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Ten years is a very long time. Back in 2002 - when DIY first came kicking and screaming on to the web - we were scribbling about Ikara Colt, The Electric Soft Parade and The Cooper Temple Clause. Interpol were a band with a pretty great debut album and heaps of potential, and everyone still loved The Vines. If we were going to put one man on the cover of our 10th birthday issue, it was always going to be James Murphy. The quintessential icon of the last ten years, there are few others who sum up just how far we’ve all come. Over the past decade DIY has come a long way. It’s worth throwing a party to celebrate, so that’s just what we’re doing. All month. Check out the details in this issue and come celebrate with us.

GOOD: There aren’t many better live acts than Blur. Their Hyde Park date showed why they’re peerless when it comes to the quintessentially British pop hit.

evil: With every upside comes a down. If that really was the last time we see Blur live, it’s a sad, sad day. They’ve still got so much more to give as a band; both on stage and on record. Say it ain’t so, Damon.

What's on the DIY team's radar

Victoria Sinden Deputy Editor GOOD: Reading - it might just be my favourite festival. evil: James Murphy’s nose has caused us more trouble than you’d think this month.

Harriet Jennings Features Editor GOOD: Make Your Own Magnums. evil: Gigs that are too loud. It might make me A Really Old Person but I’m just not sure that painfully noisy is the best Emma Swann volume to listen to everything at. Senior Editor GOOD: The Olympic opening Sarah Jamieson ceremony. Specifically Danny News Editor Boyle shoving a giant, great, GOOD: Getting to take my beaming NHS logo in the face younger brother to see Refused. of the world. You’ve never seen anyone have evil: YouTube ‘videos’ with as good a time in the seating nothing more than artwork. section of the Forum. evil: The Macbook spinny Jamie Milton wheel of death. Neu Editor Christa Ktorides GOOD: The second birthday TV Editor of Art Is Hard Records, one of the most influential UK labels GOOD: Doctor Who! He’s around today. back in Asylum Of The Daleks evil: The Olympics closing and he’s awesome. Allegedly. ceremony extinguished every one evil: The Sweeney film. There of my hopes and dreams in one are no words to describe how crushing five-minute-segment offensively crap and disjointed it featuring a dying cat (or was that is. A shame as the seminal TV Brian May’s guitar?) and Jessie J show was a bona fide classic. You (or was that a dying cat?). slaaaaaaaag!

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Hours we spent trying (and largely failing) to book tickets for the Olympics

8 120 3,000 4 Number of shows we’re putting on to celebrate

Approximate number of words cut from our Two Door Cinema Club interview; those boys can talk


Number of times we were accidentally hung up on during our cover feature interview with James Murphy

Milk pots ordered that failed to turn up in time for Reading

Different dogs appear in this issue of DIY


co n t e n ts 6

staff list

Editor Stephen Ackroyd Deputy / Online Editor Victoria Sinden Senior Editor Emma Swann Features Editor Harriet Jennings News Editor Sarah Jamieson Neu Editor Jamie Milton Art Director Louise Mason Film Editor Becky Reed Games Editor Michael J Fax TV Editor Christa Ktorides Staff Writers: El Hunt, Jake May Head Of Marketing & Events Jack Clothier



12 p u s s y r i o t 14 w e a r e s c i e n t i s t s 18

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G r e e n d ay


d e a p va l ly


james murphy


animal collective


g r i z z ly b e a r


lucy rose


52 l e m u r i a 56 t w o doo r c i n e m a c l u b 60

b lo c pa rt y

reg ul ars


6n e w s 30 n e u 82 b a c k

Bradley Bell, Hel Davies, Maryam Hassan, Richard Isaac

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Alex Lynham, Alex Yau, Aurora Mitchell, Ben Blackburn, Ben Marsden, Carolina Faruolo, Colm McAuliffe, Coral Williamson, Danny Wright, Derek Robertson, Elise Cobain, Heather McDaid, Hugh Morris, Jimmy Blake, Kosta Lucas, Kyle Forward, Martyn Young, Simone Scott Warren, Tom Baker, Tom Heron, Victoria Hollup, Wayne Flanagan, Wendy Davies, Will Graham

a l b u m s l i v e t e c h f a s h i on f i l m s g a m e s

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.


No Distance Left To Run?

Is this the last time we’ll see Blur? We check in on what could be their final tour to celebrate one of the greatest bands of A generation. photos : Hel Davies

“What band best represents Britain,” we imagine some soul cried, trying to find someone - anyone - to not wilt under the pressure of bringing two weeks of patriotic euphoria (the London Olympics) to an end. There was only ever one answer. In many ways, Blur - of all their peers - are the band best suited to represent their country. At various points they’ve documented, celebrated and rebelled against Britain, often managing all three at once. Kicking off their quick jaunt in Margate in the build up to another, possibly final, Hyde Park finale, the only question on everyone’s lips remains: Is this the end? We checked in along the way.


“The mind gets dirty as you get closer to fifty.” The lyrics to ‘End Of A Century’ haven’t always gone that way, but old father time waits for no man, woman or alt-pop icon. Blur are back (Back! Back!!). Again. It’s an odd thing to say; a band so ingrained into British culture can never really go away, but three years on from their first triumphant comeback jaunt they’re on the road again. One last hurrah, perhaps.


Unlike many of their peers, Blur are a band who seem to thrive in their legacy. Tonight, as they take to the stage for their first ‘proper’ show since 2009’s Hyde Park epics, they seem to have more chutzpah than at any point since the tail end of their more prolific years. Margate, to many, would be an odd place to start the run up to one of the most important shows of your life, but for any that know Blur well there’s nowhere better: they love a bit of sea air. With another Hyde Park show on the horizon, then, we’re to expect ‘the hits’? Well, kind of. There’s no avoiding the fact that Blur are a major league concern still; that if tens of thousands are expected at a gig they’re going to have to play ‘that song’. And ‘the other one’ too. With an expectation to bring to a close the cultural side of an Olympic games that have seen British pride reborn without its dubious undertones, there’s no band with a back catalogue more suited to the task. That doesn’t rule out the odd curveball, mind. Kicking off with a big one (‘Girls & Boys’), Blur’s opening salvo is amongst the best you’ll ever have the delight of seeing. ‘London Loves’, given an airing for the first time in close to twenty years, pitches perfectly alongside ‘Tracy Jacks’ and ‘Jubilee’. All drawn from ‘Parklife’, it’s easy to see just how that album - and its caricatures of Britain - is as relevant today as ever. Loud, bratty and in your face, they give way to the band’s equally amazing counter points. ‘Beetlebum’ and ‘Coffee & TV’, heralded by Damon strapping on the acoustic guitar, are the brilliant, bleary comedown at the end of the party. As great as ‘Out Of Time’ may be, ‘Think Tank’ era Blur just don’t hold a candle to this. And so comes the start of the ‘interesting’ bits. It looks as though Damon Albarn intends to treat one of the biggest audiences the UK can provide to a b-side. ‘Young & Lovely’ almost belies the tag; a track that, if not for label meddling, should have appeared on ‘Modern Life Is Rubbish’. While said fiddling may have forced the band into recording the outstanding ‘For Tomorrow’ (which gets its own outing later), it also resigned one of their most perfect


news blur

moments to a flipside gem. It’s testament to its brilliance that it’s not met with confused glares - its vocal hook sung back loud from those old enough to know better. If there’s one thing the reborn Blur know, it’s how to pace a show. What follows is a lesson in crescendo; the glorious ‘Sunday Sunday’ warming up for the two mega-hits. By this time they can do no wrong; ‘Country House’ threatens to cave in the Winter Gardens - there’s no pretending it was anything less than a solid gold pop hit here - while a lack of Phil Daniels oddly makes ‘Parklife’ even more glorious. Then there’s the breather; ‘Trimm Trabb’ and ‘Caramel’, bedfellows on ‘13’, are reversed in order. The latter, played live for only the third time following a pair of BBC Radio outings the previous day, is quite probably one of Blur’s hidden triumphs. If it will work in more spacious surroundings remains to be seen, but here it’s nothing short of bewitching. The fact that Graham Coxon’s guitar doesn’t seem to want to play nicely only serves to make ‘Popscene’ even more raucous, as the other half of Blur’s creative powerhouse lets go. The acid test, of course, was always going to be how the new songs stood up. There’s no need to worry; sandwiched between ‘Advert’ and ‘Song 2’, ‘The Puritan’ sounds triumphant. ‘Under The Westway’ - deployed in a brilliantly paced encore - is even better. Between the two we’re treated to the most perfect three song set closer you’re ever likely to hear. The tear jerking ‘No Distance Left To Run’ gives way to the official soundtrack of goosebumps, ‘Tender’, followed by arguably the greatest song of its era, ‘This Is A Low’. By the end there’s not a dry eye in the house. As the final notes of encore closer ‘The Universal’ trail out, it’d be near heresy to suggest any other band could represent Britain better than Blur. If the powers that be wanted to cancel their Olympic closing ceremony and broadcast this to the world instead, they’d probably understand us better. The constant quotes and counter-quotes suggest by the time you read this they may have played their last show. Even if they claim it’s true, we’d not believe them. Screw getting old, they just don’t make ‘em like this anymore. (Stephen Ackroyd)


As the final notes of ‘The Universal’ drift across the night sky, Damon Albarn stares out across the crowd. Holding back tears, the whole of Blur’s career – from the first rehearsal to this, now – visibly flashes before his eyes. If this is the end of our journey with the band, then it’s the perfect farewell. With the backdrop of the Westway overpass towering above them on stage, this Hyde Park show is their love letter to London. The songs – ‘London Loves’, new one ‘Under the Westway’, and ‘For Tomorrow’ – come across as hymns; paeans to being alive and in love in the capital. If there was any doubt they’d pull it off, there shouldn’t have been. Everything about tonight works. Blur effortlessly capture the feelings brought about by the Olympics - both unbridled 8

joy and an underlying sense of melancholy at something special ending. It’s as the gig becomes more contemplative – and when we begin to realise that, actually, this really might be the last time – that we start to capture images, make ourselves remember the details. Damon’s gold tooth gleaming, his starry eyed thousandyard stare into nothingness. Graham tumbling over, yet still in control of his guitar during ‘Intermission’; every song they play showcasing his scuzzy genius. Alex, cigarette hanging out of his mouth, as he beats out deceptively inventive bass lines. And Dave, well, just being Dave. They enter to the indie-disco swing of ‘Girls And Boys’ followed up with three more ‘Parklife’ tracks, including a rampant ‘Jubilee’. Apparently there are cries of “Turn it up” at the back, but here, near the front, none of that matters; ‘Beetlebum’’s languorous swagger and that breathtaking closing minute makes sure of that. Albarn introduces Syrian lute-player Khyam Allami, who joins the band on stage for an enchanting ‘Out of Time’, then it’s the should-never-have-been-a-b-side ‘Young And Lovely’, dedicated to the band’s children. ‘Caramel’ is another shimmering mid-set highlight. We may have doubted if it would work in a setting so vast, but it does; the closing psychrock freak-out reverberating round the skull. Phil Daniels makes his customary appearance for ‘Parklife’, and Harry Enfield struts around the stage dressed as a tea lady complete with trolley. Yet it’s after the fuzzy swirling blast of ‘Popscene’, ‘Advert’ and ‘Song 2’ that things get really special. It starts with the devastating chimes of ‘No Distance Left To Run’, hits its stride with the heart-warming, communal hymn of ‘Tender’, before the crashing guitar solo of the sublime ‘This Is A Low’ easily amongst Coxon’s greatest moments.

good song(s) Not many bands would drag out a near twenty year old b-side for a Hyde Park show, but then few have a back catalogue quite as rich as Blur. With their career spanning ‘21’ box-set opening up the vaults, here are just a few other noteworthy gems you may have missed.

‘Swallows In The Heatwave’ (b-side of ‘M.O.R.’) Blur’s self titled album saw

the band pen more than one noteworthy flip side. ‘Swallows In The Heatwave’ is just one such cut; a scuzzy guitar line and a vocal melody that recalls Weezer’s greatest heights, it’s an unpolished gem.

‘St Louis’ (b-side of ‘Charmless Man’) It might be

from ‘The Great Escape’ era, but ‘St Louis’ is perhaps one of the earliest hints of what might come next. More introspective and less bombastic, it still packs it’s fair share of hook lines.

‘All Your Life’ (b-side of ‘Beetlebum’) As if ‘Beetlebum’

didn’t stand out enough by itself, its b-side is almost worthy of single status itself with a rising scale and a chorus that would hold it’s own on any album.

‘Mr Briggs’ (b-side of ‘There’s No Other Way’) It may be from Blur’s

early days, but ‘Mr Briggs’ shows the first hints of what would go on to become the narrative staple of Britpop.

‘When The Cows Come Home’ (b-side of ‘For Tomorrow’) One to split the

opinion; if you’re not a fan of Blur’s less ‘serious’ moments, this probably isn’t for you. All about the horn section, it’s still one hell of an ear worm.

‘Theme From An Imaginary Film’ (b-side of ‘Parklife’) The

dramatics are turned right up to ten on this string led pseudo-soundtrack. There’s even a full on angelic choir - no expense spared.


They leave the stage only to return with a stunning rendition of ‘Leisure’ highlight ‘Sing’, followed by the aforementioned ‘Under The Westway’. Written especially for tonight, Albarn has used the West London carriageway as a symbol for getting away from it all more than once. Indeed, it feels like a goodbye song. A full stop. And so we find ourselves at the end. ‘The Universal’ has, over time, become more than just another single. “It really, really, really could happen” the crowd sing. As the sound fades they look to


Damon. Lost for words, he simply offers a ‘Goodnight’ before pumping his fist against his heart as he leaves. The feeling that this may be it is tangible, but so is the sense that, if it is, then it’s too soon. Tonight has been so much more than mere nostalgia – it’s a euphoric, poignant and irresistible celebration from four men who, throughout their career, have been all of those things at once. (Danny Wright)


..................................... Girls & Boys London Loves Tracy Jacks Jubilee Beetlebum Coffee & TV Out of Time (with Khyam Allami) Young & Lovely Trimm Trabb Caramel Sunday Sunday Country House Parklife (with Phil Daniels & Harry Enfield) Colin Zeal Popscene Advert Song 2 No Distance Left to Run Tender This Is a Low .......................... Sing Under The Westway Intermission End of a Century For Tomorrow The Universal


news pussy riot











photo: Grüne Bundestagsfraktion

PUSSY RIOT: the most important band in the world? The facts: here’s how it went down following the band’s demonstration in february.


n 21st February 2012, a group of women dressed in brightly-coloured clothing, and wearing balaclavas to disguise their identities, entered the Christ the Saviour cathedral in Moscow to perform what they called a ‘punk prayer’. They were urging the Virgin Mary to oust Russian president Putin. They lasted less than a minute before being apprehended by guards. Pussy Riot formed in August 2011 out of art collective Voina to protest against the Russian government’s policies discriminating against women. They staged guerilla performances in public spaces to speak out against their country’s injustices: in Red Square, on the Moscow metro – in a church. Their lyrics are, of course, provocative: “Revolt in Russia – pissed on by Putin!”, “the f*cking end to sexist Putinists!” (pending translation).


Within days of the performance, the Russian Orthodox Church had intiated a criminal case, charging them with hooliganism. A smear campaign started, calling the perpetrators “blasphemous women”. It wasn’t until the day of the controversial elections – which saw Putin re-elected – on 4th March that any arrests were made. First, Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova were detained long beyond the 48 hours allowed for suspicion, despite a lack of evidence. They were joined by Ekaterina Samutsevich eleven days later, after her previously having been just a witness. Defence lawyers claim the trio are being illegally monitored on video. Two of the pair are mothers, and are threatened with loss of parental rights by investigators. Appeals are rejected, the trio’s detention is maintained. On 4th July a judge restricts access by the Pussy Riot defence team to the investigators’ report. On 20th July a closed-door hearing permits the

detention of the trio for ten months. On 17th August, the women were found guilty of the charge of hooliganism driven by “religious hatred”. They claim they never intended to cause offence. Judge Marina Syrova asserted that them using the term ‘feminist’ couldn’t be otherwise; while Russian law does, the Orthodox church does not accept sexual equality. The prosecuting lawyer claimed there was no political aspect to their actions: the song they performed was titled ‘Virgin Mary, Chase Putin Out’. They were sentenced to two years’ imprisonment. That’s after the judge considered two of their statuses as parents and previous lack of a criminal record. Throughout the trial, they were repeatedly told they could not call the witnesses they wanted to. They weren’t given the same chances to cross-examine witnesses as the prosecution. Their defence plans to appeal.


The reaction to the verdict in the Pussy Riot case was as instantaneous as it was horrified. That three women could be imprisoned for two years for exercising their right to free speech is ludicrous. It’s 2012, in Russia, a nation extolling Western liberal democratic values in an attempt to distance itself from its KGB past; a country bordering the European Union; it’s just down the road. It’s no surprise it’s struck a chord – the punishment doesn’t fit the crime, the charge doesn’t fit the actions. Pussy Riot are every woman and every musician. Or, as Kathleen Hanna put it in a recent interview, “we are all Pussy Riot”. You’re in the pub, the TV’s on mute and the Prime Minister comes on screen. You swear. You’re a musician, writing politically-charged lyrics. It may be that easy to fall foul of the law. This isn’t pissing on the Cenotaph: that only gets you a fifteen-week suspended sentence. The bulk of the support for the trio - Maria Alyokhina, Yekaterina Samutsevich and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova – has come from the music community. Most provocatively, Madonna wore their name on her back during a Moscow concert, resulting in deputy prime minister Dmitry Rogozin calling her a “slut”. A letter was written to The Times signed by – among others – Alex Kapranos, Kate Nash and Jarvis Cocker. That’s Jarvis Cocker who infamously protested Michael Jackson at the Brits in 1996. And released without charge. Björk invited the band to join her to perform. The Black Keys’ drummer Patrick Carney says he won’t play in Russia until the situation improves. Patti



They have existed for barely a year. They have just six songs to their name. They wear balaclavas when performing so as to hide their real identity. They are easily the most important band of 2012.

p h oto : s e a n

what does it all mean?

Smith, Carrie Brownstein, Ana Matronic, St. Vincent... the list is almost endless. In the same day as the Pussy Riot verdict was announced, another court in Moscow upheld a decision to ban LGBT pride parades for 100 years. That’s on top of a law passed last year banning so-called “gay propaganda”. While voter turnouts reach low after new low, especially among the young, we’re also arguably more politicised than in a long while: the aftermath of last summer’s riots galvanising communities, the voices speaking out against the imminent destruction of the NHS reaching Danny Boyle’s Olympic opening ceremony. The Occupy movement. While Occupy’s live-in protests were taking place worldwide, Radiohead, Yoko Ono and Trent Reznor were among many to post items online in support of the cause of the 99%. Others performed: Anti-Flag, Jeff Mangum and Crosby, Stills & Nash played sets at Occupy Wall Street, while Tom Morello appeared there and at many other locations – LA, San Francisco, Chicago, even Newcastle and Nottingham here in the UK. None of these artists were arrested. But Pussy Riot are more important in 2012 than any of these. By having no records to sell, they exist exclusively to throw the spotlight on and speak out against their country’s gross injustices – and, by becoming part of one themselves, they have succeeded. Succeeded not only in drawing attention to Russia’s inequalities and draconian legal issues, but by making us sit up and recognise all this happens on our doorstep, could create a new generation of activists. We are all Pussy Riot. (Emma Swann)

SUPPORT FOR PUSSY RIOT Protests sprang up across the world outside Russian embassies, many protestors wearing bright balaclavas in solidarity with the trio, others holding placards with one simple message: Free Pussy Riot. Swedish punk band Refused have been brandising the slogan on their drums throughout recent tour dates. Madonna voiced her support for the band at her recent Moscow gig, first wearing a balaclava, and then with their name emblazoned on her back.


news we are scientists





We Are Scientists Produce “The Best We Are Scientists Songs Ever, Yes!”


n all of our time spent noseying around studios and asking awkward questions about the recording process, very few bands use the word ‘comfortable’. In fact, sometimes it feels like comfort is the enemy; comfort adds to complacency, comfort is uninspiring. That’s far from the case with those jokers in We Are Scientists, as we recently discovered when quizzing them on the follow-up to their 2010 record ‘Barbara’. After a reasonably tumultuous time of it (although we doubt they’d admit that) it seems only fair for the trio to get back to feeling comfortable. After all, ‘Barbara’ saw them shopping for labels after a split from their previous major contract (“It was hugely educational, but also a lot more work than we anticipated.”). Before that their drummer of seven years Michael Tapper chose to leave the band days before a major UK tour, with his permanent replacement – Andy Burrows, of former Razorlight fame – joining almost two years later. Not that any of that would keep them down; what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger, right?   As we meet them in 2012, for the first time they’ve decided to do themselves a favour and do things a little more conveniently: by recording in their collective home, New York. And it’s little wonder: “‘Barbara’ was recorded piece by piece in London, New York, and three separate trips to LA,” explains bassist Chris Cain. “Keith [Murray, their frontman] and I were living in New York, Andy was in London, and our long-time producer Ariel Rechtshaid was living in LA. It was very much a ‘jetsetter’ record, minus most of the money that term implies.”   But, for their latest album? “We never set foot outside of New York during recording this time around, which was great. One great thing about Chris

[Coady, producer] is that, like us, he lives in New York! Also, Andy moved to New York! It eliminated all the pressures that come with being away from home and family, and, for us, made it a lot easier to focus on the record.” For this record then, there was a certain sense of familiarity; so obviously, they counteracted that by bringing in a new member to the team. Well, not entirely new... “Chris worked on ‘Brain Thrust Mastery’ and ‘Barbara’ as an engineer, but this is his first time producing us, and it’s been super wonderful. Also, he’s got great taste in vintage synths — something nobody in the band knows a lot about, so the synth sounds on this record are HOT. Finally.”   And other than hot synths, what should we be expecting from album number four? “Nothing that would constitute a ‘left turn’, by any means. I think we’ve continuously evolved as songwriters and as a band over the years, but we’ve never hit a point where we felt like our ‘style’ of music was something we were tired of. The new tunes will definitely fit into whatever genre you consider us to be — indie, pop, rock… and will sound like We Are Scientists songs. The best We Are Scientists songs ever, yes! But not some new, death-obsessed, dressed-all-insilver version of WAS, for example.”   It all sounds promising, but there’s always that thorny issue of how to release this one, now that they’re free agents and all. Could another selfrelease be on the cards? “We are, in fact, ready to do it again if that ends up looking like the best option, but we’re going to explore the traditional labelcentred options too, because we miss being lazy.”   There’s no arguing with that!   We Are Scientists will release their as-yetuntitled fourth album early next year.

Also In The Studio... Paramore have spent the last

few months camped out in LA with producer Justin Meldal-Johnsen to record their fourth album. Doubling as the first full-length to come from the newly established three-piece line-up, the band have recruited Ilan Rubin on drums, with frontwoman Hayley Williams already working on vocals.

Foals are working on their new album after being ‘tricked’ into entering the studio. Beginning their sessions with producer Mark ‘Flood’ Ellis, the band were told that they’d only be demoing a handful of tracks, but it looks like things are now well under way for the follow-up to 2010’s ‘Total Life Forever’. Biffy Clyro may have been

teasing us with odd pieces of news about their next album, but, as it turns out, they’re still hard at work perfecting it. Having revealed that it’ll be two discs in length and titled ‘Opposites’, the band are finishing up in Los Angeles with Garth Richardson before letting us in on any other details.


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Something Old, Something New


f there’s one thing Patrick Wolf isn’t short of, it’s ambition. If there’s two things, it’s ambition and words. Talking to fans recently in what may well go down in history as the longest email ever, he announced his new double-album: ‘Sundark & Riverlight’, due this September. His first entirely acoustic affair, during the creation he borrowed pianos from Peter Gabriel, picked up the harp again, and recorded a woodwind quartet in a studio not too dissimilar to an empty swimming pool. “This project started when I realised I had reached a ten year jubilee as a recording artist, my first EP came out when I was 19 and in that time my voice has grown with me,” he explains. “When I went in to the studio I thought I was going to record a one-man solo album, but I started to dream and heard bassoons and bodhrans, this is my first totally acoustic album and so I made sure that we were working with analogue tape and mixing desk.

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“I made my first album with whatever I had around me, a ton of passion and guts, a 4 track, then a laptop. I had little knowledge of audio engineering so a lot of soldering wires happened and microphones purchased that I didn’t know whether suited my voice or instruments, this album is a chance to re-record with better knowledge of how to record and produce my work.” This release, then, contains not only something borrowed (the pianos, keep up), but elements that are both new and old - fitting for a fresh beginning: “It’s been a wonderful self-assessment to make this album, extremely cathartic. It’s left me a clear slate, head and heart to be able to move forward with the next ten years. I can’t wait to embark on the forthcoming tour to share these songs.” Patrick Wolf ’s new album ‘Sundark & Riverlight’ will be released on 25th September via Bloody Chamber Music. 16

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We’ve all sorts of review and interview goodies from on the ground at Reading & Leeds Festival.

Mazes Get Eccentric On Album Number Two


azes are back and they’re feeling rejuvenated. Fresh out of the studio having completed work on their second album the wheels are, once again, back in motion. “Right now, I’m feeling generally enthused about the band. I think we all are,” frontman Jack Cooper tells us. “I think that rediscovered enthusiasm has found its way onto the record.” That’s sounding positive! So, what is there to expect from the second album? “The main difference I would say is that the majority of the songs are built around very repetitive loops or drones. I think everyone who has heard it so far has used a different simile for ‘eccentric’ to describe it.”

‘Eccentric’ seems like a good phrase to use. After all, Mr Cooper and co. aren’t quiet about the fact that they have a pretty diverse collective taste. “I’ve always had this inner struggle with being in a band,” he goes on to explain. “I’d write songs that weren’t Mazes-y so I’d scrap them. I suppose I realised recently that Mazes is us three and whatever we make will be Mazes. We really do have a broad taste in music and we’re all obsessive consumers of new things and new sounds. I don’t want to talk it up but I think it’s an interesting record. It’s a product of the three people who made it.” Mazes will release their second album this November.

The new single

from her debut album TARANTA


“Breezily cool” Pitchfork “Artful leftfield pop” The Independent “Anthemic, featuring strange, buried electronics, which showcase her charming, clever pop” Uncut 17

news the bots

Bots On Tour Let’s get a little reminiscent. Remember life at fifteen? Remember paper rounds and pocket money, GCSEs and acne? Now, imagine what it would be like to be in the throes of your teenage years whilst on tour, playing alongside the likes of Tenacious D, Refused and Blur...

but nevertheless, the teens are incredibly likeable. They speak with an eloquence and passion well beyond their years, and it’s refreshing to be in the presence of such true talent-sans-ego. “It’s really weird because all the people we hang out with now, and know now - all our dreams are coming true. We never ever would have imagined doing this when we graduated high school.”   Which, for Micaiah, only happened two years ago. Having started “jamming together” six years ago, the brothers quickly found their strengths, but weren’t entirely sure how to go about being a band. Until another rather famous duo appeared on their radar with inspiration.   “We didn’t realise that two people could be a band until [we discovered] The White Stripes, and we were like, ‘Hey, we can do this!’ Persistence, determination and whatnot. Passion in music and everything you love to do and care about. Other


photo: emma swann


he Bots are brothers Mikaiah and Anaiah Lei. Between them they boast an average age of just seventeen, but a resumé like no other. Already, they’ve played shows alongside some of the biggest names in music, performing to crowds of up to 6,000 a night. Just the day before we meet, the pair have wowed Hyde Park as part of the closing concert of the London 2012 Olympics. “It was alright,” says the younger of the pair, Anaiah, when we ask how it went. As we get to grips with his understated reaction, the young drummer glances down at his hand, which is held in a splint. That would probably explain that then. “I bruised my hand,” he explains, “I slipped on some grass, like two days before. I was just running around. It kinda sucks, but it’s better today.”   We’re sat backstage at the HMV Forum, ahead of their appearance as main support to Refused; a slot that is no doubt coveted by just about every band on the rock circuit. From the moment of our introduction, there’s animated chatter between everyone, with a genuine sense of excitement in the air. Ironically though, neither of The Bots had any idea who Refused were until they were booked to play.   The crazy thing is, Refused don’t even top the list of ‘insane bands The Bots have supported’. After all, their stint on these dates follows on from playing alongside Britpop heroes Blur. As you do. Surely that must’ve been a little surreal?   “At the Hyde Park show,” starts Micaiah, “we watched from the audience and it occurred to me how big it was. It was a new experience that I had too; looking at where we are now with our music career, and where we’ve already been. It’s wild! You start off listening to these bands and stuff, but I never thought I’d be talking to them, friends with them, and hanging out.”   It really does seem remarkable for a pair who only set foot on UK soil back in May (if you’ve been paying attention, you’ll remember they played our DIY Presents... show with Tellison)

kids in school didn’t really seem like they were passionate about. Some people don’t have a passion at all.” That’s a sentiment the teens seem hard to get to grips with (“When you graduate school you realise that everyone you were friends with, really weren’t your friends: more like acquaintances.”), but it continues to push them to achieve more, whilst keeping their feet firmly planted on the ground. And they’re clearly aware of the curse of finding fame young. “There’s a level headed balance,” says Micaiah. “You don’t want to become a monster - become something else because of where your career puts you. If I can maintain my personality, the way I carry myself, that’d be nice no matter

what happens. I’ll always be this way.” Then, he gestures to his younger brother, laughing: “But his hair and his ego will get bigger.” So, what’s the next big thing for the duo? As it turns out, they’re going to be doing more touring, with a full UK headline run planned for November, along with a visit to Spain, which Anaiah seems extra excited about. “We’re there on my birthday, which is cool. I’ll be 16. It’s my sweet 16.”   Yeah, we know. The Bots will be touring the UK this November. For dates, visit

The Bots are pretty popular teenagers, and they’ve got a whole host of famous friends. Just take a look at who they name dropped during our time together. Damon albarn

“At the Hyde Park show, we were watching from the side of the stage.”


“Mica’s a friend of ours. She’s so cool to hang out with; super chill and truly inspiring.”

Tyler The Creator

“He likes our band. He’s nice to us, but he’s crazy.”

Tenacious D

“They were all funny guys. The show’s a theatrical experience; it’s how you imagine Jack Black would be all the time.”


news green day

Recollective: Green Day It’s fair to say that Green Day have been around for donkey’s years, but never fear! They’re just as creative and ambitious as ever, with the release of not one, not two, but three new albums due within the next six months. So, what better time to take a look back on their rather sizeable (wahey!) discography.





We asked DIY readers to name their favourite Green Day album. Here’s what they said.

Dookie (1994)

We’ve gotta be honest here and say, things don’t really get much better than ‘Dookie’. Whether you’ve loved Green Day for a lifetime or you’re merely a casual listener, chances are you’ll know this 1994 classic word for word. Tracks like ‘Longview’ and ‘When I Come Around’ say we’re on the money. Oh, and there’s always some song called ‘Basket Case’...




Nimrod (1997)

There’s something wonderful about the chugging bassline that begins ‘Nimrod’s opener ‘Nice Guys Finish Last’, but let’s not go selling their fifth record short here. Renowned more as a collection of “solid songs” than their previous efforts, the seventeen tracks of ‘Nimrod’ tend to explore a much wider range of musical tendencies, moving the band away from their punk rock niche, and into a much larger playground. Oh, and it just happens to be the home to their ambivalent classic ‘Good Riddance’.

American Idiot (2004)

There is absolutely no excuse to not have heard ‘American Idiot’. Whether you love or loathe the Californians, they definitely took over the world with their 2004 politically charged rock opera and changed the face of punk rock within the mainstream forever.


Insomniac (1995)

Building on the ridiculous success of its predecessor, ‘Insomniac’ was released only eighteen months after ‘Dookie’ hit shelves. Boasting a darker sound, with a touch more aggression, the band’s fourth effort also happens to play host to some of the band’s most imaginative song titles, such as ‘Brain Stew’, ‘Tight Wad Hill’ and the ever eloquent ‘Geek Stink Breath’.


Warning (2000)

Allegedly, frontman Billie Joe Armstrong spent the majority of ‘Warning’s writing and recording processes listening to Bob Dylan’s ‘Bringing It All Back Home’ and on listening back to their sixth album, it seems to make perfect sense. Incorporating a hell of a lot more acoustic guitar, the band also seemed to get a little more optimistic with this full-length. Just ignore the title, then.


Kerplunk (1992)

Some facts about ‘Kerplunk’ you say? Well, as it turns out, the three-piece’s second studio effort (their first with the one and only Tre Cool) was one of the best selling independently released records of all time. Oh, and it gave us the first real taste of that classic Green Day sound, which came in the form of their wonderfully pessimistic ‘Welcome To Paradise’.



39/Smooth (1990)

Sandwiched between the band’s first two EPs, the band’s debut ‘39/Smooth’ might only be thirty minutes and ten tracks long but it’s now a staggering twenty two years old. It also happens to be the only studio album to feature the band’s ex-drummer John Kiffmeyer but does boast a track titled ‘Green Day’.

21st Century Breakdown (2009)

It was never going to be easy to follow on from such a grandly ambitious ‘American Idiot’, so what better way to attempt it than to just write another rock opera?! Still exploring the politically fraught themes presented in their previous effort, ‘21st Century Breakdown’ stands as a three-act concept album, weaving together the narrative of a young couple as they get to grips with life in present day America.


diy news

We Are The Ocean: “Our Transition Into A Four-Piece Is A Big Thing”


hings are definitely a little different for We Are The Ocean these days. Right on the cusp of the debut airing of their first new material since last year’s ‘Go Now And Live’, it was announced - fairly out of the blue - that vocalist Dan Brown would be departing the band, with the remaining members continuing on as a four-piece. “There was so much time and effort put into writing this album,” begins guitarist Liam Cromby, who also doubles as the band’s primary songwriter, as they prepare to unveil their latest full-length ‘Maybe Today, Maybe Tomorrow’. “It’s been a really long process. Coming out of ‘Go Now And Live’, we started writing straight away.” “I’ve really enjoyed it though,” adds bassist Jack Spence. “With this, we really had time to get stuck in, rework songs. It’s been a better experience.” “Now, you listen back to it and there’s definitely a sense of pride,” concurs Cromby. “We worked hard through it and we’re happy with it.”   Returning to Meadow Farm studios in Devon, the band have spent the best part of the past year writing, demoing and recording. They even went back to producer Pete Miles, despite having previously wanted “to try a new producer with every album” (“With the songs that we had, we knew 22

it’d just work perfectly going to Pete.”). The biggest change however, was the loss of Brown. Despite being present during the recording process, it seems as though he wasn’t entirely involved in the creative aspects, as Spence explains: “When he had time, he would tend to lean towards the managerial side, rather than the writing side. At the time, we just got on with it. We had no qualms with that because he was busy and he did a fantastic job. But when everything came to a head, and the album had been written, it didn’t feel too unnatural to finish it off without him.”   And along with the loss of one voice on the album, came the opportunity for Cromby’s to really take centre stage. “Normally when I’m writing,” he tells us, “I’d be thinking of what I was going to do and what Dan was going to do, but this time I didn’t really think about it in that way. I just wanted to get it off my chest. It was never a conscious thing to do, but with this album I feel like there was no barrier. I really opened the doors.”   So, what is it that the band hope people will take away from their third effort? “I’d like people to listen to it with an open mind,” says Spence. “Obviously the change and transition of us into a four-piece is a big thing, but I’d like people to listen to it maybe as though this is a first album from a new band. Just listen to it as its own entity and enjoy it for what it is.”   We Are The Ocean’s new album ‘Maybe Today, Maybe Tomorrow’ will be released on 17th September via Hassle Records.






b r i e f WHY? have announced plans to

release their fifth album ‘Mumps, Etc’ on 8th October. Yoni Wolf and co. will drop the thirteen track full-length as a followup to their latest EP ‘Sod In The Seed’. Sisterly duo 2:54 have announced plans for a UK tour late this autumn. Visit for details

The Killers have announced plans to appear at London’s HMV Forum for a one-off show on 10th September.

The Twilight Sad will release their long-awaited remix album, ‘No One Can Ever Know - The Remixes’, on 5th November. It features efforts from the likes of Liars, The Horrors and Com Truise. . Titus Andronicus have revealed details of the release of their third full-length album. Entitled ‘Local Business’, it’ll come out through XL Recordings this October.



e’s a bit of an odd one, Beck. Since the release of his last full-length, he’s been teasing us with the odd snippet of new material: a single with Third Man Records, soundtrack work with both Playstation game Sound Shapes and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, a collaboration with Bat For Lashes. Despite all this, he’s not had an album of his own since 2008’s ‘Modern Guilt’. All that, however, is about to change: but not in the way you might think. “Beck’s latest album comes in an almost-forgotten form — twenty songs existing only as individual pieces of sheet music, never before released or recorded,” explains San Francisco publishing company, McSweeney’s. “’Song Reader’ is an experiment in what an album can be at the end of 2012 — an alternative that enlists the listener in the tone of every track, and that’s as visually absorbing as a dozen gatefold LPs put together. The songs here are as unfailingly exciting as you’d expect from their author, but if you want to hear ‘Do We? We Do’, or ‘Don’t Act Like Your Heart Isn’t Hard’, bringing them to life depends on you.” Not just you, thankfully - renditions from “select musicians” will be hosted on the publisher’s website ( a little nearer the December due date. It’s also (unfortunately) reasonable to expect every Tom, Dick and Harry in a mediocre indie band to be dragging out their versions later in the year. Hooray. Beck’s new album ‘Song Reader’ will be released in December via McSweeney’s.

Bloc Party will play a massive gig early next year at Earl’s Court in London. They’ll visit the venue on 22nd February 2013.


diy news






b r i e f

Johnny Foreigner vs Everywhere

We interrupt this broadcast to bring you a special bulletin from Johnny Foreigner about a brand new tour, in association with DIY. DATEs:

OCTOBER 02 Sheffield, The Harley 05 Cardiff, Gwdihw Cafe Bar (Jealous Lovers Club) 06 Cheltenham, Frog & Fiddle (Walk The Line Festival) 08 Birmingham, Glee Club (w/ Shonen Knife) 10 Leicester, Firebug  11 Durham, Fishtank  12 Hartlepool, The Studio  13 Wakefield, The Hop  17 Edinburgh, The Electric Circus  18 Aberdeen, The Tunnels  20 Nottingham, Chameleon  27 London, Upstairs at the Garage


Hello the United Kingdom. It is our great pleasure to inform you that come October we will be re-entering the World of Tour. We’re hella excited. We have new songs and old songs and someone gave us inflatable palm trees so we can now look people in the eye and talk about our stage set. Having shown our new guitarist Lewes Herriot the green fields and catering tents of festival season, it now falls to us to remind him that the battle of righteous indie rock is mostly fought in sweaty rooms and motorway service stations. Expect blood, sweat, broken things, gin, accent barriers, rambling anecdotes and overwhelming feelings of Aww Yeh, punctuated by those weird aftershow moments when we’re too shy to talk to people who’re too shy too talk to us. OH! and obviously we have two guitars and now sound even more like those bands people say we sound like.    We’ll be supported by the f**king excellent Playlounge on all the October shows, apart from Birmingham, where we’ll be supporting some girls we once met in Osaka, they have a band or something idk.  Sweet, see you there!

Twin Shadow plans to follow-up the release of his brand new album ‘Confess’ with a full-length novel. That’s right. George Lewis Jr. will continue the storyline of his ‘Five Seconds’ video in the book, titled ‘The Night Of The Silver Sun’. Biffy Clyro have given us a taster their forthcoming album ‘Opposites’. Have a listen to their new single ‘Stingin’ Belle’ over at thisisfakediy. Lily Allen has announced she is to return to music after a three year hiatus. She is now beginning work on the follow-up to her 2009 album ‘It’s Not Me, It’s You’ under her married name, Lily Rose Cooper.

Best Coast will return to the UK for a series of European shows this September. The Californian duo will play four dates in mainland Europe and make one UK stop at The Borderline on the 18th of the month. jack white will be playing a tour later this year, starting with a date in Dublin on 31st October. Moon Duo look set to release

their second album ‘Circles’ later this year. The band will follow-up their 2011 debut ‘Mazes’ with the brand new nine track.


diy is ten

Blimey, we’re getting on a bit. It’s 10 years Since DIY first appeared, kicking and screaming onto the interwebs. Yes, our magazine may be fairly new, but we’re (relative) old timers really. To celebrate, we’ve put together a load of ace shows for this September. Over the next couple of pages we’ll let you in on exactly what’s going down. Bring cake. We like cake.

Murray gives us the low down ahead of their DIY show. Are you really glad we came up with this silly idea? Yeah! I am! I’m really excited to play it [‘Scatterbrain’] in its entirety because we’ve never done it. It might sound bad, but... We won’t put that in the article. Are there any tracks on there that you’ve never played before? No, I was about to say, we’ve played them all separately... I just want it to all be good, because it’s in its entirety. You mentioned earlier that you don’t like the fact you have to talk onstage. Are you just going to straight up play it?  We might get Mike Sapone to fly over and commentate. “Oh my god, that sounded sick!” That’s what he sounds like. That’s my best Mike Sapone impression.


The Xcerts

Having crowned it the winner of our 2010 Readers’ Poll for Album Of The Year, we’ve got to admit, we’re rather fond of The Xcerts’ ‘Scatterbrain’, so we called up Murray and co. (and managers and booking agents, but you know the drill...) and the lovely trio agreed to perform it in full for us. That’s right. The Xcerts, performing ‘Scatterbrain’ in its entirety. Now if that’s not a birthday treat you can get behind, we don’t know what is. The band will be playing at the Borderline on 13th September, and tickets are just £7 in advance.

LISTINGS 5th September

Jeffrey Lewis plays ‘A Turn In The Dream-Songs’ Borderline, London 7th September


Borderline, London 13th September

Xcerts play ‘Scatterbrain’

15th September

Southsea Festival

Feat. Clock Opera, Tellison, Tall Ships 20th September

DIY in association with One Inch Badge

Smoke Fairies

The Haunt, Brighton 22nd September

DIY in association with Pop Bubble Rock

we are the physics Old Blue Last, London

Borderline, London

28th September

DIY in association with Banquet

Mafia Lights (DJ set) Vuvuvultures (DJ set)

13th September

ALUNAGEORGE McClusky’s, Kingston

Jeffrey Lewis

Jeffrey Lewis will be playing ‘A Turn In The Dream-Songs’ (which we gave a glowing 9/10 review less than a year ago) especially for us at the Borderline on 5th September, for the meagre sum of £12 in advance. Tickets are bound to be snapped up fast, so we’d suggest you get yours quick.

DIY in association with Glue The Blacksmith And The Toffemaker, London

Jeffrey Lewis

A Turn In The Dream-Songs


In a musical landscape where the definition of angst and heartbreak is Adele, eyes tightly closed, warbling away with jazz hands, thank heavens for the return of Jeff Lewis. ‘Turn In The Dream-Songs’ finds our antifolk hero sounding like he’s (still) in pretty bad shape. Broken hearts, broken mosquitoes, girls dating boys that aren’t him, mental breakdowns, they’re all documented here. So then, it’s business as usual for Lewis’ sixth outing, but if it’s not broke, whatever you do, please please, don’t fix it. You see, unlike all those sincere (boring) balladeers dominating the airwaves, when Jeff Lewis is having a rum do, his chronicles are filled with limitless whimsy, wit and self deprecation. Even as he discusses a failed suicide attempt by way of drinking rat poison on ‘So What If I Couldn’t Take It Anymore’, he’s giving himself a 3.6 from Pitchfork for his effort. In light of the tone of the rest of the album, closing with a rap number might seem a little unexpected, and admittedly ‘Mosquito Rap’ could’ve fallen straight off the back of a Moldy Peaches’ lorry. “If you come in like a sucker, you could go out like one”, it turns out that Jeffrey Lewis isn’t just a brilliant lyricist (and Lord Jarvis Cocker said so, so it must be true) and a probable rubbish boyfriend. He’s a badass too. Albeit, only when there’s a little mosquito in the room. I’m pretty sure the rest of us are safe. (Simone Scott Warren)


DIY live merc live

d live i y photos: emma swann

MercLive Sissy & The Blisters + Fractures

It’s a sad day, when things you enjoy come to an end. Like Top Of The Pops. Or your teens. Tonight, our lovely series of gigs at the Social, with those good folks at Merc, came to a sad, sad close. But before we can get all maudlin, there’s the small issue of a couple of awesome bands to tear up the Social. Having literally had a matter of hours to prepare for tonight’s gig, our last minute replacement support act - the mighty Fractures - showed us exactly how they earned their place on this year’s ones to watch lists. Sonically, they conjure up the charm of Britpop days of yore, and whilst there are definite shades of Suede and Bowie in those vocals; they’re an exciting


proposition, no doubt. And so we come to our final band of the whole series, and it’s down to Sissy & The Blisters to get the Social dancing. And these boys, they really know how to get your feet tapping, with a cover of ‘Here Comes Your Man’. As they rip through the tracks from their not yet finished recording, never mind released, debut album, frontman James Geard earns his ‘enigmatic’ badge, as he rotates from sitting with his back to the audience, singing into that mic like his life depends on it. As the lights dim on the band, and Merc Live comes to an end, well now we’re allowed to get maudlin, right? It’s been a rip roaringly fun month.

seconds with Sissy & The Blisters

James and Pip tell us about their recent trip to Latitude Festival, and their new material. How was Latitude? Pip: It was amazing. We had a gig the night before where we were on at 12.30, we didn’t get out of there till about 2. James: We got in a fight with one of the crowd members. I went out half way into the show and was having a dance with some people and came back for the last song. There were these two guys giving 28

Turn a few corners from London’s Oxford Circus, tucked away from the hoards of shoppers, and you land right in front of The Social: our home for this year’s DIY and Merc Live gig series.

me a bit of a roughing up, so I had some words with them. Pip: But Latitude was great. You’ve been working on a new album? Pip: We’re almost there with it, so we’re going to be playing a lot of the tracks [tonight]. Well, I say a lot. At least half. James: We like to change it up. Pip: Yeah, mix it up. Play some older ones that are not going on the album. It’s going to be fun. You’ve got a single out soon, too? Pip: It’s called ‘Killing Time’, that’s the single. It’s great. Really good.

To Kill A King + Life In Film

We’re amidst the throes of summer, and while you might not be able to totally tell, we’re not letting the weather dampen our spirits. Fresh from an array of festival visits, we decided to keep the good times a-comin’ and headed down to the trusty Social for our third show with Merc Clothing. This evening, we’re greeted with openers Life In Film. Fresh from an appearance at Hard Rock Calling, they’re practiced and ready to share their brand of indie rock with our crowd. Shimmering with influences of Editors, New Order and even a dash of The Smiths, they’re definitely a band to keep an eye on. Then, before you know it, it’s time for our headliners to take to the stage. The opening of To Kill A King’s set is wonderful, with the whole band perched at the front of the stage for an almost-a cappella track that is truly captivating. Standing atop one of the stage monitors, frontman Ralph Pelleymounter proudly brandishes his acoustic guitar. It’s after that though that the real fun begins, as they kick into a full band set that would make The National proud.

DIY Teams Up With Underground Festival Some of our favourite bands will be playing the event later this month - and it’s free!

Who isn’t a big fan of free? We don’t mean the dodgy five-finger-discount kind, but the actually free kind: free downloads, free magazines (ahem), free gigs, and free festivals - like Underground, in Gloucester. We’re teaming up with the festival later this month to bring you a whole heap of our favourite bands, including former DIY cover stars Canterbury, and up-and-comers PEACE, Swim Deep, Fear Of Men, Gnarwolves… all sorts. To celebrate - and because there’s sure to be an entry queue all the way to Canterbury (hoho) - we’re giving away a few spots on the “guaranteed entry” list. To be in with a chance of winning them, drop us a line at telling us which bands you’re most looking forward to seeing. “I’m really excited about this year’s line up,” organiser Joe Schiavon tells us. “Some of the bands who played our first festival like The Joy Formidable and Pulled Apart By Horses have gone on to great things, and you can tell there’s more than a couple of names on the 2012 poster that are set to blow up in the same way. I’m really excited about PEACE, The Struts, Sons And Lovers, Bluebell, Proxies, All Of This and Venice.” Well done, Joe - see you there! Underground Festival will take place from 29th - 30th September at Gloucester Guildhall. For more information, visit


neu deap vally




Ben Blackburn hunts down San Fernando Valley’s hottest new duo.


ew venues host quite as many sets from musicians of the moment as London’s Old Blue Last; tonight is no different, and a gig that’s being discussed fervently as I walk into the venue’s bar during the hours preceding. Hailing from the San Fernando Valley, our headline act for the evening is Deap Vally; composed of Lindsey Troy and Julie Edwards, it’s a jovial pairing that completely matches the band’s hazy, attitude-soaked aesthetic and the grit and soul that transcends their music. Having already been the subject of many blogs’ speculation, the duo were known long before their arrival through the novel situation in which they met: a crochet lesson. Spend a little time with the band however, and suddenly all the anticipation and curiosity makes sense. We begin our conversation discussing their arrival in the UK, and their attempts to deal with jet lag; apparently a previous nap led to Troy having a “saucy dream” involving Keith Richards and “two men from contemporary bands we’re closely affiliated with.” Speculate away; this humorous, slightly risqué start sets the tone for the duration of our conversation, in which the band make it emphatically clear there’s no false image or forced fakery here - what you see is completely what you get, including the now infamous yarn about their meeting. “I wanted to learn how to crochet, so I found a knitting shop in my neighbourhood,” Troy tells us. Little did she know that Edwards was working there. “You really bond when you’re all knitting, as your hands are busy but you’re all talking.” After a “four hour discussion over our musical histories,”their friendship was sealed.

“You really bond when you’re knitting.”

The duo’s sound has already incited lofty comparisons to The Black Keys and Led Zeppelin, and when I put these to Troy and Edwards I’m met with the response that they consider their musical influences “vast”. While confirming the Zeppelin comparison, they also withdraw some of the tagged names by stating they simply enjoy stripped back, raw music by “performers who really give it.” Edwards continues: “I can see the comparison to the Black Keys, but I think we’re heavier than that.” When it comes to recording, it’s quite clear the band favour live performances, as Troy reveals: “I don’t even enjoy hearing my voice when we record. I just record three or so versions and let the producer work with them.” Moreover, they attempt to recreate the live dynamic they treasure within their studio, focusing more on sonic feelings and expressions as opposed to clinical perfection. Delving further into Deap Vally’s musical foundation, Edwards explains the band’s first gig was at the “Silverlake

Lounge [in Los Angeles], and it was f**king amazing.” However this was met with relief by the duo as “we weren’t sure how people were going to take Deap Vally at all.” By the time they had reached their second show, they knew it was all working; none other than Marilyn Manson was in the front row, so they covered ‘I Put A Spell On You’ in his honour. Running through a baptism of fire that new, buzzed, imported bands all must go through, Deap Vally appear to take it all in good grace; their recent blistering sets both in London and Latitude gaining them a wholeheartedly loyal fan base. No doubt their brief flirtation with the listening British public is only set to blossom, and these two Californian girls will continue to play their gritty rock until their voices are hoarse and the whiskey has run dry. Deap Vally’s debut single ‘Gonna Make My Own Money’ is out now via Ark Recordings.


neu recommended


Recommended 1 N eg at ive Peg as u s Negative Pegasus are a rock band. Unlike your typical rock band, though, you’re not likely to hear anything from the Brighton three-piece that features the same old rock chords put together to the same old rock structure forming what is essentially the same old, heard-it-a-thousand-and-one-timesbefore rock song. Instead the band flitters between the sounds of the noisy, the kraut, the math, the psychedelic, and even the drone to create something interesting, unusual, and unique. With looping drum arrangements, distorted, echoing vocals and swirling guitar feedback, the band creates unexpected beauty from the dark and murky world of noise. Negative Pegasus are a rock band, and they’re utterly delicious.

2 Ty r a n n o s a u r u s D e a d Like a less fuzzed-up Yuck or a more fuzzed-up Belle & Sebastian, Tyrannosaurus Dead are a band doing things the right way. Formed in 2010, the Brighton bunch have taken the time to hone their sound rather than thrust their unfinished work in the face of anyone who’ll listen – and boy has it paid off. Bringing together driving bass-lines, catchy hooks, and gorgeous male / female harmonies, the five-piece form exquisite and intelligent indie pop songs. Ranging from the fast-paced and urgent (‘1992’) to the more serene and charming (‘Banner’), Tyrannosaurus Dead are seldom off the mark regardless of the direction taken – a point demonstrated by their latest EP, the consistently impressive Reeks of Effort-released ‘Lemonade’ cassette, put out in August.








a y


Making music on your own can presumably go one of two ways - your creativity goes unchecked and un-moderated and spirals from the radical to the ridiculous, or your ideas can be more directed, less diluted, and channelled into something focussed and fantastical. With Birthdays - the project of Boston-based Sammy Yager, a former drummer for Emily Reo and member of music collective ‘FMLY’ - it’s safe to assume that the latter is true. Comparable to the likes of Animal Collective, Braids, Grimes and Youth Lagoon, Sam takes pop melodies and twists them into experimental jams. His songs are vibrant and exploding with flavour – the twinkling, looping electronics juxtaposing Sam’s distorted, hazy vocals to glorious effect, while tribal beats often patter away in the background. And not only is Birthdays a delightful listen but it’s a fascinating watch too; the songs gradually taking shape as Sam battles countless synths and samplers to form something truly beautiful. 32







There’s something about duos – like a football team reduced to ten men – that makes them that extra bit louder, smidgen more energetic, and slightly more ferocious. Japandroids. The White Stripes. Brown Brogues. No Age. Lightning Bolt. The Ting Tings. Okay, not The Ting Tings. But VVhile. Definitely VVhile. Hailing from Belgrade, Serbia, the two-piece follow in similar musical footsteps to many of those guitar-drum bands before them. Falling into that broad and slightly nonsensical genre of ‘noise-rock’, they hit their drums hard and distort their guitar – but far from hiding sub-par tracks behind layers of noise, the band’s songs are better for it. Below the feedback of the guitar and the distorting vocal effects are delightful melodies and hooks that emerge the closer you listen, and it’s a satisfying experience to hear something new and exciting each time you press play. VVhile might be from Serbia, but thank God for the internet.


B l ood

Spo r t

It’s pretty difficult for bands to be truly original these days. That’s natural, of course. People have been making music for hundreds of years and in that time they’ve experimented a lot. With the rise of the internet, artists today can turn to the past or abroad for ideas with ease – The Horrors looking at the darker points of the 80s; Vampire Weekend following Paul Simon down the path of afro-pop. Blood Sport do a bit of both. Combining wide-spanning influences with a penchant for experimenting, the Sheffield trio make ‘jams’ more than they do songs. Filled with off-beat drum patterns and jerky, dancing guitar lines, the band build their African-inspired experimental ditties piece-by-piece, often continuing well into the six minute mark. While their sound isn’t entirely unique, it certainly is both interesting and enjoyable – and no-one can accuse them of not at least trying to do something a bit different.

6 V u v u v u l t u r e s The synthesizer. It’s a thing of beauty. Capable of bringing a club of thousands bouncing to their feet while also possessing the qualities to be used sparsely, subtly, delicately, beautifully. Vuvuvultures share similar attributes. A four-piece from London, they (Harmony, Nicole, Paul, Matt) formed over two years ago, although it took them until just a few months back to put out their first release. The ‘VVV’ EP got them a decent amount of attention – and it’s easy to see why. Bouncing from brooding electronics and haunting vocals to piercing synths and massive pop hooks. It’s impressive stuff – and we reckon this is just the start. ( Jake May)








neu fantasy rainbow

NEU FantasyRainbow

Jake May tracks down the newly-signed teenager for a chat about his debut album. “I probably dropped out a little prematurely,” says 19-year-old Oliver Catt, the man behind Fantasy Rainbow who quit his first year politics course in Manchester to pursue a life as a musician back in April. “But it’s not like I sat around on my arse saying ‘Oh, I’m gonna record some songs’. I’ve actually done some stuff, so I’m not an archetypal drop out.”   ‘Some stuff ’ he certainly has done. Barely a year since starting things as Fantasy Rainbow – his slacker, jangly, retro pop solo project – Richmond, Yorkshire-born Oliver managed to convince a label to fly him out to America to record his debut.   “It was a really weird coincidence,” he says, describing how the album – due to be released in November through Heist Or Hit Records – came to be. “I was really drunk one night at Deaf Institute in Manchester and Ed [Spear, who produced the album] just wandered in drunk. He said, ‘You should come out to Tennessee to do an album’ and I was like, ‘Yeah, cool’, thinking it’d never happen.”  

“Even if everyone hates my album, it’s something I’m proud of.” But then it did. “It was f**king nuts,” Oliver says of his label’s support for the idea. “They pretty much bundled me on to a plane and told me to come back with an album. I was riddled with anxiety. Every official I saw I thought they were gonna throw me out of the country, [although] I didn’t feel much pressure about recording – I’d been living with the songs for a long time and I knew how good Ed was, so I was pretty confident we could make a killer record.”   While you might expect someone in his position to be more concerned about the 34

musical pressure on him rather than the logistics of the trip, Oliver’s confidence is understandable; starting Fantasy Rainbow at the age of 18, he quickly attracted attention. A handful of strong EPs and lots of live shows later, and he seems to have grown rightly assured of his abilities. With earlier recordings drawing comparisons to the likes of Deerhunter and Wavves, Oliver feels his sound on the album is a slight departure. “I was listening to ‘This Is A Long Drive For Someone With Nothing To Think

About’ by Modest Mouse a lot before I recorded the album,” he says, hinting at how the finished product might sound. “I’m really happy with it, which is a nice position to be in, ‘cause even if everyone hates it it’s something I’m proud of.” It takes a lot of faith for a label to pay for a 19-year-old to fly thousands of miles to record an album, but with Fantasy Rainbow you get the sense that might just pay off. Fantasy Rainbow’s debut album will be released in November via Heist Or Hit.

Night Works

A new vein of wonderfully offbeat pop.

NEU news

TOY have confirmed plans to head out on a UK tour this autumn. They’ll kick off the run on 19th October in Sheffield. Neu favourites Swim Deep have hit the big time: they’ve just signed to Sony label RCA Records, declaring on their Facebook: “Now were [sic] recording an album for you.”

Willy Moon has released a If you’ve spent the last thirty seconds staring at Night Works wondering, ‘Where have I seen him before?’, chances are you won’t be alone. There are a few different options: certainly, he may look like someone you saw in Morrisons yesterday evening hovering near the chicken and pie counter (that’s what it’s called, right?); or, you may recognise him from previous work in both Metronomy and Your Twenties. Ah, that’s better isn’t it? Gabriel Stebbing is quite the musical busybody - and he’s right in the middle of launching a new band.

smoke and mirrors. I just wanted the listener to take the first track, ‘I Tried So Hard’, on its own terms, with no preconceptions or context. To actually take the time to listen to it, enjoy it and make up their own mind on it. You’ve heard of the Slow Food movement? I’d like to do that with music.

Hello Gabriel. How are you? What are you up to today? I am fine thanks, DIY. So far today I have been for a run, had brunch, tended to my online life (like my Tamagotchi, it tends to wilt if I don’t give it enough attention). I’m about to go to the studio.

Are there any over-arching themes? There’s a pair of characters I had in mind when writing the album, Long Forgotten Boy and Long Forgotten Girl. They’re both made up of parts of me and of people I know. There’s a bunch of other people on the record, too. It’s quite densely populated. I was thinking a lot about money, power, London, and the kind of transactions that take place in ‘The Eveningtime’: it’s all there in the soup.

What initially sparked this new project? It was a song I wrote and that Joe Mount [also of Metronomy] produced called ‘Long Forgotten Boy’. It was obvious to us both that this was something different, and new. When Night Works first started releasing material online, quite a lot of information about the project was kept under wraps. Did the secrecy have the effect you hoped it would? Hopefully it didn’t come across too

We heard you’ve finished your album is it all done and dusted? Oh yes. The gold master CD is safely under lock and key at the head office of Züricher Landesbank.

Finally, when do you think we’ll be able to hear it? Well, our flights to Zürich are booked but I can’t tell you when for, too risky. Sorry. Night Works’ new single ‘The Eveningtime’ is out now via Loose Lips Records.

single with Jack White’s Third Man Records. ‘Railroad Track’, alongside B-side ‘Bang Bang’, is available now as both a download and 7” vinyl. Recent Columbia signees Peace have announced plans to release a new EP. ‘Delicious’ is due on 9th September.

Dog Is Dead have announced the tracklisting for their debut album, ‘All Our Favourite Stories’, due on 8th October. It will feature: 1. Get Low; 2. Do The Right Thing; 3. Teenage Daughter; 4. Talk Through The Night; 5. River Jordan; 6. Two Devils; 7. Hands Down; 8. Glockenspiel Song; 9. Heal It; 10. Any Movement. Halls has unveiled the details for his debut album: ‘Ark’ is set to be released via No Pain In Pop on 15th October. New York’s High Highs are set to release their debut LP in early 2013. As a preview, they’ve shared the suitably gentle ‘Once Around The House’ - listen to it now at

Mac DeMarco has revealed

a few more details about his debut. The full length is titled ‘Mac Demarco 2’ and will be coming out via Captured Tracks this autumn. 35

neu mixtape

NEU Not content with giving you a free magazine, we've put together a free mixtape full of our favourite new bands; download from

1 Woodpecker Wooliams Sparrow

Opening September’s mixtape is this piece of fantastical synthpop from Brighton’s Gemma Williams aka Woodpecker Wooliams. Her brand new single taken from new album ‘The Bird School Of Being Human’, ‘Sparrow’ is all interwoven vibrant electronics topped-off with Gemma’s powerful, hypnotic vocals.

2 Parakeet Tomorrow

The brainchild of Yuck bassist Mariko Doi and The History Of Apple Pie’s James Thomas, London three-piece Parakeet swim in the same kind of shoegazey-pop murk you might expect from a combination of their ‘other’ bands – ‘Tomorrow’ providing the perfect introduction to their fuzzy, excellent sound.

3 The Soft Walls Black Cat

The side-project of Cold Pumas guitarist Dan Reeves, The Soft Walls hears an experimental nature and lo-fi sound interestingly and stylishly brought together. ‘Black Cat’ - taken from the Faux Discx and Suplex Cassettes joint-released debut full-length - is all looping guitar noise and hushed, reverb-drenched vocals with genius results.

4 METZ Headache

Sub Pop-signed, Toronto-based three-piece METZ are one loud bunch, and the aptly-titled first single ‘Headache’ – taken from their self-titled debut album, out in October – is testament to that. Filled with thrashing guitar, crashing drums, and urgent vocals, its frenetic sound is just the remedy for those creeping autumn blues.

5 Night Works I Tried So Hard (Gold Panda Remix)

Yet more evidence – if, indeed, you needed any – that everything this man touches turns to Gold: the London producer adopts Night Works’ ‘I Tried So Hard’ and twists it in on itself, creating a glitchy, kaleidoscopic, and wholly gripping take on an already impressive song. 36

6 Sauna Youth PSI Girls

Taken from the long, long, long-awaited (and also very much excellent) debut album from everyone’s favourite punks, ‘PSI Girls’ hears Sauna Youth continue their impressive run of ‘never doing anything rubbish’ – its juxtaposition of carefree, shouty vocals and catchy, guitar-led melody a delightful introduction to full-length ‘Dreamlands’.

7 Fiium Shaarrk My Yellow Ferrari

Sounding like the noise of a hundred snake charmers, ‘My Yellow Ferrari’ is taken from Fiium Shaarrk’s debut ‘No Fiction Now!’ – a fascinating record channelling the experimental electronica of Four Tet and Caribou.

8 The Black Tambourines School

‘School’ is a lesson in live performance from Cornwall’s best (and probably only) surf-punks. Energetic and raucous garage rock it may be, but the Falmouth four-piece still keep things slick and tight.

9 Gunning For Tamar Dark Sky Tourism

Like Biffy Clyro before they turned, well... y’know, Oxford quartet Gunning For Tamar cram as much melody on ‘Dark Sky Tourism’ into a rock song as seems humanly possible. Released as a single through Alcopop, the track hears hard-rock and emo influences smashing together, getting fists pumping and feet stomping.

10 The Louche Salt

The foursome from Manchester might have lost two letters from their name (they – understandably – decided that ‘The Louche FC’ wasn’t quite right...) but they’ve not lost any of their knack for writing excellent songs.

11 Olympians I Hate Everybody’s Guts & Everybody Hates Mine

Sitting somewhere between math-pop and folk, this fiddly guitar and choral harmonies-filled track from Olympians is released through a book. No, really. The third part of the band’s book club series, it’s a strong addition to an interesting concept.

12 Halls White Chalk

Halls has always had the ability to create pristine, brooding, minimalist electronica but on ‘White Chalk’ the London producer has completely outdone himself. We mean it when we say this is an utterly beautiful piece of music. ( Jake May) 37

feature james murphy



efine what it is to be cool. It’s harder than you might think. We couple it with words like “effortlessly”, but all that’s really saying is that someone isn’t trying too hard. Trying too hard is definitely not cool. Even the word itself, like a Dad trying to be down with the kids, seems fundamentally uncool.

James Murphy, by rights, should not be considered cool. For one thing, he’s in his forties, which under normal circumstances would automatically rule him out. He admits to trying; he confesses to having read Thomas Pynchon’s ‘Gravity’s Rainbow’ numerous times in the hope that it would make him appear cooler. His hair doesn’t seem to sit quite right, he is not stick thin with model good looks. The stubble permanently covering his face is flecked with grey. He should be the poster boy for the terminally uncool, and yet he’s the exact opposite. Breaking up LCD Soundsystem at the point that he did, a decade and three albums in without putting a foot wrong, cemented his place at the head of the cool table. True, there was a slight suspicion that he did so because, having mentioned splitting the band up in interviews prior to the release of third album, 2010’s ‘This Is Happening’, he’d backed himself into a bit of a corner and so actually had to go through with it. The cinematic release of the new documentary, Shut Up And Play The Hits, filmed during the 48 hours around the band’s final gig at Madison Square Garden in April 2011, casts aside those aspersions. Clarifying the real reasons behind the split, it’s beautifully shot, as one would expect from the two Englishmen behind 2010’s Blur film ‘No Distance Left To Run’ and a


cameraman by the name of Spike Jonze. The film itself is a glorious juxtaposition of the build up to (and euphoria of ) the concert, and the inevitable comedown of the following day. Exactly how important LCD Soundsystem were is demonstrated, not by a narrator or documentary style piece to camera, but rather from the frames of a fan crying his eyes out, seemingly unwilling to leave the venue. The overwhelming sensation of the film is that of the genuine love between Murphy and those surrounding him. Where most bands explode in a blaze of acrimony, that certainly wasn’t the case here. Indeed, the unaddressed issue is whether there might be some resentment from within LCD Soundsystem’s band members over the ending of the certainty of the work, and ergo, income, that being part of one of the most important bands of the decade would surely provide. Put that to Murphy himself, and he denies emphatically that this is the case. “It was never set up to be so,” he tells us during a transatlantic call to Los Angeles where he’s currently working. “I’d only ever asked people to be in the band for a very short period in 2002, and everyone had other things. It was more often the case that I felt guilty about the long tours, because it really took a lot out of other people’s lives. “We’d agree in principle that we were going to go out on a tour. People would put in the dates that they needed to be home for, and we’d try to work around it. It was very nice that they all stayed for so long. People really had a hard time finding the time to do it.” The thorny issue of touring appears to be one of the primary reasons for disbanding; as the film interweaves

where areyo urfrie ndsto night? 39


through various strands, the most enlightening is an interview between Murphy and Chuck Klosterman, a journalist for the New York Times. During that segment, James admits that he feels he aged more during tours. That when he stayed at home in New York he would barely change physically, but take the same amount of time on the road, he’d find those grey follicles multiplying with wild abandon. With a year having passed since the shooting of the documentary, for a less considered character the reasoning might have changed with the benefit of hindsight. Murphy, however, is resolute. “In the past, the requirements of the bands that I loved, in the long run, were not as big as the requirements of modern bands. It was relatively common not to go on world tours for every record. It was common to put out more albums, to travel less, do fewer interviews; that was normal. Now you’ve got to keep up the website, make videos for everything, make extra content to go around certain songs. It just means that to do it professionally, to professionally be LCD Soundsystem, meant you couldn’t do anything else. Or it meant you have to relegate all these activities, to delegate them to people in the management team, which I felt was cheating. So I couldn’t have a life and do everything the way I wanted to do it. If I couldn’t do it, and do it the way that I felt was right, then I just shouldn’t do it.”

picked the songs that went in, I didn’t.” Which is not to say that he didn’t have very definite ideas as to how the band should be presented. “I approached this as LCD Soundsystem. I really wanted it to represent who was playing what, to help people understand what’s happening on stage. It’s always been about what the band is, controlling what the band sounds like, and when you have visuals, that changes what it sounds like in a strange way, because it’s like another voice. When the cowbell starts, I want you to see the cowbell, so you know that’s Gavin. You tend to think of music as a block, and when you see it you see how it’s created. I really think that’s interesting.”

Re-watching a pivotal 48 hours in your own existence must dredge up some strange sensations. It’s an unfathomable process for most of us; committing to celluloid the run up and demise of the most important event in your own life thus far. There’s a particularly moving scene where it becomes clear exactly how much it all meant to James; he is stood in a large storage unit the day after the final gig, surrounded by equipment and flight cases bearing the LCD logo, trying to decide what to keep and what to sell, and dissolves into unstoppable tears. What Murphy took from that - from watching his own reactions - he confesses, is a sense of embarrassment rather than emotion. However he does concede that “IF I COULDN’T what Shut Up And Play The Hits really gave him was It’s not too much of a DO IT RIGHT, I a different perspective on stretch to suggest that JUST SHOULDN’T his own band; “I realised that James Murphy is a workaholic; DO IT.” I’d probably been too hard on a theory that he does little to everybody. That, without the adrenaline disprove during our conversation. In the of the show, and the anxiety, I realised how film, he tells Klosterman that part of the well everybody played together. Much better reason for quitting was a desire to slow down, to than I would hear on stage. Everybody was just so have children, to achieve more of a work life balance, good at what they do. That was just a real revelation to but since stopping the band he seems, from the outside me, because I always experienced the band from at least, as busy as ever. “For me, work is not separate standing and singing, filled with anxiety, worried that from my life. Work is a really big part of my life,” he there was going to be a mistake.” counters. “Whether that’s work that’s worthy or not, a huge portion of my life is about making things. It’s Finding success with LCD Soundsystem came far what I like to do. In a way it’s about having space, later in life than it does for most musicians. Murphy having the time to write something, or read a book, or was already into his thirties when ‘Losing My Edge’, take photos. To make stuff. It’s more about this work vs the poignant and witty debut single, broke him that work. It’s not turning out to be much of a through into public consciousness. As an ode to retirement, it’s turning out to be a lot of work.” finding the kids snapping at your heels and becoming your new, younger, cooler, competition, it achieved the Having been introduced to Dylan Southern and Will accolades that had eluded him during his twenties Lovelace by the BBC to produce an altogether when he was busy setting up DFA Records and DJing different film, when Murphy talks about the Shut Up around New York. With age a definite factor in his And Play The Hits it’s the first time during our decision to quit, it’s tempting to think that the ending conversation that you feel he didn’t strive for complete of the LCD story might have been different had he control. “We were all thinking it was the other guys’ been a decade younger. idea for a while. They’re the filmmakers, and they approach things in a more normal way. I mean, they



“If it had happened when I was in my twenties, my sense of self was a lot thinner. The tempting change in self image that’s presented to you when you’re successful in life would have been irresistible.” James agrees, “I probably would have believed more of what other people said about about me and my band, both positive and negative. I had a lot more need for acceptance as part of how I would define myself. When you see musicians in their late teens or early twenties, I think that they can have an insatiable hole that they never healed up, because it’s like, why would you heal something up when it feels so good to just pour this adulation into that hole? It’s easier to stop when you can separate that stuff. So I think I’d have been tempted to go on forever, because I wouldn’t have wanted to give up that drug of being liked. Since I failed so miserably for most of my adult life, I’ve been forced to figure how to fill that hole up in a “I STILL different way.”

and stink. Or try and make a Number One record, and suddenly turn into a dubstep band. Or try and make a crossover single with a guest singer. I don’t know, maybe all the things that I find really embarrassing would have been bolder, and more hilarious too.”

Although all the evidence points to the notion that in reality, there was no actual failure, if ending the band really is the only mistake, the small hope still remains that Murphy will reconsider. Rumours abound that LCD Soundsystem are already due to return, recording a cover for a soundtrack, and although James won’t be drawn on which film it is for, or even what the song is, he does confirm that this is true. “If we feel like doing something, we’re going to do it,” he states emphatically. “We’re grown people and there’s no legal obligation to do anything. A friend of mine was making a movie, he wanted a specific song, and he DON’T wanted me to cover it. I said THINK WE I don’t want to because it’s F**KED UP.” perfect. And he was like, ‘You Failure is a word that appears covered ‘Jump Into The Fire’. You often in the story of James Murphy, recorded that!’ But we didn’t reproduce it, but unlike those younger musicians, it’s we just learned how to play it as a band. So I not the fear of failure that we force him to asked the rest of the band if they wanted to play ruminate over, but retrospectively where he might this particular song, that we all like, for my friend’s have already done so. During the film, Klosterman puts movie. And they were like, yeah. Because now we’re it to Murphy that whilst bands are celebrated for their not people in a big band. Now we’re a bunch of friends successes, they’re defined by their mistakes. Whilst who used to be in a band, who want to go into a studio searching for LCD’s one big failure, he struggles to and record a particular song. The whole point of being provide an answer beyond disbanding, which given done as a professional band is that now we can just be the certainty that he now presents that it was the right people who do things. That’s exciting. ” thing to do, seems a little strange. “I still don’t think we f**ked up.” Murphy is adamant, when pressed once But before we can get our hopes up, Murphy brings more over the subject of whether there is one stupid us back to reality. “It’s not like we’re going to reform. decision that he might change. “The only thing that There will be no reforming.” As he once sang himself, could be a f**k up is giving up, quitting. Maybe it it’s the end of an era, it’s true. would’ve been Shut Up And Play The Hits will be released in cinemas on better to 4th September, and via DVD / Blu-ray on 8th October. go out


Shut Up And Play The Hits

Not so much a documentary but an exhilarating, moving and fleeting glimpse of an unassuming star’s farewell. Contrived footage of Murphy tampering with his beloved espresso machine and walking his French bulldog it’s all incredibly sedate and reveals a lot more about Murphy’s character than the band’s legacy. Covering a 48-hour period, the dialogue comes from an interview with Chuck Klosterman, in which Murphy opens up about about ageing and his reasons for quitting. There are no facts and figures, no eulogies from talking heads - it’s literally a snapshot in time, and Murphy and the band remain enigmatic. Can it stand alone as a film for the uninitiated? At times it feels more like an exquisitely-shot DVD extra. The music speaks louder - a fine selection of LCD tracks from the four-hour concert are showcased in their entirety with crisp, electrifying photography that reaches warmly into the ecstatic crowd. (The title comes from Arcade Fire’s guest spot, with Win Butler bellowing the instruction to a waffling Murphy onstage.) Notable highlights are ‘Sound Of Silver’’s ‘All My Friends’ (the crowd’s reaction is intensely powerful) and ‘Us vs. Them’ (shot by Spike Jonze, a dancing, loved-up couple lose themselves in the foreground). “If it’s a funeral, let’s have the best funeral ever,” says the (unattributed) quote at the beginning of the film. A glorious, life-affirming tribute to an absurdly brilliant, brief musical phenomenon. (Becky Reed)


interview animal collective



El Hunt tracks down Animal Collective in their London hideaway to discuss new album ’Centipede Hz.’, and how they plan to combat leaks…


couple of months ago DIY was quietly passed a mysterious file, along with a kindly written but very clear instruction; under no circumstances were we to tell anyone about the contents (at least not for a while, anyway). All this James Bond style carry-on was very intriguing, but happy to oblige, we kept our traps firmly shut. Don’t worry yourself, DIY hasn’t started up an offshore tax avoidance scheme hoarding money for indie celebs – the package was ’Centipede Hz.’, the new Animal Collective album. We set off to meet Noah (Panda Bear) and newly rejoined member Josh (Deakin) - who recently took a break owing to the band’s heavy touring schedule - in an unlabelled warehouse on a mysterious industrial estate, with visions of all the hydraulic doors and Wizard of Oz curtain set-ups that will await us. Our rendezvous, in reality, turns out to be a friendly little side room with a comfy sofa and a houseplant, but such stringent secrecy measures wouldn’t actually seem too over the top. Animal Collective’s ‘Merriweather Post Pavilion’ became an overnight cult success and landmark record - garnering universal praise from critics usually known for their squabbling. Simultaneously, though, it became infamous as a victim of the leaking generation. ‘Brothersport’ and ‘My Girl’ broke through the barriers in November 2009 - two whole months ahead of the scheduled release - much to the initial distress of the band. “It wasn’t the awesomest thing, but it wasn’t the end of the world either,” say the ever-reasonable Josh and Noah. “For us it’s a case of sifting through what we feel is really bad and what we think is ‘well, maybe that’s just the way it has to be.’ With this album it’s very much about us saying ‘ok, if this is the way, what can we do to embrace that?’” “With the last few records we’ve struggled with trying to figure out and adapt to a new landscape and figure out things we can do that not only accepts the reality [of albums leaking], but also makes it exciting,” a quietly spoken Josh continues. “We felt like the only thing we could do was have a lockdown, which is probably a bummer for you. Sorry about that,” he adds, looking genuinely apologetic for causing any kind of fuss. Far from being floaty, whimsical musicians who use silly words and spout long, meaningless paragraphs about their music, both Josh and Noah seem grounded, straightforward and well, just very nice guys. “I am always a little nervous of what people

will think,” begins Noah tentatively on the potential danger of ‘Centipede Hz.’ being cast in the looming shadow of its predecessor. “We were focused on doing something really different sounding which I think takes the pressure off,” he explains. “We intentionally made two really crucial choices so that it felt like a new thing,” clarifies Josh. “We didn’t do a lot with harmony or doubling of vocals – we wanted them to be this really close, singular thing. We also relied more on guitars and live drums, there’s definitely an idea of keeping

“Who knows if people are going to like it?” the core sound of the record very live, as much as possible. I mean, it could be something that seems really subtle to anybody else, but to us, it’s a big thing.” “Who knows if people are going to like it or not like it,” continues Noah. “We just tried to keep it interesting

and fresh, for us at least.” It’s refreshing to hear such a wildly experimental band able talk about their music in such a clear, intelligent way, and Noah and Josh are equally open when it comes to talking about the sometimestricky subject of ‘themes’. For them it is not so much a slippery and elusive subject intended to pin them down, but a golden opportunity to clarify what “vibes” they were aiming for, so the listener can grapple with the subtleties too. Despite Josh rejoining Animal Collective as a fully fledged member and the band’s return to their childhood home of Baltimore, this album, they say, is not just reminiscing about old days where they met and grew up. “A lot of people have been picking up on that,” says Josh. “They’ve been like ‘hey, you guys have gone back to Baltimore – that must be a big thing.’ I’m sure it fed in, in some form or another, but I don’t think it was a theme we ever talked about.” “The Baltimore we grew up in doesn’t exist anymore,” adds Noah. ”This is far more about returning to the beginning of a cycle rather than something that’s linear and just going back in time.” “There were themes we did talk about, though,” Josh begins, eager to elaborate


further. “We talked a lot about the radio stations that we listened to when we were growing up, and late night radio mixes. There was a big theme about radio in general.” Noah chips in: “We loved what radio was like back then, which doesn’t really exist in the same way anymore.” With a little enlightening from the band, the wonderful staticfilled sound of ‘Centipede Hz.’ suddenly makes infinitely more sense. Once you realise a Hertz is a unit measuring cycles per second, and is rife in the world of radio, the idea of “returning to a familiar place” again and again starts to take full shape too. This album isn’t really about getting nostalgic at all; this is Animal Collective trying to start their own brand of pirate music for the Internet age. As you would imagine, the guys have some big plans that they’re not quite ready to reveal. “We’re seeing what we can add on top of the restrictions,” grins Josh, ”we’re not just putting up a fortress, but seeing what we can do that’s creative and cool for people too.” We ask if this concept will have anything at all to do with the idea of radio, trying our luck. They remain commendably tightlipped but Noah still can’t resist spinning a yarn. “We do have plans to do something that is harmonious with the vibe of the album, just really fun.”

“We were focused on doing something really different.”


When quizzing Josh and Noah on whether ‘Centipede Hz.’ is intended as one solid listen there’s a slight disagreement, albeit a very amiable one. “We always conceive our albums as albums, wouldn’t you say?” Noah asks, directed more at his fellow band member, as he detects Josh shuffling around in his chair. “I think it’s a mixture of both actually. At the end it is just a collection of songs,” Josh responds. This prompts a rather incredulous “really?!” and some raised eyebrows. “It’s an experience, we talked about this!” After a short discussion the pair reach an agreement that “it’s important you listen from this song through to that song; it’s a [complete] album.” It’s a glimpse into the “appropriate friction” and hashing out of ideas the band say is so important for creating the “heavy intense energy” they were aiming for.

“We’ll see this album through until it feels like the right time to move onto the next thing, whatever that might be,” says a laidback Noah when asked what may come next. “We’re maybe not looking forward to being on the tour bus together,” he laughs, feigning a face of disgust, “but we’re looking forward to hanging out and playing shows, yeah.” “One of the cool things about this,” continues Josh, “is as we’ve gotten older, and we’re living in different places, and we’ve got our families and stuff is… as much as it’s really hard work and can sometimes make you sick, and be exhausting - we can still get together and hang out. That will always be totally positive. This is an amazing job and we love it.” Animal Collective’s new album ‘Centipede Hz.’ will be released on 3rd September via Domino.


interview grizzly bear



Grizzly Bear have a lot to live up to. following up the most popular record of their career, Daniel Rossen tells El Hunt about their plans, or lack of them.


he first thing you notice when talking to Daniel Rossen is that he speaks almost as melodically as his distinctive singing voice. Full of meandering syntax and peppered with twists and turns, Daniel talks exactly as he writes; instinctively. It’s easy to forget the man on the other end of the phone is the singer of Grizzly Bear: he might be one of the brightest, most original songwriters of our generation, but he also emits effortless warmth. Following the formidable ‘Veckatimest’, there’s a shadow of expectation looming over the band’s new full-length, ‘Shields’; Daniel sighs an “ahh” of mock despair when the subject comes up. “The experience of going through [‘Veckatimest’] was intense. We’ve been recording for a long time, writing, touring and working very hard, and that record did much better than we ever anticipated.” Grizzly Bear’s last album, three years ago, was a runaway success. A Mr Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead fame publicly named them as his favourite band; 33,000 copies of the record flew off the shelves within the first week of release. Just like that, they found themselves sitting

at the top of (almost) every end of year album roundup worth reading. “All of a sudden we were exposed,” continues Daniel. “It was very exciting but we did end up hitting a wall during touring where we felt like we had to step away and kind of live our lives again. Making another record right away felt too intense.” Having some time away, though, seems to have done the trick. “When it came to working together again, we’d all grown in different ways, there wasn’t that same kind of unspoken momentum and sense of pressure. I think that experience of stepping away and then coming back, I think it forms a lot of the tone of the record [‘Shields’], how it changed and how it shifted from [‘Veckatimest’].” This album, he adds, is all about combining ideas. “Before, someone might have come and said ‘right, this is the song, this is the stuff ’, but this ended up being a case of combining what everyone had to hand. It was challenging, but it’s really collaborative. I mean, me and Ed [Droste] were trying stuff we’d never done before.” “We started recording in Texas,” he continues. “That place was a little uncomfortable, we worked in

this place that used to be an army barracks. There was a certain aura; it felt like a strange place to be.” Grizzly Bear recorded an entire album’s worth of material there, before canning most of it in typically impulsive style. “A lot of it was either stuff that was too much me, or sounded too much like [fellow Grizzly Bear member] Chris Taylor or something. It was too polar in a way, working down there. “We like to go to places that will feel inspiring somehow, or even just chilled,” he continues. “After Texas we went back up to Cape Cod, working in the same place that we did a lot of ‘Veckatimest’, just because I guess it feels familiar to us, it feels good. We don’t really work these things out beforehand,” he guffaws. “We definitely never have a game-plan.”

“Being in Grizzly Bear doesn’t feel like work; it feels as if you’re not even thinking.”

While Grizzly Bear may not have had a structure in mind before recording ‘Shields’, they felt it was important that they didn’t just create ‘Veckatimest v2.’ “We specifically wanted to use fewer vocals for a start, and not style things as much,” Daniel says. “Y’know, lush cooing harmonies at every turn can be kind of nice, but we wanted something more obscure.”

With ‘Shields’ recorded and ready to go, the next task for Grizzly Bear is to translate their intricate, richly textured sound to the stage. “It’s the whole name of the game,” says Daniel coolly. “This one will be a bit of a challenge I think.” As we have perhaps come to expect, Grizzly Bear “don’t have a clue” what they will go on to next. “We’re just thinking about now, day by day,” Daniel explains. But whatever happens, I am firmly assured, they will regroup again. “I’m really grateful to know these guys, it’s cool. They’re good for me.” Grizzly Bear’s new album ‘Shields’ will be released on 17th September via Warp.


interview lucy rose

i L l expectations of Lucy Rose’s debut are SKY HIGH. Harriet Jennings sits down with the singer ahead of ‘Like I Used To’’s release.


ou know that dream where you wind up naked in front of a room of people? You do. You might be nodding and smiling in a mock understanding manner but mark our words, one day, you will know what we’re talking about. And on that day, you’ll know exactly the way Lucy Rose is feeling when we meet her back stage at Hyde Park. “Every lyric that I write has to mean something to me, otherwise there’s no point singing about it,” Rose shrugs as we sit in her dressing room, belting out words at a hundred miles an hour. “I started writing songs for myself as a release 50

o u for how I felt. Some people write a diary and some people talk to their friends about it. I don’t really do either of those things. I don’t really like talking about my emotions, funnily enough, so songwriting was my first way of making myself feel better and expressing myself. I never wanted anyone else to hear them, it was like writing a diary. It was only after my sister starting eavesdropping and hearing them that I was brave enough to play them to people.” Not quite the sentiment you might expect from someone who’s on the verge of releasing their debut album, stepping out from behind the backing singer role that initially brought her to most people’s attention, having lent her stunning vocals to Bombay Bicycle Club for a

smattering of appearances across the band’s most recent two albums. But then that’s Lucy Rose. She’s not quite what you might expect on first glance, and she’ll not thank you for your stereotyping either. “I think it’s very easy for people, for some reason, when they see girls to clump them all together and say we all sound the same. Whereas with boys, no one does that. No one goes, ‘oh, there’s a boy with a guitar there so he must sound like Bob Dylan and The Beatles and The Beach Boys because they all have guitars and sing’. That’s how I feel people look at girls. Because we’re a girl and we play an instrument, we sound like each other, which is ridiculous. Hopefully the more that female singersongwriters come out in the

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myself in debt and do it in a studio. It wasn’t really like we had much choice, but I absolutely loved every Strong minded and firm yet undeniably vulnerable, in person minute of it. It was the only Lucy Rose is every ounce her album, and as such, it’s easy to place in the world that I’d anticipate a bit of anxiety. “Whenever I play a new song, it’s want to record my album, difficult,” she admits. “This album, I’m putting all of myself and I feel very lucky and everything that I’ve felt for the past few years into that it worked it, and people are going to judge it. They’re either out and it going to like it, they’re not going to like it, or sounded they’re not going to think anything of it. right. It So of course I’m nervous. It’s like a child. wasn’t It’s like if your child goes to school and “I never wanted high people think it’s geeky but you love it just budget, the way it is and it’s part of you.” anyone else to it hear my songs. It wasn’t Like family photograph day, we imagine Lucy trying out different styles in order was like writing a to find just the right combination. Do we want everyone in this one? What about diary.” the dog? Naturally, the answer to both was a soundproof, resounding yes, with guest spots for both her there’s a lot of “tone deaf ” sister and their pet confirmed, but sound from outside seemingly she would’ve never wanted it any other way. on it. It wasn’t perfect but I   think that’s the reason that “The recording at my parents’ home was because I was I love it.” unsigned and had no money and I was self-funding an album.   I either did it at home or I got out a massive loan and put industry and the more successful they become, the less than will happen.”

With glowing reviews already appearing and an avid following thanks to a gargantuan list of live appearances, all that’s left for Lucy to do is think less ‘Like I Used To’ and more toward the future. Luckily, she’s been doing just that. “I’m thinking about my next album,” she confirms. “I still want to work with the same musicians if that’s ok and I’d love to work with Charlie [Hugall], the producer, again. I have definite ideas about what I want songs to be. I’m excited to experiment with different ideas. I don’t really want to give the game away about what I want or expect to do.” Lucy Rose’s debut album ‘Like I Used To’ will be released on 24th September via Columbia / Sony.


interview lemuria

Photos: Maryam Hassan


The Lost Band

Sarah Jamieson talks to the best band you’ve (probably) never heard of, lemuria.


t’s probably fair to suggest that you haven’t yet heard of Lemuria. Go on, Google them. We dare you. You still might not manage to unearth them. Instead you’ll be faced with endless image results of dated maps, and dictionary definitions for “the hypothetical ‘lost land’ variously located in the Indian and Pacific Oceans.” So, why you ask, should you even spare a second thought on this ‘lost band’? These days it’s almost impossible for any act to remain clear from overexposure, so somehow, it seems apt that Lemuria have managed to stay firm as punk rock’s best kept secret.   It’s not as if they are mere young pups, forming back in Brooklyn in the summer of 2004 and growing steadily ever since. Having started out when drummer Alex Kearns and guitarist Sheena Ozzella were in a different band together, they began to pen songs that would later contribute to Lemuria’s original EPs. However, it’s not been until recently that the co-vocalist duo settled with bassist Max Gregor – they’ve gone through three bassists previously – who originally stepped into the position after Kyle Paton was sent back home to Canada in mid-2010.   Those, though, are just the facts. What makes Lemuria so incredible is everything that lies in between the lines. Whether it’s their indefinable brand of punkmeets-indie rock, their poignant and somewhat melancholic lyrics or their perfect ability to juxtapose scuzzy, distortion-laden guitars with sweet and simplistic melodies. There’s something special at work.

“I think that it feels like we kinda fit with everything,” begins Gregor. “We try and do a little bit of everything. We’ve gotten along with bands like Screaming Females, but we’ve done tours with New Found Glory. All of those things have worked, and they’ve all been fun and they’ve all paid off in their own ways.” Which is true. As it so happens, the band are now signed to Bridge 9 Records; the label which put out New Found Glory’s 2010 EP ‘Tip Of The Iceberg’.   “The opportunities that Lemuria has gotten have all been embraced,” adds Gregor, who also mentions that he spent a good amount of time watching the band grow from an

external perspective, before he joined. “From the beginning, I feel like they came from a very eclectic mix of people and places. As Lemuria was developing as a band, you know, NFG was offering them tours, they were still playing The Fest and stuff. Those opportunities that arose from all over the place helped to really make it something that isn’t really classifiable.”

“We try and do a little bit of everything.”

However, there’s still the question of how the music itself has become so indefinable. The answer is simpler than you’d think, as Ozzella explains: “I think, originally, a big part of why we maybe didn’t sound like other bands is because Alex and I were just learning how to play our instruments. Alex had just started playing drums pretty recently and I had just started playing guitar. I was playing things that weren’t really notes! Or

they were, but I didn’t know that they were?! Alex would just wanna practice for so long playing drum beats that didn’t sound like things he had heard before. I think that’s part of why we sound the way we sound: because we learned to play our instruments together.” Unsurprisingly then, their DIY ethos has carried over into most aspects of their career. Having originally signed to Asian Man Records (an independent ska label which released their EPs ‘The First Collection’, as well as their debut fulllength ‘Get Better’) they’re now completely settled with Bridge 9, who more commonly cater to those of a more hardcore tendency. If you don’t believe us, just check their roster: Defeater, H2O, Verse and Agnostic Front are all apart of the family, which welcomed Lemuria’s more indie-pop elements with open arms early last year.   “That’s why we went with them,” explains Kearns, when we mention how positive a relationship it must be knowing they were signed simply because the label were fans. “Knowing that they genuinely weren’t just putting it out because we fit the criteria of the label, but because they wanted to do it.”   And it was through Bridge


9 that they released their latest album ‘Pebble’, in the early months of 2011. Having signed with the label, it was around that time that they were able to work with J. Robbins to produce their second full-length. “J is awesome because he “we’re is more of a DIY guy,” says Ozzella, before Gregor adds pressing something that really helps to forth with explain the sparse, laid bare nature of the record. “The full steam.” vibe with J is very minimalist, it’s a bare bones kinda recording style.”   Don’t be fooled, regardless of making home amongst the heavier side of the genre, these three are punk rock through and through. Naming the likes of Descendants and Rancid as some of their influences growing up, they’re a trio that seem to ooze cool, in all legitimate senses of the word. Heck, Sheena even works back home in Washington at a vegan bakery.   “We all kinda come from a similar punk rock background even though we didn’t grow up together,” says Gregor, who currently


resides in Austin, Texas. “I had a very similar process: my sister took me out to punk shows, I listened to the Descendents.” But then again, they also love a bit of Fleetwood Mac and The Kinks; another added piece to their musical puzzle. It seems as though the future’s bright for Lemuria, and, as the band get ready to head out of that Kindergarten stage, they’re more than ready for things to come.   “Now, I feel like we’re arriving at a place where we’ve gathered all of this knowledge - all these little things that we’ve learned and things that we’ve tried,” begins Gregor. “And what

we’re focusing on now is really taking everything that we’ve learned with that and pressing forth with full steam, to see if we can do something huge with it.” It looks like what once was lost has now been rightfully found. Lemuria’s second album ‘Pebble’ is out now via Bridge 9 Records.

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h o r s e s







new album out september 10 t h 12” / CD / Digital “a constantly thrilling experience” Q **** “bright, theatrical pop with a soulful edge” Guardian ALBUM LAUNCH SHOWS 22nd Sept - CARDIFF - Clwb Ifor Bach 25th Sept - LONDON - The Lexington


interview two door cinema club


e’re like penguins; really good at regurgitating,” comes the opening line from Two Door Cinema Club’s Kevin Baird as the trio cram themselves into a corner of London’s Lexington venue. “We’ll have really professional answers for you,” Alex Trimble, the group’s frontman laughs. We’ve caught them on one of their only days of UK press prior to the release of their new record, and while they’re all mega-watt smiles this and Burberry jackets that, we’re relieved to find that the threesome are pretty much just how we left them. There is one difference, though. This time, one of the band has the honour of an Olympics opening ceremony appearance under his belt. “It was such a huge number [of people watching] that it didn’t even make sense to me,” Trimble shrugs, as if we’re talking about going on the tannoy down your local Tesco. If it was 100,000 people, that’s a number that I can have in my head, that I can visualise. Over a billion is not something that I can even contemplate. It’s not something I can even register in my head, so weirdly there were no nerves. It was fine, very relaxed.” Handy though, we point out, that the powers that be went and scheduled this London 2012 business right before Two Door are set to release their second album, ‘Beacon’. “Yeah, that was a blessing,” agrees guitarist Sam Halliday. “It definitely feels like we’re in a really good place at the moment,” bassist Kevin grins. “We’ve just put out a new single, it’s gone to radio and people are actually playing it. And not just in the UK but in America too.” “Yeah, and we’ve not had to release it six times just for radio...” Sam quips, interrupting. “We’ve done that before. Everything feels really strong. We’ve talked to lots of people and anyone that’s heard the record seems to love it and it’s really exciting. And obviously, the Olympics was a massive boost for the band. So we’re just knocking around now until [the album’s released on] 3rd September.” “We always talk about bands in terms of the football leagues.” Sam trails before asserting, “It feels very much like we’re in the play offs for promotion to the premiership.” That seems to be a pretty solid assessment of where they stand. With the release of their new full length just around the corner, the Northern Irish band are in good spirits, and quite rightly so. Their constant touring and highly anticipated second album is just about ready to propel our protagonists to a different plane entirely. “We’re never really not on tour,” Kevin laughs when we put it to them.


“That’s the way our world works.” Alex explains. “I think that’s one of the most sensible ways to deal with the music industry these days. And it’s not something we complain about but it is necessary to be on the road more often than you would’ve been maybe ten years ago.” “It’s the source of our presence now, and our success.” “It’s not as easy to put an advert on TV and sell several million records any more.” Alex continues. “You’ve really got to work for it and maintain a connection with fans; constantly reach out to new people, develop a fanbase and a strong base of supporters. Whereas you didn’t need to work as hard at that previously, I don’t think. So it’s what we do, it’s what is most important to our career - to our longevity.”

“Major label money can’t buy memories.”

But it’s precisely this touring and reaching out that has scored Two Door Cinema Club a spot right at the forefront of so many people’s minds. If you have to pick between being a studio band or a touring band these days, there’s no prizes for guessing which one this particular

partnership would be. “It’s because we just want to play everywhere,” Sam pipes up. “It would be easy if we just wanted to be a UK band and we did two months touring a year, but whenever you get offers in it’s hard to say no. And also, being from where we are and missing out on a lot of touring bands, it’s so important to us to try to get everywhere.” “It’s a constant conflict within ourselves,” chimes in Alex. “On one hand we’ll be on the phone to someone complaining that we haven’t had a day off in so long and with the other, we’ll be writing an email to someone else saying, ‘why haven’t we been here yet?’ It’s difficult to find a balance.” “A really good thing about our band is that I reckon a really high percentage of people that who say we’re in their top five or top ten favourite bands will have seen us play live before. When you look at someone like Muse or Lady Gaga, I don’t know how many people would list them amongst their favourite bands and would’ve never seen them play. It’s kind of crazy.” Taking influence from their touring family, ‘Beacon’ sees the band attempting to work in some more experimental flavours as well as wracking up a whole list of inspirations: The Beatles, for one. “It’s definitely harder to be experimental now,” Sam begins. “It can let the music down if you take it too far.” Alex affirms. “The thing with The Beatles was that they were pioneers and no one had ever done that stuff before. They were a rock band and then


photos: emma swann

Two Door Cinema Club have gone from plucky underdogs to the brink of the big leagues. they tell Harriet Jennings all about their push for promotion.



they played with an orchestra and they played with a string section and they got other musicians in, and they would write songs using other ethnic instruments. And it worked, so now there’s these staples that bands can go to. If you try and pioneer something these days, it’s very rarely going to be something that works because people have worked out what works and it’s been done before. You have to just take the bits that you love about every one else’s unique-ness and combine that to create something unique of your own. It is hard to come up with something entirely original in pop music. I’m sure it exists but it’s entirely elusive these days.” With their new look, their more developed sound and their ever expanding live shows, you might think that Two Door would be wanting to retain an air of artistic mystery. But one quick glance at their Facebook page will soon rid you of any such notions. “It’s so crazy now that we were in a band when Facebook was starting out, and Twitter as well, and they were our first steps into it,” Kevin smiles. “It was something fun, you know. It was just us f**king around. And then you start to realise more and more how instrumental it’s become; something like Facebook, which was all just like, ‘I’m having this for dinner’. Now there’s so much traffic and just so much going on, it’s gone the other way. Not so much Twitter but Facebook in that you actually have to almost step back a bit and if you say something, it has to be important. It’s strange that something that just says in a box ‘What’s On Your Mind?’ has become so instrumental in creating a buzz. I think it’s scary now that people are trying to control it more in terms of labels and things like that. It’s “If you try all just taken away from what and pioneer it was originally, which was just telling people what you were something thinking. Now it’s advertising. these days, And when you’re advertising, you have to do it right.” it’s very

rarely going to be something that works.”

Despite how instrumental social networking has been to the band’s success, the band are more than a little wary of what it can mean for the music. “We love going to concerts where you like a band and you’d know the songs but then they’d play a new song and you’d just be blown away and then you’d be like, ‘Oh, I can’t remember it, I can’t remember anything about it!’ but it just hits you for three minutes,” Sam begins. “Then there’s that moment several months later when that band’s new album comes out,” interrupts Alex. “And even though that song hasn’t been in your head, you put that record on and all of a sudden, that song comes on. And just this flood of memories comes back and you feel that connection. It’s just the most amazing thing. It’s sad that that doesn’t really exist anymore with YouTube and the internet in general. I remember when I started buying records, it was so exciting. I would wait

for months and months and months for my favourite bands’ records to come out and I would save up, and they meant so much to me. They were so special and so important. And these days, music doesn’t mean as much and I don’t think it has the same impact on people and

“It feels like we’re in the play offs for promotion to the premiership.”

it’s a lot more throwaway and people can be a lot more fickle. The internet has done so much to help new music but when it’s abused, it can do so much to destroy good music.” “It’s a really weird thing for us at the moment as well because we’re obviously playing new songs and we’re really excited about them and we’re going, ‘Oh, we want to play you this new song’ and then everyone just stands there.” Kevin continues. “They’re not watching us. They’re not even listening. They’re making sure they’ve got their framing right and everyone’s in the shot. I mean that’s fine but you want people to go, ‘Just listen to this and enjoy yourselves.’ This is maybe one of four concerts you’re going to see this whole year and this is the first time you’re hearing this song and you like our

band, you’ve spent your hardearned money to come and see this.” “At concerts, you have professional photographers. Sometimes you have professional film makers. Someone is capturing it for you, and if you really want, you can go and see those pictures taken by professional photographers. You can relive that memory through someone else who has done the job for you. Whereas like Kev said, you’re there and you’re experiencing it through a phone. And, on one side, you weren’t really there for the moment because you were concentrating on something else: capturing something that you didn’t really experience. And then what do you really end up with? You end up with a blurry photo or a fuzzy video that sounds terrible. “To me, I don’t understand it. It’s not something that I would ever do at a show. I love to have my camera with me for certain moments and capture them and just be outside the moment but I just think living behind something like your phone can ruin your memory and can ruin very important experiences in your life.” For fans of the band, it won’t be long before those stolen snatches of songs of YouTube evolve into promotional clips proper with the campaign for ‘Beacon’ about to kick off. Only time will tell whether they’ll be relegated to the bargain bin but if we were the betting types, we’d chance our arm that Two Door Cinema Club are set to qualify for a league of their own. Two Door Cinema Club’s new album ‘Beacon’ will be released on 3rd September via Kitsune.


reviews backstory

KCAB s to ry



loc Party set the speculators amok when news of an indefinite hiatus began to filter through the rumourmill. Defining their previous album, ‘Intimacy’, as the last of a “trio” before calling time on the heady early years of their career, the band got re-acquainted with each other last winter and it would appear, took to the studio with ease. ‘Four’ is the group’s most straightforward album yet, with not a single indie rock cliché in sight. Guitarist Russell Lissack speaks to Jamie Milton about giving the new record a behindthe-scenes feel, as well as revealing a little about Bloc Party’s years outside the spotlight. The album feels like you’re honing in on a much more back to basics approach. There’s less of a reliance on synths or loop patterns. I assume it’s been much easier applying these songs live? Definitely. There’s been almost no transition because our producer Alex Newport was really keen for us to spend a week rehearsing before we came into the studio. By the time we’d finished


with that, we knew the songs off by heart. When it came to rehearsing for the actual shows, it was pretty easy. It was almost harder re-learning all the old songs again. So when you were recording did it all come naturally, going down this back to basics, intimate, in the studio route? It was something that we planned to have this time round. It was a conscious decision by the four of us. We all talked about it, before we even started writing the songs. We met up last Christmas, and began talking about making another record. We said that we wanted to do

something different, something that showed that it was just the four of us making the music together. It was something we all agreed upon. Was it really the case that you decided there and then that you’d make another record? You didn’t feel under any pressure to make something after so much time apart? No, not at all. You know, everyone amongst us four felt differently about when we wanted to make music, when we felt ready to do things together again. But there was never any outside pressure. We were out of contract with

our record label [Wichita] at the time so it was up to us with regards to if and when we wanted to make music again. And then when we did start doing it, no-one really knew what we were up to. How’s the experience been with having such a hands-on approach to this album? It was nice, we’re at our best when it’s just the four of us doing things together. We wanted to be particularly involved this time around with doing videos and promos and artwork and all those other aspects of making an album. Anything that we can do ourselves we’ve been at least attempting to do. It seems to work so much better than way. We’re all finally getting into Facebook and Twitter: it’s become such a big part of music now. Gordon did the artwork for the album. We’ve been doing so much stuff it’s been hard to keep track of it all. I think people appreciate it more when things come directly from the band.   When you were writing the record, all four of you worked together and expressed ideas at the same time. How did this affect the whole songwriting process? When we decided we were going to make another record, there was a few months where we all had to finish other commitments. I had loads of ideas, made a little compilation for everyone to listen to. And Kele was sending me ideas and songs that he enjoyed. It was nothing too concrete. And then when we actually got together, everything was always a four-way process. We were generally on the same page for most things. I can’t remember any strong disagreements that we had during this process. I guess, there were 10 or so songs that remained as demos. Everyone has their own favourites, songs that they might have wanted to record. But overall I think at the time of making the record, we were in such a good place that everything was dealt with very amicably. Everyone was happy to give their opinions.   Was there any one song in particular that felt like it just clicked into place as soon as you began to record it? I can think of songs that didn’t click into place! Some songs required a lot of work, and for me those are the ones which stay with you more. There’s a song called ‘V.A.L.I.S’ which was the very last song we recorded. We scrapped it so many times and then on the very last day, Kele and I went back in together. I changed all the guitars and he sang over it and it was a completely different song. It’s nice that we managed to make something of that one, because it always seems like some tracks are left unfinished, despite having so much potential.   Producer Alex Newport recorded you in between takes, discussing songs, emotions, etc. and then these were all used as part of the actual record. Does that tie in with the idea of creating something a little more candid and intimate? Definitely - there were so many records which I’d listened to when I was younger. Not so many acts do it these days. It was unintentional; Alex left the mic on and it was only after we were listening to stuff afterwards, when we heard all these things, that we decided that it’d add to the atmosphere to the record. We thought it would be a nice thing to include.   Bloc Party’s new album ‘Four’ is out now via Frenchkiss Records.

8 Bloc Party Four

“It’s good, but it’s no ‘Silent Alarm’.” That’s one statement anyone with an internet connection and even a passing interest in Bloc Party will have read more than once. A debut album that marked the quartet out as both brilliant and most likely smarter than their peers, in retrospect it’s easily one of the standout records of its era. Since its release, it’s gone on to become almost mythical. No longer do you hear complaints about leaving off early single ‘Little Thoughts’ (though now you mention it… - Ed) - by wide regard, it’s almost perfect. ‘Four’ is better. Or at the very least as good. Brave words maybe, but the reunited Bloc Party have clearly come to some pretty definitive conclusions. While much of their last record ‘Intimacy’, and frontman Kele Okereke’s solo work, may have had fans predicting something with more electronic overtones, ‘Four’ is exactly the opposite. Returning to the overtly angular guitar pop of their earlier work, and grafting on some almighty riffs, this is one album that isn’t messing around. It’s a mood best summed up by ‘Kettling’. With an obvious nod to last summer’s riots, it’s the Godzilla of a guitar part that announces Bloc Party’s second coming. Shifting from ground shaking to wailing solo, it’s both a size twelve Doc Martin boot in the face of complacency and a nod towards the influence of producer Alex Newport. Previously working with bassist Gordon Moakes on Young Legionnaire, and with credits including At The Drive-In, there are few better to bring the noise. Not that it’s all about the rock. The screaming climax of ‘Coliseum’ gives way to the pop hooks of ‘V.A.L.I.S.’, with backing vocals so catchy they’re almost certain to come with a warning. There’s ‘Day Four’, a track that comes as close to hitting the heights of ‘So Here We Are’ as you’re likely to find, and the mind-bendingly brilliant ‘Truth’ - mixing the best of both worlds with a lyric that more than matches its billing. The class of 2005 are a much maligned bunch, but then Bloc Party never really fit in with the crowd. When the world turns right, you can be sure they’ll go left - and so as a million broadsheet editorials decree the death of guitar music, this lot embrace it like a long lost friend. The tide is turning. Embrace your new leaders; Bloc Party are back. (Stephen Ackroyd) 61

reviews albums



Cat Power Sun

It seems there’s always an absorbing back-story with Chan Marshall. ‘Sun’ has been three years in the making, yet was finished only after she split with boyfriend Giovanni Ribisi, cut off her hair and flew to France. That relationship looms over the record but it’s also defiantly hopeful, right from the first line of ‘Cherokee’, “I never knew love like this.” There’s also room for experimentation. The Latino-tipped fir ‘Ruin’ shows a new electronic direction while ‘Manhattan’ proves all you need to make magic is a drum machine and a piano. Yet the record is still defined by her smoky vocals. It’s ‘Nothin But Time’ – a celebratory 10 minutes of sparkling piano and Marshall singing “You wanna live’”– which shines the brightest. It’s life affirming in every way. (Danny Wright)


6 Alberta Cross

Songs Of Patience

Though it definitely suffered from having all the edges polished off, Alberta Cross’ debut ‘Broken Side Of Time’ was nevertheless a decent mainstream indie record. On this second effort they’ve sanded even further down, leaving a set of tracks driven by the same swung, tambourineand-shaker ornamented beats, the same acoustic guitar, the same vocal harmonies and the same frustratingly vague chorus lines. For all that, ‘Songs Of Patience’ is actually not bad as long as you know what to expect. ‘Ophelia On My Mind’ tramps away with all the earnestness of a Smashing Pumpkins acoustic single, if little of the heart, while opener ‘Magnolia’ echoes Genesis’ 80s single ‘No Son Of Mine’. It’s so well constructed as pop the only thing you can really say is that there’s not much diversity, and anyone fond of their earlier, rockier material will tune out quickly. (Alex Lynham)

You might, at a stretch, remember Joe Lean & the Jing Jang Jong. Back in 2007, the London band attracted quite the press frenzy, but after endless dawdling and faffing about, they failed to deliver the goods. Every cloud has a silver lining, though. Three of Mr Lean’s ex-band members decided to piss off and make a go of the music thing by themselves. Unsurprisingly then, TOY have an air of familiarity about them, although more akin to recognising old, well-loved friends along the way rather than the dreaded drone of repetitivity. Their self-titled debut, ‘TOY’ is full of drone, still, but the good sort; stoned, drawn out, ambling grooves that operate to full capacity – impressive when they’re housed within songs that clock in, on the most part, at just over the 4 minute mark. First single ‘Motoring’ is a pounding, pyrotechnic post-punk outburst; ‘Dead & Gone’ is another all out success in the tradition of ‘Teenage Riot’ with an instantly memorable tune. This complex concoction of psychedelia would be difficult to swallow if it felt like an evil scheming industry type had just swiped up everything remotely alternative from HMV and chucked it down a giant metal chute labeled ‘Next Buzzband’. But thankfully TOY seem as if they genuinely live and breathe komische post-punk. What ‘TOY’ lacks in originality, it more than makes up for with an incredibly rich dot-to-dot of psychedelia laced musical education, and this album is, to coin an awful new musical genre, Nu-new-wave at its very best. (El Hunt) 62

6 Dinosaur Jr I Bet On Sky

Oh, Dinosaur Jr; Uh, Dinosaur Jr. They were the two ways I was going to start this review. The former to demonstrate the magic this band can create, the latter to purvey the self-anointed disappointment of ‘I Bet On Sky’. Now, it should be clarified that this album isn’t bad. But with a band as prolific and influential as this, the bar will always be high. There are two sides here. One stock, the other more adventurous. Both have their moments – of good and bad. The album, unsurprisingly, is a cohesive work and doesn’t sound as clunky as it should. But, maybe that’s to ‘I Bet On Sky’s’ detriment. It goes through the motions, with ups and downs and a few flirtations sideways. Unfortunately for J Mascis, the album seems tailor-made for the background. Sitting through this without the aid of your Facebook feed is a tough ask. But for a weeknight soundtrack to social media browsing, it’s certainly worthy. (Kyle Forward)


Gallows Gallows

Right now, all eyes are on Gallows, following the highly publicised departure of their previous frontman Frank Carter. And rightly so, for it was with their first two albums that an injection of adrenaline was thrust back into the heart of UK punk and hardcore. Carter was heralded as the modern son of aggressive music, and then, almost as soon as he arrived, he was gone. But it’s with their self-titled album that Gallows have emerged from the ashes to prove, finally, that there is more than enough life left within this band. In fact, there are moments in their third album that sound like a band more ferocious than ever. The guitars are angular and precise, the drums are pummelling, and Wade MacNeil’s vocals are harsh and impassioned, adding a more solid dynamic to their sound. Making a triumphant return to the cleverly constructed structures of their remarkable debut ‘Orchestra Of Wolves’, their music feels, above all, exciting again. Most of all though, this is Gallows. Gallows at their harshest, their angriest and their most thrilling and it turns out that no change in frontman can stop that. (Sarah Jamieson)


Jens Lekman I Know What Love Isn’t

Oh good, another break up album. But wait, this is Jens, one of our favourite Swedes, and if he needs his broken heart indulging, who are we to say no? Admittedly, he’s sticking to a tried and tested indie-pop format for a large part; upbeat guitars and keys playing against downbeat lyrics, but if it ain’t broke etc. Bookended by the simply gorgeous ‘Every Little Hair Knows Your Name’, ‘I Want A Pair Of Cowboy Boots’ is mournfully exquisite, and both ‘Erika America’ and ‘Dandruff On Your Shoulder’ shimmer with 70’s psyche-pop. Provided you’re not scared of a good sax solo, and if early Belle & Sebastian or Gruff Rhys’ solo output is your thing, you’d do well to hunt this down. (Simone Scott Warren)

Danny Wright gives Jens Lekman a call to find out more about his new record. On his back catalogue:

“This feels like my debut album. I feel like the last three records that I’ve put out are just loose collections of recordings.”

On the gap between albums:

“It took a really long time to figure out where the album was going so that’s why it’s been 5 years since the last one.”

On topics covered:

“I was worried it was too personal for a while and I felt like I was handing out my diary; I thought, who would be interested in this?”

On influences:

“I love a lot of stand-up comedy, like Maria Bamford. I love Stewart Lee as well. I feel like I’ve been inspired by that type of storytelling.”

Read the full interview at


reviews albums


Yeasayer Fragrant World

It is reasonable to worry every now and again that music, like history, will repeat itself and given a few years all we’ll be left with is miserable duplicates of tired chord formulas. And it may well happen. But, for now, you can sleep safe in the knowledge Yeasayer exist. Rarely does a band leave genres on the cutting room floor quite so blatantly and yet emerge with such consistently excellent music. The New York five piece must have been feeling the pressure after the success they reaped with their second album, ‘Odd Blood’, two years ago, but it doesn’t show. If anything, they have thrown yet more caution to the wind and attempted to push each song on the album beyond the ordinary with at least 17 different layers. They succeed in avoiding a clumsy cacophony of noise. Not shy of instrumentals, Yeasayer’s drums and breakdowns are insane and plentiful – their use of synth licks will have you gurning. Every kick, clap, shake and synth fits perfectly while vocalist Chris Keating once again blends infectious melody with obscene pitch. We’re left with a futuristic disco-car crashing full pelt into a haunted house. And it sounds good. The album oozes confidence flipping between the weird and wonderful with occasional flashes of decadence. Do not mistake the complexity of Yeasayer’s work for indulgent musical masturbation as this sound could not be created if they weren’t allowed to run riot in the studio. Between sombre tones and ecstasy highs, ‘Fragrant World’ will leave you with a grin on your face and a confidence music will keep going. But, with these guys leading the way, God knows where. (Hugh Morris)


Sic Alps

San Francisco’s Sic Alps’ fifth album is a unashamed paean to the golden era of Bay Area psychedelia and sixties garage rock. At their best, the band resemble a relatively sane Syd Barrett fronting Guided By Voices. The tinny production however results in songs like ‘Lazee Son’ seeming like half-composed outtakes, recorded in a matchbox. But, lo-fi and behold, there are some gems to be discovered amid the rough: ‘Moviehead’ and ‘God Bless Her, I Miss Her’ dispense with the sonic distress and promulgate a more consistent straight-up homage to the ‘Revolver’ and ‘Village Green’ era of power pop, while ‘Polka Vat’ is the most lavish song on offer here, the piano and swathes of guitar fully formulating out what could have been another fragment. ‘Sic Alps’ is an often fine, often frustrating listen which only succeeds when some flesh is applied to those skinny Californian bones. (Aurora Mitchell)



James Yorkston

Noisettes Contact

There is only one approach that seems fully appropriate for listening to anything by Noisettes. First you must get in your car, and then fully commit to pretending it’s a bright green Mazda. Next, pootle round the streets shout-whispering “Zoom zoom” at randomly spaced intervals, and blare your chosen music at full volume. True to my word, I conducted myself in this manner to review The Noisettes’ third album, ‘Contact’ - entirely for intellectual reasons, I might add. Whizzing round annoying passers-by with blasting pop music turned into an entirely pleasant afternoon. Returning to the land of Being Sensible now, it’s quite clear that Noisettes - this new album being no exception - make very fun music. Unfortunately, ‘Contact’ feels slightly out of touch with the rich catalogue of music that Noisettes obviously love, and the depth they are so clearly capable of. It’s packed with untapped potential. (El Hunt)



The Sea & Cake Runner

The Sea & Cake have become a byword for softly spoken, almost hushed, pop experimentation throughout their twenty year career, arguably most eloquently heralded by their 1994 eponymous debut. Gradually streamlining their sound in the meantime, the band evinced on ‘Runner’, their ninth album, revel in their position as aural comfort food. Whereas the band’s previous albums worked notably well as standalone long-players rather than individual tracks, for the new release, mainman Sam Prekop has sacrificed their flow ethic to create ten slick, precise and controlled slices of adult-orientated pop. The Sea & Cake could have been in danger of becoming an indie-band-by-numbers, but ‘Runner’ is performed with all the vigour and aplomb of fresh-faced youngsters and executed with the deftness of touch of grizzled old hands. (Colm McAuliffe)

Sic Alps

I Was A Cat From A Book

Not only is ‘I Was A Cat From A Book’ a continuation of James Yorkston’s consistently lovely sounding chamber folk-styled work, it also sees the Fence Collective member modernize his sound. It’s in these moments that the album is at its musical peak. At times it is with some subtle and carefully placed electronica, as seen on the delicate lullaby, ‘Kath With Rhodes’. At other times, Yorkston explores a darker, almost freak-folk territory, like on the absolutely sublime ‘This Line Says’. Sounding similar to Devendra Banhart on this track, his mournful croak is accompanied only by a solemn guitar line (which sounds like it could have come out of Chilean nuevo cancion movement of the 60s) and crying violins, which gradually pull themselves into the forefront, before evaporating into a sea of minor-key soaked baroque ether. It really is stunning. (Kosta Lucas)

Race Horses’ Meilyr Jones tells Carolina Faruolo about his band’s new record. What are the main differences between the new record and your debut? ‘Goodybye Falkenburg’ was a collage, a mish-mash. This is direct, words and music, no vagueness, as real as it was

possible for us to make it. The concept behind ‘Furniture’ was gaining inspiration from unfulfilling relationships? I think the tragedy of domestic life, how it traps and stifles. I empathise with that. Music to transcend boredom, optimism out of pain.

to develop pure pop but without the naivety. I’m glad you said ‘pure pop without naivety’. Sometimes when there’s enthusiasm or brightness in music, people think it’s naivety. I like The Cure.

I glimpsed some shades of The Cure on one of the new tracks ‘Mates’, and like them you managed



Animal Collective Centipede Hz

Cast your mind back to the good old days of secondary school physics lessons. That musty old lab with its rickety shelves, stuffed with jars of chemicals with iodine stained labels. The faded periodic table with curling corners pinned onto the wall. That little battered machine called an oscilloscope that showed bright little green waves on a circular screen as your decrepit lab teacher twiddled various dials and wittered on about something called a Hz. You might have been one of these indignant young children who always shouted out in class “When will I ever need to know something as boring as that?!” You might also, in your ripe old skeptical age, be asking “What the devil does science have to do with a review of the new Animal Collective album?!” Hopefully things will start to make sense henceforth. Without wishing to delve any further into mathematics lest everybody reading this is rendered comatose, a Hertz is pretty neat. It’s constantly modulating, and acoustically unlike any other sound. It can be compressed, distorted, and stretched yet it always makes perfect, cyclic sense. It does, incidentally, look a bit like a Centipede on-screen, too. If useful for nothing else then, the Hertz is a stonkingly accurate metaphor for ‘Centipede Hz.’; an album of rich, jarring sounds and quickly shifting arrangements that still seem to take on the form of something whole and circular, in that tricky-to-define Animal Collective way that makes everything they do so exciting. Animal Collective might not go on to split the atom (that might just be asking too much), but they do seem, yet again, to have invented an exciting new formula. (El Hunt)

Race Horses Furniture

People who, like a disgruntled middle-aged man, were disillusioned with the theatrical, pretentious pomposity from the recently revived Dexy’s (nee Midnight Runners) - perhaps preferring when they did proper knees-up songs: Race Horses are the new band for you. With a similar sympathetic ear for music hall song structures and Cockney boozer piano, filtered into a modern pop shape, Race Horses even have the Dexy’s feel of a gang - something you don’t get from bands much in the tenties (or wherever we are now) - the best song on the album is even called ‘Mates’ (it’s a break-up song but shush). That said, despite the Cockney feel, you couldn’t get a more Welsh band than Race Horses, with names like Meilyr, Dylan, Dan, Mali and Gwion. ‘Furniture’ is the fivesome’s second album and whereas their debut, ‘Goodbye Falkenburg’, had a whiff of countrymen Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci now, well, it’s a little more ‘Come On Eileen’. For a band whose last record was - urk - a concept album, Race Horses seem adept at erring on the ride side of pomposity. Whenever a lyric leans towards cheese (toastie) - such as penitent “I wanted to crawl / I kneel down to cry / I pick myself up / Take a look at the sky” on ‘Nobody’s Son’ - they undercut it with music that is almost kitchen sink-anthemic; lo-fi synths and effects float around the garagey racket of the main setup. The instrumental interlude of ‘World 6’ does slow things down a little just as some real momentum is building, but it’s not enough to take the sheen off the likes the shy disco of ‘Bad Blood’, or the Grizzly Bear-esque piano ballad that closes the record, ‘Old And New’. Backing these stallions is a very safe bet. (Tom Baker)


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>>>> up >>>>


Lower Than Atlantis Changing Tune The Killers Battle Born Band Of Horses Mirage Rock Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti Mature Themes Yeasayer Fragrant World


Green Day Uno Mumford & Sons Babel No Doubt Push & Shove

01/10 08/10



Breakup Song If albums were judged on song titles alone, ‘Breakup Song’ is an instant classic. Luckily for the San Franciscovia-Tokyo four-piece, this happens to be the case. In fact, ‘Breakup Song’ is the definitive Deerhoof album thus far, a joyful celebration of demented noise-pop. The band’s eleventh album in fifteen years comes after an eighteen month gap since the band successfully defeated the netherworld on 2011’s ‘Deerhoof vs Evil’. Described by drummer / producer Greg Saunier as “Cuban-flavoured party noise-energy music,” ‘Breakup Song’ manages to hone and control their more outré moments into a more cohesive structure without every compromising the band’s predilection for sheer bonkers-ness. The near-title track ‘Breakup Songs’ skitters and judders with shifting time signatures, warped brass sections and skull-shattering drums, drenched in distortion and Satomi Matsuzaki’s multi-tracked vocals. ‘Bad Kids To The Front’ intricately layers cascading melodies and off-kilter sounds into a rippling pool of giddy synth joy. For a band often described as simply ‘noise’, Deerhoof have admirably been able to carry off their avant-garde excursions with a sense of glee and mischief absent from their more po-faced contemporaries. The skewed appeal of Deerhoof has never sounded more alluring. (Colm McAuliffe)

Muse: 2nd Law The Soft Pack: Strapped

Dog Is Dead: All Our Favourite Stories Ellie Goulding: Halcyon Tame Impala: Lonerism Nine Black Alps: Sirens Tall Ships: Everything Touching All Time Low: Don’t Panic

15/10 Bat For Lashes: Haunted Man Halls: Ark


we are the physics: your friend, the atom 66

7 Amanda Palmer Theatre Is Evil

There’s been much anticipation surrounding Amanda Palmer’s post-major label debut. Between a newfound sense of freedom and confidence musically and her Kickstarter project raising the highest amount in the company’s history, it seems that ‘Theatre Is Evil’ was always set to be something bigger and better than her previous work. Fearless in her new project, Amanda has created a grander production than ever before, allowing herself to teeter on the poppier-edges that she’d previously avoided. ‘Theatre Is Evil’ is quintessentially Amanda Palmer, from the classic theatrics to the rock ‘n’ roll attitude her vocals possess; it’s just bigger, better and a real production. For those familiar with Amanda’s work, this will be a welcome addition to her discography. For those unfamiliar, if you like a theatrical sound with a dose of anarchy, quirk and unpredictability, this record comes highly recommended. (Heather McDaid)


Lucy Rose Like I Used To

There are a million and one plays on Lucy Rose’s surname that could be used by a lazy reviewer. Unfortunately, making them actually work is somewhat of a challenge - far more so than an appreciation of the songsmith’s debut album. A home recorded effort, it lacks nothing in quality despite its humble beginnings. A lesson in, above all, some more than half decent material, the Bombay Bicycle Club collaborator steps out on her own with a subtle swagger. A cut above her contemporaries, there’s far less contrived about Rose. ‘Red Face’ brings a bewitching chorus out of nowhere, ‘Lines’ is the radio friendly single that, in context, doesn’t feel remotely out of place, while ‘Night Bus’ contains not even a whiff of fried chicken. Roses are red, this album is great, if pushed for a score we’d give it an eight. Sorry. (Ben Marsden)


8 Cate Le Bon

CYRK II Following on from the much-lauded ‘CYRK’ comes the imaginatively titled ‘CYRK II’, comprised of five songs from the same recording sessions that collectively act as an older, wiser sibling. There isn’t much of a departure from the sound of Cate Le Bon’s last album; after all, her vocals, which are such a large part of her appeal, are still there, as are her lyrics. But then, here her lyrics are notably more introspective, more considered. In a music scene flooded with singer-songwriter types, Cate Le Bon is incomparable, her vocals and style utterly her own. The only downside to ‘CYRK II’ is its brevity; at less than half an hour long, it’s over too soon. But maybe that’s a good thing. It serves as a kind of light dessert drink to enjoy sipping on after the feast that was ‘CYRK’. (Coral Williamson)


Biffy Clyro Stingin’ Belle

When’s the last time you heard a song, and thought what it really needed was a good old puff on the bagpipes? Never? Don’t tell Biffy Clyro. The use of national stereotypes is only the second best thing about comeback track ‘Stingin’ Belle’ (the first, if you’re wondering, is the lyric “You think you’re cool, like a porcupine”). Elsewhere it’s a case of if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Packing a huge chorus, tailor made for singing back while sat on some poor sap’s shoulders; this isn’t the return to the early, more acerbic Biffy that some may have yearned for, but rather an expansion on their new stadium straddling status. (Ben Marsden)

Crystal Castles Plague

It feels like a really long time since ‘Crystal Castles (II)’, but the explosive noise pop duo have finally unleashed new material on the world, with ‘Plague’. Although there was no shortage of dark moments on their previous album, this track takes the duo’s darkness to a whole new level. It sounds quite sad too; there’s absolutely no reprieve or glimmer of hope. It’s a show of defiance in a completely futile situation. ‘Plague’ feels different to their previous efforts, as by their own standards, it’s much more of a slow burner. This isn’t to suggest they’ve deviated from their practise of lambasting you with razor-sharp electronica, but this really paces itself to frightening effect. And like all their work, it’s a sensory overload that’s absolutely mesmerising. With ‘Plague’, Crystal Castles have both kept their signature sound and evolved in to a much darker beast. Who’d have thought it possible? (Kosta Lucas)

Peace California Daze

Aiden Grimshaw Misty Eye

Somebody has clearly been doing their research, because ‘Misty Eye’ is made up of on the pulse pop music. Lite radio-friendly takes on drum n’ bass are clear on catchy ‘dance’ hits like ‘Is This Love’, and someone was obviously listening to Miike Snow’s recent album when they dreamt up the piano riff to ‘This Island’. There are some heartfelt ballads to lasso the tweenage hearts of the nation, as we’d expect. Then there’s the all important rap guest spot featuring Smiler on ‘What We Gunna Be’. If everything was utterly boring and coma inducing, this formulaic approach would be very angering. However, it works. There’s also no denying that Aiden Grimshaw’s is an album of snappy, quickly gratifying pop hits; but once you get past that you begin to see that it’s not really that bad; the boy dun’ good. Is This Love? Not quite, but let’s at least give old Grimmy a break. (El Hunt)

A sweet, refreshing slice of British band history or just another sour taste of nothingness? That’s the Watermelon-pun-based question on the edge of many a punter’s lips when whisperings about Peace begin to gain momentum. They’re a band, signed to a major label on a big bucks deal where sales most definitely matter; but Peace more than justify the funds - and their label’s faith in guitar music, let’s face it - on ‘California Daze’, hinting, the slightest of hints, that the tides may be turning. Whereas previous singles ‘Follow Baby’ and ‘Bblood’ whet the appetites of tastemakers and local Brummy loyalists alike, the latest single has an indisputable universal appeal. Comparisons to the Arctic Monkeys’ ‘A Certain Romance’ sprang up within seconds of the song’s emergence; that stripped-down, classic style of songwriting. Doe-eyed and painless, it’s the total antithesis of ‘Follow Baby’’s rambunctiousness, inyour-face quality. Sing-alongs are guaranteed to accompany the lines “She tastes like sunlight” and “Forget and forgive, there’s a place you can live” - it’s just a case of how big a crowd the band will be performing the song to in years to come. We’ll get off that fence of ours by suggesting it’ll be in the tens of thousands. ( Jamie Milton)

Wavves Hippies Is Punks

Surf punk is slowly becoming my new favourite genre in the alt. scene. It’s got riffs, it’s got hooks, and the bands and artists who play it are totally my kind of people. There was a bit of a rocky start for Wavves, they were doing amazingly well; then frontman Nathan perhaps had a bit too much of a good time on tour one summer, and we nearly lost them. Here’s to looking forward to the next 12 months and what Wavves will throw at us this time. (Elise Cobain) 67


albums from the last 3 months Alt-J An Awesome Wave

An album of futuristically minded off-kilt grooves; even in softer moments like ‘Bloodflood’ or pretty ditty ‘Toro’, there is still plenty of rhythmic tomfoolery to keep things interesting. (El Hunt)


Tender Trap Ten Songs About Girls

Playing the twee-pop drinking game with ‘Ten Songs About Girls’ is certain to end with vomit spilt all over your favourite cardi. Song about trains? Right there on the opening track. References to Postcard Records? “He wore his fringe just like Edwyn Collins” is one of the best we’ve heard. Lyrics about making mixtapes? Spoken-word sections? Tambourines? C86-style guitar twanging? Please. Anyone who’s heard records by Belle & Sebastian, Beat Happening, or Hefner, will find nothing new on ‘Ten Songs About Girls’. Maybe such criticism is unnecessary. There’s worse things in the world than this Tender Trap record, it’s true, we’re no dummies; and it won’t even seem like criticism to some. With their winning smiles, their catchy tunes and words, they’re photogenic, you know: they don’t stand a chance. (Tom Baker)


Don Broco

Priorities The riff-tastic intro of ‘Priorities’ is a promising start to Don Broco’s debut album. As both the title-track and opener, it’s aptly named; it looks like the Bedford rockers have definitely got their priorities straight on this record. As they celebrate the fact that they’ll “Never get fat / ‘cause we jump around like prats,” the old adage of ‘write what you know’ is clearly alive and well. It’s fun, but with a tinge of darkness, the way more rock songs should be. Things slow down a little for ‘Here’s the Thing’, but Don Broco are at their best when they’re hard and fast – and even here it doesn’t stay quiet for long. Whilst the album as a whole doesn’t necessarily tread new ground, and admittedly is a little rough around the edges, it’s a promising debut. (Coral Williamson)

Meursault Something For The Weakened

Though this isn’t immediately a departure from the ‘epic lo-fi’ that has characterised Meursault’s previous offerings, it is still quite a change; an exceptional follow-up. (Alex Lynham)

Dirty Projectors Swing Lo Magellan

‘Swing Lo Magellan’ fully cements David Longstreth’s reputation as one of indie’s finest songsmiths and instrumentalists. Effortless and catchy, these are proper songs. (Derek Robertson)

Beach House Bloom

The duo’s exploratory side comes to light once more; the result is another addition to their expansive, spirited catalogue of near-perfect records. ( Jamie Milton) 68

Door 8 Two Cinema Club Beacon

If you’ve been anywhere near a festival lucky enough to boast Two Door Cinema Club on its bill this summer, you’ll have realised just how goddamn big the Northern Irish troupe have seemingly become. Pulling crowds that give off more than a whiff of the big time, the stage for ‘Beacon’ is well and truly set. Luckily for them, it’s more than up to the task. There’s no attempt to reinvent the TDCC template - this is shiny, radio friendly guitar-pop all the way - but it does everything it sets out to flawlessly. ‘Next Year’ goes from galloping verse into arms-aloft sing-along chorus, ‘Someday’ packs the same punch that broke the trio through on debut ‘Tourist History’ while ‘Pyramid’ builds from quiet beginnings to a storming close. The march of Two Door Cinema Club shows no signs of slowing down yet. (Ben Marsden)

Antony & The 8 Johnsons

Cut The World Since he first started to perform with Antony & The Johnsons in 1997, Antony Hegarty has long stood far removed from mainstream musical trends and sounds. It is therefore slightly surprising that his latest album is that perennial mainstream rock favourite, the live LP. ‘Cut The World’ is far from your usual live release, however, instead it is a piece of performance art steeped in the beauty and resonance of Antony Hegarty’s best work. A career spanning retrospective - that includes material from all four Antony & The Johnsons studio efforts with arrangements conducted by Nico Muhly, Rob Moose, Maxim Moston and Hegarty himself - this is a live album on an incredibly grand scale, full of stirring highs and deeply intimate confessions. (Martyn Young)

8 Jessie Ware

9 The xx


Pink’s 6 Minus The Bear 8 Ariel Haunted Graffiti


This album is like a transmission from a Bizzaro Pop-World, where SBTRKT’s subtle, melancholy two-step is what has been taken onboard by the David Guettas of the world, not wub-wub bro-step; a world where the Jessie who scales our charts is not a judge on The Voice - no, it’s Jessie Ware, classically-trained South Londoner with a love for Ella Fitzgerald as much as Sampha. ‘Devotion’ is future-pop. Well, no, it’s resolutely present-day-pop; but in an era where singers of Ware’s persuasion soulful, powerful - are retro-fitted with smoky eye shadow and the Phil Spector drumbeat, these songs have more in common with the trendy R&S ilk. There are some missteps along the way, but for the most part this is a flawless, breathless lap around both mainstream and ‘underground’ music; the sound of modern pop, modern love - and heartbreak. (Tom Baker)

Calexico Algiers

You can’t accuse Calexico of being unadventurous. With six-albums to date, the Arizonan band - headed by Joey Burns and John Convertino - have had a knack for evoking vast, vibrant images: 2003’s ‘Feast Of Wire’ conjuring South American Political icons and snowy Russian cities. Fast-forward four years and their latest LP, ‘Algiers’, traverses forward with the same vivid sense of exploration whilst hardly failing to impress. Recorded in a converted New Orleans church, the album discovers the history of the city’s soulful core that’s surrounded by a sea of darkness. ‘Splinter’ makes this quite evident as Burns, in his best Bob Dylan impression, croaks: “Through the gardens and fields / Beneath the tall green grass / You will walk beneath the moon / While covering the tracks.” In a similar context many other bands might have run dry by now. Not Calexico though, and ‘Algiers’ serves as a fitting reminder why they haven’t. (Alex Yau)


They say if it isn’t broke, then don’t fix it; and nobody - not a single person - would claim that The xx are anywhere close to coming off the rails. Their sound is more an aesthetic, and it’s one deployed with a quiet confidence on their much anticipated second full-length ‘Coexist’. The rich tones of Romy Madley-Croft and Oliver Sim intertwine with a warmth that plays brilliantly of their sparse surroundings, while the finger prints of modern-day genius Jamie Smith are everywhere you’d care to look. A band as much about the spaces in between as the notes played, there’s an assured edge that bleeds through tracks like ‘Fiction’ - they bare the same hallmarks as their brilliant debut, but the execution is more deliberate. Music for middle class dinner parties? The xx are far more than that. (Ben Marsden)

5 The Vaccines Coming Of Age

The problem with being successful, one would imagine, is the pressure to achieve more. There are few who aren’t expected to go one bigger. The same is never enough. That’s one The Vaccines have to wrestle with. Their debut album’s raucous guitar pop propelled them, just as everyone expected, slap bang into the middle of the mainstream, but where do they go from there? There’s been no hanging around in terms of a follow up - just over a year later we’re confronted with their answer. ‘The Vaccines Come Of Age’, bluntly, doesn’t do what it says on the tin. Neither is it a ‘bad’ album. It’s a record which is all about holding its ground; there’s little to show any massive evolution, but plenty to keep that chart friendly streak going strong. ‘Teenage Icon’ sums it up the best - rattling along like a chugging steam train, by now we know exactly what to expect from The Vaccines. (Ben Marsden)

Infinity Overhead

The fifth studio album by Seattle-based rock quintet Minus The Bear is something of a regression acting as revitalisation. The band’s previous long-player, 2010’s ’Omni’, attempted to incorporate a more overt electronic sound into their direct, crushing rock; however, that electronic diversion was something of a misstep that is pleasingly rectified here. ‘Infinity Overhead’ sees the band returning to a very much riffbased rock approach. Adding to the feeling of tradition, it’s been produced by their former keyboardist, sound guru Matt Bayles; a perfect combination. While the record largely eschews too much experimentation in favour of a very direct and straight ahead sound, it is in Minus The Bear’s own idiosyncratic style. Much of the material here is rooted in big powerful rock anthems. There are hooks a plenty all over the record, and Minus The Bear’s real skill is in harnessing these. A marked improvement on their previous album. (Martyn Young)

Mature Themes

What’s remarkable about ‘Mature Themes’ is how every banal detail is reproduced in excruciatingly high-resolution; the nice sentiments and images make you go “awww” and the uglier ones make you recoil in disgust, even if they’re not especially profound. But even more present is some genuinely humorous moments: Ariel Pink’s voice already has that ‘not really trying’ quality, so in combination with lyrics like “I don’t mean to burn any bridges / But I can’t get enough of those bitches,” you can’t help but chuckle. The album’s appeal seems to draw on the natural curiosity we have about the innermost workings of someone’s mind. Some people are fascinating. Some people are just good at externalizing their inner monologue. Either way, there is something enticing about someone’s most unadulterated thoughts presented to you. (Kosta Lucas) 69

reviews live

live photos: Bradley Bell

LATITUDE FRIDAY With the weekend’s more cultured options proving a more than adequate alternative, Friday afternoon’s musical acts have to work hard. Kindness leads a belated surge by transforming the expanse of skinny jeans in the i Arena into to a slap bass-fueled 70s disco through a contemporary brand of funk and questionable dance moves that had security raising an eyebrow. As the new music bug spreads around the site, The Lake stage, curated by Radio 1’s Huw Stephens, offers a suitable breeding ground as Polica give a strong set and Seye brings an electronic twist on traditional soul. Lana Del Rey provokes the first mud splattered power walk between stages with a hugely anticipated set in the Word Arena. A finely tuned vocal eases through ‘Video Games’ and ‘Blue Jeans’ and holds the crowd during less recognisable tracks. The remainder of the festival commandeers the hill overlooking the Lake Stage as Alt-J offer a more syncopated but just as familiar affair, their debut album ‘An Awesome Wave’ proving its critical acclaim in a live setting. An air of anticipation spreads with the festival’s diverse cross section of music fans amassing as The Obelisk Arena takes on an elegantly understated makeover for the evening’s headliner. Bedraggled drapes and a lighting set that resembles solar garden lamps welcomes the untamed figure of Justin Vernon as he leads Bon Iver into a UK festival exclusive. Hushed silences spread around the arena as the nine-strong band breath raw, passionate life into a string of effortless swoons that ooze across the Suffolk landscape like they’re tailor made for the environment. With an opening headliner of this standard, there’s a collective feeling that Latitude may have peaked too soon.




The rain splattering the tent doesn’t feel like the soul reason for the arena being quiet on Saturday morning. Granted, the mud from the previous night’s downpour adds to a daunting walk around the site, but it feels like the music of day two at Latitude will have to work much harder to impress. Dingus Khan takes on the difficult role of welcoming weary revelers and seemingly assumes cramming five guitarists and three drummers onto the Lake Stage will be the best way to shock passers by into a more appreciative state. Their brash style seems to pay off as a respectable crowd stay to Paul Thomas Saunders unveil their Bombay Bicycle Club-on-sedatives style indie folk before Lianne La Havas continues her charm offensive of the festival circuit. A wave of scats and trills spreads as far as the i Arena to find Of Monsters And Men providing intimacy through their brand of twee folk before the distraction from the music stages is enforced by Sadlers Wells’ waterfront performance, sealing off the main bridge to the arena. The alternative route back includes getting lost in the Faraway Forest before being guided back to (relative) normality by the siren like harmony of sister act The Staves. “We’re not going to be together for another twelve months so we have to make the most of it!” jokes Elbow’s singer, highlighting the predictability of the headline booking. They’ve become a solid staple, delivering all the “I hope they do that ones” from across their fifteen year career in a largely entertaining set, bringing the day’s music to a close with ‘One Day Like This’.

Some live for extreme escapism, others merely dabble. For those flagging, the prospect of one more day without knowing what the hell is going on outside is eased with a browse through the morning papers. Marcus Brigstocke is joined by a host of guests to deliver the Early Edition in the Comedy Arena. The rest of the arena awakes early, too. PEACE give a solid guitar-based set on the Lake Stage followed by The Cast Of Cheers who blast through recent release ‘Chariots’. The Word Arena takes a more soothing approach at the hands of quirkily serenading St. Vincent who thankfully sticks to solo work rather than recent hit and miss collaborations. Meanwhile, rising poster girl of indie folk, Lucy Rose relieves pressure from Slow Club in the i Arena with their ‘we really don’t take ourselves too seriously’ set. Rose’s lyrical prowess gives weary legs a welcome excuse to recline on the hill as spells of energy separate her from her influences and capture many who heading to the Obelisk. Locking up the Obelisk Arena is left in the capable hands of Paul Weller. The Modfather, dropping his iconic suit for a Dad-rock button up Jesus top, quickly settles into autopilot, opening with ‘Wake Up The Nation’. When it’s time to get clean and pull away from the music, literature, poetry, comedy, theatre... (you get the idea, it’s cultured) tracking down the shuttle bus back to civilisation is made harder by it being tucked away, miles from anything. But it also gives the impression that perhaps they don’t want you to leave either. ( Jimmy Blake) 71

reviews live

photo: Richard Isaac

Blink 182 brixton academy, London Blink 182 are a worldwide phenomenon. Whether that’s thanks to their collective musical careers, their clothing labels or just their dick jokes, there’s no denying that this trio are still a huge force in the world of music, let alone pop punk. So, imagine the news that, fresh from their masses of sold out arena shows, the Californians would finish their visit to our shores in the confines of Brixton Academy. It might not actually be intimate, but it’s sure as hell as close as you’re gonna get. First up though, a band that DIY is more than familiar with: Lower Than Atlantis. An integral part of the ever-growing UK rock scene, the LTA boys were hand-picked by Mark Hoppus himself to open the show, and boy, do they know how to do it. There’s the resounding feeling that bigger things are yet to come for these four. Alas, it was always destined that tonight would belong to the headliners, with the next twenty eight songs acting as nothing

maximo park 72

but proof. Bursting into life with their explosive self-titled album opener ‘Feeling This’, the show starts just as it means to go on. Energy levels are high, the crowd are already sweating and grins seem to be permanently spread across most of their audience’s faces. Gloriously mixing up new tracks with their old, nostalgic favourites – think ‘The Rock Show’ into ‘What’s My Age Again’ – their set is deliciously enjoyable and insatiably fun. And granted, it may not be all that different to their more recently sold out arena shows, but even being able to clearly see the band is a bit of a kick. It’s within this set that you really do realise the versatility and brilliance of these musicians, and, quite simply, the effect that they’ve had on so many people. It’s unquestionable that tonight is so much more than just another show; it’s a glimpse into the more intimate inner workings of one of the biggest rock bands in the world and just how they’ve gotten to grips with every obstacle thrown their way. And whilst yes, they may close the show with an array of songs that were written when the trio were much younger men, their words still resonate for an entire generation. (Sarah Jamieson)

Refused HMV Forum, London It’s incredibly difficult to describe the atmosphere inside the HMV Forum this evening. Even well before the headliners take to the stage, there are ambient sounds pumped all around the hall; the yellow glowing lights on stage both eerie but mesmerising. As time ticks on and the build up continues, the air becomes thick with anticipation. By the time that the stage is consumed with a die-cut banner with the band’s name emblazoned across it, there’s no doubting that tonight is going to be something incredibly special. Then, the curtain drops and Refused explode into life. Instantly, the Swedes are absolutely enticing. Blasting through a high octane set of tracks from their genre-defining ‘The Shape Of Punk To Come’, there’s no mistaking their presence, their power, their importance. The music is abrasive but sweet, aggressive but moving. But above all, every track is an anthem unto itself. Having returned from - what we all once thought was - a permanent hiatus earlier this year, the reunited kings of punk pull all the right punches and it really does seem difficult to imagine them ever not as a band. And whilst, yes, there were always going to be some naysayers to this reunion, they blow every criticism out of the water. Then, there’s frontman Dennis Lyxzen. Completely remarkable in his own right, he is limber and full of energy. He runs around the stage, into the crowd, on to speaker stacks. He dances and sings and leads his audience in a riotous singalong which has been over a decade in the making, and did we mention that he’s forty? It seems futile to list the ‘highlights’ because, truthfully, every song is. Nevertheless though, as you probably guessed, those opening chords of ‘New Noise’ unite the entire crowd in an almost surreal appreciation of one of the greatest punk bands of our time. For some of us, tonight has been fourteen years in the making. For all of us, tonight is one of the best live performances we’ll ever see. Maybe the classics never do go out of style. (Sarah Jamieson)

OFF Festival

Poland’s Katowice isn’t the first location that springs to mind when you want to transport yourself away from reality and submerge yourself in music, mischief and all that being in a muddy field for four days entails. However, OFF Festival, which celebrated its seventh year through its 2012 outing, delivered not just a ridiculously eclectic line-up, but a sunny escape for those not wishing to endure ‘that thing in Stratford’; the nearest we got to endurance here was trying to nail an across-the-site sprint in less than three minutes so we didn’t miss the start of a set.   This year’s offering gave us the chance to see acts as diverse as Iggy & The Stooges, Death in Vegas, Shaangan Electro, Swans and Chrome Hoof, with previous years seeing the likes of Mew, The Flaming Lips and Primal Scream taking to the stage. What will next year’s bring? (Wendy Davies)


Senses / Worms of the e Skull th of ies lt Facu rty Program The Refused Pa uency Liberation Freq Rather Be Dead Coup d’état s vs. Summerholiday Punkroutine ythm The Deadly Rh Sinker Hook, Line and Circle Pit *king Dead Refused Are F* iction Life Support Add Come to nk The Shape of Pu ...... New Noise Derivè Tannhäuser /

Bjork Øya Festival Norwegian songstress Ane Brun bravely takes on the job of warming up for one of the few artists that will still be remembered in a hundred to come. Most would crumble; but against the odds she masterfully holds her own. After being insanely lucky with the Norwegian weather, the heavens open as the Icelandic princess of magical wonders, the enigmatic Björk floats onto the stage in a massive orange wig and a dress that could have been designed by surrealist painter H.R Giger. You can say what you want, but Björk will never become a bore. The queen of eccentrics starts her set with ‘Cosmogony’ from her latest futuristic album, ‘Biophilia’. What rarely fails to impress is how she always manages to stay ahead of everyone else, like she travels back and forth in a time machine, to give us a glimpse of how music will sound like in the future. The set comprises mostly of new material from the aforementioned full-length, accompanied by the most amazing visuals which on their own make the gig and pouring rain worthwhile. Björk successfully manages to hypnotise the packed fields of Øya; the audience sing along to Pagan poetry and headbang with the pixyish backing singers to the finale fireworks, magic and euphoria. It’s Björk live. (Victoria Hollup) 73


reviews tech

tech T h e g i z m o s a nd g a dg e t s w o r t h g e t t i ng e x c i t e d about this m on t h

Philips CitiScape Headband Headphones £90

It’s not enough for headphones to simply carry the sound successfully from music player to ear – they’ve got to look the part, too. This particular model is called ‘UPTOWN’ and is thankfully inspired more by stylish Manhattan simplicity than Billy Joel. Its MusicSeal keeps the sound in, ensuring it keeps the world out, and your sounds from the world, plus memory foam cushions and an air-quilted headband make them a perfect fit.

Pebble $150 USD

Third Man Records iPhone Case $29.99 USD

These protective cases clip around your iPhone 4, leaving room for an insert made of vinyl. The very same kind the label are regularly issuing in its 7- and 12inch circular form. And if that wasn’t enough, you can change the insert to specific White Stripes, Raconteurs or Dead Weather releases.

The Kickstarter-funded Pebble might just be the smartest-looking watch we’ve ever seen. And we once begged our parents for a FlikFlak. Not only can you choose between white, black and red for the minimal outercase, but the display is infinitely customisable. If that wasn’t enough, it’s compatible with both iOS and Android, meaning you can receive email, Facebook and Twitter alerts – and Android users can even receive SMS.

Detonator Gaming Headset


With Microsoft’s seal of approval, there’s a lot at stake for this Xbox specific headset. A cool, sleek design with comfy earpieces allows prolonged gaming without discomfort and its removable microphone means you can also take it out for use with your MP3 player. 75

reviews fashion

Studs ‘n’ Stuff

Brown Leather Studded Belt, £20, Black Studded And Rubber Wrist Bands, £8,

Steve Madden ‘Trroy’ Studded Boot, £107.66,

Ash Studded Trainers, £155, Brown Studded Wrist Wrap Band, £8,

Ringspun Men’s Leather Studded Wallet, £38,

Brown Leather Studded Belt, £24.95,

Converse John Varvatos Studded Hi Chocolate, £140,

B Side By Wale T-Shirt B Stud, £50, 76

3. MOTO Mottle Bleach Stud Jamie Jeans, £65,

MICHAEL Michael Kors Asymmetric Studded Jersey Top, £100,

Man-go Studs Chiffon Shirt, £39.99,

Glamorous Studded Denim Shorts, £28,

Denim & Supply Stud Leather Belt, £80,

Studded Stretch Bracelet, £12,

Ash White Studded Canvas Lace-Ups, £99,

Isis Triple Stud Ring, £16, MOTO Mottle Bleach Stud Jamie Jeans, £65, 77

reviews film


The Imposter Director Bart Layton


n cinemas now is one of the most thrilling and shocking films you will see all year - and it’s a documentary. The Imposter tells the incredible true story of charismatic fraud Frederic Bourdin, and the family he duped. In 1994, a 13-year-old boy named Nicholas Barclay disappeared from his home in Texas. Three years later, the relatives get a call from the authorities in southern Spain, informing them Nicholas had been found. The whole family embrace what we know is a stranger, and the FBI are sold on the boy’s traumatic story despite glaring discrepancies between the blue-eyed blond Nicholas and the oliveskinned, brown-eyed Bourdin. British documentary maker Bart Layton interviews everybody involved in this tale, which contains remarkable characters such as a soft-hearted FBI agent; a determined PI named Charlie Parker; the troubled family and the imposter himself. It’s our turn to interview Layton at the glorious offices of Revolver in London, where we learn how an article about Bourdin in a Spanish


magazine led Layton on this disturbing journey. “We’d go from one interview one day, convinced I knew exactly what had happened, to another interview the next day completely convinced of the opposite thing. So you feel like you’re in a detective story, and you’re feeling it in a very visceral way in the present tense.” The Imposter begins with Bourdin on camera, revealing how and why he masterminded his deception. A consumate yet complex conman, was it unnerving to be in the same room as him? “He can be quite charming, and he can be quite repellent,” admits Layton. “I wanted you to see all those sides - he looks you in the eye, tells you his story, and you get sucked in. At the same time you know this is not a credible witness.” There’s quite a warped, playful British sense of humour throughout the film, but it wasn’t Layton’s intention to mock Nicholas’ family. “You know, there are certain things that I guess people might say are cruel - the idea that when she [Carey Gibson, Nicho-

las’s half-sister] says things like ‘Spain, isn’t that across the country?’ It’s a shorthand for the fact that they’re not stupid, but their view of the world isn’t as sophisticated. The family have seen the film, and they’re glad they did it.” With Searching For Sugar Man another fascinating, unconventional documentary doing the rounds, the director feels we should “embrace the idea that documentaries could give you the experience we demand from cinema.” Talking of which, Hollywood producers have come knocking on Layton’s door. “I feel the most extraordinary bit of this is that it’s true, it really happened. You lose that by fictionalising it with actors, you lose the thing that is most jaw-dropping.” (Becky Reed)

7 To Rome With Love

Released: 12/09/12 Following the success of a definite return to form in Midnight In Paris, the latest Woody Allen film stars Jesse Eisenberg, Ellen Page, Penelope Cruz, Alison Pill and Alec Baldwin (inspired), and the setting this time is The Eternal City itself, gifting Allen with an ancient, beautiful canvas in which to spin his latest yarn. Woody inducts himself back into this offering, playing the neurotic, fretful figure we demand. Also in the mix is Roberto Benigni’s self-confessed ‘schmuck’ who wakes one morning to find himself hounded by the press as well as beautiful women. Allen presents a social commentary on the fickle mistress that is fame and how today’s society hungers for and panders to it, even when it is completely undeserved. Rife with playful adultery, love triangles and fast talking neurotics, there are no real surprises here, but do we want surprises from Woody Allen? (Tom Heron)

5 Premium Rush

7 Lawless

Released: 07/09/12 A star-studded ensemble cast re-enacts the true story of the Bondurant Brothers, wildly successful bootleggers in Prohibition-era Virginia, scripted by Nick Cave. Director John Hillcoat creates a gorgeous but insanely masculine western set amongst the moonshine, with a brilliant Shia LaBeouf, Tom Hardy and Jason Clarke as the siblings who skirt around the law. Enter Guy Pearce’s cartoonish psychotic cop, who aggressively tries to take down the business. The graphic violence is ugly, yet too glossy to be visceral, and Mia Wasikowska and Jessica Chastain are two dated sides of the Madonna-whore coin. A running joke about the brothers’ invincibility is wellplayed, but Hillcoat holds these outlaws in too high regard for this drama to have any serious weight. (Becky Reed)

Released: 12/09/12 This slight, silly but strangely entertaining thriller managed to woo a cast way out of its league. Not endearing himself to city folk, Joseph GordonLevitt is the brakeless bike messenger who weaves his way through Manhattan’s streets. A mysterious envelope gets the attention of Michael Shannon in hysterical full-on villain mode, and sets up several striking chase sequences that romanticise reckless bike couriers with death wishes. Like a slick throwaway ‘90s action flick, it showcases crazy stunts, a romantic subplot with fellow biker Dania Ramirez and the cheesiest finale imaginable. Gordon-Levitt commits with gusto (stay for the end credits to find out how much), but there’s little tension to be had when you secretly want the arrogant hero to be hit by a truck. (Becky Reed)

2 The Sweeney

Released: 12/09/12 It’s hard to see how and why this re-tread of the iconic 1970s TV show bothers to call itself The Sweeney - it loses all subtlety and just delivers unsympathetic characters in a sterile and obtusely cockney environment. Regan, the incendiary leader of the Flying Squad, is disappointingly played with a sneery, misogynistic nastiness by Ray Winstone. Ben Drew, better known to most as Plan B, has some screen presence, although his monotonous delivery grates after a while. While director Nick Love admirably tries to portray London as a slick, Tron-like city, he simply doesn’t have the panache of Michael Mann to make the audience care. When we do hear the likes of “you’re nicked” and criminals referred to as “slags” it’s like The Sweeney-isms have just been shoehorned in. (Christa Ktorides) 79

reviews games

games out now and coming soon Borderlands 2 (2K Games) Xbox 360, PS3, PC Released: 21/09/12

The ultra-violent cartoony FPS returns introducing four new characters and more explosive ways to do away with your enemies. Set five years after the events of its predecessor, a man named Handsome Jack is vowing to clean up the lawless planet of Pandora, by wiping out its existing colonies. So, it’s pretty much David Cameron: The Video Game.


(Bethesda) – Xbox 360, PS3, PC Released: 12/10/12

Jump into the eerie assassin’s mask of Corvo Atano, framed for the murder of his employer the Empress, as he seeks revenge against those who conspired against him. With open-ended missions and several ways to go about each one, this is looking to be the best of Bioshock meeting the best of Deus Ex! So we can forgive it for not having a U in the name.

Resident Evil 6 (Capcom) – Xbox 360, PS3, PC Released: 02/10/12

The infamous survival horror series springs back to life with a sprawling story set over four connected scenarios that sees the return of floppy-haired Leon S. Kennedy looking like the toughest member of a 90s boy band. Featuring bio-terrorism, zombies and the newly introduced J’avo enemies, it’s almost exactly like the storyline from the S Club 7 TV series.

8 Darksiders II

(THQ) – Xbox 360, PS3, PC, Wii U

Take on the role of the coolest of all the four horsemen of the apocalypse, Death, in a story that runs parallel to its predecessor as you clean up the mess your brother War has made of things. War. Huh! What is he good for? Messing up. With much more agility and a smoother, more intuitive combat mechanic, Death leaps ahead in terms of hack ‘n’ slash fun. With a generously huuuuge playtime and plenty of loot, weapons and armour to salvage, Darksiders 2 doesn’t skimp on content. Unfortunately, it offers nothing we haven’t seen before and some camera and frame-rate issues can make it a frustrating affair.

7 Deadlight

(Tequila Works) – Xbox 360

It’s hard to give Deadlight any kudos for originality – its oldschool horizontal style platforming aesthetic borrows and steals from classics like Flashback and Limbo, while its storyline of a zombie apocalypse is cliché ridden and terribly voice-acted. But, what it lacks in freshness of style, it makes up for in masses of atmosphere. Sprinting through the gloriously drawn shadowy Seattle as it crumbles beneath you, hounded by stumbling undead and a shootto-kill militia, brings some genuine thrills. And while you’ll want to punch your protagonist in the face for his spew-worthy monologues, its simple design and intuitive controls will keep it alive. 80


Game Of The Month

D a s h i n ’ Desperadoes

Apocalypse NOW!

(Data East, 1993) – SEGA Mega Drive Take control of a desperado who’s dashin’ over obstacles and hazards in a horizontal race to reach the love of his life, Jenny. Confusingly, Jenny’s chosen to wait on her man at the end of trap-laden paths rather than a more suitable location. But this is because you’re vying for Jenny’s affection – on the bottom half of the screen is your nemesis, also dashing to grab a kiss from Jenny. Constantly split-screen, you’ll race through six different and inexplicable worlds to try to be the first to reach her, struggling to edge ahead with spin-dashes and weapons collected in the levels to hinder your opponent. Essentially, it’s a two-man (computer or human) horizontal Mario Kart. Both dashers can use a wide range of tricks to stop the other and there are some lovely environmental quirks like dislodging blocks of ice that’ll slide backwards into your foe’s path, or vultures who’ll grab you and carry you back a few valuable feet. Boss levels add a whole new sinister level to the thing as Jenny is literally kidnapped by your opponent and you’ll have to dash after them, pummelling their escape vehicle before it disappears leaving her to a, presumably, lusty fate. Unfortunately, it can just be too hard to catch up sometimes and, once you know a level, you can easily manoeuvre around all the traps. Regardless, this is a peculiar and memorable game that breathes fresh air into the simple formula with quirky new levels. Yeehaw!

It is the near future. Of course it is. A plague / virus has spread throughout the cities, causing people to suddenly die / turn into zombies / turn against each other. Civilisation, as we know it, has fallen apaaaargghhh YES, WE GET IT! Don’t get us wrong, we love a good story of human survival after a cataclysmic event that’s destroyed the world but, by the prophecy of the Mayans, isn’t there enough?! No chance! Cormac McCarthy’s ‘The Road’ and Danny Boyle’s ‘28 Days Later’ are being cited as the inspiration behind so many games, including the upcoming ‘The Last Of Us’. These games can deliver a new world that’s both familiar and unfamiliar as cities and modern society lie collapsed. They can choose to focus on tension and atmosphere, like the brilliant ‘I Am Alive’ and Telltale Games’ ‘The Walking Dead’, or go guns a-blazing like ‘Left 4 Dead’ and ‘Fallout’. Either way, post-apocalyptic games are about the survivors – those who remember society the way it used to be, struggling to come to terms with how it now is. And whether or not developers

take the reins on the narrative possibilities that offers, we’re glad it’s still so popular. But it could’ve been a different story – what if these games had been set in a post-apocalyptic world?

Tetris: Bleak Edition

Nuclear fallout relentlessly drops from the sky. Slot it all together to create a solid line that will eliminate your radiation poisoning and reduce the chances of your children having six arms.

Need For Speed: 2029

The popular racing series continues after the atomic wars of 2022. No fuel remains in America and it’s up to you to race through the burnt-out streets pushing your damaged car by hand as fast as you can towards a mirage of a petrol station.

Super Mariopocalypse

The story of two plumbers struggling to rebuild a city’s underground sewage system after a radiation leak at the Princess’ castle turns all of its inhabitants into gurning, violent turtles. Wait, this is just Super Mario Bros...

Be Sure To DownloaD

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD Xbox 360, PS3, PC

You can re-live those early halcyon days of Tony Hawk games where actual skating came before Bam Margera punching his dad in the gut. Christ Air your way through these remastered classic maps from the first two games of the series and rejoice in the glory days when games were actually quite f**king difficult. As addictive and as frustrating as ever! Still, there’s always those cheats...


back page disco 2012

BackPagE this month, Will GrAhAm Asks: do you remember the indie disco?



o you remember indie discos? You do? Wow - alright Granddad! It’s a long time since I last set foot in one, so, using that as clearly more than sufficient research, I thought it safe to assume they’d died a death. Fair enough, you might think - there’s only so many times you need to see grown adults actually physically ‘turn around’ when they play that line in ‘Last Nite’. Except, apparently, they do still exist and I don’t just mean in Northern towns where they’re still convinced The Stone Roses are relevant. A few months back 82

you may have read an editorial in The Guardian about those ‘Dalston types’ getting down to ‘indie rock’n’roll’. “I know people are trying to mask genuine feelings of delight by pretending to enjoy it ironically,” promoter Zoë Jenkin told the broadsheet, “but they’ll all be on the floor when Hot Hot Heat comes on.” The bastards are actually playing ‘Bandages’ in public without any kind of retribution - this can’t be good. The indie disco was an odd place. People actually played air guitar in public, to songs that are about as ‘rock’ as your nan’s cardigan. It was a world where the ‘classics’ were those 7” singles you bought back in 2005 - most likely because anything you’ve actually liked since then would be better played in a birthing

pool. There was a period in the early 00s where individuals would be seen wilfully dancing to P.O.D. - this kind of thing is not on. Worse than that, it was actually ‘fun’. God knows there’s no place for that in modern music - haven’t you read ‘the blogs?’ Maybe it’s me - and it almost certainly is - but perhaps amongst all the less admirable things the indie club represented, at least it was social. Certain songs took on something special at 2am in the morning. The glow of a laptop will never feel the same. Going out is almost a bad thing these days; there are ‘hot new tracks’ on the internet to be heard, preferably on your own in a darkened room. They’re not going to post to Tumblr by themselves, you know?


we are THE PHYSICS applied robotics new single OUT NOW 84

DIY, September 2012  

Featuring James Murphy, Two Door Cinema Club, Animal Collective, Deap Vally & more.

DIY, September 2012  

Featuring James Murphy, Two Door Cinema Club, Animal Collective, Deap Vally & more.