UNDER CITY LIGHTS // RareFM magazine
Should Punk Stay Or Should It Go? our girl
HORSEY Artwork by: Francesco Del Re
THE TEAM Editor in chief Jake Crossland
Design editor Nikol Chen
Contributors James Witherspoon EJ Oakley Hughie Rogers-Coltman Hannah Abrey Lucrezia Alfonsi Charlotte Stanbridge Jack George Smith Abdul Rashidi
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR Wow. What a year! We did it though - we made UnCL great again (#political #references). It’s strange that I’m sat here having edited 3 issues now (almost all successfully too) but look through and you’ll find yet again some of your favourite things. We’re all almost off on our holidays, which of course can mean only one thing: festival season. Check Fast Forward for some awful predictions, great previews and a highly original feature of Festival Bingo. Elsewhere, we’ve interviewed plenty of new bands - Our Girl, Party Hardly, Horsey and Feet all make their way into our pages, and we’ll no doubt be seeing them shred on bigger stages across the festival circuit within years to come. C’ya UnCL, it’s been fun. Stay lucky, Jake Crossland Outgoing UnCL Editor P.S. No more cringey letters from me! Wahay! I’ve felt like the ‘cool mum’ these past issues. 04
CONTENTS Rewind 08 010 012 015 017 018 022 024 026
Thundercat - Drunk Mac DeMarco - This Old Dog Harry Styles - Harry Styles Vanessa White - Chapter Two Artificial Pleasure @ Camden Assembly The Orwells @ Scala Circa Waves @ O2 Forum Kentish Town The Weeknd @ O2 Arena VANT @ Electric Ballroom Features
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Let’s Get Brutal: Ed Sheeran - ÷ Should Punk Stay or Should It Go? Party Hardly Our Girl Horsey Feet Woz Fast Forward
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Festival Bingo Festival Anthems You Have To Be There: Festival Special UnCL Mixtape 05
R E WIND
PHOTO BY: ALICIA ABU JABER
THUNDERCAT “DRUNK” Funnier than ever, but not afraid to graze his darker side, Thundercat returns with a 5 star album.
tephen Bruner’s alter-ego has never been one for following trends, but in 2017, the release of a Thundercat album feels like just that. Despite the fact that Bruner and Flying Lotus largely pioneered the modern funk/RnB/jazz hybrid that Brainfeeder Records is known for - there’s now so much of this material floating around that one questions the point of bringing any more to the fore. Plus, after ground-breaking work on Lotus’s own ‘You’re Dead’, and two/three (depending on how you look at it) incredible solo albums, where’s the bassist supposed to go? With ‘Drunk’, Bruner has focused onto the more humorous and playful side of the character – eschewing the morbid mortality of his previous work and focusing in on the social commentary. Opener ‘Rabbot Ho’ begins the whole affair in pathetic fallacy: rain falling on a derelict pond, with frogs and thunder ranting in the background - tonally shifted into 5th gear with ‘Captain Stupido’. Lyrics such as ‘Jesus take the wheel’ and ‘comb your beard, brush your teeth, beat your meat, go to sleep’ collide with fart 08
and snoring noises – not to mention a repeated refrain of ‘I think I left my wallet at the club’. It’s an interesting mediation on nights out (as far as I can tell) – and one closer to the truth than a lot of people are comfortable to admit. Quite aside from those club photos and drunken hedonism is the clumsy hangover and pain that comes from pushing your limits in that way. But, of course, it’s absurdly funny in the best possible way. This is the ‘Catastrophe’ of albums: primarily hilarious in a primal and relatable way. Before you know it, the cosmic jazz that we’re so used to bubbles to the surface in ‘Uh Uh’ – a space reserved for a staccato, sexy, and retro bass solo that leads into classic video-games music (thinking Mario-esque here) with ‘Bus in these Streets’. Mario feels like a classic touchstone here – with every few songs proving really evocative to me of those 2000s titles that were so central to my youth. In fact, video games and popular culture influence a lot of the album as a whole. ‘Blackkk’ sports a melody that’s only one step off classic 8-Bit action, and a particular highlight, ‘Tokyo’, proves to be a star-dusted parody of an inner monologue of a Western kid obsessed with Japanese culture and anime. Lyrics include ‘gonna blow all my cash on anime…. I think I am Goku, can I just stay one more day…. I’d probably hide in the suicide forest…. Goku fucking ruined me….’. Again, it’s funny, but kinda sad as we realise
the negative impact that pop culture can sometimes have – driving kids to isolationist and obsessive tendencies. ‘A Fan’s Mail (Tron Song Suite II)’ which combines a fake ‘miaow’ noise with the lyric ‘I’m gonna be a cat’ proves to be evocative of an earlier Daft Punk. Indeed, Thundercat appears to be using the bass melody from ‘Something About Us’ to excellent, subversive effect – and it pays off as endlessly satisfying, as well as triggering the nostalgia receptors to one of the greatest albums of all time. ‘Jethro’ utilises a bouncing bassline that works in synergy with the vocal tempo – creating a pleasurable atmosphere that’s instantly recognisable as a ‘Thundercat’ tune. At points it does gets a little dark. ‘Jameel’s Space Ride’ combines a cosmic, retro 80s beat with the lyrics ‘except foreign cops/will they attack/is it because I’m black…. Fuck yeah!’. Indeed, this demonstrates that Thundercat can do deadly serious combined with humour, and pull it off spectacularly. It’s quite the thing to behold. The one-two punch of ‘I am Crazy’ and ‘3AM’ prove to be especially saddening – ‘3AM can’t close my eyes…. There’s something wrong with me…. There’s something inside my heart’. And then to follow this with the title track – ‘Drowning away/ all of the pain/ till I’m totally numb’ is especially audacious. It’s a comedown of what turned out to be a fantastic party – and it’s obscenely heartbreaking. ‘Show You the Way’ turns out to be a first-rate single - combining space-related spaced-out lyrics, typical Thundercat instrumentalism, and a vaporwave-esque melted plastic vocal from Michael McDonald and Kenny Loggins. It’s something quite special to hear – and something you’re unlikely to hear again in a mainstream album in 2017. The vocal mix on ‘Where I’m Going’ is similarly fucked – warped out of recognition, as if blitzed in a microwave. It’s a woozy, slightly disturbing effect that has to be heard to be understood. Indeed, on the subject of esteemed guests, Kendrick Lamar donates an absolutely beautiful verse to ‘Walk
on By’ – which invigorates an otherwise bythe-numbers track to something interesting and energising. ‘Drink Dat’, featuring a verse from Wiz Khalifa is also all sorts of smart with its humorous takedown of modern rap – ‘the night is almost over/ but we still want to party/ ain’t no one in here sober/ the weed I’m rolling’s gnarly// these bitches love salsa/ these niggas want some Marley’. Perfect in it’s awful cringe-fest way. Second single ‘Friendzone’ hits damn hard with its swaggering synth-funk beat and… erm…. relatable lyrics. This continues with ‘Them Changes’ (Is that a self-reference? You tell me); another incredibly strong beat that induces chronic nodding-to-the-beat syndrome. ‘Drunk’ works on just about every level possible. Like the never-ending cycle of alcoholism and depression that works as a rough thematic backbone in places; it operates on a circular plane – and after the depressing final act (featuring a top-form Pharrell Williams (hey, remember him?) in a subliminal-blip filled track ‘The Turn Down’) it makes sense to hit play one more time. Because it leads us to the inevitable conclusion – face down, in the rain, repeating the same self-destructing cycle constantly that we’d all expected. And sure, it’s not all negative – there are moments of hilarious happiness; beautiful cosmic jazz; and the wonders of the modern. But, at the end of the day, this is the real fucking deal: there’s racism, prejudice, depression, alcoholism, and all sorts wrong with our modern world. You can laugh, you can cry, or you can just gape in awe. Same old world; brand new Thundercat. ‘Drunk’ is available everywhere now.
By: James Witherspoon 09
MAC DEMARCO THIS OLD DOG Mac Demarco digs a little deeper to climb to new heights on this stunning new album. Hughie Rogers-Coltman is impressed.
he first I heard of This Old Dog, the new album from Mac Demarco, released on May 5th, was a comment from a friend. ‘He sounds tired’, said friend (like me, a major Mac fanboy) lamented. Going into the album I feared the worst. This was, after all, the first new material in almost two years from an artist who has yet to put a foot wrong in his career, and who means a lot to a whole generation of music fans. So it was a delight to discover that this album, far from being ‘tired’, may well be the most starkly original and deeply well-written work Demarco has produced to date, though I reckon it might not receive the appreciation it deserves. 010
When Mac Demarco burst onto the scene back in the early 2010s, his aesthetic, both visual and musical, was completely unique. 2 and Salad Days, his two prior full-lengths, established him as the great millennial prankster, whose refusal to take life seriously was the perfect antidote to the then stagnant world of indie-pop. That goofball-humour hobo-clothes image has since rippled through the world of indie music and beyond, influencing the attitude of everyone from Soft Hair to Lil’ Yachty. Yet beneath his distinctive style, what has always set Mac apart is his songwriting ability. As he’s matured, through Another One and now This Old Dog, this knack for pop songs has come to the fore. This Old Dog is not the summery guitar album that Salad Days was. Instead Mac has embraced the sense of melancholy that always existed at the heart of his sound. In practice this means a synthier sound on the album; there are no riff-heavy bangers in the vein of ‘Freaking out the Neighbourhood’ or ‘Let Her Go’ to be found here. Instead these tunes are much more melody-focused; tracks such as the title track and ‘One More Love Song’ retain the catchiness of Mac’s early work but with an added depth that comes from a mature, classic melody and chord progression. There are touches of Beach Boys in some of these tunes - the piano in the chorus of ‘One More Love Song’, the French-horn effect on ‘Dreams from Yesterday’ – that really lend it that classic pop feel. I won’t call it a millennial Pet Sounds, but it certainly seems that Mac is moving away from sugary guitar-pop to a more instrumentally varied sound. Nowhere is this more pronounced than on ‘Moonlight on the River’, which starts out slow with deep Hawaiian guitars and slowly spirals out of control over seven minutes into an sublime, unhinged jam with multiple guitars and a sampler, reminiscent of Ween at their more psychedelic moments. It is, for me, the high point of the album. It sounds complete-
ly unlike anything we’ve heard from Mac so far, and suggests that he is capable of a much darker sound than the goofy kid who gave us ‘Ode to Viceroy’. It is undoubtedly a more thoughtful album than anything Mac has produced to date. This manifests itself in the bittersweet sound that characterises many of these songs. ‘My Old Man’, released alongside the title track as the first singles from this album, is a track that exemplifies this new sombreness. It is a beautifully understated lament about ageing, one that gains a new level of depth in the knowledge that his father is in fact an addict who left his family when Mac was a young boy, refusing to pay child support. This sets the tone for the album, and a fear of ageing – he is now 27 – is discernible in many of the songs. Despite this, I don’t think that this should be thought of as Mac’s ‘sad’ album. His sense of humour and his unique outlook on life shine through on tracks such as ‘Baby You’re Out’ and ‘The Wolf Who Wears Sheep’s Clothing’. The former is a bouncy synth tune in the vein of ‘Passing Out in Pieces’, the latter is a Neil Young-influenced piece of Americana-pop that sounds like it could have come straight out of Laurel Canyon circa 1971.
this album is a less immediately rewarding listen than Mac’s previous output. But while some may consider this a flaw, this is precisely the reason that this is his best work to date. This is an album to be played and replayed. Already since its release four days ago I’ve listened to it countless times, and I seem to find something new about it that I like each time. The prankster is growing up. Mac Demarco is shaping up to be one of our generation’s great songwriters. I can’t wait to see what he’ll do next. ‘This Old Dog’ is out now on Captured Tracks. Mac Demarco will be playing in London at the O2 Academy Brixton on the 30th and 31st of May.
ARTWORK BY: @ANOTHER90SGUY
When my friend said this album sounds ‘tired’, I think he articulated what will probably be quite a common sentiment among fans on their first listen to the album. If there is one flaw, it is that
Harry Styles Harry Styles EJ Oakley grudgingly admits that the debut solo album from the golden boy of British pop is far more accomplished than his previous pop efforts, with only its lack of cohesive direction and tired lyricism dragging it down.
he first single off Harry Styles’ eponymous debut album, which was dropped on the unsuspecting public several months ago, tells listeners from the get-go to “just stop your crying, it’s a sign of the times.” This single line spoke volumes to fanatical One Direction enthusiasts around the world. The pop group had barely been limping along after the departure of Zayn Malik, and the so-called ‘hiatus’ that was called eventually saw three of its four remaining members producing new solo material of their own. Sign of the Times truly lived up to its title – the grandiose piano ballad, backed by a full-bodied choir in all its hyperbolic glory and running at nearly six minutes long, was an obvious death knell for the nation’s favourite boy band. For Harry Styles himself, it was undoubtedly also meant to herald his rebirth from the ashes of his pop career. Rumours circulated prior 012
to the album’s release that his debut solo effort “sounded like Queen and [David] Bowie”. Father John Misty even took to Twitter to announce that Styles’s new album was, and I quote, “FUCKING INSANE”. Landing a role on the upcoming Christopher Nolan war epic Dunkirk didn’t hurt the publicity surrounding his album, either. The press coverage surrounding Styles skyrocketed as he began to forge new paths for himself, in the same way that Disney stars like Selena Gomez began dual acting and music careers in an effort to break away from their kiddie-scene roots. It should be pretty clear by now that Harry Styles is in no way just an album in itself. If anything, it is Styles’s first stepping stone on the path of self-reinvention – which can be pretty rocky, looking at the demonisation of Miley Cyrus’s breakout attempts in the mainstream media, and closer to home, the flop of Zayn Malik’s solo career. So, of course, we arrive at the
question on everybody’s minds. Does it live up to the hype? Is this former X-Factor boy band recruit really the new Bowie? One thing about Harry Styles that is certainly notable – though not in a good way – is its complete lack of musical direction whatsoever. Album opener Meet Me In The Hallway does indeed bring the late and great David Bowie to mind with its tinkling, cosmic synths, and Styles’s voice taking on a certain fey, ephemeral quality. But shortly after, Two Ghosts then takes us deep into country ballad territory; Eagles-style harmonies and all. As if that weren’t already enough of a switch-up, Only Angel and Kiwi turns all of that on its head as Styles begins to emulate greasy rock n’ roll greats, The Rolling Stones and Rod Stewart. Had enough of the indecision already? Too bad, there’s more. Second single Sweet Creature is reminiscent of Blackbird by The Beatles, Woman owes much to Elton John’s musical output in the 70s, and album closer From The Dining Table channels the gentle melodies and soft sentimentality of Sufjan Stevens. Harry Styles is less of an album and more of an experimental collection of songs – this pervasive undercurrent of cluelessness leads it to flip and flop between genres and influences faster than a dying fish out of water. There is no grander concept at play behind Harry Styles; no nucleus-like unifying idea that pulls its tracks together as electrons in orbit. There is, simply, the realisation that Styles is just a young musician still trying to find his niche. Given time, he may very well do that. Until then, Harry Styles can only give the impression that he is yet an-
other jack of all trades, but master of none. Mastery, however, is never the be-all and endall with pop music. One of the other defining qualities of Harry Styles is how inherently enjoyable each of the tracks are in themselves. Like squabbling siblings around the dinner table, they may not work together as a whole. But there is a song for every mood on the album, and with at least six co-writers on every track (including Kid Harpoon of Florence + the Machine fame, as well as Uptown Funk co-writer Jeff Bhasker), they certainly do shine in their own ways. Styles’s slightly hoarse but ultra-versatile voice truly stand out on the album’s slower numbers – Ever Since New York and Sweet Creature present earnest, uncomplicated melodies backed by instrumentation more accomplished and mature than anything from Styles’s One Direction days. Then, of course, there is Sign of the Times, whose falsetto refrains and fervently-sung bridges establish Styles as a vocal powerhouse in his element, and will probably have many listeners belting out the chorus from memory in no time. The toe-tapping, shoulder-shaking rock n’ roll of Kiwi or the Southern swing rhythms of Carolina may seem out of place on an album that mostly consists of low-tempo ballads, but are nonetheless incredibly fun when they do come along. Harry Styles is an album that must therefore be enjoyed in bits and pieces; perhaps as testament to pop music’s emphasis on strong singles and growing detachment from the album format. But that certainly does not say that it cannot be enjoyed at all – in fact, listeners will find it
There is a ﬁne line between entertainment
and pure silliness that should not be crossed.
quite hard not to enjoy themselves, even in the slightest. But there is a fine line between entertainment and pure silliness that should not be crossed. This is the point at which “good” and “bad” are categories that need to be thrown out the window, because having as many as seven people working on one song clearly wasn’t an adequate enough filter for some of the inanities that slipped through the cracks. “When she’s alone, she goes home to a cactus,” snarls Styles on Kiwi, in his best Mick Jagger impression. The impressive delivery and the bombastic guitars backing Styles are momentarily all for nought, however, as this utterly indecipherable little quip ruins the rest of the verse. It’s almost fascinating to wonder how a lyric so nonsensical failed to raise the eyebrows of any of the six writers involved on the song, including Styles himself. Other lyrics are less shocking in their stupidity, and just, well… boring. The female subject of Only Angel is a girl who Styles “can’t take home to mother in a skirt that short” and turns out to be – surprise, surprise! – a “devil in the sheets” who just can’t help herself; while on Carolina, the entire chorus merely consists of Styles repeating “She’s a good girl!” till the cows come home. Some fellow millennial listeners would cry misogyny, but the truth is far more bleak – the hackneyed ‘virgin or whore’ female trope has already been bludgeoned to death from over-usage in every single pop song ever. You’d think, for a man trying to reinvent himself, that Styles and his co-writers would have had more sense to try straying from the path a little more. So, what is Harry Styles, at the end of it all? This album could be a number of things. It could be seen as a misguided first step into the big wide world of music; a desperate grasp at any influences available to prevent Styles from drifting off into unknown territory. One could, alternatively, consider it a triumphant breakaway from the shackles of boy band stardom and a promising start to a music career that will un014
doubtedly strengthen with time. As for me, I prefer Father John Misty’s slightly less-thangraceful description of the album. Harry Styles is indeed riddled with insanity. It may be an album of inconsistencies, and at times, incoherence, but endures despite its flaws as an irrefutable sign that pop’s golden boy is definitely brimming with potential. ‘Harry Styles’ is out now on Columbia Records. Harry Styles plays the London Eventim Apollo on 29th October.
vanessa white chapter two Currently, the charts are overflowing with pop and dance tracks. But if you’re looking for some old-school RnB vibes, ex-girl band member, Vanessa White has gone solo to give us just that!!
bandoning her pop roots with The Saturdays, White returns with her latest music to add to your Spotify playlist. After her first EP introduced a different sultry sound, this new carefully crafted project provides White with the space to further develop her music but allowing fans to see where she’s deciding to go. Her new EP, ‘Chapter Two’, has that classic slow-jam vibe. The title track ‘Good Good’ is one of those complex tracks that you replay but each time you hear the different, intricate pieces of the instrumental. When compared to her days in her band, the lyrics are a far-cry from the PG-13 material released to the young fan base she had. This time round, she’s giving listeners a more grown up sound. 015
‘Rotation’ is easily the best track on the EP, forcing you to hit that replay button again and again. Produced by Ads Valu, the beat complements her voice which really soars above the track during the chorus. Another standout is entitled ‘Trust Me’ which doesn’t follow the rest of the EP format, with more hard and aggressive lyrics, presumably coming from a personal place for White. She says, ‘never trust somebody that says trust me’ and - trust me - she’s telling the truth. ‘Pressure’ is another great track, with a stunning breakdown towards the end where she flexes her beautiful upper range. A chilled summer track to help you destress. A definite recommendation for students feeling the pressure for exam season. This is followed by stripped back versions of her tracks ‘Good Good’ and ‘Running Wild’, once again really showcasing her huge vocals. It makes you think - why hasn’t she be making music like this the whole time?!
ARTWORK BY: ROMAN @TELLURRIUM
By: ABDUL RASHIDI
Artificial Pleasure @ Camden Assembly 25/04/2017
Lucrezia Alfonsi gives us the lowdown on Artificial Pleasure’s glam-infused performance at the Camden Assembly.
After listening to Artificial Pleasure’s debut EP “Like Never Before” and being extremely impressed by it, I had great expectations in seeing them live - and indeed, I was right; the London-based band composed of Phil McDonnell (vocals, guitars), Dom Brennan (synths), Lee Jordan (drums) and Rich Zbaraski (guitars) didn’t disappoint. The gig begins quietly, with opening band Stereo Honey trying (but sadly failing) to warm up the atmosphere. The audience doesn’t seem particularly excited by their performance. To be fair to the band, most of the fans are yet to arrive at this point. At 8.40 Stereo Honey finish their opening act and the space at Camden Assembly fills up in no time; the audience continues to arrive in a seemingly endless flow, you can sense the anticipation for the band which is about to play. The stage’s background turns to a bright neon red with blue pois, creating a surreal, spacey atmosphere, perfectly suited to the band’s trippy aesthetic. When the band takes to the stage, the audience erupts in a pleasant turmoil with people singing, screaming and dancing to the rhythms.
Artificial Pleasure (defined by Dork as a band that ‘leaves their mark’) begin their gig with “The Hand On My Shoulder”, a song taken from their debut EP “Like Never Before”; mixing glam, with electro, pop and funk, they carry away the audience into their unique sonic world. The rhythms are very interesting, and at times - as in the song “Like Never Before”, or even in “Bolt from the Blue” (the latter released in 2016, before their debut EP) - it reminds me of Talking Heads, David Bowie or Blondie. The set is structured in a crescendo, starting from newer, less well-known (but always catchy) songs, and moving into the crowd-pleasers, ending with “I’ll Make It Worth Your While” and “All I Got”. As a live act, Artificial Pleasure surprised me. For a band with a relatively light sound on record this was an incredibly energetic performance. This, coupled with great stage presence (frontman Phil’s engagement with the crowd was brilliant, asking how we were, inviting people to dance, and cracking some topical election jokes) made for a fantastic atmosphere. All in all it was a solid performance from a promising and thoroughly down-to-earth band. Here’s hoping we hear some more from them in the future. 017
THE ORWELLS @ SCALA
Jack George Smith witnesses the The Orwells (literally, by the sounds of it) smash Scala.
he Orwells have come to London on a March Tuesday evening, and a bloody cold one at that. Between Scala’s off-white walls and the swarming traffic of King’s Cross, young fans slowly accumulate behind the venue’s barriers. Freshfaced and quietly excited, these kids – and kids they certainly are – remind me of myself when I first saw The Orwells in 2014; the first band I ever saw outside festivals. Before long, however, my nostalgia is interrupted by Grant and Henry Brinner (The Orwells’ rhythm section) appearing up ahead. Confidently making to re-enter the venue, they and their management are aggressively stopped, confronted and searched by bouncers at the door. This would be far from the last altercation between The Orwells and Scala’s bouncers that evening. Without delay the night’s first support take to the stage. London natives Whistlejacket, baggily-garmed in full 80’s-stoner chic, commence their first track with a prolonged synth drone, eventually joined by lumbering, heavy bass and swelling, reverberating guitars. Immediately, Whistlejacket’s heavy borrowing from older 018
shoe-gaze bands such as Slowdive becomes painfully obvious; a sound stale since the early 90’s, and exhausted by its exhumation since 2010. Cripplingly cringey song-writing further compounds this lack of originality, featuring heart-wrenching lyrics such as ‘Just trying to sit here being me, just sit here and smoke my weed’. The drama and excitement of performance are also absent from the static band, who’s best effort at audience interaction is a mumbled reminder ‘We’re Mifflerackit’ offered habitually between the band’s noisy, messily dissonant and ugly tunes. Not to be recommended. The second support of the night were the far-younger, rowdier and better-natured King Nun. With the band appearing no-older than 16, they’re just as poised to give authentic accounts of teenage life as The Orwells were during their Remember When era. After enthusiastically setting themselves up on the stage, the band reappear with frontman Theo explaining they’ve ‘Been told to play some songs’ with a sweet yet knowing smile. Throughout their thrilling, blistering set, the band batter the au-
dience with thunderous drums, controlled feedback and loud-soft dynamics, all enhancing their music’s strong song-writing and varied textures. An obvious comparison in style would be with past Seattle giants Nirvana, already offered so often to the band they themselves have parodied it live by opening all their songs with ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’. However, in a performance setting at least, where the wit, originality and energy of King Nun is obvious, it becomes clear any such dismissive comparison is disingenuous and unfair. Instead, King Nun appear a young, fun band with great potential and an exciting future ahead. In fact, they’re playing Reading and Leeds this year, so why not pop over and see them? Or, as the band suggest, ‘You could buy one of our free singles, you know, so we actually live with that money’. A worthy investment indeed. After King Nun leave the stage a couple guitar strings poorer with the crowd roaring, the house lights gently illuminate the stalls. During King Nun’s energetic set tens more people have been packed in, and streams of people continue to flood through the venue’s doors. Although far from a sell-out, ranks of teenagers ebb-and flow before in stalls, with hawkish older fans staring eagerly at the stage from rearward vantage points. After a period of silence, the lush strings of The Godfather’s theme fill the room, slowly building in intensity over several minutes. The atmosphere in the room is electric. As the music grows in conviction, scores of young fans match it with chants of ‘Orwells’ and ‘Mario’ – the band’s larger than life, blonde bombshell of a frontman.
Suddenly as the theme reaches its iconic climax, under darkness and red lights the band appear and take to their instruments. The crowd roars and feedback wails. Then, clad in a black vest and golden glitter jacket, Mario Cuomo appears. ‘Hello London’, he begins with a half-threatening / half-unhinged intensity in his eyes, ‘We’re The Orwells’. The headliner’s first number is their anthem ‘Black Francis’. Without hesitation, the crowd become animated, bouncing in unison to the song’s steady beat. During the tune’s celebratory choruses Matt O’Keefe and Dominic Corso provide slick, well executed backing vocals. As The Orwells track through their set, it’s clear to see that The Orwells have developed an elevated musical maturity. During the first portion of their set which consisted largely of songs from their new LP ‘Terrible Human Beings’, the band show off slightly more adventurous song writing and Mario a much more controlled vocal delivery. Evidently The Orwells have managed what many lo-fi / garage bands fail to do; achieve a more refined musical style and delivery without compromising their DIY roots. Later in their set the band reverted to the older songs from their ‘Mmad hype days’, as put by their frontman. The songs such as ‘Let It Burn’, ‘Southern Comfort’ and ‘Who Needs You’ were received by the crowd with equal enthusiasm to their newer music; a testament to the enduring appeal of The Orwells among their fans, if not by mainstream music publications such as Pitchfork. Much like their music has matured, the band were noticeably tighter, with only minor hiccups such as frontman Mario Cuomo forget019
ting where he left his microphone during a midsong crowd surf in ‘Hippie Soldier’. Much like their tracks on record, The Orwell’s tunes in a live setting are fun, accessible and catchy, albeit not trying to reinvent the wheel. However, if The Orwells’ music had become more refined musically, their live shows certainly remained rough and chaotic. During the band’s 5th song Vacation, a bouncer grabbed a young crowd-surfing fan as he was dropped by the crowd, inadvertently hurting the fan and crushing several others. With the bouncer neglecting to let go of the teenager, Mario pushed the bouncer into the crowd from behind, with the guard then turning around and facing off with the frontman on stage. Following a short confrontation in which the two men scuffled with each other among the amps, pedals and band member, the bouncer eventually backed down and returned to the barrier. Throughout the alteration, the entire band (including the frontman) seamlessly continued to perform, with Mario only proclaiming he would ‘fuck up’ the bouncer should he ‘grab another child’s neck’ after the song’s conclusion. The calm handling of the affair by the band suggests such altercations were not atypical of an Orwells live show. Furthermore, during the show’s encore of (consisting of crowd-pleasers ‘Head’ and ‘The Righteous One’) Mario proceeded to scale a large stack of amplifiers, climbing onto the venue’s balcony and attempting to jump about 8 ft. into the sea of skinny teenagers below. Although impressive and entirely Rock & Roll, it’s a certainty such a stunt performed by a man of Mario’s stature would have injured several of the kids in notso-densely packed stalls below, should another bouncer not grabbed him as he leaped.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY: EJ OAKLEY 021
Circa Waves @ O2 Forum Kentish Town 31/03/2017 Hughie Rogers-Coltman catches indie boys Circa Waves at the Kentish Forum.
pproaching the O2 Forum Kentish Town I’m struck by the number of teens gathered in huddles on the street. They’re clad in baggy t shirts, vans and white socks, the occasional pair of dungarees – the enduring uniform of the indie kid. They fulfill the familiar rituals, pouring vodka into water bottles and memorising the date of birth on their mate’s ID. A girl on her phone looks anxiously around (‘we’re by the entrance, where are you?’). I’m hit by a wave of nostalgia (strange given that I’m barely older than them), as I remember identical scenes at my first gig. The crowd here is one that will always exist – shy teens venturing outside the top 40 for the first time and beginning to discover decent music. 5 years ago they might have been here for The Vaccines, 10 years ago it was 022
probably The Kooks. Circa Waves are shaping up to be that band for the Snapchat generation. When we enter the venue support band The Magic Gang have just kicked off proceedings. They’re a band I’ve heard of in passing, but judging by the reaction of the crowd they have a pretty big following in the 14-17 age bracket. Their sound is slow-paced guitar-driven pop with a slightly grungey tinge, and the young crowd are going nuts for it. The highlight is ‘No Fun’, a very old-school alternative sounding anthem. It’s a fun performance from a promising band. Then the main event gets underway. The whole stage is plunged into darkness as the band walk on and launch into the opening riff of ‘Wake Up’, the first song on new album Different Creatures. It’s a belter of a track and the band are tight on it. Smoke machines and strobes are carefully coordinated with the music, as frontman Kieran Shudall casts a deadly serious glare over the crowd. The whole performance is slick – perhaps too much so. All of the synchronised lighting and guitar solos leave a lingering sense of gimmicky showmanship. It’s the sort of performance I imagine you’d get from Lower Than Atlantis or You Me at Six, not a self-professed indie band. Different Creatures is, as the name suggests, a change in direction for the band, moving on from the sunny indie pop of Young Chasers to a ‘heavier’ sound and attitude. It’s hardly an original move. Ever since Suck it and See it’s been standard fare for indie bands to don leather jackets and claim they’ve got a darker sound, usually by ripping off a few Queens of the Stone Age riffs. I think this as the band reel off more perfectly-rehearsed hits. ‘Goodbye’ is another polished riff-heavy rock
tune, and there’s a fast-paced version of first-album hit ‘Get Away’. The crowd, however, are loving every second of it. It’s great to see a crowd so obviously in love with the band, moshing and crowd-surfing. It’s the kind of enthusiasm that can be brought out when the crowd is mainly made up of teens at their first or their second gig. The last time I was at this venue I saw Parquet Courts – surely a far more interesting band than Circa Waves – but I can’t remember people having half as much fun as they are here. Looking
word-perfect teens around me will ever forget this gig, and that is something worthwhile in itself. Doubtless in five or ten years’ time many of them will scoff at the indie band du jour, but bands like Circa Waves will always have an important role to play. After an exhausting hour of music, including every song off of the new album, Circa Waves return to the stage for a 3-song encore. They end with a rendition of their biggest hit, ‘T-Shirt Weather’, and the young crowd throw themselves into it. Big mosh-pits open up and
It’s great to see a crowd
so obviously in love with the band, moshing and crowd-surﬁng.
at the faces around me I realise that I and my friend are actually the oldest people in the main part of the crowd. The thought occurs that I’ve actually been looking at this band the wrong way. To say that Circa Waves are unoriginal is to miss the point. While I might find their music derivative and forgettable, to their fanbase it is anything but. I doubt that many of the
collapse into themselves, and girls on peoples’ shoulders get pulled over the barriers by bouncers. This is party music, and Circa Waves do it well. Are they the future of guitar music? Probably not. But they belong to an important tradition of entry-level indie, and for that, I think, they deserve our respect.
Photo by: Samir Hussein
The Weeknd @ O2 Arena
James Witherspoon sees The Weeknd and falls in love with his live show.
nsurprisingly, the queue stretching around the artificial streets of Greenwich’s O2 Arena for The Weeknd’s ‘Legend of the Fall’ tour had reached the 1.5 hour mark before the gates even opened. The excited audience, perpetually in need of a toilet break as a consequence of drinking far too much reasonably priced alcohol before the show, slowly make their way in through a single gate (come on O2, what you playing at?) to the cavernous, soundproofed, and blacked out auditorium. Indeed, an electric atmosphere occupies the entire venue – Abel Tesfaye has a distinct aura that surrounds him: an enigma, constantly reinventing his image with every new album and every new sound. An inventor, who has weaved stories of being the dark, brooding, and mysterious drugged-up misogynist of the ‘Trilogy’ mixtapes; who struggled with the harshness of the real world in the horror-movie like ‘KissLand’; who debated selling his soul to the devil in the monumentally successful ‘Beauty Behind the Madness’; and who is now an unassailable juggernaut – one of the most unlikely rises to vertical stardom – in the scintillating, shining form of ‘Starboy’. As the first groups of ticket holders entered the venue, we were ‘treated’ to a rather uninspiring DJ mix from a London artist who I didn’t quite catch the name of. I’m going to skip over this one a bit because I only caught the tail end of what was going on; but what I did see wasn’t very interesting, to say the least. It didn’t help 024
that it appeared as if the sound mixers were turned right down in the stadium leading to an absence of melody and an overly prominent (not to mention rather unattractive) echoing bass. Following on from this was a surprise entry – Lil Uzi Vert. Fresh off the hype train from his viral hit ‘Bad and Boujee’, he entered the stage with an infectious energy. Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, his set just wasn’t constructed to stick and left a sour taste in the mouth. For one, there appeared to be more sound issues – all we could really hear was a bass beat and Lil Uzi’s vocals; with no actual melody in sight. Secondly, the man himself appeared to be mouthing everything instead of actually singing (for extended periods, he held the mic to his side) jumping around. This led to a widespread sense of anticlimactic boredom throughout the arena, with only the front row (with whom the rapper was mingling) seeming to feel the hype. Song wise, not being an expert of the artist himself I only really recognised one or two of the tracks, but everything pretty much sounded the same: a chaotic jumble of ‘braahhh’s’ and ‘yaaah’s’. Vert was followed by a slightly more on-form Bryson Tiller, whose specially constructed set, lighting, and sound reflected his permanent place on the LOTF tour. Together with his brother as an MC, and a dedicated drummer/keyboardist team, he was able to muster
some enthusiasm from what turned out to be a pretty hard to please crowd. Although reception to hits ‘Don’t’ and ‘Exchange’ proved to be rather raucous, the sound mix just wasn’t quite on point once more and the Kentucky-style hype machine couldn’t pay off on a British audience. I admit, it’s a hard job for a warm-up act to get a crowd moving, and from my experience a rarely successful one, but in this case a decent effort was made. It helps that the artist himself had a rather dedicated cult following, and some pretty idiosyncratic tracks that distinguish him from the rest of the pack. At last, after what had seemed an eternity, a giant cosmic triangular spaceship thingymajig descended from the roof, just about touching the crowd in the standing area below, and began to arch upwards as if to launch into space. With a flurry of ambient beats, blinding strobes, and rhythmic light patterns across the installation; The Weeknd emerged onto the crucifix shaped promenade to unleash what turned out to be a caffeinated shot of a set, waving away any woes from the previous performances. Underneath the ingeniously shifting light object thing (its components tilt, raise, and fall throughout the show, accompanied with various lighting effects fitted to the music), Tesfaye treated the assembled crowds to a medley of what almost amounted to greatest hits (unusual given his rise to prominence only recently) from his earliest works to his number one album last November. Needless to say the crowd was loving every minute of it: having an hour and a half of fantastic songs you know the lyrics and the melodies to is something quite magical, and with the artist’s audience interaction, it was easy to feel part of something big, colourful, and immensely exciting. Earlier album hits such as ‘Often’ and ‘Wicked Games’ soundtracked the majority of the evening, though ‘Starboy’ material was given an airing too, with stunning renditions of ‘Sidewalks’ and ‘Reminder’ tiding newer fans over on the November material. Tesfaye proved to be an accommodating host, addressing the audience as friends. One wonders how he would’ve acted 5 years ago, when enigma was still a key part of the experience. Still, it
makes sense for an artist to connect with their fans on a more personal level and with interesting vocal freestyling, it was made explicitly clear that this concert wasn’t subsisting of a backing-tape. The sound-mix was restored in full glory, with deep and full sounding melodies being pumped to their nexus through the speaker system – and not a hint of overclock on the bass to be detected. Indeed, The Weeknd played a trick in leaving the best till last - the crowd seemed naïve as to not expect an encore – and began to silently walk out after ‘I Feel it Coming’. Abel blasted onto stage once more to aggressive strobing, and deep hues of blue/red to perform a mind blowing trio of the cathartically hard rock-chorused ‘False Alarm’, a gloriously hardened version of ‘House of Balloons/Glass Table Girls’ with an absolutely kickass guitar solo; and of course the smart, somewhat disturbing, and catchy chart-topper ‘The Hills’. This one-twothree donkey punch proved to be the perfect end to a night that had steadily escalated in greatness until the very last minute – how it should be. All in all, the Legend of the Fall concert was a night of queueing, so-so performances, and overpriced beer; but the lead attraction put on such a show that it was hard not to love the event as a whole. Through a combination of an eclectic set-list, energising audience interaction, and an absolutely stunning sculptural centrepiece, The Weeknd carved an appropriately beautiful neon ambience, occupied with the awe-inspiring and the seedy simultaneously, and thus engineered the perfect live representation of his alter ego. Smaller gigs may be fun and intimate, but it’s good to experience something on this scale now and then – a near Biblical evocation of popular culture. I think it’s safe to say that the 7th March was a high point…
photography by: patrick gunning
VANT @ Electric Ballroom Hannah Abrey talks about VANT treating Camden to a performance of political punk rock, at its absolute best.
aving dubbed this band as one to watch out for, their debut album blew my mind (just be careful to chose the deluxe version over the standard one). First seeing VANT in November at Scala, I had really high hopes for this gig. It’s empowering to hear a band that speak against the inappropriate behaviour that some women are subjected to at gigs, something VANT spoke of as they introduced their song ‘Parking Lot’, which is about this very issue. It was a fitting last song to their Electric Ballroom set.
The attitude that Mattie Vant and co. have to make a difference with this album is something admirable, but also something that is increasingly possible, in light of their storming tour which culminated in this final, sold-out gig at Electric Ballroom. From the very beginning of the evening, frontman Mattie pursued the role of crowd entertainer. He started off by scaling the light staging during their opening songs; like a chimpanzee practicing some acrobatics with total ease. He followed this by then becoming the director of the crowd, encouraging us all to crouch down on the floor, which was a pretty impressive thing to do considering the 1,100 capacity of Electric Ballroom. Of course, one individual had to be awkward and remain standing, despite Mattie’s commands for him to join in with the rest of the crowd. But this didn’t stop the Mattie Vant show; he still proceeded to embrace a coat being chucked on stage, and decided to place it on his head as the band performed. The band’s last two songs were delayed; VANT had printed their own version of money, and wanted to distribute it to the crowd. Their
notes feature defaced pictures of Trump, with the slogan ‘Authority Demands Conformity’ under the Trump image. It was surreal seeing people barge each other out of the way to get a note for themselves; it made it seem like the notes were of monetary value. But if anything, these people were fighting over something more than just money; the political values and questioning nature that the band encourage in their fans.
BLOOD tour lived up to.
The issues that VANT’s lyrics voice show that music has the ability not only make us aware of political issues, but can provide the appropriate medium in which to inspire political change. For one of their releases off the album, ‘Peace & Love’, the band filmed a YouTube video for the song, travelling to Kiev and Amman, during the period in which both places were in absolute turmoil. Additionally, after Trump was elected, Mattie flew over to the US to be a part of the Women’s March and stand-up against Trump’s bizarre politics. The band’s fearlessness to be seen penetrating the world’s political sphere is reflected in their fearless riffs, lyrics and energetic on stage performances. Somehow, they manage to create a harmony between politics and music; something that their final gig of the DUMB
Ultimately, it is reassuring that in 2017 bands like this, with these good ideals, are part of the music scene. It is even more reassuring that those people who pack out the audience at a VANT gig embody these very same ideals; particularly when we experience political turmoil all around us. VANT are a must listen.
Of course, some of their singles off the new album are more light-hearted. For example, ‘Do You Know Me’ focuses on Mattie’s previous role in a call-centre, and the mundane nature of that job; a rather stark reminder of how mundane our own lives can be. It’s a relief that we have bands like VANT to break through such dullness.
PHOTO BY: ALICIA ABU JABER
Let’s Get Brutal: Ed Sheeran James’s feature is back, and more brutal than ever. Sorry Ed.
PHOTO BY: @HER__GARDEN
he world is a rough place. In the past we’ve faced natural disasters, world wars, genocide, nuclear fallout, and crime of every imaginable kind. But finally, in 2017, we have discovered something worse than all of those things: Ed Sheeran’s ‘÷’. An album so relentlessly shit, so impossibly, inexplicably, fucking awful that if you believed in a God before, it’s almost certainly going to change your mind. Indeed, to write this honest and impartial review I, myself, was forced to listen to an hour of the worst sounds committed to recordable disc – sounds so bad that, in fact, they invented a new colour that was beiger than beige. They invented a new dish that was plainer than plain pasta. And they out-One Directioned One Direction. ‘÷’ may just be the worst album ever made. There’s bad, there’s bad bad, and there’s ‘÷’ bad. If you’re feeling good today, it’ll cast you into a spiral of deep depression and if you’re already cast into a spiral of deep depression, I urge you strongly not to press play. For your own safety. Please. Of course, the first problem that one faces when contemplating listening to this magnum opus of awfulness is how to listen to it. Actually buying it (on CD or iTunes) is out of the question, but if you play it on Spotify, then your friends will see that you’re listening to it. Which is worse? Eventually, I discovered ‘secret mode’ in the streaming service which would allow me to suffer in privacy. Here we go. The album begins with ‘|raser’ in which Sheeran decides that he’s a Soundcloud rapper, clumsily stacking rhymes like a crappily shuffled deck of cards. He barely structures or considers the rhythms of his lyric and often pauses on a syllable or at the end of a line for an uncomfortable length of time. Seriously? Even children with no talent can string togeth-
er some lines that sound passable. It’s honestly like listening to a genuine version of Filthy Frank’s ‘Politikz (with a z)’ as he sings ‘I’m a lyrical spiritual miracle individual/ real hip hop is back, it’s the white boy who said it’. The difference is that the latter was a parody, whereas Sheeran plays it straight. Unfortunately, anything positive from the previous paragraph is lost with the mind-numbingly awful ‘Castle on the Hill’, in which Sheeran performs an excruciatingly commercialised love song guitar ballad. He is, of course, all too eager to stress his ‘common man’ appeal. Seriously though, Ed, we don’t give a flying fuck if you were ‘smoking hand-rolled cigarettes’ at 15. The reality is that you can’t write a decent song with any genuine emotion, uniqueness, or purpose – and instead subsist on shitty, samey, Chainsmokers-awful acoustic guitar that’ll pull in the big bucks but see you forgotten in music history a decade after your death. I can’t work out if the song has changed or not, but going by my laptop screen, it appears as if we’re now listening to ‘Dive’. Yes, it’s another excruciatingly sentimental, commercial, and entirely dull guitar ballad that sounds the same as ‘Castle on the Hill’. ‘I could fall, or I could fly / Here in your aeroplane’ – what the fuck does that mean? Or what about ‘And jumping in harder than / Ten thousand rocks on the lake’? Ten thousand? For a start, what an arbitrary number. And how do ten thousand rocks either jump into a lake (unless they are, in fact, sentient beings) or ‘jump in harder’ than just one rock or a normal person? And, assuming we adapted this imbecile logic, which we won’t, then how the hell is Ed Sheeran able to jump in harder than ten thousand of these rocks which presumably jumped in pretty hard themselves? Hell, how big even are these rocks? As these existential questions drifted through my mind, I failed to concentrate during ‘Shape 031
of You’ – however, rest assured you’ve heard it by now and already know it’s entirely shite. Shakira-esque faux-calypso, an annoying refrain, and ridiculously stupid Luther fucking Vandross ‘love’ crap that you’d either have to be 12, musically illiterate, or just an idiot to appreciate in any way possible. Indeed, the rest of the album plays out as if ‘Saw’ were crossed with ‘Groundhog Day’, reliving the same damn thing again and again – except it consists of your ears being ripped off by a broken guitar with a ginger wig whilst a 13 year old girl screams incessantly and you drown in piles of money. Bizarrely, it still made me want to fall asleep. I guess listening to 16 iterations of the same track does that to you. There is no artistic merit here. No reason for any of these songs to exist other than to pull in the cash. There’s no passion, or any intention to make something worthwhile. I may dislike Taylor Swift’s music, but in her soulless pop ballads, there is at least something genuine. She believes she’s making something better than that. Sheeran? He must know this is a pile of shite. Genuine indeed.
proves, he has the intelligence and actual life experience of an amoeba. It’s a cultural ground zero, a blast zone devoid of life, skill, or any merit whatsoever. It’s the worst type of music, locked inside a freeze-drier so that anything left of substance is sucked out. It’s an awful, calculating (couldn’t you tell by the title?), and soulless album that leaves absolutely nothing left to praise. It’s fucking shite: really fucking shite. Nothing as awful as this has ever been produced on the music spectrum, and nothing ever will. How will I ever be able to write another angry review? ‘÷’ makes that Mardi Gras album I trashed look like David fucking Bowie. I’m done. 2017 is now worse that 2016.
By: JAMES WITHERSPOON
Some songs do, however, stand out. The peculiar ‘Galway Girl’ takes a cruelly appropriated ‘Irish’ background track, and splices it with lyrics about playing the fiddle, life in a bar, and going to ceilidhs. Seriously? What the actual fuck is this? Again, it’s part of that whole faux ‘common man’ image but the stereotypical content makes it doubly obvious that it’s a sure fraud. Sheeran probably hasn’t been to Ireland, probably hasn’t met a girl in a bar, and definitely has never fallen in love. If he had, then these lyrics couldn’t be as incessantly twee – they’d be less like the Hollywood concept of life and less like an unstoppable money-making machine. It is mentioned multiple times on ‘÷’ that Ed Sheeran did not visit university. Although he seems to believe this paints him as genuine, it clearly didn’t do him any favours: as ‘÷’ 032
ARTWORK BY: @ANOTHER90SGUY
Should Punk Stay Or Should It Go? EJ Oakley takes a closer look at the age-old question of whether punk is dead, and finds quite the opposite: the sentiments behind the genre may have changed, and it may have but a shadow of its former social relevance, but punk is very much alive and kicking despite todayâ€™s naysayers.
God save the Queen,” is the first line that Sex Pistols frontman Johnny Rotten snarls on the band’s seminal 1977 single, titled exactly that. Even if you have no idea who Johnny Rotten and the Sex Pistols are – in which case you might just have been living under a rock for most of your lifetime – the monikers should leave you in no doubt that this song is hardly meant to rally the nation together in unflinching support for the monarchy. And unsurprisingly enough, Rotten immediately follows up that normally oh-so-patriotic line with – for those of you that know it, sing along! – a hearty cry of, “The fascist regime!”. Unsurprisingly, it raised enough eyebrows back in the day to warrant a boycott by both the BBC and the IBA, and its peak at second place on the UK Singles Chart led to widespread accusations that the charts had been fixed to prevent an anti-establishment hymn
God Save the Queen was only the beginning
from reaching the top spot. Such an anarchical upset couldn’t even have been passed off as unexpected. The Labour government’s rule was only fostering serious industrial discontent, and the country was just two years away from seeing the election of Margaret Thatcher and the dawn of a new (and equally tumultuous) Conservative regime. It should therefore come as no surprise, to both ardent punk fans and those completely ignorant of the genre, that God Save the Queen was only the beginning. The punk movement burst to the forefront of the British music scene in the 70s thanks to the foul-mouthed antics of Johnny Rotten and co. on national television; and the genre reached its peak in the 80s headed by the likes of The Clash, X-Ray Spex, and The Slits. Each of the bands involved in the punk scene had their 034
own uniquely identifying traits – to name a few, the distinctive voice of The Clash’s Joe Strummer, the unconventional addition of a saxophonist to X-Ray Spex’s lineup, and the complete and utter inability of the Sex Pistols’ bassist Sid Vicious to actually play the bass live. But these bands all initially shared one thing in common. Abrasive guitar music, bemoaning all manner of faults with the nation, was the flag they flew; rallying thousands under their politically-charged attacks on destructive socio-economic constructs. The Clash’s first single White Riot, inspired by a large altercation in Notting Hill, took aim at the blatantly racist attitudes of the Metropolitan Police at the time; while Oh Bondage, Up Yours presented a scathing critique of consumerist capitalism. But that isn’t to say that the genre remained stuck in its guitar-oriented, distortion-driven ways. The Clash, at the forefront of punk
throughout the 80s, paved the way for a more experimental approach to punk through their incorporation of funk, jazz, and African rhythms in their later albums London Calling and Combat Rock. Punk had always been about subversion; whether it meant a musical diversion from the norm, or an ideological safe haven for those who were discontented with the state of the nation. It is this notion of refuge amidst a turbulent political and socio-economic climate that draws young and old alike to the genre today, even as the decades continue to fly by. No society is perfect. So by that logic, shouldn’t punk always have a place in music, as an outlet for protest and a cry for change? The answer isn’t that simple. 2016 in the UK saw the dawn of what was officially declared
“the year of the safety pin”, with a nationwide celebration of the 40th anniversary of punk. The festivities spread far and wide, much to the horror of hard-line fans of the genre – respectable, age-old institutions like the British Library hosted exhibitions proclaiming the glory of the scene; overturning the reputation and legacy of punk itself as the ever-present, loyal opposition to the establishment. The year-long festival itself was given royal approval by the Queen herself; the very target of Johnny Rotten’s vitriol all those forty years ago. And as if that wasn’t testament enough to the death of punk and all it stood for, Johnny Rotten himself (now peaceably going under his real name John Lydon) stated in an interview with the Quietus this year that he “would miss the Queen when she died”. The irony of this is not lost on some. Joe Corré, son of punk icons Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood, burnt £5 million worth of punk memorabilia in a highly controversial protest against the acceptance of punk into the norm today. “Punk has become another marketing tool to sell you something you don’t need,” he proclaimed, just before setting fire to one of the largest collections of records, fashion, and collectibles from the era. It’s not hard to see where he’s coming from, either – the effectiveness of a ‘counter-culture’ dies with widespread acceptance. This leads us back to the question at hand – is the sentiment behind punk completely dead and gone today? Before we go on to look at that question, it makes sense to look at the genre with a more rounded scope, and to consider the similar punk revolution that also began across the pond in the 70s. Early American punk is perhaps best known for propagating destruction, anarchy, and mindless fury – rebellion without a cause to contrast against Britain’s generally more organised movements. The likes of Black Flag, T.S.O.L., and The Dead Kennedys – arguably the most well-lauded American punk bands – originated in California, which eventually grew into a hotspot for rowdy, sweat-drenched gigs and nightly fighting within crowds. It is the legacy of this vein of punk that mostly lives on today in modern American punk bands, even if the genre has transformed itself altogether.
The boozing-and-cruising lifestyle didn’t sit well with others, though. A separate vein of punk – the straight-edge movement – was later spawned by Ian MacKaye, the frontman of another seminal punk band, Minor Threat. Straight-edge, aptly named for its followers’ refusal to partake in the excessive vices and violence that the hardcore punk movement enjoyed so much, soon became a notable force of its own; a counter-revolution within the punk revolution itself. While still outnumbered by those who believed that punk was almost synonymous with hedonism, straight-edge punks were easily identifiable by an X drawn on their clothing or backs of their hands – funnily enough, the same X is drawn on the backs of under-aged concert-goers’ hands
revival at the beginning of the decade is illustrative of this, ushering a new wave of lo-fi performers into the spotlight – notably skate punk giants FIDLAR (an abbreviation for ‘Fuck It, Dog, Life’s A Risk’) and fuzz rock multi-instrumentalist Ty Segall. But arguably, the punk bands that are the most popular today fly a very different flag to their predecessors. The raw, unbridled anger of the 70s hardcore movement has been replaced with an unrelenting, almost stoic sense of apathy. The time for destruction is over. In an age where skateboard culture is popular once more (courtesy of some highly-criticised fashion choices by the Kardashians and Kanye West) and the legalisation of cannabis is a top concern for many teenagers across the UK and the USA,
Punk has ultimately begun to embrace a new ethos - to wake, bake, and skate.
in America today as a sign that they can’t be served alcohol. Straight-edge remained a small sub-culture within another sub-culture, and never even came close to achieving force majeure status within the music world. But its ideals endure to this day; embraced by a small number of punk and metal bands active today such as Rise Against, and even rappers like Hopsin. And what of American punk today? The dawn of the new millennium has seen its evolution into an amorphous, multi-sub-genred creature, garnering growing acceptance as the popularity of alternative rock increases amongst the youth of today. The recent punk 036
punk has ultimately begun to embrace a new ethos – to wake, bake, and skate. Or, in other terms, to do nothing useful to society at all. This is, of course, hugely dissonant from the rage-fuelled war cries of the 70s. The music is as energetic as ever, and includes the same blistering riffs and punchy basslines that the genre is famous for. But the message it sends is no longer the same. Within this observation itself is the main criticism, and perhaps the largest problem that American punk faces today. Did punk die when it calmed down, and moved from being about destroying everything to doing nothing? Arguably not. The multi-faceted nature of
punk in America today and the lowering median age of bands breaking into the scene means that the problems touched on by the genre are now mostly orientated around the growing pains of adolescence – and it is a commonly known fact that adolescence is the stage at which everyone has the most to worry about, for very valid reasons. In a world where children are expected to choose a career path before they hit 17 and own at least two degrees before getting a “professional” job; in an age of soaring unemployment and more academic pressure than ever, doing nothing at all is perhaps the biggest form of rebellion against social norms that one could visualise – rich or poor. Whether conveyed through paeans to smalltown suburban angst by garage rock bands like Chicago’s The Orwells, or the golden dream of endless lazy days shared by surf punk bands like San Diego’s Wavves; American punk remains the same at its heart. It is the age-old idea of not giving in to The Man, minus the excessive violence of the hardcore punk scene, and with all the benefits abstained from by the straight-edge movement. Through the lens of the present, instead of the past, it should be clear that American punk is alive and kicking, and here to stay in this age of unrest. As for the British question, the answer is not only applicable to the UK, but also to punk scenes all over the world. And the answer itself is that punk, as a genre propagating vocal dissent against the flaws in society, is no longer as relevant to engineering social change as it was in its glory days. Rap is taking over as the new protest music; the new voice of unresolved anger and prominent social inequality. In the UK this has manifested as grime, a harder-hitting cousin of American hip hop created by the likes of Wiley and Dizzee Rascal in the past decade and popularised today by artists such as Stormzy, Kano, and Mercury Prize winner Skepta. The rise of rap (and subsequently, the fall of punk) as a genre influencing social awareness is hardly unwelcome, and couldn’t be called unpredictable. Today’s millennials are equally concerned with the state of the
government and racial politics, and accordingly, are starting to pay attention to accounts of injustice and inequality from those who actually face such struggles on a day-to-day basis. The rising traction and influence of grime artists who give a voice to the struggle of working-class ethnic minorities in areas of London rife with crime and violence is completely parallel to the immense popularity of rap and hip hop (notably Kanye West’s Black Skinhead and Alright) as protest anthems in the USA. This is the time of the Black Lives Matter movement; the rise of feminism and social awareness. And to give previously unheard voices a seat at the table, punk must therefore take a step backwards, out of the limelight it once enjoyed. There are those in the punk scene who share this sentiment too. “A punk band these days could never be as angsty or as in-your-face as the most pissed-off rap record,” says Matt O’Keefe, guitarist for The Orwells. “No matter what, that album is usually tougher and cooler and more badass… We can keep saying, ‘Ah, I’m pissed off!’ but it falls a little flat.” It is a strangely pessimistic observation for a musician currently active in the punk scene, but a relevant one nonetheless. Today, punk continues to endure as a musical genre, stylistically abrasive and tonally aggressive – but gone is its seat at the head of the table as a generator of social change. Neither does that mean that the genre should no longer be enjoyed, or be considered obsolete. As Kanye West once said, “We’re all gonna be dead in a hundred years. Let the kids have the music.” And with punk, perhaps that is exactly what we should do.
P A R T Y H A R D L Y
arty Hardly are one of many currently attacking the capital from the North, proving that South London isn’t the only place teeming with talent. Jake Crossland catches up with the 4 piece tasked with injecting slacker rock with something a little more lively.
UnCL: Could you describe the sound of Party Hardly in one sentence? PH: Wobbly chorus-soaked garagey guitar pop with a hint of Britpop. UnCL: Was there a specific moment which prompted you to form a band? How did you meet? PH: I’ve been in bands and such since a young teen - Party Hardly started off more as just a writing project with a friend before I went to university. It wasn’t until the start of last year that me, Lachlan, Matt and Stan got together and decided to take the experience to a live stage. Me and Stan knew each other through bands and gigging in Birmingham before moving to Leeds but we met Lachlan and Matt up here! UnCL: How did the collaboration with Witchgirl Recordings come about? PH: I’m pretty sure Harley (Witchgirl Recordings) got hold of our first double A-single and digged our sound, he just asked us to join the family and knowing the ethics of the label, and being fans of some of their previous releases (Peach Club and Teen Brains), we were all happy to jump on board! UnCL: How have you been enjoying the response to the new single? PH: The response has been great so far, it was great being picked up by CLASH magazine and all the other publications who have shouted about it. We’re just happy to finally get things out there and rolling: we went through a period of not releasing anything during 2016 and now we’ve released four tracks so far in 2017 with more on the way! UnCL: What’s the new single all about? PH: I guess the stories behind both singles ‘Have We Got Time’ and ‘Oh My God’ compliment each other in some way or form, they’re both kind of about teenage innocence and having
to grow up and leave that behind along with friends that you’ve grown up with, as the real world hits you and everyone around you. It’s also about the fact we are all more vulnerable to life and it’s problems than we think sometimes, in my case this is true anyway! UnCL: Who would you say are your band heroes? PH: Oooh too many to mention I’m sure but Lou Reed is a big one for us. David Bowie and Mark Linkous too! UnCL: What’s planned for the future? Will there be a full tour coming soon? PH: We’re heading back into the studio at the end of May to record another single which we’re excited to get out, and hopefully play a few more shows up and down the country for the rest of the year. We’ve got a couple of big shows coming up in October that we can’t wait to announce. A tour would be nice at some point, we’ll see how it goes! UnCL: Where would you like to see Party Hardly go next? PH: I’m not really sure, I’d love to tour at some point, but we just want to keep releasing music that we enjoy and people like hopefully, that’s what makes it all worth while to us. When we don’t enjoy writing music and when people don’t like our songs that’s when we know we need to stop! UnCL: What new music would you recommend to people? PH: YOWL’s new song ‘My Headache Likes to Speak’ is really good and we really dig Leeches’ new EP. Check them both out! UnCL: Start a rumour about Party Hardly. PH: Matt was the guitarist in The Hunna, but the fame went to his head... 039
O U R G I R L
By: JAKE CROSSLAND
ur Girl offer their own uniquely melancholic take on grunge, with sweetly sung and softly spoken vocals sitting comfortably alongside mind-melting riffs. Both live and on record, each member - Soph on guitar and vocals, Lauren on drums and Josh on bass - is in complete control, despite the chaos they unleash. Their distorted and prolonged outros are just as beautiful as when Soph takes a solo number. I caught up with the three-piece to talk band heroes, their upcoming debut and future plans.
UnCL: Was there one specific moment which prompted you to form a band? Lauren: I was 12yrs old when I formed my first band - haha! It was with two friends and my sister (who was only 10 yrs old at the time!). I saw the video for Queens of the Stone Age - No One Knows on the TV when I was around 10/11 yrs old and Dave Grohl is playing the drums. There’s this bit where he’s playing a really long fill and just smashing it and shaking his head around, that changed my life. I knew I wanted to play drums and be in a band then! Josh: Me and Soph met in Brighton and I knew she had some songs so I kept asking to hear them as I had a suspicion that they were going to be great. We were playing guitar in her basement a few weeks later and after showing me the tracks she asked me if I could play bass and wanted to be in a band. :o Soph had met Lauren before and they got emailing, we met for a practice in London and the rest is ancient history. UnCL: Who would you say are your band heroes? L: I love Arcade Fire, they’re just so cool. And also Warpaint. Soph: Yeah they’re both total heroes for me too. And St. Vincent, Portishead, Radiohead. So many! J: Fleet Foxes for sure. UnCL: You recently announced you’d gotten funding to record a debut album. How is it coming along? L: Yes - we’re super excited! We’re going to be recording it over the summer, so no actual recording has happened yet, just lots of planning.
We all have quite busy schedules, so we plan far in advance. S: We’ve been playing together for a while now, and gigged so many of the songs that we want to put on the album. We’re also working on super new ones which feels really exciting, it’s refreshing to think about creating sounds in a slightly different way to playing live. UnCL: Will the album deal with similar lyrical themes to the Normally EP? S: Yes I think so, mainly because some of the songs on it were written during a similar time in my life. It’s always hard to define a theme when it just comes out of your feelings or thoughts though. UnCL: Does the band only record songs written by you (Soph) or do you share songwriting duties? J: The songwriting comes from Soph. Myself and Lauren will hear them first at practice or through demos. We’ll come up with our own parts, or collaborate on parts, and sometimes we’ll have an input on arrangement, while sometimes Soph will have a specific vision as to how everything should sound in relation to the initial idea or feeling of the song. S: Yeah exactly. Sometimes the idea is very fully formed and sometimes there are lots of gaps we need to fill. It’s one of my favourite feelings to be in a practice room with Josh and Loz and feel the songs come alive. UnCL: Are the songs written with the heavier sound or do they take that on when the whole band 041
play them together? L: I guess there’s a feel before the song is fully formed with drums and bass, but it definitely gets heavier when we’re all playing together and adding in the drums especially. S: Yeah definitely. Even if it feels heavy in my head, we can never fully realise that until we add the bass and drums on and play it really loud. UnCL: How does the band manage to balance your time between Our Girl and other bands (The Big Moon, Breathe Panel, etc.)? J: We manage to balance everything pretty well I think, fitting in shows and recording here and there, there’s a lot of days in a year! S: There are a lot of days in a year! And more often than not everything fits together and falls into place - we’re lucky! UnCL: Will there be a full tour coming soon? L: We’re very excited to be going on tour with Marika Hackman over the summer. And we’ll hopefully be doing some more touring before the end of the year too! S: Yeah definitely, absolutely can’t wait for that tour. UnCL: Finally, who would you recommend people listen to? L: At the moment I’m really into Sneaks (https:// www.facebook.com/sneaksweb/), Sevdaliza (https://www.facebook.com/SEVDALIZAMUSIC/). J: Land Observations. S: Francobollo. UnCL: Thanks for speaking with us!
H O R S E Y
By: jake crossland
orsey are weird - like properly weird. Naive lyrics are soundtracked by a strange patchwork of dark jazz, lounge music and urgent guitar stabs. They’re the soundtrack to a montage of children’s nightmares. Nothing in the UK sounds anything like these four friends from childhood do. No-one in the UK answers questions in quite the same way.
UnCL: How did you guys get together as a group? There were forces beyond our control drawing us towards the abandoned log cabins on the south side of town. Each night for months our dreams were filled with the scent of pine sap and dry kindling. One such night under a full moon - when the dreams had been so strong that we tasted the forest’s musk in our mouths and its wet mud between our toes – we awoke suddenly from our dreams, tangled next to each other, thick with sweat and writhing naked on the bare floor of cabin 7. How had we got there? What time was it? These were the poorly tensed questions that ran through our minds and poured from our mouths. Then suddenly, in the corner of the room, we saw them... A drum kit, made from wood A wooden bass A guitar, wood no less And a piano. A wooden fucking piano. Horsey was born. UnCL: What do you listen to together? Distant traffic, ambient voices, the wet sound of breath on the soft underside of a lover’s neck, the Beatles. Anything we can get our hands on really. UnCL: There’s a bit of a ‘scene’ in South London at the moment. Do you feel closely related to that group? As close as almonds & honey in the amalgamation of marzipan. You’re not quite sure who they are, but it’s served to you on a platter at your grandmothers 80th birthday, it sort of makes sense. 044
UnCL: There’s a few illustrators in the band. How closely related is the artwork and the music? Do they influence each other? Yes. UnCL: Your lyrics are pretty darkly absurd. What inspires you to write? The desire to have lyrics for our songs. UnCL: The sound is almost a clash between lots of different genres - how did that come about? I have honestly no idea, there is no planning involved in our writing process. Genre is also not something we think about when we write. It’s all about dem feels. UnCL: What would you recommend people listen to? Les Mystère Des Voix Bulgares? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IZ4LCejQg8o UnCL: What’s the plan for Horsey? Where do you go from here? New releases? New shows? More Tunes, more Money and also hopefully more Bitcoin investments.
f e e t By: Hannah Abrey
ni bands seem to be ten a plenty in London, so it was refreshing to speak to a band from Coventry, who are one of only a few at their uni. With a DIY spirit, a never-ending set of gigs, and an ever-changing sound; it was great having the opportunity to talk to these guys. To quote the boys Facebook page: “FEET… was really a distraction for its members from their endless bowls of pasta and lonely nights due to their poor game. The band then quickly projected from a boozy side project, to a realistic excuse to discuss dropping out of uni.” I caught up with them roughly 1 year after forming, already with 1 European tour and 40 shows in the bag, with another European tour coming up this summer. Lead guitarist Joakim, rhythm guitarist Harry, and drummer Joe spoke to me about the origins of their oddly named band and described the backstory to their catchiest tune to date, ‘Petty Thieving’.
UnCL: How did you guys form and how long have you been together? Joe: We’ve been together just over a year - a year and a few months. Not really sure how we came together… I knew George the singer… Harry: [interjects Joe.] You’re not going to tell this very well. Me, George and Joakim got together through mutual friends to play a show in a little pub in Coventry. I was speaking to Ollie on Facebook, but also George was out that night at a place called Kasbah, walking around with a picture of Ollie on his phone. He found him, and went ‘are you Ollie?’ Obviously he was because there was a picture of him on his phone, and now he plays bass in the band. Joe just appeared. Joakim: Ollie got punched that night in the face, that’s how he found him. UnCL: Why choose the name FEET? Do you guys have a foot fetish? [They all laugh] Harry: We just used to drink all the time, and I think we were trying to come up with a decent name. I think George just said, let’s call it FEET for a joke, and then it stuck. Joakim: I think I had this really clear vision. I had about 10 propositions of names, but then that night in the pub when we decided the name, I said we’re not going to be called 046
FEET. Harry: It’s a ridiculous name and we’re 5 ridiculous guys. UnCL: Who writes the tunes? Harry: George writes the lyrics. When we first started, George wrote a couple of the songs, and he had this clear vision of what he wanted to do. Lately, one of us will show up with an idea, and we’ll just practice it. Joakim: It all comes together; we all do a bit. Harry: We all seem to stick to our own things now rather than mixing it up. UnCL: What’s the story behind your latest single, ‘Petty Thieving’? Harry: Short story is that someone stole a block of cheese from Sainsbury’s. Joakim: It’s about how you can’t meet society’s expectations as a middle class youth. Someone went to Primark, only had 2 quid, and bought these sunglasses and he could have stolen them really. Then he went to Sainsbury’s and didn’t have enough money for cheese, so stole the cheese. UnCL: The sound for Petty Thieving is pretty different to your other stuff; considering you guys haven’t been together for so long, how come the distinct change in sound? Joe: We don’t really know what our sound is ourselves yet, we’re still trying to figure that
out. Every song we come up with, it sounds so different to everything else we’ve done. Harry: this is something I’m a fan of. UnCL: You do a load of cool organized DIY nights around uni; do you reckon this is the way music is moving forward? Harry: In a way, yeah. Joakim: George is a big fan of doing those DIY nights; he’s all about the DIY philosophy. Harry: George is mastermind behind the whole ‘Party and Die’ thing. [Party and Die is an event George regularly organises in Coventry.] Joakim: I think we’re going in a different direction now; it’s not going to be DIY level anymore, once we get someone to get us bigger shows. Joe: Nah, I think we still will do DIY. UnCL: What’s it like in Coventry band wise? Harry: We are the only uni band! Joakim: There is no music scene in Coventry, that’s why we do these DIY shows; to try and create one really. Harry: There are a few bands we’ve played with at Kasbah. Joe: There are quite a few acoustic bands, but there’s nothing like us. Harry: When Joe says there’s nothing like us, he doesn’t mean we’re the best thing, but there’s no one else pushing themselves through like us. UnCL: What’s the gig you last saw? [They all agree it was RAT BOY] Joakim: I haven’t listened to him before, saw about half of the show. Most of the time we were just busy talking with people who came to see us, like managers. UnCL: What’s next for FEET? Joakim: We’re doing a European tour. We’re doing Amsterdam, Luxembourg, Lille, Brussels and Ostend. Most likely Paris too, but we haven’t booked it yet. I think we’re also going to Manchester in October, but we haven’t booked it yet.
In 1 year, we have done 40 shows. I can’t see the end; we’ve got 13 coming up, even more than that. Harry: We’ve booked 9 shows in a rough over summer… [they all laugh, and I comment that will be tough going] Joe: It’ll be okay if we have enough to drink. UnCL: When are you guys coming to London? Joakim: We haven’t booked anything in London for now, but George and me are going down to London to talk with a few people. We’re talking to DICE. I think we might do a showcase night at some point, but we don’t know yet. Maybe November. UnCL: If you could be in any era, which one would it be? Joe: The 2000s. Harry: I reckon I’d go 60s with Zeppelin, Hendrix and The Beatles. Joakim: I would choose 2008, or 2010 when the 1975 was born. [I check to see if this is correct: they were actually formed in 2002]. If Ollie was here, he’d be choosing Radiohead. Whilst George would choose some artists that no one has ever heard of. UnCL: Tell us something we wouldn’t expect about you. Harry: Joe lives purely on chicken and rice. Joe: I’ve been eating it for about 2 years straight now. Harry: Not even with onions or spices, simply chicken and rice. Joakim: I speak 5 languages; English, Finnish, French, German and Luxembourgish. Harry: What’s weird about George is that he basically doesn’t believe in science. Joakim: George says things like; ‘if we’ve got science, then why can’t we get rid of traffic?’ Harry: He also says things like, ‘if we have science, why isn’t there an immediate cure for cancer? Or why can’t we teleport?’
w o z
By: Charlotte Stanbridge
ristol producer Woz is back with a new EP inspired by the sounds of classic house and electro. The two new tracks ‘Celsius’ and ‘Grains’ are Woz’s first 12” release on his own after a string of collaborations in the past, with producers such as New York Transit Authority and Chubba.
Woz is somewhat of a chameleon, his sound having shifted over the past few years as he’s explored different types of music. This time around it’s the sounds of electro, and producers like Kerri Chandler that inspired him, and you can hear the influence in the 808s and vocal samples that feature on these tracks. Woz brilliantly shows off his influences without attempting to copy them, and proves that no matter what the style, he keeps the dancefloor in mind when making music. The tracks were picked up by Redlight for release on Lobster Boy, and Woz’s EP fits right in with the hard-hitting, dancefloor focused sound of the label. Lobster Boy have an impressive back catalogue showcasing the best of UK dance music, with recent releases from Mele and NYTA, and a huge forthcoming release in ‘Landslide’ from Champion ft. RikoDan which premiered on 1Xtra last weekend. We caught up with Woz to ask him about the release, the inspiration behind his new tunes as well as Bristol’s influence on his sound. UnCL: Firstly, you’ve said that this new release is your first 12” release on your own, so how does it feel to have it out? Woz: It’s been an ambition of mine since I started making music so it feels good! UnCL: How did the tracks end up getting released on Lobster Boy? W: I’ve always been a fan of Lobster Boy and Redlight since the early ak47 mix-tapes. He got in contact with me early last year after being into my latest release at the time, ’Sibs’. So from then on I just kept him updated with demos. My
music is always changing so it was important for me to make something that not only fit the label, but also had a theme connecting the two tracks. After agreeing that ‘Celsius’ was going to be on the release, I took its blueprint and wrote ‘Grains’. Both tracks are heavily influenced by older sounds that have really inspired me. UnCL: You’ve said that guys like Kerri Chandler and Terrance Parker have influenced ‘Celsius’, what is it about their sound that inspired you? W: Last summer, the sun was out and I was playing some Kerri Chandler and Terrance Parker records to fit the settings. Around that time I had been writing quite moody music and thanks to the weather, wasn’t in that headspace. So I decided to load up a bunch of samples that wouldn’t sound out of place in one of their records and have a jam. The result (accidentally) was the start of ‘Celsius’. UnCL: The first track, ‘Grains’ has got an electro sound to it, which electro artists have influenced you? W: I’ve always been a huge fan of electro since hearing Addison Groove’s ‘Footcrab’. That track sent me down an 808 / electro rabbit hole from the origins of the sound, to recent takes. I wrote ‘Grains’ after returning from seeing The Egyptian Lover in Amsterdam. UnCL: You’ve collaborated with other producers like New York Transit Authority in the past, do you have plans for any more collaborations? W: Yeah for sure! Myself and Troy Gunner’s ‘WxT’ project is something we definitely want to revisit sometime soon. We’re always writing and sending ideas back and forth so when it makes sense, we’d love to put out an LP. 049
UnCL: How has living in Bristol influenced your sound? W: Bristol is the constant. It’s how i got into dance music. It has been and continues to be my main source of inspiration. UnCL: Now the new release is out, what do you have planned for the rest of this year? W: I feel confident with a sound I’ve been working towards for a while now. So my plans just involve writing as much as possible as well as growing as a person and producer. ‘Grains’ and ‘Celsius’ are out now on Lobster Boy. Follow Woz on social media: Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/ash-woz Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wozlo Twitter: https://twitter.com/wozlo
PHOTO BY: @HER__GARDEN
PHOTO BY: Larm Rmah
FE STIVAL ANT HE M S Which bangers are UnCL predicting to be the tunes of your festival? Ones you won’t be able to go anywhere without hearing? Let’s have a glance… At the end of the day, this probably won’t be at all right, but UnCL have had fun putting this together and playing Mystic Meg.
Stormzy - Shut Up
Big year for this guy, and obviously all over line ups. Grime’s real triumph will be blasting out from the stages’ PAs after your favourite act has just finished.
the 1975 - love me
Love them or hate them, 2017 is the year they take over nearly the entire festival circuit. Even if they’re not playing, you won’t be able to escape this big tune which basically rips off the 80s as an entire decade of music.
frank ocean pink and white
Everyone’s favourite sadboy is finally heading to the festivals of the UK and bringing both Endless and Blonde with him for the first time. This’ll be the only song to listen to after coming back to your tent at 6am, ready for a soggy sleeping bag and some dry clothes. 055 055
You Have To Be There
PHOTO BY: Ferdinand Stรถhr
Festival Special 057
UnCL MI XTAPE 1. The Orielles - Sugar Tastes Like Salt 2. Venture Lows - Brenda 3. Heman Sheman - Luvva 4. Phobophobes - The Never Never 5. Our Girl - Being Around 6. Spandau Ballet - Chant No. 1 (Donâ€™t Need This Pressure On) 7. Kendrick Lamar - BLOOD 8. Meal Deals - Bath Time 9. Gorillaz - Andromeda 10. The Moonlandingz - Neuf de Pape 11. Childhood - Californian Light 12. Talking Heads - The Great Curve 058
WANT TO WRITE FOR US? SEND US YOUR IDEAS AT UNDERCITYLIGHTSUCL@GMAIL.COM WE DONâ€™T BITE, SAY HELLO!
ÂŠ Under City Lights MMXVII The views expressed in this magazine do not necessarily represent the views of the editor, Rare FM or UCLU.