and more enriching path. Everyone feels really good about making things again.” Read the full interview in the 6th May issue of DIY Weekly, available now via Apple Newsstand.

franz ferdinand have announced plans to release their brand new album ‘Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action’ this summer. The Scottish four-piece will follow up 2009’s ‘Tonight’ on 26th August. !!! are going to headline a brand new London festival, Visions; an all-dayer that will take place across three venues, Oval Space, Netil House and New Empowering Church on 10th August. Other acts include Iceage, Still Corners and Micachu. crocodiles will release their brand new album through Frenchkiss Records on 19th August. Their fourth record, ‘Crimes Of Passions’ follows on from the San Diego rockers’ 2012 effort ‘Endless Flowers’. fuck buttons will release the

long-awaited follow up to ‘Tarot Sport’ on 22nd July. The duo are set to unveil their new seven-track album, ‘Slow Focus’, ahead of their headlining slot at this year’s ArcTanGent festival. 13

news city and colour


the grass i s g r eene r C i t y A n d C o lo u r ’ s Da l l a s G r e e n i s r e a dy to embark upon his fourth solo album; the first album w h e r e h e ’ s t r u ly go i n g i t a l o n e . W o r d s : S a r a h J a m i e s o n . p h o t o : e m m a s wa n n


here aren’t many artists who can claim to lead double lives. While in the genreleading, Canadian post-hardcore outfit Alexisonfire, Dallas Green was also busy working under his own solo guise, City And Colour. It was only after the former’s fourth album ‘Old Crows / Young Cardinals’ was released in 2009, that Green began to feel a bit stretched. By the time he had unveiled his third album as City And Colour – which was, by this point, a full band affair, complete with a world touring schedule to boot – things had become too much. It must’ve been strange to have been playing in two wholly separate bands, which both experienced similar levels of success. “Yeah, definitely, especially as things progressed,” Green tells us. “As City And Colour became this thing of its own, this breathing, living thing... It’s a very interesting way to live. You’re just like, ‘Here are my friends, this is great but I’ve got all of these other songs that I care about, and here are all these people that want to hear them. But I have to go do this. Then I’ll go do this. Alright, I’ll go back to this.’ It’s a very weird process,” he pauses. “I mean, I never expected anyone to like one of the songs that I write, let alone two completely different styles.” The reality of things was a little different: while Green was touring the world in support of Alexisonfire’s most recent full-length, he was also juggling City And Colour’s forthcoming ‘Little Hell’, which would subsequently enter the Canadian charts at Number 1. In the UK, he played to a sold out Royal Albert Hall – tickets for which disappeared in minutes – before returning later that year to play two nights at London’s Roundhouse, at the back end of a full UK tour. People were definitely listening. Sooner rather than later, Green had to put to bed the project he had been involved with for the past decade of his life. With his creative efforts no longer halved, it’s not surprising to learn that the output of his solo guise became

much more fluid. Before he even realised, he had enough material for a brand new City And Colour album, and a plan of action to match. “I didn’t think that I was going to make a record so soon after the last one, but at the same time… instead of coming up with ideas for Alexis records, every song idea that was popping into my head was now a new City And Colour song. I guess, that’s sort of why it’s here already. I got home and thought, ‘Jeez, I have all of these songs’.” “I remember calling my managers, Joel and Tricia, in June or July of last year, and saying, ‘I’m gonna make a record before the end of the year.’ They were like, ‘No, you can’t, you’ve got to do the Alexis tour; there’s no time.’ But I was like, ‘I’m doing it! Get me a studio. I’ll do it in November.’ They asked if I was serious, and I said yes, I had all of these songs… If I had gone into the Alexis tour, the farewell tour, not having made this record already, having that in the back of my mind would’ve

just been the same thing all over again. I would not have been able to enjoy what we did.” The subject of his previous project also, predictably, rears its head within his forthcoming album’s lyrics. With a history in writing rather candid and autobiographical songs, there was no way that he’d be able to skirt around one of the biggest break-ups in his career. “As I look back, I definitely think there are songs that deal with me leaving Alexisonfire. When I listen to some of the songs, I can hear that longing of searching for something better; something else. Well, not necessarily better - because I don’t [literally] mean that - but searching for happiness. I don’t know what that is: I think I’ll always be searching for that. That’s new ground for me; that’s something that I was exploring.” City And Colour’s new album ‘’The Hurry And The Harm’ will be released on 3rd June via Cooking Vinyl.


news eurovision

Eurovision 2013: Tumbling Down The Rabbit Hole D e r e k

R o b e r t s o n

E u r ov i s i o n


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2 0 1 3 ,

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f i e l d

M a l m รถ,

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S w e d e n .



urovision can, at times, seem like an anachronism, a leftover relic from simpler times and “old” Europe. As recently as the early 1990s, the number of participants hovered around 20; with democracy and selfdetermination that number has more than doubled, the competition now requiring two semi-finals to whittle down the entrants. The sheer size of the event itself is mind-boggling; 200 million TV viewers, 1200 accredited press and photographers, and an estimated 25,000 visiting fans, most of whom have no tickets but are happy just to soak up the vibes at the arena or in one of the many fan areas dotted around the city centre. There are already vast numbers milling about when I arrive at midday, helped no doubt by the presence of Europe’s largest indoor shopping centre next door. The last dress rehearsal kicks off at 1pm and there are no tickets to be had – it’s been sold out for weeks. The press centre, a vast hanger out the back that’s more used to hosting trade fairs and exhibitions, hums with a gentle efficiency as the press pack goes about the very serious business of reporting. Row upon row of desks have been lined up in front of two giant screens, whole areas commandeered by the laying out of flags. An impressive – and delicious – spread of coffee, cake, and biscuits is wolfed down between filming, editing, and recording, TV and radio seemingly the predominant media. I find the UK section, and pull up a chair. The rehearsal goes without a hitch save for Belarusian singer Alyona Lanskaya’s troubles getting out her giant glitter ball, the weekend’s most Spinal Tap moment. Ominously, Britain finishes dead last in the mock vote. I’m told that the points for this are arbitrarily allocated in advance, but it’s hard not to see this as a subconscious slight, and doesn’t bode

well given our dismal performances in recent years. Afterwards, a few of the acts pop in to do some fleeting, last minute interviews, but they are heavily guarded by their handlers; rumours abound of illness and lost voices, and they stick to a few brief words with their respective countrymen. Bonnie Tyler, sadly, is nowhere to be seen. I head out into the fading afternoon sun. There’s still three hours to go before the main event, but the carnival is already in full swing. The buzz is palpable, and almost everyone is adorned with flags, face paint, or full on fancy dress. Unsurprisingly the Swedes, festooned in yellow, blue, and all manner of Viking hats and blonde wigs, are the most prominent, but the Brits and Irish run them close. Photos are snapped, friendships made, and even the police – who all carry firearms – are cajoled into posing with comedy props. It’s manic grins all-round, a mass gathering of joyous abandon that’s all the more remarkable considering the lack of alcohol involved; there’s no beer carts, larriness, or swigging from unidentifiable bottles in plastic bags. Everyone seems lucid and clearheaded, high on camaraderie and the impatient excitement of a child waiting for Christmas morning. Taking my seat high in the Gods, it becomes clear that Eurovision is a spectacle like no other. As the arena steadily fills, the anticipation builds like a crescendo, so real you can almost reach out and touch it. ‘Electric’ is a word too easily thrown about these days, but this truly is. I’ve yet to experience a mega gig by any of pop’s current big hitters – Gaga, Beyonce, Rihanna – but the scale, ambition, and technical brilliance of a show that’s not just a concert, but a live broadcast event to 150 countries is breathtaking. There are pyrotechnics, glitter bombs, and lights constantly rising and falling. A giant LED screen is synced to an array of special effects and an

army of technicians scuttle around between songs with leaf blowers, instruments and mops, thirty seconds to strip the stage and reset it. Not one cue is missed, nor one mistake made; military precision personified. And what of the actual music? It’s easy to snipe about mindless, cheesy Europop, but with the bizarre – or downright awful – entries from Bulgaria, Latvia, Slovenia and Montenegro failing to qualify, the final twenty-six are, in all honestly, a decent bunch, perhaps the strongest lineup in years. Germany’s effort is a decent stab at a dance club anthem, while France’s Amandine Bourgeois injects plenty of femme fatale swagger and coquettishness into her Courtney Love impression. There are some keening, heartfelt ballads, but with a twist; both Iceland’s and the Netherlands’ are quirky and original, never threatening to sink into weepy schmaltz. Best of all is Norway’s ‘I Feed You My Love’, a tune that, if you squint, could well be a Bond theme – a dark, dramatic chorus, soaring finale, and hints of 80s synth-pop and Depeche Mode all laid over a driving beat. It loses out to Denmark, another rousing pop song about love and the pre-show favourite. It’s a fitting winner, and singer Emmelie de Forest is genuinely overwhelmed by the triumph. As is customary, she performs again before being whisked away to face the world’s media and a bright, new future. Filing out into the damp night air, a satisfied calm descends on fans departing for hotels and after-parties, a year of planning and three weeks of celebrating at an end. There’s an consensus that the best song came out on top, and an unspoken, warm glow from having been present to witness one of the best Eurovision’s in recent years. The baton for 2014 is now passed across the Øresund Strait, and the Danes have a tough act to follow. 17

news spectrals

Spectrals Ge t

T o

T h e

P o i n t

As Louis J o nes p r e pa r es t o r elease h i s sophomore e f f o r t, T o m Walt e r s lea r ns about the affects of new f o u nd c o n f i den c e .


here’s being a slacker out of laziness and then there’s being a slacker purely for the cool-byassociation aesthetic. Louis Jones – or more specifically, the band he masterminds, Spectrals – falls into neither of these categories. It’s abundantly clear that’s he’s poured a lot of effort and a hell of a lot of heart into his new record, ‘Sob Story’.

the best way to get his point across.

“I’ve tried to be less obscure in terms of the lyrics,” he says on the progression from his debut, ‘Bad Penny’. The first single to drop from ‘Sob Story’, ‘Milky Way’ is a testament to that: it’s laced with down-to-earth, dejected phrases like ‘she couldn’t be you if she tried’ and ‘I know you think a lot because I think a lot when I’m not with you’. While it’s along the same down-in-the-dumps lines we’ve come to expect, Jones explains that it’s

When you first start playing ‘Milky Way’, the difference is clear: the drums are sharp and in focus; there’s a more concise atmosphere to the guitar tones and Louis’ croon is both palpable and serene – it’s almost like listening to a kid growing up and fully realising his ambitions.


“I think when people are a bit more clear and less fussy with the lyrics, it’s a little bit braver,” he says. “I was hiding behind effects on the vocals, and I think maybe hiding things in wordplay and metaphors. Things that I thought were clever and funny. But I think this time I was trying to say exactly what I meant.”

“We used really nice microphones and tried to have it sound like me singing rather than something that’s

played around with,” he explains on this newfound clarity. “With the last record I’d never done anything before that I felt I did well, and I got really protective over what I thought was my sound. As I’ve gone on, I’ve realised that the things I was protective about weren’t things I needed to be worrying about.” Feeling a lot prouder of his newer material has, in turn, allowed him to stop craving the certain sonic aesthetic of his previous release, in favour of his new material simply sounding good: “I think if you’re proud of something, you want it to sound as good as it can sound, you know? I didn’t want to be slack with it and I wasn’t holding on to some kind of value like D.I.Y. or lo-fi.” Spectrals’ new album ‘Sob Story’ will be released on 3rd June via Wichita.


news big deal

Big Deal R et u r n To Make J u n e L ess G loomy Wo r d s : J a k e M a y p h o t o : e m m a s wa n n


here’s a eureka moment on Big Deal’s forthcoming new album. It comes around 90 seconds into ‘June Gloom’, the second full-length from the London-based duo. After a minute and a half of minimalist pretty guitar and the beautiful, affecting boygirl harmonies that we loved so much on their ‘Lights Out’ debut, it kicks in. Drums. An ascending snare. A tom roll. Cymbals. This is it. “We didn’t want the same record again,” says Alice Costelloe in a luxurious looking, boudoir-style room above a coffee shop in Shoreditch. “I feel like we’ve made the album that


we wanted to make this time round. With the first one we had so many limitations because of what we could do just with the two of us. We decided when we went in to record ‘Lights Out’ that we had to be able to do everything live, so it was just going to be two guitars. So this time round we were like, ‘No limitations... That was so hard! We want drums. And bass. And we’ll be able to do it live’.” Recorded with go-to producer Rory Attwell on his Lightship studios – an actual boat on the river Thames that “does something funny to your brain, the constant motion, it’s like you’ve taken some drugs,” according to Kacey – ‘June Gloom’ is set for release

through Mute on 3rd of, erm, June. It hears Kacey and Alice stretching their wings, heading into new ground, and stepping away from the purely guitarvocals sound heard on their debut. With the debut record being received well both critically and publicly, it’d be understandable if the duo felt some anxiety or outside pressure about having to make an album that lived up to expectation. “It’s weird,” ponders Alice. “People keep asking us about pressure. I really did not ever think about pressure.” Kacey continues: “I don’t think we felt that the first record put a lot of pressure on us, it was more a pressure of needing to do something better... We want to make a better






b r i e f paramore return to the UK and Ireland this September to make seven live appearances. They’ll be playing at Dublin’s O2 Point (02), Manchester’s MEN Arena (20), Cardiff ’s Motorpoint Arena (21), Birmingham’s LG Arena (23), Nottingham Arena (24), and London’s Wembley Arena (27, 28). frankie & The Heartstrings

record, that kind of thing. If there was a pressure that existed, it was that.” Though Kacey and Alice may have felt confident about producing a record that stands up to their debut, surely that ‘June Gloom’ hears a significant departure from their older sound is slight cause for nerves? “Our first gig we did as a full band we were really excited,” says Kacey of a show at London’s Shacklewell Arms earlier in the year. “We were super stoked and we come off stage like, ‘We did it! That was fun! That was great!’ And then this girl comes up and says: ‘You’ve ruined it. You were perfect as two and now you’re like everyone else.’ The good thing about it was it was a

totally valid opinion that she had.” Kacey continues: “I mean, yeah, you’re definitely going to be worried about that. But that kind of line of thinking is always going to make it harder. You can’t think about doing what people want you to do because you didn’t think about that when you went in to make your first record, you know?” Alice agrees: “I think it’s having a bit of respect for your fans. We figured: people liked our first record, hopefully they just like good music. And we definitely think we made a good album.” Big Deal’s new album ‘June Gloom’ will be release on 3rd June via Mute.

will open their very own record shop in their hometown of Sunderland. Pop Recs Ltd – situated on Fawcett Street - is set to open its doors to the public on 1st June. beck will play a one-off show at London’s Barbican with a string of well-known names, performing his recent ‘Song Reader’ album in full. He’ll be taking to the stage on 4th July with the likes of Jarvis Cocker, Franz Ferdinand and  Beth Orton. deaf havana have confirmed plans to unveil their third album ‘Old Souls’ on 16th September. Have a listen to the first single, ‘Boston Square’, on now. everything everything have added two dates to their October UK tour. They’ll now be making two stops at both Manchester’s Ritz (11,12) and London’s Forum (24, 25). 21

festivals 2013

26th - 30th June


here’s no event quite like Glastonbury. Whether visiting to be steeped in musical history, or buried in beautiful isolation; to taste the mysticism that hangs in the air, or simply just to watch some great bands, it’s guaranteed to be one of the highlights of festival season. This year, the institution is back after a one-off break and it seems more than ready for its 135,000-strong audience. In 2013, the legendary Pyramid stage is set to mark the debut Glasto performance of The Rolling Stones, see Mumford & Sons take on one of their first major headlining slots, whilst welcoming back its 2007 bill-topper Arctic Monkeys for a second time. It’ll also boast performances across the weekend from the likes of Vampire Weekend, Dizzee Rascal, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Primal Scream, First Aid Kit and Haim. Elsewhere on the Tor, you’ll sample the delights of Alt-J, Foals, The xx, Phoenix, Bastille, Hurts and too many more to get your head around. Rest assured, you’ll be in for one hell of a weekend... so long as there’s no mud. We wouldn’t want a repeat of last time now, would we?



7 th - 9th June

owadays, people don’t just end up visiting Loch Ness to catch a glimpse of its rumoured, infamous lake inhabitant. In fact, 35,000 people have started turning up at Clune Farm, Dores just to watch some bands. Yes, that’s right, head up to the beautiful Scottish Highlands and you’ll be greeted with another edition of RockNess festival. This year’s weekender is set be topped by Basement Jaxx, Example and Plan B, with other performances from The Vaccines, The Maccabees, Fatboy Slim, Ellie Goulding and The Futureheads. So, if you’re after a weekend of music set against a rather beautiful backdrop, this is the one for you.


hile Download festival is usually undoubtedly the home of all things metal, 2013’s edition of the Donington event is set to include an array of appearances that no one will want to miss out on.


13th - 15th June

f you’re up for heading overseas to party this summer, Sónar could be a good bet. This year, the Barcelona event will be celebrating its 20th anniversary, and it quite clearly plans to do so in style. The festival, which bills itself as specialising in ‘advanced music and new media’, looks set to make good on that promise, with headlining performances from Kraftwerk and their infamous 3D show, Pet Shop Boys and Skrillex. Other acts on the electronicbased line-up include our Class Of 2013 alumni AlunaGeorge, along with Major Lazer, Gold Panda, Two Door Cinema Club, Bat For Lashes and Chromatics.

14th - 16th June This year’s headliners stand tall as titans of heavy music – come on, try arguing that Slipknot, Iron Maiden and Rammstein aren’t the perfect acts to close proceedings – and attendees will also be privy to the only scheduled UK appearance from Queens Of The

Stone Age, following the release of their new record ‘...Like Clockwork’. Elsewhere, DIY favourites FIDLAR and The Hives can be spotted rubbing shoulders with Mastodon, Jimmy Eat World, The Gaslight Anthem and Thirty Seconds To Mars. 23

neu Arthur Beatrice

NEu Crossing The Tâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s:

A r t h u r

A n d

T h e

V i c e

O f

B e i n g

B e a t r i c e

P e r f e c t i o n i s t s photo: emma swann



ake yourself back to a crammed Lexington in London, in April 2012. It’s an Open Assembly night, one of many Arthur Beatrice have curated, in turn acting as headliners. They’re playing off the back of their ‘Midland’ single from the same year, so there’s a big sense of occasion. But instead of throwing themselves straight into the set, all members look panicked. They’re apologising, seemingly dithering with wires and equipment.

Turns out the stage piano - the central focus of their show - has gone kaputt. The band’s response is spontaneously put together, piano lines traded for guitar parts. And it works. “A lot of people were saying that was the best they’ve seen us,” says singer Orlando from the band’s East London studio one year on. “I actually thought ‘ah, maybe we should’ve been a guitar band!” But Arthur Beatrice were never quite cut out to be a conventional guitar-wielding type. They met at school - “normal school,” that is, not music school - and practice sessions between Orlando, Ella Girardot and Elliot Barnes started six years ago. Hamish - Elliot’s brother - soon joined. “And then we found a uniform sound,” as the story goes. Even six years back everything was meticulously crafted, with a self-professed perfectionism that has led to their soon-tobe-released debut album being recorded, re-mastered, over and over again. “It’s a big vice for us,” explains Elliot. “But I think it’s worked, in that we don’t let anything go out unless it’s 100% right. That’ll stand us in good stead in the future - it makes things less throwaway.” The band seem rooted to their own space. It’s not isolationism, necessarily that leaves them peerless. Our first online write-up compared the group to Warpaint and Wild Beasts. But Elliot stresses that they’ve “never found natural partners,” as a force. “I think a lot of other bands find scenes with other bands who play similarly... We don’t really have that community.” These Open Assembly nights weren’t by any means revolutionary, but they helped cultivate a sense of belonging. Each gig would be headlined by Arthur Beatrice themselves, but down the bill there’d be a tight fusion of electronic acts, standalone producers and a fair few DJ sets. “We always seem to do a lot more electronic stuff,” says Orlando. “It’s one of the ways that we can show our interest in that kind of music without making it ourselves.” Some might lump the tag “electronic” into previous singles ‘Midland’ and ‘Charity’; it’s one of many terms that have chased the four-piece since they first emerged. “Anonymous”, “mysterious”, “secretive”. But a scarce amount of information was again a by-product of their refusal to let anything out into the open before it was 100% to their taste. Their website URL is titled, jokingly, as Ella confirms - It’s a tongue-and-cheek dig.

“ M ay b e


s h o ul d ’ ve b e e n


gui tar ban d ”

They’re against confessional Twitter posts, anti-detailed biographies about each member’s past. “I think we all hate it, to be honest,” Orlando states. “When you look at 80s and 90s bands and way before that when people obsessed over printed material, there was a lot more to grip onto.” Elliot follows: “When you have access to everything it all becomes throwaway.” But when this debut full-length eventually arrives everything will be out in the open: the singles they just about avoided releasing in 2012 as a means of “riding that hype”; the focus of their sombre, piano-led songwriting, and the very reason why perfectionism pays off in the end. ( Jamie Milton) 25

neu cover recommended fall out boy

NEu Recommended















Hailing from all over the globe – Germany, England and the US – now New York-based five-piece HAERTS make soaring, sentimental synth pop that invigorates the feeling of being at a festival; taking in the glowing sunset of the final day. Any song that can ignite a feeling inside of you is on to a winner, and ‘Wings’ does this brilliantly. Another band that springs to mind when you listen to HAERTS is Glasgow’s very own synth-poppers CHVRCHES, not because of any musical similarities – there aren’t many despite both rocking female leads and sharing an inability to spell – but because many might imagine their track ‘Recover’ to be the kind of 3am jam that keeps the last flicker of the party alive. If that’s so, then ‘Wings’ is the flipside - the feeling you get at 6am as your body fights sleep and your eyes wince at the break of day. (Tom Walters)

Talvi Faustmann and Josh Mcintyre are a couple living in and out of different cities, recording music as and when it suits them. And right now they’re on a hot streak. Their debut ‘Lapse’ EP is a work that conveys the energy burst you get from forming a new musical project. It’s excitable throughout, like a fresh-faced youngster seeing the world for the first time. Much of that comes from Mcintyre taking a side-route from his still prolific Little Girls project. While Josh’s songs under that guise were shrouded in every hazy glow available, these Prince Innocence tracks are direct, provocative. In this Chromatics-style glow they hone in at something special. ( Jamie Milton)









It wasn’t long ago that Superfood had no Facebook page, demos or YouTube videos and after only a fleeting glimpse at DIY’s ‘Hello 2013’ showcase, the latest Birmingham bunch were definitely not letting their mask slip. The only detectable fragment of their existence was their almost mythical live shows where the band flourished. While they might not have been that easy to uncover, Superfood were definitely creating waves. Word was getting out about their shows with comparisons to Pavement and early Blur. Fast forward and the four-piece finally unveiled their debut track last month, bursting with character and youthful energy. Excitable vocals and surging guitars display a band already at the top of their game. (George Smale)






A few months back, demo tracks - which have since been removed - of Lucy Taylor’s Pawws project quickly spread. Word on the street was she had something special up her sleeve. Pah! We’ll believe it when we see it, said many a cynic. But then out came ‘Slow Love’. It was love, that’s for sure. But it certainly wasn’t slow. This was a whirlwind relationship, head-over-heels adoration. Taylor’s first track proper coyly declares “we’ve still got time / there’s no need to rush yet”, but as soon as you first play the song, you’re in the opposite mindframe, convinced there’s no time to lose in telling all of your dearest just how ruddy good she is. It’s glitterball pop with no endgame, a song that never tires. The rumours were true: this is something special. ( Jamie Milton) 26


5 B l a u e

B l u m e

How do you begin to start singing like Jonas Smith? When did he dare to raise his voice to such heady notes and run with it? It’s like asking ‘who was the first person insane enough to attempt to milk a cow and then drink the stuff ?’ Blaue Blume combine acts of lunacy. Strange shapes and untimely collisions that somehow make sense when segued together. ‘On New Years Eve’ is daring, a leap of faith. Initially it’s all about Smith’s falsetto, half smoky, half purred. But then the other members step in, announcing themselves in a grand crescendo that sends an already foolish step forwards into territory the band can’t return from. ( Jamie Milton) 





Vår are incredibly bleak. These Danish youths have a fiery outlet for any difficulties they might encounter. They don’t vent their emotions in the same abrasive vein as the confrontational punk rock that Holograms and Iceage (Elias Rønnenfelt’s other band) spit out. Instead, they locked themselves away last summer, experimenting with electronics to achieve a hypnotic sound that will fill their debut album, ‘No One Dances Quite Like My Brothers’. The blasts of industrial noise are remarkable; eerie and unwelcoming, yet incredibly compelling. The bubbling synth in ‘The World Fell’ is multidimensional as it constantly simmers into a different shade of sound, while the vocals are like possessed chants from a distant source. Bleak isn’t always exciting, but in Vår’s case it’s utterly enthralling. (Sam Cornforth)




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neu ms mr



ew York has always been viewed as an enormous, apple shaped, melting-pot for exciting new music, and at present, the big city seems at its most prosperous in some time. It’s set the scene for a handful of Neu favourites’ careers, including the glistening electro-pop duo MS MR, speaking to us from a rain cursed day in Brussels. “Essentially, we went to school with one another, but didn’t really know each other, or start making music together until we had an email exchange where we were both looking for musical opportunities and thought that the other person might be a good match,” explains singer Lizzy Plapinger. “It was December 2010 when we first got together and it went really well,” she says. “We really liked what we’d made, but more importantly, I think we recognised that we could write music with one another.” Three years on and the pair have a remarkably anticipated debut album to their name. The rightful hip hop King of New York, Jay-Z claims to be a fan of the band. “We initially recorded the album - almost everything - even before we had a record deal,” says the ‘MR’ to the duo, Max Hershenow. “We [recorded] in my apartment on my laptop and keyboard and microphone. It was super D.I.Y., and I think we naively thought that those tracks we recorded in our apartment would be enough, then we’d be able to just find a mixer and finally release it.”

Wild Fantasy: MS MR

The album contains all four songs from their 2012 EP, ‘Candy Bar Creep Show’, as well as singles ‘Fantasy’ and ‘Hurricane’, both of which are accompanied by astoundingly outlandish music videos, which combined have racked up over two million hits on YouTube. “I think the music videos are an extension of all the visual ideas of what we’ve been developing,” explains Hershenow. “And when we look back at them we see a clear pattern between the way we think visually and the way we think musically. I think the idea, in general, is that we want to present you with a lot of material, both musical and visual, without making the connections or the narratives a split.” All this ambition coming to fruition is the stuff of pop fairytales. Two music enthusiasts finally seeing their names in star-studded letters. “I don’t think it ever felt more real, until recently when we got the physical copy of our album in our hands. That was the first thing that really settled it for me,” Lizzy tells us. ‘Secondhand Rapture’ appears certain to secure the band’s providence even further. ( Jon Hatchman)



By Hook Or By Crook: T h e S t o r y O f Clean Band i t ’ s R u naway S u c c ess


Photo: Mike Massaro

he UK charts are experiencing more than just a ‘good patch’. When you’ve had Rudimental, Daft Punk and Duke Dumont all sharing the top spot spoils so far this spring, you’ve little reason to ask for any more. Ok, maybe ‘Get Lucky’ could do with being the biggestseller for the rest of eternity, but that outcome doesn’t seem entirely improbable just now. Besides, even a trawl down the Top 40 brings out the odd smile, especially when you see Clean Bandit’s ‘Mozart’s House’ finally making a mark. It’s been a destined chart-botherer since it was penned in 2010, and when Jack Patterson and oft-collaborator Sseg whipped the camera out in Moscow they decided to start filming a now-famed music video for the track. Jack was working in the city at the time and they suddenly had the urge to “get some sketchy gig” in a divebar. “But there was actually this horrendous heatwave at the time,” Jack says. “All the promoters had disappeared out of the city because of this smog.” So instead, Sseg and Jack made a video. And that video’s since racked up a good couple of million plays, somehow epitomising everything that’s exciting about Clean Bandit. It’s refreshing, it’s fun, but it’s not entirely clean-cut. It’s cheeky, fierce, not afraid to take risks. It’s everything the charts require. If the ‘Mozart’s House’ video was a smog-induced whim,

the more recent creations have been a little more carefullyplanned. “You shouldn’t make a song and make a video for it,” he says. “We’d like to see it as a single thing that you create together. We’ll have ideas where existing video will influence the music”, like in ‘UK Shanty’, he cites, where “this abstract 3D world became part of the visual concept.” Jack jumps at the idea of seeing these videos on MTV. “I used to be totally obsessed with MTV 2 and VH1 Classics and Kerrang! and Q. When I was a bit of a goth back in the day... I used to think it was the most incredible thing.” But while all this rapid, due-time ascendency is surrounding the band, the brains behind the project claim to not know a damned thing. “I’m pretty clueless about what it all means when it comes to charts and the music industry”, he says, pausing to reflect on what he’s just said. He doesn’t cite YouTube or Facebook once. Maybe he isn’t fibbing. But if three years working day-in day-out on the same project hasn’t lent Jack industry knowhow, he and the rest of his band are fast-becoming surrounded by the rewards they warrant. There’s still the small matter of a debut album - “it sounds so simple but it’s so hard to actually make one” - a half a dozen festival slots and goodness knows how many more videos. But Clean Bandit are on their way to being an everyday staple; a representation of the excitement and talent that’s moulding itself a space in the charts and beyond. ( Jamie Milton) 29

neu mixtape

N o t c o n t en t w i t h g i v i n g y o u a f r ee m a g a z i ne , we ’ v e p u t t o g e t h e r a f r ee m i x t a p e f u ll o f o u r fav o u r i t e new b ands ; d o wnl o ad f r o m t h i s i s f a k ed i y. c o . u k / m i x t a p e

neumixtape Benin City My Love

Shy Nature Deadly Sin

London trio Benin City flip convention like it’s a grubby habit. On ‘My Love’ wordsmith Josh Idehen, tongue-firmlyin-cheek, speaks of every muscle flexing for his lover, and to distract you from the snarling, lustful lyrics you’ve a jazz-like bed of instrumentation that breaks into brilliant crescendo.

Ironically, it’s not in this London group’s best interests to hide away from the spotlight. Everything about ‘Deadly Sin’, Shy Nature’s debut track, screams festival anthem. You practically find yourself waving a proverbial flag.

Miguel Do You (Cashmere Cat Remix)

A fuzzy cut from their early demos, ‘Digsaw’ gives us just enough of an insight into Brighton-residing fuzz-based force The Wytches. Their new single finds a fitting source of refuge via Hate Hate Hate Records.

Ryan Vail Fade

Derry’s Ryan Vail is a project between its titled maker and Katie Cosgrove. If ever you thought The xx had sewn up the soft-backdrop-whispered-vocals complex, these guys are here to shake things up a bit.

Cheshire’s Weirds recorded their debut track ‘Crocodile’ with MJ from Hookworms, and these newcomers are up there with the Leeds-based troubadours in wielding progression out of those grizzly guitars of theirs. ‘Yolk’ is an enrapturing introduction.

Us Baby Bear Bones You

Wishyunu Sprayy

Oslo’s Cashmere Cat is probably responsible for one of 2013’s standout moments with this monumental remix of Miguel’s ode to illicit substances. If you haven’t yet heard this blow up in a club you’re probably not going out enough.

The Wytches Digsaw

Weirds Yolk

The repeated refrain that opens Brighton group Us Baby It should be within everyone’s interests to give each citizen Bear Bones’ ‘You’ is deceptively simple. What follows is across the country a free 7 day holiday on a tropical island. quite remarkable, a ferocious entangling of jumped-up Send them along with a couple of instruments and a 4-track lyrics, gentle chimes and thumping percussion. Busied and tape. If half of the holiday-goers came up with something as excitable, it’s hard to know which aspect of the song to focus good as Wishyunu’s ‘Sprayy’, the world would be a happier on, they’re all so enticing. place.

GRMLN Teenage Rhythm

The mixtape sees in the scuzz right about now, California student Yoodoo Park bringing every source of life and sunkissed energy to the studio for a track on his superb ‘Empire’ debut, out via Carpark Records.


Oliver Wilde Curve (Good Grief )

Bristol’s Oliver Wilde doesn’t half know how to send his listener into a sleepy, comforting lull. He’s got two fulllengths up his sleeve, apparently, but it’ll be a tough act topping the six-minute breeze of ‘Curve (Good Grief )’. Think an even-more-mellowed-out Gruff Rhys.


sounds from my cit y:

Manchester In Sounds From My City, Neu asks some of music’s creative talents to tell us all about the most exciting bands on their doorstep.

Back in January Neu teamed up with The Old Blue Last, London, presenting four shows chock-full of future talent. ‘Hello 2013’ paid welcoming dues to the likes of Wolf Alice, Syron and Superfood. But going giddy for new music shouldn’t be restricted to the opening weeks of the year. So we’ve combined again to bring you the aptly titled four-show series: ‘How June Is Now’. It commences on Tuesday 4th June, with Seattle’s Seapony coming over to headline, backed up by Southend’s Skinny Dream and Issy Wood. The following Tuesday (11th June), gadget-addled Neu favourites take to the stage. Kirk Spencer headlines, with two of Brighton’s most exciting bands in yonks - IYES and Gaps - joining proceedings. Nottingham production duo Crvvcks complete the bill.

PINS are a four-piece from Manchester signed to Bella Union. Last year they released their ‘LUVU4LYF’ EP. Right now they’re working towards a debut full-length.

Kult Country

is a banner-man like entity, drawing together like-minded musicians to create droning lullabies best described by their manifesto: “All is being, all is breathing, all is as all is. Find only truth in selfhood, for the self is purest, uncompromising in it’s harmony with original thought.”

The Pink Teens

is another sonic experiment from (amongst many other bands) Temple Songs frontman Jolan Lewis. Writing late into the night he pens catchy pop infused garage songs that pay homage to the likes of The Godz and The Red Krayola.

Tuesday 18th sees Casual Sex topping the night. The new Moshi Moshi signings join forces with Brighton’s Sisters and fledging psych outfit Weirds. Our summer escape concludes with arguably the two brightest UK-based prospects around at the moment, South London’s soulful newcomer Moko combining with the unrelentingly inventive LAW. Just as with our previous showcases alongside The Old Blue Last, each night offers a different, dynamic glimpse into the future. Put all of those dates in your diaries. 31

cover the national

Funny S o n gs


Funny Songs About Death With an exceptional sixth album and two headline shows at London’s Alexandra Palace, The National are a band who can do no wrong. Wor d s : Dan ny Wr ig h t Photos: Mike Massaro


elaxing in a members’ club in central London on a bright spring day, the sun is falling through the bay window. In his soft Cincinnati twang, The National’s bassist Scott Devendorf is describing the challenge of translating the subtleties of the band’s songs into an arena show. “We were joking, ‘Imagine playing in this big place and we’re playing this fragile ballad’.” A quirk of fate means there’s an antique piano sitting in the corner of the room and, as he’s speaking, bandmate Aaron Dessner wanders over to it and starts almost absentmindedly playing ‘Slipped’, the centrepiece of their startlingly brilliant new album, ‘Trouble Will Find Me’. Hearing the notes float through the room is a reminder that, even in the biggest arena, The National’s music sounds intimate. There’s a warmth and comfort in frontman Matt Berninger’s baritone voice that says however messed up things are, everything will be ok. As Aaron says, “I don’t

write the lyrics but I see myself in the things Matt says, and I think the audience does too.” Speaking to Matt an hour later, he suggests it’s this universality that gives the band’s name - something that was chosen specifically because it didn’t mean anything a unique significance. “If it had a meaning at the start the meaning we thought it had was ‘the citizen’, or something like that. I love the band name The Smiths because it was such a generic name.” “I still think we should have come up with something more memorable and maybe that’s why it took us fifteen years to find a fanbase,” he muses, half joking. “If we’d been called Vampire Weekend we would have been popular a lot faster.” Bryce Dessner, sitting next to him, laughs. “We’d still be 26, too.”


cover the national



t may have taken them longer than some to get here, but The National have finally achieved the acclaim they deserve. On 2005’s breakthrough album ‘Alligator’, Matt sung sardonically about music ‘that only lasts the season / And only heard by bedroom kids who buy for that reason,’ but 2010’s ‘High Violet’ saw the band establish themselves as truly important. With ‘Trouble Will Find Me’ they are set to raise the bar even higher. It’s an album that ebbs and flows beautifully. Different from ‘High Violet’, richer and more intricate, it reveals a band comfortable in the knowledge they have earned their right to sit at music’s top table. “I think there was a self-confidence that dawned on us after ‘High Violet’. We started to trust the chemistry in the band,” Aaron, who with his twin brother Bryce writes the band’s music, explains.

time we knew they were coming and we weathered them.” ‘Insecurities’ and ‘neuroses’ are words which keep cropping up, but Aaron says for this album that changed. “I can honestly say this is the first record where we had no rules, no insecurities or anxieties driving it.” It was the birth of Aaron’s daughter which ignited the spate of songwriting that would form this album, and it was something which forced Bryce to raise his game, too. “Aaron had a child and was spending sleepless nights awake so he generated tons of material and I thought I better write some of mine. I think a year and a half ago there were thirty or forty sketches. Then we sent them to Matt and he started to generate all these melodies.” These ‘sketches’ were eventually whittled down to thirteen tracks, and all the band were unanimous in their agreement that these were the strongest songs for the album.

Not that they intended to create a new album after touring ‘High Lyrically this record seemed to Violet’. It seems it’s precisely this come together a lot more easily “This is the lack of a plan that has given them than on previous occasions, too. the freedom to make a record that “From ‘High Violet’ all I cared f i rst r e c o r d is liberated from the shackles of about was melody,” Matt explains, expectation and over-thinking “I would just sing along for the where we that has weighed down on them whole track and then I’d mute it on previously. “We decided to and do another one completely had no not make a record for possibly different, and there’d be twenty four years. Aaron and Bryan had of these. Me just free-associating. babies and I had a two-year-old. Then later I would piece the rules.” We had some perspective which melodies I liked together and made it feel like the band wasn’t words would fall into them. I was the most important thing in our listening to a ton of Roy Orbison lives,” Matt says. “Somehow the pressure of being in stuff and I got really excited about how he would go the band and what sort of album we should follow from one octave and then go up four octaves and the up ‘High Violet’ with; none of those thoughts were song would change completely. Working this way led in the process at all. Songs just started to bloom in me to write better lyrics because they were following their own organic way.” melody and they loosened up some of the neuroses.” For Bryce this meant the band could push their ideas as far as they liked. “In the past we’ve had to make compromises by being late or stressed but in this case we went as far as we could with everything so there are no feelings of regret.” It also meant they were able to deal with the actual process of making an album more easily. “There’s a certain neuroses in our process. It’s always intense, it’s always manic,” he explains. “There’s always certain arguments but this

Yet the lyrical themes remain similar. Matt’s preoccupation with re-imagining romance and existential insecurity in vivid ways are just as resonant as always. “Romance and insecurity and social anxiety are in all of our records. This one has plenty of those, and a new thing is a recognition of mortality - but it’s either funny stories about dying or questions of what it means to exist.”


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Having a child has also affected his outlook. Discussing album track ‘Heavenfaced’, he explains that he’s “not a believer in heaven or hell, but that we continue to live on through the ripple effect of people you’ve connected with. And having a kid is the most direct ripple effect. There are a lot of songs about death on here but in a very cathartic, almost euphoric, soothing exploration of that. I don’t think about this record as being a dark or sad record at all.” It does feel like a looser and more inventive album, both lighter and heavier at the same time, more complex but also poppier. The focus may still be on death and anxiety but, as Matt says, this is fun. Just take the lyrics to ‘Humiliation’: ‘As the freefall advances, I’m the moron


who dances.’ There are moments of stunning intimacy, while the heavier ‘Sea Of Love’, as Bryce notes, “captures an energy in a way that I haven’t felt since ‘Mr November’.” For Aaron, ‘Slipped’ is the one he’s most proud of. “I’ve always wanted to write a classic song that had a timeless pull to it and I’ve learned from studying other writers’ songs. In this case it was Dylan’s ‘Not Dark Yet’. ‘Slipped’ is more of a pop song but there’s something about the swampy lilt to it that is similar, though it also has a lot of half bars and quick turnarounds. A lot of the songs have these sneaky complexities on there. Matt doesn’t think musically, he just kind of responds but I think that was what was working with this album - if the

ideas had an emotional tug he didn’t worry about whether they were complex, he just latched on to them.” The record was also augmented by an amazing array of regular collaborators, including Sharon Van Etten and Sufjan Stevens, who are The National’s extended family. “These people add a quality to the band,” Scott says, “Sometimes we get stuck in our ways and someone like Sufjan came in and did a bunch of awesome stuff and we used a few things from it. We’re lucky that we know these guys and they’re friends.” For Aaron these collaborations are one of the most exciting and fun parts of making a record. “I love the idea of the 60s / 70s with the Grateful Dead and Jerry Garcia playing on all these people’s records,

and I feel like there’s a version of that happening today.”

people?  The band say resolutely yes. “Our music has evolved considerably but as people we haven’t changed dramatically,” explains Aaron. “No one has any rock star delusions.”

up of the band. As Aaron says, “We made those records ourselves, started a record label, put them out and booked shows and fell on our face for a couple of years. It taught us a lot.”

Aaron shares a story of when another friend of the band, Win Butler from Arcade Fire, came into the studio to listen to the record. “It It seems that 2004’s was funny cos he was talking ‘Cherry Tree’ EP was the “The band wasn’t about ‘I Should Live In pivotal recording in the Salt’. If a festival audience is band realising what they t h e m o st i m p o rt a n t clapping along to the quarter could achieve. “We were all note, they will get it wrong. hanging out in Matt’s loft thing in our lives.” So he did it and said [adopts drinking beer and we weren’t goofy voice] ‘This is awesome’ serious about it - we all had and went off the note.” jobs and it was just for fun,” Yet the position they find themselves Aaron says. “With ‘Cherry Tree’ I Hanging out with Arcade Fire and in is in stark contrast to when they remember there being a tangible playing in huge arenas must feel released their first two records - the sense of, the foundations of these different from their early days when eponymous debut and ‘Sad Songs things has to be figured out. And they were playing to empty rooms For Dirty Lovers’. These albums are that started the process that has and self-releasing their albums. sometimes unfairly dismissed but continued through each record, Do they still feel like the same they’re part of the intricate makethat each song was this journey. But


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without those first two records we would never have got to ‘Alligator’.”

bond between them and the connection that their fifteen year history has created. “We spent so many years playing to so few people that we developed a survival instinct and that’s where the core of the band was formed. We’re very lucky - some bands find it difficult translating to that setting “There but we can enjoy it. It’s not like we’re have a different band when we’re playing Glastonbury or playing our own small been some club show.”

Now they’re headlining festivals and playing huge shows, including two dates at Alexandra Palace in November. Yet despite their burgeoning confidence there remains a lingering feeling that they always need to prove themselves, especially live. “We’ve toured so much and we’ve always had to prove ourselves a tt e m p ts at every stage so it’s probably the same There is one change that has been again,” Aaron says. “It’s like jumping enforced by the growing size of the to take into cold water - we might fall on our venues though - Matt’s infamous face or we might succeed. And I think charge through the crowd during ‘Mr m y p a n ts watching Matt lose his mind a little and November’. “There’s less of that now,” o ff . ” watching us struggle, and hopefully get he admits. “I was doing that in some to a great point in the show, is part of pretty big places and the crowds would the reason why people like to see the crush around me. And especially in the band.” Matt agrees. “We were never fish in water when UK, there have been some attempts to take my pants off. onstage, it’s definitely flopping around, but we’ve learnt It’s hard to sing a song when you’re desperately trying how to flop around gracefully up there.” to keep from having your belt undone by some drunk dudes.” Yet whatever anxieties the band feel playing these bigger The National’s new album ‘Trouble Will Find Me’ is out now venues, to Bryce what’s at the core of the band is the via 4AD.


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interview Waxahatchee

W i t h

h e r

a l b u m ,

s e c o n d

Wa x a h at c h e e

c r e at i n g

q u i t e


i s

s t o r m .

W o r d s :

J a k e

M ay.

Bl S


u i



A h ead 40


interview Waxahatchee


o most of the UK the music of recent Wichitasigning Waxahatchee will be entirely brand new – the forthcoming ‘Cerulean Salt’ record the introduction to her world of angsty, folk-ish songs about love, loss, and nostalgia. For Katie Crutchfield, the 24-year-old Alabaman behind the project, music is something she’s been making for ten years already – with ‘Cerulean Salt’ merely the latest in a long series of releases with a number of different bands and under various guises, and her second as Waxahatchee. As impressive as her previous output is, the new Waxahatchee album certainly feels like a coming of age. “In the past I was a little impulsive and hasty,” Katie explains over the phone from her bedroom in Philadelphia. ”Sort of like, ‘Oh, I have this idea, let's make this record right now!’ The first [Waxahatchee] record [‘American Weekend’] was just kind of like a lightning strike. [‘Cerulean Salt’] was more drawn out and more contrived. Like, this is how we want it to sound and we're going to take our time.” ‘American Weekend’, released in 2012 through Don Giovanni Records in the US, was entirely written and self-recorded in a week. It’s an incredible album made up of punk-influenced acoustic folk; Katie sharing tales of heartbreak and love-loss in a delicate, intimate and beautiful setting. Initially ‘Cerulean Salt’ was recorded in a similar acoustic and lo-fi vein before Katie decided to scrap the recordings and start over. “The songs just didn't transfer,” she reasons. So, with the help of her boyfriend Keith, Katie re-recorded the entire album with her friend and housemate Kyle Gilbride (she lives in a house of eight people, all “musicians and songwriters”). It’s an instrumentally-fuller record with a much cleaner sound. “I feel really proud of it,” she says. “I hope that that speaks to the future of my song-writing. I'm


going to take my time and make a quality record.” It’s a technique that pays off. The increasingly patient recording method hears a more considered, more consistent, more accomplished sound, yet loses none of the intimacy or beauty which made her debut so special. No surprise, then, that her music has spread like wildfire over the US and Europe, pricking up the ears of Wichita in the process. And even more impressively: it’s largely down to word of mouth.

“ G ood m e m o r i e s .

“My US 'PR guy' is my friend at this point,” Katie explains. “I would never sign some crazy record deal or go with some crazy PR company or anything like that. I never wanted to gain popularity for anything other than people liking my music that I made, that I wrote, that I recorded, and that

“ I ’ m m y

go i n g

t i m e

q u a l i t y

t o

a n d

ta k e

m a k e

r e c o r d . ”


enough privacy in big cities,” she says of her time spent living in New York. “You can always feel a person in the next room or in the next apartment or outside your window. There's always somebody. And I kind of need a sharp focus in order to write for Waxahatchee a lot of the time, so I have to be completely by myself. More often than not I am not in the mind-set to write like that. I just have to listen to my brain. I haven't even written any new songs for Waxahatchee [since ‘Cerulean Salt’] but I'm confident that moment will come, when I'm ready,” she says. Critical acclaim, worldwide attention, and a forthcoming release on one of the UK’s most respected independent labels understandably might leave Katie at a loss for some of the sadness that has inspired a lot of her past recordings. And these aren’t the only reasons Katie has to be pleased with how Waxahatchee is going right now. In June she’s set to tour Europe with Tegan And Sara, stopping off in London for a sold out headline date at the Shacklewell Arms.

came directly from me. I'm not one of those people that would compromise or do anything that would make me feel stupid or silly in order to get something somewhere.”

I lov e t h i s pl ac e . ”

In terms of creative inspiration, Katie tends to draw from personal experiences. Her lyrics are autobiographical, affecting, and powerful. “I feel like when you write about something that's completely across the board – like about getting your heart broken – you say that in a couple of different ways and then that’s it,” she says. “It's not real enough to me. I feel like if I can write something that's real for me, hopefully other people can relate.” Katie finds she needs quite particular circumstances to be able to get in this lyrically creative place. “There isn’t

“It’s very strange, especially considering I have never gone further than Canada,” Katie muses. “It's really exciting. I've never been [to the UK] before so it's pretty crazy. In America, whether I like it or not, I sort of know what's going on. Touring here all the time is fun but it can get kinda old and monotonous. But over there I don't know at all. When I get there I'm not going to know how the shows are gonna go or anything like that. It's basically taking something that I loved to do but that has sort of started to get old and making it new again. So I'm really excited.” Touring with Tegan And Sara undoubtedly won't be the only time Katie gets to experience performing in front of thousands of adoring fans in cities she’s never visited. With a voice and a talent for songwriting like hers, she has the potential to become a genuine great – be it with Waxahatchee or whatever ridiculously good venture she comes up with next. Waxahatchee's new album 'Cerulean Salt' will be released on 1st July via Wichita. 43

interview gold panda


A T ale O f M an y C it i es


t quickly becomes apparent, in conversation with Gold Panda, that we taught English in Japan at the same time. In fact, we were living in nearly exactly the same place, a ten minute train ride from the mania of central Tokyo. “I was always interested in this idea of Tokyo when I was a kid and I never got to see it because it was over before I got there; the bubble had burst,” he explains. “I’d heard crazy stories about people having gold flakes on their ramen noodles and eating sushi off naked women. Crazy shit like that really interested me – a weird hedonism where people were spending money so they didn’t have pay a huge tax bill.” This fascination has come through in his music, perhaps most clearly on ‘Junk City II’, the opening track on his new album ‘Half Of Where You Live’, which he explains reflects recent trips to Japan and was conceived as a hypothetical soundtrack to 90s anime. Yet Japan isn’t the only source of geographical inspiration for the nomadic Gold Panda, who currently calls Berlin home but is often found at all corners of the globe playing music. ‘Half Of Where You Live’ is inspired by his travels doing this exact thing. He describes the record as a “city album” and it’s easy to see why. There’s a feeling of driving through huge metropolises, their overwhelming noise and clutter, their beauty, their harshness. Though it flows with organic vibrancy that was so to the fore on his debut, here there are harsher edges and a keen sense of both space and congestion. On the first track released, ‘Brazil’, he tried to capture the journey from the airport to the hotel. “There are other songs that try to do that, try to capture the kind of overpopulated, smoggy atmosphere of big cities, like driving through Shanghai.” If there is a theme then, it is that of travelling, of creating a sense of place. “I guess from touring and travelling I didn’t have anything else to name music about so I just ended up naming tracks after places I’d been or things I was interested in, whether those places were imaginary or real. So there are a few themes in there because you’re away from home, in other places. You just get a snapshot of a place whenever you play a show. You fly in and maybe you have time to see something – for example in Pisa I saw the Leaning Tower of Pisa for about five minutes and that was it.”

F r o m T o k y o t o B e r l i n : D a n n y W r i g h t a n d G o l d P a n d a t a k e a

t r i p

d o w n m e m o r y l a n e .


interview gold panda

Yet despite taking inspiration from the places he visits, he finds it hard to write on the road. “I’d rather do it at home with a big selection of old records and a sampler and a cup of tea and be in the zone, and I can’t do that on the road. So I just remember stuff really, memories, and then try and make songs that conjure certain emotions.” ‘Enoshima’ is one such track on this album, inspired by a peaceful idyll close to Tokyo. “I went there just before I wrote the track and had a really good time with my friends and my cousin. There are a lot of songs on here, like ‘My Father In Hong Kong’, ‘Junk City II’ and ‘Enoshima’, that rely quite heavily on Asian scales and sounds. I actually wanted to avoid that because I didn’t want that to be my gimmick – but then I also like music that’s stereotypically a Westerner’s view of Asian music. ‘Enoshima’ just sounded like that place, that little retreat from Tokyo.” He pauses and thinks. “I mean I can talk about it as much as I want but at the end of the day it’s just electronic music with vocals; I could just say whatever and people would go, ‘Oh yeah.’”

then they became really expensive. You hear the Roland 808 in loads of stuff now and it’s always referred to in songs and stuff but it’s never the real sound of an 808 in those songs. You’re more likely to hear the real sound of it in house music or something. So I just wanted to use the machine in the way I think it was originally intended to be used and not put it through a hundred compressors.”

This is a snapshot of how honest, self-deprecating and disarming he is; playing down what he achieved in creating the brilliant ‘Lucky Shiner’, which won rave reviews and saw him triumph in the Guardian First Album award. It struck a chord with many, a strikingly rich record of samples and loops, which sounded not only ambitious but also warm and human. This time, however, he was determined not to repeat himself. “I didn’t want to make ‘Lucky Shiner Part 2’. I also wanted to go back to a way of making music that I was doing originally without a laptop and just have fun. I thought ‘Do whatever you want or you’ll just be annoyed.’”

“I think my main thing is that I never intended to play live and I don’t really go out and see live music, especially electronic music. I don’t go clubbing very often so I feel like I’m cheating e v e r y o n e . Sometimes I have really good shows and I realise why I’m doing it, and other times I’ll be rubbish and I’ll think electronic music is the worst thing ever. I think there are two ways that electronic music can come across in a live sense. The first one is not doing much but it sounds brilliant and you’re really into it; or the person’s doing loads and maybe the quality suffers. I opted to do loads and maybe make loads of mistakes. I get bored just standing up there.”





When asked if he’s happy with the album he answers in typical fashion. “I’ll never be happy. I feel happier than I did when I finished ‘Lucky Shiner’ which is probably good for me but I don’t know if it’s good for the fans cos it’s quite different. Basically after the last album I tried to make more tracks like ‘You’ but I couldn’t. Once I realised that the reason I couldn’t was because I didn’t have any interest in making the same tracks again everything was fine, but it took a while to forget about pressure and expectations. ‘Lucky Shiner’ just happened – I didn’t think about it, I just made it and put it out. I thought about this one too much. The actual process of making the album didn’t take too long but I took a lot of time not really doing it, doing shows and still doing ‘Lucky Shiner’. I suppose I could still book another year of shows off the back of ‘Lucky Shiner’, but it was kind of getting on my nerves.” Creating a new way of working and a new sound meant using different tools, and there was one he particularly had his eye on – the Roland 808. “I’ve always wanted one and


With this album, he’s trying to push against the generic. “I like electronic music that isn’t trying to be too clever and kind of basic I guess. That’s the stuff I find interesting musically and not sounding like over-polished software demo music, a lot of dance and electronic music sounds like that. I wanted this album to have a bit of grit.” Not a natural performer he’s also found a way to change his live set, inspired both by boredom and the desire to put on more of a show. “I’ve been trying to stop using a laptop because I’ve been to a few shows and seen people on stage in hoodies and I looked at them and thought, ‘Is that me? Is that what I’m doing?’

And he’ll be taking this live show to festivals throughout the summer including Beacons, Lovebox, Sonar and Glastonbury. Not that he’s too bothered by the latter. “It’s just not really my thing, just a big field with thousands of people. I’m 32, I should be at home drinking tea and eating biscuits with the telly on.” Yet despite his disregard for Worthy Farm, his passion for making music and being inspired by the places he visits comes shining through. Which brings us back to the subject of Japan. Would he consider living there? “I’d love to. I could see myself living in Kyoto. Sometimes I think I should be buying property and settling down but there are so many places that I want to go for maybe three months or six months, and I’ve got the opportunity to do it with this job which is basically playing music for people. I don’t know. We’ll see how this album does!” Gold Panda’s new album ‘Half Of Where You Live’ will be released on 10th June via Wichita.


interview Jagwar Ma


hey say the Australian way of life is all about relaxing; savouring an ice cold bevvy on a sun-soaked beach. After a few Skyping hiccups, an introduction to Jimmy the dog and a quick discussion apologising for the state of his hair, this idea proves itself to be spot on when we chat with one third of psych-pop outfit Jagwar Ma. Casually sipping a beer in his Sydney-based beach house, Gabriel Winterfield looks to be the epitome of relaxed, and why shouldn’t he be? After all his band has just gained international recognition, finished recording their debut album and bagged an entire summer of festival slots. “I went to the beach today - I’m actually an hour North in a part of New South Wales called the Central Coast and it’s really lush here,” he muses as we jealously ponder moving to the other side of the world to escape the drizzle of rural England.

Land D ow n

U n d e r A u s t r a l i a c u r r e n t l y f o r

i s a

n e w

h o t

m u s i c a l

t a l e n t .

T h e i r

l a t e s t




W o r d s :


b e d

e x p o r t ?



L a u r a




E l e y .

Not only is the weather currently more appealing, Australia’s music scene has been somewhat taking off of late, what with Tame Impala’s ‘Lonerism’ landing high on many an album of the year list in 2012, and smaller bands such as Splashh and Au.Ra gaining recognition as their music seeps across borders. Sydney’s Jagwar Ma are the latest additions to this Aussie movement; the physical distance proving irrelevant to UK crowds. “It’s so cool that the UK get it; there’s something about the UK and Western Europe. We didn’t even expect anything; when we first did ‘Come Save Me’ it was just a cool song to play on my iPhone and listen back to - we didn’t think other people would respond so warmly.” Forming in late 2011 and consisting of musicianproducer Jono Ma, singer-songwriter Gabriel Winterfield and Jack Freeman who plays live, Jagwar Ma first came to our attention a year or so ago, with their blend of nostalgic 60s Beach Boys shimmer-pop, coated with lashings of Tame Impala-esque psychedelia. “All three of us actually used to play in different bands that all toured around Australia together. Some time went by and Jono was producing and I had some demos that I was working on so I showed him some songs and he thought it was really rad. Then he showed me some stuff where he needed someone to sing, so we formed a sort of deal where he produced my stuff and I sang on his. His stuff was quite electronic and the band I was doing was quite 60s so we went back and forth and as we were working on both - and I guess probably influencing each other

both ways - it started sounding like the same band.” Hence the birth of Jagwar Ma - a band name formed partly from Jono’s surname (Ma), partly from a “painting of a Jaguar which a friend of ours found on the side of the road. He kinda gave it to us and it became this sort of omen. I took a photo of it and had it as the background on my phone, it was a weird thing.” Having already toured with the likes of Foals and The xx, Jagwar Ma have sprung into the limelight with a slot at the legendary Glastonbury festival, and an LP release on the horizon - the recording of which invoked much beardgrowing and campfire singing. “We recorded the album in rural France; Jono and I recorded most of it by ourselves obviously with a few cameos here and there like Stella from Warpaint and Ewan Pearson who did a few synths and stuff. The idea was just to go away and focus. Sydney is nowhere near as big as London but there’s sure enough people there to distract you and there’s always things happening so you get really wrapped up. In France we could ditch our retail jobs and there was nothing to do at night apart from sit around campfires and write music so that’s what we did.” Back on home turf then, the band are getting ready to swap French countryside for festival fields and sweatbox venues with stops at T In The Park, Glastonbury and winding up at Ibiza Rocks with previous tour mates Foals – and they’re pretty excited about it. “They’re a really solid band, I think they’re really good - Yannis is a good songwriter and it was fun to play with them before.” It’s not just the songwriting Gab’s impressed by though, as he contemplates mimicking some Yannis-inspired stage antics. “The band I was in before was very shoegazey almost, and Jono’s was kind of dark and techno, and the thought of jumping into a crowd in a band like that - it’s just not gonna happen. I remember actually saying when we did Big Day Out festival I’m so fucking glad I’m in a band now where I can actually crowd surf.”

“I’m so fucking glad I’m in a b a n d n ow where I can a c t u a l ly c r owd s ur f. ”

It may have taken a while to find the right band and the right sound, what with Gab being a previous member of Ghostwood and Jono having played guitar for Lost Valentinos, but Jagwar Ma are in the right place at the right time - even if that’s the other side of the world. Their sound is as relevant, fresh and endearing as ever - like Gab says, maybe the UK just “gets it”. Jagwar Ma’s debut album ‘Howlin’’ will be released on 10th June via Marathon Artists.


interview empire of the sun


“ E v e r y o ne Empire Of The Sun’s Nick Littlemore

W an t s T o

o n t h e f l a m b o ya n t A u s s i e d u o ’ s n e w

Be In T h e

a l b u m , h i s r o l e i n C i r q u e d u So l e i l ,

B i g g es t and a fetish for retro synthesisers.

Band In T h e Wo r d s : D a v i d Z a m m i t t .

W o r ld ”


interview empire of the sun


ive years ago, Sydneysiders Nick Littlemore and Luke Steele dropped their debut album as Empire Of The Sun. Since then, ‘Walking On A Dream’ has shifted over a million copies globally, racked up a pair of BRIT nominations and seen them garnered with a host of accolades in their native Australia. The LP’s eponymous lead single and its follow-up, ‘We Are The People’, dominated the world’s airwaves as the summer of 2008 wound down. Since then, however, things have gone eerily quiet on Empire Of The Sun’s surrealistic planet. Steele toured as a solo act, while Littlemore ran off to join Cirque du Soleil. Now they’re back with a new album, ‘Ice On The Dune’, that looks set to soundtrack the summer once again. But why has it taken so long?


“A lot of things have happened,” says Littlemore. “Right around the time that we were finishing ‘Walking On A Dream’, I met Sir Elton John and he basically changed my life, as he tends to do with people. He said, ‘You have to move to London. I’m going to manage you.’ And then Empire just kind of blew up.” He isn’t just name-dropping, however. The artist formerly known as Reginald Dwight imbued him with a confidence that he hadn’t experienced before. “Subsequently Elton championed me and introduced me to Cirque du Soleil and I went on and joined the circus rather than going on tour with Luke. I lived with the circus for about two years and followed them around the world. I also made an album of Elton’s material which went number 1 in the UK”. He laughs. “Never done that before.” With both parties engaged in their respective, converging

careers, the re-emergence of the synergy that spawned hits at the turn of the last decade was a gradual one, the pair cautious not to rush into things. “Luke and I met up about 18 months ago in New York and started writing. We hadn’t seen each other in quite some time. We talked to each other here and there, but then we started hanging out and building the bridge.” After the hiatus, things finally clicked and you get the sense that even Littlemore didn’t realise how big ‘Walking On A Dream’ actually was. “It just felt right. Most bands could live and die in five years but we felt like this band – it just keeps growing and people keep getting exposed to it. People, all the time, are discovering this record. I go into cafes and they’re playing the record and it’s so cool. It feels young still. I feel that this project will never die; it has so much life to it.” Nick has been a notable absentee from the live Empire Of The Sun show, the direction of which has been piloted solely by Steele. Fans hoping to see the duo united on stage, however, will be disappointed. “I know it’s going to be incredible but I’m not on the road this time because I’ve just signed on to do another circus in China and I’m doing an album with Ladyhawke.” That’s not to say it will be a pared down affair; Luke Steele isn’t quite a shrinking violet. “I understand from the snippets and few bits of video that I’ve been sent that it’s going to be quite remarkable, but I wouldn’t expect anything else from Luke anyway.”

confines of indie? He’s bullish in his affirmation. “Everyone in a band wants to be in the biggest band in the world, and anyone that denies that is a liar. The other thing is that I’m very interested in music, full stop. I pretty much work with people who ask me to work with them - which is not that many people - but every time they do, I do it. Whether it is Mika who’s sold 12 million records or whatever it is - it doesn’t really matter to me. I love making music.” While he’s at pains to point out just how out of his depth he found himself at the beginning, Nick is coming round to the idea that he may have at least a flicker of talent. “My girlfriend always says, ‘You should stop telling people you have no talent, because they might start believing it,’ but it’s just my self-deprecating nature. I always imagine that really I’m shit and I can’t imagine why anyone would see anything in me. You can actually do anything all the time; you just have to stop yourself from stopping yourself, if you know what I mean. The negativity that inhabits us is shit, and you want to take it away from you because it’s useless. We thrive on positivity and I think any type of creation thrives on that. It thrives on magnetism.”

It’s that uninhibited positivity that drives the group and when we enquire as to the Cirque’s influence on Empire Of The Sun, we’re greeted with an infectious gusto for creativity in general, strung together deluge of ampersands as he describes the tenets that underpin While it remains to be seen whether Empire Of his musical manifesto. “It would so easy for me to The Sun will ever become a fully-functioning sit here and write depressing music. I could do live act, the reasons for Littlemore’s truancy it until the cows come home and it’s very are more than valid. He’s been far from natural and very simple for any musician “ T h i s resting on his artistic laurels, and he’s to write sad songs. It’s much harder effusive when speaking about his to write happier songs because p r oj e c t time with the circus. “What they can come off sounding w i l l n e v e r attracted me to it was that twee and fake and like I was so out of my depth it they’re a band for hire or d i e ; i t h a s s o wasn’t even worth laughing something. But when you m u c h l i f e about. But I met the director create something positive in and the producer. François Girard, the world, that truly comes from a t o i t . ” the academy award-winning director real place, people can’t fault that and – and I’d always been interested in film you go along with it and it makes you and theatre and other things like that. They feel good. I think that we were put here wanted me to try.” He pauses and reflects on to do positive things and what we want from a piece of advice that was handed down from his the audience is for them to feel good and to feel father. “You’re nothing if you don’t challenge yourself.” that anything is possible, especially in these times – they’re messed up times. We really feel like we need to In addition to his work with the Cirque, Littlemore has make aspirational records. We want to empower them to also been occupying himself by lending his production make great things and have wonderful lives, you know?” skills to mainstream pop artists such as Robbie Williams, Ellie Goulding and Mika. Is it important for him, then, to Empire Of The Sun’s new album ‘Ice On The reach an audience that extends beyond the chin-stroking Dune’ will be released on 17th June via Virgin. 53

interview disclosure

S e t t l e D ow n , Boy s F rom t h e O ld B l u e L ast to B r i x to n A c ademy : D i s c los u re â&#x20AC;&#x2122; s r i se h as bee n sw i ft .

W o rd s :


W i ll i amso n



M assaro



t’s really hard to interview brothers. When you’re trying to write things up, it’s near impossible to separate the voices, as Guy and Howard Lawrence warn us at the start of our chat. Considering some of the things we say to them over the course of our time together - accusing them of having accountants’ names, pointing out that having a song called ‘Grab Her!’ is a bit… questionable - they’re incredibly friendly, and, for a duo whose debut album hasn’t even come out yet, already seem old hat at the whole press thing. “We’ve got a whole week of promo, basically doing this non-stop. There’s worse things in life,” admits Guy. He’s the older of the two, and talks slightly more, but it’s obvious they get on brilliantly. “We get on pretty well, we’re just like friends really. We’re not very brotherly, like we don’t fight about stupid things. Sometimes we fight about food, like where we’re going to eat. Or ‘Why are you nicking my food, mate?’” That sounds pretty brotherly, really. And it’s a good thing too; their work schedule lately has been pretty hectic. What with touring America, Europe and the UK, you can imagine how disastrous a falling-out could be. “It’s nice,” Guys says. “We had last week off, kind of, we had a couple of DJ sets and that’s about it. But that’s it for the foreseeable future. We want to work hard, we want to put the effort in. We worked hard for this album, so we want to make it happen.” It’s strange how laid-back the two seem, considering how hard they say they work. But the evidence is there, and it’s all because they love what they do. “We like writing songs for our friends and for our family,” Guy explains, “and if they like it then we’re happy. It’s great that so many other people are feeling the same way, y’know? That’s really awesome. We never intended to make chart music or get into the charts, we just make music, the way we’ve always made it: because we love it. And it’s just amazing that we’ve had so much success - and a bit of luck, and good timing. It’s all falling into place really nicely.” Falling into place is definitely one way to describe Disclosure’s recent run of fortune. After the success of ‘White Noise’ earlier this year, newest single ‘You & Me’ has also hit the Top 10. But considering their age – Guy is 22, and Howard still a teenager – they’re not as cocky about it all as you might think. There’s certainly no danger of Bieber-sized fame tantrums, as they explain where the name of their album, ‘Settle’, came from. “It comes from a private joke that we had with our management, where everyone in the team that worked with us was just getting way too excited about everything,” explains Howard. “When we first started getting hype, every email was ‘Oh my god, this is amazing!’ and it got to the point where we all started telling each other to settle, like settle down. And now it’s just become a really rude thing that we all do to each 55

interview disclosure

other when anyone says anything remotely positive. We just tell them to settle.” “It’s great that people like it so much that they’re excited about it,” he adds, “we’re not telling them to stop that. It’s just that all we’re really interested in is making the music.” This notion of making music for music’s sake comes up a few times, and they sound earnest every time they say it. Having crafted an excellent debut album, they’ve also taken to developing other aspects of Disclosure, rounding out their live show because, as Guy notes: “We want to make an impact this summer with the show, we want to make people remember it.”

That’s the great thing about Disclosure. They want to do everything. They don’t care about being cool, or being the next big thing. When asked about the face graffiti that adorns their artwork, they explain their decision: “At the start we didn’t know if we wanted to do the whole mysterious, anonymous thing, or if we wanted to say, ‘Hi, we’re Guy and Howard, how’s it going?’ so we just used this.

“And when we made the SoundCloud I started pasting it onto other photos of images that I liked. And blogs started reposting those, and then it just became a logo, and we’ve used it ever since.” Guy continues: “It wasn’t really for us, we had no reason to be anonymous. Also we wanted to do a live show, and I don’t “ W e n e v e r think you can get away with doing a live show and i n t e n d e d t o being anonymous.” “Unless,” Howard chimes in, “you do m a k e c h a r t SBTRKT’s thing and just wear a mask all the time.”

Howard enthusiastically explains how their live shows have “developed massively in the last few months. We’ve got a light show now, which we didn’t have before, and we’ve kind of changed the stage m u s i c . ” plot so that we’ve got two Speaking of next big work stations, one each.” things, you’d be forgiven Guy adds: “The music’s for thinking the brothers the same - we’re playing a are secret geniuses for their lot of the newer stuff, but collaboration picks. AlunaGeorge and London the way it’s presented has got a lot better, it’s a lot Grammar are just two of the names du jour that pop up different.” on ‘Settle’, with Jessie Ware and Jamie Woon being a couple of the more well-known appearances. But they He mentions that they’re playing 39 festivals this don’t choose based on who’s cool. “It’s mostly from summer, but they don’t seem particularly concerned chatting and friendships, people knowing people,” about such a high number. Mostly they seem explains Guy. “With AlunaGeorge, they supported us preoccupied with making sure their fans have a good on our UK tour so we had that connection and we time – if they can believe they have any. “When we were like, ‘Let’s do something’. did the Australian tour, it was crazy to see how many people came out to see us. It’s so far away, and you just “But other than that, it’s usually just from our think, ‘how could our music have gotten here?’ But it manager sending us videos of people from YouTube had, and it’s great. The only place we haven’t been yet that they’re looking at, because they’re getting a bit of is Asia, but hopefully we’ll be doing that this year as hype or whatever. And then we’ll meet up with them, well. It’ll be very interesting to see the reaction out get them down the studio, and just do something. there,” Guy says. We don’t really mind if someone’s big or small; Sam



interview disclosure


Smith, when we got him to do ‘Latch’, he hadn’t had a single song out. All we care about is if they can sing, and if they’re good. That’s it.” Talking about ‘Latch’ gives us a nice little segue into more talk about ‘Settle’; it was their first single from the album, released late last year. “We’ve been writing the album for about a year,” says Howard, “but one or two of the songs are older than that, we’ve just sort of come back to them more recently.” With three singles already released from the album, it feels like Disclosure have been around for a while now – or does it? “Because people tell us it’s fast, all the time, it feels fast, but when you think about it, every little step has been a bit more in the right direction,” Guy muses. “It has been slow, we played our first show in Old Blue Last in Shoreditch and now we’re headlining Academies. That feels like a long process. It’s all relative; if you compare our success to, I don’t know, Kings Of Leon, who are on their fifth album, it’s a very short time.”

and verses and lyrics, and instrumental club songs. But under the name Disclosure, it’s basically all just influenced by house and garage. You can call it whatever you want, flippin’ future-two-step-lovemoombahton-core, I don’t give a fuck. It’s just pop songs, club songs, influenced by house music and garage music from the 90s.”

The brothers have done their research; they know what they’re doing, and they know exactly what kinds of sounds they’re making. Well, most of the time. A couple of the songs on ‘Settle’ actually use Howard’s vocals instead of collaborators or samples, but that wasn’t how it was originally planned. “It was kind of an accident,” he explains. “I wrote this song, that’s on the album, called ‘F For “ D a n c e m u s i c You’. And I essentially wrote it so it could be re-sung, so i s v e r y I recorded my own vocals, just as a guide so I could remember it. Then I came f a s t - m o v i n g , back a week later and Guy had just finished the song. I a n d v e r y didn’t mean for it to happen but now it has.” He adds: “It d i s p o s a b l e . ” stands for ‘fool’.”

We laugh, considering Disclosure making an album similar to Kings Of Leon’s sound, but Guy has clearly thought about the direction they’re going in. “Dance music is very fast-moving, and very disposable. But that doesn’t mean we’re always going to make dance music. I grew up listening to hip hop, and Howard would like to make an R&B, I know that for a fact. So who knows? I’d like to think that we could just have a career in music in some way, and just move with the scene.” When pressed for a description of Disclosure’s sound, Guy doesn’t have a clear answer: “We write a mixture between pop structured songs, with choruses

When we admit to having assumed the ‘F’ potentially stood for something else, Guy joins in. “it’s quite an angry song, so it’s a bit ‘fuck you’.” There’s a lot of brotherly banter here, as Howard retorts: “That’s actually about me having a cold, so really there’s no deep meanings in it.” They both laugh, as Guy instructs us and future listeners to “Take from it what you will!” That’s Disclosure. Two young brothers having fun and making music that they want to make. Take from them what you will. Disclosure’s debut album ‘Settle’ will be released on 3rd June via PMR Records.


review queens of the stone age


Queens of the Stone Age …Like Clockwork (Matador)

It starts with the sound of broken glass. An inauspicious beginning to any new undertaking, you’d imagine; but when it’s the first noise on the new Queens Of The Stone Age record, breaking the silence and bridging the chasm between 2007’s ‘Era Vulgaris’ and 2013, which gives us their sixth studio album, it takes on a different significance – and a cold wave of something between compulsion and apprehension creeps over you. What do Josh Homme and co. have in store for us? Opener ‘Keep Your Eyes Peeled’, a menacing, detuned, bass-driven dirge with Homme’s voice flickering between dangerously seductive and choirboy angelic, sets the scene of a darkening dusk in QOTSA’s world and battening 60

down the hatches for the horrors of the night to come. ‘The Vampyre Of Time And Memory’, a simple keys-led melody punctuated with synth, vaguely recalling the deft touch of Radiohead’s ‘Talk Show Host’, begins to plumb the depths of heartbreak with a vengeance. But at least he isn’t dealing with it alone. ‘Kalopsia’ is a deceptively mellow ballad with a plinky piano line played by Trent Reznor – before the drums and electrics kick in and it shifts into a wonderful chaotic, crashing, breakdown of a chorus; in opposition to its title, it’s actually far more beautiful than it first seems. It’s ‘Fairweather Friends’ however that features the biggest roster of friends and notable names from the world of rock, a thumping, pianoled number that still can’t escape from the matter at hand. Mark Lanegan’s iconic sneer rises above the crowd every now and then, and Queens make good use of having a real queen for once with Elton John: his baroque ‘n’ roll piano hammering is suitably bombastic and embellished with a Middle Eastern flourish. In case it sounds like it’s nothing but oppressive and suffocating sadness, it is put on pause now and then. A rare moment of levity comes in ‘Smooth

TRACKLISTING Keep Your Eyes Peeled  I Sat By The Ocean

Sailing’, a filthy-sounding sex-funk jam in the sleaze-rock mould of Eagles of Death Metal, with the lyrics to match (“I blow my load over the status quo”); it almost sounds like a twisted duet between Homme and Eagles’ frontman Jesse Hughes. The pounding, anxiety-laden hook of ‘My God Is The Sun’ is pretty well established in everyone’s consciousness now. And even though it’s a heartbreak confession, ‘I Sat By The Ocean’, coated in a sunshine glaze, is a sure-fire radio smash. But ‘… Like Clockwork’ is at its core a dark masterpiece, and nowhere is the realisation of this more complete than on ‘I Appear Missing’. Devastating in its breadth and range, and possibly the best thing the band have ever done, it’s a sonic vision of night terrors of the soul made flesh, set to a pendulum-swinging rhythm, hypnotic and euphoric in its misery. It should go without saying but it needs to said: this is an intricate, jarring and complicated piece of work and is

The Vampyre Of Time And Memory 

If I Had A Tail  

My God Is The Sun Kalopsia

Fairweather Friends  Smooth Sailing

I Appear Missing   ...Like Clockwork

undeniably brilliant. Josh Homme’s evident growth as a songwriter is clear from the lyrical profundity on offer, not to mention the range of emotional response his vocals are capable of drawing. So while the brawling, teeth-gnashing, hip-swinging, cocksure swagger of their muscular brand of desert-rock has no doubt been interrupted by storm clouds rolling in on the horizon and unleashing a downpour no one saw coming – make no mistake: Queens are as brutal a force to be reckoned with as ever. It’s enough to make you fall to your knees and weep. (Shefali Srivastava) 61

reviews albums


Boards of Canada Tomorrow’s Harvest (Warp)

They’re an act who haven’t released an album in ten years, basically never play live and whose last release was in 2006, yet Boards Of Canada’s ‘Tomorrow’s Harvest’ is one of the most anticipated albums of 2013. And it’s a record that feels, at times, harsh, arid and almost confrontational. There’s still that humanity to their music, and there are elements of the lushness, out of focus 70s effects that became their trademark, but here they are creating a sound that’s more jarring, more eastern bloc, more industrial. You can take what you like from these 17 tracks, but what’s clear is that however dark this album feels it still feels like progress. Boards Of Canada have created a fascinating vision, one that will reveal more and more gifts over time. (Danny Wright)


Beady Eye BE (Columbia)

Ever get the feeling you’ve been duped? News that one Dave Sitek would be at the helm for Beady Eye’s second album raised more than a few eyebrows; a suspicion that continued with the brassy, pounding drums of ‘Flick Of The Finger’ and amplified yet more after the massive, percussion-tastic first single proper, ‘Second Bite Of The Apple’. What was this, we thought, has Liam Gallagher finally done something – dare we suggest – inventive? In short, no. Just five minutes in to ‘BE’ and the groansome lyrics return (“you’re the apple of my eye / spread your wings and fly”) and there’s still plenty of 60s pastiche to be endured. Business as usual, then, just recorded in a slightly nicer way. (Emma Swann)



jimmy eat world Damage (RCA)

‘Damage’ comes with a degree of promise attached - single ‘I Will Steal You Back’ is a wistful, lovelorn tune with enough anthemic stuff happening between verses to raise the hopes. Jim Adkins’ voice, the key in the lock to so many hearts and minds from previous exploits, is still as velvety and distinct as it ever was, providing more or less everything the band do with the gravitas of familiarity. But if the form has remained the same then the quality of content across the album as a whole is certainly a little suspect. When taken as a body of work ‘Damage’ is mid-paced and feels it. We’ll always have ‘Sweetness’ lads, but right now it might just be memories we’re clinging on to. (Tom Doyle)


Jagwar Ma


Mount Kimbie

Howlin’(Marathon Artists) ‘Howlin’ is both a product of its time and of its influences, the Australian duo having created a stomping hybrid of contemporary dance and Sixties pop for their debut. Running the risk of being baffling, it comes off sounding rather brilliant. Highlights ‘Come Save Me’ and ‘That Loneliness’ show off the pair’s penchant for pop, while ‘The Throw’ tails off to hypnotic repetition. There are points where this begins to grate a little, the loops may make more sense in a live setting, but if anyone were wondering what Tame Impala might sound like had they spent a little more time on the nightclub dancefloor, ‘Howlin’ provides the answer. ( Jack Parker)

Cold Spring Fault Less Youth (Warp)

Mount Kimbie have struck gold. ‘Cold Spring Fault Less Youth’ may wobble in places and lose focus occasionally, but otherwise it’s a joyous record; different, but not unrecognisable. They’ve lost none of their charm and gained plenty of confidence; the luscious and echo-ridden beats of opener ‘Home Recording’ mixed with its soothing vocals is one just fine example of the beautiful shoegazey electronics Dominic and Kai are able to form. Fans of old will find solace in the understated ‘Sullen Ground’ and ‘Lie Near’, but it’s in ‘Made To Stray’ that they really find their stride. In short, one of the most engaging dance albums you’re likely to hear this year. ( Jack McKenna)

21st Century disco anthem, but with opener ‘Give Life Back To Music’, they’re more like a time-machine: in fact, that, the melancholy slow-paced follower ‘The Game Of Love’, and then Moroder’s monologue-comedeconstruction of disco, mean that by the time the ‘sad robot’ utters “I am lost, I can’t even remember my name” over Gonzales’ wistful piano, a plot has formed. OK, so it’s hardly a conspiracy theory. The album’s title refers to computer memory. Our ‘sad robot’ is surrounded by the sounds of the 70s; he can’t remember who he is. It’s all gone a bit ‘Life On Mars’, and through both Casablancas’ 2001-channeling self, and Pharrell’s early-00s dancefloor hegemony we’re taken back ourselves. ‘Touch’, Random Access Memories (Columbia) only serves to confirm it. Our largest note “Sad robot”. These are the latest words here is “BATSHIT”, and it’s hard to know frantically scrawled on the notepad in front of where to begin. A re-birth, perhaps. Filmic me as I’m listening to the most-hyped album sound effects surround what first builds to in recent (ahem) memory. It’s at this point a full-on musical theatre interpretation of the fact ‘Random Access Memories’ is not disco before breaking down completely amid going to be an ordinary album becomes very space-age effects and ominous strings. If Daft evident. In the run-up to any real information, Punk have spoken of their boredom with we heard a lot about collaboration. And here, electronics and created a full-band record as Daft Punk have almost fused completely with ‘Random Access Memories’ is, could this be their co-protagonists. Within about three their Pinocchio moment? Because if it’s not seconds of ‘Lose Yourself To Dance’ – by the the epic drums on the DJ Falcon-featuring time the first handclap appears – you know closer ‘Contact’, it’s the woodwind making it’s the work of Pharrell. ‘Instant Crush’ an appearance on ‘Motherboard’, or the jazz sounds like a Strokes song fed through a breakdown in ‘Giorgio By Moroder’. In fact vocoder, and not just because we’re overit’s the vocoder vocals – Panda Bear’s ‘Doin’ It familiar with Julian Casablancas’ vocals. And Right’ case in point, with its refrain “if you’re while ‘Giorgio By Moroder’ gives the game doing it right / everybody will be dancing” away in its title, there’s no mistaking the - which feel strange, not the analogue. synth patterns on show. And then there’s Confused? You should be. (Emma Swann) Nile. His licks may have made ‘Get Lucky’ a


Daft Punk

TRACKLISTING Give Life Back To Music The Game Of Love  Giorgio By Moroder Within  Instant Crush  Lose Yourself To Dance Touch Get Lucky  Beyond Motherboard   Fragments of Time Doin’ It Right Contact


reviews albums

9 The National Trouble Will Find Me (4AD)

It’s testament to The National that during a recent exhibition they played the song ‘Sorrow’ for six hours straight and people turned out. Not only that: many stayed for the whole thing. Because listening to The National doesn’t equate to selecting a handful of songs or middling around in the sound of the New Yorkers’ misery for four solid minutes. It’s about hearing the band capture a feeling, one that can last for however long the listener requires. In part an extension of their museum performance, ‘Trouble Will Find Me’ feels like a victory lap. A celebration of the band’s appeal. The formula isn’t flipped. In fact it’s barely budged from 2005’s ‘Alligator’ up to now. But the band’s last album was a validation, a prolonged step forwards onto festival stages and sold-out shows. Not only is this work The National’s most confident, it’s also the sound of their uniquely conveyed 64

melancholy being sapped of all its energy, used for all its worth. Mood isn’t the only aspect that’s replicated. The experience of a National album is never immediate. Many a loyal fan will likely attest to failed attempts at trying to get friends to fall in love with their favourite band on cursory listens, and as it stands ‘Trouble Will Find Me’ is less a slow-burner, more an intriguing stranger on early plays. It’s the guy who slumps alone in the corner of a bar, the one with all the interesting stories who might appear unapproachable. And then it hits. Just as every National album does. The stories seep out, tales of tunnel vision on ‘Humiliation’, the inability to balance one’s emotions on ‘Don’t Swallow The Cap’, dealing with nagging doubt and life’s crux on ‘Demons’. It’s all there. The grim realities, sealed up neat by the customary hi-hatheavy percussion, soaring horn sections, a pendulum swing between enlivened and ravished (‘Graceless’), sparse and acoustic-led (‘Fireproof ’). You’d be forgiven for declaring it formulaic. Spineless, even. But like Matt Berninger’s own experiences of latching onto a decent living, staying in touch with close friends and keeping a loved one by his side, only the most important things in life ought to be immune to change. And while The National don’t progress or indeed offer anything new to outstanding cynics, they instead rejoice in their strengths of detailing life and all its sorry baggage in the most beautiful of ways. ( Jamie Milton)

TRACKLISTING I Should Live In Salt Demons  Don’t Swallow The Cap Fireproof  Sea of Love  Heavenfaced This Is The Last Time Graceless  Slipped I Need My Girl   Humiliation Pink Rabbits Hard To Find




Crystal Fighters Cave

Rave (Zirkulo/PIAS/Atlantic) ‘Cave Rave’ largely builds on the lighter, brighter moments of Crystal Fighters’ debut, Star Of Love’; as soon as ‘Wave’ kicks off, it’s about ten degrees warmer outside. Lyrically, however, it’s pretty head-in-hands; it takes a lot to not switch off after “let me tell you about a love natural / love that you just can’t help feeling / when feelings with meanings keep appearing” in ‘Love Actual’. But it’s outlandish, silly, summery and as brilliant as its title. Crystal Fighters have somehow managed to continue in making their seemingly unattainable mix of traditional instrumentation and ideas and dubby electronics work without disaster. (Will Richards)


Majical Cloudz Impersonator

(Matador) Although by no means the first musician to do so, with his 2012 ‘Turns Turns Turns’ EP Majical Cloudz was smart enough to remove himself from hazy, shrouded production, instead opting for a direct confessional approach, with vocals at the top of the mix. It just so happens that Devon Welsh possesses one hell of a voice. Each note on ‘Impersonator’ is pronounced, bellowed from the proverbial hills. And at first it’s uncomfortable, upfront to the point of no return. But in ‘Impersonator’ there’s beauty, in the melting production that accompanies Devon’s pronouncements, and in the stories he tells. ( Jamie Milton)


Frankie & The Heartstrings The Days Run Away

(Wichita) Frankie Francis first showed his face in 2011, Heartstrings in tow with debut album ‘Hunger’, the catchier-than-youwant-it-to-be title track proving the highlight. It was a nice slice of indie pop, and ‘The Days Run Away’ is almost a straightforward sequel to this. Musically, it’s a competent performance. But bar almost embarrassing ‘slowie’ ‘Losing A Friend’, the guitars all blend in to each other throughout, making the lyrics the most distinguishable part. This doesn’t work to Frankie & The Heartstrings’ advantage; they’re far from profound. A simple, pleasant, indie pop album, but nothing spectacular. (Will Richards)


Big Deal

June Gloom (Mute)

Big Deal’s 2011 debut ‘Lights Out’ was loved for its intimacy; ‘June Gloom’ will be loved for how big it sounds. Fleshed out with a full band to accompany duo Alice Costelloe and Kacey Underwood, tracks like single ‘In Your Car’ sound dramatic and full-bodied, but still in possession of the emotional intricacies that made us enjoy Big Deal in the first place. Costelloe is at the forefront of the vocals for much of this, but Underwood is still audible under all the noise. ‘Dream Machines’, with its pounding percussion, is very cleverly layered. It makes you wonder why they didn’t expand beyond a duo before, proving that Big Deal really are a big deal. (Coral Williamson)

17/6/13 austra Olympia empire of the sun Ice On The Dune lemuria The Distance Is So Big Sigur ros Kveikur Surfer blood Pythons The electric soft parade IDIOTS Tripwires Spacehopper

24/6/13 bosnian rainbows Bosnian Rainbows Deap Vally Sistrionix ooooo Without Your Love Smith Westerns Soft Will 1/7/13 about group Between The Walls editors The Weight Of Your Love Goldheart Assembley Long Distance Song Effects Waxahatchee Cerulean Salt 8/7/13 maps Vicissitude 15/7/13 AlunaGeorge Body Music 65

reviews albums

and closing the album with the sound of the future. It’s a debut that tells a narrative, of everything that Disclosure have achieved up to now, and everything they’re capable of amounting to in years to come. They lend their own vocals to ‘F For You’, which beyond standouts ‘Latch’ and ‘White Noise’ - which were never going to be topped, let’s be honest - is the sweatiest, sexiest cut on the album by a long stretch. Sasha Keable announces herself as a future star in ‘Voices’, but the maddening ‘Grab Her’ and a Jamie Woon-featuring ‘January’ both lack sheen and immediacy, and they’re lumped in towards the end of the record. ‘Latch’’s offbeat pulse isn’t replicated Settle (PMR) across the board. In fact the rhythm is rarely Out of intention or otherwise, ‘Settle’ opens raised, with a good third of the tracks opting with an aptly titled song: ‘When A Fire Starts for a 4/4 beat and customary drops which, To Burn’. That’s how it felt when Disclosure’s as the album progresses, become less and stock began to rise in 2012, when European less startling. Nothing gets close to ‘White festival dates to crowds in the thousands Noise’ in terms of sheer frenzied hysteria, became commonplace. It wasn’t just brothers and tracks like ‘You & Me’ go borderline Guy and Howard Lawrence’s name that formulaic. It’s down to London Grammar to spread like wildfire, it was this big, fat house offer something out of the ordinary, closer revival that came to light too. Because ‘Settle’ ‘Help Me Lose My Mind’ providing an is more than just the disc it’s contained within. emotive comedown to an otherwise endless It’s a movement, the emergence of a revival party atmosphere. None of the gripes really scene that’s disgusted stalwart house lovers matter when you consider ‘Settle’’s endpoint. as much as it’s swept the club movement up The reach of this record is remarkable, almost into its palms. For all its star-studded cast, infinite. Guy and Howard make few slip-ups, it’s just the laying of the foundations for ensuring the fire burns, and will continue to something bigger. ‘Settle’ isn’t by any means do so until this house revival is less a sudden magnificent, but it’s good enough to be resurrection, more a fad of the past. The fire associated as the defining album of the current will simmer out, and one day this record will revival. The emphasis is on documentation, sound ridiculously dated, but for the time being drafting in Jessie Ware post-’Running’ remix, it is everything 2013 requires. ( Jamie Milton)





Intro When A Fire Starts To Burn  Latch F For You  White Noise  Defeated No More Stimulation Voices  Second Chance Grab Her!   You & Me January Confess To Me Help Me Lose My Mind


These New Puritans Field Of Reeds

(Infectious) ‘Field Of Reeds’ isn’t eclecticism for eclecticism’s sake. But when you read the list of guests on These New Puritans’ third album, you might scoff: Michel van der Aa - a man responsible for 3D-video-operas; Elisa Rodrigues, a Portuguese blues singer; synergy vocals; a children’s choir; violins; french horns. Is it all strictly necessarily or is it just like a veteran tourist showing off the fruits of their travels? You wonder as much until you play the record. Though on the surface you’re most led towards Jack’s own, monotoned vocals, what eventually plays out on ‘Field Of Reeds’ is quite remarkable. You’ve something like ‘V (Island Song)’ that, during its 9 minutes stay, swings from electronic throbs to de-tuned piano, right up to the all-important basso profondo. If it sounds ridiculous, it is. Ambition often manifests itself into self-indulgence, but this is an exceptional case, where its makers hit the jackpot, where imagination runs riot and gets away with every daring feat, each one more foolish than the previous. ( Jamie Milton)


Camera Obscura

Desire Lines (4AD) Three years after ‘My Maudlin Career’ troubled the Top 40, Camera Obscura return with their own brand of literate, swooning pop music in the shape of new long-player ‘Desire Lines’. It’s a record that feels honed and constantly improved, yet retains an aura of warm contentment throughout. On slower, reflective moments such as the lilting ‘This Is Love (Feels Alright)’ it feels equally at home in your living room at night and a hazy afternoon in the sun. It oozes an elegant stream of sophistication and songwriting nous throughout, backed up by rich, well-thought out and measured production. Assured, confident and cohesive – Camera Obscura have come up trumps. (Gareth Ware)


Chapel Club

Good Together (Ignition)

‘Good Together’ has two distinct settings: sometimes they flick the psychedelic, repetitive dance switch, and at others it’s the shimmering, falsettofuelled one. The vibes throughout, though, are most definitely high. Chapel Club’s new-found optimism has resulted in a far more accessible collection of songs than on 2011’s ‘Palace’. By no means have they ‘gone pop’, but they have given in to their strong pop sensibilities which were previously cloaked in reverb and melancholy. Lewis Bowman delivers his vocals in a far more playful manner; there’s both more scope and more character to his voice, and he has a new-found love of falsetto. Ridiculous maybe, but it works wonders. ( Jack Parker)




City AND Colour

Sob Story (Wichita) Spectrals have always had an ear for melody. On debut ‘Bad Penny’, though, it was hidden behind the lo-fi recording approach like a fog-obscured view of the Yorkshire Dales. So what do they do for the follow-up? Bring in buddy Chet “JR” White on production duties, of course. The remarkable difference he can make is plain to see. Take lead single, ‘Milky Way’, it may prance along with some hearty scoops of garage rock and soul, but it’s the slick mix of defiant vocals and warped noise that make all the difference: ‘Sob Story’ is as much a follow-up to ‘Father, Son, Holy Ghost’ as ‘Bad Penny’. But don’t underestimate Louis’ new-found confidence. (Samuel Cornforth)

The Hurry And The Harm

(Cooking Vinyl) As easy as it may be to pick ‘The Hurry And The Harm’ apart in regards to Alexisonfire’s split, this is a striking album that deserves to be seen fairly in its own light. Namely, one that marks a noticeable progression for City And Colour as it takes on the bigger exploits of a full band affair. Now his sole project, Dallas Green has used the extra time to experiment with more dynamic arrangements, picking up where ‘Little Hell’ left off. It’s by no means revolutionary, but after a decade of dividing between his priorities, this is Dallas finally taking the step out on his own. And it suits him extremely well. (Hannah Phillips)


reviews albums

9 Laura Marling

Once I Was An Eagle (Virgin)

Laura Marling is often portrayed as a timid little figure with white-blonde hair and pretty folksy guitar melodies. If you ask some of the popular music streaming services for their two-pence worth, they’ll compare her to Mumford And Sons, with their banjos and token blade of wheat in the corner of their mouths. They’ll suggest ‘golden oldies’ Bob Dylan and Neil Young, too, which perhaps come closer. On ‘Once I Was An Eagle’, Marling proves that while she might remind people of Joni Mitchell, John Mayall, or anyone else you can shake an acoustic guitar at, she is not simply an imitative by-product. There’s that perhaps deliberate allusion to Bill Callahan’s album ‘Sometimes I Wish We Were an Eagle’ in the titling, and in ‘Master Hunter’, there’s a cheeky nod to Dylan; “You want a woman who will call your name? It 68

ain’t me, babe”. In truth, though, Laura Marling’s main influence is drawn directly from her own heart and soul, and she soars like an eagle on the viewless wings of poesy. The narrative drawn by her throughout is at times heart-stopping, segues and recurrent motifs creating effortless enjambment. There’s unity and cohesiveness that derails romance through careful parenthesis - “When we were in love (if we were)”. Aged just 23, Laura Marling’s output to date is quite remarkable; she has quite literally never produced anything remotely chaffy, and the jewel in the splendour of ‘Once I Was An Eagle’ comes in the mythology of ‘Undine’, as she stands on the seashore listening to the tempting call of the water nymph luring her farther into the pouring ocean. “Undine so sweet and pure, make me more naïve,” she yearns at first, with intricately picked guitar that lurches uneasily across the fretboards. Alas, though, Laura Marling cannot swim, Undine “cannot,” therefore, “love me”. She stands alone and steadfast on the shore, with the lapping sea snatching fruitlessly at her feet. Was there ever a more apt image for an artist with a beautifully decisive and singular vision? Laura Marling seems to be an unshakeable creature, whose art firmly belongs to herself. Compare her to Bob Dylan all you like, but to issue a bold statement, Marling here proves herself, not as a product, but as an equal. Further down the line, it seems likely that on the emergence of another deceptively quiet young songstress with lyrics that stab and capture minds, the words on everyone’s lips will be ‘this sounds like Laura Marling’ instead. (El Hunt)


Take The Night Off I Was An Eagle You Know Breathe  Master Hunter  Little Love Caster Devil’s Resting Place Interlude  Undine Where Can I Go?   Once Pray For Me When Were You Happy? (And How Long Has That Been) Love Be Brave Little Bird Saved These Words



TRACKS Portugal. The Man

Evil Friends (Atlantic) Baggy, psychedelic vocals make up a large amount of ‘Evil Friends’, overset by layers of acoustic guitar, aggressive piano and fuzzy guitar solos that belong in another decade, yet intertwine themselves into this wonderfully crafted sound that Portugal. The Man produce. ‘Modern Jesus’ provides the crux of the record, with its MGMT-like layered vocals; another little something is added with every subsequent chorus. The song proves a real trip of three minutes before ending abruptly to enter the guitarheavy ‘Hip Hop Kids’. For creating something as fresh and strong as this at album number eight, Portugal. The Man deserve to be applauded. (Will Richards)

editors A Ton Of Love

This is the biggest and fullest Editors have ever sounded, and opens up a world of possibilities for forthcoming album ‘The Weight Of Your Love’. Tom Smith’s instantly recognisable voice is the only thing that makes this still Editors, touring with R.E.M. seems to have had an effect on the Birmingham lot; you can almost hear Michael Stipe in Tom Smith’s wailing of “desiiiiiire”. What we have here hints at very promising things to come. (Will Richards)

money Bluebell Fields

Ambitious without being bombastic, the Manchester band take woozy psychedelia, 80s avant-garde pop, Sigur Rós and meld them together to create the euphoric sound of flying. In its four minutes there’s dreamy reverb, voices flowing in and out of the background, guitars entwining; all the elements seeming to melt together in the sunlight. As frontman Jamie Lee sings of the “bluebell fields in your soul” it’s easy to get lost in the majesty of it all. (Danny Wright)



Wild Nothing

Empty Estate (Bella Union)

Wild Nothing’s, or rather the genre-defying one-man whizz behind it, Jack Tatum’s, seven-track ‘Empty Estate’ washes over you whilst at the same time forcing you to pay attention to the magic he’s making; prepare for plenty of moronic, involuntary head-nodding and eye-closing. In opener ‘The Body In Rainfall’, Tatum combines predictable chord progressions and a bumbling beat with cheerful electronics and some surprisingly intimate lyrics. And this is really where Wild Nothing’s charm lies: in his ability to fuse musical styles and focus to create something multi-faceted and consistently engaging. A laid-back, well-considered and joyous effort to swing you through the summer months. (Anna Byrne)

Jerk Ribs

‘Jerk Ribs’, the first track premiered from Kelis’ sixth album, couldn’t possibly be more different from her infamous dancefloor anthems. It’s the sound of Kelis rediscovering her soul. The defining feature is some rousing bursts of brass, there is a brilliant sense of filmic chutzpah at work, a grand statement announcing Kelis’ return. This is a summer anthem for city streets and their sultry night time sprawl. (Martyn Young)

the xx Together

The xx’s contribution to The Great Gatsby OST is all delicate notes, soft and simple, hidden behind hushed vocals, atop haunting, pulsating drums and bass: a sentence regular followers of The xx will be used to reading. It’s perfectly atmospheric, dark and stirring with the understated sex appeal The xx do so well, and the finale is brooding and beautiful leaving the mind to boggle over what scene it could be set to. (Hugh Morris) 69


liverpool sound city photos: Hannah Cordingley


iverpool Sound City festival opens for the sixth consecutive year, and DIY is proud to have our own stage at The Shipping Forecast slap bang in the heart of the city’s happening arts quarter. One of the biggest performances of the night there comes from unstoppable Manchester band PINS. They seem to exert a strange power over the crowd; their raw and mesmerising sound takes you in a stranglehold, and you’re no longer certain if it’s the half-primal beat of the drum and bass you’re hearing in songs like hit ‘Eleventh Hour’ and ‘LuvU4Lyf ’ or just your quickening pulse pounding in your ears. Siblings Eoin and Rory Loveless of Drenge also grace the DIY stage with their unique version of seething, punked-up rock tinged with a little blues. For their final song, ‘Let’s Pretend’, Eoin clambers up onto the drum kit, recklessly edging closer and closer to his brother until their smirking faces are inches apart and he finally loses his footing , collapsing forward, taking Rory with him in a riot of shoving and elbows while the crowd bays and the guitar screeches at the upheaval. Having already released their debut EP single about the keen pang of encountering your ex, ‘I Get A Taste’, in March this year, hot newcomers Loom explode into a performance of the song with an aggressive array of frenzied guitar, drums and sweaty fringes. They pace about like captive beasts until our humble stage can no longer contain them and they spill into the audience, self-assured lead man Tarek Badwan (yes, as in Faris) hurling himself into the crowd in an ecstasy of anger. The people below seem painfully tense and wary as he does so – to be fair, he has already casually lashed lager into their faces by this point – but their unease only seems to egg him on and he jostles through them, collapsing to the floor as he stabs his lyrics into the mic. Noah And The Whale draw a huge crowd as their foot-stomping tunes echo around the colossal heights of Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral. It’s sort of a shame no taster footage from the band’s upcoming film is played in the background during the performance as the venue would be perfect for it. This, however, proves the only slight disappointment in an otherwise brilliant set with some tantalising new tracks thrown in. It’s been a mad one, and what’s most striking about Sound City is the huge mishmash of styles and talent it’s brought together that pretty much sums up the broiling vibrancy of the city itself. (Matthew Bridson) 70

60 Seconds With

d r en g e


ou tour a lot. Do you prefer to headline or support? We just finished a co-headline tour with our friends Blood Sport & Temples, and that was great. Great atmosphere, great party feeling. Loads of tiny weird Northern towns.   Any stand-out venues? The Chameleon in Nottingham is really funny, it’s like someone’s living room. Speakers everywhere. It’s the weirdest place we’ve played, brilliant.   When’s the album out - is it done, finished, mastered? It’s coming out in August. Not mastered, still needs a layer of varnish. But yes, done. And more videos? Definitely - we like making them even when they’re not for singles.

And is the record influenced more by current music or past? I have no idea what our influences are. We grew up listening to our dad’s record collection. Jazz, world music, prog rock. Early Beatles, standard stuff. And whenever Seven Nation Army came on the radio we’d both be in the back of our parents’ car going crazy. Looking forward to playing the show? Very much so. And we can’t wait to see Pins. When we saw the poster, we thought ‘no way, they should be headlining’. We’ve been into them from the start, they’re great. Who else do you want see at Liverpool Sound City? Tomorrow’s line up is amazing, we want to see everyone but we can’t see anyone. Splashh, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Bo Ningen. It sucks. Such is life. 71

reviews live photo: carolina faruolo


Vampire Weekend t r o x y, Lo n do n

his is the first chance, bar a handful of TV and radio appearances, for most of the audience to hear much of new record ‘Modern Vampires Of The City’. So, while set opener ‘Cousins’ is greeted by screams and accompanied by full-scale singalong, it’s when ‘Diane Young’, the album’s lead single, kicks in that Vampire Weekend step up. On record, ‘Modern Vampires Of The City’ is more mature and less frivolous than its predecessors; references to college campuses and parties are switched for constant references to growing up. Live, it’s even more pronounced: the new songs are beefier, fuller in sound. Vampire Weekend’s metaphorical balls have dropped. ‘Diane Young’ is already this summer’s festival anthem, and frontman Ezra Koenig appears to know so; the crowd’s subsequent applause met with a distinctly Elvis-like “thank you very much”, a nod to the song’s vocal theatrics. ‘Unbelievers’ gets a clapalong from the outset as the band deftly segue from ‘Holiday’ without pause. ‘Step’ is more soulful than even its recorded version, ‘Everlasting Arms’ sounds massive, ‘Obvious Bicycle’, saved for the encore has people pogo-ing to the sound of (we think) a pogo stick, and – undoubtedly the finest track on the new record – ‘Ya Hey’ – has more than a few singing along with the chorus the first time many have heard it. There are, of course, time for the oldies – ‘A-Punk’ is unsurprisingly the one that has the floor shaking, ‘Oxford Comma’ almost as much. ‘One (Blake’s Got A New Face)’, saved for the encore, makes the entire room look like a giant party, such as the whole room’s dancing, gleefully. As Vampire Weekend mix up the hits, they give a glimpse of just how big the rest of 2013 could be for the New Yorkers. (Emma Swann)


photo: emma swann

at p

i ’ l l b e yo u r m i r r o r c u r a t e d b y y e a h y e a h y e a h s A l e x a n d r a p a l a c e , Lo n do n


hen a band curate an ATP event sometimes you’re left trying to put the pieces together. With Yeah Yeah Yeahs at Alexandra Palace however, the process seems completely natural. From their art house leanings, the garage rock that underpinned their first EP and album through to the extravagant dressing and fashion; it’s all there: both Prince Rama and King Khan have a theatrical side, Dirty Beaches screams with intensity creating a sound that is strikingly similar to Suicide, and Black Lips bring their garage rock to the Great Hall. It was quite a coup to get The Locust to reform for this event – and they deliver a set of unremitting and uncompromising magnificence. After The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion it’s finally time for Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Karen O is, we can all agree, everything you want from a rock star. Even just shouting the letters ‘ATP’ she sounds cooler than at least ten other lead singers combined. It seems many of the crowd have just come to see the band and they won’t have been disappointed. They start with ‘Sacrilege’ and ‘Mosquito’, Karen dressed in that shiny silver suit with black feather wings attached. Tonight’s set sees them cherry pick from their collection of behemoths. ‘Zero’ is huge, and sees the crowd become a heaving mass of dancing bodies while ‘Y Control’ is frenzied art punk. For the encore they deliver a stunning and heart-snapping ‘Maps’ and finish with ‘Date With The Night’. Karen puts the mic in her mouth, unleashes a guttural scream and then they hold a pose, creating a dramatic effect before unleashing another sonic assault, Karen swinging the mic and smashing it down over and over. It’s been one hell of a day. (Danny Wright) 73

reviews live photos: Leah Henson


live at leeds

s summer lazily creeps across the land, Live At Leeds shines like a beacon for music, beginning with Danish electro popster MØ who showcases an impressive array of energetic dance moves, insistent beats and a seductive swoon through brilliant tracks such as ‘Maiden’ and ‘Pilgrim’. With a sheen and intensity that only adds to the Lana Del Rey-meets-The Knife cocktail, she more than hints at a huge future for herself. Savages meanwhile don’t need much invitation to confrontation and they are ably provoked as the sound technician causes the first couple of songs’ vocals to be heard no louder than a whisper. It’s a breathless and rip-roaring set from the chaotic ending of second song ‘I Am Here’ to the wild shouts of “Husbands! Husbands! Husbands!” in the set’s closer. Finally, The Walkmen’s grace and friendliness puts them in between a new Rat Pack and a barbershop quartet with the fortune of being fronted by one of the best singers in the game. Whether he’s applying it to the vulnerable croon of ‘Line By Line’ or the raw throat-shredding growl of powerful indie anthem ‘The Rat’, Hamilton Leithauser holds the crowd in a unified sway, only breaking when he falls head first into the audience. The charming bounce of the organ or the resolute intricacy of the guitars, Leithauser makes the most of any backdrop. No matter how big the festivals are this summer, they may find it difficult to match the consistency of quality on display at this special little one. (Matthew Davies)


photo: Fraser Stephen

unknown mortal orchestra K i n g t u t ’ s , g l a s gow


he UMO live experience is more visceral and raw than on record; there’s less of the primitive swirl in favour of a heightened intensity that keeps these elastic grooves together. The three-piece are outstanding - as well as the magnetic presence of front man Ruban Nielson, bassist Jake Portrait and drummer Riley Geare provide the perfect accompaniment as they twist their psychedelic jams into something quite special. One of those rare bands who could play continuously for hours at a time and few would lose interest, over the course of 90 minutes in Glasgow tonight they deliver a mini masterclass in psych pop of the highest order. (Martyn Young)

daughter t h e o l d f i r e s tat i o n , bournemouth


aughter’s debut album ‘If You Leave’ has received a world of praise since its release a month ago, yet when they open tonight with its closing track ‘Shallows’, it’s evident that the trio are a significant amount less delicate live than on record, Elena Tonra’s vocals riding over waves of almost Sigur Rós-y ambience and piercing bowed guitars. A cinematic sheen blankets the entire performance, and is only broken by the upbeat, poppy ‘Human’ and Elena’s beautifully awkward stage chat. The singer couldn’t be less comfortable between songs, but as soon as the first note rings out of the next track, it’s clear she wants to be nowhere else more. The majority of ‘If You Leave’ is aired tonight, and although it’s broken up by older tracks ‘Candles’, ‘Love’ and ‘Home’, it’s clear that the more electronic, dark, space-y stuff is the direction they’re heading, and the Daughter that they are comfortable with continuing to become. (Will Richards) 75

reviews fashion


Festivals Whether it’s keeping dry, warm, looking after your hearing or capturing the summer’s best moments, here’s a selection of things to make your festivals that lit tle bit bet ter.



2 2

4 3





1 FUJIfilm x100s camera £999.95 // 2 WeSC Retro Super Future sunglasses £115 wesc. com // 3 Adidas Originals 3 pocket backpack in Cardinal £35.00 // 4 Moto Acid Wash Denim Hotpants £30 // 5 H127 Music Safe Pro earplugs £23.99 uk // 6 Deap Vally t-shirt £15 // 7 Rocketdog Buddy boot £59.99 // 8 MusucBag Classic wearable sleeping bag in Black £99.99


Ado About Nothing 8 Much


6 The Iceman Released: 07/06/13

This month will see Michael Shannon as General Zod in Superman reboot Man Of Steel, but before then, catch the imposing actor as a natural born killer in the true story of mob hitman Richard Kuklinski. Winona Ryder co-stars as the oblivious wife of the seemingly normal family man, who for decades carried out ruthless gangland killings before his arrest in 1986. Ariel Vromen’s basic film charts events with disinterest, never delving too deep. The biggest crime here is not giving Shannon enough to really get his teeth into. (Becky Reed) 78

Released: 14/06/13

Before post-production on The Avengers, Joss Whedon assembled his actor buddies in his California home to shoot a black and white, contemporary but faithfully scripted spin on Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing. The very first romcom has been transformed into a witty, elegant and utterly charming comedy of manners, with Amy Acker and Alexis Denisof adorable as the squabbling friends who are meant to be together. As the wine flows during a family get-together, Whedon’s grasp of the comedy and treachery is superb, and the cast - including Clark Gregg, Nathan Fillion, Fran Kranz, Reed Diamond, Sean Maher and Tom Lenk - deliver the whipsmart, sophisticated dialogue with consummate ease, making this an incredibly accessible and clever adaptation. Delicious and summery, it’s a gorgeous, rich farce with intensely likeable actors. (Becky Reed)

Midnight 9 Before

Released: 21/06/13

The outstanding third film in Richard Linklater’s ‘Before’ series is fulfilling, heartbreaking and often funny. Nine years on from Before Sunset’s Parisian events, Celine ( Julie Delpy) and Jesse (Ethan Hawke) are in Greece, staying at a respected author’s house. Celine begins to pull the thread of the once beautiful romantic notion, and threatens to crush everyone in the revelation that dreams shatter. It’s exactly what you expect and yet so much more. A perfect trilogy capped sublimely with a great deal of humanity. (Andrew Jones)

6 Spike Island Released: 21/06/13

Mat Whitecross’ nostalgic drama is set in 1990, a few days before The Stone Roses played their infamous Spike Island show, centering around an aspiring fictional band desperate to score tickets. A sweet love triangle and some sadly unexplored themes of domestic abuse and terminal illness lend the film an uneven air: is it coming of age comedy or rites of passage drama? However there is much to enjoy, and it really feels like that long lost summer when the whole nation was baggy - and the soundtrack is second to none. (Christa Ktorides)


T h e Av e n g e r s d i r e c t o r tal ks c o r p s i n g , q u i m s an d fa i r y ta l e c a s t i n g .


few hours after the Oscars finished broadcasting at 5am this year, journalists are cured of fatigue by the slightly awe-inspiring presence of one Joss Whedon, in town early to promote Much Ado About Nothing. Normal media cynicism is out the door, hushed reverence is in, as the softly-spoken, dry-humoured hero to geeks and feminists alike welcomes us into a London hotel room. Jet-lagged but friendly, Whedon jokingly pre-empts questions about why he decided to shoot a black and white adaptation of the Shakespeare comedy in the twelve days between filming The Avengers and heading into the editing room. “I am a fan of the dumbest things to be fans of - wow, I love Shakespeare! I love Dickens! How obscure,” he laughs. “It’s just something that excites me, and I’ve always wanted to film a play. When Amy [Acker] and Alexis [Denisof ] read it in my home, I thought, well, it’s Much Ado!” Alongside Whedon regulars Acker, Denisof, Nathan Fillion and more is newcomer Jillian Morgese as Much Ado’s young bride Hero. And when we say newcomer, we mean it - the fashion merchandising graduate’s previous experience was as an extra on The Avengers (as a waitress when New York is under attack). I ask about her casting, as it’s a fairy tale come true. “It kind of is, and I’m not unaware of that. I noticed her when I was forming the idea, and she actually introduced herself in the Marvel office when they were casting for extras. She’s not unmemorable, but she was just one of the

waitresses, and Ashley Johnson who plays Margaret was another. I just kept throwing more and more stuff at her, but a lot of the waitress stuff got cut. She ended up doing well on The Avengers, getting a stunt bump because we kept blowing up things around her - she could really bring it. She has extraordinary poise. I felt like she, more than anyone else, would be Amy Acker’s cousin. They both have this regal strength, and they’re both tall, gorgeous brunettes with great noses. People underestimate the importance of a good nose.” Did the fact that the cast consists of Whedon’s friends, and was filmed at Whedon’s own home, make for some serious corpsing during shooting? “It happened once. It was a terrible day sound-wise, so I was tearing my hair out. It was the scene where Borachio confesses on the front lawn, and then I’m shooting and we’re finishing and everyone is just laughing their asses off. I’m like, guys? What the fuck is wrong with you? Nathan [Fillion] and Tom [Lenk] were doing the ‘we lost our keys’ bit, which they had just come up with, which I didn’t know anything about. They’re all looking that way and absolutely losing it. I was like, ‘Well, I’m really pissed at you guys - and we have to put it in the movie!” Bolstered by the champagne consumed during Argo’s Oscar win in the small hours, I shake Whedon’s hand and personally thank him for the great “mewling quim” moment in The Avengers. “I can’t believe we got that by the UK censors,” he laughs, adding: “I want to get quim back in the vernacular - in a nice way, of course!” (Becky Reed) 79

reviews games


R e t ro Game Of The Month

Deadfall Adventures (Nordic Games) – Xbox 360, PC Release Date: 30/07/13

The makers of Painkiller: Hell & Damnation deliver an Indiana Jonesesque adventure that involves Egyptian temple complexes, ancient artefacts and occult-loving Nazis. Hoping to mix Saturday matinee pulp aesthetics with cinematic blockbuster action, Deadfall Adventures leaps, tumbles, swings and rolls under a door this August.

The Bureau: XCOM Declassified (2K Games) – Xbox 360, PS3, PC Release Date: 23/08/13

The first-person shooter version of alieninvasion saga X-Com has been in the works since 2006, way before Firaxis’ reboot last year. But, it’s finally coming out as a 60s-based prequel in which the FBI first encounter the extra-terrestrial scourge. Hoping to mix tactical gameplay with up-close action, only time will tell if the two will co-exist harmoniously.

The Wolf Among Us

out now and coming soon

(TellTale Games) – Xbox 360, PS3, PC, Mac Release Date: TBC


TellTale tackle Bill Willingham’s FABLES comic book series. This prequel follows Bigby Wolf, formerly the Big Bad Wolf, tasked with keeping a village of fairy-tale based creatures undetected. The Wolf Among Us will deliver moral choices that have a direct impact on the storyline, including whether or not Bigby gives into his dark wolfy side.

The Evil Within (Bethesda) – Xbox 360, PS3, PS4, PC Release Date: 2014

Survival horror legend Shinji Mikami (Resident Evil) unleashes a new terror in which a police detective and his partner descend into a world of demons and madness at the hands of a mysterious, powerful force that transports them to a land where evil creatures roam. No, not Hull.

Werewolves Of London (Mastertronic, 1987) – Commodore 64

In celebration of TellTale Games’ The Wolf Among Us, the forthcoming prequel to the comic book series FABLES, we had a look back at one of our most fondly remembered lycanthropic adventures – Werewolves Of London. The aim is to hunt down and kill members of an aristocratic family who have cursed you to a life of nightly transformations from a shoe-less fella into a hulking shoe-less man-beast. Despite featuring only one werewolf, it stays true to its London roots having a right old knees up as you clamber around the famous London Underground and Hyde Park looking for victims. Everyone looks the same, so those you’re meant to kill are indicated by crosses that flash up in the game’s confusing HUD. But feel free to feast on anyone to regain health, just like you shouldn’t do in real life. In fact, the macabre nature of stalking the streets as a nocturnal man-eater gives a ghoulish atmosphere that really works. Unfortunately, controlling the game is a nightmare of another sort, and you’ll often find yourself arrested and thrown in a jail cell waiting to transform back into a human. At which point they just let you go because, hey, we all make mistakes, right? Like changing into a wolf-freak and eating some Londoners. Don’t pretend you haven’t, we’ve all been there at a work’s night out. Surely this is begging for a remake.

Call Of Duty: Ghosts

Activision and Infinity Ward have announced the latest title in the war-based shoot- man shooter-fest of shooting as Call Of Duty: Ghosts. The tenth instalment in the ultra-popular series is set for release on 5th November and the studio claim this will be an all-new story, with all-new characters and an all-new experience. So, that’s all-new then? But, let’s be honest, how all-new can it possibly be? If the Xbox One Reveal conference is anything to go by, they’ve brought in Stephen Gaghan, writer of Traffic, to pen the story and introduced a scarryheaded dog as a pal. Splitting the workload between two studios for Activision’s endurance test of a yearly release sees the series, ultimately, playing it safe every time. That’s not necessarily ‘a bad thing’. It can make bad business

sense to rock the boat, and we still lap up the series for its frenetic action and heart-stopping multiplayer modes. But, there’s a danger of complacency here if we continue to throw money at what is, essentially, the same game repackaged. Forty quid a year! We could join a gym. We won’t. Sadly, this is a time for triple-A game blandness, where the ill consequences of risks are punished by bankruptcy. Ghosts’ release will also sit uncomfortably on the transition of console generations. This is a CoD game that doesn’t quite know where to punch. Just trepidation, of course, we can’t be sure of anything until November. But Activision have acknowledged they expect the sales to be lower, so are we just looking at something half-arsed they’re releasing to satiate our pixel-lust and make some easy bucks? SHOCK NEWS: Publisher tries to make money from a popular game series.

Xbox One

Microsoft have finally unveiled the next step in the evolution of the Xbox with the big, boxy VHS-esque Xbox One. Acting kind of like an all-seeing, all-knowing regulator of electronics in your living room, the new console is less about games and more about becoming a universal entertainment system that may destroy human life (not guaranteed). With an updated and integrated Kinect sensor, Xbox One allows you to seamlessly switch between gaming, TV, movies, music and the web like a digital wizard. A CPU of eight x86-64 cores and 8GB of RAM means it’ll run like a dream, but it seems like Microsoft may be forgetting its market – gamers. The Xbox Reveal event showcased EA Sports titles, a Halo TV series headed by Steven Spielberg and the only new IP, Quantum Break, had a live-action teaser trailer. Microsoft promise the console will arrive by the end of the year amid rumours of its inability to play pre-owned games without purchasing a code to electronically lock the disc to your console and its expected lack of backwards compatibility. More details will arrive at this year’s E3 Conference in L.A. 81




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DIY, June 2013