DIY free / issue 27 / march 2014
M e t ro n o my Dan Cro l l E agul l s B lo o d R e d S h o es
“ t h e r e’ s n o t h i n g a s w e i r d a s a p e r s o n ”
WHAT’S ON THE DIY TEAM’S RADAR? Victoria Sinden
GOOD Damon in East London on
The Culture Show (any opportunity to point and shout ‘Been there!’). EVIL The Winter Olympics has made a ton of TV shows go on break. I want to watch Shield, dammit. Sarah Jamieson
Dedicated readers of this page will have noticed the signs. Since the DIY bunker first heard St. Vincent’s new self-titled album at the end of last year, we’ve come over a bit funny. And why not? Brilliant, funny and fearsome with an axe, Annie Clark is quite probably the best person, like, ever. Read this month’s cover and all will become clear. It’s a bumper month for ace music. You wait ages for our first five star review, then three come along at once. Class of 2014 alumni Temples have already broken the Top 10 of the album charts, and JUNGLE have unveiled quite probably one of the tracks of the year. Everything’s coming up Millhouse.
month: Wild Beasts going 80s pop, Ellen Page being amazing, and Juan Mata (just for being Juan Mata).
creme egg brownies.
EVIL I seem to have spent all
money on the aforementioned sweet treats. Emma Swann
Reviews Editor GOOD Sky Ferreira’s album getting a UK release finally, hooray! EVIL I’m not on my way to SXSW this month. Is it too late to beg? Jamie Milton
GOOD Things I liked this
GOOD Pancake day, easter eggs,
GOOD There are at least fifteen
EVIL Things I didn’t like this month: rain, rain, rain, rain, rain, rain, rain, rain, rain, rain, rain, rain, rain.... <sniiiiiiiiiiiiip!>
festivals that I’m intent on going to in the summer. EVIL There are at most sixteen weekends this summer and at least twenty-odd deadlines. El Hunt
WHAT’S ON THE DIY STEREO THIS MONTH?
The wacky Mac’s decided to relax on a blissed-out ode to love, touring and hangovers. Not lacking in huge tunes, either.
QUOTE OF THE MONTH ADULTERY TO
Mac DeMarco - Sal ad Days
Kelis - Food
Gastronomy obsessed for a reason, Kelis’ new album ditches David Guetta bangers for an earnest, soulful pop approach. The end result is something undeniably delicious.
Assistant Online Editor GOOD I saw Barry White play in Peckham. It might’ve been a tribute band, but still. EVIL If these rising flood waters don’t subside soon, we’ll have to wear full scuba kit to Glastonbury. Louise Mason
GOOD Martin Creed, and Annie Clark. (Separate things).
EVIL I’ll pay anyone £14 to take this new Liars album away from me so I can listen to something else.
11 THE HOLD STEADY 12 JOHNNY FOREIGNER
15 SCHOOL OF LANGUAGE 1 8 F E S T I VA L S
22 THE AMAZING SNAKEHEADS 26 WET 28 SPRING KING
fEaTURES 30 ST VINCENT “It takes courage to be ugly” 3 8 R E AL ESTAT E Geo-Dudes 42 BLOOD RED SHOES Doing things their own way
46 DAN CROLL Confessions of a Secret Metalhead 50 EAGULLS Ruffling Feathers 5 4 T H E WA R O N D R U G S In Your Dreams
78 56 4 thisisfakediy.co.uk
58 METRONOMY From Paris with Love
64 ALBUMS 78 LIVE
Editor Stephen Ackroyd Deputy Editor Victoria Sinden Reviews Editor Emma Swann News Editor Sarah Jamieson Art Director Louise Mason Head Of Marketing & Events Jack Clothier Online Editor Jamie Milton Assistant Online Editor El Hunt Contributors Danny Wright, David Zammitt, Greg Inglis, Huw Oliver, Jack Pott, Joe Price, Kyle MacNeill, Martyn Young, Matthew Davies, Michael J Fax, Sean Stanley, Shefali Srivastava, Tim Lee, Tom Morris, Tom Walters Photographers Carolina Faruolo, Khalil Musa, Mike Massaro For DIY editorial firstname.lastname@example.org For DIY sales email@example.com tel: +44 (0)20 76130555 For DIY online sales firstname.lastname@example.org tel: +44 (0)20 76130555 DIY is published by Sonic Media Group. All material copyright (c). All rights reserved. This publication may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form, in whole or in part, without the express written permission of DIY. 25p where sold. Disclaimer: While every effort is made to ensure the information in this magazine is correct, changes can occur which affect the accuracy of copy, for which Sonic Media Group holds no responsibility. The opinions of the contributors do not necessarily bear a relation to those of DIY or its staff and we disclaim liability for those impressions. Distributed nationally.
#BeAnOriginal originalpenguin.co.uk 5
THIS IS MY MØMENT
a s a c r u n k r a p p r o j e c t, M Ø ’ s n o w r e a dy t o r e l e a s e h e r m a j o r l a b e l d e b u t, a p o p t r i u m p h a b o u t “ b e i n g a n g r y o n s o c i e t y. ” p h o t o s : m i k e m a s s a r o
aren Marie Ørsted doesn’t fit the customary punk typecast, be it an 80s era pink mohawk or a modern day leather jacket / pack of smokes figurine. Still, that doesn’t stop her MØ debut ‘No Mythologies To Follow’ being a brave, zero apologies first work, one that defies its major label billing and doesn’t compromise for one second.
On the eve of its release, Karen’s back home at her parents’ house just outside of Copenhagen. She’s still writing (“You always feel there’s this song you have to catch. You strive for it”) but she’s also tackling exhaustion, something that’s caught up on her after a whirlwind 2013. The Class of 2014 graduate admits that sometimes things get tough, with endless touring and releases never reaching an actual endpoint. “I feel exhausted all the time,” she admits. “But then I go, ‘Karen, you know you want this, you know you need to do this.’” Every time she appears to hit a wall, the Dane reminds herself, “‘Karen, you’re so fucking lucky. This is what you’ve dreamed about all your life. So fucking get up and do this stuff.’” After getting this far, it wouldn’t be in MØ’s nature to give up at the final hurdle. ‘No Mythologies To Follow’ packs together all of last year’s punchy, no-prisoners singles the swooning ‘Never Wanna Know’, the Diplo collaboration ‘XXX 88’ - and compresses them into a brash pop assault. Closer ‘Glass’ doesn’t leave a second’s pause. There’s no breathing space, here. It’s an abrupt, effective conclusion. ‘Glass’ wasn’t initially meant to be the closing track. “There was a lot of people against [it],” says Karen. “But I thought it was a good one, because it’s saying there is no solution, it is frustrating being young, we are all going to die - but let’s get on with it,” she concludes on a slightly morbid note. ‘No Mythologies To Follow’ definitely isn’t a squeaky clean, get-up-and-go, ultra YOLO party anthem of a record. Its dark side is showcased like a dirty habit that’s worth celebrating. The album concerns itself with the grim realities of “modern society”, where “social media preaches about the perfect life, how you have to look good and young and fresh.
“NO-ONE CAN BE PERFECT.” MØ
“We glorify eternal youth, but you also have to be intelligent, a good family person,” Karen professes. “You have to be perfect at so many levels. And we create these profiles around ourselves. [The album’s] very much about wanting to try to find your own path through all this. No-one 7
can be perfect. I think the most beautiful thing about people is when they admit they have flaws.”
“AN A L B U M S H O U L D B E L I K E R E A D I N G A S T O RY. ” M Ø 8 thisisfakediy.co.uk
MØ’s debut is a summation of these flaws. It’s not perfect, even if it’s expected to break into the charts. Intimate moments line the seams, with vocals being recorded in single takes. Alongside producer Ronni Vindahl (a collaborator who’s been there from the very beginning), this debut brings together the project’s beginnings (“crunk rap, trashy beats”) and ups the anti on attitude and a sinister punk mentality. Everything began when MØ took time aside from other bands she was involved in (she used to be in
a duo called Mor - they released a song in 2009 called ‘Fisse I Dit Fjase (Pussy in your Face)’ - to focus on something solo, true to herself. “I went to an art school and my teacher told me to find myself,” she recalls. “That was when I started the project. I remember at that time, I was thinking an album should be like reading a story. Everything had to be connected; the music, the lyrics, the visual output. The albums in my life I’ve been most obsessed with, they all felt like a story. I’d feel like I was wiser when it was over. It’s a little piece of art where everything’s connected. It’s very important that an album has something on its mind.”
Karen sums up the record as being a collection of songs written and recorded during one constant feeling of “of being young and confused and restless and lost.” She sums it up as “very much how I’ve felt in this past one and a half years,” but already she’s thinking ahead to a new phase, album number two. “There’s always a song there,” she says. “It’s my platform for expression.” This debut album looks like being the platform that’ll properly launch MØ into the stratosphere. MØ’s debut album ‘No Mythologies To Follow’ is out now via RCA. DIY
More Collaborations To Follow
Earlier this year MØ tweeted about a collaboration with Paramore being “a dream,” saying the same for a Haim team-up. She’s also a big fan of SOHN (“So fucking great. I think maybe he’s my favourite at the moment”) and Blood Orange, who she describes as “one of my biggest dream collabs - he’s so talented, so fresh.” Watch this space, then.
FROM MOUNTAIN TOPS...
umours first started circulating late last month, but now it’s official: Bright Eyes’ Conor Oberst is releasing a new album. ‘Upside Down Mountain’ will be released on 19th May through Nonesuch Records. Following 2009’s ‘Outer South’, the album was worked on in Nashville and is set to feature collaborations from Father John Misty and First Aid Kit. Eager to give a taste of what’s to come, the singer has also unveiled the first track to be taken from the fulllength, ‘Hundreds of Ways’. The song itself will also be getting a separate release as a limited edition 7” vinyl, celebrating this year’s Record Store Day on 19th April, along with another yet-to-be-revealed song ‘Fast Friends’. Have a listen on thisisfakediy.co.uk.
I Peace’s search for an actual bloodshake brings them to Brighton pier.
BRINGING WORLD PEACE
eace’s follow-up to ‘In Love’ is well underway, and the band are sharing their progress by filming recording sessions and airing them online. “We’re making a new record,” the Birmingham band explain. “Everything is ok.” Intrigued fans can gaze in at Peacelandworld.
com before footage “selfdestructs” in 48 hours. News of the project follows on from hints they dropped back in December: “We’ve come to that step now,” they told DIY. “We never really stopped, to be fair. Writing-wise we’ve always been geared up to do the second one.”
t looks as though Mercury Prizenominated Savages are set to follow-up ‘Silence Yourself’ with a release later this year. Speaking to Aussie radio station Triple J, singer Jehnny Beth detailed plans to release ‘Fuckers’ (recorded live at a show in London’s Forum), alongside
a cover of Suicide’s ‘Dream Baby Dream’. “We’re going to release a song that we play live called ‘Fuckers’,” she explained. “We recorded it live from a show did in London last fall at The Forum.” The release will likely be available on vinyl, and full details are set to be confirmed soon.
“I really did like the solo thing, but it made me excited to be in a rock band.” - Craig Finn
FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS
W e lc o m e t o T h e H o l d S t e ady 2 .0. Wo r d s : S a r a h Ja m i es o n
was always going to be a momentous year for The Hold Steady, celebrating ten years since the release of their debut LP ‘Almost Killed Me’. They’re also back with a brand new album in tow, and it feels as though the band are reenergised, as Craig Finn offers. “There’s a lot of energy inside of the band right now,” the frontman eagerly admits, as their recent slew of US touring draws to a close. “By the end of [previous album] ‘Heaven Is Whenever’, there was a lot of fatigue, just because we worked so hard. This feels a little bit like 2.0. There’s still that connection to the first version [of us], but it does feel a little bit relaunched, I have to admit.” Having taken a chunk of time away from their primary project, the five-piece were given the opportunity to rest up and reacquaint themselves with the band they’ve spent the last decade in.
That was something that Finn’s own solo record – 2012’s ‘Clear Heart Full Eyes’ – really clarified for him. “To be able go out and do the solo album, which was a lot quieter, it kinda allowed me to flex that muscle and get that satisfaction. It made me excited to go loud again. I really did like the solo thing, and I’d love to do it again - I love doing the more quiet, storytelling part of it - but it also made me excited to be in a rock band.” Their break wasn’t the only thing that rejuvenated the group. Having recruited new guitarist Steve Selvidge on the touring cycle of their 2010 fulllength, he soon became a fully-fledged member, and with it, he brought an injection of life. “I think it became way more of a guitar record due to Steve’s presence and it really highlights the back and forth guitars. He brings this new perspective, a new life into the whole thing, so he’s been fantastic and
has become a huge part of the new era for the band.” With such an intense fan base and acclaimed reputation, it’s no wonder things had to be shaken up a little. “I get this thing where it’s like, ‘Does this sound like an imitation of The Hold Steady?’ You have to find a new angle, but I think because on this one, because of the two guitar thing that was happening, it felt different enough that, after a while, it became easier.” Now, they’re just looking ahead to its unveiling, and the celebrating they’ll get to do with its release. “We’re feeling great! We’ve been doing all these shows, and it’s felt really good. We’re so proud of the record and excited for people to hear it.” The Hold Steady’s new album ‘Teeth Dreams’ will be released on 24th March via Washington Square / Razor & Tie. DIY
“OH MY GOD, I SOUND LIKE SOME AWFUL POP IDOL GUY!” Johnny Foreigner are back with a fourth album that very nearly didn’t happen. “For about a year after ‘...vs Everything’, I didn’t want to admit it to anyone, but I didn’t actually want to make another record.” Johnny Foreigner are no strangers to making bold statements, but that’s a sentence no one would’ve expected to hear. With their third album, ‘Johnny Foreigner vs Everything’, the Birmingham three-piece had made their most ambitious album to date. In its wake, frontman Alexei Berrow wasn’t too sure what could come next, never mind what would. “It just seemed pointless,” he offers up, in a fairly matter-offact manner, “like it was gonna repeat. It’s like releasing a big autobiography and then, the next year, releasing it with a couple more chapters tagged on the end.” The solution, then, was to get their creative juices flowing again by releasing a series of EPs. With the first – the three-track ‘NAMES’ - landing back in November 2012, the idea was to continue with another few. Except, that wasn’t quite how it panned out. “‘NAMES’ was gonna come out and then we had another one,” Lex explains, “that we were pretty confident we had the songs for, and then we were gonna do a third one at the end of the year, and maybe compile them all. Everyone was very much - well, the adults were - saying that we should really do an album, but after ‘... vs Everything’ it just seemed like such an effort to do something
that could compete with that. “Then, we had these four songs for an EP, then a couple of weeks later we had six songs for the EP, then we had eight. We figured we were just kidding ourselves because we had all of these songs, and they seemed to fit thematically. So, we called up Jack [of label, Alcopop!] and said, ‘You were right. we’ll do an album.’” The benefit of letting the songs come naturally made all the difference with the band. Despite ‘...vs Everything’ standing firm as their statement of intent, Berrow doesn’t deny that it wasn’t maybe as cohesive as they hoped. This record – the ironically titled ‘You Can Do Better’ - however, seems to have turned the tables. “I think it made us better technical musicians for it, because we had to allow space for two guitars and things like that. The whole point of ‘... vs Everything’ was just to get everything out. We knew it was overkill, and we knew we gonna make a long, sprawling record so inevitably some of the songs wouldn’t be as good as the other songs. It was more about the idea of the album, and we had to make the album to back it up. Whereas with this, the songs came, and kept coming, and formed the album on their own. It was more freeing; it was definitely a lot more of a natural experience. There was no pressure to do anything.”
The final spark of energy that ignited the ambitions of their forthcoming full-length lay in their newest addition to the line-up. Having lived quite a comfortable musical life as a threepiece, they finally decided to recruit a second guitarist in 2012, if only just to make them sound a bit louder for their festival runs. What they probably didn’t realise, though, was that Lewes Herriot was going to be the final piece of the puzzle. “Getting Lewes in the band changed us. Essentially, we just wanted Lewes in because he was our friend, and he played good guitar and we wanted to sound big for festivals. Then, we took him to America and started to realise it
sounded loads better. We started seeing everything through his eyes again; the stuff that had become boring and routine to us, was fresh and exciting to him. “I think, part of the spark of this album is definitely that energy that he added to it unwittingly. Back in 2012, he used to sit around in the studio and be like, ‘Why don’t you do that? What about that?’ whereas now, this is stuff that he’s created. It just feels more fun. I think to do anything with any kind of integrity, you have to find a way to keep it exciting.” With ‘You Can Do Better’, they’ve achieved just that. Biting assaults of tracks come hurling at you right from
the opening drum rhythms of ‘Shipping’. It must feel like a lifetime since their last record. “We feel like we’re in a different place,” referring back to when their ‘... vs Everything’ campaign finally drew to a close after almost two and a half years of touring. “Now, we’re a two guitar rock band, instead of a one guitar indie band. It feels like we’ve drawn a line under that. Musically, it definitely feels like a bit of a rebirth...” “Oh my god,” he laughs. “I sound like some awful Pop Idol guy! ‘I’m so pleased that the fans have given me a second chance at doing what I love!’” Johnny Foreigner’s new album ‘You Can Do Better’ will be released on 10th March via Alcopop! Records. DIY
“I didn’t a c t u a l ly w a n t to make another r e c o r d . A le xei B errow
Despite making a great record, JoFo could really do with giving their garden some TLC.
NEWS IN BRIEF
A NEW BIRTH
Having released the first taste of her new solo project last month with ‘Meet The Foetus/Oh The Joy’, Brody Dalle has confirmed plans to release her debut solo album. ‘Diploid Love’ will be released on 28th April through Caroline Records.
AN EVENING WITH...
TIL DEATH DO US PART
y Chemical Romance have announced plans to release a greatest hits collection, a year after the band first announced their split. ‘May Death Never Stop You’ is due on 24th March through Reprise Records, featuring a previously unreleased track, titled ‘Fake Your Death’, along with the band’s infamous first ‘Attic Demos’. The collection is set to be nineteen tracks in length, and will include tracks from each of the band’s four albums. There’ll also be a deluxe edition of the release, with a bonus DVD with two hours’ worth of footage and outtakes from the band’s music videos. “The title is fitting, because as sad as it was to say goodbye to the band, we look at this collection as a celebration of our best songs, and hope the memory of them continues to bring joy to you all as they have for us,” said the band - Gerard Way, Mikey Way, Frank Iero and Ray Toro - in a statement. “We hope you take the journey with us into MCR’s past, and enjoy the small taste of what might have been.”
LIFE AFTER D E AT H Whilst My Chemical Romance are about to be laid to rest, that’s not stopped the band members from staying creative. Here’s a glimpse into what some of the guys are doing in the band’s wake.
Blur frontman Damon Albarn releases his solo album ‘Everyday Robots’ on 28th April, and after its release he’ll play a couple of intimate London dates: The Rivoli Ballroom (30th April), and The Great Hall at Queen Mary University of London (1st May).
With a collaboration with Deadmau5, ‘Professional Griefers’, already in the bag, it wouldn’t be surprising if the frontman is gearing up to unveil something soon. Otherwise, Way’s been busy with his comic series ‘The True Lives Of The Fabulous Killjoys’. RAY TORO
Toro has an album – tentatively titled ‘Minimization Procedure’ – apparently on the way this year. In addition, he appears on the forthcoming Voltaire album and contributed to last year’s Reggie and the Full Effect record, ‘No Country For Old Musicians’.
BURNING BOTH ENDS Angel Olsen’s announced plans to visit the UK this June. The ‘Burn Your Fire For No Witness’ singer plays: Brighton’s The Hope (04), Birmingham’s Hare and Hounds 2 (05), Belfast’s McHughs (08), Glasgow’s Mono (09), and Bristol’s The Lantern (10).
Iero’s released a solo track as part of Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie Unleashed! soundtrack, contributed to the same Reggie... album as Toro and formed an electronic-hardcore band, Death Spells. He also re-joined forces with punk band Leathermouth for Skate & Surf festival, before more recently releasing EP, ‘For Jamia’.
OUT FOR BLOOD
Brighton’s Royal Blood have followed last year’s ‘Out Of The Black’/’Come On Over’ single with a new track, ‘Little Monster’. Check it out on thisisfakediy.co.uk.
LEARN A LANGUAGE
A s D av i d B r e w i s u n v e i l s p l a n s t o r e l e a s e a n e w S c h o o l o f L a n g u a g e a l b u m , h e d e lv e s i n t o j u s t w h at g o e s i n t o d o i n g i t o n yo u r o w n .
etween making albums with his brother and touring the US, recording with Maximo Park and backing Eleanor Friedberger, David Brewis has had a busy few years. Somehow, he’s recently managed to hole himself up in Field Music’s Sunderland studio, to create a new School Of Language record. So close to the river Wear that you can taste it in the brisk Northern air, their converted industrial unit houses an array of instruments, synths, monitors. David sits at a desk with his MacBook open nearby, occasionally fiddling with the mixing programme open on his desktop; the songs making up his sophomore solo record resting within. “I was just busy with Field Music,” he begins. Having released the first album under his solo moniker, ‘Sea From Shore’, back in 2008, it’s been almost six years. “After touring the School of Language record, which we didn’t do for very long, we then toured with Peter [Brewis]’s The Week That Was
record for longer. Really, we were still doing gigs for that right into recording [Field Music’s] ‘Measure’ but by the end of doing the touring on my own - and some of that really was on my own...” It was thanks to that stint of alone time that David felt ready to put his energies back into Field Music. Following on from the release of ‘Measure’ – their ‘comeback’ album, for lack of a better term - came ‘Plumb’ and a Mercury Prize nomination.
bit deeper. “The first record was very directly personal about specific things and this new record is also very directly personal about specific things. I really wanted to write about the things that were most important to me, most visceral. I made a lot of notes about things that I’m scared of, to try and face them. I can pretend to be a songwriter and observe things from afar, but that wouldn’t be all of me. To face up to things which I’m really scared about, deep-rooted fears, is a good thing.
“That feeling of ‘I just wanna do my own thing’ had gotten out of my system, and I got back thinking that being in a band with my brother is good. Really, this School of Language record is the result of doing two Field Music albums in quick succession, doing quite a lot of touring for both of them and just wanting to do something else. I don’t think of it as a side project because it’s the thing that I’m most consumed with while I’m doing it.”
“The other side of the record is to talk more directly about love. If there’s one thing that means that my fears and anxieties aren’t a debilitating part of my life, it’s that love keeps me going. I hope that it’s evocative for people and not just of coming around my house and talking to me and my wife about whatever. It’ll be interesting to see if anyone gets anything from that other than, ‘I feel like I know David Brewis slightly too well now.’”
For this record, David wanted to build upon the intimacy of his debut, and challenge himself to dig that little
School of Language’s new album ‘Old Fears’ will be released on 7th April via Memphis Industries. DIY 15
A BREATH OF FRESH AIR
roducer extraordinaire SOHN has built quite the reputation. Already the go-to guy for genremeshing pop, with BANKS and Kwabs being regular collaborators, he’s now ready to unveil his debut solo full-length, ‘Tremors’, on 7th April through 4AD. Boasting previous releases ‘The Wheel’, ‘Bloodflows’ and ‘Lessons’, the eleven-track effort also includes a brand new single, ‘Artifice’, which you can listen to now on thisisfakediy.co.uk. Speaking of the album, SOHN admits: “I wanted ‘Tremors’ to feel like fresh air. There’s something about the way I was working overnight on the album which found its way into the sound. Every night I worked finished with a cold sunrise and a walk home... and to me that’s what ‘Tremors’ sounds like.”
SOHN Hot Right Now.
WOLVES IN THE WILD
wo of DIY’s Class of 2014 alumni are teaming up this May for what may become one of the most ridiculous and messy tours of the year. Wolf Alice, who are connoisseurs in causing chaos - if their stint on the road with Swim Deep was anything to go by - are leading the way, joined by trigger-happy 90s obsessives Superfood. Ellie Rowsell and co. will kick off in Glasgow, before the epic tour takes in no less than twenty shows. Running all the way to 28th May with a headline show at London Scala, the two bands will be out on the road for the entire month. Superfood also recently announced the release of a new EP ‘MAM’, due on 3rd March through Infectious. Tickets for the tour are on sale now; find the full list of dates on thisisfakediy.co.uk.
Theo Wolf Alice ignored the ‘wet paint’ warning, then.
THIS IS THEIR TIME
NEWS IN BRIEF
ith whispers circulating for almost a year now, Klaxons have finally declared their return to arms after spending the summer of 2013 making live appearances and warming up crowds for a brand new album.
three UK dates at Bristol’s O2 Academy (15), Glasgow’s O2 ABC (16) and Leeds Met University (17).
Marking their comeback by unveiling new single ‘There Is No Other Time’ last month, the collaboration with chartbotherers Gorgon City stood as the first taste of their new full-length. B-side ‘Children of the Night’, produced with help from Tom Rowlands of The Chemical Brothers, soon followed suit. Following 2010’s ‘Surfing The Void’, ‘Love Frequency’ will be released just in time for summer, landing on 2nd June, and features more collaborations from Rowlands along with Erol Alkan and James Murphy.
ROOM FOR RENT
THE FLAMING TOUR DATES
The Flaming Lips have confirmed plans for a UK tour later this year. The band, who released their latest album ‘The Terror’ last year, will be returning to our shores this May for four live dates. They’ll take in Edinburgh’s Usher Hall (26), Manchester’s O2 Apollo (27), London’s O2 Academy Brixton (28) and Nottingham’s Capital FM Arena (29).
Having only released their third album ‘On The Impossible Past’ back in 2012, The Menzingers have made quick work of producing its follow-up. Recorded in September and October last year, the punkrock four-piece will release their fourth full-length ‘Rental World’ on 21st April through Epitaph Records
Chairlift’s Caroline Polachek has started a new solo venture - separate from her customary synth pop project - called Ramona Lisa and is planning to release a debut album next month. Following the birth of the project last year, her self-produced full-length ‘Arcadia’ will be released through Pannonica (Bella Union) on 14th April.
Funk/dance duo Chromeo have confirmed plans to release their new album ‘White Women’, which is now officially slated for a 12th May release on Big Beat / Parlophone. This record’s set to feature appearances from Toro Y Moi – who features on previously unveilved track ‘Come Alive’ – and Ezra Koenig.
DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE
Following a handful of shows last month, our cover star St. Vincent has announced she’ll be returning to our shores this May. Annie Clark will play
Neutral Milk Hotel have been confirmed as headliners for a new East London festival, Jabberwocky. The event, taking place at London’s ExCel Centre on 15th and 16th August, will also feature appearances from the likes of Caribou, Hookworms, Speedy Ortiz and Hookworms.
wa i t i n g f o r f e s t i va l a n n o u n c e m e n t s i s m u c h l i k e wa i t i n g f o r a b u s . I f t h e b u s c o n ta i n e d A l e x T u r n e r , t h e Ja r m a n s , H a i m a n d e n o u g h n e w b a n d s t o g i v e e v e n t h e m o s t e n t h u s i a s t i c o f b u z z b l o g g e r s r e p e t i t i v e s t r a i n i n j u r y.
READING & LEEDS 22nd - 24th August
Having last appeared at the festival in 2009, Arctic Monkeys will return this year as the second headliner for Reading & Leeds, joining previously announced bill toppers Blink-182. Their appearance will round off a summer of massive shows, following their two dates at London’s Finsbury Park in May. Speaking about their festival slot, drummer Matt Helders explains: “We’ve got a lot of history with the festival. It’s the first festival I ever went to – we
all went together as kids, with Nick as well. We were 15 or 16 and it was a big deal going to a festival like that on your own.” Other new additions include former DIY cover stars Warpaint, along with You Me At Six, Royal Blood, SBTRKT and The 1975. They join Jake Bugg, Metronomy, Of Mice & Men, Wilkinson, Disclosure and I Am Legion, who have already been announced for this year’s event, taking place between 22nd and 24th August.
BEACONS 7th - 10th August
Beacons has unveiled its first list of acts, with Darkside, Daughter, Jon Hopkins
and The Fall all set to appear, along with Hookworms, TOY, Eagulls, Nightmares On Wax, Money and Girl Band. The Skipton-based event, which last year boasted the likes of Django Django, Bonobo and Local Natives, will this year take place from 7th to 10th August. “Keeping Beacons going after the flood in 2011 has been really hard,” comments organiser, Ash Kollakowski, “but when Wild Beasts headlined in 2012 the stars realigned and it was totally worth it. “Now I don’t think about booking acts just to sell tickets. With Dixon, Jon Hopkins and Daniel Avery on site over the weekend we genuinely feel we have the three best producers in the world at the moment so we are well chuffed.”
LATITUDE 17th - 20th July
Latitude unveiled not one but two headliners last month, and now they’ve revealed another batch of acts set to appear. Heading up the list are Tame Impala, former DIY Weekly cover stars Bombay Bicycle Club and Eagulls, who join Two Door Cinema Club and Damon Albarn at this year’s event. Elsewhere, you’ll now also find First Aid Kit, East India Youth, Jungle, Slowdive, Kwabs, Julia Holter, Hall & Oates and Fat White Family. Latitude will take place at Henham Park, Suffolk from 17th - 20th July.
LIVE AT LEEDS 2nd - 5th May
The Hold Steady, Albert Hammond Jr. and Drenge are amongst the acts confirmed to appear at this year’s Live at Leeds. Taking place from 2nd - 5th May this year, Leeds will also play host to Blood Red Shoes, Pulled Apart By Horses, Chlöe Howl, Los Campesinos! Yuck, Fuck Buttons, Royal Blood and Wolf Alice. The event takes over twenty stages across the city.
THE GREAT ESCAPE 8th - 10th May
Brighton’s Great Escape Festival has revealed a new set of acts, with Kelis leading the way with a headline show at Brighton Dome. 400 bands are set to perform across the weekend on 8th - 10th May, during the festival’s ninth year showcasing new music since its inauguration in 2005. Other highlights of the bill so far include XL signings JUNGLE, breaking NYC act Wet, Class of 2014 cover star Chlöe Howl, Liverpool’s Circa Waves, Brighton’s own Royal Blood, new 4AD signings Future Islands, Charli XCX, Jaakko Eino Kalevi, Pawws, Sundara Karma, Travis Bretzer, Wilsen, Arthur Beatrice and Rejjie Snow.
TRUCK 18th - 19th July
The first acts have been announced for this year’s Truck, and it’s set to be a riotous few days as the Oxford
weekender has confirmed that The Cribs and White Lies will both be heading up the bill. Elsewhere on the line-up are Brummie delights Peace and Swim Deep, along with party animal Andrew W.K., and New York punk stars Cerebral Ballzy. Other acts included in the first announcement are Los Campesinos!, Kids In Glass Houses, Circa Waves, Itch, Eliza And The Bear, Stornoway, Lonely The Brave, Darlia, Flyte, Nothing But Thieves, Nordic Giants and Black Moth. The Hill Farm, Steventon festival takes place from 18th - 19th July.
FIELD DAY 7th - 8th June
Field Day have confirmed a host of new acts to appear at the newly expanded, weekend-long fest, which takes place from 7th - 8th June. While Pixies and Metronomy have already been confirmed as headliners, they’ll now be joined by SBTRKT, Temples, The Horrors, Pond, SOHN, Blood Orange and Courtney Barnett. Also playing will be futuristic producer SOPHIE, refined indie-pop newcomers Teleman, Aussies Jagwar Ma, Helsinki tram conductor Jaakko Eino Kalevi, grizzly London group Fat White Family and the brilliant East India Youth.
the Sleeping Souls, John Newman, Kuroma, Allen Stone, Bleachers and Vetusta Morla. Plus there’s the already confirmed Phoenix, Franz Ferdinand, MGMT, The Black Keys and more. DIY’s partnering with Bilbao BBK Live this year. You can expect interviews, reports and more coverage before, during and after the fest.
LIVERPOOL SOUND CITY 1st - 3rd May
This year’s Liverpool Sound City Festival has announced its first batch of bands, with the three-day event taking place from 1st to 3rd May. Mysterious newcomers JUNGLE are among the new acts on the bill, with established names arriving in the form of noise obsessives Fuck Buttons and Super Furry Gruff Rhys. Clean Bandit (who recently scored a Number One single) are also on the bill, with Wolf Alice, Circa Waves, Big Ups and Thumpers among the additions.
PRIMAVERA SOUND 29th - 31st May
This year, Primavera Sound is pulling no punches. Having already had acts like Arcade Fire, Pixies and Neutral Milk Hotel self-confirm their slots at the festival, they’ve had no qualms about pulling in some big hitters for this year’s Barcelona event. Queens Of The Stone Age, The National and Nine Inch Nails have also been confirmed, as have Kendrick Lamar, St. Vincent, Disclosure, Metronomy, CHVRCHES and a newly-reformed Slowdive. Taking place from 29th - 31st May, at the Parc del Fòrum in Barcelona, the weekender will also play host to Foals, Volcano Choir, Darkside, Midlake, Warpaint, Godspeed You! Black Emperor and many, many more.
BILBAO BBK 10th - 12th july
Bilbao BBK Live has announced some exciting additions including Conor Oberst, Future of the Left and Foster The People. They’ll be joined by Frank Turner & 19
BITS ON THE
BRITS THE BEST OF BRITISH
The BRIT Awards is one of the biggest events on the British music industry calendar. From the flaming tower of ‘AM’ that accompanied Arctic Monkeys’ opening to the show, right through to David Bowie throwing in his two pence on Scottish independence, 2014 was both as drama-filled and comedy-laced as anyone could’ve hoped. Whether your favourite moment was Kate Moss channelling Bowie, Beyonce’s show-stopping glittery dress, the moment that Harry Styles went missing because he had “nipped to the loo” or just Alex Turner being, well, Alex Turner, the BRITs offered up a stir-crazy, alcohol-fuelled insight into the world of pop. As for the winners, here’s a taste of who got their mitts on Philip Treacy’s creations this year.
BRITISH GROUP / MASTERCARD BRITISH ALBUM OF THE YEAR Arctic Monkeys
The only double-winner of the night, the four Californiavia-Sheffield lads reclaimed their throne as the Biggest Band In Britain, winning both British Group and British Album of the Year. Deftly pushing aside competition from the likes of Disclosure, Rudimental and even One Direction to grab the two gongs, it also marks the third time that the Monkeys have won each trophy. No wonder they’ve got one stored in their garage fridge...
BRITISH BREAKTHROUGH ACT Bastille
Nominated for four awards on the night, it was crossed fingers all around for Bastille. Luckily, they came up with the goods when they took the prize for British Breakthrough Act, as voted for by BBC Radio 1 listeners. Fending off Disclosure, London Grammar and Laura Mvula, the ‘Bad Blood’ quartet couldn’t quite believe their luck.
BRITISH MALE SOLO ARTIST David Bowie
No one expected David Bowie’s album ‘The Next Day’ when it landed last year, and it just wouldn’t have felt right for anyone else to accept this accolade. Granted, the man – the mystery – himself wasn’t there to pick it up, but his Representative From Earth, Kate Moss, did a fine job of accepting on his behalf. Making the front page of many-a-tabloid the next morning with his closing statement ‘Scotland, stay with us’, Bowie still knows how to cause a stir.
INTERNATIONAL FEMALE SOLO ARTIST Lorde
Fresh from performing her massive hit single ‘Royals’ alongside Disclosure, 17-year-old goth queen Lorde beat all the big hitters of pop to take the title of International Female Solo Artist. Having only released her debut album in the closing months of 2013, Ella YelichO’Connor is off to a fine start.
“Arctic’s such a great band but dear god the pretentious dribble that was ‘that’ speech!” @Cornishson73 “Phenomenal trolling.” - @ williamggrant “’Invoice me for the microphone’ what a d!ck. But I liked his gurn.” - @CM_Sands
LE T T ERS
Dear DIY, I know Alex Turner came across like a bit of a dick when he was accepting that award, but you have to admit, it was pretty amusing. Any man who can ramble so eloquently whilst keeping a straight face is alright with me. Tim, Southend Dear DIY, Wasn’t sure of what to expect when I heard that Lorde and Disclosure were going to perform together, but it was brilliant. Johnny, Leeds Dear DIY, I think someone should have a word with Dan from Bastille about his dancing... Shell, Dunfermline Dear DIY, Anyone else think that Alex Turner took the piss a bit with his speech to see if James Corden would have to cut him off, like that time with Adele? That would’ve been on hell of a way to end the job. Richard, London Dear DIY, This year’s statues looked a little bit like weapons. Or can openers Steve, York
Come say hi at an upcoming DIY gig. This month, you’ll find us at:
T WE ETS
If anyone left his mark on the BRITs audience, it was Alex Turner with his perplexing Album Of The Year acceptance speech: but what do YOU think of his on-stage antics?
04 JAWS The Social, London (FRUKT FIXERS present) 15 FEAR OF MEN Old Blue Last, London
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Visit thisisfakediy.co.uk for listings. 21
NEu the amazing snakeheads
Caging The Snake: The Amazing Snakeheads have perfected the ‘don’t mess’ look.
THE AMAZING SNAKEHEADS Sinful Scots or a bunch of sweethearts? Regardless th er e’s n o da m n i n g th e tr i o’s fo r m i da b le ro c k’n’ro ll s tru t. W o r d s : Ja m i e M i lto n , p h oto : e m m a s wa n n
uch of what’s been said about Scottish trio The Amazing Snakeheads pins them down as a bunch of snarling blokes not to be messed with. In reality, they’re butterwouldn’t-melt types. The pounding of their grizzly, grossed-out rock’n’roll is misleading. Mates from an early age, their cause, says Dale Barclay (guitar, vocals), is “to be able to make music you love with friends that you love.” On the surface Dale fronts a trio - also consisting of Jordon Hutchinson (drums) and William Coombe (bass) - that exists to stir the scene and kick up a fuss. It’s true that yes, sometimes they strip on stage (“That’s William. He’s keen to do that,” laughs Dale), and fair enough the chest-pounding force of latest single ‘Flatlining’ carries enough punch to knock-out a hungover Lennox Lewis. But there’s more to the trio’s confident strut than angry guitars and ferocious chants. “We like anything that’s come through our lives,” professes Dale. “It can be soul, funk, blues - whatever man.” He admits the band business is a big deal (“We take it very seriously”), not least because they’re signed to Domino Records, but interpretation isn’t a subject he frets over. “Anybody in a band is fortunate to be in a band,” he starts. “[But] I don’t like artists or bands explaining what they do. It ruins it for me. I want people to take what they want from it. I like to make up my own mind about music that I love.”
They started out on a whim, without a record deal in mind and minus their now fledging reputation as an all-thrills live band. Jordon was Dale’s neighbour, and the frontman’s been writing songs from an early age. “It’s always been my life,” he says. The end product is a tight-knit fusion of blaring horn solos and scuzzy riffs that should carry a hazard warning. “Putting a band together isn’t so much how we play, it’s more about individuals in the band… It’s something I’ve always wanted to be in, but it’s gotta be right.”
“I don’t like artists or bands e x p l a i n i n g w h at they do. It ruins i t fo r m e .”
Ba rcl ay
Much of the band’s ‘Do. Not. Mess.’ rep stems from a recent, gruesome image that makes up the art for their ‘Flatlining’ single. It’s an open heart waiting to be operated on. Sinister? Dale doesn’t think so. “The point of it was actually to be beautiful,” he claims. “It is a shocking image, don’t get me wrong. But it’s beautiful - you can save someone’s life. And the song’s about the heart itself.”
If indeed The Amazing Snakeheads’ early spell has been doggedly defined by sweat-drenched shows, leather jackets and even the odd catsuit, rock’n’roll isn’t the be all and end all of the band. “Maybe we’re misrepresented slightly,” Dale admits. “But it’s nothing that’s gonna keep me awake at night.” DIY
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NEWS IN BRIEF
Reading teens Sundara Karma have signed to Chess Club Records (responsible for debut Swim Deep, Wolf Alice and JUNGLE singles) for a first release. ‘Cold Heaven’ - which premiered on DIY - practically stamps all over current festival bills and hail this fourpiece as headliners in waiting.
KELELa aIMS HIGHER
LA superstar-in-waiting Kelela has released her first material since last year’s acclaimed ‘Cut 4 Me’ mixtape. ‘The High’ is a divine, feverish standalone track, produced by Gifted & Blessed. Listen on thisisfakediy. co.uk. She’s playing her first headline shows in New York and Los Angeles this April.
TIME fOR WOMaN’S HOUR
Woman’s Hour have signed to Secretly Canadian for a 2014 release of their debut album. Previewing all of this is the graceful waltz of ‘Her Ghost’, a song pieced together with various subtleties and still possessing the ability to go straight for the gut. Listen on thisisfakediy.co.uk.
As well as touring with Wolf Alice this spring (see p16), Superfood also release their new ‘MAM’ EP this month on Infectious Music. Latest track ‘Houses On The Plain’ is a song that lives up to the hook-heavy rejoice of everything else released so far.
KWABS TAKES OVER From collaborating with SOHN on a debut EP to performing in front of Prince Harry - this is just the tip of the iceberg for London’s Kwabs.
Kwabena Sarkodee hasn’t exactly been starved of opportunities in the past two years, but he’s still managed to seize every single one of them. A 2012 graduate of the Royal Academy of Music, a quick YouTube search will pick up footage of the Londoner performing in front of Prince Harry at Buckingham Palace. “He’s just a bit of a dude, really,” says the singer, who’s now going by the name of Kwabs. Attention’s since turned to working alongside SOHN and The Invisible’s Dave Okumu. A debut album’s out this year, following on from the ‘Wrong or Right’ EP, out now. His songs aren’t exactly screaming out for royal approval instead they aim to defy expectation. “I’ve got a voice that people might reference as soul and old-school,” Kwabs admits. “But I feel like there’s something to be said for having a contrast between what you expect to hear in a voice, and where you end up putting it.” He cites “otherworldly” production as his current muse, although his biggest fascination comes through the fact that “we’re constantly in transition.” Kwabs’ next step involves a newly announced headline show at London’s Village Underground, taking place on 10th April. Kwabs’ new EP ‘Wrong or Right’ is out now via Atlantic. DIY
NEu R AT E D T R AC KS
JUNGLE - Busy Earnin’ Deceiving jumpers: Alan Duggan and his Girl Band impress.
This blaring, siren-sounding future smash hit of a single from JUNGLE wipes away any ‘mysterious’ tags and simply cements them as stars in waiting. Half 80s police drama, half the sound of soul slipping back into chart-ready pop, ‘Busy Earnin’’ is the collective’s best song to date by a long stretch.
GIRL BAND T h e O l d B l u e L a s t, L o n d o n
uch nice jumpers for such a nasty band. Girl Band are like the narrator in a detective novel that turns out to be the one whodunit. They arrive politely, but soon the Irish troupe throw their dinner party demeanour to one side. They become demonic. Responding in tandem, crowds beckon them in, asking for more noise, more raw industrial stabs, an even greater level of intensity. It’s hard to keep up. In sum, Girl Band are essentially these shores’ answer to HEALTH’s pained, psychotic frenzies and Liars’ daring invention. They’re that good. ‘Lawman’’s repeated, increasingly sarcastic lyric “everything about it was contagious” couldn’t be more fitting. Flights take off, herds stampede, Girl Band just get louder. Pacing their way through new songs, they eventually land headfirst on ‘Why They Hide Their Bodies Under My Garage’; an unlikely, disarming cover of Blawan that spans nine minutes, each second more intense than the one before. At times it’s like watching James Murphy living out a more extreme version of LCD, a realisation of punk and hardcore that Bowie references wouldn’t do justice. Diving into ‘Lawman’, it suddenly dawns that no way - not a hope in hell - are Girl Band going to stand still. They’ll probably never play the Old Blue again. Intensity on this scale deserves to drop jaws on a mass scale. It’s designed to melt academies, flood arenas. If they turned up looking like they were prepared to start a sermon, Girl Band depart having converted everyone to their evil. Jamie Milton
Shura - Touch There’s something about Shura. On debut ‘Touch’ she channels Blood Orange’s New York sunset vibes and maybe even a slight snippet of Beyonce’s new record. It’ll take some topping.
Chet Faker - Talk Is Cheap Previewing his ‘Built on Glass’ debut, bearded crooner Chet Faker’s still specialising in bubbling up slick loved-up lyrics with the help of futuregazing production. The debut’s out on 11th April. 25
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Wet S leepy p o p a n d K a nye Wes t pu n s th i s NYC tri o a re ‘B o u n d 2’ g o fa r . Wo rds: H uw O liv er
It’s not a regular occurrence, having your music instagrammed by a 17-year-old being a make-orbreak prospect, but when said culprit is Lorde, well, it’s obviously a different story. Last December, the photo tagline read “’cause baby you’re the best” and in that, she referred to a downtempo love song by New York trio Wet. “That’s the most people who’ve ever seen that album cover, because Lorde has, like, a million followers,” laughs lead singer Kelly Zutrau, house-trapped in Boston due to the Big Freeze. While the casual introduction was definitely “very sweet of her,” the perplexed comment section underneath (mainly along the lines of “WTF is this?”) didn’t exactly fit with the kind of feedback they expected for their four-song EP. But it’s easy to see why Lorde and others are raving; their songs are all sparse, spacious, pared-down pop music with an overarching focus on relationships and break-ups. Weirdly, it’s only been a year and a half since the band started taking themselves seriously. Kelly, Marty Sulkow and Joe Valle all came to New York City in 2006 for college. “We played in another band with other friends for a while.” But then, Kelly moved to Providence for a year, Joe moved to LA and things got a little tricky. “I’d keep sending demos to Marty in Brooklyn, and then we’d send it to Joe who would add a beat and do a little bit of production. But we all moved back to Brooklyn in the summer of 2012, and then we could work on the music in person. Still e-mailing though; that’s a big part of our process.” Now based out of Boston for a two-month writing stint, Kelly is thoroughly in the zone. Her aim is to have a Wet album out within a year. “It’s challenging,” she admits. “Some days, it’s really easy and rewarding. Other days, it’s really, really difficult” They’re taking their time with picking labels. Keeping shush, she hints, “I think we’re getting closer to cementing a relationship, but we’re trying to take everything as slow as possible. We want to make the right decision.” DIY 26
NEu RECOMMENDED SHIvUM SHaRMa King of the ballads, or is there more to this 19 year old than chart domination?
On one single alone, Shivum Sharma’s immediately convinced everybody that he’s about to become a genuine superstar. He has a voice for ballads, but that’s not the be all and end all of this 19-year-old talent. Before writing breakthrough ‘Flicker’, “I hadn’t ever taken myself seriously as a songwriter,” he says, speaking to DIY. After an initial demo, he took the song to Warp producer Kwes, who jazzed things up a bit. “We spent hours of many sessions just listening to music in his studio and discussing what it was about the tracks we loved so much, and how we wanted to draw inspiration from some of them,” Shivum recalls. He cites Destiny’s Child, Outkast and even Basement Jaxx as the artists who defined his childhood somehow he combines all three, and more, to help coin his soon to be chart-dominating rejoice. LISTEN ‘Flicker’/’Only You’ is out now on National Anthem. FOR FANS OF Nightbus journeys without the post-dubstep.
Los Porcos member by day, Tom McClung resides in darkness for this exciting solo project.
Tobias Hayes finds refuge in brattish, frustrated punk.
A Montreal band fixated on unrelenting, arms aloft excitement.
Francis Lung’s intentions to release a ‘Buk in C’ album surfaced around the time that former band Wu Lyf were in the midst of their short-lived ascent. His reaction to their split was a case of taking stock. First single ‘A Selfish Man’ basks in doubt, but its production is sharp, latching onto minimal pop staples all taped together by Tom’s emotion-laced vocals.
Tobias Hayes’ musical resume boasts Shoes and Socks Off and the now completely disbanded Meet Me In St. Louis. His attention turns to Eugene Quell, a new project / alter-ego that bears few things in common with previous guises. This is gnarly, spitting stuff, reserved for grimy basement parties and the occasional act of arson. Weezer comparisons ahoy.
It’s an obvious reference point, but Japandroids and the more recent Solids have things within their power that other bands lack. There’s a rejoice when they play live that’s somehow tangible on record. Solids’ ‘Blame Confusion’ is unrelenting, arms aloft excitement; a picture perfect collection of songs that aim skywards.
LISTEN ‘A Selfish Man’ b/w ‘Tsunami Blues (Cause of Me)’ is out now on Atelier Ciseaux. FOR FANS OF ‘The Bends’; Nick Cave; ‘All The Wine’.
LISTEN The ‘Eugene Otto Quell’ EP is out now. FOR FANS OF Jackson Scott; Biting into a raw onion and loving every second of it.
LISTEN ‘Blame Confusion’ is out now on Fat Possum. FOR FANS OF Listening to Japandroids with laptop speakers. 27
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F r o m t h e a g e o f 1 5 , T a r e k M u s a’ s h a d t h e k e y s t o h i s pa r e n t s ’ “ m u s i c h o u s e . ” N o w h e ’ s b e g i n n i n g t o r e a p t h e r e wa r d s . W o r d s : J a m i e M i lt o n , P h o t o : K h a l i l M u s a .
arek Musa is impatient. That’s no insult. He’s a “one take” kinda guy, keen for his Spring King band to go places, fast. They deserve it, too. New single ‘Mumma’ (out on Transgressive), sounds like a stampede of angry guitar-wielding musicians intent on heading for bigger things. Pace-wise, it’s probably the musical equivalent of a gang of cheetahs racing each other to the prey, minus David Attenborough’s soothing commentary. Speaking ahead of the final Neu ‘Hello 2014’ show (where his band go on to mimic their on-record freneticism with a brute force, brattish set of huge proportions), the Manchester-based producer recalls asking former bands “Why does this have to take so long?” The best music, he says, is recorded “a day between touring, sometimes in a week.” He admits that he doesn’t know the formula to a perfect record, but his traditional routine’s already had the unprepared scratching their heads. For years Tarek worked solely as a producer, with Spring King being his first shot at becoming a songwriter. His set-up involves recording in a bathroom at his parents’ house (“we recently had to remove the tub to fit in a drum kit”), squeezing wires and instruments into a tiny space. If that’s the secret to this newly-fledged, rampant take on guitar pop, others should take note. “I’ve had bands in the past that have come over and gone ‘Is this it?!’. And I’m all ‘Trust me, trust me. Seriously it’s fine I can make this work’,” he laughs. He shares the place with Peter Darlington (guitars, vocals). Bassist James Green is called a “genius” and guitarist Andy Morton is trained in jazz, with Anna B Savage (keys, vocals) furthering the line-up into a thrashing five-piece. They’re a gang on stage, giving the energy of a thousand mopey, moody and fringed buzz bands in one go. It’s evident that spontaneity wins the day. Even if Spring King’s ascent takes a little longer than Tarek might hope (he’s probably planning a run for local MP in 2016) it’s guaranteed to happen. DIY
SPRING KING, NEED TO KNOW: BASED: Manchester LISTEN: ‘Mumma’ is out now on Transgressive imprint ParadYse.
DID YOU KNOW: Tarek used to work in the health and beauty aisle of Tesco - he quit when, after going eighteen months without a sick day, the boss didn’t believe him when he came down with epic flu. “I saved up loads for gear and just left.”
NOT CONTENT WITH GIVING YOU A FREE MAGAZINE, WE’VE PUT TOGETHER A FREE MIXTAPE FULL OF OUR FAVOURITE NEW BANDS; DOWNLOAD FROM THISISFAKEDIY.CO.UK/MIXTAPE
M V S C L E S Shadows
Neu takes a look at the record labels responsible for breakthrough releases, big or small. Interview: Tom Walters
faTHER/DaUGHTER FOUNDED: 2010. KEY RELEASES: Happy Diving, ‘S/T EP’ (2014); Pure Bathing Culture ‘S/T EP’ (2013); Mutual Benefit/ Holy Spirits 12” (2010). Despite being separated by hundreds of miles, Jessi Frick and her dad are going full-throttle with their label’s admirable DIY ethic in 2014, releasing quality underground music by the likes of Flagland and Happy Diving. Their label is none other than Father/Daughter Records, and here we talk about the relationship that remains the foundation of their project. What’s the earliest musical memory you have of you and your dad? My earliest memory? It’s really embarrassing, I mean I think it’s more embarrassing for me than for my dad, but he loves Jethro Tull. He’s like, obsessed. I’ve seen Jethro Tull more than any other band in my entire life. And mostly from under the age of 15, so that’s the earliest musical memory that I created with my dad. But ever since I was a kid I had a Fisher-Price plastic turntable, and my parents got me Debbie Gibson and Madonna records. I was always obsessed with music for some reason. How much of an influence was your dad’s taste on you whilst you were growing up? I was kind of like a punk rock kid in school, and I listened to a lot of punk stuff and I even had a ska zine during high school. My tastes were pretty varied in what I listened to, Weezer are like one of my favourite bands ever! I’m not sure exactly if what he listened to whilst I was growing up defined what I listened to or the label itself, but I think his sheer love of music kind of opened my eyes to a lot of different artists and stuff as well as allowing me to appreciate a lot of different types of music. DIY
Blog-pop triumphs from two years back MVSCLES have returned with a reminder of their Purity Ring-style sheen.
P U P Reservoir
Canadian punks PUP aren’t the cuddly, bouncing types their name suggests. They know how to deliver brute force doses of noise, though.
R e l i c s Nothing Left To Lose
While we wait for The Horrors to return, they’ve met some proggy rivals in the form of this new London outfit.
Yumi Zouma The Brae
Romantic pop - flowers and all - doesn’t come simpler or indeed more effective than this.
L a p s l e y Station
19 year old Liverpudlian Låpsley is probably (definitely) this year’s answer to James Blake.
M i a m i g o Opinions
Shameless, New Orderchannelling synth pop lends itself to Miamigo’s hugely promising debut.
T w i n C av e r n s Undiscover
Something’s clearly in the Sydney water - even London Grammar’s arena-ready pop’s landed over there, if Twin Caverns are anything to go by.
G E N U I S Peachies
US producer GENUIS’ shining productions will appeal to late night, wandering hipsters and anyone seeking escape from everyday electronica.
N e u e Y o r k Silence
A London trio giving murky darkness a chart-bound direction, Neue York are suckers for xx-style minimalism.
E d T h o m a s Hurt
A regular Bondax collaborator, Ed Thomas’ solo stint sees him leaving the club for shadowy alleyways.
I G T
I T N
S t Vincentâ€™s new album is a r are beas t: full to the brim with mas sive o f f - k i lt e r p o p h i t s , a n d a s t u t e s o c i a l c o m m e n ta ry. F e w d o i t s o w e l l . Words: El Hunt
photos: mike massaro
c o v e r
n an average-looking grey London street, there’s something very strange on the wall: a plaster of Paris nose protrudes out of the brickwork. Through an inconspicuous doorway and a rabbitwarren of corridors, St Vincent sits in an upstairs room. She’s here to talk about her new self-titled album. It’s not just any old record, either.
Annie Cl ark
and weirdo meet.”
that pl ace where
“It’s about living in
For her fourth full length, Annie Clark has created something almost unbelievably exciting and unique. After all, who else could possibly dream up a fully functioning, massively infectious song solely about a rattlesnake? Who else could write pop songs that casually reference modern American authors like Joan Didion and Lorrie Moore, and historical, divisive social figures like political activist and Black Panther cofounder Huey P. Newton? This is clever, witty, pop music; both without fear and immediately accessible. “I love pop music,” Clark enthuses. “Stevie Wonder is pop, Michael Jackson is pop, Talking Heads,” she laughs, name checking recent collaborator David Byrne’s band, “is pop. To me it’s about living in that place where accessibility and weirdo meet. That’s where all my heroes have lived. It’s cool to try and push pop music forward, to see what it could be. It’s important for me for things to be accessible. That’s the kind of music I like.” Fearless is a descriptor Annie returns to time and time again when she talks about the process of making ‘St Vincent’. There’s a certain wriggling exposure that comes with writing, and while her previous album ‘Strange Mercy’ was a dark record, written during what Annie admits was “a really sad time in my life,” the follow-up seems to strike a balance between ugly truths and a joyful pop abandon. “I think that it takes courage to be ugly, and to admit that you have misanthropic or self-loathing thoughts.
It takes courage to be a narrator that is maybe not that likeable,” she explains. “If you can admit to your flaws then it’s just freeing. Being able to admit your ugly parts is one thing, but this is a less self-lacerating record. It’s sort of come out the other side into really wanting to connect with other people, and not just be insular, on your own, in your own cesspool of anxiety and self-loathing.” Part of her move towards connection, Annie agrees, stems from her work with the previously mentioned David Byrne last year, on their mighty brass monolith ‘Love This Giant’. “People would dance at the shows,” she says, “like, dance! At St Vincent shows people move, but not with that kind of collective consciousness. That was really interesting, because I think a lack of self-consciousness from the performers meant a lack of selfconsciousness from the crowd. There’s something really communal about it that I liked, so I wanted to make sure the new record had a groove.” Following the ‘Love This Giant’ tour, she had previously planned to take some time off, “to learn how to be normal.” That plan, like the television in the lyrics of standout track ‘Digital Witness’, quickly went out the window. “It was kind of like being let down at the end of a tornado,” she says, “and I started writing the record about 36 hours after I got back, just because I realised it was the way to get through the strange, brackish waters of tour and sedentary.” Admittedly it’s hard to imagine Annie, perched upright on the sofa today, slumped like a coach potato in front of Netflix, but that’s apparently just what she did in her 36 hour break. “There was just a dial-tone in my brain, like static,” she laughs. She approached the album with a similar level of discipline – to her, St Vincent is like having a day job. “The way that I like to write,” she explains, “is where I’ll wake up in the morning, work from 10 til 7 or something, and then go drink tequila with my friends at night.” It’s a similar practice to another American author that Annie admires - Philip Roth. He once said that 33
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if you sit there for long enough, for two or three years, you will eventually make something worthwhile, and Annie agrees with this ethos. “I think the more that I do music, the more mysterious it is to me. There’s probably a mythology about creativity that involves a tinkerbell muse coming down, and that does happen, but you have to be in a place where you can catch it.” One such muse descended whilst Annie was staying at a friend’s ranch in far-west Texas. “I went out walking on the property one day, and I was feeling very free and existential. I decided I would take my clothes off and wander, because when do you get to be that free? I was having a great time, and then I heard something. My brain went to rationalise it very quickly, like, oh maybe it was the wind. Then I realised that there wasn’t any wind.” She places down her tea cup with a clink, which unexpectedly provides an extra dramatic effect to the tale. “There hadn’t been any wind. And then,” she goes on, allowing her voice to quiver, “I heard the rattle. Out the corner of my eye I saw a fucking snake! I took off running, my clothes were dropping out of my hands, and it felt like I was running for a very long time.” She laughs. “I think about Timothy Treadwell the Grizzly Man [and documentary-maker], and I know you should do something if you see a bear, but I don’t remember if you should make yourself as big as possible, and scare it, or make yourself small and harmless. One will get you killed, and one won’t. I realised that I didn’t know anything about nature. I would see cows, and I would think, do they attack? What do cows do? Are they going to trample me, or should I go and pet the cow? I had no idea about these things.” “I did have a moment where I was eating a burger and looking at a cow, actually,” laughs Annie, suddenly moving off on another of her weird, loosely connected tangents. She doesn’t elaborate, but the grisly metaphor speaks for itself. If ever there was a trademark St Vincent image – darkly funny, and ever so slightly uncomfortable – then it’s that. The real question is, would St Vincent stand more of a chance against a grizzly bear or a rattlesnake? “The rattlesnake!” exclaims Annie with no hesitation. “I think about dying all the time, and I would rather die from poison, than, like, a hippo or a bear biting my face off. I think the poison would go,” she clicks her fingers, “quicker.” The fact that she has an answer ready is maybe part of the same reason that Clark calls herself a ‘not that likeable’ a narrator. She and her music are interested in dissecting things in a surgeon-like fashion – even if the contents are not that pleasant or comfortable.
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f o r b e i n g a n eturning to that nose mounted on the wall a s s h o l e . ” outside today’s meeting place; the internet, as always, holds the answer to A n n i e C l a r k the mysterious nasal-shaped appendage. Seventeen years ago, amid a debate over the growing number of London’s all-seeing CCTV cameras, a sculptor called Rick Buckley didn’t much fancy the prospect of the city being transformed into a real-life version of 1984. In response, he stuck noses on walls around the city, right underneath the peering eye of the camera lens. If those faceless people tucked away in hidden spires with fingerprint entry pads are going to insist on watching us, they may as well know that we can see them, too.
It’s an idea that takes precedence on ‘St Vincent’. Technology and privacy, alienation and connection are all recurring threads that wire their way through. “If I can’t show it, if you can’t see me / What’s the point of doing anything?” Annie sings on ‘Digital Witness’ – an ambivalent tug-of-war between embracing the new world order or throwing the television straight out of the window. It’s a modern day catch 22 – if a meal is eaten but nobody
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instagrams it, did anybody really taste it? “It’s a scientific law that something that is watched is different from something that no eyes are on,” Clark ponders, taking a contemplative sip from her cup of tea. “We live in a time where we’re aware that we’re being watched. Look at the NSA scandal – which I don’t think anyone was that surprised by – it’s horrifying! It’s almost as if we’re making ourselves transparent as a means of protection. I think in the future, the real commodity when we talk about the 1% is that they will have privacy and nobody spying on them.” “I’m not casting judgment on it,” she adds, “so much as I’m noticing that I’m in it. I think that people start to do more and more extreme things to get noticed, to get the validation that they’re seeking from other people. If we’re all performers, none of us know how to selfsoothe.” We’re all projections of ourselves on the internet, then, in a sense? “Absolutely!” she agrees. “I was with my friend who downloaded that app, Tinder. We were scrolling through, and it was… it felt bad! You have one to three pictures of someone, and you’re kind of like, next, next, ooh, not good enough for me. It’s like who the fuck are we?! We’ve created this other place where there are no real life consequences for being an asshole.” “It takes courage
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Clark has an uncanny knack for observing things from an odd, detached, intrigued perspective. She might be useless in a fight against a grizzly bear, but St Vincent is like a David Attenborough equivalent armed with distortion and “swampy evil shit” instead of a dulcet soothing commentator’s voice. She narrates on humans, in the most acerbic, forthright way possible.
“I’m not interested in the romanticised version of people, but what they actually are,” she explains, selecting her words with the careful precision of a bibliophile scanning across the shelves of a piled-high second-hand book shop. “Not because that’s all dark, but because it’s a lot of things. It’s generous and empathetic, and it’s also vile and crass. We’re all these conflicting things melted into one. I feel like a student of human nature. I like to explore what it actually is, because that’s more interesting than rainbows and butterflies.” The freaky stuff humans get up to is a pretty endless topic to write about, after all. “People are weird!” laughs Annie, “there’s nothing as weird as a person.” “I’ve been thinking…” she drifts, “I think there’s a particular kind of Texas freak, and I’m still trying to figure out what exactly breeds one. John Congleton [St Vincent’s long-time producer] and I, we’re both from the suburbs of Dallas, both just kind of weirdo. I think there’s something about the religiosity in the air, and the big tough Texas thing. I think the freaks are even freakier because they have more to rebel against.” Flannery O’Connor, another American writer, wrote a piece speaking about the grotesque in Southern literature, saying that Southern writers have a penchant for writing about freaks because they are still about to recognise one. Annie giggles with knowing agreement. “I feel that way too. I know that freaks exist everywhere – and I mean ‘freak’ in the best possible way, it’s a compliment for sure. I mean, who’s going to be a freak in New York? Everyone’s a fucking freak. But in Texas you kind of have to work for it, because everyone’s a good ol’ boy.” If Annie’s aim was to write an album of freaky, rebellious slightly grotesque, and completely infectious pop music, that breaks the mould of normality, then she has certainly succeeded. Step inside, join the freak show, and dance. ‘St Vincent’ lives in its own bizarre universe, but this time, Annie Clark seems to have left the door wide open. St Vincent’s self-titled new album is out now via Loma Vista / Caroline International. DIY
T h e t y p i c a l ly l a i d back Real Estate are fretting about the future, and they’re setting a road-map for the years ahead with brilliant new album ‘At l a s ’. Wo r d s : Ja m i e M i lto n . 38 thisisfakediy.co.uk
artin Courtney is at a crossroads, in more ways than one. To begin with, he’s stuck in an Atlanta hotel room, semi-stranded after a flight back to New York got cancelled in the midst of early January storms. His biggest concern is “not spending any money” while he’s rooted in limbo. Still, he’s missing home. In fact home - and what exactly constitutes a place to live in - is at the forefront of his band’s new album ‘Atlas’, which shows Real Estate linking their lazyday wooziness with all eyes ahead. Instead of being muddled up with nostalgia, it’s the future that’s playing on their collective mind.
‘Atlas’ - the band’s third record, and second since being freed up financially and creatively since signing to Domino - is a continuation from breakthrough ‘Days’. At least, that’s the case musically. Sharp, refined takes on classical musicianship are given an even greater boost, with the big difference being Jackson Pollis. Last time round Real Estate didn’t have a drummer. The parts on ‘Days’ were written by other members with simplicity firmly on the agenda. This time round they’ve
switched things up (“he brought his own thing to the table,” says Martin), but that hasn’t exactly led to a dramatic shift in their drifting, melodic springtime pop.
Instead, the change comes in perspective. As a lyricist, Martin purposefully decided to switch things up, turning his focus to the years ahead instead of peering back into the past with a hazy filter. He’s at a stage where he wants to start a family, a process
that’ll involve moving out of the busied, up-all-night-to-get-coffee nature of New York. The bulk of ‘Atlas’ was written in the Big Apple (“I’d just got married - we were both getting a little bit sick of the city”), and attention turned to a life elsewhere. “The career that I’ve found myself in… there’s uncertainty,” Martin admits. “It’s a lot less stable than a nine to five office job. You think a lot about where each record is gonna go, where it’s gonna
take you. [‘Atlas’ is] thinking about where I’d like to be, where I’d want to start a family.”
shows are usually pretty fun and that gives you that one thing a day you can be excited about.”
His current surroundings are a “populist neighbourhood” in New York. He can’t shake off the fact that for starters, the place is “expensive”, and ”it seems frivolous to be living here,” and if he’s finally thinking of settling down, it shouldn’t be here. “I’d love a yard, some outdoor space. I would like to have the life that I had growing up.”
If ‘Atlas’ is a record concerned with misheard messages and loose ends, on the flipside it’s the sound of a band getting their point across more successfully than ever. ‘Days’’ directness is applied with even more depth, and anyone remotely caught up in the last album will find perfect solace in the follow-up. Matt Mondanile (also of Ducktails) pens an instrumental for the heart of the record, ‘April’s Song’, that sums up Real Estate’s appeal in three sweeping minutes. No words required, it somehow takes liftoff, potentially sticking out as the record’s best track.
Couple this with the distance and the dislocation of touring. Here’s another subject that’s wound its way into ‘Atlas’, a record that’s sweet on the surface but bubbling up with frustration just beneath. Lead track ‘Talking Backwards’ is all about the dodgy connections and misinterpreted texts that define longdistance relationships. “We’re not getting any closer / you’re too many miles away,” Martin sings. Psychologically he’s ready to explode, but as is customary with Real Estate, the whole thing’s coated in a cosy, tuneful warmth. Martin renders touring a “struggle and a balancing act, trying to bring in a personal life and start a family.” Asked if there are any coping mechanisms for being on the road, he struggles for a minute (“Ugh. There’s really not much you can do…”) before replying, “sorry, I don’t have a good answer for that.” The only upside is the shows themselves. “It sounds cheesy but that’s what makes it fun and worth it. “You’ll be sick and tired all day, or even literally sick because it’s hard to stay healthy. But the
“We’ve always wanted to make a great sounding record,” says Martin, dismissing any previous “lo-fi” intentions by stating his surprise that previous label Woodsist even put their “patchwork” debut album out. On ‘Atlas’, they seem to have reached a new level of refinement, and indeed contentedness. Despite frustrations with life both at home and on the road, the band are in rosy confines. “We grew up together. We find ourselves in this amazing position,” admits the frontman. “It’s funny because on the new album, I didn’t necessarily sit down and decide to write a bunch of extremely catchy songs. This wasn’t a decision to make a radio record. We’re just going to keep doing what we do. Hopefully it will keep working.” Real Estate’s new album ‘Atlas’ will be released on 3rd March via Domino. DIY
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Between ‘Days’ and ‘Atlas’, Martin Courtney wedded girlfriend Heather Joyce. And if there’s one upside to the touring slog, it’s that this time round he’s taking Heather round the world. “She’ll come on a couple of trips with us,” he enthuses. “She wants to see London it’s nice when we’re going someplace fun or exciting to be able to turn it into a vacation at the same time.” She’ll still be staying out of the van life, however. Martin “wouldn’t wish it upon anyone.”
“THE CAREER THAT I’VE FOUND MYSELF IN… THERE’S UNCERTAINT Y.” MARTIN COURTNEY
Keeping it cosy: Real Estate. 40 thisisfakediy.co.uk
interview blood red shoes
Perfect Mess Blo od Red Shoes hav e g o n e b ac k to basics, d oing things their own way. W o r d s : M a r t y n Young, Photos: E m ma S wan n
hen a band has been together for ten years and reached their fourth album, situations change. Expectations and motivations may be completely different to when they started out. Some bands, if they are lucky enough to reach this point, may be creatively burnt out, flatlining after years of torturous grind. Conversely, they may have found themselves distorted by success with the essence of the band lost in a mainstream merry-go-round jumble. Blood Red Shoes aren’t like other bands though. As the two-piece of guitarist Laura-Mary Carter and drummer Steven Ansell release their self-titled new record, it’s quickly apparent that as a band they are in a very good place right now. A feeling of optimism is imbued on an aggressive, direct and hugely melodic album. As Laura-Mary explains, the band approached their latest effort in an extremely positive frame of mind: “I feel like coming to do this fourth album we had this realisation of, wow, we’re still fucking here,” she says enthusiastically. “There’s so many bands that we’ve seen come and go and we’ve experienced so much stuff in the ten years that we’ve been together. There’s this weird confidence that you get when you realise that you’re still here. People are still coming to our shows, we haven’t gone down, and we’re still slowly growing. That’s an amazing position to be in. There’s a confidence in that that comes across in the record. I think it felt like a positive record. It’s more of a positive sounding thing. It’s a grateful feeling as well.”
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With the band in such a vibrant mindset, it felt like the perfect opportunity for them to do something different and trust their own instincts. “The thing about our band is that we like to do the opposite,” says Laura-Mary. “When we made ‘In Time To Voices’ we really tried to do something different to the previous album and experiment a bit more with layers and melancholy type songs with different tempos. As soon as we’d done that we just wanted to make a pop record but with loads of heavy, scuzzy sounding guitars.” The record they’ve made is the ultimate realisation of the band’s love of heavy, visceral, yet melodic, rock music. All the conflictions of their previous records melt away into something primal, thrilling and spontaneous: “We’ve always been into heavy music, sometimes it hasn’t always come across as much in our records. Live usually it’s a bit more of a heavy sound. We’ve just been learning as we’ve gone along. That’s the kind of stuff we really like. This record finally has that aggression and the heavy sound that we’ve been trying to get.” Perhaps a change of environment and circumstance allowed the band to lose any inhibitions they had towards making something that wasn’t polished or sophisticated. Entirely produced and engineered by themselves, ‘Blood Red Shoes’ is as unsophisticated as you can get. “I don’t think going in with a producer, they would allow us to abuse equipment like we did and fuck things up by putting a million fuzz pedals on something,” laughs Laura-Mary. That sort of liberating spirit pervades throughout the album. The band recorded for the first time outside of their native Brighton and as LauraMary professes that isolation and freedom allowed them to completely be themselves. “We had a need to go somewhere else as we’d made three records in the UK,” she explains. “We’d written all three in Brighton mostly. We wanted to be where stuff is happening. If you’re stuck in a studio, it’s really good if you can go outside and see some stuff, get a drink or go to a cafe. We’re quite disciplined so we’re not going to go crazy and not do any work. We trust ourselves. Berlin is the perfect place. It’s got a lot going on and it’s really
inspiring. You can get a really cool space there for not much money and make loads of noise. We ended up just being in a concrete room. It wasn’t fancy, it felt more like a home than other studios that we’ve been in. It was just us. We engineered and produced it and had no interference from anyone. It could have gone really wrong actually! But I think it’s turned out how we wanted it.” After years of making albums with regular producer Mike Crossey it was a conversation with esteemed US producer and old friend John Congleton while making last year’s interim ‘Water’ EP that gave them the impetus to go it alone. “We went to Dallas to do it with John Congleton who’s known for doing St Vincent and stuff. He’s a friend, we’d known him since back in the day in the punk scene with his old band, [The Paper Chase]. That’s how Steven and I met, going to see the band and them putting us up in their houses. He said to us, ‘Guys, you should just do it yourself, just go for it. It’s really important that you do it at some point.’ He was the inspiration to just go fuck it, let’s do it. We know what we’re doing recording wise, we’ve got lots of gear that we’ve been collecting. In that sense, it didn’t seem daunting. It was really fun.” Many of the songs on the resulting album are the end product of spontaneous jams and improvisations. It’s incredibly loose and natural sounding. “When we did the third record everything was in its place. At the time, we made it all ourselves before we went in the studio with Mike Crossey and redid it. I think something was lost a little bit from what we recorded originally. That got us thinking about what we want to do for this next record.” The feel of their live shows, which have become ever more brutal and direct, provided yet more inspiration. “We’re one of those bands where it’s not the same every night,” continues LauraMary warming to her theme. “Some nights it’s not great and some nights it can be amazing. It really depends on the mood. We thought that we should take that into our record, as that’s what people like about us. We were conscious about not overdoing things. Some things are out of tune on the record but that’s what makes it exciting.” It’s apparent just how much the
band appreciate the support of their growing worldwide fan base, the increasingly global nature of their popularity encouraging them to do something a little bit different with the initial promotion of this album. “We realise that we have to thank our fans as they’re the reason we’re still here and they still give a shit about us,” she says. “We did this QR thing where everyone had to get involved throughout the world to release the first song from the album. That was part of it as well, to give something back and let our fans be the first to hear it. That’s part of engaging them as they’re the reason we’re still here.” As the music industry diversifies rapidly with every passing year Blood Red Shoes have been quick to adapt to getting their music out there in a different way. The QR search is just the first step in an effort to engage and energise their worldwide audience. “For us, we felt the need that we wanted to do something less traditional,” explains Laura-Mary. “Usually, you make a song, make a video and the song comes out as an exclusive and that’s how everyone hears it. We thought it would be really cool to directly involve our audience. “Music now is just so passive. It’s one click away. You can just go online and hear it. We come from right at the end of the generation where we used to find out about music from books and go and search for records. Once you got it, it was a really special thing. It’s part of trying to get people out of their houses as well. I think maybe there is a need for that. It gets boring if you can just get everything easily. To get people involved and participating is a cool thing.” It’s refreshing to find a band that has been in existence for a decade, full of enthusiasm and vigour rather than a jaded blankness. ’Blood Red Shoes’ is the sound of a duo very much stripping things back to move things forward. “We definitely hope to progress,” Laura-Mary proclaims confidently. “We are an ambitious band and we always have been. We want to play bigger shows. We feel really happy to be here and just hope that people like the record.” Blood Red Shoes’ self-titled new album will be released on 3rd March via Jazz Life. DIY
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interview dan croll
â€œA really brutal metal band inspired me.â€? Da n Cro ll
Confessions Of A Secret Metalhead There’s much more than meets the eye with e x- L I PA s t u d e n t, d a n c r o l l . . . W o r d s : S a r a h J a m i e s o n , P h o t o s : E m m a S w a n n
and time signatures are going on. That’s what I try and do.
orget his connections to Paul McCartney and his rugby-playing past, his twinkling Paul Simon-inflected singles, or his introspective, intimate storytelling lyrics. Prince Harry isn’t the only one who’s been keeping a dark secret: Dan Croll is actually a bit of a metalhead.
“I’ve always been into a lot of alternative music,” Croll begins innocently enough, before dropping the bombshell. “I’ve gone through a lot of stages of metal and rock, and all kinds of stuff. I’m still a big fan of metal. It definitely helps me with my music.” For anyone familiar with Dan Croll’s output, they’d be forgiven for not entirely believing him. After all, his second single, the swooning BBC 6 Music favourite ‘Compliment Your Soul’, is a slice of perfect harmonious pop. Hear it once, twice, a third time and it’s hard to ever scrape from the insides of the mind. It’s not something that a tech-metal fan could have instrumented... is it? “There are bands like Meshuggah, who I absolutely love,” Croll continues enthusiastically. “Technically, it’s ridiculous. They’re famous for it, as a tech metal band. They’ll play music where people will nod along - which is such a great thing to have, for people to find a clear beat and feel like they can move and nod their head to it - whilst the most ridiculous poly-rhythms
“It’s weird that, at a time when Paul Simon and his sounds were inspiring ‘Compliment Your Soul’ to be a bit of an African track with djembes and all this traditional percussion in there, at the same time, a metal band like Meshuggah were telling me to make it a bit technical. People think that song is in 4/4 time, and people will nod their heads, but in fact the drumbeat is in 6/8. It’s that weird thing when often people think, ‘Oh yeah, it’s all very African...’ and it is, but at the same time, a really brutal metal band inspired me to do that as well.” The thing with Dan Croll is that, whilst seemingly “normal” on the outside, he strives to be different. The idea of constructed, formulaic pop is something that doesn’t sit well with him “it’s bad that there’s people like that in the industry” - and his love of instrumentation has led him to want to try anything within his grasp. It’s fair to say that he’s dedicated to breaking down boundaries. “I’ve come round to accepting that I make pop music, but because I listen to all these alternative genres, it’s weird. Before I was signed, I was trying to be in math-rock bands and I was very much against pop music and formulaic music. I still am in a way, but I’ve come to accept that I’m making pop music that has a lot more to it than just a simple formula and simple instrumentation. “It was funny, I actually had a guy… I wrote ‘Compliment Your Soul’ a while ago, but way back, I had written another track in 6/8, and an industry man - who shall not be named - laughed in my face and told me I would never ever get a track in 3/4
interview dan croll
or 6/8 on the radio. It was always one of my aims, and it always stuck in my head.” As it so happened, ‘Compliment Your Soul’ did more than its share of the rounds; and that wasn’t lost on Croll. He laughs, “I actually sent that guy an email just saying, ‘I told you so.’ That’s what’s driven me to really try hard and work on layering percussion and layering vocals, to do something different.” Granted, his tastes aren’t solely heavy. Whilst he readily confesses that his band members lead double lives when playing in a grindcore outfit, he also happily admits which band sparked his love for one of his primary hobbies: collecting instruments. “I had a massive Beirut phase. They really inspired me - in terms of their instrumentation, having two trumpet players, accordions, all this cool percussion. They were big influences
for me in terms of really experimenting. They were really trying to break out of the mould and bring almost gypsy into the mainstream. I take my hat off to them because it’s a tough job, and it’s such a small genre and tradition. There were definitely bands that stem from Beirut that introduced me to that. “It was years ago, and I went straight out and bought an accordion. I originally played trumpet when I was 12 or something like that, for five years, and tossed that aside. Then, suddenly, I wanted to start it again because Beirut were doing it. All of this stuff just made me want to collect instruments, and it was almost a mission to get an instrument into the track. It still is! I’ll be in my studio and a song might only need guitar, bass, some drums and a bit of vocals but then, out of the corner of my eye, I’ll see an instrument and think, ‘I’ve got to put it in’. I feel like I’m being too normal, or that I’m
conforming to something if I keep it to just drums, bass, guitar and vocals. I feel like it’s too simple, in a way. Often enough, I take it all back again, but at least I know I’ve tried to fit something in.” With the rate that Croll is trying and succeeding, it feels as though he’s actually making a difference. With some naysayers already stopped in their tracks, and the full album on its way, the door of opportunity has already begun to swing open for the 23-year-old, and he’s intent on prising it open for interesting pop musicians everywhere. He might even come bearing a couple of instruments, maybe a trumpet or two; you never really know with him, there might just be some more secrets to unearth. Dan Croll’s debut album ‘Sweet Disarray’ will be released on 10th March via Deram Records. DIY
“I’ve come round to accepting that I make pop music, but it’s weird.” Dan Croll
t would definitely have been an easier past year without it, though some people think it’s benefitted us. It’s been blown out of proportion – in the grand scheme of things there are a lot more important things for people to get pissed off about.” In a noisy pub in Soho, Mark Goldsworthy, guitarist and founder member of Eagulls, is talking about the open letter that the band put on their website in January last year.
Eagulls may not intend to cause a ruckus, but they have a knack for Creating controversy. Words: Danny Wright Photos: Emma Swann
In for the kill: Eagulls mean business.
The letter – calling out “beach bands sucking each others’ dicks” and saying “fuck you and all your mums and dads that pay for you to ‘do the band full time’,” among other things – certainly ruffled a few feathers. Are there any regrets about posting it? “It was George [Mitchell, Eagulls’ singer] who wrote it. I agree with most of the sentiments though it’s been misinterpreted a lot. It was a genuine piece but if you know our band you might misconstrue the intention.” The piece has since been taken down by the band, and though it might be what Eagulls are best known for at the moment, all this is set to change with the release of their debut album. It’s a record that turns the anger, resentment and pissed-off attitude of that letter and sets it atop some of the most blistering post-punk you’ll hear. Not quite the mellow tunefulness of the West Coast country-rockers they very nearly share a name with, then. Where does the name come from? “It was at Primavera and it was an in-joke that went too far. It was just three of us together 24/7, so the unfunniest things became hilarious. We saw this samba band covered in feathers and we said we’re going to start a punk band called the Eagulls when we get back. We never thought we’d be sat here talking about it now!” Rather than the Eagles, the Leeds quintet’s sound has been compared to everyone from Dinosaur Jr to Gang of Four and 51
The Cure, their songs charging from glowering post-rock into exhilarating punk. There are also elements of the local hardcore scene they grew up in (Liam played guitar in Fast Point and Mark in Hordes) but there’s a more melodic drive at play here. “Post-punk is such a broad term that we’re happy for people to call us that,” says Mark. And it’s a sound which has been capturing a lot of attention. Playing on Letterman and up for awards, do they feel their popularity growing? “It’s all superficial at the moment so it’s hard to tell. I take it with a pinch of salt – if there are more people at our shows then that’s what counts.” The band is impatient to get the album – a record that has been ready for over a year – out to people. “It seems a long time ago since we started it so it’s hard to have an opinion on it anymore. You
“We were all cheesed off and stuck in jobs that we haTED.” M a rk G o ld swo r thy
have to step back. There are little things that niggle you but when we get it on vinyl I’ll see how it sounds.” ‘Eagulls’ has seen them plunge into darker waters than their early songs suggested – with a harsher sound coming more to the fore. “’Tough Luck’ is my favourite song because it’s the old and the new,” says Mark. “It’s got the melodies but it’s also quite abrasive. If there was a Venn diagram of our sound that would be in the middle.” This harsher edge seems linked to the fact that the band were all working full-time at local bars and shops to make enough money to get by – making recording a frustrating process. “We were all cheesed off and stuck in jobs that we hated. When we were at university we were writing more optimistic songs but we became more cynical. With the jobs we couldn’t get
the time off, everyone was in a shit place and it crept into the songs.” Not that leaving their jobs and joining the ‘glamorous’ music industry will see their anger subside. “We’re leaving our jobs soon but parts of being in the music industry are just as soul destroying.” He looks up and laughs. “We’ll always find something to moan about!” It’s this feeling of disillusionment with what they see around them that drives a lot of their songs. Is there a political element to the band? “Not overtly, but I think some of the things George sings about are affected by the political situation – being sold a fake dream that you could get a degree, and then getting a shit job. We don’t have a political stance – we’re just pessimistic about everything!” he wryly notes. Yet for all this cynicism there’s
a definite belief in the music they make together, a belief that was vindicated when last year’s SXSW ended up with a bidding war for the band.
into it all and spat back out. We want to rely on ourselves, not get pushed about and keep the integrity of the band.”
They ended up signing with Partisan Records, the decision made partly due to the band’s desire to maintain control. “The record label haven’t pressured us at all. I used to see press and it would make me hate a band thinking it was them but now we’re in it you can tell they were pushed into it. It’s hard not to fall into those traps. What we’re doing at the moment is far more than I’d ever expected and I’m very happy. My ambition is just to stay in control of the situation and not get sucked
“We don’t want to get sucked into the media bullshit either,” he adds. “That’s why the letter got blown all out of proportion – with the internet it got regurgitated and put under the microscope.” So he doesn’t use Twitter then? “The band has one to let people know when shows are on but, personally, I don’t trust myself on it.”
What’s Your Emergency? It’s not just Eagulls’ music which is making sure people find out about them. Their video for ‘Nerve Endings’ – which showed a maggot infested, decomposing pig brain – gained them some attention, wanted and unwanted. Filmed in the basement of George’s house, controversy started when someone visited their cellar to read the gas
meter. He thought he‘d stumbled upon a murder scene and immediately called the police. “It is a decent video but I don’t think that’s why people are talking about it, it’s the story behind it,” Mark laughs. “The fact that the police came to the house and found the brains – I do like it, but I think it would have gone under the radar without that!”
Eagulls’ self-titled debut album will be released on 3rd March via Partisan Records. DIY
interview the war on drugs
Thirsty? Adam Granduciel does his best to reenact *that* scene from The Shining.Â
to the war On Drugs’ debut, ‘S l ave Amb ient ’, took everyone by s urpris e - not leas t frontman Adam G r anduciel . Now they’re back with the follow up. Wo rds: Dav i d Z a m m it t, Ph oto s: Em m a Swa n n .
The recep tion
month ago I was still listening and I heard things that I didn’t like.” The War On Drugs’ Adam Granduciel is wrestling with his own impossibly lofty standards of quality control. He could chat about music (mainly everyone else’s), touring and even his house (it’s the muse for ‘Lost In The Dream’’s artwork) well into the small hours. Garrulous and yet unerringly eloquent, he expresses the pleasure he derives and pain he endures from his art astoundingly well. Luckily, he’s beginning to let go of his newest born child as he prepares to hand the album over to the public and critics alike. “Then the other night I listened to it and I played it for my friends and I heard it in the distance.” He smiles, loathe to admit that he might have actually enjoyed it. “And they love it. It was good to hear it in a different way.” ‘Lost In The Dream’ is the sound of an artist obsessing over his craft. With its ten tracks pushing the hour mark it’s an unapologetically sprawling journey, but it never fails to engage. The subtleties employed by its creator and production cohort Jeff Zeigler elevate the album from standard rock structures towards something approaching transcendence. On ‘Suffering’, a paean to simply getting through, unheard piano flourishes continue to arrive until the five and a half minute mark, twisting and turning the song into something entirely new. When its sixth minute draws to a close and disappears you’ll lament its length, but only for its brevity. ‘Lost In The Dream’ is one of those albums where each and every snare drum, every synth sound and vocal effect has been toiled over ad nauseum, and it shows. The same attention to detail that makes his work so rewarding, however, also caused Granduciel to turn in on himself after the release of breakthrough LP ‘Slave Ambient’. The sheer universality of its success came as a surprise, and
interview the war on drugs
the weight of expectation, both from outside and from within, saddled him with mental and emotional anguish. “Sometimes it only lasts three minutes but you spend the whole day worrying that you’re going to collapse in the middle of a supermarket or you’re going to pass out at the wheel for no other reason than that everything’s new.” Luckily, he has found ways to deal with it and is approaching the album release juggernaut with a little more philosophically this time around. “I just kind of coped with it and continued to work on the record. And continued to take the advice of my friends. And continued to take care of myself and not, you know – I’ve never been one to cope with anything by drinking or taking drugs but I made a point to not necessarily go down that road too
much. I really just waited it out. I’m not really waking up anymore in a state of panic.” Even the rationale behind people’s love for that last album began to play on his mind. “People loved ‘Slave Ambient’ and I wasn’t sure why. I feel like that was me learning about recording and tying songs together but I didn’t feel like I wrote anything on that record that was really deep or – I don’t know, I wasn’t really sure what it was that people liked. I know they liked its spirit.” This time he has had to be careful to record an album for himself rather than attempting to play to any narrative that the listenership may have projected on to him. “I just wanted to go about making something that I was really proud of as a writer too.”
Lumped, along with his pal Kurt Vile, under the loose ‘slacker’ umbrella, the description seems a little unfair in the context. “I never actually really cared about the word slacker but now that you’ve brought it up, now it’s pissed me off!” He struggles with what the term means to him. “To me ‘slacker’ is, in a good way, Teenage Fanclub or something. But I don’t really like ‘slacker’ because I work really hard on a lot of different aspects of music. I was kind of a ‘slacker’ at the coffee shop.” He stops and realises he’s doing himself a disservice. “No, actually I wasn’t. I worked in restaurants, coffee shops, warehouses and every job I ever had since I was 15, I’ve always been a good worker. I’ve always been the guy that you could trust to get it done and I took
“People loved ‘Sl ave Ambient’ and I wasn’ t sure why.” A da m G r a n d u ci el
pride in that.” It brings us on to the concept of success and the shape it takes in the eyes of Granduciel. What would a successful 2014 look like for The War On Drugs? Is it simply getting the record out there and playing it live? “I think so. We did everything we could on the last one. A successful year isn’t about selling 60,000. I got a bit of a taste of what it means to have music provide for you and it was nice but it wasn’t really exciting. If I had to go back to work in a job I probably really wouldn’t mind that much. I think successful is just to have
people connect with it on a level that I want it to connect with people on.” That, and playing in Coventry, of course. “We played in Coventry five years ago so to play in Coventry.” He laughs. “I don’t know. Going back to Yeovil and Farnham!”
or a good brother.” It’s obvious that he’s come a long way in the last year, finally reaching some sort of peace with himself. “Life is a beautiful thing and the dream is – I just felt disconnected from all things and…” He pauses. “You don’t need to be.”
Finally, then, what is this dream that Adam Granduciel finds himself lost in? Articulate to a fault, he answers right away. “I know it sounds cheesy but the dream is really day-to-day life. Just the simplicities of having a normal, friendly relationship with your friends or being an open boyfriend or being a good son
The War On Drugs’ new album ‘Lost In The Dream’ will be released on 17th March via Secretly Canadian. DIY
FROM PARIS WITH LOVE Gone are the pressures of being a twenty-something in London: Metronomy’s Joseph Mount is taking a more laid back approach. Wo r d s : H u w O l i v e r . P h oto s : E m m a Swa n n .
azing out of his record label’s office window down onto an oddly sunlit Shoreditch street, Joseph Mount is giggling. Giggling hard. “When you’re doing a fourth album, there are clichéd things which you, like, have to do, or avoid doing, depending on your perspective,” he reflects on Metronomy’s new single, ‘Love Letters’, which is just about to be unveiled to the world. “One is adding horns, another is adding backing vocalists to make you sound better. And I got them both.”
The biggest shock is when a trumpet solo enters the fray courtesy of Parisian jazz musician Airelle Besson. “It’s funny because originally there were a lot of horns over ‘Love Letters’,” he reveals. “There were horns in the main part of the song, but in the end it was like, this feels too kind of, this feels too far. But like, to do a song with a Motowny rhythm like that seemed kind of, ‘Why would I do that?’ But then I ended up thinking, ‘Why wouldn’t I do that?’ A trumpet solo seemed perfectly normal.” As all four of their albums (and the contrasts between them) show, Metronomy are constantly changing, nay radicalising their sound. This time, they’ve metamorphosed from the massively accessible synth-pop act we all knew from ‘The Look’ and ‘The Bay’ into a brilliantly weird, 60s-influenced funk-psych crossbreed. The outcome is the band’s career-high masterstroke, and
it features some of the bravest tunes they’ve ever cut. “It’s one of those things that if you like us as a band and if you like the music, then part of what you like is the fact that it’s not predictable and that it’s not supposed to be predictable,” Mount explains, then sniggers, “but I guess we’ll find out in the charts how alienating we’ve been.” On this record, he felt more confident as a songwriter, and more comfortable in his own skin. Tellingly, with the intention of releasing a double record, he laid down twenty tracks but ended up streamlining it to ten. “I was really convinced it was a good idea. But then, I guess what happens is that when you’re compiling a record like that, a kind of feel emerges out of, like, quite disparate things, and out of the ten tracks which I felt should end up on the record, I mainly tried to write about being away, or travelling, stuff like that. Quite a lot of these songs have got this theme of being out of touch, being away from something, hence ‘Love Letters’.” The songs are also linked by the retrograde way in which they were recorded. They were laid down at London’s legendary Toe Rag studios, where The White Stripes recorded ‘Elephant’ ten years before. This in turn impacted on Mount’s songwriting. “The thing was, to record a record like that really changed the way that I had to write songs,” he says. “The main purpose of recording like that was so that it would force me to be a much more organised songwriter and much more wellplanned.” Taking a step back in time, he and his bandmates (Oscar Cash, Anna Prior and Gbenga Adelekan) had to totally rethink their creative process. As he explains, “In a very oldfashioned way, I did lots of demos and tried to arrange all the songs and have the songs finished. So, when I went into the studio I could just record and not have to write too much at the same time.”
Appropriately enough, Mount became absorbed in 60s hippiedom and that era’s dichotomous relationship between funk and psychedelia. “For a long time now, I’ve enjoyed listening to Sly & The Family Stone, The Zombies, and obviously The Beatles, The Kinks, people like that,” he says enthusiastically. Using these as ‘reference material’, he dissected the classics bit by bit, seeing what the masters did in a quest to imitate the quirks of the period. “I guess, on each record, I feel like I kind of open up,” he states. “I listen to a lot of different kinds of music and I always have. And each time I do a record, I feel like I open up a little gate to a different part of the music I like. Or at least, allow it to influence the song I’m writing more than previously. On the one hand you had people like The Beatles, The Kinks and The Byrds making this kind of guitary, psychedelic music in the late 60s. But at the same time, you had the beginnings of funk music and there are nice points where those genres cross each other.” This oddball overlap can be heard on ‘Love Letters’ itself. That is, after a stripped-back acoustic sing-along in the form of ‘The Upsetter’ gets the album underway, things consequently swerve from trippy wah-wah rock (‘Month Of Sundays’) all the way to brilliant, caterwauling synth-funk (‘Reservoir’). Though some songs hint nostalgically at earlier moments from Metronomy’s career (notably the Tom Tom Club-esque ‘Boy Racers’), this is mainly novel territory for the band. But it remains divisive. Despite claims from fans that it seemed too simple and understated, Mount still believes groundbreaking lead single ‘I’m Aquarius’ is “genuinely the best thing” he’s ever done. In fact, he says, “I’ve kind of always wanted to release a song like that, and I’ve always wanted to write one. Before, I’ve tried and tried and I’ve never quite done it.”
“ H AV I N G A B A BY I S A G O O D T H I N G T O TA K E YO U R M I N D O F F T H E L E S S I M P O R TA N T T H I N G S . I ’ D R E C O M M E N D E V E R YO N E D O I T. ” JOSEPH MOUNT
The song was released for one week only via the Night Sky app, which allows users to identify planets, galaxies, constellations, ad infinitum. All fans had to do was scan the sky in search of the Aquarius constellation, and the single would play automatically. “The funny thing,” says Mount, “is nowadays you get properly overblown campaigns leading up to records, to the point they can make you so disappointed in the record when it finally arrives. But when they were talking about the Night Sky thing, I was thinking, like, it’s actually pretty cool. When are you ever going to be able to tie in a song with a stargazing app? I guess it was a once in a lifetime opportunity.” Aside from the intergalactic lead single, another standout comes in the form of gloriously way-out, slightly offhand guitar jam ‘The Most Immaculate Haircut’. But whose ‘do was he actually referring to? “It’s Connan Mockasin’s haircut,” he confirms, “but I think he’s slightly let it go a bit. I think he’s taken his eye off it.” The song was the leftover scrap of a botched collaboration between the pair. Delving deeper, he explains, “It definitely applies more widely than that. I was talking to someone about how there are people who become kind of iconic, people who have something about their image which is often their haircuts which makes them kind of instantly recognisable. You get scenester people like that in London. “Anyway, I’ve always been slightly upset that I’ve never really cultivated my image to the point where I’m recognisable and people are, like, ‘uhh, it’s the guy with the cool haircut.’ I think when I first started playing in bands, that was always my dream, to be part of a gang that has a look. Do you remember Bromheads Jacket? Anyway, the singer had cut himself an incredible kind of Jerry Ramone haircut and I was like, ‘fuck me, that’s amazing. I wish I could do that.’ But I couldn’t.” It soon transpires that getting old and growing up are having their impact on Mount. Having a child, making a proper livelihood from music, living in a foreign country… this has all exerted influence on Metronomy the band. “When I started playing music, and certainly the first band I was in, I was under the impression that you had to get shit done before you were, like, 20. Before 20 probably, and certainly before you were 25. And if you still hadn’t done anything by the time you were 30, you were fucked. You
“I GUESS WE’LL FIND OUT IN THE CHARTS HOW A L I E N AT I N G WE’VE BEEN.”
best start doing something else. “In my personal life, the more I realise is that the opposite is true. Like, I think there is a point when you’re too old for people to really get on board, or whatever, but I’ve really enjoyed not feeling the same attachment to what is going on. Any of the kind of competition I would have had, or felt in the level of band I’m in, versus other people, it’s just kind of drifted away.” How come? “Having a baby is a good thing to take your mind off the less important things,” he laughs. “But the weird thing that that does is that having a baby, in a much more positive way than I imagined, has made me think about what I do in a very different way and be able to just look at it from a third person point of view. I think about it as a job. It’s like, OK, well, I have to make an album and it has to be really good. It’s just quite a nice leveller, having a child. I’d recommend everyone do it.” Since he came off tour in 2012, he’s lived in Paris (in the 18th arrondissement, just above Sacré Coeur), but he finds it all a bit yummy-mummy and “probably a bit too grown-up for me.” However, he does relish the city as a carefree creative space. “I think when you do anything creative in London, you’re really aware of what other people who are doing the same thing are up to,” he expands. “If you’re not succeeding at what your job is or what you want your job to be, then people will just forget about you. I think, by contrast, I’ve got none of that feeling in Paris. It’s a much more kind of relaxed atmosphere. I think there are songs on the record I wouldn’t have made if I hadn’t been living there.” After all, it is where he met all of Metronomy’s recent artistic affiliates. Namely, video directors Edouard Salier (helming ‘I’m Aquarius’) and Michel Gondry (‘Love Letters’), as well as renowned graphic artist Leslie David, who had a baby at the same time as Mount’s girlfriend. His label, Because Music, also has roots in Paris. “They were the first to show interest,” he says. “They were like, ‘We love what you do and we love what you’ve done up until this point. Why don’t you come and make records with us?’ And I think part of the reason that they’re so accepting is because they’re French and the French are much more accepting of interesting instrumental music. World music isn’t called world music there, it’s just music which is very popular. It’s just quite a refreshing attitude that they have. I think they understand different types of music much better than most people.” With this in mind, the band are bringing their famed live show to equally massive venues both sides of the channel this year (London’s O2 Academy Brixton and Paris’ Zénith). But the date they’re most excited about is headlining Field Day festival in June. “That is going to be a real event for us,” Mount declares. “The first place we played in London was a club called Trash. We’ve played at all kinds of places here, and to end up headlining a festival, you know, it’s an incredibly big deal for us. At Brixton a while ago, we did this NME tour when we were supporting Two Door Cinema Club, and I think at the time we felt a bit like, ‘Oh fuck, I wish it was us on top of the bill’. So, it feels like a real nice thing… And I don’t think it’s going to be the last thing we headline either.” Metronomy’s new album ‘Love Letters’ will be released on 10th March via Because. DIY
BAND OF SKULLS / BLACK LIPS / BLOOD RED SHOES / CITY & COLOUR / CLOUD NOTHINGS / DAN I S L A N D S / H O W L E R / J O H N N Y F O R E I G N E R / L A D I S P U T E / L I A R S / LY L A F O Y / M A N C H E S T E R O R C H E S T R A / S K Y F E R R E I R A / S T . V I N C E N T / TA K I N G B A C K S U N D AY / T E L E M A N / T H E M E N / T H E N O T W I S T / T H E
often terrifying, actually beautiful.
WILD BEASTS Present Tense
Wild Beasts have always been capable of standing out in a crowd. It’s a default mode that goes hand in hand with Hayden Thorpe’s purring falsetto, maybe the most divisive vocal going. On fourth album ‘Present Tense’ however, this sore thumb technique manifests itself in a bolder form. Backing up its overarching title, the band come out kicking and screaming. In turn, they arrive with a record that sums up and calls foul on a post-millennial misery, better than anything previous.
The ‘Present Tense’ that Wild Beasts
describe - and attack - is one that has its easy targets. The superrich, businessfirst 1% flicker into view. On opener ‘Wanderlust’, Hayden adopts their malaise-defined persona. “Don’t confuse me with someone who gives a fuck,” he coos, practically sneering at the lower classes. Anything this overly, obviously political often dives headfirst into a ditch. Intentions are fine but execution is a very different thing. But when Wild Beasts take on this lofty task, it’s not some spontaneous choice to come off politically conscious. It’s a necessity.
C R O L L / E A G U L L S / E L B O W / F O S T E R T H E P E O P L E / F R A N C O I S & T H E AT L A S M O U N TA I N S / F U T U R E / M E T R O N O M Y / M Ø / N E N E H C H E R R Y / P E R F E C T P U S S Y / P H O E N I X / R E A L E S TAT E / S I S Y P H U S / S K AT E R S WA R O N D R U G S / T O K Y O P O L I C E C L U B / T Y C H O / WA R PA I N T / W E A R E S C I E N T I S T S / W I L D B E A S T S
In a record that’s often terrifying (Tom Fleming’s lead on ‘Daughters’, a song about the youth rising up and “sharpening their blades” being the highlight), the band’s waltz with evil actually sounds beautiful. That’s completely owed to Hayden’s vocal, a smooth centre to a spike-encrusted torrent of frustration. It’s unlikely he’ll ever sound sharper than on ‘Simple Beautiful Truth’, pristine 80s nodding pop of the highest order. ‘Palace’ is a colossal closer too, beauty epitomised as the band busy themselves with newly acquired riches (“this is a palace, and that
was a squat”). The whole battle is framed within Wild Beasts’ conventional, loveobsessed default. ‘Mecca’ is a seduced single in waiting. But that’s about the only aspect of ‘Present Tense’ that could be linked into the band’s previous three records. This is a perhaps clinically insane, potential tragedy of an album. It carries so many risks, such a vast amount of dead ends just around the corner, it’s practically begging to trip up on its shoelaces. A record designed to sum up our life and times and come up with
a solution? Yeah, right. If anything, this brutally honest, politically charged, dagger-sharp pop album should sound like Billy Bragg falling asleep and collapsing on a Casio. Instead, its risks are rewarded, time and time again. After ‘Smother’’s woozy lullaby frenzy, ‘Present Tense’ is Wild Beasts growing a new pair of fangs. Their most complete record by a serious stretch, it’s a work that laughs, cries, detests, adores and above anything else inspires. (Jamie Milton) LISTEN: ‘Palace’, ‘Wanderlust’, ‘Simple Beautiful Truth’
St Vincent (Loma Vista / Caroline)
Innovative and fearless. ‘St. Vincent’ showcases Annie Clark as a fiercely accomplished musician, a relentlessly original artist, and now, an innovator of pop. She seems as dark as ever, but more importantly, and centrally to this fourth, self-titled record, she also seems fearless. Her lyricism is sharply acerbic and full of imagery – and this time round it’s less grisly but just as poetic. ‘Digital Witness’, a dystopian brass-romp of tickling funk-guitar riffs and methodical lyrical unpacking of the internet, is perhaps the most forthright example of St. Vincent’s strange, unrelenting curiosity meeting an irresistible handle on pop. Clark explores performativity and self-editing through the lens of our growing dependence on the Internet, and she does it on one of the best goddamn pop songs to emerge in 2014 so far. Fitting that this should be self-titled, because it feels like Annie Clark’s most ‘St. Vincent’ album yet. (El Hunt) LISTEN: ‘Digital Witness’, ‘Huey Newton’, ‘Rattlesnake’
DAN CROLL Sweet Disarray (Decca)
On debut ‘Sweet Disarray’, Croll and gang subtly veer from the Paul Simonindebted afro-pop (‘Always Like This’) to the R&B-tinged (‘Can You Hear Me’) via the stunning M.Ward-esque warmth of the title track and closer ‘Home’. It’s gorgeously (self-)produced, too. ‘Only Ghost’, with its acoustic-led melodies could quite easily be ‘A N Other bedroom folk singer’, but the subtle synths save it from boredom. And, despite this variety, not once does the record feel disjointed, or out of place. It’s a skill, but Croll’s soothing vocals, as well as he and his team’s spot-on engineering of the whole lot means it can slide from that soaring single to Croll’s inner Justin Timberlake via steel guitars and ukelele without missing a beat. It’s pleasantly pristine stuff. (Emma Swann) LISTEN: ‘Sweet Disarray’
Cope (Loma Vista/Favorite Gentlemen)
By album number four, Atlanta-based Manchester Orchestra have already covered their fair share of musical ground. Now, with ‘Cope’, emphasis is on the loud: guitars are way up front, lyrics are bolshy, subject matter is brave. Gone is the fragility of ‘Like A Virgin Losing A Child’, the playful quirkiness of ‘Mean Everything To Nothing’ and the proggy tendencies of ‘Simple Math’. They’ve been there, done that and now they’re hungry for something bigger. These songs are as bold and in-your-face as the title emblazoned on the cover and, god damn, they’re superb. (Sarah Jamieson) LISTEN: ‘Top Notch’
Frontman Michael Ian Cummings spills the dirt on ‘Manhattan’.
You recorded in Electric Lady Studios in New York, is that right? Yeah, we recorded it last February. It was really crazy, ‘cause there were lots of bands in all the other rooms, it was a pretty inspiring environment to just be walking through the hallway and walk past Yoko Ono, or Arcade Fire, or Usher or whoever. It means you step up your game a little bit. As it’s called ‘Manhattan’ how important is NYC to the record? It was an integral part of making the record. All the songs are pretty much about the experiences we had within the first year of forming the band and living in the city. We were all bar tending here, so a lot of them are overheard stories, or about things that happened to us. DIY
The Take Off And Landing Of Everything
Skaters really want you to know they’re from New York City. Subway announcements introduce opener ‘One Of Us’, while ‘To Be Young’ features what appears to be a city diner alongside the less-thansubtle refrain ”To be young / in New York City”. 90s-esque singalong choruses permeate ‘Schemers’, ‘Miss Teen Massachusetts’ and ‘To Be Young’, while ‘I Wanna Dance (But I Don’t Know How)’ is undoubtedly the child of the mid-00s indie club boom. ‘Manhattan’ would thus far be a brilliantly joyous record, buzzing with intention and vitality, were it not for mis-steps ‘Fear Of The Knife’ and ‘Band Breaker’. Which is a shame. (Emma Swann) LISTEN: ‘Nice Hat’
Elbow’s sixth studio album sees Craig Potter retain production duties, and Guy Garvey (who turns 40 this year) grapple with the bigger questions as he reflects upon “reaching the age where decisions are made on life and living”. Opener ‘This Blue World’ is classic Elbow, a vivid kaleidoscope of images, while ‘New York Morning’, starts off simply with just vocals and piano before gradually building in intensity. Elbow sound revitalised here: while ‘Build A Rocket Boys’ was merely fleetingly brilliant, ‘The Take Off and Landing Of Everything’ is consistently strong. (Greg Inglis) LISTEN: ‘My Sad Captains’
Skaters - They’re from New York, don’t you know?
Liars: Because the plastic ball pit just wasn’t fun enough.
FOSTER THE PEOPLE
Foster The People’s Mark Foster has made it clear in the run-up to release that ‘Supermodel’ is “not the record that people are gonna expect”, and in that sense this second LP certainly delivers. The departure from their earlier style has made them not more distinctive but instead, far more derivative. Railing against social conformity in a track like album opener ‘Are You What You Wanna Be’, only highlights how sanitised their music has come to feel, with the smart electronics and memorable bass that peppered their debut relegated to mediocre background production in an all-too-often flat and hollow musical landscape. (Tom Morris) LISTEN: ‘Fire Escape’
FUTURE ISLANDS singles (4AD)
Eight years since forming, four albums deep - there remains no other band sounding remotely like Future Islands. Their cocktail of stabbing synths and Samuel T. Herring’s coarse, allemotions-at-once vocals is the kind of sound that isn’t worth touching from the outside. ‘Singles’ stays resolute to the unswerving formula that led the band towards 4AD in the first place. The synths sound sharper than ever, like they’ve endured a facelift without the wooden smile after-effect. The title is either a knowing nod that yes, they’re long gone from self-started days - or it’s an acknowledgment that they’ve struck gold on ten concise albeit oddball triumphs. (Jamie Milton) LISTEN: ‘Like The Moon’
LIARS Mess (Mute)
Cool, subtle and nonchalant is out. We’re Liars, we’re going to make another brilliant album and we’re going to make it significantly different to our existing output. To attain this with ‘Mess’, they’ve plundered the shinier ends of synth-pop and rave-fuelling electronica. The results are astonishing. Dancing is back. Colour is back. Spiky keyboards, shout-out lyrics and mixtape style merging of song to song is back. With overwhelming confidence the Brooklyn-based trio present 11 songs of unerring quality and an almost uncountable numbers of flicks and tricks. The chaos and individuality only pose one question that is ever more pressing as each twist and turn produces another surprise or delight; how long can you be extraordinarily good before you become legendary? (Matthew Davies) LISTEN: ‘Vox Tuned D.E.D‘
SKY FERREIRA Night Time, My Time (Polydor)
Stunning, a triumph. Mixing ‘pop’ and ‘indie’ isn’t easy; purists from either side will spot a fraud a mile-off. In ‘Night Time, My Time’’s twelve tracks, Sky Ferreira has mastered it. In one she’s indie Kylie, Debbie Harry’s solo career, a dab of Kim Wilde and Cyndi Lauper. The songs master an equally difficult skill – they’re on universal themes (love, mostly – save a few thinly-veiled references to being out of control of her own destiny) but they’re as confrontational as they are fun. “Boys, I love ‘em / boys, they’re dime a dozen”, she pouts on ‘Boys’, while ‘Kristine’ satirises “A giant comedy with museums and movies with / Hedi, the routines of the young millionaires”. Her choice of production team is spot-on, too, Rechtshaid and Raisen matching Sky’s own Urban Oufitters-meets-Tumblr grunge aesthetic perfectly at every point. It’s slick where it needs to be (see ‘I Blame Myself’, ‘Love In Stereo’) and gorgeously fuzzy elsewhere (the suitably industrial ‘Omanko’ and ‘Heavy Metal Heart’). It’s part dreamy, part hungover on the closing title track. In short, ‘Night Time, My Time’ is stunning. Night time might be Sky’s time, but this record couldn’t belong to anyone else. (Emma Swann) LISTEN: ‘I Blame Myself’
Rooms of the House (Better Living / Big Scary Monsters)
With their previous two records, La Dispute have balanced on the edge of a knife. Dangling somewhere between delicate, almost spoken-word stories of melancholy, and the explosive, unharnessed spitting of words, they’re a band who have never been afraid to play with the boundaries of concept and cadence. This time, though, with ‘Rooms Of The House’, they push even harder. Their lyrics feel darker, the stories more tangible, more terrifying. Visually thrilling and sonically stimulating, there’s even more intensity than before. (Sarah Jamieson) LISTEN: ‘Hudsonville, MI 1956’
FRÀNÇOIS AND THE ATLAS MOUNTAINS Piano Ombre (Domino)
‘Piano Ombre’ means to see things in a positive light and sonically this album is all about brightness. ‘Summer of the Heart’ mixes African rhythms, English lyrics and a Bombay Bicycle Club sound to perfection. And the keyboard squelch of ‘Reveil Inconnu’ could have been produced by Air. Perhaps Frànçois’ current line up of Atlas Mountains have helped him peak. This is his best album yet – a kaleidoscope of charming sounds. (Danny Wright) LISTEN: ‘Bien Sûr’
METRONOMY Love Letters (Because)
Tales of the unexpected.
TOKYO POLICE CLUB Forcefield
At a guess, following the release of 2010’s ‘Champ’, Tokyo Police Club have been hard at work listening to a lot of Phoenix: much of ‘Forcefield’ sounds just like it could’ve been made by Thomas Mars and pals. So while fans of the band’s lo-fi beginnings may stare bemused at the central role played by synths, there’s every chance they’ll be gaining a whole slew of newbies, should these many choruses be set loose. (Emma Swann) LISTEN: ‘Gonna Be Ready’
HOWLER World Of Joy
‘The English Riviera’ was Metronomy’s most successful album yet – Mercury-nominated and critically lauded. Yet even that was nothing like their previous two. And so ‘Love Letters’ is something different again, influenced predominantly by the 60s and 70s, psychedelia and Sly Stone. It’s also an album that could see them go stratospheric. It’s an album which veers between 70s gospel and primitive electro and drum machines. There’s nothing you could call a central style but somehow it hangs together as their most cohesive. Metronomy may have left the English Riviera but where they’ve landed now is somewhere only they could find: cast adrift, following their own path. (Danny Wright) LISTEN: ‘Boy Racers’
‘World of Joy’ is half mature sound and half youthful energy, progressive but at the same time transgressive, filled with rollercoaster rides about booze, teenage romance and school dropouts. It’s - as Goldilocks would say - ‘just right’. To put it in an alcoholic analogy; Howler’s sound may be like a fine wine, maturing as it gets older. But they’re sure as hell not going to hesitate in sprinting to the nearest wood and necking the whole damn bottle. (Kyle MacNeill) LISTEN: ‘Louise’
Hot Dreams (Full Time Hobby)
Canadians Timber Timbre return to tell another sobering and unnerving tale, Taylor Kirk’s brooding croon serving as a glimmering torch through the moody and unsettling atmosphere, a forest of haunting memories and forgotten terrors. Kirk’s irresistible vocals lend ‘Hot Dreams’ all the quality it needs, and their lighter touches and some inspired choices really add depth to the monochromatic and claustrophobic formula. The title track sticks out like a sexuallyadventurous sore thumb and each listener may take their own seduction or revulsion from that, which seems suitably fitting for the band making the proposition. Aside from that it’s a moonlit stroll through dark and intimidating territory, but with the wanderer in question so beautifully entranced that the journey is all that matters. (Matthew Davies) LISTEN: ‘Curtains!?’
THE LaST RECORD I bOUGHT Cloud Nothings’ Dylan Baldi JASON LESCALLEET The Pilgrim
I got this just the other day and it’s really, really good. It’s one of the best records I’ve heard in a long time actually; it’s really moving.
Blank Project (Smalltown Supersound)
That Neneh Cherry doesn’t end up drowning in a sea of big names on returning gambit ‘Blank Project’ is a minor miracle. This record marks a move back into the spotlight after ten-plus years of silence. Neneh’s past is important here, but it’s not a vital fixture in an album determined to look ahead. Several tracks skitter and let loose; ‘Weightless’ especially, which lives up to its title by taking cheesy dance motifs and adding thumping bass to a future-gazing aesthetic. The glue between ten ambitious tracks, Neneh Cherry’s never been more aware of her intentions. She sounds more relevant than ever. (Jamie Milton) LISTEN: ‘Weightless’
BLACK LIPS Underneath The Rainbow (Vice)
With 2011’s ‘Arabia Mountain’, Black Lips looked to be transferring their grubby mitts of a take on garage rock to chart territory. ‘Underneath the Rainbow’ ups this routine. It doesn’t doggedly prize chartworthy melodies out of their dirty fingernail’ed clutches, but it’s an overall clean-sounding return. They’re not so much shifting the formula as refining it and waiting for cult stardom to creep up on the scene. (Jamie Milton) LISTEN: ‘Smiling’
CLOUD NOTHINGS Here And Nowhere Else (wichita)
Punk by chance rather than design. Cloud Nothings’ ‘Attack On Memory’ was one of 2012’s finest; Dylan Baldi’s angsty scuzz resonating brilliantly with Steve Albini’s distinctive production (or lack of it) style. Odd then, that within a minute of follow-up ‘Here and Nowhere Else’, it’s already paled in comparison. This is more pop, more punk, more chorus-filled; more... song-y. The band - for that’s more evident now - shift speeds from fast to faster and veer from brilliantly grungy to cacophonous noise perfectly as the adrenalinefuelled organised chaos takes hold. (Emma Swann) LISTEN: ‘No Thoughts’
YOU CAN DO BETTER (ALCOPOP! RECORDS)
By their fourth album, Johnny Foreigner have become very, very good at being, well, Johnny Foreigner. All angles and pointy bits, from frantic opener ‘Shipping’ (“If I stop shipping you / you stop shipping me!”), theirs is a masterplan perfected to a tee. And yet it never gets old - ‘You Can Do Better’ is packed tight with ideas, peerless influences, sneak attack hook lines and infectious sugar rush energy. ‘In Capitals’’ breakneck pace changes, from 100mph to standstill and back again; ‘Riff Glitchard’’s winding, serene build; the wining, slacker rock guitar inro to ‘Wifi Beach’ - standout tracks change by the listen. Being Johnny Foreigner sounds fucking brilliant. (Stephen Ackroyd) LISTEN: ‘Shipping’, ‘Riff Glitchard’, ‘Le Sigh’
PERFECT PUSSY Perfect Pussy
With vocals smothered in distortion and dripping with menace, there’s no release from Perfect Pussy’s frighteningly tight grip. From blistering opener ‘Driver’, it’s immediately apparent that the next 23-minutes will be full of vitriol and blood-boiling warmth, almost to the point of frothing over. And from that point onwards, it rarely lets up. The few moments that come close to a break, are in the come downs or builds in a number of the songs. Of particular note is the 3-and-a-half minutes of foreboding fuzz at the end of ‘Advance Upon the Real’. The intense battering of noise is something to behold, striving for something so far from beauty it fold back in on itself. It may resemble a vicious beating at times, but it’s worth it. (Joe Price) LISTEN: ‘VII’
No Mythologies To Follow (RCA)
The sound of giddy excitement. ‘No Mythologies To Follow’ is a debut devoted to ambition, trying new things and seeing what sticks. It’s fairly splintered as a first work, but it succeeds in the sense that it’s showing off every exciting side to MØ. There’s the trashy beats of opener ‘Fire Rides’, the Diplo-produced ‘XXX 88’ and ‘Pilgrim’’s thumping, handclapping punch-fest. ‘Glass’’ glimmering synths and cheerleader chants shouldn’t be seen near ‘Never Wanna Know’’s all out attempt at a smash-hit. So it’s best viewed as a stampede of crazed ideas, each brimming with life. The energy here is tangible. It’s the equivalent of jumping round a bedroom and ending up in the stratosphere. (Jamie Milton) LISTEN: ‘Never Wanna Know’
Oh dear. MØ’s accidentally had her hair caught in an electric fan.
EAGULLS Eagulls (Partisan)
REAL ESTATE Atlas
If ‘Days’ concerned itself with being so damn chilled it didn’t matter about the time speeding by, ‘Atlas’ is about the hours catching up on themselves. Anxious about the days ahead, there’s always a pair of gritted teeth and twitching eyes delivering this seemingly casual collection. Again, Real Estate can be approached in two ways. They’re either the band countering a hazy glow with sharp pop songwriting, or they’re up to their neck in good vibes, unable to express anything from beneath the fog. They’ve never sounded sharper, that’s for sure. (Jamie Milton) LISTEN: ‘April’s Song’
Brimming with angsty, pissed-off punk.
TV En Français
Eagulls write songs about council estates and car accidents and sleeping on people’s floors. They’re a bunch of borderline hooligans shaking things up by making a huge racket that’s perfectly encapsulated in this self-titled debut album that’s a refinement of everything Eagulls set themselves out to be from the get-go, from the loud and abrasive musicality, to George Mitchell’s cold and exasperating lyrics regarding his own frustrations and neuroses. Everything sounds extremely tight and polished, and yet still retains all the rough edges and gritty imperfections that made them so appealing in the first place. (Tom Walters) LISTEN: ‘Amber Veins’
WE ARE SCIENTISTS (100%)
At its best, ‘TV En Français’ is the sound of We Are Scientists on a vacation to the past - lazy, laidback and laconic. Keith Murray’s gorgeously multilayered harmonics make his trademark lyrical snark all the more delicious. Speedier moments feature, but miss their mark – and this is where it comes apart. Unlike on previous efforts, there’s no angular dancefloor hits, or even instant hooks. While they’ve proven they’re dab hands at writing a slower song, in the process they’ve lost the knack for writing a fast one. (Shefali Srivastava) LISTEN: ‘What You Do Best’
The Men’s Nick Chiericozzi shares the band’s recent listening.
THE BACHS Out of The Bachs
The Bachs came out of the Chicago area in the late 1960s. Like us, they had a few different singers and the feeling of the songs vary quite a bit for a “garage” band. One singer’s voice has very sensitive qualities, and the other is more of classic 60s American creep.
Tomorrow’s Hits (Sacred Bones)
The Men have long taken musical cues from all over, so the Americana-laced more mature sound of ‘Tomorrow’s Hits’ shouldn’t come as surprise to many - although those who’ve found much to love in the band’s oft-frenetic live sets might find themselves a little out of water on this fifth full-length. The front-duties-sharing Brooklyn-based quintet have left, er, the basements of Brooklyn behind, instead sonically channelling the Great American Songbooks of yore; 70s soft-rock, Springsteen and the odd sun-soaked road trip all leave their impression. (Emma Swann) LISTEN: ‘Pearly Gates’
THE CLEAN Compilation
Rich, The Men’s drummer, let me borrow this. The timing of hearing a collection of Clean tracks was interesting because we were set to go to New Zealand a month after making the album. The songs ‘Point That Thing at Someone Else’ and ‘Anything Could Happen’ got their hooks in me.
HOWLIN’ WOLF His Greatest Sides Vol. 1
It’s not the Wolf I want to talk about - he’s quite a character - It’s Hubert Sumlin. A guitar player who moved up from Dixie to Chicago, like so many awesome black musicians in the 50s and made electric blues music. Howlin’ Wolf needed a guitarist and he got lucky with this guy. Swinging is the word.
THE WAR ON DRUGS Lost In The Dream (Secretly Canadian)
Yes, The Boss’ fingerprints are all over ‘Lost In The Dream’ but the reality of what The War on Drugs do is a lot more intricate – of course they cherry pick from American classic rock, but they also manage to reference My Bloody Valentine, The Cure and Neu. Classic rock through a krautrock lens. Motorik Springsteen, if you will. (Danny Wright) LISTEN: ‘Eyes to the Wind’
It’s a phrase that’s used far too often, but Tycho’s music is so down to earth that it practically embodies the term. His latest, the shimmering ‘Awake’, is dreamy, and recalls childlike wonderment. The record surprises far more frequently than his previous material, despite never straying too far from his initial sound. Tycho has offered a stunning escape to the most serene place imaginable. (Joe Price) LISTEN: ‘Plains’
BAND OF SKULLS
With vocal duties shared between all three members - indie troubadour Sufjan Stevens, producer Son Lux, and avant-rapper Serengeti - ‘Sisyphus’ continually shifts between elegantly composed indie, and challenging hip-hop that refuses to abide by any structural rules. These shifts are gracefully executed, allowing none of the sudden changes to ever feel jarring. Elements from all three members’ solo projects are always evident, but only in fleeting moments. The overall result of the record should be an evolving mess, but instead it works as a wonderfully whole package. (Joe Price) LISTEN: ‘Take Me’
For those who’ve been paying attention to Band Of Skulls’ work to date, there’ll be nothing surprising about album number three. ‘Himalayan’ tracks a similar blues-rock template: plenty of crunch, plenty of grind, lots of swinging hair and the odd moment of introspection. And like Josh Homme’s various exploits it never comes off as dunderheadedly macho. So while it kicks hard, there’s also a finesse and subtlety on display that helps to elevates it further. ‘Himalayan’ is loud, raucous, massive amounts of fun and it has style, swagger and teeth. And in the world of rock’n’roll bingo, that’s pretty much a full house. (Tim Lee) LISTEN: ‘Cold Sweat’
THE NOTWIST Close To The Glass (Sub Pop)
Harsher and far more direct than its luscious predecessor, ‘Close to the Glass’ mostly ditches The Notwist’s gorgeously morose songs in favour of anxious sketches hastily scribbled down. The songs are fully formed, but stripped back, opting for a claustrophobic, paranoid feel. The spaces and sounds feel tighter, but the ambition is anything but. Elements of free-form jazz creep in amongst Zombilike drones and disconsolate strums. It’s a hell of a shade darker than their previous material, with tracks that just scream isolation. The undercurrent is thicker and takes a bigger and bleaker role this time around. (Joe Price) LISTEN: ‘Run Run Run’
TAKING BACK SUNDAY Happiness Is (Hopeless)
Eloquent and positively fresh. The challenge, ten years since Taking Back Sunday’s debut, lies in still resonating with the audience that once answered their every beck and call. With ‘Happiness Is’, the five-piece - the reunited original line-up, remember - give it a good crack. Big rock songs resound; their take on life feels a little more grounded, a little more mature. (Sarah Jamieson) LISTEN: ‘Flicker, Fade’
BLOOD RED SHOES Blood Red Shoes (Jazz Life)
Putting the ‘rawk’ back into raucous. “So give me everything, all of it, all at once”, comes the bratty demand from Blood Red Shoes’ Steven Ansell, sounding like he’s stuck inside an echo-chamber on opening salvo ‘Everything All At Once’. But it’s actually the Brighton pair who are giving us everything at once; their fourth long player neatly combines facets of their first three – the post-punk spiky provocation of debut ‘Box Of Secrets’, the dynamic Transatlantic alt-rock of follow-up ‘Fire Like This’, and the overly textured semi-misfire of last effort ‘In Time To Voices’: it all carries over here. However, the pace of the second half is less full-throttle and less memorable for it. While with merit, the slower moments don’t sit quite so comfortably; the band don’t do soft and languid that well yet, and as if acknowledging it, they’re often peppered with the odd intrusion of heavy-ish breakdowns.That niggling complaint aside, this is a welcome return to form and when they don’t overthink it, Blood Red Shoes are more than capable of putting the ‘rawk’ back into raucous. (Shefali Srivastava) LISTEN: ‘Welcome Home’
HEY, GET THESE USING YOUR MONEY
DARK SOULS II
(Namco Bandai) – PC, PS3, XBOX 360 Prepare to die! No, honestly, do. Look, we’re not fucking about here. Honestly, prepare to die. Oh, you’ve died.
FINAL FANTASY XIII-3: LIGHTNING RETURNS
(Square Enix) – PS3, XBOX 360 Skip the cut-scenes at your peril, stranger, for there are more hair ideas here than a L’Oreal advert. Also lots more fighting than a L’Oreal advert.
TOMB RAIDER: DEFINITIVE EDITION (Square Enix) – PS4, XBO
he repackaged Lara Croft made her triumphant return on your dusty old consoles last year in this gorgeous yet flaky origin tale, but here she is again, with really lifelike hair. Feel Lara’s tortured pain in glorious 1080p and 60 FPS as she transforms from shivering, shipwrecked victim to psychopathic killing machine really really smoothly (at least graphically). The Definitive Edition looks even more amazing than the original, but while Crystal Dynamics delivered a master-class in action gaming, a believable bridge between a young, vulnerable Lara and the mass-murdering woman she becomes is still a missed trick. Nothing here changes the story, so it may not be worth the punt for casual fans – the same irks about Lara’s clunky personality upheaval and the repetitive enemies remain. However, the scenery perving is taken to new heights and it’s an undeniably superb game regardless. So if the idea of clear, floating embers, gorgeously rendered weather effects and Lara’s face caked in believable mud makes you swoon, this one’s for you.
NARUTO SHIPPUDEN: ULTIMATE NINJA STORM 3: FULL BURST (Namco Bandai) – PS3, Xbox 360
e’d have a bigger piece about this but the name took up all the space. This explosive return of the shaky-eyed anime action series sees tight, exciting battling and slight plot deviations for mega fans. Newcomers might find it an unwelcoming entry to the series, but the sheer abundance of fighty fighting is slicker and more accessible than before.
CALL OF DUTY: GHOSTS
Onslaught DLC – Xbox 360, XBO, PS3, PS4
bunch of new maps that look pretty much like the others, except for that one that’s like getting shot by screaming children whilst being in the fog. But it’s all worth it because we can sum this up in two words: GUN GAME!
warpaint electrowerkz, London
Photos: Carolina Faruolo 78 thisisfakediy.co.uk
live WaRPaINTING THE TOWN RED.
Warpaint’s music is designed to travel. Some open spaces are practically tailormade to solely cater to the LA band’s dark, moody turns. Their new, selftitled album shows them drifting even further into an ether, one with layer upon layer of murky depths waiting to be encountered. Casual listeners either nestle right in or see it speed straight past. In an academy venue or even a festival, it’s possible that Warpaint’s music might just be there; full stop, nothing to see here. There’s an obvious beauty to it, a groove and a sway that once fully encountered doesn’t let up. But as a backdrop - its secondary form - there’s every chance it could simply exist instead of having an actual impact.
sorts is partly filled by complete silence (out of respect, or maybe just curiosity) and the occasional deranged whoop, sometimes from the band, mostly courtesy of a maddeningly excited audience. At one stage, Emily Kokal introduces a new song that’s “not on the album,” and there’s a genuine, audible ‘eh-ma-gerrd’ from someone in the crowd. The excitement is palpable, and it plays out from hushed beginnings into a funk-frenzied response to ‘Disco // Very’ and ‘Feeling Alright’; two standouts from ‘The Fool’’s follow-up
that sound nigh-on DFA-approved, tight as a knot. There’s no doubting Warpaint are a unit, now more than ever. They laugh at each other’s terrible jokes (“you need to stay hydrated… hydrated… Hi - that’s the name of our next song!”) and they egg each other on into insane, almost endless solos. Again, it’s like peering right into four musicians at the top of their game. Sometimes it’s almost as if they’re unaware anyone else is in the room. Silence, staring, whooping - it doesn’t matter. Rarely are a band more in their ‘zone’ than tonight’s gig. (Jamie Milton)
It’s fortunate, then, that anyone packed into the 250-capacity Electrowerkz meets the music head-on. There’s no breathing space, nowhere to wander. In fact, given the band’s recent tales of losing their minds by the Joshua Tree, jamming until their hearts burst, it’s a little like peering into a recording space, months before anybody else even knew this record was happening. Barriers firmly broken down, few experiences come more full-on and adrenaline-filled than this. Intimacy is Warpaint’s greatest strength, and it manifests itself in all kinds of flooring forms on this new record. In what’s essentially a showcase of new material, this ‘launch night’ of
LIVE Photos: Carolina Faruolo
PHOENIx GET PaNTaLOONY IN SOUTH LONDON
PHOENIX brixton academy, london
French gentlemen on a mission, Brixton bows down to Phoenix’s biggest London show so far, even excusing the dubious attire in the name of good songs. The band have a lot of songs: the buck doesn’t stop at material on ‘Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix’, nor does it go bankrupt at, err, ‘Bankrupt!’ In fact this knack for glitzy, Hollywood Hills pop has a habit of defining the past decade. When the band waltz through an encore, sporting oldie ‘If I Ever Feel Better’, it quickly becomes clear this giant occasion has been long, long due. ‘Armistice’ is the hit single that never was, ‘Love Like a Sunset’ interchanges between bass wobbles and proggy synth work, ‘SOS In Bel Air’ demands guestlist and gets it. Over the course of 90 minutes, barely a second goes flat. Thomas Mars alternates from stubbornly still to spending half of his time basking in the arms of the crowd. ‘1901’ gets the biggest reception, but by this point anything showcased before sounds just as capable of being a monster chart-botherer. The best part is, this feels like a wave of momentum that’ll keep on going. Not even red trousers can stop Phoenix in their pure pursuit of stardom. (Jamie Milton)
Brixtomania: London belongs to Phoenix.
STEaM TRaIN-ING THEIR WaY TO TaKE OvER WEST LONDON
Photo: Carolina Faruolo
shepherd’s bush empire, london
Having recently finished touring with a reanimated Suede, it’s a pleasure to report that Teleman haven’t chosen to adopt any of the 90s stars’ stage excess. There’s no chat, no waste, just ten neat smart minimalist masterpieces. Intimacy and charm stays unharmed even in this huge venue, though the sparse moody electro sounds fuller and deeper, booming through the vast space bathed in streaming bright light. Right from the start of their concise set it’s clear they still play only on their own terms, intelligent songwriting effortlessly and charmingly filling the space with propulsive awkward personality. If the crowd seem initially perplexed (It’s Connan Mockasin’s crowd after all, perplexion comes with the ticket) then ‘Steam Train Girl’ pulls them into the here and now with its Can versus Neu! outro that whips and cracks. Last year’s single ‘Cristina’ has emerged from a year in its pupa as an alternate world curtain call showstopper with subtly shifting dynamics that cascade elegantly through the theatre. This is great understated pop songwriting, thankfully free of rockist posturing to sell its heartbreak or ambition. (Jack Pott)
DaLLaS GREEN, aND RED aND YELLOW aND PINK aND bLUE...
CITY & COLOUR Tonight’s show is fairly simple and straightforward. Standing centre stage, amidst a few lights and accompanying band members, Dallas Green lets his music (and at times, his shirt choice) do the talking. His vocals soft and sweet, he guides the audience through a setlist of highlights from across his discography. Whilst latest album ‘The Hurry And The Harm’ is most fresh in people’s minds – something reflected in the opening choice ‘Of Space And Time’ – he’s comfortable with delving back into his back catalogue. From the grand but heartstring-tugging ‘Body In A Box’ to the raw, acoustic-led sounds of ‘Comin’ Home’, he seems to deftly return to each era of his career with the utmost control and power. (Sarah Jamieson)
Photo: sarah louise bennett
hammersmith apollo, london
Of the Month
EOIN LOvELESS DRENGE
AS POTENT WITH HIS GUITAR AS HIS SMOULDERING STARE, DRENGE’S OLDER SIBLING DOESN’T MAKE US FEEL YUCK.
FULL NAME: Eoin Loveless DO YOU HAVE ANY NICKNAMES? The kid at school with Tourette Syndrome called me HEROIN, but no, I don’t. STAR SIGN: Virgo PETS: One dog, a lurcher, called Panda. FAVOURITE FILM: Control by Anton Corbijn FAVOURITE FOOD: Sashimi DRINK OF CHOICE: A pint of Deception FAVOURITE SCENT: That weird pissy/poo combo you get when all the train tickets are taken and you have to stand near the bogs. IF YOU WEREN’T A POP STAR, WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING NOW? Finishing Uni and sending job applications to Subway/Costa. CHAT UP LINE OF CHOICE: Here’s an Adventure Time DVD.
DIY 82 thisisfakediy.co.uk