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pa ll m ma a v i o l e t s | k at e n a s h | d a u g h pa h tt e er r || wav wavv veess || c ch hllรถ รถee hho ow wll

free | i s s ue 16 | march 2 013

bastille no hype required



EDITOR’S LETTER Honesty is always the best policy, so cards on the table; I only really realised just how damn huge Bastille could become when seeing them support Two Door Cinema Club at Brixton while scribbling this month’s cover feature. Being fair to Dan and the boys, it wasn’t their performance - as flawless as it was (groan) - but the fans. There was screaming, singing and, shock horror, actual dancing. Having been to the Academy more times than I’d care to remember, it’s the first time I’ve seen a support band headline from the middle of the bill like that. If you too need waking up to Bastille, then this issue should do the job. Between that, Palma Violets being satisfyingly hedonistic on their first American jaunt, and the pretty damn brilliant debut record from Peace, the new blood seems to be doing us proud. Not that the old guard are slacking off - some guy called David Bowie has a new album out. It’s quite good. Who’d have thought it?

GOOD: Disclosure and AlunaGeorge took ‘White Noise’ to Number Two in the charts. Foals did the same with their album ‘Holy Fire’. Last month’s cover stars Biffy Clyro went one better. We live in exciting times.

EVIL: Not so much a bad thing, more an observation. Thom from Alt-J’s new bleached blonde/ pink hair do - he’s the new Helen Mirren. That’s kind of awesome too, isn’t it?


Victoria Sinden Deputy Editor GOOD: Peace’s album. EVIL: People who steal your “Good” answer because they’re before you in the Good vs Evil list. Mwahaha. Simone Scott Warren Features Editor GOOD: That Peace album. ‘In Love’ indeed. EVIL: Does anyone know how to get korma out of a carpet (Rick)? Jamie Milton Neu Editor GOOD: Seeing Christopher Mintz-Plasse aka. ‘McLovin’’ making a timely cameo in the new Unknown Mortal Orchestra music video. EVIL: Attempting pancake day-based puns and only coming up with ‘Haim and mushrooms’. The shame (sHaim?).

Sarah Jamieson News Editor GOOD: Justin Timberlake at The Forum was all levels of brilliant. EVIL: Failing to get tickets for Fall Out Boy at The Underworld. Totally gutted! Becky Reed

Film Editor GOOD: Experiencing the

wit and wisdom of smart, smooth and only slightly intimidating Oldboy director Park Chan-wook for his stunning new film Stoker. EVIL: Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters being approximately one billion times worse than the trailers suggested. Why, Jeremy Renner, why?


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t’s hard to know who actually started it, but one cold Wednesday afternoon a few weeks ago, most of your favourite online music sites were awash with the new Vampire Weekend album artwork and tracklisting. In this age of ‘bringing you the news first’, it’s not surprising that no one dug too deep; all the usual places were reporting it, it must be true. Appearances can, of course, be deceptive. Shortly after the cover image began to circulate, the band’s label XL let it be known that it was a hoax. ‘Lemon Sounds’ was not Vampire Weekend’s new album. Of course, alarm bells probably should have rung straight away. The band had previously played a new track, ‘Everlasting Arms’, which was conspicuous by its absence. The artwork didn’t quite match the aesthetic that Vampire Weekend are currently rocking on their website. And the URL showcasing it all was registered on 12th January, but not by the band’s label, XL, as would be the norm, and well over a week before the album announcement. But in the clamour to be quick with the news - to give readers what they wanted - everyone missed the clues. A lot of publications simply pulled the story. Made like it never happened. Some - like DIY - decided to own up; we got a-punked, if you will. Others were still, after the reveal, posting the details as fact before quickly correcting themselves.



TITLE ‘Lemon Sounds’ TRACKLISTING 1 Flutter 2 Obvious Bicycle 3 South First 4 Day In 5 Unbelievers 6 Diane Young 7 Wild Thyme 9 Coastal 9 Break of Day 10 Trotting REVEAL METHOD


TITLE: ‘Modern Vampires Of The City’ TRACKLISTING: 1 Obvious Bicycle 2 Unbelievers 3 Step 4 Diane Young 5 Don’t Lie 6 Hannah Hunt 7 Everlasting Arms 8 Finger Back 9 Worship You 10 Ya Hey 11 Hudson 12 Young Lion REVEAL METHOD A cryptic ad in the New York Times



For us, a question still remained; who would go to all that effort? Why on earth would you try to fool everyone into thinking that the new Vampire Weekend album was called ‘Lemon Sounds’? What we found out made for one of the best stories in years. In truth, nobody was trying to con the media. It was someone trying to do his homework. Thomas Calabrese, a Brooklyn based graduate student studying for his Masters in Branding at New York’s School of Visual Arts, was, along with the rest of his class, given a lemon by his tutor, told to photograph it, post it on Facebook, and whoever got the most ‘likes’ would win. His idea, by anyone’s standards, was a little bit brilliant. “The only thing we’re not allowed to do is tell people on Facebook what the picture is actually for,” he explained, when we tracked him down. “I knew a lot of my friends would respond positively to me pretending to make a Vampire Weekend cover. I was winning until yesterday, when someone surpassed my 93 likes with a photograph of an anniversary picture being consummated with two ‘lemon manhattan’ drinks.” So off Tom went, only intending to grab some much needed likes from his friends and colleagues. “I’m excited to share the artwork I did for Vampire Weekend’s album coming out later this year,” he penned. “I was told I wasn’t able to talk about the project until it launched, and this morning I was sent their teaser website! I did a lot of variations and was happy to see they picked the more out there design. I can’t wait to see the full album package in stores!”


He added a link to a website he created, that included the artwork and a fake tracklisting. Tom had done his research; there were songs the band had played live, or mentioned in interviews. It wasn’t entirely unbelievable. It was certainly good enough to fool his chums. “More exciting news about this coming Wednesday,” he wrote in the comments to his post - probably not quite what Tom was expecting, though.

“MY HEART WAS WORKING IN OVERDRIVE” When the band announced their album release on Tuesday, things went in to overdrive. By confirming just a date and a couple of images on their website, they left a vacuum of information. All this time Tom’s ‘Lemon Sounds’ sat innocently, waiting to fill it. Whoever happened across it at some point within the following 24 hours most likely thought they’d hit gold. It’s important to note Tom didn’t send this to a news website - or at least if he did, he isn’t telling us. He posted it on his personal Facebook page over a week prior, at a point where he couldn’t reasonably be expecting the band to kick into gear before his project was up. That it was picked up and reported as fact around the world has clearly shocked him - “my heart was working in overdrive,” he told us.

But finding him, and therefore the facts, wasn’t difficult. His name was on the ‘Lemon Sounds’ website - which Tom pulled as soon as he realised what had happened, not wanting to upset either Vampire Weekend or their label, XL (though as the gift basket they sent him says, they’re “not bitter”). It didn’t take that long for us to seek him out, chat to him, and discover exactly what had happened. The lesson for online media is both pretty obvious and nothing new; sometimes it’s easy to believe that if enough people are saying it, it must be true. Which shouldn’t be the case in real life, and it shouldn’t be the case here, either. One quick check in with XL would have saved everyone’s blushes. As for Tom, he’s just hoping that the buzz generated might score him an A. Vampire Weekend’s new album ‘Modern Vampires Of The City’ will be released on 6th May via XL Recordings.




oronto noisemakers METZ have already produced an impressive debut. Treading the fine line between indie-noise-pop and post-hardcorepunk, the trio are set for big things, including a rather exciting support slot: they’ll be joining their Canadian brothers Fucked Up when they visit the UK this summer, along with the raucous Titus Andronicus. “We’re supporting that little run,” divulges bassist Chris Slorach, when we meet the band prior to the first of two sold out shows at a hopelessly hip venue in East London. “I

process. Having spent the first five years of their career working on it, it was only back in October that they finally released it. Edkins explains: “It wasn’t so much that we wanted to take forever, we just wanted to make something that we could stand behind.

live, but I think within a matter of days of us saying [the album’s] finished, even then there was a sense of relief and excitement to start working on new stuff. That’s the only reason we made a band to begin with; to write songs. Even if we weren’t touring as much, we’d still be doing it.”

METZ GET FUCKED UP think it’s gonna be great. We’ve lived in Toronto and shared a practice space with Fucked Up for a while now. Josh from Fucked Up is actually in our new video.” “With his baby!” chimes in frontman Alex Edkins, before Slorach continues. “I’m really excited about it because we’ve never played with Fucked Up. No, that’s a lie! We played with them one time but it was a weird, outdoor thing where we had to go to another show before their set. “So, we’ve never legitimately played a show with Fucked Up. And we are really close to where those guys are; we practice in the same space, our record was written in the same place they write their records.” Speaking of recording their debut, it was a fairly lengthy

Not to mention, we weren’t in a position before to be putting all of our time into the band. We were doing it nights, after work, and on the weekend, so it was spread out over a long period of time because of that. Not because we wanted to take our sweet, sweet time!” “Luckily we’re not sick of playing it,” reassures drummer Hayden Menzies. “We’re finding it fun to play


It seems the latter won’t be too much of a problem, what with three months of tour dates currently in their schedule, along with a slew of festival appearances. “We’re not gonna leave you guys alone,” laughs Edkins. “You’re gonna be so sick of us!” METZ’ self-titled debut album is out now via Sub Pop.

MAY 26 Bristol The Fleece 27 Leeds Brudenell Social Club 28 Glasgow SWG3 29 Manchester Sound Control 30 London Electric Ballroom





ohnny Marr is in fine form, as he chats to us about those bloody Smiths reformation rumours that seem to constantly dog him. The most recent, started after Morrissey spoke of an offer from Coachella, seemed to gain some credence partly on the basis that Marr didn’t immediately take to Twitter to refute it. But Johnny was otherwise occupied at the time. He had his first solo album, ‘The Messenger’, to finish. He’s been pretty busy for the thirty years since the Smiths split, mostly as part of a band. Whether it was Electronic, Healers, Modest Mouse or The Cribs. Why then, a solo record at all? “It was just put to me by the people around me that it would be more honest, and representative of what the album was if it was me, standing behind my own name.” “I didn’t set out to make a solo record, as people do,” he tells us from his

Manchester abode. “After The Cribs, I wanted to make a record where I played all the guitars on it. So that’s only thing that was on my mind, really, and putting my notions about the world as I see it.” But after all this time stood stage left or stage right, you’d be expecting stepping into the spotlight as frontman to be little daunting. Johnny doesn’t seem at all worried, mind you. “I’ve been in bands, in quite a serious way, since I was fourteen or fifteen,” he points out. “It isn’t daunting for me, that centre stage position.” “If people start comparing me to Elvis Presley or Bob Marley then we might have a bit of a problem,” he chuckles, “but if you compare me to any other band out there fronted by a guy playing guitar, then I think I do alright.” Johnny Marr’s new album ‘The Messenger’ is out now via Warner.

Peace are looking to be very busy boys. Not only will this month see the release of their debut album ‘In Love’ but they’ll also be heading across the pond for an array of shows at the legendary SXSW festival. “I always thought SXSW was a brand of snowboarding apparel but it turns out it’s not,” frontman Harrison Koisser told DIY. “When I heard what it really was we made the call and decided to pick some shows. What a confusing world.”   Don’t worry though, if you’re not lucky enough to be in Austin, TX this month, you can still catch the B-Town boys on their UK headline tour.  


12 Manchester Club Academy 13 York Duchess 14 Newcastle Cluny 16 Glasgow The Arches 17 Edinburgh Electric Circus 18 Preston 53 Degrees 19 Sheffield Leadmill 21 Gloucester Guildhall 22 Bristol Fleece 23 Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms 24 Brighton Concorde2 25 Reading Sub89 26 Oxford Academy 2 27 Birmingham Academy 2 30 London Birthdays


01 London, Birthdays 02 London, Birthdays 03 London, Birthdays 11






hen imagining a performance inside a church, your mind is instantly filled with visions of high ceilings and grandiose architecture, allowing for that spine-tingling echo in amongst the silence. These are revered venues, celebrated for their hallowed halls, choirs and hundredyear-old organs. Deaf Havana aren’t exactly in the market for organs (well... - Ed), but they will be performing in a church next month. As they embark upon their ‘An Evening With...’ tour they’ll be visiting all manner of venues – including London’s Union Chapel and Manchester’s Royal College Of Music – taking their recent fully-acoustic reissue of ‘Fools & Worthless Liars’ with them. What better way to get ready than to invite ourselves around to guitarist Chris Pennells’ flat and settle down with the band for a proper evening in. “Masturbate.” It’s the first word that comes out of vocalist James Veck-Gilodi’s mouth when we ask what they usually like to get up to on cosy nights in. Err, this might not go quite as we planned. After the laughter subsides, we seem to get the (much more thrilling) truth as the bag of nachos is passed around: “We just watch documentaries. Tom cooks a watery curry,” reveals bassist Lee Wilson with a mouthful of crisps, before Chris offers an alternative. “Usually, if we’re practicing or something, we all stay at Tom’s and get drunk, watching fail videos on YouTube.” Moving swiftly on then, have we made the wrong decision and should have, in fact, gone on a night out with the boys? “Usually we just go out and we lose each other, and don’t see anyone the whole night,” explains Chris, before Tom chips in. “And we find the worst club possible.” Maybe not, then. When it comes to what they actually do on a night out, it they’re not all too sure themselves. “I don’t remember anything…” admits Lee. “I can’t even remember last time we actually went out. When did we last go out?” “We’re dead boring, we just get drunk and act like morons, basically,” divulges James, as we persistently demand some drunken stories. “We’ve got too many; that’s the problem, and with most of them, I can’t remember because I’m usually too drunk. It’s mostly the next day, me waking up and people telling me what I’ve done. I have shat myself a couple of times.” Oh, good. “Actually, on a night out in Dublin, I shat myself and it was a Sunday night and I had to walk around the whole

city so I could find a bar that would let me in so I could go to the toilet. Yeah, that was when we were out with You Me At Six years ago.” “I think the last time we all went out,” starts Tom, “was for my stag do, and I nearly got in a fight.” “When?!” exclaim the remaining three, who have clearly forgotten most of the night, “Was that in Spearmint Rhino?” “Nah, this was in a pub before we went to Spearmint Rhino.” “When?” “We went to go into the Purple Turtle, didn’t we…” Of course they did. Dare we even ask what they did to celebrate New Year? “I can’t remember a thing, I might as well have not been there,” admits James. “I don’t fully remember what I did, but I can give you a clue: I threw up about ten seconds after I walked in the door, at around quarter past 9.” Excellent. Any other bodily fluids or functions we should be aware of ? “Remember when we were in Southampton,” Tom answers a little bit too quickly, “watching that band and you just threw up

all over my back?” James laughs. “That was The Dangerous Summer we were watching!” All nighter sins aside, let’s look ahead to the band’s upcoming shows. Getting to perform in such a different setting must be a really exciting prospect, as explained by Tom “I am looking forward to those shows just because it’s something different.” “I love acoustic gigs. It’s more relaxed and…” adds in James, before Lee perks up. “The venues are incredible.” “You definitely have to play a lot better, because if one of you messes up, then everyone is gonna hear it,” offers Tom, but James is quick to justify his relaxed comment. “You have to play a lot better, but it’s also a lot better at the same time. At our ‘proper’ gigs, it gets quite intense. We play songs that lead into each other and we have to all get our cues right but for this one, we can be a bit more relaxed and just play. I’m looking forward to it.” As are we, boys, as are we. We’ll have a soft drink though, thanks.



03, 04 London Union Chapel 05 Bath Komedia 06 Manchester Royal College Of Music (Matinee & Evening) 07 Nottingham Albert Hall




“I swear I’m not Chilli from Palma Violets - I’ve still got my trousers up!”



oah and the Whale will release their fourth album ‘Heart Of Nowhere’ this May, and - as with their second record - they’ll be unveiling a short film to accompany it.

“Don’t look now Charlie, Ugly Naked Guy’s got his roller-skates on!”

This time however, things are going to be a little different. Titled ‘The Nuclear Toad’, their latest flick is set in a world where, as they reach the end of their teens, children have their memories erased before entering into adulthood. The footage details the lives of a group of eighteen-year-olds as they near their ‘processing’. DIY gets a glimpse of the band behind-the-scenes of their new dystopian project. Noah & The Whale’s new album ‘Heart Of Nowhere’ will be released on 6th May via Mercury Records.

“This is a local video for local people.”

“So, THIS is where Mumford & Sons grow their fans.”




t’s been a long time coming.” Laura Mvula speaks softly when we call her up ahead of the release of her debut album. These are not words of entitlement, but more of patience and perseverance. “From sixth form all the way through to university and then afterwards, I was really unsure of where or who I wanted to be in music, or whether I even had a place.” For someone who has claimed a spot in the BBC Sound Of 2013 list and been nominated for a BRIT Award, this uncertainty was not something we were expecting to hear. Nevertheless, it seems passion for her craft and the support from those closest to her have pushed her to achieve what she could’ve only previously dreamed. “I’ve always been encouraged to hold nothing back. The people around me developed a courage in me; a strange bravery that I can’t really describe. I think it comes from people that have loved me and had this expectation that I would always tell the truth musically. Whether that’s lyrically, or harmonically, or in what sounds I want to make.”

It’s not just from family and friends that she has garnered support. Whilst the juxtaposition of her classical talents may feel surreal plastered all over the internet, Mvula seems to appreciate the different approach. “It was quite difficult for me to understand just what the impact of the EP [‘She’] was, because I haven’t really grown up in this side of music. The blog world was quite a new thing for me, and I was just blown away.”   With comparisons to the likes of Nina Simone, and a slew of critical acclaim already behind her, the next step is set to be an exciting one: touring with Jessie Ware. “I feel almost a little bit unworthy that I get to say that! It’s such an exciting venture. Jessie Ware is one of those artists who has just such a wonderful energy about her, and seems very passionate and focussed with the music that she’s making, yet so open and has a freedom with what she does. It’s just so uniquely and authentically her. That really inspires me.”   Laura Mvula will release her debut album ‘Sing To The Moon’ on 4th March via RCA Records.



06 Cambridge Junction 07 Manchester Ritz 08 Glasgow ABC 09 Birmingham Institute 11 Oxford Academy 12 Bristol Academy 13 London Shepherd’s Bush Empire 15




hen Suede called it a day, they left the story open for another album. Playing a two and a half hour goodbye set at London’s Astoria, Brett Anderson made the audience a promise; “I just want you to know. There will be another Suede record. But not yet.” With that, they headed off in their separate directions for almost eight years.   After their 2010 reformation, despite festival headline sets and packing out enormodomes like the O2, it seemed like they’d done a bit of an about turn when it came to a sixth album. “Unless we were all convinced it would be an amazing record, I think we’d rather just leave it alone,” Brett said in one interview. “It has to feel special.” Then came word that a decade on from their last album, they were ready to release ‘Bloodsports’. What happened to change their minds? “It’s very exciting when bands reform, and everyone gets buzzed. But after a while, what are you doing? You’re just regurgitating the past,” a very amiable Brett Anderson tells us from his manager’s office. “That whole Pixies phenomenon of bands reforming and just going 16

around in circles and playing their old stuff, it can only work for a while before it gets tired.” It wasn’t really a surprise that they chose to head back into the studio. Anderson had continued to write, quite prolifically, after the original demise of the band in 2003. “I made just as many albums when Suede split up as I did in Suede. Four solo albums and the album with The Tears,” he agrees, “I’ve always wanted to make new music. I’ve always defined myself as that; a musician is only as good as the last song he writes.”   Not that writing together as a group again necessarily came easily, he admits. It

took them a fair while to get back into the swing of things. “A lot of it is getting back on the same wavelength, learning how to react to each other again. We haven’t written together for a decade, and that can be a bit strange. At first it didn’t really work out, we wrote lots of songs and they weren’t quite good enough,” he confesses. “When you’re writing as a solo writer, you can go anywhere, and that’s very inspiring for me,” Brett continues. “But with Suede, it’s much more confined. When you get it right, it really really works. I always think of it like a high pressured football game; there’s no space in the game,









USTIN TIMBERLAKE has unveiled the second single to be taken from ‘The 20/20 Experience’, titled ‘Mirrors’. The eight minute ditty will appear on his third album, which is due for release on 15th March. Listen to it on thisisfakediy.

T but make the right passes, and you open the game right up. It’s like that.” If it sounds on record as though Anderson is singing for his life, that’s partly because, much like Suede of yore, he’s still taking inspiration from his own experiences. “It’s a very cynical dissection of relationships. You meet someone, and there’s that obsession, then there’s co-dependency and all that kind of stuff. And then the relationship ends, you find someone else, and the whole cycle begins again. Most of my songs serve me like that, lots of them are very very real. But I’ve never ever wanted to write anything really straight. And that’s possibly a failing, and possibly why Suede haven’t been number one in America. I always wanted to put a little bit of doubt into the songs.”   Is the record about someone in particular? “Yes.” He chuckles. “But

you can’t really worry about people’s feelings too much. Because anyone with any intelligence knows that no song is ever about one thing.” Whilst ‘Bloodsports’ is unmistakably a Suede album, it does invite the question; couldn’t the band of 2003 have made this record? Years of living the rock star life had taken their toll, Brett tells us. “We absolutely needed to break up in 2003. I think we probably should’ve broken up a couple of years before that, to be brutally frank. But we didn’t. I needed to get away and grow up a bit,” he laughs, “and then come back to it with a hunger. If we’d have made the next record in 2004, it would’ve been a disaster. If you’re going to be in a band, you need to inspire people, and if you’re not inspired yourself, then how can you do that?” Suede’s new album ‘Bloodsports’ will be released on 18th March.

YLER, THE CREATOR is all set to release a brand new album later this spring. The follow-up to 2010’s ‘Goblin’ will be titled ‘Wolf ’, and is due for release on 2nd April. Oh, and it has three separate covers for the collectors out there.


ADIOHEAD will be heading back into the studio this autumn. Speaking in an interview with BBC 6Music, bassist Colin Greenwood said that “the plan is to get back together again [at the] end of the summer” to create the follow up to 2011’s ‘The King Of Limbs’.


ATBOY SLIM is set to perform at the House Of Commons. Part of the ‘House The House’ charity competition, he’ll be appearing on 6th March.


HE POSTAL SERVICE have confirmed plans to visit the UK this May, to celebrate the tenth anniversary of their debut album ‘Give Up’. They will appear at Manchester Academy 2 (18) and London’s Brixton Academy (19 & 20).


RUCE SPRINGSTEEN and his trusty E Street Band will play at Leeds Arena on 24th July, adding it to their upcoming UK and European tour. 17









HOENIX are back! They’ve announced that they’ll release their brand new album ‘Bankrupt!’ on 22nd April. The follow-up to ‘Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix’ even boasts some peachy artwork.


ACK WHITE has revealed that he’s already hard at work on the followup to his debut solo album ‘Blunderbuss’. Speaking to Rolling Stone, the Third Man boss has unveiled that he’s working on “about 20 to 25 tracks right now – a lot of songs. It’s a good time for writing for me.”


URT VILE has announced that his forthcoming new album ‘Wakin On A Pretty Daze’ will be released on 8th April. The follow-up 2011’s ‘Smoke Ring For My Halo’, it was recorded with producer John Agnello in studios across north-east America.


ooray! Fall Out Boy are back. The Chicago fourpiece have officially ended their hiatus. They’ll be releasing their fifth album and saving rock and roll all at the same time. Quite literally. ‘Save Rock And Roll’ will be released on 15th April.

FALL OUT BOY RETURN Whilst rumours may have been flying, in the lead up to the announcement the band remained tight-lipped, assuring us that their three-year break would continue. What we didn’t know was that this wasn’t even their first attempt at a comeback. “Me and Patrick tried to write, about a year ago, and it didn’t really feel right,” explained bassist Pete Wentz, speaking to BBC Radio 1’s Zane Lowe the day they confirmed their return. “But then maybe six or seven months ago, Patrick was like, ‘Let’s do it again’. I said yeah, thinking it’d be the same kind of thing, but then it wasn’t.” Having been away from the band for


RIGHTENED RABBIT and Manchester Orchestra may well be collaborating, according to a recent interview with the former’s lead singer. Scott Hutchinson has revealed that he’s been working on a track over the internet the latter’s vocalist Andy Hull.


ARAMORE have premiered the brand new video for the first track to be taken from their forthcoming album, ‘Now’. The surrealist clip sees the band battle against a full scale army, and you can check it out on


RAFTWERK will follow last month’s residency at the Tate Modern with an appearance at this year’s T In The Park. Headlining will be Mumford & Sons, Rihanna and The Killers.


the previous few years, it wasn’t easy to return. “For me, when we stopped doing stuff, I literally couldn’t picture doing it again. I think I took it the hardest because I only really pictured myself as an adult in Fall Out Boy. Without that part of my personality... I was like, what do I do?

“I was the one who had the hardest time letting go, but I was also the one who had the hardest time coming back to it, too. I felt like it needed to be proved to me. We needed more time and to me, that’s where these songs were. It was a really fragile thing and we just wanted to do it our way.” And just like that, a whole new chapter of Fall Out Boy begins. The more exciting part though? “Four years is a lifetime. Hopefully, we’ll have the chance to speak to a new generation of kids.” Fall Out Boy’s new album ‘Save Rock And Roll’ will be released on 15th April via Decaydance.



s they get ready to head out on a DIY minitour, their first ever solo outing, we catch up with Alarm Bells’ David Roy to discover the past, present and future of the band. What was it that brought you lot together? How did the magic happen? The magic happened when our old band [Dananananaykroyd] broke up and we started a new one right away. Everyone in this band (except for our keyboard player Ollie) was on that last Dananan... tour, so we were already sort of a band. We had a bunch of new songs half written, took a little break and then just got stuck into playing together again. It was all very natural and it felt really fun right away.   Should we be expecting something different to Dananananaykroyd? There’s definitely a few similarities, but I guess the overall effect is a different

one. It’s no longer a huge, crushing, party atmosphere, just some guys doing a rock band, getting up on stage and playing some weird riffs and making a lot of noise. You released your first EP, aptly titled ‘Part One’ back in December. What went into making it? Once we had those songs all worked out, we went off to Edinburgh and recorded the drums and bass at Chamber Studio. John and I recorded the rest at home. I did all the guitars over a week or so in my house and John recorded Ollie’s synths and did all the vocals over at his flat. I mixed the whole lot through headphones, which was a pretty stupid idea. My head still hurts thinking about it.   The band are getting ready to head out their first ever tour. How will you be preparing for it? We’re doing it all ourselves, which we haven’t done for years. John’s getting all the essential stuff sorted

(van, petrol money). I’m preparing my “can we stay with you please” begging speeches. I guess we have to practice a hell of a lot too. We never used to have to worry about practising before. It’s way boring having to be good! Once you’re off the road, what comes next for Alarm Bells? We’ll get stuck into making that new record whilst juggling some important real life gubbins (work, children). American record labels get in touch. BAN THE BOMB.




15 Nottingham JT Soar 16 London Old Blue Last London (w/ Fatherson, Yo’ True (ex Tubelord/ Encyclopedia)) 17 Newcastle Cluny 2 21 Glasgow Stereo 22 Edinburgh Fresh Air Festival


Manchester Deaf Institute

05 CONCRETE KNIVES London The Lexington

07 TALL SHIPS London Scala

09 WOLF ALICE Reading Oakford Social Club

16 GUNNING FOR TAMAR Oxford O2 Academy

18 SUNLESS ‘97 Manchester Trof Fallowfield

28 BO NINGEN Brighton The Haunt


10 INC Manchester Trof Fallowfield 19-20 TRUCK 2013 Steventon Hill Farm



FESTIVALS 2013 It’s that time again: dust off your credit card, tip the mouse poo out of your wellies (just us?) and start brainstorming ways to keep your phone charged for more than half a day. Festival season is upon us. Whether you’re heading to the big ‘uns pulling in the likes of Rihanna (T In The Park), Biffy Clyro (Reading & Leeds) and Jay-Z (Wireless), or the little ‘uns hosting sets from only the most exciting up-and-coming bands, here’s our monthly guide to Stuff You Should Know.


Oh we do like to be beside the seaside. Festivals that like to showcase new bands are our favourites, and there’s certainly plenty of that at The Great Escape. Your days are spent lounging on the beach and catching the odd conference, and your nights are spent watching some truly amazing performances. WHERE Various Venues, Brighton WHEN 16th - 18th May

WHO The 1975, Superfood, Childhood, Eagulls, How To

Dress Well, Indians, Wall, Lawrence Arabia, MØ, Luke Sital-Singh, Dan Croll, Marmozets, The Neighbourhood, Dinosaur Pile-Up, Spectres, Drenge, Swim Deep, Wolf Alice and more. 20


We’ve fished out the Pritt Stick and stuck a massive DIY banner on Truck, the second year in a row we’ll be teaming up with our favourite Oxfordshire festival. The Horrors’ headline set is one of our most anticipated of the year; it’s been a whole two years since their last album, ‘Skying’. WHERE Hill Farm, Steventon WHEN 19th - 20th July WHO The Horrors, Ash, Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius

Pip, Dry The River, Gaz Coombes, Rolo Tomassi, Lewis Watson, TOY, The Bots, The Computers, Wet Nuns, Planes, The Family Rain, Ady Suleiman, Brother & Bones, Arcane Roots, Fight Like Apes, Max Raptor and The Physics House Band.


Not only is Dot To Dot multi-venue, it’s also multi-city with one leg each in Manchester (24th May), Bristol (25th May) and Nottingham (26th May). The first few bands have just been announced, with highlights including Wolf Alice - who we last saw playing one of our Hello 2013 gigs at the Old Blue Last and new Bella Union signees, PINS.


Remember last month when we said DIY cover stars Biffy Clyro were set for big things? Since then they’ve garnered a Number 1 album with ‘Opposites’, and a headline slot at Reading & Leeds (23rd - 25th August), no less. They’ll be playing the event alongside the recently re-united Fall Out Boy, Deftones and alt-J, amongst others.


AlunaGeorge, Swim Deep, King Krule, TOY, The Walkmen. It’s still early doors for the Liverpool Sound City line up, but there are already plenty of must-see acts taking over the city from 2nd - 4th May. The event will not only host a great number of live performances, but a string of talks, too - including one with Tracey Thorn.


Who wants to go on a cruise? It’s a very short trip, and it’s only across to Ireland, but you get to go to a music festival when it’s done. Camden Crawl has had a shift about this year: the London leg will now take place in October, and the Dublin leg from 3rd - 5th May. A good excuse for a long weekend away.

ALSO COMING UP... STANDON CALLING has confirmed Band Of Skulls as their second headliner, having previously announced De La Soul. Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Kraftwerk and Chvrches are amongst a bunch of new T IN THE PARK additions. David Byrne and St Vincent are the final headliners for this year’s END OF THE ROAD. They will join fellow bill toppers Sigur Ros and Belle & Sebastian. Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z will headline WIRELESS FESTIVAL. Bestival’s sister event, CAMP BESTIVAL has unveiled its first

handful of acts: Richard Hawley, Tom Odell, The Polyphonic Spree and more.


will host sets from Everything Everything, Bastille and more.

Green Day will premiere a new documentary at SXSW; ‘Broadway Idiot’ follows frontman Billie Joe Armstrong’s first experience of musical theatre. Band Of Horses will headline

GREEN MAN. They’ll be following

in the footsteps Van Morrison, Feist and Mogwai, who performed last year.

BLISSFIELDS’ 2013 headliners will be Bastille and Mystery Jets. AlunaGeorge, Darwin Deez and Everything Everything are all appearing high up the bill for LIVE AT LEEDS. Peace, The Neighbourhood and Swim Deep are also confirmed. 21




aving pretty much dedicated the last 7 years of my life to 2000trees and before that been an avid festival-goer myself (still am), I’ve seen the ups and downs of the festival industry at close hand. Clearly times are tough right now with countless festivals falling to bankruptcy year on year, and that has lead me to wonder what this means for my livelihood as a festival organiser. Is this the beginning of the end for the music festival? My answer is that no, this is not the end. But the industry does need to wake itself up. Festival big-wigs have convinced themselves that the recent problems are solely due to the economic downturn and appalling weather of recent years, but this is very short sighted. The key issue is that too many festivals are chasing the same line ups. So what is the solution? How can a festival organiser build and maintain a successful festival? The answer is to find yourself a niche. Make sure you do something different musically and do not follow the herd.   This has been a very successful strategy for 2000trees, which has sold out a few months


in advance for each of the last four years. We place a very heavy reliance on bands that you just don’t tend to see at many other UK festivals - like Future Of The Left, And So I Watch You From Afar, Tall Ships and the lesser known Brontide and Maybeshewill. 65daysofstatic even headlined our main stage last year. It was the first time they’d headlined a festival and they went down an absolute storm. I’m convinced that it’s this niche aspect of our line up that has made us so successful. That brings me on to our new baby – 2000trees’ weird little sister festival ArcTanGent. We’re taking the post-rock / math-rock / experimental angle that is a part of 2000trees and turning it up to 11. So far we’ve announced Fuck Buttons, Bo Ningen, Gallops, 65days, Three Trapped Tigers and loads more – I literally couldn’t be more excited. The reaction has been incredible. If you’re into this sort of music then I’m fairly sure this is the best line up out there.   And that’s the point of a niche music festival – find an audience and give them what they want. Don’t try to appeal to everyone. And whatever you do, don’t try and book the same bands everyone else has. Simples.








HOWLING AT THE MOON photo: Emma swann








f the many things you could label Chlöe Howl - refreshing, provocative, outspoken, the next Lily Allen? - the words “clichéd” and “overly sentimental” wouldn’t come to mind. And so our conversation turns to the 17 year-old’s pet hate, above everything else: Fan Art. “I hate that! And they have the quote underneath [an image] and try and apply it to their life… Everyone’s obsessed with fucking Twilight.” We’re at the end of our chat, Chlöe speaking from outside her “bunker” of a studio, and it’s the first time that she pauses and zips her mouth shut. “I’m not really into witches and wizards. I always associate it with, I dunno... I won’t say in case I get in trouble!” By this point the topics of conversation have descended from music, friends, boys, right up to the conclusive statement: “Your boyfriend’s not a vampire - no!” But if Chlöe’s worried about getting into trouble, she’s probably left it too late. Her first two tracks - ‘No Strings’ and ‘Rumour’ - have an esteemed hitlist of no-gooders for whom Howl pulls no punches. The former’s about your average lad-type who wouldn’t commit beyond a quick snog. “That’s about all the sleazy get-togethers that I saw at parties,” she informs us. Anyone who’s heard that track must have taken a pause from their daily routine at the line “fuck your no strings / I hope I have twins.” So it’s a relief in some sense to hear it’s not expressly autobiographical: “Everyone thinks it’s from my perspective and all my friends keep trying to guess who it’s about… But no, it’s just a general thing.”   Every chunk of gossip that helps form ‘Rumour’ is, we’re told, genuine scandal that Chlöe heard amongst her peers while at school. The girl who went off with her brother’s dealer and had a kid; the good-girl who’s on the dole and spends her cash on booze; the Christian cult child who grew up to be a bit of an odd character in the bedroom. They’re all real. Or at least, they’re all supposed to be real. These guys aren’t the target of Howl’s wrath though; it’s gossip culture itself. “Why do people my age not stick together? We’re all just trying to find out who we all are

and that’s why we’re all being twats.” She sums up the school experience quite nicely by saying “we’re all in a place where we’re allowed to make mistakes and be losers.” Although she’s not exactly peddling copies of Hemingway in a rucksack, Chlöe’s always been something of a storyteller, but not in the conventional sense. For all her Twilight hate, you could label her a Stephenie Meyer-type who went under the radar, all in the name of ousting JK Rowling. “I was seven years old and I wanted to try and write these books to rival Harry Potter. I wanted to write my own version. Because I was never into reading.” She compares her maddeningly ambitious childhood to the present day: “I was more into making up stories myself. So this definitely feels like an outlet for all that.”   A contender for understatement of the year emerges when, asked about her lyrics, she says “I try not to sugarcoat it.” The question on everyone’s lips: What’s she writing about now? “There are a couple of guys I know who are massive players and just treat girls like shit. They’re all into the whole no-strings thing.” It’s easy to imagine a few nervous fools who once crossed Chlöe’s path, waiting for their shortcomings to be recalled in recorded song. What do all her friends think about this? “I’ve always hidden [my music] from everyone I know… My friends are all proper little music snobs. I was really scared of what they’d think.” Writing a good “hundred” tracks in the course of a year however, she’s “got to a place where I know what I’m doing and I’m comfortable with myself now.”   ‘No Strings’ and ‘Rumour’ helped settle any nerves. Even the music snob friends love them, “which is nice,” Chlöe remarks. “I don’t know what I was worried about.” Those two tracks form a debut EP out later this year, following which we presume will be a debut full-length. Signed to a major, under the legal drinking age and likely making all of her acquaintances paranoid that they’re the subject of a hit single, there’s plenty of room for slip-ups but Chlöe Howl is showing no sign of encountering any of them. In fact she’s well on her way to becoming 2013’s most prized, exciting pop success. ( Jamie Milton)







The first date, headlined by Wolf Alice, is many an attendee’s first show of the year. Music’s post-Christmas period of calm dissipates with the sound of screeching amps, and the distinct sense of a ‘90s revival. Blackeye’s standout set is pop-punk re-defined; an edgy, instantly likeable sound both sugar-sweet and oddly sinister in equal measure. MUST’s nostalgic ‘90s grunge also does well to impress; the nonchalant, evocative style that laces their recordings is hastily thrown to one side on stage. Similarly, Wolf Alice show no restraint, letting rip on audiences following a grand, enlivened set from Men’s Adventures. By the time ‘Fluffy’ departs there’s a tangible sense at having seen something significant.




While all of the bands taking to our stage on the second night have guitar riffs running through their veins, MT stand out. The crowd is at its most stuffy peak by the time they arrive, bundles of flowers and beaming grins in tow. A cocktail of sounds, largely channelling the upstart poppunk of Hot Hot Heat or the synth-heavy beckoning call of Passion Pit, hint at contemporaries; all big, established acts playing to crowds of thousands. Bloody Knees meanwhile shun stadiums for the prospect of ripping every last remnant of healthy hearing out of your withered eardrums. B-town big-hopers Wide Eyed’s performance is patient and pacing, hidden behind a thick wad of hair. And with headliners The Death Rays Of Ardilla, you feel like you’re peering in at a private ritual, both members putting everything into each song. 26




he four members of Wolf Alice share a lot of jokes. We’re talking one per question they’re countered with. So when they quip “this is a first” when we tell them most people turning up to our first ‘Hello 2013’ show are there to see them, we think they’re being sarcastic. Turns out founding members Ellie Rowsell and Joff are frighteningly experienced when it comes to entertaining sparse crowds. “Normally if we’re not supporting someone, no-one will come,” Ellie says, not out of despondence, just honesty. Joff adds that “people in the industry seem to know about us more than just people who listen to music. If we can get real people it’d be quality.” Wolf Alice are well aware that they could sit back, relax and enjoy their temporary life in a comfy hype bubble. Instead they’re keeping their feet on the ground. Next step: Win the hearts of real people. We reckon a lot of “real people” will have heard them by now. New single ‘Fluffy’ is a direct, obnoxious rock song. It’s impossible to ignore. “I think ‘Fluffy’ was the most extreme song we had,” says Ellie. “We wanted to write

something as different to [previous single] ‘Leaving You’ as we could get.” Drummer Joel Amey joins the conversation, joking: “I think everyone thought from ‘Leaving You’ that we’d just have a whole set full of slow jams.” Joel’s had previous experience in the band Mafia Lights. On the attention surrounding his new project, he’s quick to say; “I’m lucky not to know anybody who’s gotten swept up in all of the hype stuff.” Alongside Theo Ellis, he joined the band late last year, at which point Wolf Alice was something of a ‘folk project’. ‘Fluffy’ was the first song they wrote as a four-piece. “At first we were a bit paranoid that we didn’t have a steady sound,” Ellie claims. “And then we came to realise that was actually a good thing.” Again, ‘White Leather’, the b-side to the single is a complete change of pace. Roswell departs

“I KNOW IT SEEMS LIKE EVERYTHING’S HAPPENING REALLY QUICKLY, BUT THERE WAS A LOAD OF EFFORT.” from ‘Fluffy’’s frenzied frontwoman and showcases the kind of songwriting that’s stayed a constant in Wolf Alice’s sound, from those early ‘folk’ shows to January’s set at The Old Blue Last. By the time they take to the stage, it’s one-in, one-out on the door. “I know it seems like everything’s happening really quickly but there was a load of effort, even before we came in,” declares Joel. A sense of seriousness hangs for a split-second, before Joel turns to Ellie and says “you’re a bit of a diva though.” Cue the in jokes and the ribbing. How do you cope with the weight of expectation? You laugh it off. ( Jamie Milton)








With our third showcase, we encounter two performers at opposite ends of the spectrum. Opening act /please/’s intimate, retired electronica is remarkable, especially considering it’s only Ellen Davies’ second show. You yearn to lift yourself and the performer out of the venue - if only for a few minutes - just to hear this music in a more hushed environment. Headliner Syron meanwhile is a completely different prospect. Treating the tiny stage like it’s a giant dancefloor, she begins by introducing new single ‘Here’ before giving us the night’s standout moment in single ‘Breaking’. Bedroom producer Brolin’s soulful set is again, hushed and primed for an immersive listen, whereas San Zhi’s sparkling synth-pop is expansive, keen to burst up into the open air and audiences in the thousands.



The sense of excitement, across all four nights, is unrivalled when it comes to the prospect of new group Superfood. By the time the four-piece emerge the crowd are ready to be floored. Every track of theirs screams ‘90s! ‘90s! ‘90s!, with songs that proclaim “I can’t fall asleep! Without the TV on!” being flung outwards. Referential it might be, but Superfood’s sound is, on this early impression, refreshingly clean-cut and oddly progressive. Youngsters Deathbeams’ Metallica-referencing hard-rock relentlessness on stage is remarkably well held-together. And the ever-brilliant Crash & The ‘Coots adorn the stage with Furbies and flowers to perform a set that’s confident, cocksure and full of cowbell. JAWS round off the month with an assured collection of future synth-pop triumphs. And with that we said goodbye to ‘Hello 2013’. For every act that took part in these shows, it was hard to ascertain whether we’d be seeing them take on the world this year, or the next one, or even further off in the distance. Asked if they had an album in the pipeline, Wolf Alice said they didn’t “know how these things work,” meaning they couldn’t be sure if it’d see the light of day in 2013, 2014 or goodness-knows-when. Regardless, it’s difficult to imagine any of these acts falling flat on their faces in a quest for bigger things. In the most exciting, anticipation-fuelled time of the year, these shows were the icing on the cake. 28






uring the time we spend with Syron, it’s increasingly clear we’re trying to get in to the head of a pop star. Watching her pose for photoshoots, seeing her command the stage at London’s Old Blue Last, even seeing her pour tea into a mug, for crying out loud. She’s a pop star. The very best kind. In order to get here, Daisy Tullulah Syron-Russell had to take a few risks. After a brief stint at the Institute For Contemporary Music in London, she took off. She found a manager and decided “actually going out there and doing it was more important.” “If I’d been really fucking clever, maybe I’d have done something else as well,” she tells us. She’s the product of Brit School. Unlike what our wild imaginations might have us believe, it’s not like a cross between F.A.M.E and Hogwarts. The culture can be intense, pressurised. But Syron wasn’t involved in any of that. “Because I did musical theatre, I was with loads of people who wanted to be on West End stage. And that’s not what I wanted to do at all.”

She agrees that there might be a stigma towards Brit School graduates, but disputes all of this by stating that if you don’t like Leona Lewis, you might like Amy Winehouse. And if you’re not into Adele, King Krule might appeal. Regardless of its reputation, it led Syron to where she is today. That, and a chance happening with chart-toppers Rudimental. In a studio across the street, the Hackney quartet were working with MNEK and decided they needed a female vocalist. “As soon as that happened, things started coming my way.” Daisy expresses clearly that she wants this project to go even further. “As big as it can go. The bigger the better,” in fact. She sees her

“IF I’D BEEN REALLY FUCKING CLEVER, MAYBE I’D HAVE DONE SOMETHING ELSE.” forthcoming debut album as the first in a long line of crucial steps. So when you see Syron posing for photos, interacting with her audiences and taking interview after interview, you have to ask: “How do you do it!?” It’s because it’s what she does best. Beneath the ambition and the risktaking, is a knowledge that she’s always wanted to be a pop star. And nothing’s going to stop her. 29












It’s pretty rare to stumble across new bands that have already hit the jackpot. However, Blaenavon create the kind of songs that wouldn’t sound out of place alongside Bombay Bicycle Club or The Maccabees at an indie club night, and we’re sure they’d provoke an equally enthusiastic response. During Foals’ video for ‘My Number’ one of the young scamps from Blaenavon is seen immersing themselves in the song. In itself, ‘My Number’ isn’t too dissimilar to debut single ‘Into The Night’. Both boast funky riffs, a showstopping chorus and a groovable aura. Young and ambitious Blaenavon appear to have the credentials to appeal to the masses, don’t be surprised when they orchestrate frenzied responses at future gigs in front of hundreds of adoring fans. Their formula is simple: create dynamic and vibrant music. (Sam Cornforth)

2 PA R Q U E T


The first thing you notice about Brooklyn’s Parquet Courts is their cut and paste aesthetic. The sleeve of their new LP ‘Light Up Gold’ has a raw cutting room feel with scribbled amendments and hastily glued images. It’s a look that immediately brings to mind early punk. The aesthetic doesn’t end there. The scrappiness has bled through from ‘Light Up Gold’’s roughhewn cover and seeped deep into the record itself. You get the feeling Parquet Courts aren’t a band to drop an album and tour the set. And that’s why they’re so great. ‘Light Up Gold’ is an album of afterthoughts. Quick sketches of ideas that itch to be heard live. Like an image burnt onto the retina this is a faded approximation of something brilliant. (Rob Knaggs)

3 M E R C H A N D I S E

Having played in various punk bands in their native Florida, Merchandise are a trio that, up until last year at least, had little to no interest in associating themselves with the music industry. That all changed when their ‘Children Of Desire’ LP saw them propelled into the media spotlight; music of this quality can only stay underground for so long. When combining the energy and exuberance of their past ventures with lead singer Carson Cox’s romantic, emotionally charged vocals, you are left with a refreshing - and more importantly original - take on the much loved sound of The Smiths and Echo And The Bunnymen. Showing no signs of slowing their intense work ethic, new EP ‘Totale Nite’ will be released this spring. (Wayne Flanagan) 30

4 M O Z A R T ’ S


It’d be unfair to accuse Caila Thompson-Hannat of being an opportunist. She’s existed as a solo artist since 2011, and two years later she’s sprung out with a sound that’s set to be the making of her. Said sound is unerringly familiar. Grimes comparisons flock in from all sides on her latest, self-titled track. And at one stage in her new ‘Hello’ EP, she lets out an eerie, high-pitched wail. Cynics looking for something to latch onto will hit jackpot the moment they hear that. And it’s unfair, because Caila’s making inroads in a completely different direction to her contemporaries. Her music isn’t so concerned with modern day peers, more referential to classic ‘80s hits. Confessional and spliced with invention, it’s pop with an altogether new outlook. ( Jamie Milton)









Year in year out there’s a relentless hunt for bands who might, at some mind numbingly distant stage in their career, get to the very top of a big festival bill. They need to be bands who are both universally likeable and also inherently inventive; someone that reaches beyond the Kings Of Leons and The Killers and reformations that have become such staples of the Pyramid Stage alumni. Jagwar Ma suggest we stop looking. The answer’s right in front of us. The Sydney duo’s music isn’t necessarily catered for such a setting, but there’s something delightfully crepuscular about all their songs released to date, a perfect meeting ground for wild excess and glorious sunsets. ( Jamie Milton)

6 J O S E F


We’ve seen enough incarnations of this kind to suggest that smart sods making pop music doesn’t work. They can gain a cult following, critics can adore ‘em, but when it comes to sales and raising the arms and snatching the wallets from real people, it falls at the final hurdle. Josef Salvat has to be the guy to buck the trend. While the Australia-bred singer can align himself to someone like Fryars, in bringing intelligence to the fore with smart, snapping lyrics like “I just need to tell my story / If you’re drunk I’ll get done quicker,” lining the seams of debut track ‘This Life’ is a ridiculously catchy melody. Salvat’s voice goes from grand and formal to sugar-coated and vulnerable in just a few seconds. He’s not your typical pop star, that’s for sure. But he’s capable of doing great things, especially if songs like ‘This Life’ come in spades. ( Jamie Milton)



3 4 1


3 5 31






JACK MAGMA Cat Gotcha Tongue?!?

“What’s the problem?” Jack Magma spits, very-much aware that you’ve Olivia Sebastianelli’s ‘Rose Of Stone’ just encountered the most original is just about the most promising, haunting start she could hope to make. take on pop in goodness-knows-howlong. ‘Cat Gotcha Tongue?!?’ is one of 2013’s standout tracks to date.


Recalling the immediacy of Two DRENGE Door Cinema Club, Bombay Bicycle Club and just about every other arena I Wanna Break You In Half stalwart, London’s Attu surround Formidable in sound and title, this simple pop hooks within a smart, stop- track was released on the sly last year, just when Drenge were announcing start delivery. themselves as one of 2013’s biggest prospects.

CASIMIR Like Whistles


Bristol’s Casimir have linked arms HAPPA Freak with the Fear Of Fiction label for their ‘Not Mathematics’ EP. ‘Like Whistles’ The Knife’s return was marked with a is a harsh fusion of all of our modern sensational slice of dark pop, and Leeds producer Happa works a similar kind greats; Interpol’s chamber-noise and of magic on his ‘Freak’ track. Battles’ gadget-infused pomp.

TORRES Mother Earth, Father God

‘Mother Earth, Father God’ shows singer Mackenzie Scott at her most despondent and excitable.


Journalist-turned-beatmaker Duncan Cooper’s debut EP is an unnervingly solid collection of pure, unfiltered joy. ‘Unity’ is the Wildarms project at its gleeful peak.


TYPESUN Heart Maths Feat. Guido

Bristol producer Luke Harney belies convention, ‘Heart Maths’ being a progressive slice of shape-shifting electronics. His songs look set to define the stumbling hours of club nights across the country.


London three-piece Qtier have signed up to Bad Life to release their debut ‘Still’ EP. The title-track is a quiet storm of light percussion and sleek, subtle arrangements.





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.

n e w s


aim have announced they will release their ‘Falling’ EP on 1st April. The three-track offering will be available digitally and on 10”, and boasts their new single, alongside two remixes.


arewell Jr has shared a new video for ‘Night Wolves’, set to appear on his debut EP. Watch it now at He’ll also play London’s St Pancras Old Church on 21st March.

LAURENT HRYBYK is a writer, illustrator and designer living in Baltimore, Maryland in the US. He runs the Pasta Primavera blog and contributes to the new music site PORTALS.


Baltimore’s Secret Mountains play expansive rock music that pushes out emotion, tension, release, and flight. Most of their songs find themselves climbing the wall of sound, hitting valleys of peace before scaling to greater heights. Over the last year or so they’ve spent time polishing their sound and growing together as artists. The culmination of this can be heard in their upcoming release ‘Rainer’ which is out now via Friends Records.


Mt. Royal is a Baltimore band that has been playing together for a long time, just with different names and sounds. The core players in the group were a part of Lake Trout which later spun off into Big In Japan which occasionally had guest vocals from Katrina Ford, the stand out lead singer for Celebration. The power of these individuals working together led them to recently create a new entity called Mt. Royal. The sound is soulful rock with a swooning drum and bass that is turned on its head by the passionate full-spectrum vocals of Ford. An EP is in the works.


hvrches will release a new EP, ‘Recover’, on 25th March via Virgin/Goodbye. It will also be available on limited edition 12-inch vinyl for Record Store Day.


ondon’s sunless ‘97 have followed up the recently unveiled ‘Aurora I’ with an accompanying video; watch it now on thisisfakediy. The single is due on 25th March.


alentina has followed up her 2011 debut release ‘Weights’ with the ‘Wolves’ EP, available digitally now.


he child of lov has announced details to release his self-titled debut album on 6th May, through Domino imprint Double Six. It was recorded in Damon Albarn’s Studio 13.


ing krule is to head out on tour later this month, kicking off at London’s Garage on 28th March. Visit for the full list of dates. 33










never wanted to be a musician,” Dan Smith, the creative force behind Bastille, confides. The band are preparing for a show at a lavishly-furnished London cinema museum. As we speak, ushers with Day Of The Dead style face paint wander round a large room, its walls plastered with retro posters. “I really wanted to be a journalist, to write about films.” Until very recently, Bastille was only a name Dan Smith used to stop himself being seen as just another singersongwriter. Fair enough; he isn’t. His debut album ‘Bad Blood’ is packed with songs far bigger and bolder than that, pulsing with more confidence and smarts than your average pale indie kid would consider sufficient for ‘pop hit’ status. They’re also smart - full of textures and ideas that delve into more than just the obvious. It’s a story straight out of Hollywood. Rather than confidently declaring the world needed to hear his art, Smith was shoved into the limelight by a friend - forced to enter a local competition. His first time on stage, he won. “Music was always a hobby,” he admits. “Something I did for fun. Then, I was made to do it publicly. Most of my friends didn’t even know I could play an instrument or sing. I definitely wouldn’t have done it if it wasn’t for that push. The first few times I played gigs, I had to be pretty drunk to even get on stage. It must have been terrible. I had written these songs and felt like, live, this won’t work if I’m sat behind a piano. It’d be rubbish. So I played less and less and began wandering around more, to stave off the awkwardness.” That’s not a problem anymore. If the Dan Smith we see performing later is plagued by a lack of confidence, he’s hiding it well. Bastille feel like a band now, rather than one man; and more than that, a band that thrive when given an audience. Tonight’s, though relatively small - 100 competition winners - was picked from literally thousands of hopeful entrants. If you’re going to have support from a fan base, this lot certainly do the job. “The way people have responded to our gigs has totally shaped how we go about them now,” Dan explains. “I definitely wouldn’t be as active as I am on stage if it wasn’t for people jumping around like maniacs or singing the words back at me. Having that re-enforcement made me appear a more confident performer than I am. Because, on stage, I’m bricking it. It’s those awkward thirty seconds where, all of a sudden, it’s up to me not to make it an awkward silence between 1,000 people. I’ve got to say something. That’s terrifying.” Band or no band, there’s still one man at the heart of it all. Bastille is Dan’s baby. To call him a control freak wouldn’t be an insult, he admits as much. In truth it’s a compliment.

“I’m involved in everything,” he explains. “I definitely feel the weight of it. I work really hard - not in a self pitying way, though. I love having that involvement - it’s amazing - but it definitely can become consuming. There’s not a minute of the day when my phone’s not going off and I have to make a decision on something. “We’ve been so lucky that I’ve just been left to get on with stuff. As a live band, we’ve been left to build things as we want. In the studio, I’ve written all the songs myself, I coproduced them with the same guy that I was working with way before any label was involved. Sometimes I think it would be nice to write a few songs, play a few gigs, sit back and not have to think about it, but I don’t think I’d get the same satisfaction from it.”


f you find your music by trawling certain blogs, you might not come across Bastille that often. You won’t routinely hear the name whispered in a Shoreditch boozer, or scrawled across a tote bag carried by someone sporting a bobble hat in mid-June. They’re beyond the layers of bedroom fuzz and distortion committed to Garageband. They don’t exclusively play in Dalston. A few years ago, this wouldn’t have been worthy of comment. Not really. In 2013 the social web allows every niche to eat itself just as effectively as pop once did. Living in a self-curated world of Twitter accounts and carefully selected RSS feeds, the music and media we consume is, essentially, preaching to the converted. It’ll have some believe a band who sell a few hundred records are huge, while they’re entirely oblivious to the one who’d do that in an afternoon. At the time of writing, Bastille have just clocked up the two millionth (yes, that’s a two and six zeros) view of their latest video on YouTube. For them, the edges of the mainstream have become the best place to develop. It’s somewhere the deadly curse of hipster hype will often fail to look. The pressures of an audience always looking for something to criticise won’t trouble them, nor do they have to fear ‘selling out’. After all, to most concerned with the fleeting spotlight of cooler-than-thou buzz, they probably already have. “I feel like we’ve had an interesting time of it, to be honest,” Dan muses. “We’ve worked really fucking hard and had a lot of fun. The last two years there’s been a satisfying, steady progression, but we’ve never received loads of attention and we’ve always been lucky to have people find our music. I think, when people find it themselves and actually like it, that means a lot more than being told something’s cool.” “We’ve got to a point where we can sell out two nights at Shepherd’s Bush Empire three months before our album comes out,” he enthuses excitedly. “It’s completely crazy.





We can’t believe it; and to have a song that charts off the back of a tiny bit of airplay... we’re all baffled by it. We didn’t receive much hype at all. We never expected to receive any. We wouldn’t want it. It’s nice if things spread in a word of mouth way. It’s never been forced down anyone’s throat.” Of course, if we’re to believe the industry movers and shakers, 2013 is the year of the guitar band. Apparently, anyone hoping for a breakthrough needs to be packing at least one six string and a desire to be the last gang in town. Yet Bastille are a band lacking in guitar. Awkward. “I could never play guitar,” Dan states. “A lot of it originates from my bedroom and me layering up my own voice, trying to find sounds that are interesting. It became something me and Mark [Crew, the coproducer on ‘Bad Blood’] thought, ‘Let’s see how far we can take this, let’s intentionally not use guitars’. “It’s not that I don’t love guitar music - I fucking love guitar music - it comes back to me being a control freak and not being able to play. It was a challenge that we set ourselves; can we make a record that, in parts, feels like a big, upbeat guitar record with no guitars.” And if you’re setting yourself that kind of challenge, there’s nothing more satisfying than fooling those pesky journalists. “I remember reading one thing about a guitar solo, which obviously isn’t. Rather than using guitars or distortion, we used interesting key noises, layering up choirs of myself, big string arrangements and being as creative as possible with beats. It’s made it really fun and really challenging, and hopefully helps push us to use different sounds.” That in itself is part of the beauty of Bastille. By removing the obvious routes the band are pushed to more inventive solutions - yet unlike so many others, that doesn’t make them wilfully odd or inaccessible. These are massive songs - the kind that wouldn’t wimp out in an arena setting. But, crucially, that doesn’t mean they belong in one of those one-sizefits-all genre boxes. “I really don’t give a shit.” Blimey. “I don’t care about genre. There are things I don’t particularly like; I don’t like when people call us electro. The thing is, what’s frustrating about labels is that they always feel a bit lazy, and there’s always connotations.

“If I was to be like ‘Oh, we’re a pop band’, there are loads of pop bands out there who I fucking hate, and wouldn’t want to be associated with. But we do make pop music - so do most people. Generally, and I’m not grouping us in this, those that break through are the ones with really good pop songs that are framed within whatever genre they’re in.” He may not say that about Bastille, but that’s just modesty talking. The aforementioned chart success of ‘Flaws’ proves better than anything that Smith’s music can resonate on that level. An earworm of mythical proportions, it’s no wonder that it’s heralded a new level of interest in the band. “It’s quite odd now that we’re getting a bit of exposure,” Dan reveals. “It’s bringing another wave of people to the songs and to us, as a band, who don’t know anything about us. They might just see it and think ‘Oh, that’s a nice song,’ and not care about the rest of it. That’s totally cool.”


an doesn’t have long to wait. It’s only a couple of days before Bastille take to the road again, this time alongside (almost) chart-topping Celtic giants Two Door Cinema Club. That means really big venues, and really big crowds; crowds who, in the most part, have come to see another band. “Since we’ve been a band,” he begins to list, “we’ve done a gig with Fenech-Soler, a gig with Foster The People. The iTunes gig with Emeli Sandé - but we weren’t technically supporting her - and we did one gig with Keane in France which was... you know. Those are the only supports.” There’s an art to being a support act. With half an hour to win over an audience that may not have even heard of your band before, there’s little room for extravagance or muso noodling. They’re not going to go wild for that six minute instrumental section you’ve inserted into your most chart friendly single. They aren’t here for you. “It’s going to be really interesting to play to a crowd who, for all intents and purposes, aren’t necessarily gonna give a shit,” Dan ponders. “Trying to win them over. They’re not our shows so the pressure’s kinda off a little bit, but we want to make a good impression. Hopefully we’ll meet the guys and get to know them a bit. It’ll be really interesting to see what their crowds are like.” When we drop Smith a line a few days into the tour he’s clearly excited. “They’ve been amazing,” he raves.



behind the scenes BRIXtoN Academy



“I think they’re the best band that’s ever existed in the world ever. I didn’t even come here to see Two Door, I came here to see Bastille. And so did all of my friends. I’ve seen them about fifteen times. The crowd was like a JLS concert, not that I’ve been to a JLS concert... but it’s what I imagine them to sound like. It was like Beatlemania. I imagine them going to Japan, girls throwing their knickers at them, throwing up with excitement. That’s the sort of level I think this band’s going for.”


“I saw them at Sub 89, which is round the corner from my flat in Reading, and after seeing them here, it’s like, this time next year they’re going to be headlining. Dan and the boys did a very good job.”


“I literally love Bastille. I was desperately trying to get tickets for Shepherd’s Bush Empire, but I left it too late and they’d all gone.”

“The crowds have been absolutely incredible; every time we play, the venues have been pretty much full. I could totally imagine rocking up on stage and playing to a quarter of a room. I’ve certainly been to plenty of gigs with barely anyone there for the support, where everyone is just waiting for the main band, but it definitely hasn’t felt like that. “We played two nights in Manchester to four thousand people! It’s ridiculous. I mean, for me, growing up in London, I went to so many gigs in Brixton Academy. It felt very similar to that. We thought about our tour in March, all of the venues that we’re playing were like, ‘Fuck!’. So, this has been very humbling. It is quite weird playing to someone else’s crowd but seeing that there are people going mental for us.”


“We loved the songs we’d heard, and jumped at the chance to bring them on tour. They’re lovely boys. We’ve got on well from the off, from the first day chatting in the corridors. The other night we were out for [Bastille keyboardist] Kyle’s birthday party in Glasgow, which was fun. The crowds have been loving it, more and more people every show know the tunes. It’s been wonderful.”

If he thinks that’s something, just wait until he gets to the actual Brixton Academy. Five thousand people going absolutely crazy for a band yet to release their debut album, with a frontman who was previously terrified playing to fifty; the final date of Bastille’s jaunt with Two Door seems to be a bit of a moment.

We’re not talking polite applause and a struggle to get over the chatter here. It’d be no slight on their tour buddies to suggest that Bastille are making a decent stab at headlining from the middle of the bill. There are screams, cheers, sing-a-longs and actual movement from a capital crowd that usually waits with folded arms to be impressed. “How was it for you?” Dan asks as he leaves the stage. He doesn’t need our answer - there’s no denying they just smashed it. While their own headline shows beckon, you’d be a fool to bet against Bastille being back in South London’s premier enormo-theatre before the end of the year, this time with their name in lights. Dan may not have an arrogant bone in his body, but it’s clear he’s dreaming of the same. “We’re finding ourselves, as our album is coming out, trying to put together the kind of tour that you do six months after that,” he tells us, more than aware that he’s delivering a massive humble brag. “We feel the pressure of satisfying the people who’ve bought tickets to our shows; do a big proper, one and a half hour production, whilst also trying to remember it’s still really early days. It’s a bit of an odd place to be in, but I feel like, if we want to do that with our tour, why shouldn’t we? The goalposts always seems to expand, so if we’re lucky enough to do another tour in October, we’ll just have to think of something bigger and better.” To a loyal legion of self-motivated fans, Bastille are already a huge deal. They’ve got the supportive, fanatical followers, radio airplay and sold out shows your favourite new bands would flog their dear old granny for, and they’ve done it all their own way. Very soon the rest of the world is going to catch up. For once, the arch-tastemakers are out of touch. Bastille’s debut album ‘Bad Blood’ will be released on 4th March via Virgin. 41







e’s probably still asleep,” explains Wavves bassist Stephen Pope, upon our second attempt to try and track down singer Nathan Williams. “Or he’s probably passed out somewhere.” Over the years, the San Diego outfit have gained a reputation for not being entirely serious. Nathan’s recent claims that the new record would be called ‘Krazy Sexy Cool’ ended up being taken a little too literally in some quarters. They once joked that they were being “mildly sued” by The Walt Disney Company, because their first single was called ‘Mickey Mouse’. We never did manage to drag Nathan into our midday conference call, but we did catch up with him later to find out about the new album, ‘Afraid Of Heights’. With the band’s latest effort, they’ve embraced elements of a grungier sound, an aspect first touched upon within their ‘Life Sux’ EP, but expanded further here. In places, they’ve incorporated Nirvana-esque guitar riffs into the verse sections of tracks; the album’s title track and their recently unveiled ‘Demon To Lean On’. Whereas tracks such as ‘Paranoid’ and lead single ‘Sail To The Sun’ uphold the punky noise-pop that Wavves fans will, by now, be accustomed to.   “I recorded it on a voice memo while drunk,” Nathan tells us of the single. “Then came back to it the next day and mapped out the parts.” “We put it together in the studio, all together,” Stephen explains. “But he wrote that over a year ago, probably. We were writing a lot together for this album. We were both really bad, socially, I guess, and we’d both been on tour for so long we kind of forgot how to interact with people. We had to get really drunk before we’d talk to anyone.” As well as an enigmatic chorus that stands out as one of the album’s strongest points, the track is also accompanied by one of the band’s strangest music videos to date. “I grew up in Memphis, Tennessee, and there was this commercial that came on, all of the time that had this really sweaty, like really dramatic black preacher who was preaching about not doing drugs and finding God. Then thinking, alright what if this preacher’s actually bullshit and he’s making money from telling all of these people inside the church? So we just went with it.” Wavves certainly aren’t newcomers to providing the world with wondrously insane music videos, but Stephen, surprisingly, reveals that “Nathan and I both grew up in really religious families,” which goes some way to explain why “there are a lot of religious themes on the album, too.” When it comes to influences from the snotty, lo-fi guitar driven ensemble, a religious background certainly isn’t

something we expected to suddenly crop up. He promptly clarifies, “It’s definitely not a religious album, there are moments questioning why we grew up in such a religious environment. Even though neither of us are really religious now, we still deal with the classic Catholic guilt syndrome.”

“WE STILL DEAL WITH THE CLASSIC CATHOLIC GUILT SYNDROME.” In addition to mild ecclesiastical themes, whilst it’s by no means the out and out hip hop record they’ve previously joked about, it does move towards the urban sub-genres of music. They recruited the services of the producer John Hill, who boasts a CV including albums from artists such as M.I.A., Rihanna and Wu Tang Clan. It’s not the first time that they’d worked together though: “John and I had written music for other artists before,” Nathan tells us. However, when questioning the potential fluidity of a hip hop side project, he replies; “no, not really. There are some 808s here and there but that’s it.” Instead, he goes on to joke about the album comprising “fourteen Korn covers.” But as the release date comes around, we’re left

wondering, how will the band prepare for the release and having to tour relentlessly? “I’m going to be doing pretty much what I’ve been doing every morning: just laying naked in my room listening to Metallica and Slayer really loud, contemplating my life,” reveals Stephen, sharing perhaps a little too much. “I do that for about eight hours a day and just go back to sleep. But in March, we start touring and we’ll tour for the rest of the year. I think we’re planning a six-week US tour and then we’ll come over to the UK and Europe and then the US again and somebody will probably be dead by then so it’ll all be over.” Potential death related disasters aside, it’s not quite clear as to how Nathan will be preparing to hit the road, though the pair agree that they want to present the new record to as many crowds as is physically possible. If we’re lucky, there may even be some festival performances here in the UK. We can’t help but feel curious as to how their new album will stand up to the feelgood ‘King Of The Beach’. Whether it’ll cast Wavves into a whole new sea of acceptance, reach out to a new set of fans. As the frontman himself puts it; it’s “an entirely different record, but the proper next step for this band, I feel.”   Wavves’ new album ‘Afraid Of Heights’ will be released on 26th March. 43





ave I got lipstick on my teeth?” Kate Nash grimaces across the table at London’s Southbank Centre, asking us to check for any ruby red residue on her pearly whites. She doesn’t, as it happens, but as she pulls a face, we’re instantly reminded of that video for ‘Under-estimate The Girl’. Heralding her return to the music scene after a two year absence, her reinvention into a gnarling, angry, grungey Nash kicked the internet into derision overdrive. “I was trending worldwide on Twitter!” Kate can laugh about it now, then. “It was really funny. I was so angry, and needed to release something, it was like..hrrrrrrrrmph. The whole thing was an explosion. I literally hadn’t thought about the consequence, of what people might think, or anything. Which I know is quite weird, because it is so different, but because it was what I was doing at the time, it really felt like what I’d been doing every day. It was hilarious... oh, that’s a few months worth of press I don’t need to do now...”   You could get the wrong impression from that single. Think that Kate’s going to release an album of screaming, angst ridden, riot grrrlinfused guitar thrash. But Nash has always thrown curveballs; her first single, ‘Caroline’s A Victim’ was nothing like debut record, ‘Made Of Bricks’. Yes, there’s aggression and heartbreak in new record, ‘Girl Talk’, but to suggest her only reference point is Bikini Kill would be to do her a massive disservice. There are moments where she’s more Kimya Dawson than Kathleen Hanna; hell, there’s even a section of Disney-esque orchestration thrown in the mix. It’s more interesting, more subtle, than you might be anticipating.

That being said, Nash does confess that the record was a cathartic vessel for releasing some of the pent up emotions that had built up; after a year that personally, could probably be described as ‘rotten’. “I wrote most of it on bass, and bass is the best instrument in the world, because it’s really heavy and strong,” she tells us, “It’s quite guttural and raw. It was a way of being powerful and loud, when I couldn’t be like that in my personal life, or publicly.”   It would be easy to be all tabloidesque and focus our conversation on her much publicised break up from a certain Crib, which clearly does inform the record to an extent. But to assume that all her aggression is based around a boy; that’d be bullshit. You only need to look at what she’s been up to over the last couple of years to see that.  

“I’D BE IN A HOTEL ROOM DRINKING DURING THE DAY, WATCHING COURTNEY LOVE VIDEOS ON YOUTUBE.” “I got angry, because I was interviewed all the time and people kept saying, “wow, this is so amazing, there’s so many female artists.” Kate begins to get visibly riled as she discusses her 2007 breakthrough, during a period that, at the time, was considered to be particularly strong for women in

music. There was Nash, Lily Allen, Amy Winehouse and... umm... oh. “I didn’t want to make it a big deal, don’t make a big deal out of women being able to be musicians, that’s fucking weird, and so patronising. But, actually, there aren’t that many, so you feel really contradictory. “Then I found out all these statistics; there’s 14% of PRS that goes to female songwriters. Loads of girls in the charts, telling us that they’re writing their own songs, aren’t. For me, you’re making it less believable that I do, when you’re going around saying you write your own songs. People would ask me, “do you write your own lyrics?” But they never ask if I write my music. I was getting really bitter and angry about the way things are now, and there’s nothing I can do to change that. But what I can do is try and change it for another generation. So they don’t grow up even asking each other those kind of questions, they just know that women can be musicians.”   With that in mind, ‘Kate Nash’s After School Rock ‘N’ Roll Club For Girls’ was born. After visiting different schools around the country during her days off from touring, she decided to focus on a couple in Yeovil and Liverpool; “I can’t go to every single school in the world, however much I’d like to...” she says, pragmatically. Kate helped the students to use music as an outlet for their emotional issues. “It was really amazing to see the transition. One of the girls, she looked like a peach, so fresh, and she’d written about how her best friend was a dog called Biscuit, because he didn’t tell any of her secrets. I was like, ‘oh my god, I love you,’” she laughs, “She did a drum session, and when I came to close up because her parents were there to pick her up, she wouldn’t stop. It was like, okay, we’ve finished, and she was looking at me and...” she air drums at us, as though possessed. “This tiny girl



had found a way to be loud.” The project culminated in a concert at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, the 900 seat theatre above where we’re currently sat. “It was a really emotional night. Fuck, it was so cool to see; just a little bit of pushing and encouragement and nurturing. Not trying to rip someone apart and make them into something they’re not, just by saying that it’s okay to be themselves.”


“I’m going to Africa next month, to Ghana,” she suddenly announces. We have a feeling that Kate is not taking her album promo as seriously as perhaps her label might want, but given the circumstances, we suspect she’ll be forgiven. “I’ve started working with a charity called Plan USA. It’s a campaign called‘Because I’m A Girl’, and they work in developing countries. My thing is trying to empower young women, and theirs is too, but they literally have to try and change the world to do it. Because they’re not just battling confidence issues, they’re dealing with a ‘this is what this girl is born to do, and will do the rest of their life’. Whether it’s becoming a cook, or a prostitute when she’s seven, or having her clitoris removed as a baby...”


Admittedly, it’s all starting to sound a bit serious, but aside from her acts of altruism, Kate has found a little bit of time to behave in a manner befitting a basswielding rock star. She recorded ‘Girl Talk’ in LA, “In a fucking mansion,” she deadpans. “There’s no real subtle way to say that. It was completely insane.” Heading stateside with her girl band, who she informs us are “really badass”, they shared a massive bedroom, made friends with the ‘mansion dogs’, and picked fresh grapefruit from the grounds for breakfast. Okay, that doesn’t sound too rock ‘n’ roll. But then Kate opens up about meeting one of our favourite punk bands, via her acting manager’s assistant. “She lives with the guys from FIDLAR. Then I started hanging out with those guys, and now I have a crew of real friends in LA. I used to really hate it there, I only knew Hollywood from when I played shows, and not being able to drive, I’d be in a hotel room drinking during the day, watching Courtney Love videos on YouTube. But I love it now; when I was in the mansion, we’d have parties and have those guys around.”   Which explains how she came to be guesting on their track last year; ‘AWWWKWAARRRDDD’. But with that, her charity work, the After School Club, and doing some acting (she’s set to appear in the Jeff Buckley biopic, ‘Greetings From Tim Buckley’, as well as a female ensemble Brit-Flick, ‘The Powder Room’ later this year), you’d normally worry that’s she been spreading herself too thin. That the album might have suffered for all the extra curricular activity. It’s not the case, and Nash is quick to point that out. “It’s the best work I’ve ever done, and there isn’t one thing I’d change about it.” She’s right, and we’re sorry if we ever doubted it. Lesson learned; don’t under-estimate that girl again. Kate Nash’s new album ‘Girl Talk’ will be released on 4th March.










alma Violets are on the road. Their weed’s smoked, energy levels stubbed and their rider (a vast tub of Canadian lagers, natch) can’t disappear quickly enough. “Maybe we could hand some out to the audience?” suggests a pragmatic Chilli, whose vague resemblance to a drugscandal boy-band reject is vividly enhanced by purple sunken eyes and a greasy side fringe. They’re currently in a tricky spot. After all, the factory line of spat-out hype circuit hopefuls - Oasis, The Libertines, Arctic Monkeys - proves it’s no walk in the park for UK bands trying to navigate the increasingly hostile waters of North America. This continent could eat Palma Violets for breakfast - and it nearly has. Nursing a half-full beer, Chilli is lounged on a beatup couch regaling us with his fondest memory of the trip to date. “So we’re in a motel coming back from Boston,” he grins, “and this police car pulls up, right. We’re all pretty gone at this point. And fat cop, right, rolls into Dunkin’ Donuts - buys himself a dozen donuts and a coffee!” His eyes are lit up in their sockets. “I couldn’t believe it. I just wanted a bagel!” Chilli’s laughter is genuine, but beneath the fringe he looks impressively knackered. You wonder how well the lads have acclimatised to their rapid lifestyle50

ascent. Initial forecasts: like the rest of the band, Chilli appears to have aged half a dozen years in the last six months. In conversation his happy-chap mannerisms take on a withered despondency, while Will currently looks like he’d struggle to hold a sentient conversation, let alone a catchy John Bonham beat. Pete adopts the role of wise’n’weary band uncle, and Sam has the air of a man who’s permanently surprised to find himself in a successful indie band, but doesn’t much care either way. Of course, a shortage of in-band stamina is hardly problematic as long as the goods are being delivered. Fortunately the opening

credits are still rolling, and debut album ‘180’ proves Palma Violets are not, in sonic terms at least, the slouches their presentation indicates. Their choruses simmer ecstatically, while mundane asides about catching the night bus come off like dream-weaving mission statements. This is a band to whom the pursuit of popularity and conventional success is nothing to be ashamed of, ta very much. “We’re not media conscious, but we do have big ambitions,” Chilli avers. “We’re young kids in a big world. And we wouldn’t be in the US or Canada if we weren’t ambitious. Am I right?” “Yeah,” Pete nods, “you’re exactly

right.” “He agrees. He concurs,” Chilli smirks. “He’s a good agreer. But I agree with him all the time as well.” Heartwarming stuff, eh? Still, good eggs though they may be, the question remains of how the Palmas, unlike their dick-swinging predecessors, will go about cracking America. Indeed, rather than updating any tried-and-failed formula, the four-piece have arguably risen to success by sounding a bit – but not too much – like the century’s slipstream of UK hype-merchants: the slightly croonier side of Arctic Monkeys, the grunting swagger of The Vaccines, that niggling Libertines vibe that every instrument is mortally fucked, and we’re all going down with them. There’s a touch of Alex Turner to Sam’s more playful lyrics - take “I don’t wanna come and play, on your rollerskates today,” from ‘Tom The Drum’ - cut with a spontaneity that tenuously evokes ’60s whackos The Fugs. But their plain-speak verses more often skimp on frippery, and the undercurrent of wild-eyed psychedelia is intentionally muffled by Steve Mackey’s primitive rock production. Chilli, modestly zealous as ever, is quick to play down their world takeover potential. “To be honest, we’re looking at what we can learn from America,” he begins, sagely. “’Cos if you go and see a band in London, man, they don’t even care. They don’t give any energy. They just sit there. We were playing [the US] with a couple of support bands, and their energy was just like...” He makes elaborate wingspan-stretch gesture. “It gets more and more. And for us, we’re just knackered by the end of the set.” There’s a clutch of reviews that’d beg to differ... “Yeah,” Chilli concedes. “In fact, we had that Rolling Stone guy - the one from Almost Famous [Cameron Crowe] - at our [Brooklyn] Glasslands show. He said he loved it, he gave it a cool review, which is fucking amazing man. But then, just look at Fucked Up.” Earlier today, Pink Eyes interviewed the PVs for Much Music, Canada’s answer to MTV. “Their shows are fucking incredible, aren’t they? Someone was telling me he puts his dick in between his thighs and all that kinda shit. But he was so fucking cool. He looked out for us. He knew groups like Swell Maps, bands that I fucking love. Punk stuff like that, DIY stuff. He was a music lover, and that I can relate to.” There’s an interruption as the dressing room door swings open. Sam bounces into conversation, wideeyed and frantic, something about him suggesting massive energy drink consumption. But then again, that might be the whiskey and cokes he’s been necking day-long - instead of conforming to the evil demands of his ambitious band’s ambitious interview schedule.



He’s a rare sort, is Sam. When cornered he admits, with trademark humility, that his “biggest fears are interviews and cameras.” Tellingly, while he’s clearly not an unintelligent chap (“I was disappointed that they’ve now added LED lights to the Empire State Building,” he later muses of the New York skyline, “I preferred the whole Art Deco thing...”), Sam’s demeanour is symptomatic of a wider truth about the Palmas. That thoughtful observations are best hidden behind in-jokes and rowdy japes. There’s a perceived gap in the market for almost-sensitive lads with riffs for brains, and the Palmas are built to fill it.

plaza: less romantic than ‘Up The Bracket’, less dead-eyed than the Vaccines, less ‘clever-clever’ than Arctic Monkeys. Where does Chilli reckon the Palmas sit on that scale? “I love the Libertines,” he enthuses, obviously answering a slightly different question. “Growing up and hearing all those stories about Albion? I was definitely influenced by ’em, yeah. But I think we’re far more back to basics than that, because our band’s rise was so quick. We didn’t have time to think of great poetic lyrics...” he pauses, momentarily distracted by something. “But I think that comes with time. And we’re on Rough Trade, which is obviously this legendary label.”

As Chilli starts stripping off and “WE’RE GOOD. WE’RE slipping on some, er, interesting What did label-head Geoff Travis READY. AND LOOK stage leggings (“you’re not the only think of the album? “Well, he journalist who’s seen Palma Violets generally says nothing,” deadpans WHERE WE ARE NOW. naked!” jests Will), the more Pete, before Chilli corrects him WE’RE IN FUCKING beard-strokey among us might call with a gentle nudge: “No, he TORONTO, MAN!” into question the band’s purpose loved it! He turned to us and said, beyond Being A Bit Of Fun. At a [nasal GT impersonation] ‘This is time when Everything Everything one of the best albums of the last are diving into the big issues decade!’” male depression, generational malaise, youth complacency - and Wild Beasts have nailed “He actually said we were one of the best bands that ever the whole gender and sexuality thing, you might wonder lived.” Chilli adds, cackling away at his own joke. “No - but where a record like ‘180’ slots into the social kaleidoscope. he did say it was one of the best albums he’s heard in the Hell, even the Libertines were tackling parochial riot last decade.” culture on songs like ‘Time for Heroes’ and ‘Mayday’. For Chilli, inspiration springs from a fear of settling for a It’s tempting to see ‘180’ as a neutral ground in the indie less-than-extraordinary existence. “I found school tough,”


he later admits over a pre-show cigarette. “I didn’t enjoy it much. And I’ve always wanted to do something in music, but being in a band always seemed too far off.” Was it a confidence issue? “You’re a sixteen year old kid, you know? There’s millions of bands. How are you ever gonna even get the chance? “People deal with life in different ways,” he continues, meandering onto the issue of self-discipline. “I know I do - I’ve had issues, not necessarily to do with drugs, but with other things. But with the band, there’s nothing to iron out, ’cos it’s all fun. None of us have, you know, [drug problems]. And even if we did... I probably wouldn’t tell you.” At this he grins like a naughty child, quickly getting back on script. “I think we’re good. We’re ready. And look where we are now. We’re in fucking Toronto, man!” With issues of a sensitive nature happily bulldozed aside, it’s onstage that the boys set about putting the world to rights. Our last appointment at the Horseshoe Tavern heralded the homecoming of local-lads-cum-internationalhardcore-heroes METZ. After that, you might expect an atmosphere downgrade of cosmic proportions. In fact, tonight’s electric tension and release is... not far off, actually. Quiet intrigue eventually gives way to an appropriately bacchanalian scene, as a few brave souls at the front initiate the politest ’pit this side of a John Lewis boxing day sale. You keep thinking the PVs have used up their last good chorus when along comes another, dressed up in a Hawaiian shirt and trouser braces, swaggering like

a dog with more dicks than legs. After begged-for crowd interactions, a loudly sung-along ‘Best Of Friends’ and severe mechanical failure during the chorus of ‘Chicken Dippers’ (that’s the best one, FYI), the set closes with satisfying abruptness. “If you want a drink, come back here!” Chilli yells, desperately signalling to the band’s side-stage dressing room. Do these look like the shining knights of a dying rock’n’roll breed? Or more like... a nice bunch of boys, gifted with the necessary energy and single-minded fervour to put the pogos in any room either side of the Atlantic – no mean feat? As clutches of besotted fans are ushered out the main exits, a slightly weary manager gathers everyone together for a last photo shoot before a (relatively) early night. Tomorrow the band perform on a major Canadian radio show, and then it’s planes across the border to Chicago and Brooklyn for shows and interviews and interviews and shows. Despite the droopy eyelids, morale runs high. “This was given to us by Fucked Up,” yells Chilli, handing DIY his last joint... “and it’s the shit Odd Future smoke!” It’s a minor triumph for Britain’s modest new saviours, then: Palma Violets may not have conquered America yet, but hey, at least America didn’t conquer them. Palma Violets’ debut album ‘180’ is out now via Rough Trade.






remember watching massive bands on it, those big Letterman moments, and then suddenly we’re asked to play there? Incredible.”

The Daughter that sit across from us in the basement of an east London bar are not the same Daughter we met with a year ago. Singersongwriter Elena Tonra, guitarist-producer Igor Haefeli and drummer Remi Aguilella have had a whirlwind year - which, yes, included appearing on one of America’s most famous TV programmes. Since the last time we saw them, they’ve signed with indie behemoth 4AD, who Elena assures us have been “absolutely amazing, they’ve given us so much space to just do our own thing and make the record we want to make.” They released their first single with the label, ‘Smother’ in October 2012. They’ve toured both across Europe and the US including support slots with Beirut and various festival appearances. They had to give up their jobs. “Well, I kind of got told I’d have to quit,” explains Elena, “they didn’t fire me, but it was quite close. There was an opportunity to go on tour, and I was like ‘oh yeah, can I have another week off ?’ and they said no.”

playing around on the computer one day and he made this sound which was really strange and I was like ‘wow, that’s great, I’m gonna write to it’. I don’t even know if it’s actually still in the song, it might be there in a lesser form, but it was just strange to write that way round.” A year ensued of dipping in and out of recording. “Even when we were on tour we had the album in our minds,” Igor considers, “It was this thing that was growing, getting more and more intense.” And they’re the first to admit they were difficult to work with. “We’re very much perfectionists,” adds Elena, “I do remember one case where we got really bad. Me and Igor had stayed in this studio for hours, we had a lockout so we were there from 10 in the morning on the first day, until 10 in the morning the next, and we wanted to stay longer [laughs]. This guy was like ‘Go home! Please go home!’ I think when we’re in something, it can probably be quite destructive for people who lead actually sociable lives.”


“It was fine,” she says, giggling. “I was living with my parents at the time so I could just raid their fridge for a few months! I think they were quite happy to get rid of us...” The trio’s debut album, ‘If You Leave’, was recorded “all over London” throughout 2012, juggling between various commitments and when spaces were available - and cheap. “We were on a tight budget. So we did some here, some there, wherever was cheapest,” Igor laughs. The cheapest of all, then, would be his and Elena’s flat, which we’re assured does feature in the final recordings. “All the like, really noisy bits that are really badly recorded, they’ll be our flat,” says Elena.

“There were times when I was sleeping under the mixing desk,” Igor grins.

“We definitely could have kept going for a long time”, continues Elena, before trailing off. “Arrangements-wise, the people that we were working with had their limits of time, Ken and Jolyon [Thomas] only had that space of time in which they could work with us for the record. So there was that deadline, but I think it was a blessing because I think we probably would have...” “...We did push it until literally the last moment,” Igor picks up, “we got it mastered at Abbey Road just before Christmas, and it was literally the last day there was a mastering engineer!” They’ve got to be relieved it’s done, right? Right?

Bar a few of the songs - ‘Youth’ taken from ‘The Wild Youth’, and “two other songs that are older, though that were never really released, they were always demos” - it’s all new material. And, with writing between tours, and for a while at least, jobs, Elena found new ways to work.

“It’s a tough one,” Elena debates with herself, “Personally I am relieved that we’ve finished and it is over with, but I think until it’s actually out I will be ‘OK I’m letting you go’, because I can’t really listen to it still. I think we’ve been with it, been really in to it for such a long time that it’s hard to do it. I was like that with ‘The Wild Youth’, I couldn’t listen to that for a very long time after we recorded it, I was just like ‘get it away from me!’”

“There’s one track that started off as this weird ambient loop that Igor made,” she begins, “I think we were just

Daughter’s debut album ‘If You Leave’ will be released on 18th March via 4AD. 55




A decade away from music. An album recorded in secret, announced with minimal information. The only hype generated from our own thirst, and a supporting cast, producer Tony Visconti and guitarist Earl Slick, finally allowed to talk about it. Few artists could get away with this. Bowie can. When he announced his comeback, there were obvious concerns. Due to his absence, we’ve spent the last decade carefully learning to gloss over his mistakes. Bowie’s was not the perfect career, not without misstep. There was Tin Machine, his attempt at being in a proper band, whose second album was critically mauled and a commercial failure. That duet with Jagger, when they puckered up for Live Aid and covered ‘Dancing In The Street’ (shudder). As much as we’d like to think differently, where Bowie is concerned; quality isn’t guaranteed. In the run up to this release all we’ve had to go on was lead single, ‘Where Are We Now?’, released with no warning on his 66th birthday. Visconti claimed that it wasn’t representative of Bowie’s unexpected 24th studio album. The record is rockier, those fragile vocals aren’t anything like the aesthetic of the album, he insisted. We now know, he wasn’t lying. Because other than that number, ‘The Next Day’ is about as far removed from the sound of a frail old man as it’s possible to get.


It’s immediately apparent from the title track itself. We’re told by Tony that this is the track inspired by Medieval English history, but it’s hard to figure from the lyrics just who or what David’s on about. Certainly, there’s something disconcerting, slightly brutal going on here, despite the upbeat tempo, cut through by Gerry Leonard and David Torn’s screaming guitars. Bowie is almost sneering about how “they can’t get enough of it all.” More pertinently, the scene is immediately set for an album which is ostensibly about Bowie’s storytelling; albeit in a far less obvious manner than some of his past ventures. Each song feels like a separate vignette, but putting your finger on the exact theme isn’t easy; more often it’s left entirely to

the interpretation of the listener. For a man who once stated that his desire to become a musician stemmed from watching Little Richard with four saxophone players lined up behind when he was a boy, it’s clear that his love of the instrument hasn’t waned; it’s used liberally across the album. For all his past experiments with sax, as we approach second track ‘Dirty Boys’, it’s different; more stabbing than ‘Young Americans’, dirtier than ‘Jump They Say’ or ‘Heroes’. Whilst it’s gloriously sleazy, we’re still not feeling safe; particularly as he’s busy rhyming “buy a feather hat” with “steal a cricket bat.” Around a third of the way into the album, any lingering worries we had about this being a Bowie at less than full throttle are banished. ‘Love Is Lost’




eck recently turned Bowie’s 1973 single into staggering work of performance art, complete with a (count ‘em) 157-piece orchestra. Apparently, when you tell the ‘Loser’ man to do whatever he wants; he also gets in two choirs, a yodeller and a man to play the saw, and recreates the Bowie classic. The lucky invite-only audience members sat on cushions around a circular stage, with the musicians rotating around them. That orchestra played behind them, engulfing them with sound as it was conducted by David Campbell (who as well as arranging strings for the likes of Carole King, Green Day and Muse, is also the man known to Beck as “Dad”). The Thin White Duke hasn’t officially said what he thought of the work, but it was posted on his official Facebook and Twitter. That’s the 2000’s version of giving his blessing, right?

finds David turning the dis-chord in his keyboards up to eleven, while pulsating guitars stab behind. “What have you done? Oh, what have you done?” he near screams, heartbreak and despair etched in his vocals, over the battling keys, sax and guitar. It’s nothing short of staggering. After all that, the softness of ‘Where Are We Now?’ feels totally out of place. It really doesn’t fit, at all. But as a reminder that Bowie can do aching subtlety better than the next man, whilst providing a couple of minutes respite, it still belongs. And it allows for a move into a different rhythm, as ‘Valentine’s Day’ arrives with a strange sense of familiarity. Similar in sound to ‘Aladdin Sane’’s ‘Drive By Saturday’, or as similar he ever gets to sounding like any of his past tracks, this could have been plucked from far earlier in his career. Unlike ‘If You Can See Me’, which is far from comfortable. It’s a big old noise mess, with Zach Alford’s drums crashing over industrialised vocals and guitars. The hardest listen so far, it’s a timely as a reminder of how much Bowie has influenced Nine Inch Nails over the years. If someone had told us that Bowie was

going to sing along to The Shadow’s hit, ‘Apache’ at some point in the album, we’d have probably laughed and thought that he’d lost his marbles. But that’s exactly what he does. As it trips in on the frankly brilliant ‘How Does The Grass Grow’, you can’t help but grin, and not out of concern for David’s mental well being. ‘You Feel So Lonely You Could Die’ is one most intriguing listens here; trying to work out the subject. Is it Elvis? His old mate John Lennon? Or perhaps even Ziggy Stardust himself ? Certainly, there’s a nod to ‘Five Years’ here, both in the way the song builds, and the moment at the end elevated over everything else is the same drum pattern as that number both started and ended with, all those years ago. For one who’s never really harked back to his old works, it’s as if he’s leaving us, deliberately, with reminders of his past, as album closer ‘Heat’ evokes the memory of ‘Major Tom’. Bowie duets with himself, armed with an acoustic guitar and a string section that still manages to sound a bit... bleak. “And I tell myself,” he repeats, “I don’t know who I am.” But as it reminds us of Bowie’s first ever hit, ‘Space Oddity’, in a way, we’ve gone full circle. Does that mean it’s his last album? Who knows, but on the strength of this; we can only hope that’s not the case.

THE DAY BEFORE: The Albums That Made ‘The Next Day’.


Bowie’s 1971 album preceded his ascent to super-stardom – that happened proper with ‘Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars’, but in many senses, it’s faultless. With tracks like the sublime ‘Life On Mars’, ‘Changes’ and ‘Kooks’, it’s an easy listen, but lyrically brilliant. THEY SAY: “The musicianship is faultless. Bowie plays tribute to Dylan, Warhol and the Velvet Underground with genuine affection, that’s endearing and sincere. In a perfect world, every record would have the production and songs of ‘Hunky Dory’.” - Veronica Falls


The final part of the Berlin trilogy wasn’t a massive success on its release, being stylistically different from the first two, ‘Low’ and ‘Heroes’. After all, it wasn’t even recorded in Berlin, instead in Switzerland. But, over the years, it’s rightly earned a reputation for being one of his most underrated albums. THEY SAY “Bowie is one of those artists who over his career has successfully redefined himself with every album. He’s never pigeonholed himself.” - Yeasayer


Having come out of his Berlin period, ‘Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)’, and after the relative failure of ‘Lodger’, ‘Scary Monsters’ was a deliberate attempt to make a more commercial record. Not that it suffers for it, with the return of Major Tom on ‘Ashes To Ashes’, ‘Fashion’ and the brilliant ‘Teenage Wildlife’. With hindsight, it’s unsurprising that Bowie found himself back at number one. 57



PEACE In Love (Columbia)

Every generation has its share of Very Important Albums. Be it a ‘Definitely Maybe’ , an ‘Up The Bracket’, or something else entirely, there’s a record in each person’s collection that soundtracked that vital moment when music changed from something they occasionally enjoyed to a matter of life and death. With their debut full length, Peace have made a Very Important Album. The evidence is there for all to see. From the opening line of the brilliant ‘Lovesick’ (“I don’t wanna go to school”), ‘In Love’ is packed with the kind of moments that open eyes and warp young minds. But that doesn’t mean it’s simply one for the kids finding their way. Peace most certainly aren’t cerebral, but in songwriting terms they posess a kind of sparkle that’s been missing from young British bands for longer than we’d care to mention. The influences are obvious. Occasionally it’s the Stone Roses, sometimes The Verve, there’s even a bit of Suede there if you squint. But, crucially, they’re all perfectly natural. Peace aren’t enthralled to the music of a generation or more before - they’re a band that simply belong. It’s testament to ‘In Love’ that neither ‘Follow Baby’ nor 58

‘California Daze’ - two tracks which could have made a decent scrap for any best of 2012 accolade - stand out noticably. The former remains a solid gold hit, sure, and the latter represents the kind of closer others can only dream about, but there’s no peaks or troughs. Take ‘Toxic’. No, it isn’t a Britney cover. Normally that would be a disappointment, but here it’s a cause for celebration. With a pre-chorus refrain that would be cast off by most hopefuls for being a bit too catchy, when it actually does reach its peak it’s nothing short of glorious. Yes, no doubt we will have to suffer more than the occasional mention of the other b word, but that’s no insult. This isn’t britpop recooked, reheated or reserved. Be it 1993 or 2013, ‘In Love’ stands proud. In an era in dire need of a new wave of potential festival headliners, they’re more than just a good punt. In Peace we trust. (Stephen Ackroyd)







Flume (Transgressive)

Flume’s debut is a party record through and through. The kind of party where virtually anyone’s invited, where all styles and moods are incorporated, all prejudices cast aside. The album draws in influence from all corners, catering to hip-hop, dubstep and synth-pop crowds in equal measure. Lead track ‘Sleepless’ might have won the hearts of chillwave addicts across the board back in 2011, but in this debut full-length Harley Streten expands his palette, finding life and energy in virtually every genre going. With dynamism and an ignorance of any visible boundaries, he’s produced one of the defining soundtracks of this coming summer. ( Jamie Milton)

The Invisible Way (Sub Pop)

The Low we encounter here appears to have undergone an inversion: it is no longer Alan Sparhawk’s voice which dominates. Instead, Mimi Parker’s vocals have taken a noticeably more prominent role. Whether this was a suggestion of producer Jeff Tweedy is open to debate, yet songs like ‘Four Score’ and ‘Holy Ghost’- where Parker takes the lead – are buoyed by unashamedly gospel-inflected chorales. And it works, wonderfully. By the end, Parker is singing of how “the love we all need... we adored it and abused it ‘til it brought us to our knees” with a clarity and tone which makes ‘The Invisible Way’ seem frighteningly real, at once remote yet all too familiar. (Colm McAuliffe)


(Rough Trade) Have you ever found yourself running down a city street after dark, giggling while drinking the most dubious form of alcohol available? Felt you you could take on the world; the glorious fuzzy half-way point between sobriety and otherwise, like time stood still? Been in a dark, damp club, music blaring when OH GOD, OH GOD THAT SONG I MUST DANCE NOW? Palma Violet’s debut, ‘180’ is a bit like that. And if scratchy guitars and lolloping drums could give hugs, these would be the sweatiest, messiest, yet most kind-hearted type. ‘Best Of Friends’ boasts of innocence, ‘Step Up For The Cool Cats’ a calling-card to sometime outsiders. Even the dreadfully-named ‘Chicken Dippers’ and ‘Johnny Bagga’ Donuts’ shimmer with howling exuberance. ‘180’ will leave a grin on even the most cold-hearted of listeners. (Emma Swann)



Specter At The Feast

(Abstract Dragon) The overriding impression this album gives is one of a band going through the motions. ‘Some Kind Of Ghost’, ‘Sometimes The Light’ and ‘Funny Games’ are as inconsequential as a fart in a tornado; the anger with which ‘Teenage Disease’ is supposed to seethe comes across more like gastroesophageal reflux than genuine rage, while ‘Lose Yourself ’ would clearly love to be blessed by Father Jason Pierce but ends up closer to having a conversation about fair trade with Chris Martin. Lacking in inspiration, it runs out of steam before it runs out of songs. (Tim Lee)


JAMIE LIDELL Jamie Lidell (Warp)

Like Prince, Jamie Lidell’s music is unabashedly sexy; and not in the intimate, breathy, behind-closeddoors sort of The xx, or the debauched and occasionally terrifying cesspool of their postmodern R&B peer The Weeknd. It’s just, y’know, regular, good sexy. And it’s also unabashedly pop - like how Daft Punk’s ‘Discovery’ revelled in recreating fashionable sounds of the seventies that are now achingly un-cool. That means robot-voiced backing singers on ‘Do Yourself A Favour’ and wah-wah guitar funking all over ‘My Name’, a chaotic track not unlike the Gallic pair’s ‘Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger’. ”Don’t you love me anymore?” goes the titular refrain of the penultimate song. How could you not? (Tom Baker) 59




Bad Blood (Virgin)

A self-confessed film obsessive, Dan Smith’s love of theatrics has been well and truly pinned to his sleeve since day one. What he probably won’t shout as loud, however, is that he’s also a magnificent musician, and from the first notes of ‘Bad Blood’ these talents are wonderfully showcased. Throughout its twelve tracks, he has used his debut to create a patchwork of vaguely sinister tales, referencing all manner of subject matter. Yet, whether his story is of two corpses twisted together as boiling ash engulfs them – album opener ‘Pompeii’ – or, ‘Laura Palmer’, the mysterious fictional murder victim, taken from David Lynch’s Twin Peaks, the darkness remains enticing. Here is an artist who may be young, but has already got a firm handle on his craft. Having used his knowledge to create what feels like so much more than a debut, it’s exactly why Bastille are brilliant. Whether you share a true, legitimate love with this record, or it remains an insatiable guilty pleasure, there’s no denying that this is an album that will allow for Bastille to begin upon an entirely new path, and soon. (Sarah Jamieson)



Wondrous Bughouse

(Fat Possum) Youth Lagoon’s debut, ‘Years of Hibernation’, was bedroom pop at its most fragile, shy and beautiful, sounding at times like Trevor Powers was 10-yards away from the mic, too shy to come closer, his piano submerged beneath oceans. ‘Wondrous Bughouse’ sees him articulate his vision even more dazzlingly. From the colorful Henry Darger-esque cover onwards, this is still as beautifully out of focus as that debut but feels that much brighter and more vibrant. It’s the sound of Powers rising through the waters, his piano carried skywards by balloons, merging outgoing, triumphalist melodies with introspective, darker lyrics. Darkness has never sounded so gloriously technicolor. (Danny Wright)



If You Leave (4AD) Following on from a pair of well-received EPs in ‘The Young Heart’ and ‘The Wild Youth’, London threepiece Daughter have set themselves up rather nicely for a full-scale assault on the nation’s ears for their debut record. And ‘If You Leave’ is undoubtedly a highly polished, ambitious and well-considered out first-time effort. On repeated listen you can identify a plethora of well-regarded influences: the maudlin guitar lines of Arab Strap, the hazy melodicism of Trailer Trash Tracys, the nocturnal urban aura of Massive Attack, the subtle, soaring melodies of M83. Add in a genuine sense of individuality and on paper everything looks rosy. But while all the elements are there it seems far too eager to drift into not only the background but also into itself, with it turning into musical wallpaper and into one, long indistinguishable track with worrying ease. It’s this which take a record that could’ve been filed under ‘brilliant’ and drag it down to merely being good instead. (Gareth Ware) 60



Muchacho (Dead Oceans)

Right from the Kraftwerkian opening chords of ‘Sun, Arise! (An Invocation, An Introduction)’ it’s clear that Phosphorescent’s Matthew Houck is ready to embrace the electronic. Album highlight ‘Song for Zula’ is the track that brings this together most impressively. Over an upbeat electronic pulse and tender strings, Houck delivers an achingly personal and honest portrait of love as he realises that ‘love is a cage in me.’ It’s the sound of a man recollecting and realising what he’s lost and how he can find it again. ‘Muchacho’ is a record which can soothe even the darkest nights and moods. (Danny Wright)


There’s no one over arching concept; it’s about things, but each song is expressing a different emotion, or a different take on a situation. I felt like ‘Total Life Forever’ had more of a thread; for this record, I didn’t want to do that, I was trying to do something else; an honesty, or a simplicity. IS PROGRESSION SOMETHING THAT’S CENTRAL TO THE BAND?

Yeah, it is, I just don’t think that we know any other way. For us, it’s just making new records, and they should just sound different. We have a motor, inside the band, that means that we get bored easily and we want to move on, so each record ends up being different from the last. We just want to explore the next sentence, or the next paragraph in a book. It’s got to be forward.



THEME PARK Theme Park (V2)

Theme Park are a band who will already be familiar to most, a fiercely exciting quartet from London who take great pleasure in creating lush intelligent music. Previous singles ‘Jamaica’ and ‘Two Hours’ couldn’t be closer to pop perfection if they were matured in Stock, Aitken and Waterman’s musical wine cellar. In a musical climate where many bands create a fuss with a string of catchy forward-thinking singles and fail to deliver an album capable of justifying the fervour, Theme Park have emerged clutching the victory flag from beneath the rubble. (Greg Inglis)



The Big Other

(Moshi Moshi) From the moment ‘The Big Other’ crashes into life, it slots sunny noughties indie together with Spandau Ballet in the maddest game of Tetris to grace our ears for a long time. But even the finest slab of Hubba Bubba is liable to lose its sweet taste after a while, and it soon descends into a lump of indigestible rubbery nothingness. Theatrical, overblown, and just a little contrived, any promise of real substance sadly seems to fade after the first four tracks, and never quite returns. Unfortunately this album is largely pulp fiction. (El Hunt)


Holy Fire (Warner) Of all the great themes of 2013, there’s one that’s undeniably a cause for celebration. Under a pile of ‘return of the guitar band’ think pieces, a few treasured stalwarts are starting to come good on their promise. It’s not that Foals, or indeed their peers Biffy Clyro, haven’t been making great records - they undoubtably have - but finally they’re getting the chart success they’re due. ‘Holy Fire’ doesn’t so much wait patiently for that acclaim as kick the door down. ‘Inhaler’ sounds like a reivigorated U2 being mugged up a back ally by Jane’s Addiction, while ‘My Number’ is a concentrated injection of pure math rock adorned with a fine pair of dancing shoes. If third time really is a charm, Foals are nothing short of magic. (Stephen Ackroyd) 61


CAITLIN ROSE SPEAKS TO SIMONE SCOTT WARREN ABOUT THE MAKING OF ‘THE STAND-IN’. Is it definitely country music? Or are we classifying you a bit wrong? I think in the UK people use the term country, but I think there’s been a pretty big shift in the importance of songwriting, in the last few years, and I think that’s where it comes from.

Were you trying to come up with any concept, or theme for the record? I wrote this record with two people that I’ve known for a really long time now. We had a weird kind of collaboration where we’d get together once or twice a week and drink, and tell stories. So it’s not autobiographical? No no no! I think it’s very honest, but it’s more emotional, than anything else.


DEPTFORD GOTH Life After Defo (Merok) Many of us might bemoan the number of bedroom-ridden twenty-somethings producing emotional, R&B pop. The Weeknd’s party comedown misery isn’t for everyone. James Blake’s humming croon is on occasion too wet and dreary. Daniel Woodhouse isn’t taking notice. ‘Life After Defo’ is about as uplifting as a documentary about cardboard, but that doesn’t stop it from being a vital first work. What lifts it beyond mere downtrodden-ness is his candid style. Here’s one man heading out on a journey. Scattered with the odd moment that’ll leave you in no doubt that he is far from the finished product, Woodhouse nonetheless offers glimpses of a talent that is at times unrivalled. ( Jamie Milton)




The Stand-In (Names) While the temptation must’ve been great to consolidate and hone her already impressive style, from the first play of ‘The Stand-In’, you can hear Caitlin Rose stretching herself as a songwriter, never straying too far from home, but taking in touches of altcountry, Motown soul, and ragtime along the way. What’s most impressive, though, is the lightness of touch with which she tackles the material here, from the Whiskeytown-style electric guitar crunch of the album’s opening bars on ‘No One To Call’ to the woozy sway of close ‘Old Numbers’. The trick here is that, while you know that she’s stretching, she never sounds anything less than completely comfortable and in total control. ( Johnny Owen)

overlapping vocals it has a stark, impressive impact. The closing section is enough to rival seminal Radiohead track ‘Reckoner’.


ATOMS FOR PEACE Amok (XL Recordings)

When you find out how the debut - and possible standalone - record from Atoms For Peace came about, you begin to see it in a different light. What might be dismissed as a re-hashed version of Thom Yorke’s ‘The Eraser’ album soon develops into its own being. There are obvious connections between ‘Amok’ and the album that helped initially tie down all these musicians to tour together. A lot of the elements are laptop-based, or at least that’s where they stem from. And Yorke tows a line between pent-up, aggressive and oddly solemn, vocally. Same old, same old, you might think. Many might even render it a new Radiohead record, missing the point entirely. But that’s a natural consequence of placing Thom’s peerless vocal at the forefront of an album. The truth is, this is in a completely different zone to ‘The Eraser’ or any potential ‘King Of

Limbs Pt. II’ hardy Radiohead fans were anticipating. The process of three days of ‘jamming’, the members worked non-stop. As in, they played and played and played. The art was in the editing. Some might connect it to the Miles Davies notion of freeform jazz, connecting ideas in real-time. Yorke and co. don’t shy away from the comparisons. This was a process of sourcing the good stuff. They entered the studio with no material and they emerged with twenty, thirty hours’ worth, if not more. ‘Amok’ then, is the magnet that drew out the finest, most engaging material. And that’s not entirely apparent at first. It’s a tight, almost-constrained sounding work. To the naked ear that happens upon the album, it initially just sounds like a collection of jerky beats that Yorke and Nigel Godrich worked on. It’s easy to dismiss it as a vanity project, even. The band effect comes in subtly, through ‘Dropped’’s midway break section, with Flea’s bassline enveloping an eerie, sweeping sound that percussionist Joey Waronker seems to be conjuring up amongst the studio madness. ‘Stuck Together Pieces’ is bass-led, which is remarkable in itself, but in Yorke’s

Not all of these songs are as fascinating. The catharsis that these guys experience in the space of three days doesn’t always translate. Perhaps that’s the inevitable result of sourcing just 1/50th of the material they ended up writing for a record. ‘Judge Jury And Executioner’’s opening section is disturbing and excitable, but the magic dissipates as the song seemingly plods on. And the closing, title-track’s beat-heavy climax - and preceding song ‘Reverse Running’ is guilty of the same thing - slips into over-indulgence. There’s a fine line between experimentation and clear, well-crafted songwriting. In ‘Default’ they hit jackpot. It might be the best song Yorke’s put his name to since ‘In Rainbows’. Similarly, ‘Ingenue’’s Luke Abbott-meets-Nosaj Thing’s aesthetic is playful and ever-evolving. There are moments though when the novelty wears thin and you feel like you’re staring into empty space, rather than engaging. But that’s what ‘Amok’ essentially is: A glorified performance. It’s a coming together of great minds who every so often emerge with something truly special. Expectations are shattered. Those expecting Flea to tread all over the parade with cheesy slap-bass will be mistaken. Anyone hoping for ‘The Eraser’ to fledge further results will be similarly dumbfounded. But taken at token value, ‘Amok’ is a very fine work indeed. ( Jamie Milton)




THE MEN New Moon

(Sacred Bones) The Men’s third album is titled ‘New Moon’ and fittingly so; when you listen to it, you feel a fraction of the awe Neil Armstrong must have felt when he put up his thumb and blotted out that tiny pea, pretty and blue. Not once does this album clatter back to earth with a dull, mundane thud like a spent vessel. Constantly modulating, ‘New Moon’ tears through wrenching, propulsive head-spins, and, just as you’re dazed from it all, a snippet of studio chatter peeps through, or an ever-so-subtle change in dynamic captures your full attention. On opening track ‘Open The Door’, the sheer simplicity of a finger nudging its neighbouring key becomes a super-magnified charm, and as whimsical guitars occasionally join in, clunking along happily a couple of steps behind, the whole effect is quietly stunning. The Men have actually produced a lunar eclipse, with sunlight spilling around the edges in magical flares. In other words ‘New Moon’ is a rare and very special album. (El Hunt)


SHOUT OUT LOUDS Optica (Merge)

The thing with Shout Out Louds is that they’re so damn fine at the indie pop. Y’know? The indie pop? The stuff that’s all chime and swoon, where the only thing bigger than the dreams are the choruses and the only thing bigger than the choruses are the hearts? When ‘Sugar’ gets proceedings underway the thinking is all; ‘yes, Shout Out Louds, yes, this is how you start a record’. Mostly though, there’s ‘Where You Come In’ which does pop cliches to you, which does goosebumps to you, which does ‘that’s just too good’ to you. Do what it takes to hear this song. Treasure this celebration of indie pop at its absolute finest. (Dave Rowlinson) 64


DOLDRUMS Lesser Evil

(Souterrain Transmissions) From the woozy ‘Intro’ to the fading dream pop nature of ‘Painted Black’, ‘Lesser Evil’ is relentless in its attempts to make you dance. The range here is delicious. The chaotic mess of ‘She Is The Wave’ and the slow beat of the disjointed ‘Golden Calf ’ have never sounded so harmonious. It’s a record that keeps on giving; even when you think it’s finally running out of steam it serves up ‘Live Forever’ and Noel Gallagher is tossing and turning at night. ‘Lost In Everyone’ sounds like a lo-fi remix of his own work, while soaring lead single ‘Anomaly’ flexes his pop muscles. And my, how his biceps are bulging. ‘Experimental’, you might say? This experiment has been an astounding success. ( Jack McKenna)





Antipodes (Carpark) ‘Antipodes’ was recorded in the basement of an old theatre in Mt Eden which used to be a dancehall in the 1930s, and the core of this warped album sounds like it has been haunted by the vintage surroundings of its creation. Popstrangers expertly fuse these underlining chilling moments with sugar-coated hooks to produce a flowing psych record. The unpredictable nature here is most enthralling, as tracks erratically change direction. The hooks of ‘Heaven’ may have lured people in to the record, and although the ten tracks are by no means light of memorable moments, it’s the thrilling range of diverse songs that flow effortlessly that makes ‘Antipodes’ a debut album to take note of. (Samuel Cornforth)

Isles (Columbia)

The ten songs that comprise ‘Isles’ sit together like a circular archipelago in the Sea of Love and Heartbreak, which would probably be somewhere in the Caribbean Sea. Each ‘island’ boasts its own very distinctive character, and most of them are stunning places to visit. ‘Just Another Girl’ is a lively place, brimming with soul and a hint of danger, while ‘Twisted’ shuffles in the wind to the sounds of soca and calypso. ‘Take Me Away’ has a flirtatious, indie pop charm that proves irresistible. However, while there are plenty of places to party, it also has others where you can just admire the scenery. All in all, it’s sure to attract many visitors who will visit for a quick party, but end up staying on for the island romance. (Kosta Lucas)



4 RA RA RIOT Beta Love (Barsuk)

People wheel out comparisons to sharks - how they have to keep moving because, if they don’t, they die - to make things seem badass, but is it not more sad than anything else? ‘Beta Love’ is Ra Ra Riot’s third album, and it’s a shark. A toothless shark. It serves up re-heats of electro and post-punk instrumentation, song structure and rhythms that have been in vogue in their native New York since the turn of the millennium. It tries its best to distract you from that by speeding along, trying its best to dodge critical harpoons and keep it all together. It’s a confused mess of a record, with nonsensical lyrics, trite musical cliches, and not a lot else. And then it stops, and it dies. (Tom Baker)



Sing To The Moon (RCA)

It would be a bit of an understatement to say there’s a weight of expectation for Laura Mvula’s debut record. She’s even had a new musical genre used to describe her sound: ‘gospeldelia’. That she studied composition at Birmingham Conservatoire seems clear in the crisp orchestration and the space she gives to the offbeat orchestral soul she creates. The album glows from start to finish, starting with the burst of sunshine that is ‘Like The Morning Dew’. It’s both plaintive and panoramic and every time you get to the chorus you’re raised up as it unfurls. The lightness of her touch is shown by the fact that even the most leaden songs here have a moment where they catch fire. (Danny Wright)



Golden Grrrls

(Night School) Golden Grrrls were born in a bedroom at the end of the last decade, and time has not been wasted between then and now. It’s clear the Glasgow and Londonbased band have consumed a steady diet of their home city’s flagship output: The Pastels and The Vaselines, the Flying Nun label. It’s helped pave the way for the trio’s concise, melodic pop songs. ‘Golden Grrrls’ is a good representation of a band keen to create their own interpretation of their favourite sounds. The result is an accomplished debut that’s a welcome - though not essential - addition to a growing number of lo-fi pop bands. (Samuel Cornforth)



Bloodsports (Suede Ltd) For those who missed it on its initial release, ‘Barriers’ opens and is fairly indicative of the first half of the record. Unmistakably Suede, the first six tracks all sound like a more muscular version of the glam racket the band explored on their most commercially successful album, 1996’s ‘Coming up’. ‘Snowblind’ may share its title with a Black Sabbath song, but it’s basically a recycled version of their own single ‘Trash’. Inevitably a 45-year-old Anderson is no longer singing about “shaking his bits to the hits” - instead we get more prosaic lyrics about “lips like semaphore” (‘For the Strangers’) or “a touch like a raven’s shadow” (‘Sabotage’), but for the most part it’s disappointingly familiar. (Richard Skilbeck)

1/4/13 BRITISH SEA POWER Machineries Of Joy COLD WAR KIDS Dear Miss Lonelyhearts MUDHONEY Vanishing Point THE FLAMING LIPS The Terror VONDELPARK Seabed

8/4/13 BILL RYDER-JONES A Bad Wind Blows In My Heart JAMES BLAKE Overgrown KURT VILE Wakin On A Pretty Daze PARAMORE Paramore THE KNIFE Shaking The Habitual 15/4/13 ALESSI’S ARK The Still Life FALL OUT BOY Save Rock And Roll IRON & WINE Ghost On Ghost PARQUET COURTS Light up Gold THEE OH SEES Floating Coffin YEAH YEAH YEAHS Mosquito PARQUET COURTS Light Up Gold 22/4/13 JUNIP Junip PHOENIX Bankrupt! SWEET BABOO Ships 65


But when My Bloody Valentine got back together properly in 2007, the talk of this record began again in earnest. “I’d feel really bad if I didn’t make another record,” Shields said. “Like, ‘Shit, people only got the first two chapters, but the last bit is the best bit’.”



MBV (Self-Released) Let’s be honest. Any record with a backstory akin to that of ‘m b v’ could take on a legendary status, without a note of the music really mattering. Twenty or so years in the making. False starts, multiple promises over many years that it was almost finished. Alan McGee, whose label Creation had been near bankrupted by the band’s 1991 album, ‘Loveless’, swearing blind that he would never work with Kevin Shields again. His old boss telling the press that the My Bloody Valentine frontman had filled his home with chinchillas and barricaded himself in with sandbags and barbed wire. Shields taking the £250,000 advance from his new employers, Island, and spunking it all on a studio that he didn’t appear to be using. Bassist Debbie Googe and drummer Colm Ó Cíosóig left the band. Still, Shields insisted during a rare interview in ‘97, the record was nearly done. His new label appeared to have other ideas, and sensing that they would never hear the mythical third album, cut him off financially. It took four more years for Shields to be fully free from Island. And once without contract, he busied himself with Primal Scream and the ‘Lost In Translation’ soundtrack instead.


It took another five years before we got closer to ‘m b v’, though. Word came that whilst preparing both ‘Loveless’ and debut studio album ‘Isn’t Anything’ for their re-issues last year, Shields had listened again to the old sessions for the third album, at the same time. He’d come to a realisation; they weren’t bad. When he announced that it’d be out by the end of last year, after two decades, no one really believed him. Even when they claimed that they’d finished mastering at Christmas, entire records had been scrapped by Shields before, and there wasn’t anything to suggest that wouldn’t happen again. When he mumbled onstage at Brixton during a January warm up gig that the record would be out within a few days; nice one Kevin, good joke. Come on, the chances of a release schedule being announced as a retort to a heckler; that’s properly ridiculous, isn’t it? Except apparently, it wasn’t. Despite the fact that people had been waiting for nigh on two decades, on its midnight release one a Saturday night, the world couldn’t wait a single moment longer; immediate website meltdown ensued. This is My Bloody Valentine after all, someone needs to shed tears of frustration... Once we’d finished refreshing as though downloading these mp3s were Glastonbury tickets; there’s only one question left. Is ‘m b v’ a worthy follow up to ‘Loveless’? Is it actually that “best bit” that Shields promised? Hitting play on the ‘m b v’ opener, ‘she found now’ (all song titles in lower case, kids - Ed) for the first time; it’s a fraught experience. Perhaps that’s why Shields picked this particular track to start with - to soothe any initial worries. It’s not like you actually want an easy ride from a MBV album. It’s meant to challenge you. But whilst it’s strangely comforting that they’ve chosen to pick up

at the precise point where ‘Loveless’ left off, it’s still not a comfortable experience, as bass and drums fight over hushed vocals. For a few numbers, there’s no real letting up; provided you’ve cranked your headphones up to full and then some. By the time we’ve got to ‘who sees you’, with a drum pattern that feels simultaneously lackadaisical and incessant, it already seems a little as though our eardrums have been assaulted. But whilst Shields has heaped sound over sound to build that wall, there’s more to this than an attempt to accelerate the onset of early deafness. The swirling organs and gentle drums of ‘is this and yes’ feel like a respite, as they build and build around Bilinda Butcher’s beautiful ethereal vocal. It’s at this point that you notice something has shifted, that Shields clearly hasn’t just made the same record twice (although if he had, he’d have been teaching those copyists a bit of a lesson, anyway). Clearly, this is the end of the

outtakes from ‘Loveless’, and the beginning of something rather different. Kevin’s long been talking about the influence of jungle, electronic music, and even EDM on his work, and it’s at this point you sense its presence. Rhythmically, we’ve moved away from a slightly jazz infused time-pattern, and on to something much more methodical and repetitive. And where it works, it really works; ‘if i am’ is a great example. But there are times when it’s much less successful; ‘new you’ – previously referred to as ‘rough song’, after a description, rather than title, was put on the band’s set list at their warm up gig. The problem is that it’s... well, dated. For a band so adamant that didn’t want to be associated with shoegaze back in the nineties, it seems a bit weird that they’d have gone and recorded an essentially baggy number now. It’s not in Bilinda’s vocals, or the organs (although they’re probably not helping), it’s in that beat. It’s the first, and only, misstep.

Thankfully, the mad genius is still there, waiting to pounce as the last three tracks kick in. Industrial drums meet lilting keys on ‘in another way’, in a soundscape not too dissimilar to those created by Fuck Buttons. ‘nothing is’ opens with drumming that is little short of possessed, as sounds are looped and layered over the top of a pulsating beat. By the time ‘wonder 2’ finishes with us, guitars competing with drums and a vocal ever-so-slightly reminiscent of The Beatles ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’; if that had been filtered through the engines of a thousand jet planes, it’s exhausting. Glorious, but exhausting. There’s clearly something here, there’s an evolution in what Shields is doing. But, is it any good? Yes. Is it better than ‘Loveless’? Probably not – and it’s unfair to compare it to a predecessor that we’ve had two decades to live with and love. Given its gestation, it perhaps suffers from being a less cohesive body of work. It doesn’t quite hang together as an album. But, who knows, ask us again in twenty years.





(Sargent House) Kate Nash is properly pissed off. But we already knew that. Mind you, the sight of a snarling, pouting Kate Nash, coupled with all her talk about how inspired she was by Riot Grrrl didn’t do much for our expectations for ‘Girl Talk’; it basically left them entrenched in a ‘low-to-laughable’ zone. Oh Kate, we thought. We’d already decided that she’d misunderstood the genre, and was likely to piss all over it. A quick spin of ‘Girl Talk’ and you quickly realise; actually, that’s not the case at all. To be fair, she might have only appropriated some of the feminist anger from Hole and L7, but thanks to a liberal use of some deliciously cooing backing vocals, the general effect is far more surf rock than anyone was expecting. Without doubt, this is Kate’s heartbreak album; candid in its inspiration, both musically and emotionally. ‘Girl Talk’ is the sound of Kate Nash, stretching her wings and just pleasing herself. Really, who gives a fuck what anyone else thinks? (Simone Scott Warren)


HOOKWORMS Pearl Mystic (Gringo)

Opening track ‘Away / Towards’ is an excellent indication of the thrills that await the listener on the Leeds fivepiece’s debut. Guitar feedback drones over a prowling bass line while singer MJ screams and shouts way down in the mix - so far, so psych. But at the three-minute mark, the whole thing careers towards an finale that sounds like Iggy Pop fronting Hawkwind. It could be argued that The Stooges, MC5 and Suicide are among the core texts of psyche-garage rock 101 and taking inspiration from them is hardly original. Yet few bands have managed it with such panache or swagger, especially on their first full release. Hookworms have just gone to the top of the class. (Rick Skilbeck)




Woman (Polydor)

Emerging at the start of 2012, Rhye’s intense, morning-after love songs immediately stood out as phenomenal, fully-formed odes to late night infatuation. Thrust into the limelight with an anonymous aesthetic, no one had a clue as to their identities. When people wondered, people found out. And now they pop up with a near-faultless debut album. We know who they are but they’ve done nothing to dispel what we knew about their music already. ‘Woman’ is glorious, confident, subtle perfection. In ‘Woman’, they’ve bypassed the hurdle of dangerous, immaterial preconceptions by creating the ultimate debut album: a future classic brimming with effortless, tangible love songs. (Huw Oliver)





Free Reign II (Domino) Clinic’s ‘Free Reign’ was a fractal collage of Joe Meek, Amon Düül and Monks stitch-ups; it pulsed and throbbed with a disarming groove, dance music to mutate to. The album’s original mixer, Daniel Lopatin, has now taken it upon himself to remix the entire thing, thus: ‘Free Reign II’. He intended stamping a “burnt 60s/70s dub feel” sound on the original, and succeeds; there’s a fissure of AM hiss rippling through the remixed record, most thrillingly on ‘Seamless Boogie Woogie, BBC2 10pm (rpt) II’ But elsewhere, it seems to add little more than surface scratches. The whole thing would have sufficed as a bonus disc rather than the standalone album it is. (Colm McAuliffe)

The Chronicles Of Marnia

(Kill Rock Stars) Marnie Stern can shred. But her ability to wrestle noises that sound like they could make Eddie Van Halen’s mind fold in on itself in the hair metal equivalent of the Big Crunch, has never ever got in the way of her actual songs. It’s never come at the expense of tunes and melody and huge great quivering slabs of personality. Something that has never been more true than here on her fourth album. ‘The Chronicles Of Marnia’ is willing to sit a bit stiller than its itchy-footed predecessors. It’s the sort of album you want to place in a velvet lined box and present to everyone who visits. It’s loveable, thrilling and properly innovative. Plus, she can totally shred. (Tim Lee)



TRACKS CAVE SINGERS Naomi (Secretly Canadian)

‘Naomi’ is a perfectly pleasant, totally reasonable way of spending 50-ish minutes. An album that you can put your feet up with, whose glow you can bask in, whose undemanding, unhurried ways are easy to warm to. An album that makes you long for a beard, a porch, a shotgun and the onset of dusk. But not an album that ever moves you. Given that all the members of Cave Singers did stints in bands with somewhat higher tempos and louder intentions before this, the thought is that they might attempt some kind of melding of styles, but it doesn’t really ever veer far from its well-trodden path. Competent. Completely forgettable. (Tim Lee)


Midway through ‘Recover’ you think you’ve already stumbled upon the chorus. A light, pace-shifting verse gives way to a sparkly uplift, Lauren Mayberry’s vocals staying in tow with the upping of pitch. It’s pretty. It’s pleasant. And then all of a sudden the actual chorus announces itself. Like the revealing of the real bad guy at the end of a thriller, it’s a plot twist that’s both shocking, tragic and mind-blowingly brilliant. It’s a truly stunning rising to the challenge. ( Jamie Milton)

THE STROKES One Way Trigger

The Strokes’ familiar swagger has been slightly repositioned in favour of synths and an endearing vulnerability on ‘One Way Trigger’. It may have been surprising and a bit baffling on first listen, but upon close inspection, its insidious melodies and copious hooks bore themselves directly into your head. It’s simply a great song. This new attitude promises much, ahead of fifth album ‘Comedown Machine.’ (Martyn Young)

THE POSTAL SERVICE A Tattered Line Of String


AUTRE NE VEUT Anxiety (Software)

Anxiety is an emotional pop album: by turns heartbreaking, overjoyed and horny, Brooklyn’s Autre Ne Veut strains every single fraught or wild emotion from his body through a haunting, likeable merger of mainstream R ‘n B and oddball 80s electro. Two swigs Prince to one gulp Talk Talk, he sets the tone perfectly. This is an album about love, sex, ups and downs, of climaxes and cathartic streams of consciousness, but an album listenable from start to finish. If inc. and How To Dress Well are making smooth, chilled-out bedroom RnB jams, Autre Ne Veut is doing something lifted from the other end of the R ‘n B spectrum, something just as hypnotic, but ten times as uncomfortably thrilling. (Huw Oliver)

One of two new songs to be taken from the 10th anniversary reissue of ‘Give Up’, this is far better than it had any right to be. It won’t be changing anyone’s mind about the band but it’s full of spark and bounce that pitches it somewhere in between the traditional Postal Service and Death Cab sounds – which surprisingly means something akin to the arch pop of the Pet Shop Boys. Seth Cohen, wherever he is now, will be pleased. (Danny Wright)


This will hit every club across the country. Even beyond its star-studded cast, if it emerged out of the blue by a group of unknowns it wouldn’t fail to have a similar effect. It’s the sound of some of the country’s most exciting talents getting carried along in their own wave of momentum, aiming to soundtrack every moment of youth and vital escapism. And it’s bound to succeed in doing just that. ( Jamie Milton) 69





Gnarwolves are already a pretty special band. For most of you out there, you’ve no doubt never heard of this punk three-piece, but they’re intent on domination. Currently loitering on the fringes of the DIY circuit, the Cornish trio spent their first few months cramming into all manner of dingy East London venues, packing them tight with people craving a glimpse. Theirs is a brand new, refreshing kind of pop punk; something that has piqued the attention of bands and fans alike. Heading to Brighton, the group’s newly adopted home, we bear witness to one of their first shows of 2013. Hidden away upstairs in the The Prince Albert, the room is sticky with sweat, but the excitement is electrifying. Granted, the evening is a little bizarre – the themed club night has allowed for some rather questionable under-the-sea inspired decor – and before they even begin, vocalist Charlie Piper is clambering off the stage, asking for a wee. Toilet break taken, they’re back in business, launching full force into ‘History Is Bunk’. Things instantly get messy. Already, the full crowd are singing along to their recent ‘CRU’ EP opener, hands aloft in a sweet chaotic blur of loudness. The whole room moves in time with their frantically gruff offerings, and it’s easy to lose yourself in the atmosphere. The songs themselves are short, chopping and changing constantly, all the while remaining insatiably catchy. Not even Thom Weeks and his broken guitar seem to slow down the set, as their hilariously awkward stage banter holds focus until he somehow tapes it together. These are not tracks that you can simply nod your head along to. They possess a certain catharsis that ignites something inside your veins, whilst remaining impossibly fun and easygoing. Chances are you haven’t heard of this band yet, but get ready, because that’s all set to change. Just you wait and see. (Sarah Jamieson)


Hello Gnarwolves! You’re a pretty new band; how’s it all been going? Thom: Yep, this is the start of our second year. We’ve played loads of shows now - what are we at now? We played 128 last year, so I think we’re at 134 by now… So, you’re pretty hardworking then… Thom: Yeah, Max and Charlie have both become homeless since starting the band. Charlie: But I don’t care! Max: I don’t care! You don’t need a house when you’ve got friends. That’s what our new song is about.   Speaking of shows, you usually play a lot of small headline gigs, like this evening, but you recently got to go out on tour with Lower Than Atlantis? Charlie: Being early to venues is weird… It’s the first time we were early to gigs. Thom: It’s an interesting contrast to DIY shows and “legitimate” shows… We get to play to hundreds of people. The thing that I really liked the most about it was that we got to play to people going to their first ever show. That was really nice. I remember being 13 or 14 going to my first show, so it was amazing to think that we got to be some kids’ first show. I mean,

we potentially ruined a few people’s lives.

Next up, you’ve got two tours with The Story So Far and Broadway Calls, which are two bands more of your genre. How excited are you for that? Max: The Story So Far, man, they have all those kids going wild. Charlie: It’s nuts how big things have got for them. Thom: The nicest thing is we did three days with them last year and we just connected with them so quickly. It was obvious that we were gonna get on with them and by the end of three days, we knew we definitely going to go on tour with each other next year.   So, let’s be presumptuous. Should we be expecting an album anytime soon? Thom: It’s coming! We’re putting out a record in May… The plan is that we’ll have a record out in time for The Story So Far tour. It won’t be an album, which will disappoint some people, but we have only been a band for a year, so please bear that in mind! Charlie: And please bear in mind that we will have four brand new songs, which will be on top of the ten songs that we already have, so it’ll be loads of songs for you to listen to!



photo: richard issac




here’s a very peculiar sense of anticipation in the air for this evening. Having spent most of the previous year on the road, it’s not necessarily unusual to be awaiting Alt-J’s stage arrival. In fact, for most of the crowd here, it’s undoubtedly an activity they’ve indulged in before. The surreal part of tonight, however, comes with the timing of the event. Headlining two sold out dates at London’s Shepherds Bush Empire was once set to be the biggest achievement of their career thus far, but, having already sold out a performance at Brixton Academy six months in advance, the importance of tonight has shifted somewhat.


Now this room stands as, quite technically, an intimate appearance for the four-piece. That’s the charm of this evening though. The room is rammed. The balconies are lined with rows of people reaching for a glimpse of the stage. Yet, in the centre of all of this madness stand probably the four men least likely to have expected this near-hysteria. It’s strangely incredible, but incredibly strange. Bathed under a series of towering lights, the performance itself is simple but immersive. Joe Newman’s vocals are just as mesmerising live as they are on record, and each song is met with an utterly rapturous reaction. As rows of people at the front

of the audience form the band’s now infamous triangle symbol with their fingers, they, all the while, sing the words back at the band religiously. Bouncing back and forth through cuts from their debut, ‘An Awesome Wave’, it’s songs like ‘Tessellate’ and ‘Fitzpleasure’ that really get the room moving, contrasting with the band’s mostly quiet, concentrated disposition on stage. Keyboardist Gus Unger-Hamilton heads up most of the little onstage conversation this eve, but – thank yous aside – any other words would seem disingenuous. Instead, tonight, the band let the songs speak for themselves, and they sure have a lot to say. (Sarah Jamieson)

photo: emma swann



t doesn’t come as much of a shock that Shepherd’s Bush Empire is freezing cold this evening. With snow lying on the pavement outside, you’d hope the air inside would be a little more humane, but it’s just as bitter. The weather conditions don’t seem to bother Blood Red Shoes, mind you, as they ready themselves for a blistering show. Tonight marks the largest headline date that they’ve so far played. Taking to the stage, Laura-Mary and Steven blast through every era of their discography with ease. Throughout the twenty track set, we’re treated to scorching renditions of the likes of ‘It’s Getting Boring By The Sea’ and ‘Say Something, Say Anything’, whilst their newer tracks – most markably, ‘Cold’ – sound fierce, tight and pummelling. The most remarkable factor tonight is the sheer volume of the duo. Having possessed an intense love of loudness throughout their career – whether in the scrappy, punky offerings of their debut ‘Box Of Secrets’ or the brooding, more intensely dark output of ‘In Time To Voices’ – tonight feels next level. A mesmerising hour onstage sees the pair draw to a close with the spine-tingling ‘Je Me Perds’, and, as tonight’s crowd remain so magnetised by the band’s performance, they’ve all but forgotten about the outside world. (Sarah Jamieson)




t’s the hottest ticket in town. On a freezing cold Thursday night XOYO is packed with chattering hipsters. And they’re all here to see Beyonce’s sister. Expectations are exceptionally high. The fact that I’m behind Romy from the xx in the queue to get in shows just how hyped this show is. Romy’s presence at the show is explained half-way through the set when Solange calls out her bandmate Oli to join her onstage to help cover ‘Make It Hot,’ a semi-big Timbaland/Missy Elliott produced 1998 hit for Nicole Wray. Their salt and pepper, sultry vocals work well together as she purrs “I got what you want.” When you can get a whole crowd to cheer just by dropping your shoulder it’s a fair sign of how effortlessly cool you are. Yet it’s not that Solange dominates the stage – dressed in a floral vintage dress, all shoulders, startling jawline and beaming smile, her stage presence is only quietly dominating. With a full-length album imminent and this being only Solange’s new band’s fourth gig, it’s hard not to get excited about where Ms. Knowles can take her own unique brand of dreamy R&B. (Danny Wright) 73


photo: emma swann


B I R T H D AY S , L O N D O N


s METZ are pulverizing the ear drums of the crowd downstairs in Birthdays, Harry Styles is celebrating his 19th birthday upstairs with a cavalcade of ‘stars’. Disappointingly we don’t get to see Styles crowdsurf to the pounding screech of ‘Wet Blanket’ SOUND or Grimshaw join in on the vocals for ‘Sad CONTROL, MANCHESTER Pricks’. But they’re the ones who missed out. f anyone’s apprehensive about seeing him minus his bandmates, they This is a show that perfectly suits Birthdays needn’t have worried: a Paul Banks gig has all the hallmarks of an cramped, dark basement conditions perInterpol show. Moody lighting, deadpan vocal delivery - and the fectly. It’s a messy, intense joy. METZ take album, ‘Banks’, has some great songs to boot. It’s a pleasure to hear little time to get going. The room feels hot some of the more interesting sounds recreated live through a sharp use and sweaty and every song is a sonic attack, of effects pedals. An obvious highlight comes in the form of ‘Paid For lean and uncompromising but frantically That’, where a cacophonous clash of duelling guitars eventually ensues, catchy. Alex Edkins’ gutteral screams dig and Banks adopts the persona of a beast ripping up rags in his ivory into your brain and stay there, and the band tower. Elsewhere in the set, he shows off a calm pop sensibility with sound like The Pixies, At The Drive-In more melody on show, but no less dry wit. and Shellac all thrown together. ‘Sad On ‘I’ll Sue You’, he leads a chorus for the Pricks’, ‘Get Off ‘ and ‘Wasted’ are all photo: Leah Henson new-age litigants, and on ‘Young Again’, he ferocious and visceral anthems and sounds like Eeyore trying to crack a joke at the new track they play is as intense as a birthday party. Banks closes the main set anything off the album. During a brief with ‘Summertime Is Coming’ in the bleak period of quiet, someone yells ‘You’re fit’ Manchester winter, which falls as delicately at Hayden Menzies but it’s lost in the as snowflakes on attentive ears. Whether it’s Atlantic translation – and the thought because of his solo performance, his ‘other occurs that maybe Styles has a competijob’, or a combination of both, it’s no surprise tor in the heartthrob stakes. It’s hard to he’s charmed back for an encore. What he imagine paparazzi shots of METZ on lacks in spontaneity, Paul Banks makes up in the front of the tabloids – but, as ‘Wet providing a live performance that recreates Blanket’’s roar caps off a powerful and the soundscape of his latest record so well. potent show, it’s clear who the stars are Sometimes it is about the music and not the down in the basement. (Danny Wright) man. (Alexia Kapranos)






EXTRA This month’s pick of stuff we’d like to buy, with a suitably spring-like flavour.


Spring has sprung, so match your footwear with the new season with these not-quite-pastel, not-quite-neon pair of trusty Vans.



It’s been a while since a band’s logo has seemed iconic, and although the B-town boys have, well, nicked it from the Sixties, when coupled with the watermelon colours of their same-titled EP, it makes for a nice t-shirt. 76



You think Florence (without Machine) is the only pop star venturing in to the jewellery market? Think again: just like a 90s boyband, Alt-J are selling a necklace featuring their logo.


According to the Icelandic troupe, this scented candle smells of “a flotsam campfire on a distant black beach under a wan midnight sun”. Quite.



If the presence of more than two hours’ light each day and budding trees won’t convince you spring’s here, then maybe an adorable light-up rabbit might.

Who says polka dots are just for girls? This sturdy effort from all-American brand Herschel combines the age-old pattern with a natural green and beige. No Pipettes in sight.


These offer up studio quality across every kind of music, from scrappy lo-fi to immersive electronica. The design, too, with its military-grade aluminium encasing, is stylish to the finest degree.


It may not be the magic the instructions claim, but the Touch Speaker’s ability to amplify the sound of the device you place on top of it is pretty impressive. No cables required! Just batteries. 77





e meet Mark Wahlberg the morning after a rather “special” appearance on Graham Norton, but the star who greets us in a London hotel room for a small round table interview is on excellent press form. Blunt, engaging and willing to go off on tangents, the conversation begins with talk about his latest film Broken City, before Oscar gossip, the Entourage movie and working with Michael Bay. Ironic then, as when we ask about the challenges he faced as producer of Allen Hughes’ noir crime drama, he replies, “Getting someone to give us money to make an adult-themed film about characters and people. If

you’re blowing shit up they’ll give you half a billion dollars.” Wahlberg then explains how a friend eventually financed Broken City, for which the cast accepted lower fees than normal because of Brian Tucker’s script: “It meant doing it down and dirty, but I don’t mind doing it that way.” He and Russell Crowe have some meaty exchanges in the film, and Wahlberg admits they chose not to rehearse these scenes. “The first thing we shot was the confrontation at his home office. The great thing about it is, our characters were trying to one up each other, but we weren’t doing that as actors.” With the Entourage film getting the green light, executive producer Wahlberg - the inspiration for the hit series - offers up some clues as to where the story will go. “Hopefully


we’ll be able to make a second movie and not screw it up like Sex and the City. It’s tough, but if we just get back to what people loved about the show, which is the guys. Over the years they developed great relationships with female characters which were really strong and powerful, but it was essentially about the guys.” Talk turns to working with Michael Bay on Pain and Gain and the upcoming Transformers 4. “It’s the only time I’ve got to do a movie my kids are excited about. Hopefully my wife will let them watch it. Our fouryear-old screamed ‘shit!’ the other day when his brother knocked a football out of his hands. I almost laughed, but said, ‘If you say that again, I’m going to wash your mouth out with soap. Where did you hear that?’ He said, ‘Transformers’. I told my wife, and she took the DVDs away!” (Becky Reed)

This slick political thriller aims for ‘40s pulp, but feels more like a dated ‘80s flick - not necessarily a bad thing. It’s given life by its A-list cast; Mark Wahlberg the former cop turned PI hired by arrogant New York mayor (Russell Crowe) to investigate the suspected infidelity of his wife (Catherine Zeta-Jones). In Allen Hughes’ first solo outing as director, he fails to keep a grip on Brian Tucker’s sprawling story of corruption, despite the rich characters. (Becky Reed)



RELEASED: 15/03/13

A blistering slice of seedy, sly Southern noir from Precious director Lee Daniels, who - post-Oscar nomination - assembles quite the cast for this deliberately trashy Sixties melodrama. Zac Efron spends most of the film in tighty-whities as the innocent but charming younger brother of Matthew McConaughey’s reporter, recruited by Nicole Kidman’s death row groupie to investigate a miscarriage of justice. A lurid crime thriller simmering with racial and sexual tension, it contains jaw-dropping moments of sleaze, all filmed with a hazy, garish retro effect. Kidman and Efron burn up the screen with their chemistry, despite the campness of their roles and the now infamous jellyfish scene, which has to be seen to be believed. Enormously entertaining. (Becky Reed)


Shifty director Eran Creevy channels his hero Tony Scott for this highly impressive London-set conspiracy thriller, which uses the capital to electrifying effect. The best-of-British cast includes James McAvoy and Andrea Riseborough as the savvy detectives who track down Mark Strong’s fugitive crime boss. It’s a familiar story all right, but Creevy shoots his taut, witty screenplay with panache. (Becky Reed)


RELEASED: 01/03/13

Richard Gere has a triumphant comeback in Nicholas Jarecki’s character study disguised as a thriller, which examines the motives and lifestyle of a wealthy but morally bankrupt New York hedge-fund magnate, with a modern, reflective twist; greed is not always good. The strong cast includes Susan Sarandon and indie sci-fi darling Brit Marling, but the script runs out of steam before Gere can really get going. (Becky Reed)


Frank Langella reveals impressive comic chops in this fantastic sci-fi comedy drama. A retired jewel thief and misanthrope in the near future is given a robot home help by his well-meaning offspring ( James Marsden and Liv Tyler). When the cynical Frank discovers the robot is capable of breaking the law, a hilarious crime caper begins which manages to be equally endearing and moving. A unique, low budget gem. (Becky Reed) 79





(Deep Silver) – Xbox 360, PS3, PC DUE FOR RELEASE: 26/04/13

This ‘spin-off ’ sequel sports the return of all the familiar characters, as well as unique weapon crafting and neo-RPGstyle pounding at zombies in Bermuda shorts. Hopefully, it won’t bring back the boat-load of bugs and can side-step the faux pas of giving away a bloody bikini-bust in its special edition pack.


Unlike TellTale Games’ series which sources its story from the dark and emotive comic books, Activision’s firstperson-shooter is based on the AMC television show and throws you in the boots of Daryl Dixon fighting his way across the Georgia countryside. Oh, and there’s zombies. Probably.



(Square Enix) – Xbox 360, PS3, PC DUE FOR RELEASE: 05/03/13


Lara Croft makes a welcome return in a reboot that’s already caused more controversy than the reviews of Aliens: Colonial Marines. Featuring a darker, more sombre tale from the woman who previously kicked the shit out of an endangered species, this grisly origin story sees a vulnerable Lara transform into a hardened survivor in a tense and action-packed adventure.


(Trion Worlds) – Xbox 360, PS3, PC DUE FOR RELEASE: 02/04/13

Here’s a curious synergy – Trion Worlds are releasing this sci-fi MMO shooter to coincide with the Syfy TV show of the same name in which a terrifying world-wide terraforming event has led to the rise of a new species on Earth. Interconnecting with the TV show that will provide the scope and story, the game itself is set to deliver a ‘transmedia experience’.

DECAPATTACK (SEGA, 1991) – Sega Mega Drive

Throw your FACE! How low can you goooo? The bowels of the underworld, apparently, when you take on the role of Chuck D. Head (see what they/we did there?), a mummy with his own face transplanted into his chest, as he’s sent to destroy the evil Max D. Cap and his not-so-nice army. This quirky remake of the Japanese title Magical Hat Flying Turbo Adventure (honest) replaces most of the characters, but keeps the intriguing gameplay that elevates it above the samey platformer it resembles. Using your retractable head as your main weapon, complex gameplay mechanics introduce the collection of potions to upgrade Chuck for a limited amount of time to extend his reach, his speed and the methods of doing away with enemy creepazoids. Respawning enemies and repetitive slogging can reduce it to a tiring affair after a while, but the amusing bosses and the sheer amount of character the game possesses is enough to keep it alive. Progression is often hindered by puzzling that requires specific potions to pass, with a fair amount of back-tracking involved if you miss an important item. Ultimately, though, no matter how you dress it up, this is a platformer that allows you to use your own face as a weapon while battling a megafish. So, you should probably just disregard Call Of Duty from here on.

DEADLY PREMONITION GETS A DIRECTOR’S CUT It’s arguable that main draw of the divisive Deadly Premonition was director Hidetaka ‘Swery’ Suehiro’s oddball cut-scenes. And Rising Star are ready to ramp up the weird again by letting Swery tweak his masterpiece for an exclusive PS3 ‘Director’s Cut’ of the game due for release in April. When we caught up with the cult director for news on the release, we just had to ask how he felt about the mixed reactions his game got. “It was never the intention to make

such a divisive game of course, but the team were trying to create something edgy.” Swery told us, and we have to agree, the results came together. Of all the things that Deadly Premonition is known for, the bizarre character quirks of Agent York are perhaps the most memorable. “You can expect more choice for the players in terms of costume and cars in the director’s cut, they are very important to character.” Swery has listened keenly to feedback


from fans promises plenty of “big improvements” to the graphics and controls in the new re-release. The director is enthusiastic when asked about a sequel. “We are planning on a sequel already, together with a producer, but nothing is official yet. If the director’s cut is a hit, then we can look forward to that.” Fingers crossed we can look forward to another bizarre trip to Greenvale soon. (Sam Faulkner)


(SEGA) – Xbox 360, PS3, PC


Fans of old-school point ‘n’ click adventures won’t be disappointed as Monkey Island legend Ron Gilbert teams up with Tim Schafer to create a humorous and engaging tale of seven spelunkers who travel to the depths of The Cave for their own personal gain. Each of them has their own speciality and tale of woe to tell, as well as characterspecific puzzles to solve. Combined with mental characters, the dry, sarcastic tones of the Cave itself as it narrates your journey, and the horribly detestable spelunkers, this is one that’ll stick with you. Platforming problems aside, Gilbert’s at his self-referential best.

(Cipher Prime) – PC, iOS, PS3, PSP

Originally released as a Flash game back in 2008, this curious and rewarding puzzler takes the unique game design of bouncing light particles using on-screen tools into containers in order to fill them up and create the game’s emotive soundtrack. And it’s the most fun you’ll have bouncing light since that time you tried to blind a pilot with a laser pen. The simple and elegant design unravels itself into a real tricky puzzler in the latter stages, but its trial-anderror mechanic, coupled with some beautiful graphics, make for something addictive and special. 81






o begin with, a request. I want you, if you can, to recall your favourite concert; the gig to end all gigs, the memory of which is burned forevermore into your consciousness and the very fibre of your being. Got it? Good. Now think about where you saw it; no matter who it was, I’m willing to bet the venue was more toilet circuit mainstay than corporate McArena, somewhere intimate and crowded, where you can see the cuts on the guitarist’s fingers. For me, I’ll never forget seeing the White Stripes in a half-full King Tut’s Wah-Wah Hut, or Chris Martin leading an a capella version of ‘Everything’s Not Lost’ at Edinburgh’s Liquid Rooms. Oh, happy days! What’s my point, you ask? Well, days getting longer and crocuses poking through the frost and snow mean that festival season is fast approaching, bringing in it’s wake age-old arguments about hits, heritage acts, and the (apparent lack of ) headliners of the future. “Where are they all?” people cry. To which I would reply “Right in front of your eyes.” All those years ago, I’d have scoffed in the face of anyone suggesting that Coldplay would end up headlining soulless enormo-domes and Olympic ceremonies, or the Stripes kick starting a garage-rock revival and being mourned worldwide after 10 years of success. And yet, it came to pass. Yes, these things are impossible to predict,


but to paraphrase Bull Durham; if you believe in them, they will rise. Look beyond those big letters at the top of a lineup, and there’s a plethora of the eager, the fresh, and the exciting. They obviously won’t all make it to the top, but some will; recall the Darkness opening T In The Park in 2003 – Friday, 12pm, with only a hundred people for company – before a year later reputedly demanding £1 million to headline Reading and Leeds. Even last month’s cover stars, Biffy Clyro, have taken a decade to climb the summit, something which I’m sure will make their numerous headline appearances this summer all the sweeter, both for band and fans alike. The talent is there and, with a bit of grit and determination, the sky’s the limit.   At every festival, some bands, despite just being grateful to be there at all, will be looking wistfully at the main stage and thinking, “We belong up there.” Who knows who’ll make it –I’m a lousy sage – but the chances are you’re already familiar with the Glastonbury 2016 main attraction; you (and possibly they) just don’t know it yet. Next time you’re schlepping between stages in a field, take the time to investigate the lesser lights; as well as some great tunes, you may just catch the headliners of the future up close and personal. They do exist, and it’s up to us to make them so.






DIY, March 2013  

Featuring Bastille, Palma Violets, Kate Nash and more.

DIY, March 2013  

Featuring Bastille, Palma Violets, Kate Nash and more.