FATHER JOHN MISTY AFGHAN WHIGS PAUL WELLER
INDIE. ALT. POST-PUNK. WEIRD
SAVAGES / SLEAFORD MODS / AT THE DRIVE IN THE BLACK ANGELS / PULLED APART BY HORSES THE CRIBS / BRITISH SEA POWER / MAXIMO PARK cover ISSUE 9.indd 1
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0207 281 8880 LOUDERTHANWAR.COM EDITOR IN CHIEF JOHN ROBB Johnrobb@louderthanwar.com EDITOR JAMES SHARPLES Jim@bigcheesemagazine.com PUBLISHER EUGENE BUTCHER Eugene@vivelerock.net DEPUTY EDITOR DICK PORTER Dickfjp@yahoo.co.uk ASSOCIATE EDITOR SARAH LAY Sarahlay@louderthanwar.com REVIEWS EDITOR IAN CHADDOCK Ian@bigcheesemagazine.com DESIGN/PRODUCTION STEVE NEWMAN Steve@bigcheesemagazine.com CONTRIBUTING WRITERS PAULA FROST, ROBERT MAIR, FERGAL KINNEY, PAUL HAGEN
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OST-punk has become one of the most loved and mythologised periods in British music culture, a whole generation of bands making their own version of punk and pushing the envelope in all directions. None can be more crucial than Wire whose new album comes out this month. The heavily productive band have been releasing almost an album a year for the past few years and this one is the best yet which with their standards is saying something. Not only that but we have similar feted bands from the period like PiL and Magazine in the issue along with the Bunnymen and Peter Hook giving a revealing interview about Joy Division and New Order. Elsewhere the influence of post-punk can also be felt with The Cribs, who take their inspiration from that period and onwards and have made number one albums out of the noise as well as British Sea Power who are so timeless and original they fit into the same ideal as post punk. There is so much going on in music that the avalanche of ideas and bands is enthralling. We love the way that we can hardly keep up with the new noise - classic bands like the Stone Roses are back out this summer like a gang of Robin Hoods defying the gravity of time and the rules of how to be in a band and the feral underground like we spotlight in the Balkans is full of wild ideas and amazing bands. All these bands are worth listening to - the classic and the weird. We are also thrilled to get such a great reaction to the Sleaford Mods front cover (Issue 7) their success has been one of the most heartwarming stories of the past couple of years. Genuine outsiders making music on their own terms and hitting the charts, this is what our world is all about - and we are cheering on Cabbage who will soon join them there. The future is now, the weird gene is in the mainstream and when the going gets wonk the wonk get going...
John Robb Editor In Chief Main image: Sleafords, Stone Roses, Membranes and more: Spring gets sprung.
FACEBOOK.COM/LOUDERTHANWARMAG TWITTER.COM/LTWZINE LOUDER THAN WAR intro and contents issue 9.indd 2
CONTENTS Paul Weller
HOUSE OF LOVE
REGULAR 10. ON THE STRIP: NEWS & VIEWS
Inside the creation of Indie Daze festival, Black Lips return, Carnival Club make their mark and more. 20. POPSCENE: PAUL WELLER
Ian Chaddock charts the career of the Modfather. 22. NU-CLEAR SOUNDS: INTRODUCING...
Curse Of Lono, Royal Thunder and KOYO.
84. THE VOID: REVIEWS
Albums, books, DVDs and gigs reviewed.
Upcoming gigs for the months ahead plus a conversation with Frank Turner. 114. THEN & NOW: POP WILL EAT ITSELF
Graham ‘Crabbi’ Crabb talks to James Sharples about the early days of the Poppies and what the future holds...
POP WILL EAT ITSELF
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Ma We leg Pe
Th Th cla
Th exc ma ban
FEATURED 26. FATHER JOHN MISTY
Fergal Kinney goes head to head with the man otherwise known as Joshua Tillman as he prepares to release ‘Pure Comedy’. AT THE DRIVE IN
Forty years since they came together following Howard Devoto’s departure from the Buzzcocks, Fergal Kinney delves into the depths of Magazine.
R 2 V
70. THE CRIBS
Str ve Sto Vi
Celebrating the 10th anniversary of ‘Men’s Needs, Women’s Needs, Whatever’, Paula Frost chats to The Cribs before a rare UK tour.
50. THE NEW WAVE
Pushing post-punk into the future, we catch up with Sleaford Mods, Desperate Journalist, Savages and IDLES.
PE ‘SU &
MA 11 JUL 15 AU 5NO 30 DE 1278914 15 16 18 Clo
54. ECHO AND THE BUNNYMEN
30 30. AT THE DRIVE IN
Returning with their first new material since 2000, Ian Chaddock investigates the revival of a post-hardcore phenomenon. 34. PUBLIC IMAGE LTD
From the anti-establishment anarchism of the Sex Pistols to the pioneering post-punk of Public Image Ltd, here’s Johnny! 38. THE POST-PUNK 100
Louder Than War reveals the essential postpunk deep cuts old and new that are vital for your record collection.
Returning to stages this year, this is the story of Mac and company while Will Sergeant reveals his influences to John Robb. 58. WIRE
Celebrating their 40th anniversary with the release of new album ‘Silver/Lead’, John Robb met up with vocalist/guitarist Colin Newman. 62. PETER HOOK
Dick Porter chats to the former Joy Division and New Order man about the late Ian Curtis, Bernard Sumner and much, much more... 68. THE BLACK ANGELS
Moving away from traditional psychedelia and getting switched on by nature, The Black Angels talk ‘Death Song’ to LTW.
PULLED APART BY HORSES
74. PULLED APART BY HORSES
Self-isolation and being slapped in the face with fish are all in a day’s work for PABH as Ian Chaddock finds out... 76. AFGHAN WHIGS
James Gates meets head Whig Greg Dulli to talk about crying in public, yoga and new album ‘In Spades’. 80. BRITISH SEA POWER
Putting the personal into the political, British Sea Power are back with ‘Let The Dancers Inherit The Party’. Sarah Lay finds out more.
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UNKNOWN PLEASURES - LIVE IN LEEDS 2012
CLOSER - LIVE IN MANCHESTER 2011
POWER, CORRUPTION & LIES - LIVE IN DUBLIN 2013
MOVEMENT - LIVE IN DUBLIN 2013
2CD DIGIPAK • WW0104CD
2CD DIGIPAK • WW0105CD
DELUXE DIGIPAK EDITIONS May 5th sees the worldwide CD and digital release via Westworld Recordings of four stunning live albums from legendary Joy Division and New Order bass player’s band Peter Hook and The Light. These stunning live recordings comprise Peter Hook and The Light performing these Joy Division and New Order classic albums in their entirety plus selected fan favourites. The audio quality is excellent and this coupled with excellent performances from Peter and the band will make these a must have for any fan of these two iconic bands.
DIGIPAK • WW0107CD
DIGIPAK • WW0106CD
RECORD STORE DAY 2017 EXCLUSIVE VINYL EDITIONS Strictly limited edition coloured deluxe vinyl versions will be available of these titles for Record Store Day 2017 – April 22nd, via the Let Them Eat Vinyl label.
PETER HOOK & THE LIGHT PERFORMING ‘SUBSTANCE’ THE ALBUMS OF JOY DIVISION & NEW ORDER MAY 2017 11 - Students’ Union, Hull, UK. JULY 2017 15 - Chiddingly Rock Festival, Chiddingly, UK. AUGUST 2017 5 - Rewind North, Cheshire, UK. NOVEMBER 2017 30 - Dolan’s Warehouse, Limerick, Ireland DECEMBER 2017 1 - Academy, Dublin, Ireland 2 - Limelight, Belfast, UK 7 - The Waterfront, Norwich, UK 8 - City Hall, Salisbury, UK 9 - Marble Factory, Bristol, UK 14 - Slade Rooms, Wolverhampton, UK 15 - Academy, Manchester, UK 16 - Warehouse 23, Wakefield, UK 18 - Roundhouse, London, UK (Unknown Pleasures / Closer)
UNKNOWN PLEASURES LIVE IN LEEDS 2012
UNKNOWN PLEASURES LIVE IN LEEDS 2012
UNKNOWN PLEASURES LIVE IN LEEDS 2012
VOLUME ONE GREY VINYL • LETV544LP
VOLUME TWO WHITE VINYL • LETV545LP
VOLUME THREE CLEAR VINYL • LETV546LP
CLOSER - LIVE IN MANCHESTER 2011
POWER, CORRUPTION & LIES LIVE IN DUBLIN 2013
MOVEMENT - LIVE IN DUBLIN 2013
VOLUME ONE WHITE VINYL • LETV547LP
VOLUME ONE WHITE VINYL • LETV549LP
VOLUME ONE BLUE VINYL • LETV551LP
CLOSER - LIVE IN MANCHESTER 2011
POWER, CORRUPTION & LIES LIVE IN DUBLIN 2013
MOVEMENT - LIVE IN DUBLIN 2013
VOLUME TWO GREY VINYL • LETV548LP
VOLUME TWO RED VINYL • LETV550LP
VOLUME TWO WHITE VINYL • LETV552LP
Westworld Recordings westworldrecordings.co.uk facebook.com/westworldrecordingsuk Let Them Eat Vinyl • letthemeatvinyl.com facebook.com/letthemeatvinyl Mailorder: plastichead.com
intro and contents issue 9.indd 6
“PEOPLE ARE GENUINELY PASSIONATE ABOUT THE BANDS THEY ARE COMING TO SEE, AND THE GOODWILL RUBS OFF.” As the INDIE DAZE festival gears up for its fourth year with the announcement of the likes of House Of Love and Voice Of The Beehive, Louder Than War talks to organiser Grant Holby to find out how it all comes together for the UK’s fastest-rising one-day festival... 10
Indie Daze is now in its fourth year – but how did it get started? “We were flyering for some stand-alone London gigs for The Darling Buds and The Primitives, and people commented that it would be great if they were on the same bill. It got me thinking about doing a one-day event, and what kind of bands could play together.”
Has the original idea changed over time? “It took a year for it to become more of an event, and for the Indie Daze name to start to be recognised. This also meant that bands were starting to contact me as they were interested in being part of it.”
And where did the name come from? What’s the meaning behind it? “I had the idea for the one-day festival, but no name. One
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It’s great to talk to people and hear where people have travelled from. This year, we have already sold tickets to people in America, Brazil and all over Europe, as well as up and down the country.”
How did you get The House Of Love and Voice Of The Beehive to play this year?
night when I couldn’t sleep, I remembered a short-lived indie compilation from the early ‘90s called ‘Happy Daze’. The Daze part seemed to fit, as we wanted a day’s worth of music, and it developed from there.”
HOUSE OF LOVE
How do you go about deciding on the line-up for an Indie Daze?
“I started by thinking about the kind of bands I would like to see. Although we have some bands play Indie Daze more than once, I try not to repeat line-ups too often. As the years have gone on, I have tried to stay true to the original spirit of the event, while bringing something new to it.”
There’s such a good feeling at the festivals – what do you put this down to? “In the first year, people heard about Indie Daze because some of their favourite bands were playing, and seemed to realise they were part of an emerging idea. A core of people embraced Indie Daze very early on, giving it a community spirit, which appears to grow each year. I think people are genuinely passionate about the bands they are coming to see, and the goodwill rubs off.”
“We have developed a wish-list since year one, and the House BIS of Love have always been on it. We genuinely love the band, and are so happy they are playing VOICE OF THE BEEHIVE Indie Daze, and playing songs from our favourite era as well. It has become a passion to try and get at least one band each year that has reformed for Indie Daze. We have been lucky enough to persuade Power Of Dreams, The Popinjays, Gaye Bykers On Acid, and now Voice Of The Beehive. I have been speaking to Tracey and Melissa for a couple of years now, and everything slotted into place for this year after they saw the trailer for Indie Daze 2. It’s come at a really good time as this is their 30th anniversary, as well as Woody being given time off from Madness for good behaviour.”
Can you talk us through the rest of the line-up? “Indie Daze wouldn’t be Indie Daze without at least one member of Pop Will Eat Itself, so we are really pleased that Apollo 440 are playing their first UK date this millennium. Continuing with bands reforming, Crazyhead were keen to be part of the event after coming along to last years’ festival. We are always delighted to welcome back Miles Hunt and Erica Nockalls. They have been great supporters of Indie Daze, and know how to make the afternoon acoustic slot a raucous affair. We had to ask Thousand Yard Stare back after last year’s amazing opening performance. It was hard to believe it was only 1:30pm by the way the audience reacted to them. After dipping their toes in the acoustic water, Salad are joining us for their first full band set in around 20 years. We saw Bis as ideal openers to bring energy and spirit to the start of this years’ proceedings.”
What can people who’ve never been to an Indie Daze expect on the day? “Expect to make new friends, meet up with old friends, and to dance from 1-11pm. We have had several couples get engaged after meeting at Indie Daze. One THE WONDER STUFF’S couple who met at Indie Daze 1 are now ERICA AND MILES married. They requested we get Crazyhead back, and we were happy to give them this gift.”
What, for you personally, is the biggest buzz on Indie Daze day? “Walking around the venue on the day, and seeing two thousand-odd people having it right from the start is brilliant.
Indie Daze takes place on October 7th at London’s O2 Forum, Kentish Town. For more information and tickets visit Indiedaze.co.uk.
LOUDER THAN WAR news page 10 issue 9.indd 2
THAN WORDS Have your say, get Louder...
Great mag – definitely the best out there. Good to see you championing a few Nottingham bands like Kagoule and Sleaford Mods. As you can probably tell I’m from Nottingham... Keep up the great work. Top mag! Carl Connor
CHAMELEONS DRUMMER DIES
TW is sad to report that John Lever, drummer with Manchester post-punk heroes The Chameleons has passed away. The Chameleons/ChameleonsVox frontman Mark Burgess posted on Facebook on Monday 13th March, “I’m deeply sad to report that this afternoon I got the news that John Lever died this morning following a short period of illness. We want to offer our sincere and deepest sympathy to John’s mother, his sister and his two children at this terrible time.” LTW would also like to extend our condolences to John’s family and friends.
Can’t recommend LTW enough. It’s the best music mag out there! Kram Notelgnis Great to see the Jesus and Mary Chain getting the props they deserve. They were trailblazers, well ahead of their time. I will be going to see them on their tour in April just to hear ‘April Skies’ one more time. Welcome back boys! Tim Griffiths Well done Louder Than War for a great feature on Nico in your last issue. She was not only beautiful but she was a genius. The Velvet Underground will always be the greatest band of the ‘60s and the godfathers of the punk explosion. Nico rules! More please! Jamie Edwin
am shocked to hear the news that former Louder Than War editor Dan Lucas has died at the age of 31. God bless you Dan, you were a wonderful, passionate and fiercely intelligent person and it was an honour to talk and argue music with you in the time that I knew you from when you started writing for Louder Than War and then became my first music editor. These impassioned music conversations would continue when we met as well. Great debates. Great music passion. In the end you went to write about cricket for the Guardian and music for Drowned In Sound and we missed you but we remained in touch up to even a couple of weeks ago. God bless you sir and your brilliant passion for cricket and left field music. John Robb
FESTIVAL OF PSYCHEDELIA
aking place over two days (September 22nd and 23rd) in warehouse spaces in Liverpool’s Baltic Triangle, this celebration of psych sees headliners The Black Angels (featured elsewhere in this issue) playing along with Songhoy Blues, Loop, Adrian Sherwood, Autobahn, Baltic Fleet, The Bongolian, Julie’s Haircut, Pigs x 7 and many more. Surely one of the most unique, colourful and out there festivals of the year, this one’s not to be missed. Visit Liverpoolpsychfest.com for tickets.
elebrating the 30th anniversary of ‘Squirrel and G-Man Twenty Four Hour Party People Plastic Face Carnt Smile’, the Madchester baggy legends have announced their massive 24 Hour Party People greatest hits tour for November and December 2017. For the full dates see our listings pages, starting on p107.
PUBLIC SERVICE BROADCASTING
he London instrumental indie/electro duo have signed a worldwide licensing deal with Play It Again Sam and will release their third studio album through the label this summer. J. Willgoose, Esq. commented “we’re absolutely delighted to be joining Play It Again Sam, a label with an incredible history and an equally exciting future. We’re really looking forward to working together on the upcoming album and seeing where it takes us. It’s a new and different chapter for us and I don’t think we could’ve chosen a better label to work with.” They have also unveiled their new single ‘Progress’.
THE BLACK LIPS TEAM UP WITH SEAN LENNON FOR ALBUM NINE.
he Atlanta garage rockers have revealed details for their ninth studio album, ‘Satan’s Graffiti or God’s Art?’. Recorded at Sean Lennon’s studio compound on a remote farm in upstate New York, the album was co-produced by Lennon and Saul Adamczewski of Fat White Family, and even features guest appearances from Yoko Ono. The Black Lips also added new members Oakley Munson (drums) and Zumi Rosow (saxophone). Bassist Jared Swilley explains, “It was a really beautiful experience. We were very far from civilization, and we were all living at the studio. We weren’t going home to our own beds every night; that was our whole world, 100% of the time. Making this record was the most wonderful few months of my life. It was by far my favourite time recording an album so far… It was just magic.” ‘Satan’s Graffiti or God’s Art?’ is out May 5th on Vice.
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STAR SHAPED FESTIVAL
ollowing last year’s sold out inaugural fest, Star Shaped Festival is coming to a city near you! Star Shaped brings an impressive line-up of six bands across four cities in July and August. Truly the home of Britpop, the festival has The Bluetones, Sleeper, Space, Dodgy, My Life Story and Salad (Undressed) for a huge celebration. For more info and tickets just go to Starshaped.club/festival
hile there’s still no release date at the time of going to press, Oxford shoegaze legends Ride have confirmed that their highly anticipated fifth studio album, their first in 21 years, is due out this summer. Produced by Erol Alkan (The Long Blondes, Mystery Jets, Klaxons), the first two songs premiered, ‘Charm Assault’ and ‘Home is a Feeling’, have received a very warm reception from fans and show they’re picking up where they left off. LIAM GALLAGHER
“WE WORKED SO HARD WE BECAME IMPATIENT!” Fast-rising Manchester-based alt. rockers CARNIVAL CLUB are drawing rave reviews for their live shows. With the release of their EP ‘Magdalena’s Cape’ arriving, LTW found out more... How did Carnival Club come together? “Carnival Club is a rag doll formed from a few different musical projects circling around the same group of people at the time. It’s funny how it happened really: Joe, Eddie, and George were in band previously, that didn’t work out; then I (Kai) met Joe through the tight musical group surrounding Manchester and decided to write together. And he knew just the right members to join us. I can also confess that the deal was struck at The Courtyard student bar in town!”
Over a relatively short period of time you’ve played at Factory, The Academy and The Ritz - and not long after forming as a band. Does that blow your minds a bit? Have you noticed the momentum as it has grown? “It doesn’t blow our minds as such, it’s more a fact of that we have worked so hard we became impatient. We found out the harder you work the more successful the gigs become. Our first headline was at The Ruby Lounge and it was 50 away from capacity! We got 300 people in there! We feel a change in the shows as they’re growing but we think the shows grow because we grow as performers.”
ormer Oasis and Beady Eye frontman Liam Gallagher has announced the title of his debut solo album. In a Tweet on March 5th he said, “To all you haters out there and I know there’s only the 1 the name of my fab new record is AS YOU WERE LG x” There’s no release date at the time of going to print but in a recent interview Gallagher said of the sound of ‘As You Were’, “flair, attitude, the melodies are sick and the words are fucking funny... You won’t be scratching your chin. It’s not Pink Floyd and it ain’t Radiohead. It’s chin-out music.”
THE GREAT ESCAPE FESTIVAL
he Great Escape takes place from May 18th to 20th across a number of venues in Brighton and features over 200 of the most exciting new bands. Fast approaching, the line-up has been announced in full now and you can get all the info and tickets (be quick!) from Greatescapefestival.com Some of the most LTW-friendly bands and acts playing include Slaves, Cabbage, John K. Samson and Nova Twins to name just a few!
How did the deal with Demolition Diner Records come about? “Demolition Diner Records was set up by our manager Mike Darby from Bristol, as a solid platform to release our EP ‘Magdalena’s Cape’. Mike previously has worked on various other labels which he owns, namely Reggae Archive, Bristol Archive and Sugar Shack Records. So we are working with his experience and hoping we can really produce something good together. Mike was introduced to the band by Steve Adg (The Stone Roses tour manager).”
Tell us about ‘Magdalena’s Cape’. What’s the story behind the title? “‘Magdalena’s Cape’ wasn’t really based on a person, it was more of a portrayal of where my head was at the time. I guess as a writer when you’re not somewhere you want to be, you write about where you want or could be. Magdalena was anything and anyone I wanted to meet at that time.”
What, ideally, would you like listeners to take away from your music? “We want to have created something that won’t go dusty at the back of someone’s record collection, and to grow a buzz around our name where people can’t wait for our next show or release. We don’t want this to slow down or stop, let’s hope the listeners feel the same way.”
THE SMITHS T-SHIRT What better wear than a white shirt (who knows, summer might be hot!) emblazoned with one of the most iconic album covers of all time – The Smiths’ 1985 second album ‘Meat Is Murder’? A commentary on both eating meat and war (although the original photo from 1967 in Vietnam changed the text from ‘Make War Not Love’ to ‘Meat Is Murder’), it’s a truly classic album too, so get it on a shirt! It’s available now from Rockabilia.com
DR. MARTENS BEAVIS & BUTT-HEAD BOOTS These striking limited edition Dr. Martens boots feature the metalhead morons of the ‘90s MTV cartoon in all their head banging and horn throwing glory. Available in black and white or black and blue, they’re perfect for sitting around, eating pizza and chuckling at music videos... or however you spend your time. Huh, huh, huh. You’ll feel like the Great Cornholio in these. Pick some up at Drmartens.com ‘SUBSTANCE: INSIDE NEW ORDER’ BOOK This third and final instalment of Peter Hook’s three part memoir has recently been released for US readers through Dey Street Books. If you haven’t read it yet (following its October release in the UK), pick up this book as ‘Substance’ tell the story of how New Order rose from the ashes of Joy Division following frontman Ian Curtis’ tragic suicide. With hit singles like ‘Bizarre Love Triangle’, ‘Perfect Kiss’ and the legendary ‘Blue Monday’, New Order became godfathers of ‘80s electronic music and this book is full of stories of sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll too. A compelling read. Get a copy at Deystreetbooks.com
‘Magdalena’s Cape’ is out now on Demolition Diner Records
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䘀䔀䔀䐀䔀刀 愀氀氀 戀爀椀最栀琀 攀氀攀挀爀椀挀
吀䠀䔀 吀伀倀 䄀䰀䈀唀䴀 伀唀吀 一伀圀 䤀一䌀 吀䠀䔀 匀䤀一䜀䰀䔀匀 䔀匀䬀䤀䴀伀Ⰰ 唀一䤀嘀䔀刀匀䔀 伀䘀 䰀䤀䘀䔀 䄀一伀吀䠀䔀刀 䐀䄀夀 伀一 䔀䄀刀吀䠀 ☀ 倀䄀倀䔀刀圀䔀䤀䜀䠀吀 䌀䐀 ⼀ 䰀吀䐀 䐀䔀䰀唀堀䔀 䌀䐀 ⼀ ㈀䰀倀 ⼀ 䐀䤀䜀䤀吀䄀䰀 ᠠ䘀䔀䔀䐀䔀刀 刀䔀䐀䤀匀䌀伀嘀䔀刀 吀䠀䔀䤀刀 䄀倀倀䔀吀䤀吀䔀Ⰰ 吀䠀䔀䤀刀 䄀吀吀䤀吀唀䐀䔀Ⰰ 䄀一䐀 吀䠀䔀䤀刀 䈀䤀吀䔀✀ 䬀䔀刀刀䄀一䜀℀
䜀䔀一䔀刀䄀吀䤀伀一 䘀刀䔀䄀䬀匀䠀伀圀 ☀ 刀䔀一䔀䜀䄀䐀䔀匀
✀䘀䔀䔀䐀䔀刀 䐀䔀䰀䤀嘀䔀刀 䰀䤀䬀䔀 一䔀嘀䔀刀 䈀䔀䘀伀刀䔀ᤠ 䌀䰀䄀匀匀䤀䌀 刀伀䌀䬀
✀䌀䰀䄀匀匀䤀䌀Ⰰ 䠀䔀䄀嘀夀Ⰰ 䄀䴀䈀䤀吀䤀伀唀匀 䘀䔀䔀䐀䔀刀✀ 吀䠀䔀 䤀一䐀䔀倀䔀一䐀䔀一吀
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匀倀䔀䌀䤀䄀䰀 䔀䐀䤀吀䤀伀一 䄀䰀䈀唀䴀匀 伀唀吀 一伀圀 䌀䐀 ⼀ 䐀䤀䜀䤀吀䄀䰀 ⴀ 䘀䔀䄀吀唀刀䤀一䜀 䈀伀一唀匀 吀刀䄀䌀䬀匀
FATHER JOHN MISTY TOTAL ENTERTAINMENT FOREVER
Josh Tillman’s latest single from new record ‘Pure Comedy’ is a beautiful yet scary song, complete with brass and keys, satirizing our obsession with a virtual reality. Another intelligent slice of indie rock. PiL RISE
BRITISH SEA POWER KEEP ON TRYING (SECHS FREUNDE)
Found on the Brighton indie rockers’ excellently titled new record, ‘Let the Dancers Inherit the Party’, this tune is as catchy as it is melody-soaked. It might even get you dancing too with that guitar line!
Found on their suitably strangely titled first album in 17 years, ‘in • ter a • li • a’, this is a choppy post-hardcore song that shows the El Paso, Texas crew still have the urgency and energy that makes them fresh.
MAGAZINE SHOT BY BOTH SIDES
ECHO AND THE BUNNYMEN
You can’t do a post-punk issue without a heavy nod to Public Image Ltd and this no.11 charting 1986 single from their fifth record, ‘Album’, was a hugely infectious song with Lydon’s sneering vocals making it a classic in every sense.
Another postpunk classic, this 1978 single (and only single from debut album ‘Real Life’) from Manchester legends Magazine is built on an incredible riff from John McGeoch and Howard Devoto’s distinctive, powerful vocals and rising chorus make it truly urgent and compelling.
Nothing less than eery and majestic, this shimmering 1984 single from the Liverpool post-punk favourites’ fourth album, ‘Ocean Rain’ is as haunting now, over three decades on, as it was then. Dark beauty.
CURSE OF LONO
Having recently been announced as the main support band for the Stone Roses’ massive June gig at Wembley Stadium, the Stockport indie pop band are on a roll following their chart topping self-titled debut album last summer. This infectious electro pop song from that album has a great retro video too.
PICK UP THE PIECES
One of the most exciting new bands around, London fivepiece have just released their driving, gothic alt-rock debut album ‘Severed’ on Submarine Cat, and this ludicrously infectious song shows why their future is so bright. Get onboard now, they’re going to be huge!
PULLED APART BY HORSES THE BIG WHAT IF
The Leeds alt. rock favourites’ fourth album, ‘The Haze’, proves it’s been worth the wait since 2014’s ‘Blood’. This massive track is fuelled by a driving riff, energetic vocals and a scuzzy melody that’ll send the pit crazy. THE AFGHAN WHIGS DEMON IN PROFILE
As smoky, woozy and atmospheric as we’ve come to expect from Greg Dulli and co., this stunner from the Ohio alt-rock heroes’ eighth album, ‘In Spades’, will put a spell on you. Late night listening.
THE KILLING MOON
LOUDER THAN WAR ILLUMINATES FORGOTTEN TRACKS.
ARTIST: THE CLEAN TRACK: ANYTHING COULD HAPPEN YEAR: 1981
escribed as the most influential band on the Flying Nun label by some and as a band central to the seminal ‘Dunedin Sound’, The Clean formed in Dunedin, New Zealand in 1978. Releasing their landmark 1981 12” EP ‘Boodle Boodle Boodle’, it featured five tracks that would help shape a genre, mixing catchy, jangly indie pop like ‘Anything Could Happen’ with psychedelic tunes like ‘Point That Thing Somewhere Else’. ‘Anything Could Happen’ became one of The Clean’s best-loved songs and the EP was Flying Nun’s first major success.
STRIKE A MATCH
The title track of the London/Glasgow duo’s debut album, this bouncy indie pop song captures the jangle of the ‘80s and brings it dancing into the 21st century. This one’s a real ear worm.
I N D E P E N D E N T C H A RT H I T S BY T H E N U M B E R S
THE BLACK ANGELS POP WILL EAT ITSELF CAN U DIG IT?
AT THE DRIVE IN
Sampling ‘The Warriors’ and with an alternative/ grebo dance rock sound, this 1989 single (taken from their second album ‘This is the Day... This is the Hour... This is This!’) saw the West Midlands boys tipping their caps to comics, Bruce Lee and more! THE CRIBS MEN’S NEEDS
The no.17 peaking lead single from Wakefield indie veterans’ critically acclaimed third album, ‘Men’s Needs, Women’s Needs, Whatever’, (which the band are touring to celebrate its tenth anniversary in May), is still a rousing, infectious anthem.
Austin psych rockers The Black Angels are back with their first fulllength in four years and it’s as head spinning as you might expect. The suitably titled ‘Death Song’, their fifth, is a doomy yet soaring listen, exemplified by this mesmerising opener. MANIC STREET PREACHERS YOUR LOVE ALONE IS NOT ENOUGH
This second no.2 peaking single from the Manics’ eighth album and return to form, ‘Send Away the Tigers’ (receiving a 10th anniversary reissue in May) was a highlight, featuring guest vocals from Nina Persson from The Cardigans. Still a banger.
MY BLOODY VALENTINE
ur issue 6 shoegaze special issue cover stars, the Dublin legends, featuring original vocalist David Conway, scored an indie chart hit with ‘Sunny Sundae Smile’ before departing. Kevin Shields (vocals/ guitar), Debbie Googe (bass) and Colm Ó Cíosóig (drums) continued, recruiting Bilinda Butcher (vocals/guitar) and enjoying more indie chart success in 1987/88... Singles
Sunny Sundae Smile (‘87)
Strawberry Wine (‘87)
You Made Me Realise (‘88)
Feed Me With Your Kiss (‘88)
LOUDER THAN WAR
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Edge St Live Presents
The Manchester BIMM Choir
& Very Special Guests
MAGDALENA’S CAPE EP COL. VINYL 12” | CD 12. 5. 17.
E vil B l i z z a r d THE NIGHTINGALES
Saturday 29 April 2017 O2RITZ MANCHESTER demolitiondinerrecords.com news page 16 ISSUE 9.indd 2
Doors Downstairs 4pm Main Room 5pm www.themembranes.co.uk
“..their uni from
“WE ARE STILL ENJOYING THE JOURNEY AND THE DREAM” Preparing to reissue 2010’s ‘Renegades’ and 2012’s ‘Generation Freakshow’, FEEDER frontman Grant Nicholas talks to Louder Than War about getting back to his roots, extreme weather video shoots and the band’s future plans... How did the reissues of ‘Renegades’ and ‘Generation Freakshow’ come about? “Our new label partners Cooking Vinyl who released ‘All Bright Electric’ suggested re-releasing them as they have not be available for a long time and they felt it was a good time to get them out there again. We felt it was a great time also to let people hear them and have the chance to stream them again as we are still very proud of them. They were originally released through our own label Big Teeth Music.”
Is it a strange experience revisiting albums that are not as such ‘old’ but perhaps you were in a different headspace when writing them? “Not really, as we still play a lot of these songs live in the set. The ‘Renegades’ songs work especially well alongside the tracks from ‘All Bright Electric’ as they are both pretty heavy albums. I think I was in a different headspace during the writing process of ‘All Bright Electric’. The reason may be that it came after having time away, and releasing two solo records which were pretty mellow and more acoustic based. I think the approach on ‘All Bright Electric’ was more focused and relaxed this time around, but I do
remember ‘Renegades’ being a lot of fun also to record.
What do you remember most vividly about creating ‘Renegades’? I mean, it was a heavier record than, say, ‘Silent Cry’… “We just wanted to get back to our roots. Let loose and make a rawer, heavier sounding album. It is still one of my favourite rock-out Feeder albums and has a nice energy and old school chemistry to it.”
And what do you remember about recording ‘Generation Freakshow’? “‘Generation Freakshow’ is a bit more song based I think. After ‘Renegades’ it felt like the natural step to get back to some more classic indie-rock and anthemic tunes. ‘Generation Freakshow’ was bit more commercial but still classic Feeder. We worked with Chris Sheldon again who recorded ‘Polythene’ so it was nice to go back into the studio with him as he mainly mixes nowadays.”
How do you feel about ‘All Bright Electric’ a year on? Have you started working on new material yet? “I still really like how it came out sonically and song-wise. It was a very focused album and one of, if not the favourite
Amazin Beatty de Heat and in at 13+
Feeder albums I’ve written. It feels complete and flows really well from my point of view. I think it’s an album that will become more popular as time goes on and more people discover it . I am currently writing and demoing some new material and we are hoping to get back into the studio after this UK tour.”
Tell us about the video for ‘Another Day On Earth’. That looked pretty draining! “We felt we really needed something different from another band performance video for this song as its more understated and subtle in its dynamic. During the recording we tried to make it anthemic but in a less obvious ‘big guitar’ way, and thought the video treatment we were sent touched on the sentiment of the song perfectly. I wanted to get an actor to play the role but timings didn’t work out so they asked me to do it. It was a beautiful place, but freezing and I had to do a lot of acting which I haven’t done a lot of in previous videos. It was shot in the beautiful surroundings of Snowdonia, North Wales, and was a tough but thoroughly enjoyable day. We really hope people like it.”
How do you keep writing, recording and playing in Feeder from becoming routine? How do you keep it fresh and interesting for yourselves this many albums in? “I think the break we had when I went off and made some solo records has helped massively and given us time to reflect. There is definitely a renewed spark in the band at the moment, and it feels like a good time for us. I feel really lucky that I still have inspiration as a writer, and that both the band and team around us still have real belief and passion for Feeder. After all, what else are we going to do? We are still enjoying the journey and the dream until it’s time for us to leave the party.”
‘Renegades’ and ‘Generation Freakshow’ are out now on Cooking Vinyl
LOUDER THAN WAR
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HATER ‘You Tried’ PNKSLM LP/CD
SARAH DAVACHI ‘All My Circles Run’ Students Of Decay LP/CD
POWER ‘Electric Glitter Boogie’ In The Red LP/CD
Cracking pop action from this Malmo fourpiece on their Debut album… “..their unique take on rock music feels familiar and lived-in, taking bits from indie-pop, post-punk, and classic rock..” - Stereogum
Fourth full length by this Montreal-based electro-acoustic composer; the five compositions on this record eschew synthesizer entirely, each focusing on a different instrument, including strings, voice, organ and piano. Highest recommendation!!
The sound is raw but full, the band recorded live with minimal overdubs , and the songs continually disintegrate into white heat guitar noise before slamming back into manic amphetamine lockstep, they traverse an entire history of hard rock, electric glitter boogie, thug glam, raw power punk.
AMOR ‘Paradise / In Love An Arc’ Night School 12”
LONE PIÑON ‘Dias Felices’ LM DUPLI-CATION LP/CD
FERAL OHMS ‘Feral Ohms ’ Silver Current LP/CD
Amazing two track 12” from AMOR, housed in killer Robert Beatty designed 12” disco sleeve. Equal parts Arthur Russell, This Heat and Philadelphia International, both tracks on the 12″ come in at 13+ minutes, searching, building and breaking like the era’s great extended disco mixes.
“Lone Piñon is easily the best band in New Mexico right now. They have tapped into an almost forgotten vein of rich Chicano folk music” - Jeremy Barnes (A Hawk And A Hacksaw, Neutral Milk Hotel)
Feral Ohms is a power trio from Oakland, CA. Focused on scuzz, primitive, outcast and punk rock and roll. It's loud. This is caveman-psych..neanderthal aural bludgeon… its one of the records of the year! TURN IT UP!!!!
Castleface Records Present... JOHN DWYER – EXPLODED GLOBES An annotated collection of posters 1999-2016
For our very first Castle Face book, we have a selection from the dusty vaults of our own John Dwyer’s prodigious poster output. Bold, brash, lovingly imperfect prints embellished with some stories of the nights in question as told by the man himself...you can’t miss out on this or your coffee table will never forgive you. In hardcover, casewrapped in crimson cloth with gold foil lettering, so it looks nice on your shelf. A4 (8.27" × 11.69”) Casewrapped book, cloth wrapped. 84 pages CMYK.
DAMAGED BUG – BUNKER FUNK
Oh my, what is this? The alien globule of Damaged Bug’s errant planet has circled the sun and re-enters our orbit where last year’s Cold Hot Plumbs left off. Urgent falsetto morbidities detail Damaged Bug’s most rhythmically adventurous offering yet, syncopating lush landscapes with moon-shot death rays. UK exclusive coloured vinyl, 3 sides and one etched... in this clear vinyl / splatter... ULTRA CLEAR P15 with Easter Yellow#2, Doublemint#7 and Halloween Orange #4 Splatter
NEW RELEASES A-COMING FROM CASTLEFACE...
WARM SODA ‘I Don’t Wanna Grow Up’
DREAM MACHINE ‘The Illusion’
The 4th and final album from power-pop maestro Matthew Melton. LP/CD
Warm Soda’s Matthew Melton makes it a fantastical family affair LP/CD
,zzucs n si si eht fo
THEE OH SEES COME TO UK.EUROPE AND TOUR….. touring ‘An Odd Entrances.… and with a new Line up!
HOT DAMN… UK DATES… 05/16 05/17 06/03 06/04 06/14
Nottingham – Rock City Brighton – Clarendon Centre London @ Field Day Festival Bristol @ SWX Manchester - Academy
EUROPEAN TOUR DATES 2017 05/05 Winterthur, CH @ Salzhaus 05/06 Frankfort, GE @ Zoom 05/07 Rotterdam, NL @ Rotown 05/08 Berlin, GE @ Columbia Theater 05/10 Clermont-Ferrand, FR @ La Coopérative de Mai 05/11 La Rochelle, FR @ La Sirène 05/12 Rouen, FR @ Le 106 05/13 Lyon, FR @ L’épicerie Moderne 05/14 Paris, FR @ Trabendo 05/19 – FR – Rennes – Antipode – http://bit.ly/2lnM46g 05/18 Nantes, FR @ Stereolux 05/20 Reims, FR @ La Magnifique Society 05/21 Brussels, BE @ L’Ancienne Belgique 05/26 – George, WA @ Sasquatch Festival 06/06 Metz, FR @ La BAM 06/07 Milano, IT @ Magnolia 06/08 Ravenna, IT @ Beaches Brew 06/09 Dudingen, CH @ Bad Bonn 06/10 Nimes, FR @ This Is Not A Love Song 06/11 Bordeaux, FR @ le block
email@example.com news page 18 issue 9.indd 2
lamini taeh eti enima cirtcel
PAUL WELLER Known as The Modfather to his fans, Paul Weller was the leading figure of the ‘70s/’80s mod revival as he fronted The Jam. Following fame and success with The Jam, Weller formed the more soul-influenced The Style Council before embarking on a long-running career, starting with 1992’s self-titled debut. Having recently released his first film score for British boxing drama ‘Jawbone’, Weller is seen by many as one of the UK’s finest songwriters. Ian Chaddock looks back at his incredible music journey to date.
LOUDER THAN WAR
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ORN John William Weller on 25th May 1958 in Woking, Surrey to a working class family, Weller soon became known as Paul and developed a love of bands like The Beatles, The Small Faces and The Who at a young age. By the time he was in secondary school music was becoming his life and he was playing guitar. After seeing Status Quo in 1972 he formed the first incarnation of The Jam, playing bass and with friends Steve Brookes (guitar) and Dave Waller (drums). The Jam’s line-up solidified into the classic trio of Weller (vocals/guitar), Bruce Foxton (bass) and Rick Buckler (drums) in ‘76, emerging with a mod revival/new wave sound that impressed The Clash and saw them on the ‘White Riot’ tour in 1977, despite not being viewed as a punk band. Five albums and a flurry of hit singles would follow, starting with ‘77’s debut single, ‘In the City’ before 1979’s political ‘The Eton Rifles’ saw them break into the Top 10. ‘Going Underground’ saw them top the UK Singles Chart in 1980 and the band performed both sides of their no.1 single ‘Town Called Malice’ / ‘Precious’ on Top of the Pops in 1982 (something only The Beatles had done before them). However, that same year The Jam split, following their fourth UK chart topping single ‘Beat Surrender’ and sell out farewell gigs at Wembley Arena and Brighton Centre at the end of ‘82. Embracing a more soulful sound, Weller formed The Style Council with Mick Talbot (keyboards, ex-Dexys Midnight Runners and The Merton Parkas) and brought in Steve White (drums) and Weller’s then-wife Dee C. Lee (vocals) and experimented with pop, R&B and ballads. Scoring seven top 10 hits, including ‘Speak Like a Child’, ‘Paris Match’, ‘My Ever Changing Moods’ and 1984’s ‘Shout to the Top!’ (which also went top 10 in Australia and New Zealand), the band released four albums from ‘83 to ‘88. They also played at Live Aid at Wembley Stadium in 1985. The Style Council parted ways in 1989 when their fifth album, ‘Modernism: A New Decade’ was canned by their record company. Without a band or record company for the first time since he was 17, it was an uncertain time for Weller in 1989. After taking time off in 1990 and returning to touring as The Paul Weller Movement in 1991 with a backing band, he had begun to establish himself as a solo artist by the time 1992’s self-titled album was released. Featuring a mix of funk and jazz influences, samples and Style Council elements, this album was a critical and commercial success due to songs like ‘That Spiritual Feeling’ and ‘Here’s a New Thing’. But it was 1993’s second solo album, ‘Wild Wood’, which really put him on the map as a solo artist. Backed by Steve White (drums) and then Ocean Colour Scene members Steve Cradock (guitar) and Damon Minchella (bass), it reached no.2 in the UK Albums Chart, produced three hit singles (‘Wild Wood’, Sunflower’ and ‘Hung Up’) and was nominated for a Mercury Music Prize. 1995’s ‘Stanley Road’ (named after the road in Woking where he grew up) was a high water mark that saw him return to the top of the charts for the first time in a decade, becoming his best-selling solo album. Top 10 singles ‘The
Changingman’ and ‘You Do Something to Me’ marked his return to guitar-based style of his early days and saw him become somewhat of an icon to the burgeoning Britpop movement, with Noel Gallagher guesting on his song ‘I Walk on Gilded Splinters’ and Weller playing on the Oasis hit ‘Champagne Supernova’. Fourth album ‘Heavy Soul’ (1997) was another success, reaching no.2 and lead single ‘Peacock Suit’ peaking at no.5, and saw a rawer sound from Weller, recorded with a live feel. Following his rumoured last album ‘Heliocentric’ (2000), sixth album ‘Illumination’ not only dispelled them but topped the UK Albums Chart again. It included a duet with the Stereophonics frontman Kelly Jones (‘Call Me No.5’) and ‘One X One’ features Noel Gallagher on drums, percussion and bass. A 2004 covers album, ‘Studio 150’, peaked at no.2 in the UK charts and saw Weller cover Bob Dylan, Gil Scott Heron, Gordon Lightfoot and more. However, ‘As is Now’ (2005) was somewhat of a low, seeing Weller peddling water and becoming his lowest charting album since his 1992 debut. 2006 saw Weller awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award at the BRIT Awards, the release of the ‘Hit Parade’ compilation (featuring all the singles of The Jam, The Style Council and Weller’s solo years) and even reject the offer of a CBE.
nyone who thought the Modfather was satisfied to sit back and enjoy the credit and acclaim for past glories was wrong. Weller kept pushing himself forward, releasing a double album, ‘22 Dreams’, in 2008, with a mostly new band and a sound that covered everything from jazz and folk to tango. More lifetime achievement awards followed over the next couple of years. 2010’s ‘Wake Up the Nation’ album was the first time he worked with The Jam bassist Bruce Foxton in 28 years (playing on the songs ‘Fast Car/Slow Traffic’ and ‘She Speaks’). 2012 saw Weller release eleventh studio album ‘Sonik Kicks’ and he joined Damon Albarn, Noel Gallagher and Graham Coxon on stage at a Teenage Cancer Trust gig in March 2013 to play drums on the Blur track ‘Tender’. Releasing his twelfth solo album, ‘Saturns Pattern’ in May 2015, it reached no.2 in the UK charts. Due to release his thirteenth solo record soon, it’s titled ‘A Kind Revolution’ and is reportedly a reaction to the state of the world. There’s a number of guest contributors too, including Boy George, Robert Wyatt and ‘60s British soul singers Madeline Bell and PP Arnold. With descriptions of tracks sounding like it’s going to be a rich and varied record, ‘A Kind Revolution’ could be something special. Before that though, Weller recently released his first ever full film score for the British boxing drama movie, ‘Jawbone’, starring Johnny Harris, Ray Winstone and Ian McShane. Paul Weller is still breaking new ground and pushing himself forward at age 58. One of the most celebrated and talented British singer/songwriters over the last forty years, he’s still a changing man and that’s why he’s such a talent. ‘Jawbone (Music From the Film)’ is out now on PLG UK Frontline
STANLEY ROAD (1995) PERSONNEL
(VOCALS, GUITAR, PIANO, ORGAN, WURLITZER, HAMMOND ORGAN, PERCUSSION)
YOLANDA CHARLES (BASS)
(PIANO, HAMMOND ORGAN, WURLITZER)
(FENDER RHODES, PIPE ORGAN, HAMMOND ORGAN)
CARLEEN ANDERSON (BACKING VOCALS)
(GUITAR, BACKING VOCALS, ACOUSTIC GUITAR)
(HAMMOND ORGAN, NOVATRON STRINGS, ORGAN)
(CYREMIN, MINI-MOOG, TAMBOURINE, ACCORDION, FINGER CYMBALS)
(BASS, BACKING VOCALS)
JOY HAWLEY (CELLO)
CONSTANTINE WIER (VOODOO VOCAL)
(ACOUSTIC SLIDE GUITAR)
MARK NELSON (BASS)
NOEL GALLAGHER (ACOUSTIC GUITAR)
1. THE CHANGINGMAN 2. PORCELAIN GODS 3. I WALK ON GILDED SPLINTERS 4. YOU DO SOMETHING TO ME 5. WOODCUTTER’S SON 6. TIME PASSES 7. STANLEY ROAD 8. BROKEN STONES 9. OUT OF THE SINKING 10. PINK ON WHITE WALLS 11. WHIRLPOOLS’ END 12. WINGS OF SPEED LOUDER THAN WAR
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CURSE OF LONO
CURSE OF LONO GOTHIC ROCK QUINTET BRING THEIR CINEMATIC TOUCH TO THE BLUES.
OGETHER since 2015, London’s Curse Of Lono are a gothic-blues quintet about to release debut album ‘Severed’. Formed by frontman Felix Bechtolsheimer, previously of Hey Negrita, they are a group of experienced musicians committed to a bluesy, melancholic sound. Felix has already toured extensively and released four albums with his previous band, but decided to take a new direction with his music in Curse Of Lono. Felix’s troubled history lends itself to the band’s song writing in heavily affecting tracks like ‘Severed’ as he explained: “‘Severed’ was written over a fourteen year period. Some of the oldest songs were written in a detox ward in South Florida when I was kicking heroin and methadone. Some of the newer tracks are brand spanking new additions. There are a lot of references to a darker past but there are also rays of hope.” The band’s sound is flooded by a blend of incredible influences as Felix told us; “Between us we have a vast range of influences but the ones that people keep picking out are The Doors, The Velvet Underground and Wilco.” You can certainly hear a Morrison vibe in his low, growling vocal but the band also go into a neo-Krautrock sound and include blissful harmonies. It’s
clear they have absorbed their fair share of blues, gospel and jazz aside. Though a new band, they have already released four music videos/singles with the latest called ‘Pick Up The Pieces’. “The song’s story is a snapshot of a relationship at the stage when too much damage has been done to keep the boat afloat but neither party is ready to say it out
“SOME OF THE OLDEST SONGS WERE WRITTEN IN A DETOX WARD”
they come out and then it’s our job to break them down and rock them up. The producer, Oli Bayston (AKA Boxed In) had a big influence on the sound of the record as well. Oli comes from more of a Krautrock and Radiohead background so it was really exciting to try to come up with a fresh and unpredictable sound.” We wanted to know how it felt to be in a new band after years with Hey Negrita. “Me and the drummer Neil Findlay played in Hey Negrita together. We released four records, toured all over the world and played more festivals than we dare to remember. The others (guitarist Joe Hazell, bassist Charis Anderson and harmonium and keyboard player Dani Ruiz Hernandez), all answered ads on various music sites. We’ve all been together for less than two years but we’ve already been through some serious highs and lows that have really brought us closer. We chat every day and stick together.” This year the band will be playing festivals including Great Escape and are already working on the next album. “We’ll also be heading out on our first headline tour in September. As far as new material goes, the next album is coming together nicely so we’re looking forward to road-testing a few new songs in the summer.”
loud,” Felix explained: “We wanted to make a simple performance video with a little nod to 90’s bands like Nirvana, Faith No More and Pearl Jam. We showed Shane (director and friend) some examples of stuff we liked and he suggested that we film the whole thing on 16mm film.” Curse Of Lono’s sound has often been described as ‘southern gothic’ and ‘Indie Americana’ which definitely comes across in the music and the new video. We asked Felix how the band arrived at their sound. “The songs are mostly written on an acoustic SOUNDS LIKE: WILCO, THE VELVET UNDERGROUND, THE DOORS guitar. A lot of them are OUT NOW: ‘SEVERED’ (SUBMARINE CAT) very dark and rootsy when
LOUDER THAN WAR
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CREATIVE FREE SPIRITS AIM FOR THE “MAGICAL”.
E want to make our audience feel like they’re witnessing something magical,” says KOYO vocalist and guitarist Huw. Not for KOYO the standard heads down nervousness of a new band. Instead they want listeners “to feel like they’re on a journey. We want to take them from one place to another – pure escapism!” Coming together “in a bedroom in Hyde Park, Leeds” in 2015, Huw takes up the story: “Me and Jake’s old band was slowly dissipating and we had to do something. We found ourselves staying up late experimenting with different things. It felt like we had a chance to start again. We realised since moving to Leeds how much our tastes had moved on. It was a chance to let some of that out. It wasn’t until later we thought ‘Fuck! We ought to put a band together!’” Explaining that “our backgrounds are rooted in rock,” Huw reveals that a change in location to Leeds meant that “we were mixing with people from all kinds of
musical backgrounds: jazz, electronic, funk... We recorded our album at Foel Studio in Wales. Ozric Tentacles, My Bloody Valentine and Hawkwind have all recorded there. It’s no wonder the vibe of the place had an effect on our album, it had psychedelia and prog oozing out of the walls!” Taking their name from “the Japanese word for colourful Autumn leaves,” Huw explains that “We liked that as a metaphor for transformation and progression and we really just loved the way it sounded and the way it looked.” There was also a definite mission statement
“IT’S PURE ESCAPISM!”
and go ‘Right, let’s do this, this and this’. It’s organic – we channel those influences naturally.” With the release of the band’s debut single ‘Tetrachromat’ fast approaching as we speak, are KOYO feeling the buzz in the lead-up to its release? “Yeah, completely!” confesses Huw: “This is the first single any of us have ever released. We’re really excited about how things are going. Every time our manager calls us with some news we’re hungry for more. Playing their first gig in London on the 4th of May at the Old Blue Last, Huw reveals that KOYO will “tour our second single ‘Lost In The Kingdom’ in June. We’ll be playing a bunch of festivals. Our album comes out at the end of Summer and then we’ll be touring relentlessly in the UK and the US for the rest of the year.” As our time draws to a close we ask Huw what he would, in an ideal world, like listeners to take away from the band’s music. He replies: “There’s a video of Queens Of The Stone Age performing ‘A Song For The Dead’ at Reading Festival. They’re totally killing it. There’s an undeniable energy there that is captured within that moment. We want to be that kind of band. Right place, right time.
when it came to KOYO as Huw reveals that “we just want to be real. We want to sound like a performance, like you just heard an album and thought ‘Fuck, those guys just nailed it’. Every element of our band is vital.” Throwing the likes of Mogwai, Pink Floyd and Nirvana into the mix alongside grooves that are “inspired by hip hop and jazz fusion”, SOUNDS LIKE: MY BLOODY VALENTINE, PINK FLOYD, ALICE IN CHAINS Huw explains that “it’s OUT NOW: TETRACHROMAT (KOYO) not a conscious delivery – we don’t sit down
LOUDER THAN WAR
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ROYAL THUNDER CROSS 2012’s ‘CVI’ and 2015’s ‘Crooked Doors’, Atlanta’s Royal Thunder have proved themselves to be one of the most consistently surprising and genre defying acts coming up in US rock. Though originally grounded in metal, on their new record ‘Wick’ Royal Thunder draw in influences from ‘70s riff rock, psychedelia, pop and searing anthemia – but the genesis of this record proved their most challenging yet. “It was a good and hard process,” explains guitarist and driving force Josh Weaver: “it was definitely a lot of just feeling it out and caring about wanting to make a great record. I believe that to make something great or do something right it’s not going to be easy and it’s always going to be a lot of work.” Where ‘Crooked Doors’ explored the fraught emotional aftermath of lyricist and singer Mlny Parsonz’s exit from a religious cult, it was important that ‘Wick’ would be more elusive and wide-ranging. “I wanted this album to be left more to interpretation” Mlny agrees, “‘Wick’ felt kind of a more mature approach to life. I’ve been through it, I’m not trying to figure it out,
I’ve figured it out and I’ve walked through it and this is what I’ve learnt. I felt I was being more careful lyrically, but in other ways not so much”. But how conscious has Royal Thunder’s shift away from metal and move towards sonic promiscuity been? “We never have a formula but it just always happens,” Josh says, “through playing live it’s been one of those things where we didn’t plan it but I feel like instead of having an eight minute song we can have a four minute song and establish the same impact.” Mlyn agrees: “I don’t think it’s
what’s hot and what you’re supposed to look like and sound like.” Through their continuing transatlantic success, Royal Thunder have vindicated Josh’s vision of a band unconcerned by the confines of metal but still profoundly affecting on a live stage. “We love it, it feeds us,” Mlny enthuses, “you pour out so much when you’re making an album but when we play live, I don’t know, I feel like I get filled up, not like I’m putting out.” Recording ‘Wick’ may have been Royal Thunder’s biggest challenge yet, it’s their strongest release to date and leaves the
“WE LOVE PLAYING LIVE – IT FEEDS US” door wide open for further possibilities. us feeling like we’re too old to play metal “Subconsciously I just want things to but it’s just that we feel different things be balanced,” Josh adds: “you know, and hear different things…it’s like the everything seems to work out and usually last song on the album, ‘We Never Fall when we make an album in the back Asleep’, that was so hard – what do you of my head I’m thinking of the whole do with that?” picture, even when I don’t know what it Royal Thunder are scathing of the will look like.” idea that a band should have to follow a template or be restrained by their previous work, Josh points out that “for the SOUNDS LIKE: THE SWORD, BLOOD CEREMONY, ELDER most part I think people OUT NOW: ‘WICK’ (SPINEFARM) are extremely influenced by the internet and by
words: Fergal Kinney
ATLANTA WRECKING CREW DIAL UP THE WEIRDNESS.
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Following Up The Critically-Acclaimed ‘I Love You Honeybear’ With ‘Pure Comedy’ This Month, Fergal Kinney Speaks To Father John Misty About Sonic Departures And The Horror Of Trump.
ULY 2016 – Donald Trump has just spoken at the Republican National Convention to accept his nomination as Presidential candidate, and Father John Misty (the alias of former Fleet Foxes drummer and folk singer, Josh Tillman) is terrified. Booked to perform at a festival in New Jersey, Tillman takes to the stage, refuses the guitar thrust into his hand and delivers a monologue urging the audience out of their complacency and to take what has just happened seriously. “Maybe just take a moment to be really fucking profoundly sad,” he told the audience: “It’s a lot less sexy of a festival look”. He played two songs, then left. For an artist who describes his work largely as “sarcastic meta-ballads about despair”, that Father John Misty became such a runaway success is remarkable in and of itself. At his best when delving into the darker corners of the male psyche (the garage frenzy of ‘The Ideal Husband’ essentially a catalogue of masculine failings), Father John Misty is often sarcastic, but always caustically honest. Rather than the faux-authentic folksiness of his earlier incarnation, Father John Misty was the joke that revealed the truth. In its aftermath, Misty was elevated to the top table of pop - nominated at the Brits, the Grammys, and co-writing for artists like Beyonce and Lady Gaga. Now, Father John Misty returns with ‘Pure Comedy’. At seventy-five minutes in
length, it’s Tillman’s most ambitious work to date; less cinematic than its predecessor, but no less searing and loaded with ideas. And though much of it was written before Trump’s ascent, the record is grimly prophetic about a divided nation obsessed by the entertainment industry and exhausted by an addiction to technology. I spoke to America’s most controversial indie star about the keenly anticipated ‘Pure Comedy’ and life in the US today.
So ‘I Love You Honeybear’ was your real commercial breakthrough and it’s quite interesting how different ‘Pure Comedy’ is - it’s a lot more sparsely arranged, it’s longer (definitely longer), there’s nods to things like critical theory in a way that wasn’t there on the last record - did you worry about how much of a departure from ‘...Honeybear’ it was or was that something you were actively going towards? “The album is kind of an arbitrary break in the whole songwriting thing, it’s not like you get a brain wipe, you know what I mean? The continuity between the albums is a lot less extreme…”
Yeah I understand you wrote a lot of it in 2014, 2015 as ‘...Honeybear’ was coming out… “Yeah, and the last song I wrote for ‘... Honeybear’ was ‘Holy Shit’, and you can kind of trace the cognitive correlations between a song like ‘Pure Comedy’ and a song like ‘Holy Shit’. ‘Pure Comedy’ as a song and ‘Holy
Shit’ are both songs about the limitations of the rational. And also about love. And ‘Pure Comedy’ ultimately is a song about love, it’s just about what happens when we forget that the substance of life is loving one another, and these kind of grotesque counterfeits that start to emerge when we live in isolation. And that’s also kind of what ‘Holy Shit’ was about. And I was kind of pulling this thread and seeing where it took me and once I become interested in that idea, these counterfeits of love, then you’ve got songs like ‘Total Entertainment Forever’, ‘The Ballad Of The Dying Man’ etc. But in terms of any kind of fear of departing from ‘...Honeybear’? Maybe there was some but obviously not enough to prevent me from putting out the album.”
It’s interesting when you look at the point a lot of people first became aware of you - that Letterman performance of ‘Bored In The USA’ just as ‘... Honeybear’ was coming out - and you fast forward eighteen months and there you are at the Xponential Festival, and everything about that that’s been quite well documented. And you were really trying to shake the audience out of any complacency about what was going on, obviously it was just after Trump’s speech at the RNC, and that urgency, that idea feels like it’s bled into the album quite a bit... “The album was written by that point and I was sort of watching in horror as these issues I’d taken up writing about became incredibly literal before my very eyes, you
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FATHER JOHN MISTY
“these songs just sound like normal songs to me because i’m a total weirdo.”
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FATHER JOHN MISTY
“I was watching in horror as these issues I’d taken up writing about became incredibly literal before my very eyes.” know? And it was sort of terrifying, you know? And I even paraphrased my own songs, and that’s sort of, it wasn’t so much that I was paraphrasing it’s just where my head was at.”
Yeah, that was the lens through which you were viewing those events. “Yes. And there was something about Trump, really he was like a referendum on these empty liberal platitudes that we were all kind of walking around presuming were the truth of the world. And you know, people are kind of asking me – why lecture a bunch of Clintonites and the fact of the matter is, we kind of have this idea on the left that if we just land enough zingers, enough airtight late night jokes aimed at conservatives, that they’re bound to concede that we’re right. That they’re obligated by logic to walk through this logic door with us, you know, come on over to our side. But there’s more than enough statistical evidence that presenting people with truths that refute their claim just re-enforces their beliefs. That’s just the way human beings work. I’m not going to get in front of a crowd of conservatives and argue them onto my side – that’s just not the way it works. But the beauty of art or music is that it does transcend the rational, and it’s about empathy you know? And I think when you read interviews of mine it’s difficult to assess where I stand politically because in one breath I’m condemning this Trump era resentment culture conservatism, and in the other breath condemning these liberal platitudes. And obviously, like always, the truth lies in the middle of that cross section.”
With having been in Britain in the last 18 months I can certainly relate to the idea that liberals laughing at the other side does nothing but help the other side. One track on the new record that I really related to and that links with that idea is ‘Two Wildly Different Perspectives’. Now I understand you wrote that before what happened in the last twelve months, and that’s an interesting reminder that the problems in American political discourse really do not start and end with Donald Trump. “Yeah, I think that there’s ultimately the victory of the power structure is evidenced in the fact that we sit around arguing with each other. You know? When there are bigger masters that we serve – industrialisation, consumer culture, or whatever, these deep dehumanising forces that are the real enemy. Yet we sit around, you’re going to be hard
pressed to find… I think that there’s a lot of vanity and resentment that informs these political arguments, these political arguments are so emotional and there’s something else going on. These are not really hard ideological divides, I really don’t think. They’re a placeholder for something else that’s going on and I think a lot of what it is is that the 20th century was this new experiment in control and what you see, on Twitter or wherever else in these political arguments, is a form of cage rattling as people are frustrated – and tired – of being controlled in increasingly subtle ways.”
One thing that I was really interested in when I got the press release through for ‘Pure Comedy’ and then later listening to the album was that Gavin Bryers (74 year old minimalist/avant-garde classical composer) was involved, who I’d most associate with things like ‘The Sinking Of The Ship’ which is obviously very different to your work. How did working with Gavin come about and was there something specific you wanted him to add? “A friend of mine introduced me to his work and I just fell in love with his work. And you know, with ‘Leaving LA’ I had a sense that I needed a composer who was okay with anxiety and was okay with dissonance and was okay with horrible harmonic ambivalence. And he is just the guy for the job. There’s so much uncertainty in that song and the way it resolves is so irresolute and he was just the guy for the job. So I cold-called him and basically said that this song is going to have an arrangement by you or no arrangement at all, and he went for it, it was unbelievable.”
of this interview – has been critical of the entertainment industry, how has it gone from being quite a smaller scale artist to really being at the top table of pop? Looking at people you’ve been writing with, and even going to awards ceremonies, I’m curious about your perspective on that… “My perspective is that there’s a major distinction to be made between entertainment and art. Entertainment is about forgetting about your life and art is about remembering your life. Art operates under a very different set of criteria then entertainment, you know? Entertainment is engineered towards giving you what you want, where art is about giving you what you didn’t know you wanted or maybe something that you don’t even want, but you know, I guess in a nutshell that’s kind of it for me.”
Did you ever feel tempted to enter that world? I imagine there must have been offers, to take this bigger than Sub Pop and Bella Union and try and throw yourself into the entertainment world? Or was that something that really did not appeal to you? “I gave it a whirl. I met with everybody and stuff, but I realised we had different values. So simply really it was just a nonquestion, like I didn’t belong in this world. It made the decision actually really easy. When you try to make those decisions based on pragmatism it just becomes an infinite headfuck. When you try to make those decisions based on principles it becomes very clear cut very quickly.”
‘Leaving LA’ is a really ambitious track in a lot of senses – lyrically there’s so much imagery that sticks in the mind, the beautiful snapshot of you as a child hearing ‘Sweet Little Lies’... I’m really curious about where that song came from. It is long, and it is autobiographical, and it is ambitious, was it something that went through a lot of re-writes?
Sonically, when you look at the leap from ‘Fear Fun’ to ‘Pure Comedy’, it’s interesting just how much progression there’s been. The folk influence on ‘Fear Fun’ and also on ‘I Love You Honeybear’, that feels negligible and you’ve got the emergence of these lovely lush mid-’70s arrangements and piano ballads. I suspect that you seem quite attracted to the conflict between this lush, sweet music and lyrics that are often anything but.
“Yeah, the song is about this unspeakable thing that emerges at the end. Literally unspeakable at the end of the song which is that Emma and I had kind of this uncertainty that had emerged over our relationship, and that song is basically fifteen minutes of me in my head spinning plates so I can avoid having to talk about that (laughs).”
“Well for me there is no conflict, which is funny. Honestly these songs just sound like normal songs to me because I’m a total weirdo. You know what I mean? I listen to them and think, oh they’re pretty nice lyrics! I’m not calculating a weird friction between the music and the lyrics, but it just so happens that that is what a normal song sounds like.”
As someone who – even just over the course
‘Pure Comedy’ is out now on Bella Union
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AT THE DRIVE IN
From their triumphant, explosive third album in 2000, ‘Relationship of Command’, wild live shows, huge popularity and split the following year to a brief 2012 reunion and now a second reunion and new fourth album (‘in • ter a • li • a’), AT THE DRIVE IN are and have always been unpredictable and exhilarating. Ian Chaddock looks back on the Texan post-hardcore band’s rise, fall and rise again.
HE 500-capacity Cockpit in Leeds was packed full of excited fans on a cold December night in 2000, everyone eagerly awaiting the arrival of the hotly tipped At The Drive-In. Following a driving support set from Murder City Devils, the bar had been set high. As the skinny, afro-sporting men of At The Drive-In took to the small stage, the sheer eruption of energy onstage as Cedric Bixler-Zavala (vocals), Omar Rodriguez (guitar/vocals), Jim War (guitar/vocals), Paul Hinojos (bass) and Tony Hajjar (drums) unleashed felt like a shockwave. Channelling the raw power and incredible musicianship of the MC5, the Stooges, Fugazi and Bad Brains and injecting it with an obtuse lyrical slant, this was the sound of urgency and passion. Blasting through new songs like ‘Arcarsenal’, ‘Rolodex Propaganda’ and the already classic-in-the-making ‘One Armed Scissor’ (which had been released in August ahead of their thundering Reading/Leeds festival performances that led to this venue being crammed full in anticipation), I can’t remember another time seeing a band when the crowd was as stunned and floored by the relentless physical and emotional explosion on stage. Just a few short months after their stunning Reading/Leeds sets midday on a side stage and the release of their phenomenal, breakout album ‘Relationship of Command’, that night it felt like At The Drive-In had the world at their feet and were set to conquer the world. Sure, the press was throwing around the “new Nirvana” tag and the band seemed like they could implode at any moment, but it felt like their time. However, it wasn’t to be as their new success, musical differences, excessive hype and increasing drug habits resulted in more internal strife and onstage meltdowns. Rodriguez said of the hiatus, announced in March 2001, “after a nonstop six-year cycle of record/tour/record/tour, we are going on indefinite hiatus. We need time to rest up and re-evaluate, just to be human beings again and to decide when we feel like playing music again.” With Bixler-Zavala and Rodriguez-Lopez stating he didn’t want to be constrained by the punk/hardcore label, they wanted to be more experimental, something which manifested in his and their new band The Mars Volta. The remaining members – Ward, Hinojos and Hajjar, would go in somewhat the other direction with the more rock-oriented Sparta. Line-up changes (sometimes swapping members!) and break-ups would follow, but the greatness and what-could-have-beens about At The Drive-In hung in the air for many fans. At The Drive-In went out on top - could that magic ever be captured again?
‘in • ter a • li • a’ is out May 5th on Rise At The Drive In play the Reading and Leeds festivals on August 25th – 27th
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Pic: CLEMENTE RUIZ
t would be over eleven years after their hiatus when the members shared a stage again at Red 7 in Austin, Texas in April 2012 as part of a four-date tour of their home state, warming up for their performance at Coachella festival. However, their reunion shows and festival performances resulted in mixed reviews, many down to the apparent disinterest of Rodriguez-Lopez. The band split again before the end of the year, with Rodriguez-Lopez ruling out the possibility of new material. Was that the end of it, a sad end to an amazing band? No, they rose again like a phoenix from the flames just last year. On January 21st 2016 a Facebook post announced At The Drive-In would be touring and recording new material. Rodriguez-Lopez commented that “these are our roots, and a true person never forgets their roots,” with Hajjar adding, “this is home, and it’s nice to come back to it and feel so positive about it.” Things didn’t go smooth at first though and just days before their 2016, Ward quit the band having stated he was unaware of the reunion, ironically being replaced by Sparta guitarist Keeley Davis. Bixler-Zavala had voice issues too, leading to the cancellation of some North American dates. However, with the release of two singles – ‘Governed by Contagions’ and ‘Incurably Innocent’ (“a song about sexual abuse and being able to finally speak out,” comments Bixler-Zavala), showing they’re back to their powerful, angular and intense post-hardcore best, their first album in 17 years, ‘in • ter a • li • a’ (Latin for “among other things”), shows the El Paso, Texas quintet are back on top. Set to return to Reading and Leeds festival this summer, At The Drive In (they’ve now dropped the hyphen) sees them come full circle to pick up, properly this time hopefully, where they left off back in those exciting days of 2000. In a recent interview Rodriguez-Lopez explained, “it’s picking up where we left off, and of course we have fresh eyes.” With the new album’s opening song titled ‘No Wolf Like the Present’, At The Drive In sound hungrier than ever and ready to attack.
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ITH all art there will be inevitably be a reaction to it. Such was the case with punk rock. Punk’s DNA was the latest link in a specific postmodern chain. Connected, either by design, aesthetic, or proximity to glam, pub rock, London’s established counterculture and the varied underground detonations coming out of New York City, a transatlantic confluence was reached in July 1976 as many of those who would soon be integral to the UK scene took their places before the Ramones as punk swaggered into that endless summer’s light. A year later, and soaped up spikes, bondage trousers and gobbing at stages might not have been the norm but they were certainly de rigueur in certain circles in certain cities, the shockwaves of the movement spreading out from London and Manchester into the hinterlands. The one-two punch of three chords and the truth had caught the likes of Yes and Genesis napping, as kids across the country realised that literally anybody could buy, borrow or steal a guitar and start a band. However, as is the case with all great artistic revolutions, there would be those that bridled against the strict rules that had somehow infested the ‘anarchy’ of punk. Johnny Rotten and Howard Devoto are two such individuals, rejecting the conformity of the garage rock-influenced punk bands of the day and leaving their respective outfits of the Sex Pistols and the Buzzcocks to pursue something new, something stranger and something indefinable in the form of Public Image Ltd and Magazine. Elsewhere, similarly like-minded people were pursuing the same path, with journalists of the time deeming it ‘new musick’. Leeds birthed the political Gang Of Four, injecting their punk rock sounds with slabs of skeletal funk and ear-bending dub, while Bristol’s The Pop Group would draw influence from avant-garde art and free jazz, having started life as a funk group that harnessed the energy of punk. Emerging from the rain-soaked streets of Salford in 1976, Joy Division was created following a chance meeting between Peter Hook and Bernard Sumner at a Sex Pistols gig, leading to a sparse, bleak and bass-led sound. Evolving from experimental performance art as COUM Transmissions, Throbbing Gristle came together in Kingston upon Hull in ‘76, effectively pioneering what would become industrial music through their use of tape loops, synthesisers and electronics, while Siouxsie and the Banshees would astound with their use of off-kilter rhythms, the inimitable vocal talents of Siouxsie Sioux and, with later albums, effectively set the tone for goth. Others who were originally closely associated with the punk scene would leap generic fences to fashion something wholly new, such as Wire and The Slits, creating benchmark albums in the form of ‘Pink Flag’ and, later on for Ari Up and company, ‘Cut’. With the likes of The Cure, the Dada-influenced Cabaret Voltaire and The Fall also on the rise, the revolution wasn’t near – it was here. The Year Zero musical reboot that punk not only promised but delivered cleared the decks of the bloated prog rock dinosaurs that had infested the charts and ushered in a new kind of progressive music. Gone were the capes and the endless organ and guitar wankathons – in their place was an economical songwriting approach that stripped the music of any fat. Platforms, be it shoes or drum risers, were thrown out – this was now a level playing field that embraced modern art, critical theory, obtuse cinematic contributions and dub, funk and disco. While the very term ‘post-punk’ is a source of constant debate (after all, many of the movement’s originators formed before or during punk’s brightest years), the music and the spirit of its creation lives on to this day. Over the next thirty four pages, we journey back to the beginning with originators such as Magazine, Echo & The Bunnymen, Joy Division, Public Image Ltd and Wire, speak to the new wave who’ve taken influence from them such as Sleaford Mods, Savages, Desperate Journalist and IDLES plus much more...
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Forty years after recording ‘God Save The Queen’ and shining a polarising light upon the contrived homage at the putrid heart of 1977’s Royal Jubilee, John Lydon has compiled ‘Mr Rotten’s Songbook’, an illustrated compendium collecting all his lyrics to date. LTW’s Dick Porter hunkers down for an object lesson in how words can be weapons in the hands of the ex-Sex Pistol and PUBLIC IMAGE LTD man.
NCE again, it appears that we are living in Interesting Times. As Donald Trump and Theresa May indulge in the kind of doublespeak and hand-holding that makes Reagan and Thatcher’s frigid flirting seem almost wholesome by comparison, any voices of dissent are kept well away from the mainstream of popular culture. While middle-aged nice-then-bad boys Depeche Mode opine across the airwaves in search of a vague, edgy sounding ‘revolution’, the current generation of angry youth are afforded no such exposure. A lot of water has passed under many bridges since the Sex Pistols took their boat trip down the Thames at the same time that many of Queen Elizabeth II’s loyal subjects were responding dutifully to months of encouragement urging them to hold street parties celebrating the status quo. On that day, the Pistols’ ‘God Save The Queen’ sat glowering at Number Two in the nation’s singles chart, a testament to the way in which avenues of mass opposition still, despite state broadcasting bans and mutterings about chart rigging, remained accessible. Fast forward a year and the Sex Pistols were a memory, John Lydon had formed Public Image Ltd, and the notion of post-punk was fast gaining currency. The group’s debut album pointed the way forward, splicing elements of dub and Krautrock to punk’s angry, oppositional core, Lydon’s lyrics progressing from the direct assault of the Pistols-era ‘Religion’ into the subtextually richer, more impressionistic realms explored by album opener ‘Theme’.
1979’s ‘Metal Box’ brought this process to fruition. Dense and dark, it encapsulated the sense of impending menace that enveloped the first few months of Margaret Thatcher’s ascent to power like a toxic mist. Whereas ‘Never Mind The Bollocks...’ had directly addressed how things were, ‘Metal Box’ was subtler and more insidious; it evoked how things felt. Lyrically, it explored personal space, ‘The Suit’ detailed the slight cost of another’s ambition, ‘Swan Lake’ explores the death of Lydon’s mother, and ‘Poptones’ digs deep into the cloying soil that will ultimately envelop us all. “Something cruel was happening to an unfortunate human being,” John explains. “It’s not your regular song subject matter, but for me that’s a human emotion worthy of exploring – the tormented soul. It’s as valid as the happy-go-lucky Radio One DJ nonsense – Look how dark their souls turned out to be. And those were the very people telling me that I was wrecking family values. Really Jimmy? The secrecy, and the power that they had over younger, more innocent minds, it’s where the corruption lies and the sadness of ‘Poptones’ is the result of that abuse, that dictatorship. And we’re back to religion again, the same thing you know – ‘Mummy and Daddy, why do you leave us with these animals in charge of us?’ We weren’t allowed to explain the tortures we’d go through at school. They got wise later on, and the reaction – it’s now very important and poignant; that all institutions are basically cruel. When you leave your children in the hands of absolute power, absolute evil will take place.”
y the time ‘Metal Box’ was piled alongside the shelves that its radical packaging precluded it from sitting upon, John Lydon was in a unique position to document the effects of direct and indirect forms of oppression. Having suffered a knife attack at the height of the tabloid led moral panic surrounding ‘God Save The Queen’, Lydon learned the sharp lesson that being the public face of societal opposition entailed an awful lot of looking over one’s shoulder. Ensconced behind drawn curtains in his Gunter Grove bolthole, the ideas that would underpin the poetic lyricism of ‘Metal Box’ gestated and grew. “I’m always wary of titles like ‘poet’ or ‘artist’, they frighten me because those are concepts that have been so badly corrupted,” he asserts. “So, maybe what I do is a fresher look at things, and I prefer the word ‘realist’. This is the way I really think, that I’m realistically interpreting it and, lucky me, most people tend to agree with that. Even more people hate me for it, but they agree with it – What a delicious dilemma I find in my life, eh?! Quite frankly, who could ask for anything more? The possibility of annoying everyone all at the same time was always there from when I was well young. I’ve spent my whole life trying to find out what the right answer is, I’m not totally a brilliant, excellent human being but I’m working on it. I’m a little further down the road than most.” As with many of those who would successfully embrace the healthy frisson of rebellion, Lydon’s refusal to toe the line or bend the knee stemmed from his formative
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PUBLIC IMAGE LTD experiences. “There are those that are going to go along with that, and there are those that don’t, and the ones that don’t are the ones that really matter in the end, because those are the society changers,” he observes. “I don’t know how I ended up on that side of everything in my life, other than that I know that my mum and dad were natural born rebels about everything, anyway. It was a healthy house in that respect – Unhealthy in many other ways; like the not teaching of the proper use of a toothbrush. But the respect of me as an individual developing my own mind was always there; they let me find myself, they never mollycoddled me out of my illness. They never made life too easy for me, so the school of hard knocks was a great and brilliant and beautiful thing. The major message that my mum and dad always had was, ‘Don’t have self-pity. Don’t sit there and feel sorry for yourself – All you’re doing is arming your enemies’. Good advice.”
urtured by the kind of tough loving post-war realism that often operated at the lower end of Britain’s social spectrum during the 1950s, John’s innocent fascination with the world around him ran aground the moment he was introduced to the state’s conditioning processes. “I love drawing,” he declares. “When I was very young, I was really influenced by the shapes of letters in newspapers. I’d watch my mum and dad, and other adults, stare into these things for hours, and I’d think that there must be some secret in there that I might have a chance to get into, so I’d duplicate the letters. I loved headlines – the large letters – and I loved the shapes of them. I’d draw them into other things and my mum noticed that, and she taught me that each one of these symbols had a sound. By the age of four, I could read and write, and by the age of five, when I went to Catholic school, the nuns despised me – not just because of that, but because I was left-handed, which was seen as a sign of The Devil. So the first two years of school was, ‘Stare at the wall until you learn to write with your right hand’. “Then I got meningitis and I lost my memory, then it all came back to me, so I’ve got a lot of reasons for the way I am. The biggest reason of all is, ‘Why lie?’ They were lying to me – the school lied to me, the nuns lied to me, they told me I was always right handed. You know instinctively that you’re not – You don’t know what your name is, you don’t remember your parents, you don’t remember anything – but oddly enough, if someone tries to hand you something, it’s
your left hand that sticks out. They tried to whip that out of me all over again, so I went through the whole experience twice. So this is how I approach the world – ‘Don’t lie to me, I’m not having it. Don’t lie to me, because I won’t lie to you because I’m lazy, I can’t be bothered to remember the lie’. I like to wake up feeling clean about myself, and if that makes me a difficult sod on Earth, then hello – there should be a few more of us. Of course there was all the added mystery of, ‘Was I born before my parents got married?’ The stigma that that put on you in those days – ‘Oh, yer muther’s a dirty whore...’ Well thank you, Sister Mary. So I’m not one for them religious lot, or indeed any dictatorship of thought – any political group that insists you rigidly follow their beliefs and nothing else, is unacceptable to me. They can call me a ‘fence-sitter’; what I am is a fence breaker.”
so far, presenting Lydon’s lyrics as prose adorned by his own illustrations, rather than in their more customary musical context. “What I’ve done is, the way I write any way is I draw little cartouches, cartoons, drawings, things that were in my mind when I originally wrote them, and I wanted to represent them n addition to John’s bout of meningitis completely accurately in the frame of mind that ensuring that he received a double dose of each song required,” he explains. “I was very discipline aimed at turning him into a god- surprised at some of the things that I’d wrote, fearing, right-handed conformist, the effects until the memory came back in, and then it of his illness served to further inform the was like, ‘Ahh yes – Now I know the mode outsider perspective that underpins many of his that I was in at that particular time’. With lyrics. “I had to learn – not only did I lose my me, songwriting is a jambalaya; a confusion memory at seven, I lost the control of words,” – there’s ideas constantly running around in he recalls. “I couldn’t communicate. I thought my head all the time and before I put pen to I was expressing myself, but my mum and dad paper, or voice to microphone, I don’t actually told me years later that I was just making weird write it down in advance. So for me it’s all noises. That was a very deep frustration. When about the emotions of the thing, and that’s you have to re-find yourself, you tend to make what I’m trying to reflect with the drawings sure when you state anything for the rest of connecting with the words. It’s not just the your life that it’s completely not available for rigidity of the words, so that it reads like a misinterpretation. And lo and behold, they still boring poem, there’s a lot more going on – misinterpret me. The media at that time viewed There’s a third language, which is a visual my class of people and where I come from as one. So we’re back to the letter ‘A’ – my mum trash. Disposable units, it was just ‘Get out of explained that it had a sound ‘ahhh’ – key to the way, oiks’. I’m not alone in this, the council the universe for me, that was.” flats are full of some serious philosophers. With his lyrics set for renewed appreciation Behind every drug addict is someone whose in a fresh light and Public Image Ltd in robust mind hasn’t been allowed to develop. It’s the health, it seems that John will be extending pressure that we put on each other. We’re a his singular corpus of works very soon. “I very weird species in that respect, but we are hope so,” he declares. “Bleedin’ hell, I view it the best. I’ve tried to live with moo cows in a like this; I’m only 61, who on earth told me field, it didn’t last very long!” I’ve got to die? I’ve got a long time left to go The release of ‘Mr Rotten’s Songbook’ before that.” represents a stock take of the ongoing developmental process that began in North ‘Mr Rotten’s Songbook’ is available via London all those years ago. A complete works Johnlydon.com
“It’s not your regular song subject matter, but for me that’s a human emotion worthy of exploring – the tormented soul.” LOUDER THAN WAR PIL 4 PAGES.indd 4
LOUDER THAN WAR COUNTS DOWN THE HUNDRED MOST ESSENTIAL POST-PUNK TRACKS!
VIRGIN PRUNES BABY TURNS BLUE
Coupling funk bass lines with heroic bursts of noise, ‘Baby Turns Blue’ was released in 1982 by the Dublin, Ireland mavericks (and childhood friends of Bono).
DEAD CAN DANCE
THE POP GROUP
WHERE WERE YOU?
Throwing country, folk rock, alt. rock and dub into a post-punk blender, British/American band The Mekons are never ones to sit still stylistically. ‘Where Were You?’ is replete with sky-soaring guitar riffs and frustrated passions.
THE FATAL IMPACT
Under the watchful eyes of Brendan Perry and Lisa Gerrard, Dead Can Dance created a genuinely unsettling listen on ‘The Fatal Impact’. Art rock, Gregorian chant and African polyrhythms (and ‘Zulu’ movie sample) were gleefully twisted into stunning new shapes on this classic from the Aussie duo.
THE NIGHTINGALES URBAN OSPREYS
Originally formed in Birmingham by members of The Prefects, aside from The Fall and Half Man Half Biscuit The Nightingales played more Peel Sessions than anyone else. ‘Urban Ospreys’ is musical chaos held together with gossamer.
DEFUNKT RAZOR’S EDGE
Opening for the likes of James Brown, The Clash and Prince throughout their career, Defunkt came into being back in 1978 via New York City trombonist Joseph Bowie. Merging the avant-garde with punk rock and jazz, they retain a cult following even now.
AN HONEST MISTAKE
Holding more than a little in common with New Order’s ‘Blue Monday’, The Bravery hit the charts with 2005’s ‘An Honest Mistake’, hitting the UK Top 10 with it to boot. While they’d go off the boil and their separate ways a couple of years later, this remains a great listen.
Coming together in Bradford in the late 1980s and taking their name from a book owned by guitarist Mark Tighe, ‘Caged’ is a slice of vicious guitar noise coupled with dissonance-inflected melodies.
30 SECONDS OVER TOKYO
Ohio’s Pere Ubu existed from 1975 to 1982 and, after a five year break, they’ve continued their trailblazing ways to this day. Minimalistic and sinister, ‘30 Seconds Over Tokyo’ sees the inimitable vocal tones of David Thomas atop a jarring musical workout.
YEAH YEAH YEAHS DATE WITH THE NIGHT
One of the first blasts from 2003’s ‘Fever To Tell’, Karen O and company crafted a track that took the likes of The Cramps and dance punk and twisted it into a cathartic, sweaty mess of shrieking guitars, moaned/sung vocals and indie rock genius.
I’M IN LOVE WITH A GERMAN FILM STAR
Reaching No.25 in the UK singles chart, ‘I’m In Love With A German Film Star’ led many to dismiss The Passions as one-hit-wonders (even though they have three albums and a host of singles to their names). A stuttering, offbeat and emotional classic.
WE ARE ALL PROSTITUTES
An unhinged combination of post-punk, avant-funk and freeform jazz, Bristol’s The Pop Group crafted a masterpiece in ‘We Are All Prostitutes’. Don’t believe us? Then believe Nick Cave from the Bad Seeds, who said “It had everything that I thought rock ‘n’ roll should have. It was violent, paranoid music for a violent, paranoid time.”
The recording moniker for Daniel Miller (who also founded Mute Records), who, having his head twisted by J.G. Ballard’s ‘Crash’, bought a Korg synthesiser after feeling limited by punk. Crushingly minimalistic electro, ‘Warm Leatherette’ has since been covered by the likes of Grace Jones and Trent Reznor.
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Dennis Morris gracing their ranks. ‘Last White Christmas’ even came packaged in Christmas wrapping paper with a silver band sticker and the music itself is a gift that never stops giving.
THE RED GUITARS
Forming in North London in 2012, Desperate Journalist have carved out a die hard fanbase for their atmospheric, graceful take on post-punk. With new album ‘Grow Up’ out now, expect big things in 2017 from them.
HOT ON THE HEELS OF LOVE
Coming together in Kingston Upon Hull, Genesis P-Orridge and company evolved from experimental performance art group COUM Transmissions into the forefathers of industrial music. Burning hard and bright from ‘76 to ‘81, they would reunite in 2004 until the death of multi-instrumentalist Peter Christopherson in 2010 saw them disband.
The debut single from Hull’s The Red Guitars was originally released in 1982 and still sounds fresh to this day. Inspired by the blues, African rhythms and folk music, ‘Good Technology was self-released by the band, selling 60,000 copies due to its earworm chorus and spiky guitars.
YOU’RE NO GOOD
Emerging from the South Bronx, ESG were clearly influenced by their surroundings of New York, filtering hip hop, soul and disco through their post-punk sound. ‘You’re No Good’ (released by Factory Records in the UK) sounds like the night-born offspring of Donna Summer, The Supremes and PiL.
THE DANCING DID
IN THE BEGINNING THERE WAS RHYTHM
A split single with The Pop Group, the second release from Ari Up and company continues to sound like nothing else even now, weaving together dub, punk and experimental rock and revelling in the confrontational abrasiveness of it all. A veritable dirty bomb planted in the midst of pop culture.
SORRY FOR LAUGHING
Together for only a short time (1979-1982), Scotland’s Josef K took their name from Kafka and signed with the legendary Postcard Records (read more on the label in Issue 2 of Louder Than War), releasing seven singles and an album before splitting. They’re still missed now.
LIQUID LIQUID GROUPMEGROUP
A clear inspiration on the likes of LCD Soundsystem and the whole DFA Records movement, NYC’s Liquid Liquid originally existed only from 1980 to 1983 (during that time they cut ‘Cavern’, which was later used as the backing to Melle Mel’s rap classic ‘White Lines (Don’t Do It)’). ‘Groupemegroup’ was a sparser, trance-inducing affair with a sublime percussive attack.
ORANGE JUICE SIMPLY THRILLED HONEY
Originally starting life as the Nu-Sonics in Bearsden, Glasgow, Edwyn Collins’ Scottish mob morphed into Orange Juice and released ‘Simply Thrilled Honey’ as their third single. Theirs was a subtle genius, with barebones drumming rubbing up against some of the most fantastic and innovative guitar work you’ll ever hear.
SCRITTI POLITTI SKANK BLOC BOLOGNA
Starting in ‘77 and still going to this day, Scritti Politti came together in Leeds, releasing debut single ‘Skank Bloc Bologna’ in 1978. Choosing their name as an homage to Marxist writer Antonio Gramsci, ‘Skank Bloc Bologna’ was released on their own label, St Pancras in suitably DIY fashion.
BASEMENT 5 LAST WHITE CHRISTMAS
Fusing together reggae and punk into dizzying new shapes, Basement 5 exploded out of London and saw several vocalists, from Winston Fergus to Don Letts to
THE MONOCHROME SET
YOU AND YOU
Like a bizarro world version of Captain Beefheart, DNA combined a love of noise and all things angular to blaze a trail through their native New York. Taking their name from a song by Mars, DNA’s time was short and beautiful.
Hailing from Hornsey, London, 1978 saw the birth of The Monochrome Set arriving with jittery debut single ‘He’s Frank’. However, ‘79’s ‘Strange Boutique’ (featuring on the 1980 album of the same name) saw them really hit their stride with itchy energy and strange, compelling melodies.
Hailing from Redditch, The Cravats inked a deal with Small Wonder Records in the late 1970s, creating frantic, jagged works of challenging art. Vocalist The Shend can occasionally be found writing for our sister title Vive Le Rock.
Featured on the band’s 2013 debut album ‘Silence Yourself’, Jehnny Beth, Gemma Thompson, Ayse Hassan and Fay Milton crafted a frenetic, piledriving primal scream of a song with ‘City’s Full’. The album itself was nominated for the 2013 Mercury Prize – and for good reason.
THE GREEN MAN & THE MARCH OF THE BUNGALOWS
Opening with the sound of wind whistling through the speakers before dropping into a blunt percussive attack, The Dancing Did only managed one album in the form of ‘And Did Those Feet’ – but what an album.
One of the most influential and confrontational bands of all time, electro-punk terrorists Martin Rev and the late Alan Vega continue to serve as an inspiration to bands today, creating howling squalls of noise that were felt rather than heard. ‘Cheree’ (released as a single in 1978) still sounds astounding.
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Dr Mix & The Remix features a member of Metal Urbain (Eric Debris) creating noise covers of the likes of the Stooges (‘No Fun’) as well as the Troggs and the Velvet Underground. Uneasy listening.
Led by a trickling, spacey melody and synth drones, ‘A Forest’ marked The Cure’s first foray into the more gothic side of their sound. However, it’s as much post-punk as it is goth, with Robert Smith and company harnessing an unstoppable, energetic momentum.
Amongst the performers at the 100 Club Punk Festival in 1976 alongside the Banshees, Clash and Sex Pistols, Subway Sect took a different path to their peers on ‘Ambition’, combining synth-pop with an alt. pop aesthetic on the brilliantly wonky ‘Ambition’.
MISSION OF BURMA
Throwing everything bar the kitchen sink into ‘Secrets’, this opening cut from Mission Of Burma’s debut album ‘Vs.’ mixes ferocity and inventiveness together for a jittery, caffeine-fuelled thrash of a track.
Combining the influence of the impact of 1976 New York City punk with their love of dirty funk and pop, Scotland’s The Flowers hit the nail on the head with ‘Confessions’ and its b-side ‘Life After Dark’ in 1979.
PUNISHMENT OF LUXURY
WE LOVE YOU
Led by Richard and Tim Butler, the Furs might well be known nowadays for their involvement in the soundtracks to John Hughes coming-of-age films but their debut single ‘We Love You’ was an altogether harder affair, with shades of Bowie to it.
NICE ‘N’ SLEAZY
While often thought of as punk or (heaven forbid) prog, 1978’s ‘Black And White’ definitely takes on a post-punk influence on the likes of ‘Nice ‘N’ Sleazy’, with JJ Burnel’s taut bass lines, Dave Greenfield’s synthesiser freakouts and Hugh Cornwell’s repeated vocal patterns.
Legends of the Berlin avant-garde scene, Einsturzende Neubauten are the definition of DIY, creating their own custom-built instruments. One of their earliest singles, ‘Kalte Sterne’ is harsh, unnerving listening.
KING OF THE HILL
Taken from ‘Project: Mersh’, the penultimate release from the Minutemen before the death of guitarist/vocalist D. Boon features King Of The Hill, which mixes mariachi, hardcore and post-punk into a glorious nothing-sounds-like-it mash-up.
INTERPOL SLOW HANDS
Propelled by its now instantly recognisable guitar riff, ‘Slow Hands’ (taken from the New York band’s second album ‘Antics’ which was originally released in 2004) manages the neat trick of being a post-punk revivalism classic and a bonafide chart-mauling pop song.
Also known as Punilux, this Newcastle fourpiece released the classic ‘Laughing Academy’ in 1979, following on from the debut single, ‘Puppet Life’. Released on Small Wonder Records, it’s a clear influence on the likes of Franz Ferdinand due to its pummelling danceability.
TEENAGE JESUS & THE JERKS
GIRLS AT OUR BEST!
LES SAVY FAV
DARTS OF PLEASURE
The debut single from the Scottish post-punk revivalists, ‘Darts Of Pleasure’ was released in 2003 via Domino Records and was greeted by the late John Peel announcing them as “the saviours of rock ‘n’ roll”.
Part of the No Wave movement, Teenage Jesus & The Jerks had an all-star line-up, featuring Lydia Lunch, James Chance (the Contortions), Reck (Friction) and Jim Sclavunos (Bad Seeds) amongst their number. Sadly, they have just four releases (in the form of singles and Eps) to their name.
Officially dubbed James Chance and the Contortions, free jazz saxophone playing and frantic bursts of funk are the order of the day for sophomore album ‘Buy’ (from which ‘Contort Yourself’ is taken). Angry and acerbic, the Contortions still play sporadically now.
Running riot in Brum from ‘78 to ‘83, the Au Pairs fit in perfectly with the likes of Gang Of Four and the Young Marble Giants. Led by Lesley Woods, their angry, articulate and politically charged works spread over two fantastic albums.
The heir apparent to The Birthday Party, Manchester’s Cabbage are currently continuing their mission to upend British indie, selling out shows and releasing singles like both are going out of style. Propelled by a squealing guitar lead, ‘Dissonance’ does what it says on the tin.
DR MIX & THE REMIX NO FUN
Originally issued by Rough Trade in 1979,
GETTING NOWHERE FAST
Based in Leeds in the late 1970s, Girls At Our Best! might have only released the one album (1981’s ‘Pleasure’) but they remained influential to the likes of bis and Lush due to stellar cuts like ‘Getting Nowhere Fast’.
THE SWEAT DESCENDS
Originally meeting when all of the members were attending the Rhode Island School of Design, Les Savy Fav’s ‘The Sweat Descends’ is all jerky guitar heroics and dance-inducing rhythmic attacks.
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Originally going by the name China, Mars were created in NYC and specialised in ambient noise, surrealist lyrics and off-the-wall drumming. Playing their first show at CBGB’s in ‘77 and their last at Max’s Kansas City in ‘78, they broke up that same year.
The first band to top the UK Indie chart very early in 1980 with ‘Where’s Captain Kirk?’, ‘Soldier, Soldier’ actually preceded their chart topper. Backed with ‘Virginia Plain’, ‘Soldier, Soldier’ bounces along with a prominent bassline and a gleeful sense of discordia.
THE COMSAT ANGELS
Lightyears removed from his previous band, legendary straight edge hardcore crew Minor Threat, Ian MacKaye and company mixed together post-hardcore, art punk and post-punk to birth Fugazi and debut album ‘Repeater’. ‘Merchandise’s angular approach is matched only by its intensity.
Calling it a day in 2014, NYC’s The Rapture made quite the cultural dent with their mix of dance-punk, electronica and post-punk. ‘Echoes’ (2003) is the sound of Public Image Ltd getting a dance hall makeover. With more cowbell.
Conjuring sparse, magical wonky pop songs that often veered into the abstract, the Comsat Angels are an influence on the likes of Editors and Interpol. Releasing nine albums and a wealth of singles, ‘Independence Day’ is the sound of post-punk meeting sublime pop.
Mixing up pop, rock and rockabilly with a healthy dollops of soul, the left-wing leaning Redskins started life in York in ‘82. Decked out in skinhead duds, they were instrumental in the creation of the redskin subculture of skinhead, looking to socialism and communism and anti-fascism.
PRETTY GIRLS MAKE GRAVES
SOUTHERN DEATH CULT
Part of the same scene as Scars and Josef K, The Fire Engines took their moniker from a 13th Floor Elevators song. Notable for never playing chords, ‘Candyskin’ is a lively smash-up of folk, punk and, oddly, swing.
THE FUTUREHEADS MEANTIME
Taking their name from a Flaming Lips album and influenced by Fugazi, Gang Of Four and Wire, ‘Meantime’ is taken from their self-titled 2004 debut album (which also features a cover of Kate Bush’s ‘Hounds Of Love’). A bracing, exhilarating sliver of genius if ever there was one.
WE ARE SCIENTISTS
Originally released backed with ‘Staying Fat’ via Moshi Moshi in 2004, it was later released via Wichita where it charted in the Billboard Modern Rock chart, ‘Banquet’ was for many their first taste of London’s ‘Bloc Party’. An irresistible classic.
Released in 2005, ‘Munich’ saw one of the earliest cuts from Editors, mixing up a hyper-kinetic collage of trilling guitars and rumbling bass with sombre vocal lines that cut to the core.
A stone cold killer of a single, ‘Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt’ still lights up indie discos like Christmas trees to this day – not bad going for a song that’s over ten years old. The band still tour and record today, releasing sixth album ‘Helter Seltzer’ last year.
GHOSTS IN THE RADIO
Splitting up in 2007, Seattle’s Pretty Girls Make Graves hit hard and fast with a trio of post-punk albums, including 2002’s ‘Good Health’. Fronted by Andrea Zollo, ‘Ghosts In The Radio’ blurs the lines between battery and beauty with joyous ease.
Before the Cult emerged as stadium-straddling rock behemoths there was Southern Death Cult, the band in which vocalist Ian Astbury cut his teeth. Flitting between post-rock and goth, ‘Fatman’ is a tantalising glimpse of what could have been.
Coming to you out of Zurich in 1978, Kleenex arguably paved the way, along with the Slits, for the riot grrrl movement, playing thrashing, urgent shards of pointed post-punk. Later changing their name to LiLiPUT due to the threat of legal action from the tissues company, ‘Ain’t You’ is an absolute belter.
NOBODY MOVE, NOBODY GET HURT
LEAN ON ME
YOUNG MARBLE GIANTS
OCEANS WITH NO END
The solo project of hardcore punk band American Nightmare’s singer Wes Eisold, Cold Cave is heavily indebted to 1980’s post-punk and the likes of Joy Division, marrying together darkwave, noise, synthpop and melody.
With a full female line-up, Hamburg’s Xmal Deutschland combined machine gun-like drumming with ethereal melodies for ‘Qual’. Releasing four albums from 1983 to 1989, they’ve been quiet since 1989’s ‘Devils.
Emerging from Cardiff, Wales in 1978, Young Marble Giants had an ace up their sleeves in the form of vocalist Alison Statton (Courtney Love and Belle & Sebastian are massive fans), not to mention the band’s fantastic sense of musical minimalism.
Hailing from Edinburgh, Scotland, Scars’ sound mixed up angular riffery with dance-influenced beat to winning effect. Releasing ‘Horrorshow’ backed with ‘Adult/ ery’ in 1979, they also gave away a gold flexi-disc of ‘Your Attention Please’ with the first issue of i-D magazine and smashed their way through several Peel sessions.
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CABARET VOLTAIRE NAG NAG NAG
Named after a club in Zurich that was central to the Dada movement, Cabaret Voltaire came together in Sheffield in 1973 and wasted little time in creating a wealth of skin crawl-inducing music, ‘Nag Nag Nag’ is absolute doom pressed to wax.
DANCE TO THE UNDERGROUND
Claiming their music was “made in New York, is about New York and sounds like New York”, Brooklyn’s Radio 4 made music to dance to as the world ended, no more so than on breakout hit ‘Dance To The Underground’.
While ‘Being Boiled’ wouldn’t be the biggest hit for the League (it actually failed to chart), its mechanised beat and speaker blowing synthesiser lines would prove to be a massive influence on the post-punk movement upon its release in 1978.
Don’t Need This) Facist Groove Thang’, a song that was banned by the BBC. Denouncing racism and fascism as well as Thatcher and Reagan, it ended up being a dancefloor hit in the USA.
Starting life as a hardcore punk band in California, the release of ‘Zoo’ in 2012 saw Ceremony gradually evolving into a post-punk band for the new age. 2015’s ‘The L-Shaped Man’, from which ‘Bleeder’ is taken completes that evolution, looking more to Wire and Joy Division than Black Flag.
THE PACK KING OF KINGS
Featuring a young, fresh-faced Kirk Brandon, The Pack predated his Theatre Of Hate. ‘King Of Kings’ is a hard-driving combination of punk, rockabilly tinges and acrobatic guitar moments.
THE BIRTHDAY PARTY
RED LORRY YELLOW LORRY
THE GUN CLUB
WALKING ON YOUR HANDS
The opening track from the Lorry’s 1986 sophomore album ‘Paint Your Wagon’, ‘Walking On Your Hands’ opens with a bassline so infectious it should come with a health warning before pummelling into a potent crossbreeding of goth and post-punk.
Uncomfortable with the gothic tag they were given, Play Dead are undeniably a post-punk band, with ‘Sacrosanct’ standing out as one of their best, all bass rumbles and reach-for-the-sky vocal lines.
THE MIRROR BREAKS
Hailing from the wilds of Yeovil, Somerset, The Mob came to life in the late ‘70s before calling it a day in 1983, leaving behind a legacy including their ‘Ching’ demo tape and album ‘Let The Tribe Increase’, as well as the sublime ‘The Mirror Breaks’. Having reformed in 2011, here’s hoping for another tour soon.
Ushered in atop a breakneck drumbeat, ‘The Rat’ was released back in 2004 to critical and commercial acclaim along with album ‘Bows + Arrows’. Climaxing in an explosion of fury and melody, the band went on indefinite hiatus in 2014. They’re very much missed.
SLEAFORD MODS I FEEL SO WRONG
The closing track from the recently released ‘English Tapas’, ‘I Feel So Wrong’ sees frontman Jason Williamson stretching his pipes across minimalist backing, sounding for all the world like the second coming of John Lydon.
A CERTAIN RATIO SHACK UP
Formed in Wythenshawe, Manchester in 1977, A Certain Ratio took their name from a Brian Eno song and swiftly set to creating funk-punk hybrids such as ‘Shack Up’. Signed to Factory Records before moving to Rob’s Records, A Certain Ratio are currently gearing up to play a show at London’s 229 club on the 24th of June.
NICK THE STRIPPER
In love with bleak and noisy layers of sound, The Birthday Party combined elements of free jazz, the blues and rockabilly to create some of the most sonically disturbing music ever committed to tape: perfect for a pre-Bad Seeds Nick Cave to spit and snarl his way across.
FROM THE STARS
Releasing most recent album ‘Friends’ last year (they’re touring this year as well), Ealing’s White Lies have been on a journey to combine stadium indie rock with post-punk since they debuted in 2009 with ‘To Lose My Life’, from which the incandescent ‘From The Stars’ is taken.
UK DECAY WEREWOLF
Born from the ashes of Luton band The Resiztors, UK Decay pulled out all the stops for ‘Werewolf’ (from 1982’s ‘Rising From The Dread’ EP), an atmospheric, horrifying number that’s without equal.
THE WALL IN NATURE
From Wallsend, Sunderland, The Wall only have two albums to their name, but when they’re as good as ‘Personal Troubles And Public Issues’ (‘80) and ‘Dirges And Anthems’ (‘82), who are we to complain? Reforming in 2016, expect more from them soon.
HEAVEN 17 (WE DON’T NEED THIS) FASCIST GROOVE THANG
Before they rocketed to the top of the UK charts with the likes of ‘Temptation’, Heaven 17 debuted with ‘(We
!!! PARDON MY FREEDOM
Pronounced ‘chk chk chk’, !!! came together thanks to vocalist Nic Offer in California in 1996. Since then they’ve released six albums of sublime dance-heavy post-punk throughout their career. ‘Pardon My Freedom’ (from 2004’s ‘Louden Up Now’) is a slow-building journey through synths and mutated disco beats. New album ‘Shake The Shudder’ is out May 19th.
BELA LUGOSI’S DEAD
Referencing the horror movie star most notable for ‘Dracula’, this classic from Bauhaus was the harbinger of goth rock. Kicking off with its effective percussive section, swooping guitar lines and Peter Murphy’s unmistakable vocals make this a classic cooler than the body temperatures of the Count’s victims.
Formed in 1979 in South London from the remnants of The Outsiders, ‘Missiles’ opens with a staggered guitar part backed with synths before walls of noise and melody crash together like waves and the beach. Seek it out on their 1980 debut album ‘Jeopardy’.
Often described, along with X and the Blasters, as a “tribal psychobilly blues band”, Los Angeles’ Gun Club bolted rockabilly and country to a post-punk framework, most notably on the blitzkrieg barn-burner that is ‘Sex Beat’.
Giving post-punk a neo-psychedelic twist, the Teardrop Explodes made their way out of Liverpool in the late 1970s, bringing frontman Julian Cope into the wider world. ‘Sleeping Gas’ was their very first single.
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THE MEMBRANES SHINE ON PUMPKIN MOON
Nailing their colours to the mast with the ‘Death To Trad Rock’ EP, ‘Shine On Pumpkin Moon’ sees John Robb and company possessed with a wide-eyed intensity, tectonic plate-rumbling bass and jagged guitars working together to create a bludgeoning voodoo.
NEW ORDER BLUE MONDAY
Widely covered and remixed since its original release in 1983, shades of Joy Division are still present in parts of the song’s sound, such as similar vocal tones to Ian Curtis from Bernard Sumner. However, ‘Blue Monday’ is all proto-dance fed through a post-punk filter. An absolute anthem.
SWELL MAPS ANOTHER SONG
Foreshadowing post-punk, Swell Maps first came into being in Birmingham in 1972. Influenced by both T-Rex and Can, they effectively set the tone that would be followed by the majority of the post-punk set. ‘Another Song’, from their 1979 debut ‘A Trip To Marineville’, is the perfect example of it.
GANG OF FOUR
HOW I WROTE ELASTIC MAN
The third single from Mark E Smith’s mob, 1980’s ‘How I Wrote ‘Elastic Man’’ (which tells a tale of celebrity fucking up creativity) rolls in like anti-rockabilly, a punishing combination of an offbeat rhythm, a bludgeoning guitar part and Smith’s undeniable vocal presence.
THE HORRORS SEA WITHIN A SEA
Moving away from the blitzing garage rock of their debut album ‘Strange House’, two years later The Horrors would follow it with 2009’s ‘Primary Colours’, mixing up elements of psych and shoegaze with post-punk. It would culminate in album closer ‘Sea Within A Sea’: an absolute treat when listened to through headphones.
THEATRE OF HATE
SIOUXSIE AND THE BANSHEES
PUBLIC IMAGE LTD
ECHO & THE BUNNYMEN
“jumbled up, maybe I’m losing my touch” with deadpan wit atop an economic use of the guitar. The perfect leftfield post-pop song.
The first single from the Joke’s self-titled debut album, ‘Wardance’ was released in 1980 and is still a live favourite when Jaz and company play today. The combination of robotic riffing, a thunderous dub-influenced rhythm section and Jaz’s unhinged vocal delivery makes for a potent, evergreen combination.
Kirk Brandon’s follow-up to The Pack, Theatre Of Hate’s ‘Legion’ might not have had as big a cultural impact as ‘Do You Believe In The West World’ but it’s a hidden gem in the band’s catalogue, showcasing Brandon’s wailed vocals and canny songwriting.
From the debut Banshees album ‘The Scream’ (1978), ‘Jigsaw Feeling’ was written by bassist and guitarist Steven Severin and John McKay, summoning up a bludgeoning musical assault to the senses for Siouxsie’s immortal vocals to ride across.
I AM THE FLY
Kicking off with a terror inducing combination of dissonant noise and spindly guitaring, ‘I Am The Fly’ practically crackles with tension as Colin Newman spits out lines such as “I am the fly in the ointment”.
SHE’S LOST CONTROL
With Peter Hook playing his bass high on the neck and Stephen Morris playing an almost mechanical drum beat, ‘She’s Lost Control’ sees the late Ian Curtis telling the tale of a girl with epilepsy (a condition he would later suffer from). An undeniable classic.
The debut single from Andy Gill, Jon King, Hugo Burnham and Dave Allen, ‘Damaged Goods’ opens with bass and drums in perfect syncopation before Gill’s guitar lines add the finishing touches and compliment King’s longing vocal tones. Arguably one of the most influential songs for the post-punk movement.
THE CHAMELEONS SECOND SKIN
Taken from the Middleton, Manchester band’s 1983 debut album ‘Script Of The Bridge’, ‘Second Skin’ kicks in with an ominous, fluid guitar line, offering up hints of psychedelia amidst its fantastically rigid drumming and dark melody.
A melodic savaging of John Lydon’s former band, the teaming of Lydon, Keith Levene (guitar), Jah Wobble (bass) and Jim Walker (drums) on ‘Public Image’ and album ‘Public Image: First Issue’ was like bottled lightning. Dub, noise, heavy bass and abrasion, it’s all here.
The second single ever released by the band, ‘Rescue’ sees Ian McCulloch confessing that he’s
Created after Howard Devoto parted ways with the Buzzcocks in 1977, he’d set his heart on making something that was the direct opposite of the tried and true ‘traditional’ rock band aesthetic. What he created in the form of Magazine certainly did that – arguably more punk in its independence than a field of mohawks and spitting. Taken from sophomore album ‘Secondhand Daylight’, ‘Permafrost’ shows shades of Bowie and Iggy in its progressive use of instrumentation and quiet menace infused with glittering shards of melody.
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I DON’T LIKE MOVEMENTS. WHAT WAS ONCE UNHEALTHILY FRESH IS NOW CLEAN OLD HAT. HOWARD DEVOTO
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FORTY YEARS SINCE THEY CAME TOGETHER FOLLOWING HOWARD DEVOTO’S DEPARTURE FROM THE BUZZCOCKS, FERGAL KINNEY DELVES INTO THE DEPTHS OF POST-PUNK PIONEERS MAGAZINE.
MAGAZINE 1978 - Pic : ADRIAN BOOT
don’t like movements,” Howard Devoto observed in 1978 when surveying the dog-end of punk, “what was once unhealthily fresh is now clean old hat”. More than any of his contemporaries in punk, Howard Devoto was the first to realise that the movement contained the seeds of its own destruction – a built-in obsolescence with too short a shelf life for a man brimming with things to say. One classic album and then repeat was not Devoto’s style. Born Howard Trafford in Scunthorpe in 1952, Devoto moved to the North West in the 70s to study art in Bolton, where he oscillated between the Lancashire town and its sister city, Manchester. Devoto was a crucial midwife in bringing punk to the streets of Manchester. In 1976, he took a punt on an engaging advert for a Sex Pistols concert and travelled 200 miles to Buckinghamshire to watch them, before promptly booking them to perform with his own band – Buzzcocks. The rest is well trodden history. The Manchester Lesser Free Trade Hall concert by the Sex Pistols would be the blue torch paper for independent music in the city and Devoto had made it happen. Buzzcocks, and by extension Devoto, had the head start over the city and were quick to record their own debut EP – ‘Spiral Scratch’ – a record as enshrouded in mythology (the first punk single…) as the Sex Pistols gig was. The EP is a stunning burst of amphetamine energy and bright humour, and would influence not just punk but the next four decades of indie music in both its sound and its crucial seizing of the means of production. Glueing together 7” sleeves in January 1977, however, Howard Devoto was already getting itchy feet. The winds were changing, punk was about to explode nationwide and Devoto to a fault loathed conformity. Similarly, that month a record had been released that would prove seismic in its influence on Devoto – David Bowie’s Low’. A postcard from his exile in Berlin, ‘Low’ was minimalist, electronic, intellectual and sonically promiscuous. Lyrically, the once verbose Bowie was economical and abstract – sketches of images, flashes of statements that hinted at their own irrelevance. In February, Devoto amicably parted ways with Buzzcocks, and was rewarded with another colossal release – Iggy Pop’s ‘The Idiot’. Devoto had long been a Stooges fan (this was part of the rationale in his driving 200 miles to see the ‘No Fun’ covering Sex Pistols) but ‘The Idiot’ was something very different. Produced by Bowie, the album’s great trick was multiplying cold, white funk with crude bursts of distorted guitar and synths. Faded glamour was all over the record and Iggy sounded
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thoroughly unsettling singing in an unnatural but unexpectedly rich baritone. Eureka. Speaking to the journalist Simon Reynolds in the ‘00s, Devoto explained of ‘The Idiot’, “you really started to hear the richness of his voice, and when I later tried singing in a low register… That was definitely me trying to emulate Iggy a little”. The influence of ‘Low’ and ‘The Idiot’ on post-punk is hard to understate, and Devoto himself would point out wistfully that “those people were giants in my psyche at the time”.
MAGAZINE 1978 - Pic : ADRIAN BOOT
evoto shared a home in Lower Broughton – before moving to the leafy North Manchester suburb of Whalley Range – with Buzzcocks’ manager Richard Boon and the artist Linder Sterling. Sterling would become a celebrated radical feminist artist, as well as singer in the band Ludus and lifelong confidante of Morrissey. Indeed, it was around this time that the young Morrissey was introduced to Devoto via Sterling – he would remember in his autobiography that Devoto “looked like a harshly visionary 1960s schoolteacher”. Paul Morley described Devoto’s house as “like a small version of Warhol’s factory”, and it was clear that whatever Devoto was plotting, it had to reflect the world in which he was surrounded – no dumbing down for the punk audience, this was Manchester bedsit land replete with radical politics, bookishness and visual art. He put a notice up in Virgin Records that served as something of a manifesto – musicians were wanted “to perform and record fast and slow music. Punk mentality not essential”. Shortly after, Magazine were formed. Guitarist John McGeogh would be the most influential notice from this advertisement – an innovative and guttural player with more than a touch of Roxy-esque glam rock flourish. Controversially in the climate of punk, Devoto recruited a keyboard player in the shape of
Dave Formula, something for which some journalists in the white heat of 1977 already viewed as tantamount to betrayal. Media interest in Magazine was swift to blossom. Who was this mysterious figure? Who steps back from such a surefire success as Buzzcocks, what did he know? For one thing, Devoto revelled in giving journalists good copy, and his art-school theorising was note perfect for the imaginations of writers like Paul Morley. Speaking to the NME in October 1977 (before the band had even released a single), Devoto prophesised the nascent Magazine as “music for people who might sit in the corner of a café very quietly going out of their minds”. By January 1978, Melody Maker had shouted ‘Devoto – the Man for ‘78’ from their front page, and the band’s debut single, ‘Shot By Both Sides’ was slated for release at the end of January. Expectations, whipped up primarily by Devoto, were high, but the single rose to the moment. ‘Shot By Both Sides’ is among the definitive post-punk singles, and managed to appeal to the swelling punk audience whilst maintaining the best of Devoto’s art-rock instincts. Its title sprung from one of Devoto’s many heated Lower Broughton socialist sparring sessions – Devoto was playing Devil’s advocate (“ah yes, but…”) before his girlfriend retorted “oh, you’ll just end up shot by both sides”. The phrase stuck. As Simon Reynolds writes in his seminal post-punk investigation ‘Rip It Up And Start Again’, ‘Shot By Both Sides’ was an aesthetic riposte to the working class solidarity of Sham 69’s ‘If the Kids Are United’. This divide speaks not only to Devoto’s singularity and allergic reaction to the mainstream, but also to the chasm between punk and what would become postpunk. An appearance on Top of the Pops would be the tipping point for Magazine – just, not in the way that Devoto had hoped. Nervous at his first television appearance and still
torn over whether Magazine should have been doing something that smacked of light entertainment, Devoto fluffed it. He’d asked the make-up girl at the BBC to make him look ghost-like and extra-terrestrial; instead he came over pale and clammy. The music raged around him and Devoto stood perfectly still. And kept on standing still. Some tried to conceptualise Devoto’s appearance as a gesture against the glitz of Top of the Pops, but then why would Devoto have appeared on the programme at all? The Clash certainly didn’t. Either way, the single stalled at number 41 before sinking; this would be Magazine’s highest charting success.
his, of course, did not stop the critics from falling at Devoto’s feet to anoint Magazine’s debut LP – ‘Real Life’ – as a triumph. ‘Real Life’, hitting the shelves in a striking sleeve designed by Sterling, is a phenomenal record but struggled to swim against the tide of lost momentum and a fast-moving post-punk landscape. But though other bands would overtake Magazine in both pop excitement and sonic innovation, ‘Real Life’ managed to straddle Devoto’s diffident sensibilities and an idea of the commercially viable. The influence of Bowie and Iggy is stark – ‘Definitive Gaze’ pulls off gorgeously the trick of ‘the Idiot’ with its crisp white funk and whirring synths. But more than this, ‘Real Life’ sounds oddly untouched by the punk explosion. Remember Devoto was 25 – ancient in punk terms – and 1977 did little to change the man who was in essence a glam/art-rock child at heart. The reference points – ‘The Idiot’, Bowie, the mannered vocals of Bryan Ferry, the electronica glamour of Brian Eno – had little to do with ‘year zero’. Just listen to the haunted, drizzly cabaret of finale ‘Parade’ – as out of step as you can get for a postpunk band and that’s before the sax solo. If punk had never happened, you could still imagine ‘Real Life’ being released in 1978. Gloriously out of time, it’s one of the reasons Magazine have endured above many other post-punk acts, but also why they were quite so overtaken by the tumbling juggernaut of events. Punk, like a lot of pop music, had a cult of youth and Devoto caught himself on the wrong side of this. Joe Strummer – only six months younger than Devoto – was cannier at shedding his pre-punk past, where Devoto carried his early ‘70s Eno glamour on his sleeve. Too wilfully contrarian to be an everyman, not abrasive enough to be shamanistic or exciting – Devoto was brilliant but struggled to be a hero for the times. But in his appearance and in his writing – serious self-excavations mixed with existentialist theory – Devoto was a pioneer of what punk could be like without the rockism, without the machismo. ‘Real Life’ would be followed by ‘Secondhand Daylight’ in 1979 – it had little
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I LATER TRIED SINGING IN A LOW REGISTER… THAT WAS DEFINITELY ME TRYING TO EMULATE IGGY A LITTLE.
MAGAZINE 1980 - Pic : BIRRER
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of its predecessors bite, failing to spawn a hit single and bogged down by muddy production. It struggled to cut through at a time of rapid post-punk development, and was criticised in many quarters for being ‘prog’. Easily the best track on the record – its one bona fide masterpiece – was ‘Permafrost’. Repetitive and rancorous, it swelled into a gorgeous sonic dirge as Devoto repeated the most memorable line of Magazine’s back catalogue, ‘I will drug and fuck you on the permafrost’.
evoto returned to Manchester, impressed that the band had continued to work in his absence, and together they hammered out what would be the band’s masterpiece – ‘The Correct Use Of Soap’. Primarily, the balance of ‘fast and slow music’, in accordance with Devoto’s initial vision for the band, was far better restored on ‘...Soap’. All the negative tension from the US tour had bled into the record, as well as Devoto’s hard won self-knowledge through an emotionally turbulent year. Opening track ‘Because You’re Frightened’ could be the best thing Magazine ever recorded; Devoto’s nasal croon has real bite over a vacillating, clipped guitar intro that rises into a crisp, kinetic racket. Martin Hannett’s future-proof production also does much to capture a band that
t would be in the tragedy of the aftermath of ‘Secondhand Daylight’, however, that the genesis of Magazine’s finest work would rupture. Magazine were at the beginning of their first US tour when Devoto would receive the call informing him that his father had passed away suddenly. He would later describe his MAGAZINE 2009 - Pic : JOHN GLADDY father’s death as having a “profound effect for a very long time” on him. There was talk of the tour being scrapped, but Devoto was assured that there was little he could do at home. All the same, the energy from the tour understandably sapped. As the tour ground on to its conclusion, however, Devoto fell in love in Los Angeles. Speaking to the Guardian in 2007, Devoto (characteristically) referred the interviewer to Theresa L Crenshaw’s ‘The Alchemy Of Love And Lust’. had grown in versatility through their time “Her theory” explained Devoto, “is you fall in without Devoto. Just listen to ‘Stuck’, with love at crisis moments in your life. And that’s Barry Adamson’s stellar funk bass jarring what happened”. with distorted guitars and a primal Devoto. With Devoto marooned in the US, the Where ‘Secondhand Daylight’ felt bereft rest of Magazine continued to rehearse of ideas, ‘The Correct Use Of Soap’ was in Manchester. The band – though highly brimming with possibility, eccentricity and accomplished – had only ever led from the flair. ‘A Song From Under The Floorboards’ front, and Devoto’s absence at this time felt like the culmination of Devoto’s vision proved highly liberating. Free of Devoto and for the band – more than any other track, an element of commercial pressure (following this is Magazine’s mission statement. “I ‘Secondhand Daylight’, there was something know the meaning of life, it doesn’t help of a question mark over the band’s future), me one bit”. The song was a distillation of the group were given the space to work on Dostoyevsky’s ‘Notes From Underground’ material with more depth and intensity than – Dostoyevsky’s satire based on an antibefore. Post-punk was by now in bloom, hero who acts with superficial ugliness and though in 1978 Magazine had been and stupidity in a satire on enlightenment lone warriors with their keyboards and slow and utopianism. Still, Magazine continued songs, there was now a whole movement of to be overtaken by events. If you wanted outriders purveying complex, atmospheric cerebral yet frantic Dostoyevsky-dropping rock – acts like the Fall, Joy Division and art punk, why look to Magazine when you Killing Joke. had Joy Division? A younger generation were
arguably able to distil the open possibilities of post-punk into something more guttural and thrilling. “Naively, we felt it was a great record,” explained keyboardist Dave Formula to the Guardian in 2007, “and that it would get the reception it deserved. It got us down… but we couldn’t really say, ‘Come on Howard, play the bloody game!’”. Wary of creative exhaustion and commercial indifference, guitarist John McGeogh was the first to leave – he joined Sioxsie and the Banshees – and a different line up of Magazine limped on for their malnourished album, ‘Magic, Murder And The Weather’, after which the band soon split.
agazine were the nearly-men of post-punk; close to the action, but failing to sustain momentum through consistent critical acclaim or any commercial viability. Their influence, however, would endure stronger than many of their contemporaries. Devoto’s “punk mentality not essential” gamble may not have paid dividends in 1978 but by the mid-90s, Magazine’s records continued to sound urgent and haunting in their gothic glamour and would provide a constant touchstone for new bands. Manic Street Preachers cribbed the riff to ‘Real Life’s ‘The Light Pours Out of Me’ for ‘Of Walking Abortion’ on their 1994 ‘The Holy Bible’ album – a record heavily indebted to post-punk that, like much of Magazine’s work, plotted the terrain of a complex inner life with a stark nihilism and intelligence reminiscent of Devoto. ‘Shot By Both Sides’ found new life when Radiohead used a riff highly similar in their hit ‘Just’, and both Morrissey and Johnny Marr have been united in namechecking Magazine. Indeed, in 2006 Morrissey went so far as to cover ‘A Song From Under The Floorboards’ as a b-side. In 2009, Magazine reformed for five sold out dates –performing ‘The Correct Use Of Soap’ in full and finding an audience that shared little with the nostalgia circuit on which many punk acts found themselves following the turn of the millennium, even releasing another album in the form of ‘No Thyself’ two years after. Magazine may have been, in their own words, ‘on the outside of everything’, but at best Devoto was an early harbinger of quite where punk could go sonically, and in his lyrics he endures as a fiercely intelligent, provocative and singular writer.
BOWIE AND IGGY POP WERE GIANTS IN MY PSYCHE AT THE TIME.
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MAGAZINE 1978 - Pic : GEORGE BODNER
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SE E, THE V I L A NK G OST-PUAL LISTENIN P F O E TI E FLAMARE ESSEN H T G N KEEPI OUR BANDS F
ONE OF THE MOST EXCITING NEW BANDS IN THE LAST FIVE YEARS, LONDON’S SAVAGES ARE THE URGENT, PASSIONATE AND HONEST SOUND OF MODERN POST-PUNK. LTW TALKED TO FRENCH VOCALIST JEHNNY BETH ABOUT SUCCESS, CHASING LIFE AND THEIR MANIFESTO.
Interview/Feature: Bruce Turnbull/Ian Chaddock
ITH comparisons to post-punk pioneers PiL and Siouxsie and the Banshees, the chart success and award nominations that Savages have received off the back of their artistic and inspiring albums, 2013’s ‘Silence Yourself’ and 2016’s ‘Adore Life’, prove that intelligent new post-punk music can still find a big audience. But the creation of art, as is often the way with the experimentation of post-punk, has always been the focus for Savages, not success. “When you start to write music you don’t think of that, really,” Jehnny Beth explains. “But we knew what we were doing was interesting. We played our first show about four months after we formed; it was a bit of an improvised thing, with
over you? It’s a total rush. From then on, we’ve never had an empty room; we’ve always had an audience. I have never thought of ourselves as successful per se, but at the same time, we know there are a lot of people out there who are following us and enjoying our music.” Those people following Savages spread quickly, leading to the quartet, completed by Ayse Hassan (bass) and Fay Milton (drums), touring the world. “We went around the world playing music, and it worked for us. The first album was all about trying to find your own voice and striving to be heard. Establishing yourself. And it was about the band, also, as people. So touring around the world and finding we had an audience everywhere, that definitely had impact
“IT’S A TOTAL RUSH.” British Sea Power, and they called us and said their support band couldn’t make it, and they knew Gemma [Thompson, guitar] had formed a new band, so they asked if we’d like to fill in. So we just went to Brighton, giving up everything we had planned for that day, and when we started to play, it was just obvious that things were going really well. You know when that feeling takes
on us. If you’re not touched by that, you’re dead.” Savages are clearly touched by their experiences and are very much alive, as their second album, ‘Adore Life’, was about trying to grasp those moments of feeling truly alive. “I think you can have that moment in your life when you feel like you are chasing life, never really experiencing or
catching is. Desire or happiness is like smoke, you can’t really grab it. It’s constantly on the case. And all the mechanics work for a reason. Lyrically, I’m looking at what kind of humans we would be if we kept our hearts open to love. We’re not free right now. We’re still struggling to evolve. It’s very slow. And I don’t think we can experience love or life in anything more than a second. Sometimes it lasts for three minutes, or whatever, but this album is about that chase.” Post-punk in its earliest incarnations was all about pushing boundaries and experimenting musically – the spirit of which Savages are defiantly doing in the 21st century. In their early days they even clarified their ideas about achieving your potential and embracing change on their online manifestos. “Writing manifestos at the beginning of the band was a way for us to really get into the right mindset about what we wanted to do,” Beth reasons. “It’s not about drinking beer and playing loud, you know, there is a lot more to it than that, so we wanted to set a straight path all of us could follow. We like to go to the rehearsal place with an intention, thinking about these issues on our way over there. I thought it was essential we wrote them down for ourselves, to find our focus, and then when we got the album brought out, they wanted a fucking biography of the band, and I told them we didn’t have a fucking bio, so I gave them the manifesto instead. They were very pissed off. But that’s what we wanted to do; mess with the order of things.”
‘Adore Life’ is out now on Matador
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Who’s an inspiring singer for you Joe? “Otis Redding. I can’t sing like him but I love his passion, tone and approach. He was full of energy, loved what he did and never stopped working. He’s amazing!”
When did you start playing and what drew you to music? “I started getting into music when I started the band with Dev the bassist about seven years ago now. We were DJing at the time and we thought ‘Why not? Let’s give it a bash!’ And I loved it.”
IDLES’ sound has developed massively, what changed? “None of us had been in bands before until Lee joined. We had to learn our own voice and each other’s rhythms and get to know each other in. To do that we had to find a common ground and that was the music around us. We liked what we were writing at the time but it wasn’t enough of what we were, we had to find our voice and that takes ages. To start with you lean on stuff around you, you don’t instantly become creative. You have to learn the basics first.”
Do you go to gigs together as a band? “Yeah we all went to see Meat Raffle, but we’re working all the hours God sends at the moment. Dev gets to see a lot of bands because he runs a venue.”
Where did you record your new album ‘Brutalism’? “We recorded at Razor studios in Wandsworth. Our guitarist is terrible so we had to mask it with rhythm and the drum sound in that place is perfect for us. We recorded it all live, each song only had three takes and that captured the urgency of our sound. It was amazing!”
Do you ever get nervous before a show? “No never! That’s a lie, I get nervous at random gigs. I have anxiety as a person so that manifests at different times, but not when I’m onstage. I just get excited. I’m
nervous about supporting The Maccabees!”
Your lyrics and delivery are really unique, how does it all come together? “Thank you! I watched some artists I love and adopted some of their techniques. I grew up on hip hop and grime and love their delivery. Biggie Smalls was a genius - the way he uses words to create a rhythm with his own voice. Even my grandma can’t help bobbing her head to that beat. I also love Nick Cave and people who can tell a dark story. But I had to strip it back and do what I’m good at which is being sarky. I can sum things up very quickly too. I let the band write the song and then I go away and write the lyrics separately. I don’t spell things out for people.”
Do you get much time to yourself outside of the band? “Yeah, my favourite pastime is being shouted at by my girlfriend. Nah, there’s no time really, but I don’t care about going out and getting pissed because I’ve worked years to get here with the band and the feeling you get from touring and playing to people is the best feeling in the world.”
‘BRUTALISM’ IS OUT NOW ON BALLEY
Interview/Feature: Paula Frost
BRISTOL POST-PUNKS IDLES HAVE SERVED THEIR TIME SINCE FORMING SEVERAL YEARS BACK, RIPPING THEIR WAY THROUGH VENUES UP AND DOWN THE LAND WITH RAGING LIVE PERFORMANCES. NOW, WITH DEBUT ALBUM ‘BRUTALISM’ MAKING WAVES, IT’S TIME FOR THE BAND TO BRING THEIR FRANTIC, FURIOUS SOUND TO THE MASSES. FRONTMAN JOE CHATTED BEFORE THEIR CHAOTIC GIG AT GUILDFORD’S BOILEROOM TO FILL IN THE BLANKS...
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HAVING RECENTLY UNLEASHED THE RABBLE-ROUSING ‘ENGLISH TAPAS’, THE NOTTINGHAM ARE CLEARLY POST-PUNK FOR A NEW GENERATION. INFLUENCED BY RAP, AUSTERITY AND DISMISSIVE PEERS, THEY’RE DOING THINGS THEIR OWN WAY, AND WINNING MANY FANS BECAUSE OF IT. LTW TALKED TO VOCALIST JASON WILLIAMSON TO FIND OUT MORE.
Interview/Feature: James Sharples
ELEASING their self-titled debut a decade ago, it’s strange that some people still see Sleaford Mods as a new band. However, with their inventive, progressive mix of shouted vocals (equal measures about austerity Britain/the fucking government and thoroughly British humour) and minimalist electronic punk-hop beats, their post-punk sound is still fresh and seems perfect for these troubled times. One listen to the rousing new record, ‘English Tapas’ – their first for Rough Trade, hammers that point home like a well aimed size 10 to the balls. “Sometimes I listen to what we do and think ‘For fuck sake, how can anyone like this?’ but it just works,” Jason Williamson explains: “It works for us. This music is us, we feel natural with it. Andrew sent me the music on this one and I started listening to the music more and trying out ideas and melodies and singing a bit more. Before that we improvised really for the last two albums, ‘Key Markets’ and ‘Divide And Exit’. I’d just turn up to his house. We didn’t have much time. I’d have lyrics, he’d have beats. ‘What do you think to this?’ and I’d lob something down as quick as I could. If it worked it worked. A lot of the
time, much to our amazement, it really fucking worked, so we stuck to that method of working. “But then this time it struck me that it wasn’t working so much anymore and I felt like I was flogging a dead horse. I got him to send me the music and I’d think about it and come out with these outrageous singing melodies, just to see if that could work. It’s such a minimal operation that you can’t fuck with it too much. The thing that does change it is time: personal growth and growth together as a band. These things that you can’t see are the main causes of its change.” Embracing change this time around, their sound is more compelling and absorbing than ever on ‘English Tapas’. As well as the obvious comparisons to the likes of PiL and The Fall, there’s a love of hip hop and grime bubbling beneath the surface. “Real rap is still such a fucking fiery medium for a vocalist. Hip hop marries so perfectly to the punk influences in Sleaford Mods. I didn’t really view the Wu Tang as hip hop or not even rappers sometimes. I mean, they were just fucking shouting a lot of the time, just making absolutely no sense whatsoever. It massively influenced me. They’re almost like Parliament. They were like this fucking weird offshoot and that’s what Wu Tang
“THIS MUSIC IS US.”
are, it could be anything. It’s just bizarre and funny as fuck – lines like ‘scream on your ass like your dad’, fucking brilliant. You can so relate to that.” As well as a sense of humour (something evident in Sleaford Mods songs) there’s also a socially aware anger and a political desperation. “I wanted to communicate the feeling of dread that’s running through this country that’s been fucking here since David Cameron took hold,” spits Williamson. “I wanted to get across the disbelief that things have actually gotten worse. There was almost this feeling towards the end of Cameron’s reign that he was gonna massively fuck it all up – which he did – and that some reason would come back into government. But it didn’t, it just got fucking worse. I wanted to knead in that injection of extra horror.” Lightening the mood, Williamson smiles while he talks about how some bands view Sleaford Mods and how their sense of humour means that attacks on their far from generic sound doesn’t hit home. “You can see people’s fucking faces backstage sometimes: ‘look at these cunts, it’s not guitars, it’s not drums’. It just makes you laugh but I relish it. I like being in a professional environment... Most of what we do are great songs and they’ve got humour in them. I think that’s a good trademark for Sleaford Mods. People can’t touch you then can they? We don’t take ourselves seriously - can’t criticise us for that. You can say we look like crackheads and we’re shit. That’s fine but fuck off we’re not, you know we’re not. Do one.”
‘English Tapas’ is out now on Rough Trade
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How did you first discover post-punk and how much of an influence, as an art movement, has it had on you? “My dad had a few post-punk records when I was growing up - Talking Heads, early XTC, Siouxsie & the Banshees and Public Image Ltd. I always liked the sharpness of those bands’ respective sounds and the dynamism of it all. That combination of the energy and abandon of punk and arty pretensions and/or a more pop leaning was something I was really excited by from an early age and it’s remained an attribute that draws me in to loads of music. Most new bands I like owe a real debt to post-punk as it’s something that tickles my brain in a particular way.”
Why do you think post-punk has endured? And do you think in some ways it had/has more to offer than punk itself? “I think the combination of pop/punk dynamism and left-field concepts is a winning one. I think the 1981 aesthetic is a short and easy route to being ‘cool’ as well, for the less
musically interested. I personally like more stuff that would be considered post-punk than straight punk because I think the genre is about ideas, there’s more variety in sonics and message and that makes for more stimulating listening.”
When Desperate Journalist came together, did you have a rough idea of the direction you wanted to go in or was it something that developed over time? “We initially talked about not being an indie band, but as the songs came together it was clear that a kind of sparkly post-punkinfluenced indie sound was what we’re really good at and what constitutes the majority consensus of taste between the members of the band, and we’d much prefer to sound like us than try and force ourselves into something we’re not 100% behind.”
How much of your art is based around catharsis? “It’s 90% catharsis, 5% wallowing and 5% beer.”
“OUR MUSIC IS 90% CATHARSIS, 5% WALLOWING & 5% BEER.”
Can you describe the songwriting process of Desperate Journalist? It seems like being economical and trimming away any extra fat is important to your writing – is that the case? “Yes that’s definitely the case. We aren’t a jam band. Every part of everything needs to lead to the next part, it needs to have purpose. Elements are added or included because we should include them, not because we can. You can always tell.”
Tell us about the album. Is it a weird feeling, I guess revisiting it critically after you’ve had this period of separation from it? “The album is about progression in every sense, musically and autobiographically. We are very excited about releasing it as we’ve put so much love and effort in and we’re really really proud. It’s a particularly personal record for me so it does feel quite odd I suppose to think of people assessing what is essentially my diary. It’s necessary for me to write honestly though so I wouldn’t want it any other way.”
You’ve got the UK and European tour coming up – as a band do you notice the momentum build or is it not something you realise being in the midst of it? “We have noticed a bit of momentum building, which is fantastic. I think when you’re in the midst of the admin and construction of everything to do with the band it’s easy to lose sight of the wood for the trees but we’re so lucky to be in the position we are now.”
Interview/Feature: James Sharples
RELEASING THEIR SOPHOMORE ALBUM ‘GROW UP’, NORTH LONDON POST-PUNK TYPES DESPERATE JOURNALIST HAVE CREATED A GOTHICTINGED PRIMAL HOWL THAT SHATTERS THE SENSES. VOCALIST JO BEVAN TELLS US HOW IT CAME TO BE.
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AS THEY PREPARE TO HIT THE ROAD ONCE MORE, LOUDER THAN WAR PAYS TRIBUTE TO THE ENDURING POST-PUNK POWER OF ECHO & THE BUNNYMEN.
AN you hear it? The sound of something burning/ Something changing...” intoned Ian McCulloch on ‘The Pictures On My Wall’, rich baritone caressing the ethereal waltz of percussive hits, casually-strummed guitar heroics and weaving bass lines. As statements of intent go, there have been few better than Echo & The Bunnymen’s opening salvo. And the rest as they say, was history. Debut album ‘Crocodiles’ screamed its way into the Top 20 of the UK chart in 1980, with its follow-up ‘Heaven Up Here’ a year later creasing the Top 10. However, mainstream success would elude McCulloch, guitarist Will Sergeant, bassist Les Pattinson and drummer Pete de Freitas (who replaced the drum machine of the previous years) until 1983 with the release of immortal single ‘The Cutter’, a lush, Eastern-tinged work that threaded together psychedelia with tightly-wound rhythms, repeating this success following the release of the ‘Never Stop’ single with the undeniable ‘The Killing Moon’ (McCulloch: “People know a genius song when they hear one. I rarely talk about what songs mean, but ‘The Killing Moon’, it’s the greatest song of all time, and twenty years later I worked out why. It’s about everything.
And it gives you the answer. It’s not anti-God or anything. It’s on an existential, metaphysical level. It goes in somewhere between the brain and the heart and the soul and just gets you. The Beatles never got anywhere near that song.”). And thus a legend arrived. “A legend? Oh, yeah, people tell me I am all the time, like,” said McCulloch, talking to Joe Whyte for our sister title Vive Le Rock magazine with that uniquely scouse combination of braggadocio and self-effacing humour: “But yeah, I do feel legendary. Not in the house, like, but when I’m onstage, yeah. The songs, they’re imbued with all that. The person I’d like to be is in them songs. There’s frailties and stuff, but I just put my body into the costume and my arms outstretched and when I sing ‘Am I the worthy cross’ (from ‘The Cutter’) it comes together.”
eleasing the critically-acclaimed ‘Porcupine’ in 1983 (McCulloch remembers this period as a stark contrast to the way the Bunnymen were perceived at the time, all monochrome and severity: “I never thought of them as being sexless at all; there was the elements, some kind of tragic, poetic thing. A lot of it was just us laughing our heads off; it was a different time then, a great time. Everything went from black and white to colour in that decade. The world was a better place in a lot of ways and I fitted in as an outsider. Even as an outsider that was my place.”), ‘Ocean Rain’ in 1984 and ‘Echo & The Bunnymen’ in 1987, the band would split for several years following the departure of Mac and the tragic death of de Freitas. In 1994,
McCulloch and Sergeant began creating music under the Electrafixion banner, with Pattinson eventually coming on board and the trip releasing the ‘Evergreen’ album in 1997, the bassist leaving before the release of ‘What Are You Going To Do With Your Life?’ in 1999 to care for his mother. More albums would follow as the creative fire of Sergeant and McCulloch continued to burn in the shape of ‘Flowers’ (2001), ‘Siberia’ (2005), ‘The Fountain’ (2009) and ‘Meteorites’ (2014). For some artists, having such an extensive back catalogue is a burden and something to almost resent for holding back the public interest in new material; not for Mac it seems, as he said to Joe Whyte: “I’m not surprised. Most other people’s catalogues are shit. I could never be resentful of those songs. They mean more to me now than they did then. People who are converts, new to the songs, say ‘I never knew that was you’, and that’s one of the things we never got across because we were too cool to hammer it down people’s necks. It wasn’t necessarily the singles, either, that people came to love. It was ‘Over The Wall’, ‘Zimbo’, ‘Villiers Terrace’. “Not a lot of bands managed to do the angular thing with the spikiness to it but make it sexy too. That was something that never got talked about. I did a solo thing in Italy and a woman came backstage and she didn’t know anything about me or The Bunnymen and she said ‘Your voice is so sexy’. It’s funny that, because I’ve always thought that myself. The sexiest voice on the planet. Not only the greatest, but the sexiest.”
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ECHO AND THE BUNNYMEN GUITARIST WILL SERGEANT TALKS TO JOHN ROBB ABOUT THE TEN ALBUMS THAT SHAPED HIM AS A MUSICIAN.
1. TELEVISION – MARQUEE MOON “This album really did change my life. The guitar work taught me that between metal string, fingertip and mind there is a mystic process that can imbue real feeling and emotion into the ephemeral world of a guitar sound. The solos build with an intensity that is difficult to describe. At a time when it was extremely un-hip to have long guitar solos featured on so called punk albums Television seem to be able to transcend the whims of the fashionable and turn your heart to mush and make the hairs stand up on the back of your neck.”
2. KRAFTWERK - TRANS-EUROPE EXPRESS “The clarity of this pioneering electronic pop record gave me the knowledge that space is just as important as areas filled with sound. The hypnotic repetition of the electronic beats emulating a train relentlessly thundering along European tracks though tunnels, valleys and past mountains with dark histories held me in its mesmerising spell. These were very different times. The Cold War was at its height and the very real threat of nuclear war was never far away. West Germany and Kraftwerk seemed to be on the frontline.”
3. THE PRETTY THINGS – S.F. SORROW “This is a gem of an album made at the same time The Pink Floyd were making ‘The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn’ and the Beatles were in the middle of ‘...Pepper’land. It was a time of great experimentation - the musical pallet was expanded as much as the band’s minds had been by LSD. Spread with generous layers of guitar, these tones are still unique and forbidden to seekers of sound even now.”
4. ROXY MUSIC – FOR YOUR PLEASURE “Roxy Music were at the time of this album climbing up the ladder of rock. A weird mix of characters led by a sophisticated crooner, they all looked amazing in their own way. The effect of the gatefold inner sleeve picture is stunning. No one looked so cool. Nobody could look this good. Except Bowie of course. Me and my mates had been waiting for the release and I had been saving up my paper round money for ages. After loving the first Roxy Music album I ran over to the square at dinnertime and I bought it from NEMS, or was it Rumbelows? In Maghull Town Square. Clutching it in my inky hands, we all went back to my mate’s house for cups of tea and biscuits and we played it on his mum’s radiogram. Sorry kids, you can’t download the importance of that experience today on your sodding iPhone. You lose.” 5. PINK FLOYD - THE PIPER AT THE GATES OF DAWN “A true psychedelic classic as I’m sure you are all aware. This has been the soundtrack of my life for as long as I can
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remember. I also have a very big soft spot for the post-Syd Floyd and ‘Meddle’ was very nearly on the list. Who hasn’t thought that if only Syd hadn’t have lost it, what other mind blowing stuff would he have come up with?”
6. WHITE NOISE – AN ELECTRIC STORM “I first had this on a cassette that somebody had given me. It was a curious mix of sounds, and the fact that they had to crawl through the wow and flutter soup of a shitty quality cassette only enhanced the mystery for me. Later when I got a vinyl copy and all became clear it kind of lost a bit of the mystique but it still is an amazing album.”
favourite now is ‘Winter Wine’. Somewhere between folk, jazz and psychedelia, it has the best organ solo sound. Listen carefully and you can hear a fuzz wah pedal getting stomped on and the organ sound swells. A beautiful, very English album from a band that was a leading part of the Canterbury scene.”
8. GENESIS – FOXTROT “Sorry John, I don’t want to give you a punk rock heart attack but this is a very important album to the development of my mind. The early Genesis albums opened up lots of possibilities with songwriting. Even though they are down as progressive rock, I see them as lot more than that. They were edgy and they pushed the boundaries and the possibilities of music. After all, the hoards of smelly Afghan and Airforce trenchcoat wearing Trogs are only the same as today’s outcasts the goths! When all around were growing their barnets to record lengths, Peter Gabriel shaved his head down the middle for fuck sake - the polar opposite of the fine mohawk you sport my friend. Prog’s Not Dead!” 9. BRIAN ENO – ANOTHER GREEN WORLD
7. CARAVAN – IN THE LAND OF GREY AND PINK “When I was a kid of twelve or so I used to listen to Liverpool’s Radio City in bed sometimes on a little transistor radio. The DJ at the time would play the track ‘Golf Girl’ every night for some reason. I loved its quirky little trombone and the words were very odd - almost silly and throwaway. I found out which album the track was on and found a secondhand Spanish double album. The cover was pretty trippy and I already new I was gonna like this. After I had played the album I realised that the track ‘Golf Girl’ is in fact the worst track on the album. My
pissed about with a Revox reel to reel machine and he also twiddled a joystick on a synthesiser. I thought ‘I can do that’. I bought all his albums after he left Roxy and I soon realised no one can do what Eno does but Eno. I could have chosen just about any of his solo albums to include here but ‘Another Green World’ shows most of the sides of him. It has ambient elements, pop songs and weirdness a-plenty, all with drum machines ticking away. The drum machine sounds Eno used on his early albums inspired me to buy a drum machine (The Mini Pops Junior) and this in turn led me to start a band and start experimenting with music.”
10. DAVID BOWIE - LOW “I was already a massive Bowie fan when this came out I had all the albums. Bowie and my other favourite space alien Brian Eno teamed up to create this strange concept of an album. Featuring some vocals with no words (just the sound of Bowie’s voice is enough) engulfed in dark sombre chords with our old friend the drum machine peeking its head out on occasion. Though the album feels electronic it also has a played and imperfect charm that today’s programmed music lacks. The sound of real drums are also featured and the drum sound became every 1980’s band’s target, none of which ever hit gold.”
“I saw Eno when he was in Roxy Music, and being someone who is always looking for the easy way out, I was drawn to the fact that he didn’t play that much: he
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Never ones to creatively stagnate, post-punk innovators WIRE are celebrating their 40th anniversary by releasing new album ‘Silver/Lead’. John Robb found out more from vocalist and guitarist Colin Newman. In the last few years there’s been so many Wire albums coming out (from 2010’s ‘Red Barked Tree’, 2013’s ‘Change Becomes Us’ and 2015’s ‘Wire’ to 2016’s ‘Nocturnal Koreans’ to this year’s ‘Silver/ Lead’) and the standard is just getting better and better. How do you manage to maintain this level of creativity? “I just got the feeling that we could be on a different cycle so we didn’t have to be on the three year cycle of albums and at the same time I started to think about the anniversary (the celebration of their 40th year since their first performance as Wire). The problem with making new work and making quite a lot of new work is that you’ve got to build a narrative and you’ve got to contextualise it. I thought ‘Well, this is an interesting narrative, especially if we’re celebrating an anniversary just by doing new stuff. So that seemed like an interesting idea. So then I started counting and I thought ‘Okay, if we’re on a two year cycle then that means we have
to do an album in 2015, and we have to do an album in 2017’ and that’s the only way it’s going to work - we can’t do a three year cycle. If we do an album in 2016 then we won’t be able to do one in 2017, we wouldn’t be able to support it. “I kind of had these strategies of having off-year releases. I mean we did ‘Document & Eyewitness’ in-between ‘Change Becomes Us’ and the self-titled album and by the time we finished the ‘Wire’ album there were four tracks that were pretty much just sketches and weren’t really ready for anything. I kind of saw it as – we did a session, came back round it in the course of the year so we could get some more input from the band on it but I did see it as a challenge to try and get what turned out to be ‘Nocturnal Koreans’ to work as a piece. I think considering what you might regard it as being the castoffs, it wasn’t really the cast-offs, it was more to do with the logic of what goes on the ‘Wire’ record and what doesn’t go on the ‘Wire’ record would be obscure – is obscure to the band let alone anybody outside the band.”
“THERE AREN’T THAT MANY BANDS OF OUR AGE THAT DON’T REALLY WALLOW IN THEIR OWN PAST.”
PIC: Matias Corral
How would you work it out? “Some will say ‘we can’t put this out, this track and this track because they’re too similar’ and everyone else is going ‘I don’t really understand what you’re talking about, they’re not at all similar’. But the thing is everybody hears something different. So even if you don’t get someone’s point it doesn’t mean to say that they haven’t got a point because there will be other people out in the world who’ll see their point. We try and kind of get by with some incredibly messy system
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of decision about what ends up where. Then, of course, there’s all the production stuff. ‘Nocturnal Koreans’ had a different production approach to the ‘Wire’ album. The ‘Wire’ album was more pure to the original performances. Nocturnal Korean was definitely not. It was much more mucked around with in order to get it to work because they weren’t necessarily all coagulating as finished pieces. In a way this album, ‘Silver/Lead’, is a bit more like the ‘Wire’ album in terms of the purity of it but it has got that kind of extra level with the drums that gives it... just makes it a bit more pushy, a bit stronger in tone.”
What’s interesting about the music of Wire is that it’s perfect pop music that isn’t actually pop music... “I don’t really know what it is. I think that there’s a quite deal of experimentation with the form. There’s always something which is new that we haven’t quite done before but I think it would be hard for Wire to make something which we’ve never heard before right now but then I think it’s really hard for anybody to make something you’ve never heard before. There is a kind of pop element to it and there always has been but that goes back right to the beginning, this was one of Mike Thorne’s watchwords, that you should work on every song as if it’s a single. Even one that’s the most obscure and weird. I always thought that was an interesting idea. It doesn’t mean that you’d get the weird tracks and ‘pop them up’ - it means you’d give it the attention that it needs to work and live in its own world. “I’m sure it still happens when people are putting in albums, that they put a lot of time, energy, and effort into the ones which are going to be the most popular tracks - they’re not really singles anymore but the tracks that are gonna get the attention - and the other ones are sort of a bit undercooked. I do believe in albums still. I think it’s nice to listen to the whole album of someone’s intent. But when you hear it starts off with a track that you’ve heard a million times before and the other ones sound a bit undercooked I feel cheated really. I want there to be more depth and something that you can grow into when you listen to the records, some things that you can discover.”
The music of Wire doesn’t fit in a time or place. From the first record to now, you could almost switch them around. If anything it doesn’t sound like a band getting older. “I think that’s the best way to be. If it appears to time-based then you have a danger of... You might be the flavour of 2017 which means almost certainly you’ll not be the flavour of 2018. You should be aiming to be something which can work. I think the thing that we’ve fought hard for is that we’ve not done any of the heritage thing. We’ve kept well clear of that and I think that’s done us well. I mean, there aren’t that many bands of
our age that don’t really wallow in their own past. “The high level comeback is very problematic I think, where a band who were quite big back in the day who then come back fifteen or twenty years later and they are able to play really big gigs but everybody is only really interested in the past and the new album is a bit of an afterthought. You can see it’s very much driven by the fact that somebody hasn’t made very much money over the past few years suddenly sees the chance to really rake it in and it can really go to your head. If you can play three nights at the Roundhouse and play across Europe in big venues and all that and get paid thousands of pounds for doing it, it would turn someone’s head,
especially if they’ve not been doing very well out of music over the previous twenty years. Wire have chosen a path where we don’t have the opportunity to do that. We don’t get offered festival headlines or anything like that. Even thought people might imagine that we’ve been going a long time and we’re that important we should be whatever. We live with the reality that we can certainly play decent-sized shows and all that kind of stuff but are more of what you would call a contemporary band. That’s the way we exist and the strengths and weaknesses of that. “I get a lot of complaints from the band ‘how come you don’t get more festivals?’ Yeah, if we didn’t play for ten years and only played ‘Pink Flag’ we’d get every festival going but that would be it. That would finish the band off. It would destroy it. For a start you can’t do that every year, you can only do it once in ten years maybe. I mean, it exists of its own logic because of the very fact it’s the only logic that makes
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sense. The overwhelming interest of the band is to do new material, it always has been. Since day one has always been the aim. “Once you get to a certain age you become yet another minority like black people and gay people and women - women aren’t the minority but you know what I mean. You have to prove and over-prove that you can do it because we’re not a bunch of hipster twenty year olds. We somehow have to prove every time that we’re capable of coming up with something which is meaningful and contemporary and luckily we seem to have found a bunch of people, not just an audience but also media people who get that point. We don’t have to endlessly hammer on that point because people get it which makes doing what we do a lot easier. When we first
started that it was way harder work because people just didn’t understand how come we’re not just playing everything off ‘Chairs Missing’.”
It’s funny how usually when a band will play new songs everyone heads to the bar like a shot but with Wire it’s almost back to front, with people actively staying for the new material, like ‘where are they going to take this now’. It’s always fascinating to see where it’s going to go. Yeah, I don’t think we know. The logic of how we put new things into the set, especially new old songs, we suddenly just decide we’re doing this one and it’s like ‘it sounded quite good in the rehearsals’. But then we’ve done other things ‘Oh we should do this one’ and it’s bad and we don’t look at each other after
having played it once. Having successfully got from one end to the other end without any mistakes you think to yourself ‘why bother?’ You’ve got to bring something to the table. In a way Wire is ultimately very selfish in that we’re doing it for ourselves. If we don’t think it’s any good then there’s no chance anyone else will think it’s very good.”
Is that the only way to judge? “It is ultimately the only way to judge and I think if you’re calling yourself an artist of some kind you should know what’s good about what you do. But if you don’t you’re a bit screwed.” ‘Silver/Lead’ is out now on Pinkflag
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PIC- MARK MCNULTY
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ALREADY WIDELY RECOGNISED AS ONE OF THE MOST INFLUENTIAL BASSISTS OF HIS GENERATION, PETER HOOK HAS RECENTLY ADDED AUTHORIAL STRINGS TO HIS BOW WITH THE PUBLICATION OF A TRIO OF BOOKS DETAILING THE HIGHS AND LOWS OF LIFE AT THE HACIENDA AND IN JOY DIVISION AND NEW ORDER. LTW’S DICK PORTER SCUTTLES ALONG IN HIS WAKE TO FIND OUT THE LATEST...
T’S Tuesday, and Peter Hook is heading south. Currently, the bass behemoth is engaged in a series of UK dates that see his band, The Light, performing the ‘Substance’ compilations to sold out houses. “I’ve just set off, just had my hair cut with my mate,” he explains. “So I’m all spruced up ready for Brighton. It’s been great actually, I’ve not been allowed to play these songs for years and years. New Order really just settled into a little niche where they were just playing the same songs over and over again. I always was so frustrated by it, so really I have got to indulge myself and I must admit that it’s been absolutely fantastic. When I come to leave one album and move onto the next, I’m absolutely devastated.” This tranche of shows are the latest in a lengthening sequence of gigs whereby Hooky and his band revisit classic Joy Division and New Order albums. “We’ve just got a new keyboard player. Our keyboard player [David Potts], who was from Monaco, who I’d worked with for years and years, he’s just gone and got a proper job. We have been working a lot and I just think that maybe it was the going away that got to him.” The Light also includes Hook’s son Jack on bass, giving the impression that four-string mastery runs in the blood. “It started with me, because my dad wasn’t,” observes Peter. “To my knowledge, neither my mother nor father were musical at all. Jack grew up in the heyday, he was born in ’87, so he was at the Hacienda all the time, he was at the festivals, he was at the gigs – he was a rock ‘n’ roll baby. He likes much heavier music than me; he’s more like Queens Of The Stone Age, Metallica and all that lot. So when he started to learn to play bass when he was about twelve, he was emulating those groups. He only played with me when Pottsy and I did a couple of charity gigs as Monaco. We didn’t have a group, so we needed a put together group and he came in and played bass and he was really good. I was really, really impressed. The thing is that when we came to play as The Light, I wasn’t supposed to be singing. I had a few singers lined up, and basically the keyboard terrorists
and the expectations, and the negative connotation to what you were doing scared off the singers. It really did, I thought ‘What a bunch of bloody wimps’. But that’s life, isn’t it? It was Roweta that said to me, ‘Listen, if you’re going to do this, you’re going to have to sing.’ And I thought, ‘Ohh shit..!’ While I’d sung in Monaco, I’d never really envisaged singing Joy Division or New Order. I always thought that I’d be the bass player, that was what I wanted to do. So as we went on, the only way out of it for finding a bass player was right under my nose, which of course was Jack. He picked it up really quickly and now he’s an absolute super fan of Joy Division and New Order.” For Hooky, the move from bass to lead vocal represented the latest in a series of challenges: “Over the years I’ve become used to being taken out of my comfort zone, I’m used to doing everything, and while it terrifies you, there’s a wonderful feeling when you pull it off. We’re not pretending to be Joy Division, and I was
very careful about doing the LPs for that reason. If we’d have done a greatest hits set, it wouldn’t have felt right to me because that would have been like pretending to be Joy Division. My real problem with them as New Order is that they’re pretending to be New Order when they’re not – that’s my opinion. They get away with it; the fans go along and see them and appreciate them for what they are, but the fans come along and see me and appreciate The Light for what they do. Now the fans have got both; us with the old material and them lot playing the same stuff over and over again.”
n addition to The Light’s live shows, Westworld Recordings are set to issue a series of four live albums capturing their standout performances of ‘Unknown Pleasures’, ‘Closer’, ‘Movement’ and ‘Power, Corruption And Lies’. “It’s interesting doing ‘Substance’ because it’s all the singles. Because the singles were left off
IAN, GOD REST HIS SOUL, CERTAINLY TOOK A HELL OF A LOT OUT OF US WHEN HE WENT. IT TOOK US YEARS AND YEARS TO RECOVER AND IN MANY WAYS, I’M NOT TOO SURE IF YOU EVER RECOVER.
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The weird thing is that I never expected in a million years to get the antagonism from the others that I’ve had, just because I’m playing the music.
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all the albums, we’d been missing these as we’d been coming through. It’s been nice to get them all together. One of the great things about Westworld Recordings was when I got talking to them about putting the records out, the guy – Steve Beatty – had been a fan, he’d been to our gigs. I first met him five years ago in the Zap Club in Brighton when I was doing ‘Unknown Pleasures’. It’s quite serendipitous; he’s been to all the gigs because he’s a fan, and he said, ‘We should work together to put them out’, which he’s done. It’s always an odd position to be in, but our gig is to celebrate the LPs, so I think that we are doing something different to what Joy Division ever did and also something different than New Order ever did. The weird thing is that I never expected in a million years to get the antagonism from the others that I’ve had, just because I’m playing the music. I’m doing the same thing that they’re doing, and yet because they’ve – in my opinion – stolen the name ‘New Order’, it’s deemed to be different – we are just playing our music. We wrote it, we’re playing it. And really, it doesn’t matter who you play it with, that’s your choice isn’t it? Anybody can play music; from busking in Market Street in Manchester to playing at the Royal Albert Hall, you cannot stop anybody playing the music. But to hear them be so antagonistic, it’s a bit weird, I must admit. “With Barney it was always a bit weird; it was always ‘Don’t do as I do, do as I say’, which was one of his wonderful contradictions that was really infuriating, and really this just comes down to that again. We’ve had such great reviews from doing it, that I feel absolutely justified. If we’d had been slagged off for doing it, I’d have been the first one to knock it on the head.”
many ways we never let England catch up. It’s weird, what I’ve noticed at gigs is that ten times more people wear Joy Division shirts than wear New Order. It’s odd, I thought that when we got into New Order, that New Order would be the most popular, but it seems to me that it’s very equal between New Order and Joy Division, and the interesting thing is that you’ve actually got a very young audience for both. Last week we did Holmforth in Yorkshire, we sold it out – beautiful venue, and the audience was really young.” To an extent, The Light’s live explorations of Joy Division and New Order’s back catalogues can be viewed as companion pieces to Hooky’s biographical accounts of his time with the two bands and life at the Hacienda. “The Hacienda one, which was the first, was really hard work. I’d never done that sort of thing before, I struggled to find a formula, but by the end of it, it worked,” he declares. “I wrote the first edition with an American friend of mine, when the book came back, it was in American. He’s a lovely guy, Claude Flowers – it was his idea to do the book actually. So then we had to translate it from American back to
English, which was quite weird, so it took a long time, but it was enjoyable. I think that the one thing that Northerners are good at is laughing at themselves and taking the piss out of themselves. And that self-deprecation helps – especially with a story like the Hacienda. As an author, which I can say I am now after three books, the Hacienda was a gift of a story, Joy Division – another gift, although maybe the gift that you didn’t want, and the trouble with them is that none of them have a happy ending. I’d love to write a book with a happy ending, I really would. “It’s been great, but I must admit that out of all the books, the one I was most worried about was the New Order book. I think that if they hadn’t reformed without me, then I probably wouldn’t have written it. It was a bit too close to home, really. I was sort of helped along by Bernard’s book, with its startling lack of detail, terrible representation of me – I knew Bernard was many things, but I never had him down as being like that. It’s my truth if you like, and I think that with them reforming in 2011, there was a lot of mis-truths and a lot of spin on them getting back together again. I think that needed putting right and the story needed telling so that the people knew the truth. It did help doing it, when I did it – because of the legal thing, which has been going on for six years, the whole time I was doing the book – I just thought everything about New Order was NEW ORDER
lthough the tour is set to finish at the end of March, The Light are set to stay on the road for the foreseeable future, courtesy of a string of US dates and European shows, alongside some UK festival appearances. “It’s interesting, generally we have bigger audiences abroad than we do in England,” observes Hook. “That’s mainly because New Order were so popular around the world that in
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New Order and Joy Division sounded very young. We don’t sound young anymore. shit. I had a really jaundiced eye on New because we wrote great music, it was easy Order. Doing the book made me realise for us because of the music. It was the how fucking good we were and how same with New Order, even though New much we achieved. When Andy Rourke Order started a little awkwardly, we were said to me that that Smiths case was the actually making great music. When you’re worst thing that he’d ever been through writing great tunes everything is much, in his life, I thought he was being a much easier. bleedin’ drama queen. I saw him in New “Barney actually commented when York about three weeks ago, and I said we got back together in 2000, he said ‘I to him, ‘You know Andy, that was an don’t know if you noticed, but the weird understatement.’ It’s fucking awful, I’m thing about Joy Division and New Order delighted that I got through life to the was that we never talked about music. ripe old age of 55 before I had to do it.” We just did it.’ The weird thing is, is The Light’s performances serve to that when I was with Pottsy in Monaco, freshly illuminate a corpus of landmark we would talk about music all the time, material that spans the genesis of punk and when Barney was with Johnny Marr, rock, the subsequent post punk era, and he’d talk about music all the time. And the further fusions with dance music yet when we got back together again, that played out across the 1980s. “Punk we didn’t do that again. It’s the very was very naive, and I don’t think that chemistry that makes a great group and any of us knew what to do with it once makes a great songwriting partnership. we’d got it,” Hooky reflects. “Steve Jones It’s the very same chemistry that will tear sums it up really well in his book, ‘Lonely you apart in the end.” Boy’. None of us knew what we were doing and we were given he manner a great opportunity to in which change the world, but both the it was too much current for all of us. New incarnation of New Order took a long Order and The Light time to settle are playing variant to the major versions of the same record label, the material echoes easy way out the divergence type of thing, between Joy Division but really you live, and frozen on were on a hiding to vinyl in the uniquely PETER HOOK IN THE FACTORY BOARDROOM - STEVEN BAKER nothing, because that imaginative contexts anarchy and chaos that framed by production legend you developed and fed off Martin Hannett. “It was very when you were a punk was actually quite spiky, actually,” recalls the bassist. “Joy unsustainable in real life. Division’s live sound was very empty “We always thought that we would be for the simple reason that when Barney punks, with our attitude – we wanted to played guitar there was no keyboards, and be independent, we turned down every when Barney played keyboards, there was deal that offered us money because we no guitar. So it made it very edgy. What wanted our freedom. We didn’t want both of us have done in our incantations, anyone telling us what to do with the we’ve got extra musicians, we’ve music. The only reason we went with augmented the line-up to make it sound Factory Records was that Tony [Wilson] fuller. In a funny way, I think it’s lost swore to us that he would not get the awkwardness that New Order had at involved with them music. It was so the start and the very angular tetchiness important to us to keep that standard that Joy Division had. They sounded very flying – punk had shown us and we young; we don’t sound young anymore. lived and breathed it. It was easy for us “It’s a fascinating thing with New
Order, that our reputation for playing live was terrible – we had a really bad reputation; some gigs would be awful and then there’d be some in the middle. With Joy Division, you never had that. Ian, god rest his soul, certainly took a hell of a lot out of us when he went. It took us years and years to recover and in many ways, I’m not too sure if you ever recover. I was just talking to my barber, in the way that barbers always like to talk to you about life, and he said, ‘Do you think that the reason that you and Barney are at each other’s throats all the time is because of Ian’s death?’ It’s quite interesting. To lose somebody like that, through suicide, does scar you for life, without a shadow of a doubt. I was the bass player, Barney was the guitarist, we struggled to be the vocalist at the start, now we’re both the vocalist, I’m singing the same songs he’s singing, so I suppose really, you’re going to get that friction without a doubt. “And he was such a natural. Oh man, to find somebody like that who was so comfortable with his role is amazing. They’re very, very few and far between. He was a talent, though – Such a fantastic vocal, the vocal lines and melodies that he came up with, the lyrics were amazing. He really was the full package. I suppose if you’re going to look at it from a rock ‘n’ roll point of view, it’s a case of someone who burns that brightly. Very sad.” Although Hooky’s trilogy of tales lack happy endings, the process of revisiting them literally and sonically has proven rewarding. “It’s made me remember the good times, which is quite nice because since New Order split up, we’ve had nothing but bad times. The legal battle is still ongoing and has been now for six years. It’s awful, it really is the worst thing that I’ve ever been through, but you have to fight for what you believe in, don’t you. It’s been very nice that it’s reminded me that at one point we were all very good friends and we did make great music, despite it all.” ‘Unknown Pleasures’, ‘Closer’, ‘Movement’ and ‘Power, Corruption And Lies’ are out May 5th on Westworld Recordings
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PIC - WILLIAM ELLIS
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Bringing dread and hope together on new album ‘Death Song’, James Sharples discovers how THE BLACK ANGELS are moving away from psychedelia and looking to nature for influence.
don’t think this record is a psychedelic record at all,” ponders The Black Angels’ vocalist and bassist Alex Maas. It’s an odd statement regarding a band that have, for all intents and purposes, been brushed by the ‘psyche rock’ tag so hard that they might as well have been painted in primary colours over the course of their previous four albums. However, upon listening to their fifth full length, ‘Death Song’, it’s difficult not to agree with him. Opening with the doomy drone and chiming guitar intro of ‘Currency’, ‘Death Song’ veers into dark, murky territory, bleak lyrics such as “One day it’ll all be over” butting up against roiling waves of guitars and shimmering melodies. “It has elements of psychedelia because those are some of the roots of the music we enjoy,” he adds: “I think this album is a very beautiful thing in a dark way. I think at times it’s as ugly as it is pretty and that’s pretty much the world. The ‘psych’ tag can be limiting – if we’d always said we were a rock ‘n’ roll band that might have changed how we were perceived by the world, for better or for worse. I think a band can bounce between genres without having to favour a certain theme, though.” Chatting amiably over the phone during a break from rehearsal (at the time of speaking the band, completed by Stephanie Bailey (drums), Christian Bland (guitar, Mellotron, bass), Jake Garcia (guitar, bass), Kyle Hunt (bass, guitar, organ) were preparing to play SXSW), the softly spoken southerner confesses that “I get nerves before every show. It doesn’t matter if we’re playing in front of fifty people of five thousand.” Surely the repetitive act of playing live must make that a little easier though? “In a way...” he ponders: “You can get a bit confident but we’re always putting new material out and you feel different every day. Somedays you feel confident and some days you don’t.”
Indeed, when you think about it, creating and performing music is quite possibly the only profession where you have to revisit a specific time and place in your head, dredging up old emotions and using them as fuel. This is something that Maas clearly agrees with: “Playing the songs puts you back into this different place, the place you were when you wrote those songs, with another whole set of emotions. It’s interesting, going back to these moments that are precious... You’re vulnerable. You have to physically embody what you were going through at that moment in that performance. I know that with some of our songs I feel the exact same way that I did when we wrote them, like ten years ago or whatever, but with others getting that emotional response out of it is interesting. It can be taxing in a way. It can be difficult. It’s not a normal thing, to go and play music in front of people. I never thought I’d be doing this for a living – I just happened to fall into it, which is still weird to me to this day.”
alk turns to the impact that geographical location can play on creativity. Growing up in the Bible Belt of Texas, Maas thinks that “the style of music we play is effected by the more conservative nature of the environment that we live in, both lyrically and sonically.” While ‘Death Song’ is permeated with a sense of impending doom, for Maas, melody is equally important as atmosphere. “I started getting into music through nature first,” he says: My parents have a little plant nursery in Texas and I grew up there hearing music through nature; through the birds and the waterfalls and the wind in the trees. It sounds very earthy and hippy sounding but it’s not. That’s how I came to understand what music is and that the most beautiful music in the world comes through nature. “If a song doesn’t have some element of melodic charm I’m not really attracted to it. That’s probably why I wasn’t big into heavy
metal music like death metal. Well, partially that and partially because I didn’t have an older brother,” he laughs. When asked what he’d be doing if he didn’t have music as an outlet, he reveals “I’d probably be doing something in nature. I could see myself being an ecologist or a biologist – somebody who’s doing something in the rainforest. Nature has formed my entire outlook on life – there’s so much beauty outside.” Explaining that “if you’re going to sing something, it might as well be something important”, the lyrics of ‘Death Song’ might have been written before the carefully orchestrated hate campaigns of The Donald and our own county’s Brexit woes and struggle with misguided nationalism, but its content (subjects such as faith, greed, hate and disgust) are eerily coming to live before the record sees its actual release. “It is very strange,” says Maas: “I feel like what we try to do with the band is to try to write about things that we believe are important and to try to understand the world, our place in it and what the hell is happening right now. It’s a confused and screwed up time at the moment. It honestly feels like the end of the world and that’s pretty frightening. There’s a certain element of fear that’s always been invoked in our music and that’s always been a catalyst for creativity for us. It’s about opening that door, y’know? That fear of the unknown. That’s part of the attract for me when it comes to making music: the chills that you get when you finally grab onto something that feels good or really scares the shit out of you. “For me, it’s an element of what makes our band who we are, that dark subject matter mixed with a pretty melody. It’s like the real world, both dark and beautiful, filled with hope and doom at the same time.” ‘Death Song’ is out April 21st on Partisan Records The Black Angels headline the Liverpool International Festival Of Psychedelia in September
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THE BLACK ANGELS
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Six albums, seven top 40 singles, working with johnny marr and signing to a major record label in la, this is the story of three brothers from wakefield who endured to become one of the country’s biggest cult bands. Now fifteen years into their career, the cribs are set to tour the uk again in celebration of the ten year anniversary of the release of their definitive third album ‘men’s needs, women’s needs, whatever’. Paula frost spoke to bassist and twin brother gary jarman about their long-suffering struggle to success from being bullied on the bus for carrying a guitar, to getting robbed at reading festival, and beyond!
could clearly remember buying the album ‘Men’s Needs, Women’s Needs, Whatever’ in a music store upon its release and seeing the band at Reading festival, I asked Gary where the time had gone: “The funny thing about being in a band is you don’t live year to year, you live record to record because you put an album out and tour for two years, you lose track of time so for me it feels like three records ago. Reading festival has always been great and last time we played was so much fun. A lot has changed since then. It’s only now that we’re doing these commemorative shows that it makes me realise how long it’s been. It’s kind of surreal!” But the band had already had a long history even before its release. We took the conversation back to where it all began for the three lads: Wakefield in the 1990s. Gary reminisced: “It’s a mining town! Typical, with that simmering undercurrent of anger and frustration. I got my first bass in 1992 at Christmas. My main memory is taking a lot of abuse on the high street and the bus anywhere I took my guitar. It definitely wasn’t very tolerant of subculture or punk rockers. Nowadays that’s changed, people are way more image conscious but back then it singled you out. Me and my brother dealt with a lot of that. In some ways it was a really galvanising influence in our lives. You had to struggle to get to band practice; you had to struggle to put on a gig. It made us dedicated to the idea of what we were doing so it pushed us.” By the time the band released third album ‘Men’s Needs...’, they were reassured to finally be getting some recognition in the music world. Gary spoke about their slow burning rise in the early days: “The bands we always liked were underground bands that crossed over later on and that always seemed like a good thing to us because you earn your stripes and become a really good live band. At first people aren’t really paying too much attention but after that you have a bedrock of credibility so when you do finally break through, you’re not just an overnight hype band. There was a hell of a lot of bands like that in the 2000’s. Bands would start up and get signed to a major label straight away. Man we were such an angry band and we were so frustrated with that situation, we’d see bands pass us by really quickly, acting like rock stars which was something we never wanted to be like. But it was still jarring to see that happen to bands who we felt were less deserving.”
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he Cribs were dead set on a more genuine and organic rise to prominence. “We were totally rough diamonds. We didn’t mesh well with the London scene at all. With the benefit of hindsight I wish I’d enjoyed it a bit more. It was a pretty vibrant time for British bands but we found that to be almost like an affront to our ideology. Operating outside the mainstream and not being co-opted because so many bands get signed to major labels, go straight on radio one and get co-opted into the mainstream. That was none of our business and was totally up to them if they wanted to do that. What bothered us was that by the time ‘Men’s Needs’ the single came out and broke through on the radio, people thought we were a new band formed in 2007 riding that bullshit gravy train. We wanted to say ‘This isn’t our bag, we’ve been around for a while and don’t associate us with this current movement’ because I felt like our movement started in 2001 so we got a reputation for being outspoken but really we were just trying to set the record straight. We wanted to make sure people understood what we were about rather than thinking we were just another major label Topshop indie band.” Gary continued on about the energy of their Reading Festival show: “By the time we headlined the second stage at Reading in 2008 there was a tangible change because just to be offered that slot is a hugely big deal. We felt like people were starting to understand us and it was a really cool feeling. As it gets darker and the crowd get more into it, the whole
atmosphere changes. You start seeing steam rising off the crowd. Backstage you could hear people chanting the bands name and our song riffs for over an hour before we played which was surreal. We played an amazing, really triumphant show and then I came off stage and realised I had my bag nicked and it had my passport with my green card in it. It went from being really celebratory to being stone cold sober. The security guards weren’t helpful, they assume everyone’s rich back there but the reality was that all I had was a hat and a raincoat!” He wasn’t so sure the festival had the same vibe today though: “When I used to go there as a kid it was a cool thing. All the outcast kids came together and it was really inclusive and awesome. I feel like over the years the general festival vibe has changed. It’s much more universal so it’s not really for a subculture anymore it’s for everyone so you get that city centre on a weekend vibe.” When the band finally broke, The Cribs were caught up in a whirlwind that they struggled to cope with. “I’ve never discussed this before but as I’m saying it I realise that it’s the age old story of how every band that’s gone from an indie and been signed to a major feels. I had concerns and problems but I didn’t realise how cliché it was at the time! Looking back it’s straight out of the indie rock rule book!” It’s true that a vast majority of indie bands find it hard to cope with the sudden onslaught of attention brought by success, but the struggle is real. I wanted to know who it hit hardest in the band. “I would say it affected Ryan (guitar/ vocals) the most, for definite. A lot of people
“PEOPLE ASSUME EVERYONE’S RICH BACKSTAGE AT A FESTIVAL BUT THE REALITY WAS THAT ALL I HAD WAS A HAT AND A RAINCOAT!”
I looked up to had more modest ideas of success than he did. Back in the early ‘90s my favourite artists were small bands. He felt like we deserved more in some way. He took it worse when he saw bands who had opened for us becoming big overnight. It was the injustice he perceived. We operated on a different level, we were signed to an indie label and we were really happy with that until the mid 2000s explosion and we saw so many other bands blow up. It’s hard to not compare yourself to that situation especially when critically people really seemed to like our records. I think it was a real pressure cooker. It was hard to keep on top of and the media seemed to assign bands different roles. You have the cool kids and the arty kids and the weirdos.”
he band were keen to break out of their assigned role of ‘indie Topshop kids’ and be taken seriously. At that point they used the media attention to carve out their own identity and they became known as an outspoken and political band. “It’s true. With us, we used to get a kick out of staunchly sticking to our guns. But we used to worry about stuff so bad like being misconstrued. We didn’t want to be easily co-opted. There’s virtue in that and I’m glad we had that ideology but maybe we were self-saboteurs. With this anniversary tour it’s great to look back and appreciate the record and be able to tour it without any neuroses because at the time, the chips were stacked high. Everything was going on and it raptured our concerns and how we were being perceived. Now it’s nice to look back and know people still like and appreciate the record and we can tour and celebrate it without any of those hang ups.” The band’s politics are clearly defined and all three members being brothers is a huge part of their closeness. “I’ve never been in a serious band with anyone but my brothers and we literally are family so I can’t imagine having that close relationship with anyone else. When I see other bands it impresses me how you can be that close without being blood relatives.” Gary confessed: “I am the older brother so I try to be a stabilising force. When the band first started I had pretty modest goals. In some ways it’s because I never expected us to become a big band. I just wanted us to be realistic and get a kick out of operating on a level we could enjoy. Ryan is a real idealist to the degree where, had I not been in the band, I wouldn’t have pushed myself because I don’t go seeking attention. I keep myself to myself.”
ary moved to Portland USA at a time when the band were at the peak of their fame. “Yeah it’s really bizarre! I came in 2006 which was a really good time to move here because we’d had a bunch of top 40 singles and it was good to get away
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THE CRIBS from the madness. Moving here came at a really good time. Here I’m surrounded by successful musicians who have forged a path outside of that and it really helped me contextualise everything.” Being outside of the pressure of success is vital to Gary’s writing as he explained: “I’ve always kept a notebook. I feel like you get ideas when you’re not really looking for them. I will take them to the band. That’s the backbone of 70-80% of the lyrics. Then I like to put my headphones on, listen to songs that inspire me and go to the bar near my house and
don’t interact with anyone for three or four hours. That’s a really crazy experience to be in a crowded room of people and not interact and its useful thinking time. It’s being in the moment and I don’t like labouring over it.” I wanted to find out if the band had any more plans on the horizon. “Ryan lives in New York and has Ross (drums) has a family now. We’re all doing our own thing really so I don’t know what the future holds. We keep in touch three to four times a week but we won’t tour until we get new music out and I don’t know what’s
happening with that.” Finally, The Cribs have decided to tour this album as a huge ‘Thank You’ to their fans. Gary expressed: “These anniversary shows are exciting. Playing this kind of tour is not really about us, it’s about the people who care about the record so that feels cool. I’m a pretty nostalgic person myself so it’s not like I won’t get a kick out of it but it’s really for our loyal fans.” The Cribs tour the UK in May
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Returning with a new record, ‘The Haze’, and a new drummer, Leeds alt-rock favourites PULLED APART BY HORSES are feeling refreshed and are having the most fun they’ve had in years. Ian Chaddock caught up with guitarist James ‘JB’ Brown and bassist Robert Lee to talk change, self-isolation in a Welsh cottage and... being slapped in the face with a fish. ’The Haze’ is your fourth album but it doesn’t sound like it at all. Do you feel rejuvenated as a band with the addition of Tommy on drums? Rob Lee (bass): “Definitely, it feels like a new band now that we have Tommy. We wanted to recapture the energy and raw, naïve spirit of the first album.” JB (guitar): “Tommy [Davidson] has been a close friend of ours for a long time and he knows how to thump those tubs like a total pro. It injected fun back into the whole process and a newfound love of the band for us straight from the offset. I must admit, it really did feel like recording the first record again when we went into the studio.”
album. So we were listening a lot to artists like Bowie, Iggy Pop, The Beatles. Also contemporary bands like Fuzz, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard and Thee Oh Sees, who give a strong nod to older music but still bring new ideas to the table.” JB: “I’d been slowly trying to get through all of The Fall’s back catalogue (which is very time consuming) around the time we began writing the record. I think they have about 30 records! Their album ‘Fall Heads Roll’ played a big part in a lot of my guitar parts. I’d also been heavily listening to a lot of Bowie’s early records.”
What artists/bands do you think influenced you this time around?
Although there’s certainly that fuzz element, it’s pretty energetic so why is the album title ‘The Haze’?
Rob: “We were a lot more open to being influenced by more ‘vintage’ sounds on this
Rob: “To me ‘The Haze’ is something we made our way through, woke up from and
in doing so felt energised and excited to be creative and make music again.” JB: “I think Rob has hit the nail on the head there. But I’d also say that the time we all spent writing in a remote cottage in the countryside of Wales was also a bit of a haze. Constantly writing, recording, drinking, smoking, karaoke and never ending sexual tension.”
You got away from your native Leeds to a cottage on a Welsh dairy farm to write for this record. Did that change of surroundings, seclusion and getting away from daily worries/commitments help? Did the lack of technology there help you focus and reconnect as friends as well as a band in this age of staring at screens? Rob: “Yes that cottage was essential to the vibe of this album. We’ve always been really good friends and we’ve known Tommy
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PULLED APART BY HORSES
for years, but it was important for us to all bond and reconnect as a band. Even if we hadn’t managed to write anything, it would have been important to spend that time living together, with no distractions. Leeds is home, it’s a great place to live and work, but we all have our own things going on there, so it’s easy to drift off on our separate ways, even if it’s just subconsciously.” JB: “It’s so easy to get distracted these days in anything you do, phones and social media are the heart of the problem for me and you couldn’t even get phone signal, let alone 4G, where we were based back then unless you walked a mile up a muddy hill.”
I went to Leeds University and I noticed the video for ‘The Big What If’ is filmed around some of the brutalist architecture there. Looks like it was a fun video to make too? Rob: “It was really rewarding because we were very involved in making it. Tom [Hudson, vocals/guitar] and Tommy’s girlfriends run the production company that made the video. However, we were all knackered and ill. There was some lurgy going around and none of us had slept
much the night before, so there was some real method acting going on. But it was fun and exciting to be making something, so we did really get into it. I’m the only band member who actually went to Leeds and I was involved in student films shot in those same locations, so it did feel a bit like being back at Uni.” JB: “It really was a lot of fun to make that one, I enjoyed it up until the point I got smacked around the face full pelt by Tommy with a giant bleeding trout.”
That song, like many on the record, has a great riff and seems to be all about rocking out and having fun. There’s even a song called ‘Dumb Fun’. Was that idea of just having a laugh central to the record? JB: “It wasn’t so much that the premise/ idea from the word go was to have fun, it kind of just naturally became fun and enjoyable the further we got into writing the record, mainly due to the fact we were on our own and disconnected from everything in an industry/business sense. Again, bringing a friend like Tommy into the fold changed everything really. He was a key part of
making the record and will be a key part of our future now. We do have a bloody lot of fun together though!”
Are there any other themes or songs on the record that mean a lot to you and why? Rob: “They’re all our babies and I love them equally, but ‘Lamping’ means a lot to me because we allowed ourselves to go somewhere different from the usual Horses direction. It also really takes me back to that time and place of writing in the cottage.” JB: “I’m pretty emotionally connected to ‘Lamping’ too, as Rob mentioned, it totally takes me back to the cottage and I love the fact we were able to create something like this that we’ve never tried before. Another one for me is ‘Prince of Meats’ which takes me back to when we were writing the first record and playing massive riffs above a pub louder than we’d play at a gig without any ear protection, pissed on pints of lager.” ‘The Haze’ is out now on Search & Destroy Pulled Apart By Horses tour the UK in April and play festivals this summer
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THE AFGHAN WHIGS
THE AFGHAN WHIGS HAVE RETURNED WITH THEIR EIGHTH STUDIO ALBUM AND MORE LIFE EXPERIENCES UNDER THE BELT OF FRONTMAN GREG DULLI. JAMES GATES CHATS TO THE LEGENDARY SINGER-SONGWRITER AND GETS THE LOWDOWN ON CRYING IN PUBLIC, HIS FAVOURITE BOOK AND HIS NEW YOGA ROUTINE.
’VE often said that I break my own heart every day.” It’s a sunny Monday morning in central London and Greg Dulli is sat across from me in a small, unremarkable meeting room. Wearing jet-black horn-rimmed glasses, a black shirt and dark jeans, he cuts a modest figure while maintaining an aura of unmistakable, larger-than-life presence. He’s only been in the country for just over 24 hours but if he’s flagging then it doesn’t show. He’s bright, engaging, and happy to talk about the emotions that, by his own admission, sometimes get the better of him. “I think I’m an empath,” he says. “I feel things very deeply. Some might say I’m overly sensitive, and if I see or hear or feel that someone in a bad way, I take it on in a way that is maybe unhealthy sometimes. I well up a couple of times a day, sometimes it’s from beauty but sometimes I’ll read or see something that I can’t fix but would like to.” When was the last time you welled up?, I ask. He takes a short pause. “Watching a Muslim woman put her young child on an airplane yesterday,” he replies: “I didn’t know the story, but with the political climate in my country, I didn’t want to imagine the details but I was hoping they would see each other again. I might have been inventing the story around the two of them, but it was very poignant and very sad, and I took on their sadness.” Strong emotions are Dulli’s bread and butter. By day he’s best-known as frontman and creative svengali for alt-rockers The Afghan Whigs, but he boasts a fearsomely impressive CV thanks to his other projects; The Gutter Twins (with Mark Lanegan), his solo act The Twilight Singers, not to mention his work as a producer. Is he ever worried he’ll run out of music? “No, because…here’s a story for you, when I was a kid and first became aware of music and the power that it had to make me feel, I asked my grandmother one time; ‘What happens when there’s nothing left to write about?’ and at that point I was a boy, I’d never written a song in my life. I was seven years old.” He goes on. “And my grandmother said, ‘Child, you will never run out of things to write, people will never run out, because people are feeling and experiencing things every moment of every day.’ And unless you shut off your antenna, you will never run out of things to write about.” Dulli wasn’t lacking for things to write about on the Whigs’ latest, ‘In Spades’, recorded over the course of a year-and-a-bit. I ask him how many of the new songs are about heartbreak. He says: “I wouldn’t say it’s overly about anything, there’s no great event in my life until towards the end of the record.” “My friend and bandmate Dave Rosser was diagnosed with inoperable colon cancer and I have not played a show without Dave
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y favourite book? ‘Frankenstein’. The creation of a human playing God and then dealing with the consequences of that. I love the confusion and childlike wonder of the monster, I love Mary Shelley’s empathy for the monster and the way she tells the story, I love her empathy for Victor Frankenstein as well. “So there’s that book and then years later, a book not dissimilar to ‘Frankenstein’ came out called ‘Geek Love’ by Katherine Dunn, I highly recommend it. Those two books, I’ve read them twice. Maybe I’ve read five books twice in my whole life. If I read a book twice it is the ultimate tribute to the power of the writer. You’re looking for something that you missed, that’s the greatest compliment I could ever give to any work of art.”
in ten years, he was in The Twilight Singers, he’s been in the Whigs, I’ve done two acoustic tours, he’s my other guitar player, my foil, he’s absolutely one of my favourite spirits and he’s pretty sick. “I had all the songs down but I had not sung or written words for what became ‘I Got Lost’ and I went out to Joshua Tree and it took me 36 hours to come up with the words for that. I look at the words now and it’s without a doubt about him and what he’s going through, so there’s your heartbreak.”
he decision to make the record, Dulli says, was an easy one: “The band that did our last tour was one of my favourite bands that we ever played with and we played a bunch of shows. After the 2014/2015 tour, we were playing so well at the end, I was like ‘Man, we should get this in
the studio, that’s always the best time to record when you have a band that’s played like ninety shows, that’s a hot band that plays well together. We laid down half the songs that made it to the record in like ten days and then it took me over a year to get the other five. “With this one, I was like: ‘I really like the stuff we’ve recorded’, we recorded like nine songs in eight days and used five of them. But then I kind of just went off and lived life, I just travelled around the States, went and visited my friends, relaxed, just lived, wrote sings when I felt like it, just kind of took it easy, read books, hung out and took care of myself. “But I like it because I can look at the ten songs that made the record and go ‘oh here’s the five that happened in that burst and here’s the other five’, and they’re very different.” Clocking in at a cosy thirty six minutes,
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‘In Spades’ is a concise record but one with plenty of depth. It shifts between moods at its leisure. Some of it is blissful, some of it is dark. Some tracks are dense and some have room to breathe. His headspace, Dulli says, was an entirely innocent one when going into the studio this time: “It was like: ‘I wanna take this live band into the studio and see what happens’, and it came fast and furious. “Once I broke off from the band and everybody was in separate places, once I isolate and work alone on songs, I wrote those five songs in front of the band as I had nothing. I just walked in and was like, ‘let’s play this’. With the songs that came after that, they’re a little stranger. “But I really liked that it had a couple of different ways of coming about, a burst and then a more contemplative side. It’s just ten tracks.”
quiz Dulli on what, if anything, has changed about him in all the time he’s been making music: “It took me a couple of albums to get my footing and find out who I was,” he says: “I’ve often said that the record, the first really good record that I made was ‘Congregation’ in ’92, where it felt like me, it sounded like me, instead of me trying to figure out who I was. “I think I landed on who I was and I was fearless and playing slow songs or not worrying about what someone thought about balladry or something like that, you know? I don’t know that I’m that much different from that guy, once I got my method and my confidence in who I was and that I trusted my instincts, I was off to the races and I’m still in that race. “I’ve written about many things, I’ve had events in my life shape the records that I’ve done and then there were some not-so-momentous events. I have relied on my verdant imagination so I think I need to trust myself and my instincts 25 years ago and it has served me well, I trust myself.” When asked about where he sees the Whigs’ career going from here, he replies immediately with two words: “On tour.” “We’re gonna go on tour and past that, I very much live in the present. I always tell people ‘I try to have enough money to have some food tomorrow but past that, I don’t know.” At this point, Dulli’s eyes light up and with a knowing gleam: “Uncertainty’s kind of cool though,” he muses: “If you knew what was gonna happen, what would be the point of waking up? There’s no purpose. It’s why people fear and are fascinated by death, because it’s the one thing where no-one has told you what happens. It’s the unknowable, but I’ve always been attracted to the unknowable and the mystery of life. Sometimes the surprise is extremely unpleasant, but once you learn that you have no control then there is a sense of peace that comes over you.” I wrap things up by asking him how he copes with anything in his life that he has no sense of closure over. His answer is one I could not have seen coming. “I’ve begun things, like I started doing yoga three years ago, mostly to get limber and try and stay in shape or whatever but it brought peacefulness to me that I had never really known, a stillness to my mind. I learned how to calm my mind down, to focus in an almost meditative way. I was always kind of highly strung with a pretty
994 was notable for many things, one of them being the movie ‘Backbeat’, a fictional account of The Beatles’ formative days in Hamburg. For the soundtrack, producer Don Was assembled a crack team of alternative rock’s finest, including Greg Dulli, Dave Grohl (then still a member of Nirvana), Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore, REM’s Mike Mills, Gumball’s Don Fleming and Soul Asylum’s Dave Pirner. To blow minds even further, Henry Rollins made a cameo, doing the vocals for ‘Twist & Shout’, possibly the best surprise use of a vocalist ever. Performing as The Backbeat Band, this astonishing supergroup reinterpreted the Liverpudlian beat combo’s early work as scorching garage punk, with Dulli doing an amazing job of channelling John Lennon while Dave Pirner was tasked with doing the same for Paul McCartney. Dulli shared his memories of an incredible few days with the dream team: “Actually, Don Fleming wrote to me yesterday. I met them all on a Tuesday, we started recording on a Wednesday and said goodbye on a Friday. I had not met any of them, so we met and we had drinks the night before and then we went into the studio and played it live. “I sang twenty songs in two days. It was real easy, we had a great band. Henry Rollins came by and he sang the Stuart Sutcliffe song and it was really cool. Don Was had a steady hand but mostly it was maybe three takes. That was the most we did but it was all done live. I think they wanted that live punk-rock sound. I did not do any overdubs, I did not re-sing anything, every track I did was live with the band. I was in an iso-booth but I sang all twenty songs live - whatever was on there was sung while they played. “We only played live to an audience once. We did the MTV Movie Awards, we did ‘Money’, ‘Long Tall Sally’ and ‘Helter Skelter’ at the end of the show. I’ve often said, it was like if Pete Best had played like Dave Grohl he might have kept his job. Killer band, you know?”
good Irish temper and it’s helped me corral that and actually use that power in the way a dam does with water. “I can focus my energy in a more positive way. It’s not the answer but it’s an answer for me, and I will do it until I can’t. I usually do it four times a week, I can’t do a full practice while I’m on the road but I got up today and before I took a shower I just did some sun salutations and some stretching and a couple of poses and my blood got moving and I feel great. I did like twenty minutes today.” ‘In Spades’ is out May 5th on Sub Pop Records The Afghan Whigs tour the UK in May
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THE LATEST STUDIO ALBUM FROM ICONIC INDIE BAND BRITISH SEA POWER, ‘LET THE DANCERS INHERIT THE PARTY’, PUTS THE PERSONAL INTO THE POLITICAL, AND BRINGS A LOCAL STOICISM TO GLOBAL MADNESS. SARAH LAY CAUGHT UP WITH GUITARIST MARTIN NOBLE TO TALK ABOUT THE ALBUM, LEAVING THEIR LONG-TERM RECORD LABEL, AND FANS GETTING BAND TATTOOS.
N 1941 George Orwell sat beneath the drone of bombers, surrounded by the chaos of the Blitz, pragmatically contemplating the potential for his individual demise as much as the destruction of his country as a result of war. It may be his novel 1984 we’re currently buying up in droves as it looks less like a dystopian fiction and more like a handbook for today, but it’s the words of England Your England which appear sepia-tinged and ghostly between the lyrics of the latest British Sea Power album ‘Let The Dancers Inherit The Party’. In his essay Orwell was blunt on the problems his country faced at that time, the characteristics both good and bad it held as a nation. He spoke of us being defined by “solid breakfasts and gloomy Sundays, smoky towns and winding roads, green fields and red pillar-boxes” and yes, he was later paraphrased in political oration for his rose-tinted view of “old maids hiking to Holy Communion through the mists of the autumn morning” but he also dismissed the idea that we were the “jewelled isle”. Perhaps that is a country none of us would now recognise, even Orwell wrote of it as something at least lost if not conjured only by wistful memory. There is comfort in the nostalgia of some good old days, of some simpler times, of the known. Evoking it plays on the fear we all live in, whatever our current political persuasion; the loss of this mystical past, full of Crown Green bowls, cricket and the chink of cups at high tea, cuts deeply on some, and is the balm to others. And as it was then, so is it now when it is raised on this record, set against the confusion and fear of today. It’s the personal in the political as British Sea Power gently lull with lyrics of “hold hands as the radio plays, say a little prayer for halcyon days” against the swell of strings. “The album was made to a background of politicians perfecting the art of unabashed lying, of social media echo chambers, of clickbait and
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BRITISH SEA POWER
“The album was made to a background of politicians perfecting the art of unabashed lying.”
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electronic Tonka Toys to keep us entertained and befuddled. All this can easily make the individual feel futile. But I think we’ve ended up addressing this confusion in an invigorating way, rather than imprisoning the listener in melancholy.”
he backdrop guitarist Martin Noble talks of may well be stark but he’s right that while the album is seeped in the apprehension of our times, it is also one which sparkles with hope. Certainly an album which subtly reflects the wider world - the post-fact era where doublespeak is the order of the day, and distraction and doubt are political tools of choice - it’s one which brings a glimmer of brighter days by being anchored in the individual, in the tales of life going on. “The album in general, especially on songs
like ‘Keep On Trying (Sechs Freunde)’ and ‘What You’re Doing’, touches on disconnection and connections. Feeling connected or disconnected on a personal level all the way to global levels. Sechs Freunde refers to the Small World Experiment that investigated how we are only six connections from anyone on earth. It’s a positive pep talk to yourself to keep on trying, even when the dark side is rearing its ugly multi-head. “Musically, it’s our most direct album and maybe the first one where we maintain a coherent mood from start to finish. Perhaps a little clarity isn’t a bad thing at this point. In terms of lyrical themes it always comes from whatever the brothers are feeling at the time, whatever is affecting them and they need to get off their chests. It only occurs at the end of making a record what it is about, and whether it
is about anything as a whole. “I think it’s quite reflective this time. There wasn’t a plan to create an album with any particular subject matter but we’ve kind of ended up with a case of ‘think global, act local’ - an album where individuals are dealing with their domestic and personal lives against a background of uncontrollable international lunacy.” The artwork too reflects that by-gone era that shares so much turbulence with our own. With members growing up near the former Lake District home of artist Kurt Schwitters it’s perhaps no surprise to feel his influence once again in British Sea Power’s work - they’ve previously used his sound poem, Ursonate, in live shows while elsewhere his work is referenced in their lyrics. An early postmodern artist and a Dadaist,
“Musically, it’s our most direct album and maybe the first one where we maintain a coherent mood from start to finish.” 82
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BRITISH SEA POWER Schwitters’ work embraced irrationality and chaos, and rejected the cultural and intellectual conformity which the movement believed had led to war and ‘mutual destruction’; in referencing him there is yet more of that distant but parallel past coming through subtly but certainly. “We’ve always done our own artwork as fortunately Woody studied illustration and Jan studied typography so they both have the skills. This time round we were thinking about an artwork based on typography and Jan found this typeface and that was the font that Kurt Schwitters made up. As we’re all fans of Kurt we made him run with it for the artwork.”
he strong creative vision has always been a feature of British Sea Power, a band who are unafraid of broad boundaries and indulgent of eccentricities in their art. Their last release was 2015’s ‘Sea Of Brass’ reworking some of their previous tracks with arrangements for brass band. Before that came an original score for the documentary of Britain’s coast, ‘From The Sea To The Land Beyond’, and the soundtrack for 2014 film ‘Happiness’. “We are continuously writing and we’ve done a few film soundtracks and have worked on some music for an Estonian computer game as well, so we’ve been stockpiling music for a while. For this album we’d been there with the more soundtrack type music so we pulled together the tracks which felt more like songs, more like people would recognise as British Sea Power songs than anything too obscure.” Coming back to original material also marked with a break from Rough Trade through which they released five studio albums and were the longest continually-signed band in the label’s history. ‘Let The Dancers Inherit The Party’ was instead released on their own label Golden Chariot, on licence to Caroline. “There’s a lot of bullshit you have to do as a band. When we released ‘Sea Of Brass’, that was a project which snowballed and we ended up putting that out ourself. We did everything - the artwork and the distribution, everything. We realised you can’t be doing all that and writing a record at the same time. All that stuff is very sobering. You question, ‘am I band, am I business? I don’t know!’. It was a really difficult decision to leave Rough Trade as they’d been part of the family for so long, but it sort of made sense. We ended up going with Caroline, just for a fresh new start.” Always a band with a fervent following deciding to self-release meant a different approach to funding and it was in the fans
that the band found the answer. Like other playing them. I find it’s good to reconnect bands they offered a range of pledges to fund with the past through them. Sometimes if the the album, from the fairly standard box set song feels like you’ve been going through the pre-orders to those that were more unusual, motions with it then we just drop it, but other but perhaps more in keeping with the band’s times it can rejuvenate you as they’re from a idiosyncratic nature. more youthful time. “We had a number of “We never put a song to silly ideas and the tattoos bed but we just stop playing started off as a joke, then them for a while and then they lots of people said they’d come back on the next tour, or have one. We came up with at the fan club shows we bring a couple of designs but if all kinds of weird songs out people had their own ones and you can’t go wrong, you that they wanted then that can’t fail to enjoy them at that was fine too.They get a live sort of gig.” pass - entry to our shows by having the tattoo. There hile the were people all over the record might world, there was a postman be reflective on the Shetland Isles, the band themselves don’t someone in Scandinavia. stand still. “The day before And some people in our tour starts we’re playing America too which is weird at the Barbican, playing as we haven’t played there to accompany some of the in a while, so I’m not pioneers of animation. We’ve sure how they’ll get the just written ten new pieces Albums most of their pass. It’s just of music. I’m looking forward ‘The Decline Of British Sea Power’ really weird and ‘what the to it, it’s a fun thing to do. (2003) hell?’, but in a good way. A different headspace again, ‘Open Season’ (2005) We’re playing an acoustic but a fun thing to do.” ‘Do You Like Rock Music?’ (2008) show in someone’s house It seems unlikely that the ‘Man of Aran’ (2009) (soundtrack) too, perhaps that’s more current political turbulence ‘Valhalla Dancehall’ (2011) standard on these things. will quiet anytime soon ‘Machineries Of Joy’ (2013) But it’s great. It’s a weird but life, and music, go ‘From The Sea To The Land Beyond’ time for bands and things on regardless. Early in the (2013) (soundtrack) are evolving quickly and it’s album, on ‘Bad Bohemian’, ‘Happiness’ (2014) (soundtrack) nice to have some control it is with the reverence and ‘Sea Of Brass’ (2015) (Best of…) in the sea of madness.” fervour of prayer echoed ‘Let The Dancers Inherit The Party’ The band are now in the line ‘let me not die (2017) preparing for live dates while I’m still alive’, and it around the album’s release. is with this resolve that BSP Over the years they’ve lead us through their latest become known for their use long player mirroring the fear of unusual venues - from and grief prevalent now, but caverns to an embassy- and finding the surer footing of even on a standard stage hope. the band make it their own Orwell had it that his with added foliage, and country had in it the power to occasionally an indulgence change out of all recognition in improvisation and and yet remain the same. EPs postmodern iconography. British Sea Power, underground ‘Remember Me’ (2003) “Usually when we play yet iconic, possess that too; an ‘The Spirit Of St Louis’ (2004) these one off venues they everlasting animal quietly but ‘Krankenhaus?’ (2007) are fairly small and you get definitely moving ever forward, ‘Zeus’ (2010) the hardcore fans come to changed but yet the same. ‘Valhalla V.I.P’ (2011) them. They are more rabid “Some of our earlier ‘BSP 1-6’ (2012) affairs and you trust in records might have had more them, you can do whatever of a soundtrack feel to them you like and they’ll be fine but this record we had strong because of the fans. In bigger venues you don’t songs and we wanted to do an album of more want to make too many random mistakes British Sea Power sounding songs. We’ve still they often happen anyway but you feel a bit got a lot of material left over so we’ve probably more responsible.” got at least half an album of songs that maybe Alongside new tracks the band will delve didn’t quite fit with this one, maybe a bit more into their catalogue for the coming set lists, off-kilter for the next one again.” a different type of nostalgia and comfort found in the songs their younger selves lived. ‘Let The Dancers Inherit The Party’ is out now on “Sometimes when you stop feeling that Caroline International connection to the older stuff we just stop British Sea Power tour the UK in April
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AT THE DRIVE IN IN·TER A·LI·A (Rise)
Mighty Texan rockers make long-awaited return.
ewind seventeen years, and a spry and wiry At The Drive In are about to play Southampton’s Joiners Arms. They’ve just stepped off a major US tour with Rage Against The Machine, and will soon drop their third album, ‘Relationship Of Command’, after a protracted studio session with hot heavy metal producer Ross Robinson. Usefully, a flyer for the show contains all this information meaning the attendance is made up of curious metalheads alongside the ragtag misfits who would usually attend Southampton’s DIY shows. It makes for a testing atmosphere for the band, who struggle to get their message across in a powder-keg environment. But what’s the relevance of all of this? Well, considering this was nearly two decades ago, it’s remarkable that ‘In·ter a·li·a’ burns with the same passion as that displayed by the flailing youths on the Joiners’ tiny stage. Perhaps even more so, it proves the crossover appeal the band displayed all those years ago, leaning
heavily on that Rage Against The Machine influence to construct an album that is lyrically dense but hypervigilant socially. And, most of all, it rocks. Hard. Certainly harder than it has any right to. Cuts like ‘Pendulum in a Peasant Dress’ and ‘Governed by Contagions’ bristle with rage, filtered through Cedric Bixler-Zavala’s angular and serrated view on the world and Omar Rodriguez-Lopez’s stabbing guitar. Of course, emerging into a President Trump world, ‘In·ter a·li·a’ feels entirely relevant in these troubled times. Fractious and venomous, there’s a dark message to cuts like ‘Incurably Innocent’ – a song about speaking out after sexual abuse – that comes wrapped in Bixler-Zavala’s bile and spittle. Just like their live shows, this is music played on the edge – and At The Drive In have always excelled when teetering on the precipice. Yet, while ‘In·ter a·li·a’ is thrilling, it lacks the light and shade of ‘In/Casino/ Out’. There’s little that compares to the majesty of ‘Transatlantic Foe’ or the poise of ‘Hourglass’, and this could be due to the absence of Jim Ward (replaced by Sparta bandmate and former Denali bassist Keeley Davis). What it does have is some stellar standout moments, including the driving ‘Holtzclaw’ and the riff-tastic ‘Hostage Stamps’. Elsewhere, the atmospheric ‘Ghost-Tape No.9’ deepens the mood and adds a much-needed change of tempo. It all makes for a winning return. Let’s hope album number five doesn’t take another 17 years… Rob Mair
“At The Drive In have always excelled when teetering on the precipice.”
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FOR A MOMENT I WAS LOST (Dine Alone)
BEN MARWOOD GET FOUND (Xtra Mile)
On which the indie popsters return to make their presence felt.
Reading singer-songwriter’s personal third album.
he second album from the UK four-piece sees them a year on from being label-less and a man down. Following up 2015’s ‘5AM’, an album which earned 40 million streams in the US, might have taken its toll, yet ‘For A Moment…’ sees their silver lining brightly shining. It finds them in a mood and groove which reflects their spirit in times of trouble. Bouncing back with opener ‘Insomniac’ and its Keane-ish, Coldplay-ish, mass appeal polish, the singles ‘Stranger’ and ‘Perfect’ offer the suggestion of a more sombre direction. That direction is captured perfectly on ‘Machine’ and ‘Wastelands’, the latter developing into an uplifting arena styled climax. Out of adversity comes strength they say. The result? A much more refined and cultivated set of songs. Mike Ainscoe
THE BRIAN JONESTOWN MASSACRE
BRITISH SEA POWER
DON’T GET LOST (A Records)
ollowing 2013’s second album ‘Back Down’, an accompanying sold out solo headline tour and US tour supporting friend Frank Turner, Ben Marwood had an incredibly challenging time of his life, with 2014/5 seeing him bed-bound with a serious illness. At that point, whether we’d see a third album was hanging in the balance but thankfully Ben is back with his most personal and heartfelt record yet. Immobility, death and health are themes on the banjo-infused ‘The Church of No Commandments’, surprisingly uplifting (considering it’s about death) ‘Nights’, ‘I’m Wide Awake It’s Boring’ (“I’m not dead, I’m not dying, I just can’t get up”) and guitar solo-fuelled ‘The Devil Makes Work For Jazz Hands’. Probably his most confessional and affecting work to date, the bed on the cover is a symbol of physical and mental health struggles. Ariel Wimfrey
LET THE DANCERS INHERIT THE PARTY (Caroline International)
Stellar laid-back vibes from the neopsychedelic masters.
From blissed out grooves to indie party anthems.
s psychedelic cool goes, ‘Don’t Get Lost’ is the album that keeps on giving. With elements of psych, surf, jazz and too many influences to list, it has plenty to offer. There are 14 tracks and no fillers, making for a superb 16th studio album, hot on the heels of last October’s ‘Third World Pyramid’ record. ‘Melody’s Actual Echo Chamber’ is surf-doom. The smoky vocals on ‘Dropping Bombs on the Sun’ make the track, while ‘Charmed I’m Sure’ is trippy electronica. Featuring the Pogues saxophonist Pete Fraser, ‘Geldenes Herz Menz’ is a relaxed stunner. Recorded at Anton Newcombe’s Cobra Studios in Berlin, ‘Don’t Get Lost’ is heavy on experimental electronics and multi-layered creativity. The album melds the numerous influences into a pleasingly cohesive whole. A kaleidoscopic treat for fans and newbies alike. Roxy Gillespie
righton indie rockers British Sea Power never fail to impress, whether it be live or on record, they’re always a force to be reckoned with. Their ninth studio album is them at their strongest, opening in a wild fashion, and the likes of ‘Bad Bohemian’ and ‘International Space Station’ impress early on. However, the crowd pleaser has to be ‘Keep On Trying’, with its incredibly catchy chorus. It’s sure to be heard being chanted wherever they play. The latter part of the album is a more subdued affair, with ‘Want to Be Free’ and ‘Alone Piano’ showcasing the band’s delicate yet expansive side, soaring soundscapes coupled with graceful vocals. Both facets are equally compelling and exciting as British Sea Power prove why they’re favoured by so many. Lee Hammond
CAN YOU DEAL? (Dead Oceans)
VOLUME 1 (Bella Union)
LA pop/indie punks with fired up new EP.
Indie super group release patchy debut album.
ollowing last year’s critically acclaimed sophomore album, ‘Welcome the Worms’, Bleached have received plenty of press coverage recently. Inspired by “insulting and reductive” gender-based labelling and questions, the trio have responded with this understandably angry (lyrically at least) four track EP. On the rousing title track and the infectious and powerful ‘Turn to Rage’ and ‘Dear Trouble’, Bleached are doing what they do best – punchy and melodic indie/pop punk tunes with a message. ‘Flipside’ shows the trio’s slightly more chilled, sun-soaked Los Angeles element. As vocalist/guitarist Jennifer Clavin summarises in the press statement, “Labelling me as a woman in a band just puts me in a box, and doesn’t allow everything else I am to be seen and heard. It’s 2017, Can You Deal with women playing rock and roll yet?” Well, can you? Ariel Wimfrey
THE BUCKY RAGE
F.Y.I. LUV U
upergroups are strange things – it’s often hard for the material to live up to the expectation or the sum of their parts. BNQT (pronounced “Banquet”) is an indie super group conceived and led by Eric Pulido (Midlake) featuring five vocalists – Ben Bridwell (Band Of Horses), Alex Kapranos (Franz Ferdinand), Fran Healy (Travis), Jason Lytle (Grandaddy) and Pulido. Each member wrote and sang two tracks, with backing from Midlake members. With songs written remotely and over the course of a year, tracks range from classic rock and Americana to folk rock and dream pop. The opening glam-flecked ‘Restart’ and ‘Tara’ show promise but the likes of ‘Unlikely Force’ and ‘100 Million Miles’ simply plod along. With as many misses as hits, there’s certainly something here for fans of the bands the members are from, but it lacks some cohesion and direction. John Youdon
MAGDALENA’S CAPE (Demolition Diner)
Glaswegian garage punks scale the weirdosphere.
Manchester indie/alt-rockers on the rise with rousing debut mini-album.
restling-obsessed oddball punks The Bucky Rage have become somewhat of an unlikely institution in Glasgow’s bracingly vibrant garage punk scene. Having set out their stall as Taco Bell’s garage rock house band on 2014’s ‘Under the Underground’, this eight track mini-album sees the masked foursome gleefully embrace cheapo keyboard sounds into their misfit trash aesthetic. With ultra-primitive guitar riffs, cheerily purloined vocal melodies and the energy of toddlers on Fruit Shoots and Haribo, Handsome Al and his crew (Philthy Collins, Kyle M Thunder and Pete Kaos) come across like Dwarves raiding The Red Krayola’s rehearsal room, with wild psych-tronica adding extra weirdness to the mix. Standouts include unhinged opener ‘Nine Stone Cowboy’, fuzz stomper ‘Dr Dre USA’ and the trash doo-wop of album closer ‘Let Her Know’. Gus Ironside
nfluenced by everyone from The Who and Led Zeppelin through to the Arctic Monkeys, this youthful quartet seem pretty fearless with the five tracks found on ‘Madgalena’s Cape’. From the swaggering indie-flecked rock ‘n’ roll swagger of opener ‘House of Cards’ and ‘Mistakes, Troubles and Kisses’ to the pretty ambitious, nearing epic ‘You’re So Hostile’, this is a band who seem bursting with confidence. The title track is a psychedelic effort that channels ‘60s/’70s rock, with a nod to the baggy scene of their hometown too perhaps, before they come full circle and return to the rock ‘n’ roll flavours of the opener with final track, ‘Headaches’, soundtracking the morning after the night before. Look out for the name Carnival Club because, with this rousing sound and an apparently impressive live show, this could well be just the beginning. Ariel Wimfrey LOUDER THAN WAR
reviews issue 9.indd 2
CURSE OF LONO
DAVE DAVIES RUSS DAVIES
Gothic-tinted indie/country rock on stunning debut.
ondon quintet Curse Of Lono are onto something special with their dark, mesmerizing and ambitious first album. Mixing influences like the Wilco, the Velvet Underground and The Doors, there’s no shortage of highlights and heartfelt songs on this ten-track album. From the slide guitar of the mournful, rootsy ‘Just My Head’ and the hit single in waiting and potential festival favourite ‘Pick Up the Pieces’, the Americana meets British indie rock of ‘Five Miles High’ to the nighttime jam of ‘London Rain’ (sounding not unlike Alabama 3’s ‘Woke Up This Morning’ or the Fun Lovin’ Criminals on the latter), it’s a rewarding listen. Fans of the Afghan Whigs, Nick Cave and the aforementioned Alabama 3 should certainly check this out. An exciting new band, Curse Of Lono have unleashed a debut that demands your attention with ‘Severed’. Sam Cunningham
The Kinks lead guitarist collaborates with his son Russ on his new solo album.
his is the third collaboration between father and son and, like its predecessors, it features Dave’s classic guitar based songwriting with Russ’ dance music influence mixed in. The result is a good album but those expecting a classic slice of Kinks nostalgia or a successor to Dave’s excellent 2002 album ‘Bug’ might be disappointed. The LP has a modern pop sheen which showcases his aim to not get stuck in the past but that, at the same time, lacks a bit in character. There are some good moments, notably the gentle ‘Don’t Want to Grow Up’ or the lovely harmonies on ‘Sleep On It’, but the album is surprisingly bereft of guitar solos, so it’s a welcome surprise to hear Dave wrench a few notes on his Gibson during ‘Slow Down’. Craig Chaligne
DEPECHE MODE SPIRIT (Columbia)
Fourteenth studio album from British stalwarts.
s with all Depeche Mode releases nowadays, the inevitable furore of new material and an enormous world tour announcement is commonplace. For ‘Spirit’ the big news was that of new producer James Ford (Simian Mobile Disco, Arctic Monkeys, Klaxons) who, it was reported, had added a new angle to the ‘Mode sound. In many ways, the direction of ‘Spirit’ follows on neatly from the last album, 2013’s ‘Delta Machine’, which was regarded as a career high in many circles, after the disappointing ‘Sounds of the Universe’ in 2009. The eight tracks here solely written by Martin Gore provide intrinsic material as ever, whilst the four tracks with Dave Gahan input are sometimes lyrically predictable. Where ‘Spirit’ comes into its own is via the subject matter, clearly influenced by world events over the last twelve months, and offering an almost socialist content which maybe hasn’t been present on their material before. Lead single ‘Where’s the Revolution’ (surely missing a question mark?), stamped authority on the media and quite rightly so – a powerful commentary for the people to stand up against dictatorship and make a stand against wrong doings. It’s a fine way of combining pop/rock music with effective lyricism. It’s a bassdriven album about world regression, rather than progression, with the almost distortive ‘Poison Heart’ standing out and ‘So Much Love’ sounding not unlike ‘Soft Touch’ from ‘Delta Machine’. Not their best album but a band impressively breaking boundaries once more. Paul Scott-Bates
DEAD BARS DREAM GIG (No Idea)
SWEAR I’M GOOD AT THIS (Frenchkiss)
Seattle punks call last orders on negativity.
Cult NYC duo make their mainstream move.
ream big if you want that dream gig” is the message from Dead Bars’ long-awaited full-length debut, and it’s a winning missive when set against the group’s everyday tales of disappointment and mundanity. Never trite or over-the-top, ‘Dream Gig’ succeeds due to the observational humour that dazzles throughout, combining wry insight with a message to do what you love regardless of what others think. It works particularly well on the stupendously brilliant ‘Tear Shaped Bruise’, which sees Dead Bars’ gravelly-voiced John Maiello turning heartbreak into a night to remember at a punk rock gig, complete with a quick ride on the “whiskey train” and a cheeky nod to the Sex Pistols. It’s grounded, down-to-earth and entirely relatable – and will make you want to run through walls, sing with strangers and drink a keg in record time. Rob Mair
EIGHT ROUNDS RAPID
here’s been a buzz building around New York duo Diet Cig for the last 18 months or so, meaning there’s a considerable amount of expectation around ‘Swear I’m Good At This.’ That this expectation is met and surpassed proves just how special an album it is. At times intimate and vulnerable, at others reckless and thrashy, Diet Cig play the sort of music that comes alive in sweaty venues. Yet it is the personal introspection on tracks like ‘Bath Bomb’ or ‘Sixteen’, or the social critique of ‘Tummy Ache’, that cuts most, highlighting how Alex Luciano and Noah Bowman have their finger on the pulse of personal politics and wider issues within the DIY scene. Raw, whip smart and insidiously infectious, ‘Swear I’m Good At This’ is a triumph of style and substance. Rob Mair
OBJET D’ART (Cadiz)
Fifth fun-loving album from Manchester art-poppers.
Southend blues-infused r’n’b band’s second album.
hether it’s art-pop or post-punk doesn’t really matter, what matters is that this new record from Dutch Uncles is a textured, angular treat. Opening the album with the appropriately weird title track, vocalist Duncan Wallis sings “make me swoon like a big balloon.” Elsewhere, the likes of the stomping ‘Same Plane Dream’ and the rhythmic ‘Streetlight’ stand out, while the strings and piano on ‘Achameleon’ show a different side to their sound. With touching points like Kate Bush’s ‘The Red Shoes’ and ‘Low’-era David Bowie, as well as East European techno and early post-punk bands, this album is a leftfield adventure in sound. Recorded in Manchester’s Old Granada TV Studios where Sex Pistols and Joy Division made their televisual debuts, ‘Big Balloon’ pushes both the band and listener in the most enjoyable way. Forward thinking and angular pop. John Youdon
ollowing the critically acclaimed 2014 debut ‘Lossleader’, which was released between their support tour slots with Wilko Johnson (guitarist Simon Johnson is his son, which explains the energy found here), Eight Rounds Rapid are back with another LP that shows growth and ability in spades. David Alexander’s powerful and heavily accented vocals on highlights such as ‘Like It’, ‘String Theory’ and ‘Practical’, backed by a band that’s incredibly tight (completed by Jules Cooper on bass and Lee Watkins on drums), prove that this is just the beginning for Eight Rounds Rapid. The rant-fuelled ‘Ratton’ and the feral ‘Bully Boy’ also set the pulse racing on an album full of stand outs. Fans of Sleaford Mods, The Jam, the Stones or Television should all find plenty to love here. A work of art indeed. John Youdon
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reviews issue 9.indd 3
“Their political influences rise to the surface and bubble over.” MAXIMO PARK RISK TO EXIST (Cooking Vinyl)
Newcastle quartet channel the spirit of a disheartened and angry nation into a raucous collection of powerful pop tunes.
afe to say that 2016 was a horrendous year for most, what with the collapse of the British political establishment followed by the election of Donald Trump in the US. Couple that with a humanitarian crisis that the leaders of the West seem to be trying to brush under the carpet, it was one hell of a year, and those issues are still growing
every day. Maximo Park have sought to channel this anger and passion into their latest record, ‘Risk to Exist’. For a long time, the band’s political themes have been evident, though not as explicit as on ‘Risk to Exist’. On first listen, dancefloor-filling pop melodies dominate, however the deeper you delve within each track, the more the exasperation and fury pours out of their most lyrically adept album to date. Lead single and title track ‘Risk to Exist’ is a shining example of the band’s annoyance; a call to arms lambasting the political establishment and beyond for their lack of care and interest in the thousands dying while deserving a better life. The band’s pop sensibility and ear for a great melody has never been called into question, and ‘Risk to Exist’ sees them delivering these exceptional songs in their signature upbeat manner. ‘Work and Then Wait’ is a slower groove, instead the focus is drawn into harsh pummelling that is rightfully dealt out to the rich, the growing poverty gap and the favouring of the wealthy by the current right wing government. It isn’t all doom and gloom. The excitable, agitated nature of the tracks do lift the mood, and there’s the odd message of hope interspersed within the otherwise sombre tones of the record. ‘The Reason I Am Here’ feels both profound and uplifting; there’s no use remaining down instead “now is the time for opening your mind”, it’s a particularly poignant phrase in times of such uncertainty. ‘Risk to Exist’ is a heavily charged album, there’s a lot of anger and a lot of dour themes as the band’s political influences rise to the surface and somewhat bubble over. It is likely to divide opinion but of their six albums this is Maximo Park at their most passionate and their most outspoken. Lee Hammond
LOUDER THAN WAR reviews issue 9.indd 4
TOM HICKOX MONSTERS IN THE DEEP (Family Tree/Warner Chappell)
9/10 dark mix of Scott Walker and a David Lynch soundtrack, the deep yet syrupy voiced Hickox is a true artist in love with London and the stories unfolding around him, shown on heartfelt, beautiful and strange songs like ‘The Plough’, ‘Korean Girl in a Waiting Room’ and ‘The Fanfare’. SC
AYE NAKO SILVER HAZE (Don Giovanni)
7/10 rooklyn queer indie punks Aye Nako have taken a slightly more experimental step with this second album. Tunes like ‘Sissy’ and ‘Particle Mace’ are still catchy and powerful but the likes of ‘The Gift of Hell’ are denser than they’ve sounded before now. Hazy goodness. JY
THE WHOOPERUPS SENSIBLE DAYDREAMS
FATHER JOHN MISTY PURE COMEDY (Bella Union)
GRAILS CHALICE HYMNAL (Temporary Residence)
GREAT CYNICS POSI
Josh Tillman returns with more witty, cutting critiques.
A journey downriver into an infernal celluloid underworld.
London indie punks unleash uplifting fourth album.
here’s not many lyricists around who addresses so many current (and often also timeless) themes within the space of a single record. This time around Father John Misty tackles progress, technology, fame, environment, politics, aging, religion, human nature and connection. The lilting, beautiful piano-driven title track (“they get terribly upset when you question their sacred texts, written by woman-hating epileptics” and the timely “Where did they find these goons they elected to rule them? What makes these clowns they idolize so remarkable?”) and the mighty acoustics, keys and brass of ‘Total Entertainment Forever’ (the one with that lyric about Taylor Swift but also “Not bad for a race of demented monkeys, From a cave to a city to a permanent party”) are just the tip of the iceberg. Absorbing, clever and amazing – humans and these times really are a joke. John Youdon
GUIDED BY VOICES
JARVIS COCKER AND CHILLY GONZALES
or their first album in six years, Grails have stripped away any lingering postrock deliberations and focused upon creating a metaphysical excursion. ‘Chalice Hymnal’, however, readies the listener for a sacramental pilgrimage to the beating neon soul of a 1980s Michael Mann movie. This album sounds like they are aching to soundtrack moodily furrowed and stubbled visages in varying stages of ice-cool detachment and elegantly stylised existential determination. ‘Pelham’ and ‘Tough Guy’ are for driving through deserted metropolitan stage sets and wearing sunglasses at night, ‘Rebecca’’s tinkling new age chimes depict softcore lovemaking in designer sheets while ‘Empty Chamber’ is departure lounge music in which the clink of ice in your glass is juxtaposed with the silenced revolver peeking through the curtains. Euan Andrews
ith a line-up change and a new record about living in London, trying to keep your head while struggling to get by, it may be surprising that the new Great Cynics album is titled ‘POSI’. However, named after the first thing frontman Giles Bidder stick ‘n’ poke tattooed on himself, it’s a reflection on his optimism in hard times. This is also perhaps the rawest and they’ve sounded, catching the vibe of their live shows on the likes of the rousing ‘Only in Memories’, the summery ‘Butterfly Net’, rousing ‘Easily Done’ (“you can’t drag me down”) and the bouncy ‘Shabba Shabba’, the message of keeping your chin up hits home. Recorded in Philadelphia and produced by Joe Reinhardt (Hop Along, Algernon Cadwallader), it’s probably the loosest and most confident Great Cynics have sounded to date and it works to their advantage. Get POSI. Ian Chaddock
8/10 eaturing members of Charla Fantasma, The Spook School and Wolf Girl, this London indie punk/pop trio have crafted a catchy EP. Out of the four dual vocalled tracks, ‘Latent Teenage Fantasy’ and the bouncy ‘Karaoke’ are highlights. Perfect for Spring days. AW
FAZERDAZE MORNINGSIDE (Flying Nun)
9/10 azerdaze is the shimmering New Zealand dream pop band led by Amelia Murray. This stunning debut, named after the NZ suburb where she feels at home, it’s full of the kind of heartfelt, literate songs that the Flying Nun label have made their name with over the decades. Keeping this tradition going, ‘Morningside’ is a beauty. IC
CLOSE TALKER LENS (Nevado)
6/10 anadian indie pop band Close Talker have been compared to the likes of Bombay Bicycle Club and Deerhunter and now, down to a three-piece, this synth-infused second album has some moving moments. Elsewhere it’s just about medium, shimmering but failing to hit home. LMN
AUGUST BY CAKE
(Guided By Voices Inc)
Bad Religion frontman’s folk side-project turns up the country rock.
Pollard’s 100th studio LP shows no let up in quality or quantity.
iven that Bad Religion singer Greg Graffin’s third solo album features Brent Harding, Johnny ‘Two Bags’ Wickersham, and David Hidalgo Jr from Social Distortion and is produced by BR guitarist Brett Gurewitz, you’d be forgiven for thinking ‘Millport’ would have a jolt of SoCal punk running through it. That would be a mistake though, as one of the finest vocalists and lyricists in punk rock focuses heavily on old-time US folk music, filtered through Laurel Canyon country rock. Punk and country aren’t that much of an odd couple, as the Supersuckers have proved, and the album’s use of gentle, easygoing music highlights Graffin’s abilities in terms of harmonies and storytelling. It’s a pleasant enough journey that may not be for all Bad Religion fans but it certainly broadens the sound Graffin is known for. Paul Hagen
ugust by Cake’ is the new record featuring the latest line-up of returning veterans Doug Gillard, Kevin March and GBV virgins Bobby Bare Jr and Mark Shue. This, the 100th (!) studio album that Robert Pollard has released is also GBV’s first ever double album. Pollard’s voice has never sounded better combined with GBV’s glorious chord changes. We have the usual assortment of short songs, long songs, noisy experimentation, alongside tracks like ‘We Liken the Sun’ that get under the skin and is one of many stand outs here, along with ‘Amusement Park is Over’. ‘Absent the Man’ and ‘Hiking Skin’ are real GBV rockers and cement what is yet another collection of gorgeous melodies, soaring choruses and perfect songs. Another satisfying addition to the expanding suitcase. Ioan Humphreys
After almost a decade of collaborations, the two musicians finally release an album.
ased around the history of Room 29 of the famed Chateau Marmont hotel in Los Angeles, this concept album is a resounding success. Coupling Gonzales’s talent for a melody and Cocker’s flair as a lyricist and singer, it channels the ghosts and stories of past residents of the hotel with gusto. The title track opens the proceedings, almost acting as a manifesto for the rest of the record. The listener gets bathed in an atmosphere of late 1930s decadence (‘Bombshell’, ‘Bellboy’) or polite ennui (‘The Other Side’). ‘Trick of the Light’ is the record’s masterpiece finishing with a beautiful orchestral passage, while ‘Ice Cream as Main Course’ closes off on a clever note of social commentary. Probably Cocker’s best album since Pulp’s ‘We Love Life’. Craig Chaligne
LOUDER THAN WAR
reviews issue 9.indd 5
MARK LANEGAN BAND GARGOYLE (Heavenly)
Former Screaming Trees frontman hits gold yet again.
JIM JONES THE RIGHTEOUS MIND SUPER NATURAL
London rocker’s latest spellbinding incarnation.
aving made his name with various bands over the years, including The Jim Jones Revue, Black Moses and Thee Hypnotics, this latest manifestation of Jim Jones’ artistic vision is an earthy, raw, spiritual and slow-burning beast of an LP. Following on from the band’s three EPs released in 2015/16, ‘Super Natural’ lives up to its name. Right from opener ‘Dream’, there’s scuzzy guitars, plonking piano and Jones’ unmistakeable wild vocals. Elsewhere, there’s woozy, dark Americana and blues rock on the likes of ‘Base is Loaded’, the hypnotic ‘Something’s Gonna Get Its Hands On You’. On the eerie ‘Shallow Grave’ they evoke the Afghan Whigs and the Bad Seeds. There’s more piano-led antics on the voodoo-infused ‘Aldecide’ and energetic ‘Boil Yer Blood’. A passionate, dark album, ‘Super Natural’ will have you under its rock ‘n’ roll spell. Ariel Wimfrey
KISSING IS A CRIME KISSING IS A CRIME (Don Giovanni)
New York indie pop band with accomplished debut.
aised in New Jersey, Matt Molnar spent his formative years in punk and hardcore bands before moving to Brooklyn and co-founding the bands Soft Black, Friends and Pagan Rituals. Now with his new band, Molnar and co. have been influenced by The Housemartins, The Byrds and Heavenly. Shiny riffs, thick basslines and angst-ridden vocals evoke optimism and alienation in equal measures on the likes of the choppy opener ‘Nervous Conditions’, the bass-driven ‘Permanent Damages’ and the warm and fuzzy ‘Kids’. An impressive punk-flecked indie rock debut, Kissing Is A Crime is an ‘80s British indie influenced album that deserves to soundtrack these warming days for you. Closing with the bittersweet ‘Unanswered Prayers’, this debut full-length is a very promising first album from a band that deserve plenty of attention. John Youdon
ith a deep rumble of a voice somewhere between Leonard Cohen’s nocturnal croon and Iggy Pop’s wracked baritone, Mark Lanegan could imbue the weather reports with existential gravitas. Fortunately, the towering singer has always had the material to match his vocal prowess, and his solo career has seen his songwriting evolve relentlessly. Key to maintaining his muse has been Lanegan’s willingness to experiment and embrace collaboration. Six of the songs on ‘Gargoyle’ are co-written by English musician Rob Marshall, who brings a deeper exploration of the electronica side of Lanegan’s aesthetic. Fortunately, none of the singer’s visceral intensity is lost as cinematic musical backdrops frame Lanegan’s voice in a noir landscape that enhances his lyrical ruminations. Album opener ‘Death’s Head Tattoo’ could have been a song title by The Gun Club, the LA blues punks who first inspired Lanegan to become a musician. It’s not hard to detect the spirt of Jeffrey Lee Pierce et al marbled through this atmospheric track, which skilfully combines elements drawn from electronica and industrial rock. ‘Nocturne’ introduces dirty, rumbling bass and glimmering guitar to the mix, while ‘Blue Blue Sea’ edges into BBC Radiophonic Workshop territory via John Cale. Elsewhere, ‘Drunk on Destruction’ is Lanegan at his imperious best. ‘Gargoyle’ often invokes the spirit of Enrico Morricone’s soundtrack work, expanding on the experimentation of 2012’s ‘Blues Funeral’ and 2014’s ‘Phantom Radio’ to produce arguably Lanegan’s most accomplished album yet. Pic: Eric Gabriel Gus Ironside
THE MOONLANDINGZ MEW VISUALS (PIAS)
Seventh album has Danish band riding an upbeat crest of guitar pop.
ew somehow capture those bitter-sweet pop melodies and wrap them in an otherworldly, soft-focus series of guitars and keyboard lines. ‘Visuals’ is as good as anything they’ve done and different in its approach. Like most Mew albums there’s no filler, but on this release the band gloriously launch their crescendos skyward, as opposed to letting them unravel with a delicious sadness. ‘The Wake of Your Life’ beautifully ties tension into its chorus that sprints over harpsichords and electronic ambience like some sci-fi love story. On ‘Visuals’, the band shows themselves as a superior M83, they share a cinematic bombast while Jonas Bjerre’s vocals add layers of depth. ‘Learn Our Crystals’ somehow invokes the colourful feel of ‘50s Hollywood into an electro-pop song with its shimmering keyboards. ‘Visuals’ is pop writing at its finest. Jon Falcone
INTERPLANETARY CLASS CLASSICS
Members of Fat White Family and the Eccentronic
TWO TONNE TESTIMONY
Research Council with “semi fictional oustider ouija
(Muletone Recording Company)
Blues-infused rock ‘n’ roll brilliance.
t’s not often you hear a band that expertly combines the raw energy of the Stooges and MC5 with a stoner/psych rock elements that touch on QOTSA and Monster Magnet. And it all works stunningly well, with a healthy dose of blues rock thrown in for good measure. Miraculous Mule, fronted by former Dream City Film Club main man Michael J. Sheehy, have been around for a while but the trio have never sounded this confident or catchy as on this fourth LP. The highlights include the stunning ‘Where Monsters Lead’, a politically infused, sludgy assault on the rise of the rightwing and despotic leaders like Trump and Farage, and its polar opposite, the laid back (but still political) jam ‘Sound of the Summer’ (“while the city burns and cool kids bleed”). This album has weight to it. Jen Moor
pop” debut LP.
he Moonlandingz certainly have an interesting pedigree. Add luminaries such as Yoko Ono, Rebecca Taylor, Phil Oakey and Sean Lennon performing guest spots and you get ‘Interplanetary Class Classics’. Quite a dizzying role call for a first album. The Moonlandingz are becoming increasingly prolific and self-assured for a quasi-fictional band. The synth and drum driven tracks have a sinister pop sensibility, while Lias Saoudi’s bizzare lipstick covered alter ego Johnny Rockets is as distinct and over-the-top as any self-respecting fictional character should be. There is a tortured quality to the vocals he delivers. Alternately sweet and sordid, they give songs with theatrical bravado a strange emotional substance. As ever, the analogue synths of Adrian Flanagan and Dean Honer are superb. The newer tracks have been built on the firm foundation of those from ‘Johnny Rockets Narcissist and Music Machine…I’m Your Greatest Fan’. There is a pop rock feel to the tracks but the outsider lyrics add bite and move the musical kudos up a notch. Of the newer tracks, ‘IDS’ and ‘Lufthanser Man’ especially stand out. If anything, the newer tracks seem to leave the earlier material in the shade. With a band who perform a live set that is surreal and flamboyant, it is always good to see that the music can stand tall on its own. The Moonlandingz can produce the goods and ‘Interplanetary Class Classics’ gives ample proof. Roxy Gillespie
LOUDER THAN WAR reviews issue 9.indd 6
TERRIBLE HUMAN BEINGS
THIN BLACK DUKE
Third album from Chicago indiegarage upstarts fails to raise the blood pressure.
he Orwells’ second album, ‘Disgraceland’ followed eye-catching live performances on David Letterman and Later with Jools Holland. With an obvious fondness for ‘80s alt-rock, from REM to the Pixies, and a surfeit of youthful enthusiasm, the quintet offered the tantalising possibility of a resurgence of visceral garage rock breaching the mainstream. Sadly, follow-up album ‘Terrible Human Beings’ is a huge letdown. The production is spot-on, with a more nuanced sound than its predecessor, but the band’s clear intent to make an album of short, catchy songs in the spirit of the Pixies (one song is even named ‘Black Francis’) falls short due to the weakness of the material. There’s nothing here of the calibre of ‘Who Needs You’ or ‘Let it Burn’, and the album feels rushed and disposable. Disappointing. Gus Ironside
The return of Oxbow and Hydra Head.
t seems that Eugene Robinson and company are enough to bring a label out of retirement and they were perhaps close to retirement themselves, as it’s ten years since they released ‘The Narcotic Story’. Whether this represents a last hurrah for either party isn’t clear, but if you are going to go out then this would be a fine way to do so. Less hardcore, still primal and decidedly ‘90s rock sounding (think early Faith No More and you are somewhere close), this might be a concept album or at least a collection of meditative vignettes with elements which make it feel like one cohesive piece of work. They are cleverly obtuse as ever, blending art rock with more straightforward material which should translate well live, which is where they have always truly made sense. James Batty
PART CHIMP IV
A welcome return from these noisy trailblazers.
ondon noise-rock titans Part Chimp have largely been dormant since 2009. However, 2017 sees their long anticipated return with their new album, ‘Iv’. This nine track collection is a reminder of how debilitating the noise they produce is and how they are somehow able to create crushing noise and distortion, yet manage to spew out melody and song structures quite like no one else. ‘Mapoleon’ is one of the standout tracks. It had a fast, thunderous riff that tears a hole in the relative quiet left after the opener ‘Namekuji’, yet it brings in the aforementioned melodies and highlights what is so special about this band. The often unbearable and impenetrable noise is punctuated with gloriously cacophonic affairs like ‘Rad Mallard’ that just relishes in its sludge. Great return to form from this lot. Ioan Humphreys
PETER HOOK & THE LIGHT UNKNOWN PLEASURES – LIVE IN LEEDS / CLOSER – LIVE IN MANCHESTER / MOVEMENT – LIVE IN DUBLIN / POWER CORRUPTION AND LIES – LIVE IN DUBLIN (Westworld)
A shedload of Hooky’s Joy Division/New Order shows.
espite high profile side-lines as author and DJ, life as a jobbing musician continues for Peter Hook, with a clutch of retrospectives of JD and NO album performances. They’re packed with moments like “I’ll do an easy one now – I’m looking forward to it as much as you are!” before growling through ‘She’s Lost Control’ in the ‘Movement’ set from Dublin 2013 (also the source for the ‘Power, Corruption & Lies’ set). Performing ‘Closer’ in Manchester from 2011 might stand out as the significant set as far as emotional impact is concerned – at the end of ‘Atmosphere’ the occasion is marked with a reminder to say “a little prayer for absent friends,” while the ‘Unknown Pleasures’ set from the late, lamented Leeds Cockpit in 2012 is a grand souvenir of a classic sweaty underground space. Mike Ainscoe
WEAR YOUR WOUNDS WYW (Deathwish)
Converge’s Jacob Bannon expands his solo recordings.
acob Bannon of pioneering hardcore band Converge has been creating lo-fi solo output for a number of years and is now using Wear Your Wounds as a vehicle to make those tracks into more fully-formed songs. He’s joined in the project by his bandmate Kurt Ballou, Chris Maggio (Trap Them), Sean Martin (Twitching Tongues), and Mike McKenzie (The Red Chord). With that kind of strike force you may be expecting a record of challenging and abrasive metallic hardcore but instead what you get with ‘WYW’ is restrained and nuanced, comprised of lengthy and slow-paced songs that wouldn’t have sounded out of place at Converge’s ‘Blood Moon’ shows. While it does sound somewhat like Bannon has filled out his solo recordings with additional instrumentation and a longer runtime, the results are always engaging. The music flirts pretty heavily with post-rock but there are occasions where the band let rip with a tad more aggression, as demonstrated towards the end of the epic eight-and-a-half minute track ‘Iron Rose’, to provide the album with a sense of balance that it would otherwise be lacking. ‘WYW’ has the sense of darkness and emotion that Bannon’s musical output is known for and in recent years Converge have been increasingly moving into more experimental, slower territory with certain tracks on their albums. It seems ‘WYW’ is an obvious continuation and expansion of what Bannon has been working on for a while. Paul Hagen
PIGS PIGS PIGS PIGS PIGS PIGS PIGS FEED THE RATS
NOTHING FEELS NATURAL (Sister Polygon)
Newcastle noisemakers’ first record.
Post-punk noise meets strange pop thrills from DC-based collective.
aving formed from various other bands, Pigsx7’s debut is a bludgeoning trio of tracks that are both heavy and intriguing. With three tracks you’d be mistaken for thinking that this is just an EP – however two of the compositions here stretch over the 15 minute mark either side of the significantly shorter middle track. The whole piece is a blend of fuzz and stoner rock in the same vein as Fu Manchu, Crowbar and Sleep. The riffs are crushing and the psychedelic swirl that the band creates is superb. ‘Psychopomp’ is a pummelling and chugging opener before ‘Sweet Relief’ follows up with a fine slice of groove-oriented stoner metal. Closer ‘Icon’ is another epic slab of uncompromising heaviness. Through their debut and their incendiary live shows, Pigsx7 look set to make their mark on the metal scene. Dominic Walsh
eleased on their own label, Priests take their previous incarnation as ferocious noiseniks and introduce a few slants of melody and restraint. Opening tune ‘Appropriate’ doesn’t quite stick to that script, with its Pop Group-meets-The Fall jagged, angular attack. Katie Greer’s vocal is in turn scathing and delicate, at odds with the scree of guitar and odd rhythms. ‘No Big Bang’ sees drummer Daniele Daniele at the mic for a song that recalls Kate Bush playing riot grrrl and titlle track ‘Nothing Feels Natural’ is a tumultuous piece that build the tension against a waterfall of guitar notes from G.L. Jaguar, giving way to washes of white noise and feedback. Their no-compromise, anti-corporate beliefs are never far from view and the feeling that the current times are oddly perfect for them rarely disappears. Joe Whyte
LOUDER THAN WAR
reviews issue 9.indd 7
PULLED APART BY HORSES THE HAZE
ritten in Wales at the beginning of 2016 and featuring new member drummer Tommy Davidson (apparently a hard hitter like John Bonham), he’s brought a new dynamic to this fourth long player from these Leeds live favourites. Opener ‘The Haze’ is a right romper, with a riff to die for and great production and screaming vocals from Tom Hudson. ‘Hotel Motivation’ and ‘Neighbourhood Witch’ quickly follow and are ferocious in their attack, yet they still retain the melodies. ‘Lamping’ has an almost Beatles-esque psychedelic feel and is a telling sign of this band’s need for beauty amongst the squalor. This LP has a grown up feel that points to a more reigned in PABH maybe. I guess time will tell. But in the mean time, enjoy the noise. Ioan Humphreys
Jingle jangle all the way.
he main man of Rat Columns, one David West, has apparently been in lots of obscure bands before and hails from Australia. Don’t let these facts cloud any judgement because if you are in the market for a bit of airy dream pop then he’s your man. It starts off with the irresistible ‘Someone Else’s Dream’ and continues along nicely through more of the same and then seems to get increasingly leftfield with other influences, musicians and voices appearing and disappearing before going all pseudo-disco on closer ‘Dream Tonight’ (not every song has the word ‘dream’ in the title by the way). It all hinges around West’s breathy vocals and his talent for creating neat little hooks and is a lo-fi, toe tapping, Spring welcoming joy. James Batty
Is it always so?
(Big Scary Monsters)
No sophomore slump for NYC indie rockers.
(Upset the Rhythm)
Latest LP from this noisy yet melodic quartet from Leeds.
here are two very distinct sides to PWR BTTM’s indie punk, and both are firmly on display on the follow-up to 2015’s ‘Ugly Cherries’ breakout. There’s the meandering narratives found on songs such as ‘LOL’ and ‘Oh Boy’, and there’s the riotous Mardi Gras blur of senses that come with the frenetic and irreverent ‘Answer My Text’, ‘New Trick’ and ‘Big Beautiful Day’. Unsurprisingly, for a band whose live show includes glitter bombs, it’s the latter that steals the show time and again on the duo’s assured second album. Naturally, such a clear divide leads to a disjointed listen – and it takes a few repeats for the quieter moments to show their hooks – but the result is a rounded album filled with off-kilter humour and plenty of heart and soul to match the bravado. Rob Mair
n essence, this fourth album from the current incarnation of legendary post-punk pioneers Wire begins with purpose and direction, before transitioning artfully into something that is the aural equivalent of being sat in a Le Corbuiser armchair while watching a succession of geometrically precise glaciers drift slowly by as the light gradually dims. Opener, ‘Playing Harp for the Fishes’ cuts a serrated hole in some clever sonic froideur, evoking a sense of bleak calm juxtaposed against a suspicion of inevitable jeopardy, reminiscent of the kind of taut exercises found on 1979’s ‘154’. This feeling of dynamic tension is progressed rewardingly by ‘Short Elevated Period’. The album’s standout track is an effortless acceleration through well-tooled gears that is satisfyingly crisp and smartly adorned by a tension-cable melody. ‘Diamonds in Cups’ moves ‘Silver/Lead’ into a kind of agreeable, slow-burning orthodoxy that veers a little too close to the realms of FM Radio rock after a while. The compulsion to fill in too much of the available sonic space undermines a song that would have been far more effective if stripped-down. After the jarring ‘Forever & a Day’, which is surely the nearest thing to a straight-up love song that Wire have ever produced, the disc becomes almost a suite, with its six subsequent racks hanging together effectively as a unified piece of work. In the main, these tracks are Swiss action progressions, slow to plodding, moving in unison – a series of pulses indicating a sense of vague significance, as if a heart as been dissected and an academic paper duly submitted. Dick Porter
SACRED PAWS STRIKE A MATCH (Rock Action)
Atlanta gloomy rockers unleash third album.
Glasgow/London duo unleash fresh, uplifting debut LP of alt-pop.
ombining guitarist Josh Weaver’s songwriting and Mlny Parsonz’s soul-searing, powerful vocals, this quartet have been bending genres since 2004. A potent blend of hard rock, psych, grunge and stoner, this resulting elixir goes straight to your head. There’s elements of the likes of A Perfect Circle, Mastodon and Alice In Chains in there and from opener ‘Burning Tree’ through the creeping ‘April Showers’ (which really showcases Parsonz’s mighty vocals) and the towering title track, it’s clear that this is Royal Thunder on top of their game. Sounding more rounded and evolved than they ever have, it’s a jump forward from 2015’s ‘Crooked Doors’, making their Spinefarm debut their finest effort to date. This is a record that demands to be heard loud, preferably through headphones, and absorbed as it gives more and more with every listen. ‘WICK’ burns bright. Ariel Wimfrey
his album follows on from an impressive 2015 EP and shows Sacred Paws to be the exciting new band that was hinted at. Eilidh Rodgers (formerly of Golden Grrrls) and Rachel Aggs (also of Shopping and Trash Kit) play off each other perfectly, with their dual vocals, drums and guitar overcoming the distance between Glasgow and London. Drawing on a wide range of influences, from Flying Nun Records bands to ‘60s South African pop, there’s a slight ‘80s jangle feel to the music. Brass-infused opener ‘Nothing’ sets the dual-vocal tone, while the handclaps on ‘Everyday’ and the irrepressible dance indie feel of the title track stand out all prove that Sacred Paws will plaster a smile across your face. Inventive, breezy and playful, ‘Strike a Match’ is the sound of two fantastic musicians coming together to write infectious tunes. John Youdon
SAM DUCKWORTH KINGDOMS (Xtra Mile)
Former Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly. man releases new acoustic solo album digitally.
here’s no denying that Sam Duckworth is one of the most prolific songwriters in the UK at the moment. Following a 2016 that resulted in two EPs of original material, a live EP and a debut album as Recreations, he’d be forgiven for taking a breather. Instead, Sam started the new year inspired by the crazy world around and looking for glimmers of hope. ‘Kingdoms’ is his raw, mostly acoustic response. With strummed guitar and bright electric guitar lines, his voice and erudite lyrics shine. From opener ‘All These Nights’ through to 2014 single ‘1986’ (“it’s surprising we still fall, for spite on a wall”) and the Britpop-flecked ‘1993’ (indicting some of a younger generation who “blame immigration for the failure to coexist”), it’s heartfelt and current. Sam Cunningham LOUDER THAN WAR
reviews issue 9.indd 8
THE AFGHAN WHIGS IN SPADES (Sub Pop)
Another exceptional record from Greg Dulli and co., fuelled by darkness and intense riffs coupled with beautiful orchestrations.
riginally famed for their unique style, The Afghan Whigs have long been a favoured band of many, with ‘In Spades’ only seeking to further that love affair, and rightfully so. Their passion for combining soul and rock always made them stand out and this eighth studio album sees them flit between genres at will, often completely blurring the lines between them. It’s a rich sonic tapestry that combines delicacy and exquisite compositions at one end of the spectrum. Whilst at the other there is a deep darkness and power, with every track possessing a deeply unique quality. Eerie opener ‘Birdland’ sees Greg Dulli in exceptional form, as his haunting tones are pitched against a graceful orchestration, it’s a subdued number on this wild album, almost as if it is easing you in before the cacophonous riffs are unleashed.
“Inordinately passionate and exceptionally sinister.” The relaxed spells of the album are fleeting, instead the wild abandon that the band are lauded for takes over. Lead single ‘Demon in Profile’ is a perfect example, rousing horns duel with fierce guitars as they clash in this intense barrage of power. An epic track which rarely drops its relentless, sinister hooks, only for Dulli to deliver his powerful and frightening lyrics. Few tracks live up to the brilliance of ‘Demon in Profile’, it’s a gloomy behemoth. Following track ‘Toy Automatic’ pales into insignificance, its mediocre commercial rock tone seems out of kilter. This is a mere blip in proceedings as the band regain their stride with ‘Copernicus’, arguably the heaviest track on the record and perhaps the most soulful. The guitars are more substantial, the drums louder and Dulli more expressive than before, it also possesses an undoubted swagger aside from the vicious tone and there’s a real groove to the track. It’s where The Afghan Whigs show off their prowess in blurring the lines of genres. As ‘Into the Floor’ closes out the album, it feels slightly subdued compared to the intense darkness that precedes it, fostering an old school rock template that feels dated. All in all, ‘In Spades’ sees The Afghan Whigs in reckless form, inordinately passionate and exceptionally sinister. Their willingness to make their own way is innately evident throughout, a truly masterful record that has something for everyone. Lee Hammond
LOUDER THAN WAR
reviews issue 9.indd 9
FROM DEEWEE (PIAS)
Continuing to push the boundary of electro-indie with first studio album in 12 years.
oulwax, and its spin offs, have never been afraid of pushing into new musical frontiers. They’ve taken a chaotically creative path from their guitar-laden albums of the ‘90s, the nu-rave of their last studio album and beyond with 2ManyDJs and more. The surprises of ‘From Deewee’ are no surprise then. Recorded in one take, it’s based on their ‘Transient Program for Drums and Machinery’ live show. There is a vintage feel, in part down to the recording equipment, across the album. Tracks span hip hop beats (‘Missing Wires’), space disco throwdowns (‘The Singer Has Become a Deejay’), to industrialist X-Files (‘Here Come the Men in Suits’). Taking their role as a party band seriously, a Soulwax trip has once again been worth the wait. Sarah Lay
NO RESOLUTION (15 Passenger)
Third solo effort from indie rock lifer.
im Kasher – erstwhile Cursive and The Good Life anchor – has always been at his best when writing from a personal perspective. This narrative has been somewhat obscured while he has flexed his lyrical muscle on the likes of Cursive’s bold ‘I Am Gemini’, but is back to the fore on ‘No Resolution’. In fact, ‘No Resolution’ deftly embeds Kasher’s introspective soul-searching within a grander framework beautifully. The story this time is that of a young couple on the verge of a break-up – a topic Kasher has visited often in his career. What sets ‘No Resolution’ apart is that it isn’t driven by the unfettered rage of youth, but is instead dissected by a world-weary eye. The result is an album that is no mere recreation of misery, but a peek behind the curtains into someone else’s dissolving world. Rob Mair
HOT THOUGHTS (Matador)
Ninth album from Britt Daniel and co.
poon have been critically acclaimed for a couple of decades now and there’s no doubting the studio skills and songwriting prowess of Britt Daniel’s Austin quartet. From the steamy, spiky guitar-filled title track to the dizzying vocal effects of ‘Pink Up’, the late night ballad ‘I Ain’t the One’ and even the horn-driven experimental and instrumental closer ‘Us’ show a band that let their creativity flow. With a more dance-influenced sound than its 2014 predecessor, ‘They Want My Soul’, ‘Hot Thoughts’ is enough of a change to be intriguing to fans and newcomers alike. Stand outs such as ‘Do I Have to Talk You Into It’ and single ‘Can I Sit Next to You’ are infectious dance rockers that show Spoon can still write catchy indie rock songs after all these years. They’re still hot. Sam Cunningham
THE WEEKS EASY
ROCK N ROLL CONSCIOUSNESS (Caroline International)
Fifth limitless solo album from former Sonic Youth frontman.
ecorded in North London and mixed in Seattle, this new Thurston Moore record (the first since 2014’s ‘The Best Day’) is expansive and experimental. Although it’s only five tracks, the shortest is over six minutes and the longest just shy of twelve. Moore’s backed by bassist Deb Googe (My Bloody Valentine, Snowpony), guitarist James Sedwards (Nought, Chrome Hoof) and drummer Steve Shelley (Sonic Youth, Crucifucks). Opening with ‘Exalted’, going from melodic beauty to distorted ugliness and back again, it’s a drug-infused journey of goddesses. ‘Cusp’ is an energetic mix of SY and MBV, which (like the previous song) has lyrics by poet Radio Radieux, this time about total love. Elsewhere, the building ‘Turn On’, the contemplative ‘Smoke of Dreams’ and no wave rocker ‘Aphrodite’ shine with Moore’s majestic, free-flowing songwriting. Ariel Wimfrey
ROSEWOOD ALMANAC (Bella Union)
Strong album of snappy indie roots rock from Mississippi quartet.
American indie folk singer-songwriter with beautiful new record.
he Weeks formed as school friends in Jackson, Mississippi, later relocating to Nashville and touring with Kings of Leon. For this, their seventh album, the band chose to record at the legendary Ardent Studios in Memphis, famous for clasic recordings by Stax artists, Big Star/Alex Chilton, The Cramps and many more. It’s an inspired choice, the studio’s warm ambience showcasing The Weeks’ rootsy indie rock sound to great effect. With the economy of The Strokes married to some tasty, old-school Southern rock guitar licks, The Weeks sound rather like early Kings of Leon (before they descended into Bryan Adams/U2 stadium rawk hell) conflated with Alabama Shakes. ‘Easy’ is a strong, accomplished album that maintains the quality throughout its eleven tracks. Highlights include the explosive ‘Bottle Rocket’ and the intelligent dynamics of ‘Gold Don’t Rust’. Gus Ironside
ill Stratton was born in California, raised in New Jersey and currently resides in upstate New York and, after discovering the music of Nick Draker and other seminal singer-songwriters, found his true passion. His latest record, named after his love of rosewood guitars, is full of delicate, strumming and his evocative vocals over the course of ten songs. Opener ‘Light Blue’ adds electric guitar and rhythm, while the closer ‘Ribbons’ is just the man and his guitar. The shimmering ‘Some Ride’ (“some ride because that’s where they’re home, some ride to be alone, some ride because they can’t stand to be still”) tells the story of the travelling life of many a singer-songwriter. Fans of Elliott Smith, Leonard Cohen, Sufjan Stevens, Bob Dylan and Nick Drake need to hear ‘Rosewood Almanac’. It’s as simple as that. Sam Cunningham
STITCH OF THE WORLD (Yep Roc)
The American songstress releases her first album of new material in four years.
fter several years spent touring in Andrew Bird’s band, Tift Merritt is finally back with an album of new material and it’s certainly an accomplished piece of work. After the sparse acoustic leanings of its predecessor, 2013’s ‘Travelling Companion’, ‘Stitch of the World’ turns out to be rather luxurious in its instrumentation. Starting with the bluesy romp of ‘Dusty Old Man’, the record moves on to the more soulful pastures of ‘Heartache is an Uphill Climb’. The haunting title track, with its plaintive slide parts, proves to be one of the best songs of the album, while ‘Proclamation Blues’ could pass for an outtake from ‘Let it Bleed’. The album closes out with three songs written with Iron And Wine supremo Sam Bean. Craig Chaligne
WOLF EYES UNDERTOW
Latest from the Michigan crew.
lthough over the years Wolf Eyes have prolifically released music on a variety of their own imprints in various weird and wonderful formats, this is the first on their newly formed Lower Floors label. It is a frankly unnerving montage of crazed horror jazz and kicks off with the soundtrack to a particularly harrowing comedown dream. Gone are a lot of the guitars and noisiness of yore, instead they continue their journey into the unknown via discordance and wind instruments probably fashioned from decapitated oboes and bits of old drainpipe. Just listen to ‘Texas’ for proof. The ghost of a shamanic Lou Reed crops up early with ‘Undertow’, before leading us to our final descent into madness on ‘Thirteen’. Overall this is dense, unpredictable and probably their most downright disturbing material I can remember hearing. James Batty LOUDER THAN WAR
reviews issue 9.indd 10
reissues issue 9.indd 1
END HITS: BACK CATALOGUE EXPLORED
DEATH IN VEGAS A constantly evolving and much-loved London electronic group, centred around Richard Fearless (producer, writer, electronics) and with collaborating artists coming and going, Death In Vegas are arguably one of the most exciting indie electronica bands around. Formed in 1994, they’re best known for songs like ‘Aisha’ and ‘Scorpio Rising’, collaborating with Iggy Pop and Liam Gallagher respectively, but their evolving sound, mixing elements of electronica, dub, rock, industrial, krautrock and more, make them a fasinating creative force. With their first live show in London in five years on Thursday 25th May at Oval Space, what better time to look back at Richard Fearless and Death In Vegas’ incredible career to date...
DEAD ELVIS (1997) This debut album was the only Death In Vegas album to feature original member, keyboardist/programmer (and co-producer on this record) Steve Hellier. With songs like ‘Dirt’, ‘Rocco’ and ‘GBH’, they arrived with a sound that was already huge and reached no.52 in the UK album charts.
THE CONTINO SESSIONS (1999) The second album was a huge step up for Death In Vegas. Not only did it peak at no.19 in the UK album charts and receive a nomination for the 2000 Mercury Music Prize, but it featured the menacing top 10 single ‘Aisha’ with terrifying, spoken vocals from Iggy Pop. Other guest vocalists included Dot Allison (‘Dirge’), Bobby Gillespie (‘Soul Auctioneer’) and Jim Reid (‘Broken Little Sister’). A classic.
SCORPIO RISING (2002) The third album from the British electronica favourites saw them again team up with some star collaborators, including Liam Gallagher (‘Scorpio Rising’) and Paul Weller (‘So You Say You Lost Your Baby’), as well as Nicola Kuperus (‘Hands Around My Throat’), Susan Dillane (‘23 Lies’, ‘Girls’), Hope Sandoval (‘Killing Smile’, ‘Help Yourself’) and Dot Allison (‘Diving Horses’). Again reaching no.19 in the album charts, it was another success.
SATAN’S CIRCUS (2004) The first release through the band’s own label, Drone Records, ‘Satan’s Circus’ featured no guest vocalists, instead sticking to just the band. Suffering commercially as a result (it didn’t make it into the top 100), it was an accomplished instrumental electronica rock album that was full of hypnotic atmospherics.
TRANS-LOVE ENERGIES (2011) For their fifth album and first in seven years, Death In Vegas turned to Portobello Records and released another record that was mostly just the band, with an improved charting position of no.57. However, digitalonly single, the brilliantly titled ‘Your Loft My Acid’, was a bubbling, bleeping effort with electronically manipulated vocals from Canadian musician Katie Stelmanis. The sound throughout was a mix of krautrock, acid house and shoegaze.
TRANSMISSION (2016) Richard Fearless and co. returned last year with another left turn, this time teaming up with vocalist (and former porn actress) Sasha Grey. With elements of techno, new wave and electronica, complimented by Grey’s breathy vocals, the likes of ‘You Disco I Freak’, ‘Arise’ and ‘Metal Box’ proved Death In Vegas are still evolving and still, aptly, fearless.
LOUDER THAN WAR reissues issue 9.indd 2
“The perfect snapshot taken in the midst of a whirlwind of creativity” NICK CAVE THE BAD SEEDS LOVELY CREATURES –
THE BEST OF: 1984-2014 (Mute/BMG)
An introductory lesson for those dipping a toe into the Bad Seeds’ pool.
here are some people out there who just don’t know where to start with The Bad Seeds. Others know the catalogue better than I do! This release is designed to be a way into three decades of music making. That’s a lot of songs. The songs we have chosen are the ones that have stuck around, for whatever reason,” says Nick Cave in a recent statement, explaining the reasoning behind best-of set ‘Lovely Creatures’ (It was originally planned for release in 2014 but delayed following the writing
of 2016’s ‘Skeleton Tree’. Released to serve as a lesson in Bad Seed-dom before the band’s stadium tour later in the year, ‘Lovely Creatures’ is the perfect snapshot taken in the midst of a whirlwind of creativity. The opening double-whammy of ‘Loverman’’s bellows and bells and ‘Tupelo’’s sparse post-punk (from 1994’s ‘Let Love In’ and 1985’s ‘The Firstborn Is Dead’) give way to the rock ‘n’ roll revival brutalism of ‘Deanna’ (1988’s ‘Tender Prey) and the strident ‘From Her To Eternity’ (the band’s 1984 debut of the same name). The slow burning shuffle of ‘The Weeping Song’ is swift to follow, a sombre counterpoint to the Grinderman-esque low-slung garage rock of ‘Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!. The still stunning piano-led lament of ‘People Ain’t No Good’ pairs perfectly with the more recent ‘Higgs Boson Blues’ (from 2013’s ‘Push The Sky Away’) while ‘Straight To You’ from ‘Henry’s Dream’ (1992) snuggles up to the Kylie-featuring ‘Where The Wild Roses Grow’ (the first of two cuts from 1996’s ‘Murder Ballads’). Elsewhere, ‘Into My Arms’ (from ‘The Boatman’s Call’ (‘97)) remains one of the most heartbreaking love songs of all time, nearly matched by ‘No More Shall We Part’ cut ‘Love Letter’. The deliciously ominous ‘Red Right Hand’ is swift to follow alongside the (pardon the pun) electrifying ‘The Mercy Seat’ before the tracklisting moves into ‘Abattoir Blues/The Lyre Of Orpheus’ (2004) and ‘The Good Son’ (1990) Finishing off with the likes of ‘Jubilee Street’, ‘Nature Boy’ and ‘We No Who U R’, ‘Lovely Creatures’ closes with the bloody barroom swagger of ‘Stagger Lee’, Cave spitting vividly visceral couplets with glee as the Bad Seeds churn out a mutant hybrid of blues and rockabilly around him. While Bad Seeds acolytes might not find much to draw them in aside from ‘Super Deluxe’ set which features a DVD with rare and unseen footage and photos from the band members’ personal archives, for those new to the Bad Seeds an absolute treat awaits you. James Sharples
LOUDER THAN WAR
reissues issue 9.indd 3
THE FALL DISCO INFERNO IN DEBT
1992 compilation reissue for unacknowledged heroes of post-rock.
f you’ve heard Hood you’ve heard Disco Inferno. If you’ve heard Third Eye Foundation you’ve heard Disco Inferno. In fact there are so many bands that have taken from their pre-IDM smashing of loops into the band format that a book could be written on this alone. So to have ‘In Debt’ reissued is a great opportunity to witness the embryo that spawned an entire culture. And yet ‘In Debt’ sounds surprisingly organic, especially in comparisons to today’s electro-chart-screaming. The gurgling samples that pepper ‘In the Cold’ give the bassline a mechanical-funk feel, but the atmosphere in this track is something else - cold, unforgiving and bleak beyond the trouble funk of No Wave. Each track on ‘In Debt’ is a menacing beast of bedroom disenchantment. If Essex’s Disco Inferno were about today they’d be internet trolls. Thank heavens they were a band. Jon Falcone
DEAD CAN DANCE
THE SERPENT’S EGG / AION / SPIRITCHASER (4AD)
TOTALE’S TURNS / GROTESQUE / A PART OF AMERICA THEREIN / PERVERTED BY LANGUAGE / MARSHALL SUITE (Westworld)
7/10 / 8/10 / 7/10 / 8/10 / 6/10
The final three reissues of 4AD’s DCD catalogue.
9/10 / 9/10 / 9/10
he Serpent’s Egg’ (1988) is a sparse album. Minimalist sounds create a backdrop to the vocals. Lisa Gerrard’s vocals ululate across desert sands, a cry of the soul in the void or echo in a cathedral, rising up, searching the heavens. Brendan Perry’s vocals are more modern and the dichotomy, rather than creating tension, creates a symbiotic whole. ‘Aion’ (1990) is heavy on Renaissance and Middle Ages musical forms. They resist the urge to modernise the forms, thus creating something that is timeless, that transcends categorisation. ‘Spiritchaser’ (1996) moves the focus to African and Caribbean tribal rhythms. Percussion comes more to the fore on this album, with a sultry, sensuous back beat that drips with sun and heat, whilst the vocals chant across the grooves. Beautiful records, beautifully packaged by 4AD. Mark Ray
his quintet of bare essentials reissues from Westfield captures a selection of facets of The Fall. 1980’s ‘Totale’s Turns’ finds Mark E Smith and co. gathering momentum on the Northern live circuit. Featuring several numbers destined to become Fall classics (and thus duly dropped from future sets), the album also portrays Smith’s penchant for working his players hard. Although the same year’s ‘Grotesque’ attains essential status on the back of towering tracks such as ‘Container Drivers’ and the creeping kazoo miasma of ‘New Face in Hell’. Like ‘Totale’s Turns’, 1981’s ‘A Part of America Therein’ features live cuts from several shows, with the Houston and Memphis gigs having superior sound quality. 1983’s ‘Perverted by Language’ depicts the start of The Brix Years, with ‘Hotel Blondel’ representing developing thematic and stylistic elements. Previously tricky to obtain, ‘The Marshall Suite’ (1999) starts with the almighty bang of ‘Touch Sensitive’ and could be viewed as a prelude to the following year’s ‘The Unutterable’. Dick Porter
PIC: PAT POPE
FEEDER RENEGADES / GENERATION FREAKSHOW
Record Store Day vinyl reissue of 1995 hit debut album.
pon its original release, ‘Elastica’ hit number one in the album charts and became the fast-selling debut since Oasis’ ‘Definitely Maybe’. Thanks to top 20 singles ‘Line Up’, the infectious ‘Connection’ and ‘Waking Up’, featuring the distinctive vocals of Justine Frischmann, it became one of the most popular albums of that year and set a high bar, which the band couldn’t follow with 2000 follow-up ‘The Menace’. The London Britpop favourites were rumoured to be reforming when a photo of them in the studio (minus Justine) was posted online but it was confirmed that a RSD reissue was the reason for the members coming together. With an additional fanzine and flexi disc (featuring ‘In the City’ from their John Peel session), this record is well worth picking up for long-time fans. A connection is still made. Sam Cunningham
2010 and 2012 albums from British rockers reissued.
SLEEP IS FOR THE WEEK
7/10 / 8/10
Has it really been that long?
s the Zeppelin song goes, ten years gone? Hard to believe when Frank seems to have been a ubiquitous presence in our meagre lives with his endless treks round the nation’s concert halls, clubs and festivals. His first recordings come repackaged with a handful of demos as a souvenir of that first solo decade. From the ‘The Real Damage’ and ‘Vital Signs’ onetwo punch, the precedent is set for album openings which hit the ground running – although the opening trio from ‘Tape Deck Heart’ takes some beating. From illustrating Frank the acoustic troubadour (along with ‘The Ballad of Me and My Friends’) to the big band noise, growing up with Frank has been a remarkable journey. Halfway through the best years of his life? Maybe, but with all the best stories to tell. Mike Ainscoe
he two albums that preceded last year’s ninth studio album, ‘All Bright Electric’, seventh album ‘Renegades’ and eighth ‘Generation Freakshow’ were released through their own Big Teeth label previously but have been unavailable, both physically and digitally, for a while now. Timed to coincide with their March/April UK tour, they marked a new chapter of the band’s history. ‘Renegades’ was the first album since 2001’s ‘Echo Park’ not to feature drummer Mark Richardson, who left the band in 2009, replaced by Karl Brazil. With a more rock-oriented direction, reminiscent of their much-loved 1997 debut ‘Polythene’, it was a return to form, hammered home by their series of gigs under the name Renegades as they tried out the new material. It was also their first release on their own label, a freedom shown on the driving melodic rock singles ‘Call Out’ and the title track. ‘Generation Freakshow’ was again done on a shoe-string budget but achieved greater commercial success and included the rousing single ‘Borders’, which saw them back in the charts after an almost four year absence. The crunching riff and melody dynamics of single ‘Idaho’ was another highlight, showing the return of Feeder’s songwriting confidence. There was certainly filler on both records but these reissues (complete with bonus tracks and b-sides) show why Feeder can always unleash some strong singles. Grant Nicholas (vocals/guitar) and Taka Hirose (bass) have been producing infectious rock songs with Feeder for 25 years now and are still going strong. Sam Cunningham
LOUDER THAN WAR reissues issue 9.indd 4
THE MEMBRANES EVERYONE’S GOING TRIPLE BAD ACID, YEAH! THE COMPLETE MEMBRANES, 1980 – 1993 (Cherry Red)
Five disc boxset of seminal Blackpool post-punks.
t seems apt that we’re reviewing this Membranes boxset in our post-punk special issue. With their abrasive, off-kilter post-punk, there’s no denying the influence that the Membranes had on bands and artists around the world, including Steve Albini’s Big Black, Sonic Youth, Butthole Surfers and Pussy Galore. Formed back in 1977 and fronted by our very own editor-in-chief John Robb, they made their name in the ‘80s with indie chart bothering singles and fan favourites such as ‘Spike Milligan’s Tape Recorder’ (1984), ‘Death to Trad Rock’ (1986) and ‘Everything’s Brilliant’ just a few examples of their leftfield, experimental and enthralling post-punk material. This extensive boxset includes their five albums recorded for various labels throughout the 1980s (such as Criminal Damage, Creation, Constrictor, In Tape and more), as well as all their singles, B-sides, EPs and extra tracks, totalling an impressive 99 songs (many on CD for the first time!). Spanning from their 1980 EP, ‘Blackpool Rox’ through to their final recordings in their original incarnation in the early ‘90s, there’s also a booklet with John Robb’s sleevenotes. Reforming in 2012 and releasing their first new album in 20 years with 2015’s critically acclaimed and well-received ‘Dark Matter/Dark Energy’, as well as tours and festival dates, the Membranes are back and better than ever. A new album is set for release on Cherry Red in autumn and this mighty boxset is the perfect way to catch up. John Youdon
LOVE AND ROCKETS SEVENTH DREAM OF A TEENAGE HEAVEN (Beggars Banquet)
1985 debut release gets Blu-Ray Audio treatment.
f the legion of Bauhaus fans who bought Love And Rockets’ debut were expecting dark goth from David J, Danial Ash and Kevin Haskins, then they must have gone batty when they heard it. This was psychedelia from another world, more Syd Barrett than Bela Lugosi. It stands outside of time; a glorious, otherworldly listen, with beautiful soundscapes produced by John Rivers. The rhythms are relentless, such as on the classic ‘Haunted’, that create a trance-like ambience. It shimmers and drips with colour. The band would conquer America on college radio but, for some reason, failed to set the UK on fire. Listening to it now it sounds like a forgotten classic. Trivia note: Danny Hopkins, credited for providing “Tea and sympathy”, was renowned drummer for post-punk outfit Isolation. Mark Ray
MANIC STREET PREACHERS SEND AWAY THE TIGERS (Sony)
Tenth anniversary edition of Welsh rock titans’ eighth album.
et to start work on the follow-up to their 2014 hit album ‘Futurology’ shortly, the Manics also look back a decade with this reissue. It was a time when the band needed a new lease of life, after a couple of dodgy records. Pipped to the top of the UK albums chart by the Arctic Monkeys, it was a return to form that featured rocking singles ‘Autumnsong’ and ‘Underdogs’. No.2 peaking lead single ‘Your Love Alone is Not Enough’ was a pop duet that featured Nina Persson of The Cardigans. Available in double CD and DVD, double vinyl (with download codes) and digital versions, it’s remastered and also features unheard demos, a bonus disc of b-sides and rarities and a DVD of their full 2007 Glastonbury set, promo videos and rare footage from rehearsals. Ariel Wimfrey
RETROSPECTIVELY YOURS / JONI’S GARDEN / DOMINO MORNINGS / ADVENTURES IN THE SLIPSTREAM (You Are The Cosmos)
Lost classics from the Scottish indie scene reissued.
9/10 / 8/10 / 9/10 / 10/10
HEAVY HEART KEEPSAKE
(I Can & I Will)
Bringing together Heavy Heart’s twelve 2016 singles, ‘Keepsake’ is dream pop at its finest.
THE VAN PELT
founding member of The Soup Dragons, BMX Bandits and Superstar, Jim McCulloch has long been respected within the Glasgow/Lanarkshire indie scene for his sublime guitar skills and easy-going nature. McCulloch re-emerged as a singer-songwriter under the name Green Peppers in 2004, releasing three albums that revealed exquisitely subtle songcraft inspired by Bacharach, Jobim and a wealth of ‘60s folk-rock. By the time of 2008’s ‘Adventures in the Slipstream’, the Motherwell-born guitarist was working with a number of talented female singers, leading to the formation of the superlative indie-folk group Snowgoose with Anna Sheard.‘Retrospectively Yours’ is a handy sampler of the three Green Peppers albums, all of which are essential listening for anyone who enjoys melodic, cannily intelligent songwriting. Highly recommended. Gus Ironside
Gothic Swedish post-punk.
entury Media is a metal label but it’s not hard to see why they’re putting out Swedish artist Nicole Sabouné’s second album (originally released only in Sweden back in 2015). The record has a dark atmosphere hanging over it, with Sabouné’s extraordinary singing contributing to the feeling of otherworldly dread. It’s not metal in terms of style but is in terms of tone. Admittingly, ‘Miman’ is slightly frontloaded with opening tracks ‘The Body’, ‘Right Track’, and the phenomenal ‘Bleeding Faster’ highlighting the seductive gothic post-punk she is capable of. The remainder of the record is certainly not markedly inferior and continues what’s something of a concept record, with the title based on the 1956 Harry Martinson poem ‘Aniara’. It does end on a slightly surprising note but as ‘Frozen’ is Madonna’s most goth song, Nicole Sabouné has no problem in turning it into an effective goth anthem. Paul Hagen
riting, recording and releasing a new song each month in 2016 was no small feat for Heavy Heart. Twelve moments captured in song, shoegazing through the seasons, with a healthy dose of Belly, Slowdive and Heavenly leading their ‘90s alt-rock influences. The songwriting project now becomes an album in its own right, with this vinyl only release. And it’s packed with twelve modern altrock gems. Tracks like ‘Teenage Witch’ will get under your skin, all hazy vocals and the insistent scratch of circling guitar. Then there’s the drifting dream pop of ‘Fever Dream’, the subtle strings of ‘Late to the Party’, and the Kristin Hersh-esque raw vocals of ‘Keepsake’. A promising band delivering the true sound of the current alt-rock underground. Sarah Lay
STEALING FROM OUR FAVOURITE THIEVES / SULTANS OF SENTIMENT (La Castanya)
Long overdue reissues from cult New York indie rockers.
7/10 / 10/10
he Van Pelt’s jagged debut and wonderful follow-up have been out of print for so long it felt like they existed only in folklore. Yet, thanks to the switched-on folk at Spanish indie La Castanya, here they are, two decades after their mid/late ‘90s releases, ready to wow audiences all over again. ‘Stealing From Our Favourite Thieves’ compares favourably to literate indie/punk releases by peers Texas Is The Reason and Knapsack, and still sounds fiery and rawboned today. By all accounts ‘…Thieves’ is a great debut, but follow-up ‘Sultans of Sentiment’ is where the real magic happens. Taut and expressive, it’s packed with oblique and twisted half-spoken indie rock, of which the genuinely gorgeous ‘The Good, The Bad, And The Blind’ still confounds and amazes. Rob Mair
LOUDER THAN WAR
reissues issue 9.indd 5
“‘Making Time’ is a bonafide classic that appears on every garage compilation from the ‘60s.”
THE CREATION CREATION THEORY (Edsel)
The Creation get a long overdue anthology of all their recorded output.
hat better label than Edsel to release this compendium, as they have been keeping The Creation flame alive since the early ‘80s. Starting as the Mark Four in 1963, the band quickly earned a reputation of being fantastic live (their rigorous touring schedules in Germany proving the best of training grounds). The band’s early recordings open disc one of this set, nothing sets the world on fire but you can see that Eddie Phillips’s arrival spices things up considerably with the band releasing their first original material (the single ‘Hurt Me If You Will’ / ‘I’m Leaving’) shortly after him joining. The Mark Four’s association with famed manager Tony Stratton-Smith in 1966 finally sets them in the right direction. First out of the window was bass player Tony Cooke who was replaced by the snazzier Bob Garner, then a change of moniker to the infinitely more modern “The Creation” made the band hipper than hip almost overnight. At the same time guitar player Eddie Phillips and singer Kenny Pickett had become an excellent writing team and it was decided that the first song to be recorded by the band under the supervision of
producer Shel Talmy would be ‘Making Time’. Now a bonafide classic that appears on every garage compilation from the ‘60s, this tune was the best calling card possible for the band when it was released in late 1966. On a roll, the band followed it by the poppier ‘Painter Man’ (later covered by German disco monsters Boney M) coupled to the Who-ish B-side ‘Biff Bang Pow!’ (featuring Nicky Hopkins on piano). Unfortunately all was not well behind the scenes and a falling out with Stratton-Smith was the first nail in the coffin that would ultimately lead to the band’s demise in early 1968, after numerous line-up changes (Pickett leaving and rejoining in the space of a year). Phillips and Pickett reunited several times over the years but it’s only thanks to Alan McGee’s determination that the band finally issued their first LP ‘Power Surge’ in late 1996. Unfortunately this turned out to be the last hurrah before Pickett’s passing in early 1997. This 4CD set comes with a DVD compiling the band’s numerous live performances on German television during their heyday and concerts from their mid-’90s reunion shot in London. Craig Chaligne
LOUDER THAN WAR reissues issue 9.indd 6
IN BETWEEN DAYS:
THE CURE IN PHOTOGRAPHS 1982 – 2005 Tom Sheehan (Flood Gallery)
ARCADE FIRE: THE REFLEKTOR TAPES (Eagle Rock)
dmittedly Arcade Fire’s 2013 fourth (and most recent) studio album, ‘Reflektor’, was an eclectic fusion of different musical styles, but this DVD feels all over the place in a much more haphazard and less focused way. Consisting of a full-length documentary, a gig from London’s Earl’s Court in June 2014 and a mix of promo videos and club shows, it’s the documentary where ‘The Reflektor Tapes’ falls short. An overly arty film from Kahlil Joseph – although obviously lacking no ambition, it may connect with their most leftfield fans but it doesn’t reveal that much about the band or the making of the album particularly. A mix of colour and monochrome, snippets of audio interviews, parts of songs and different frame sizes make it a pretty disorientating watch. We follow the Canadian band as they travel from Jamaica to Vancouver to Haiti, but occasionally this feels like a tourist film or long, weird music video as much as a revealing insight into their music or writing process. The gig footage and actual promo videos are much better and will be enjoyable for fans but, overall, this documentary film feels like a missed opportunity to tell the story of a band pushing boundaries and experimenting in favour of capturing a mood, sound and colours. Maybe that’s the point. John Youdon
he second book from the archives of acclaimed music photographer Tom Sheehan, ‘In Between Days’ maps out a musical journey with striking focus, colour and ability. Displayed in chronological order, these often full page or double page photos of Robert Smith and co. capture this unique, legendary band at their most iconic, from ‘82 onwards. Having worked with The Cure for more than 20 sessions spanning three decades, this book includes never before seen photographs and even features a foreword from Robert Smith himself. Printed on matt art paper, this 240 page book comes in a board slipcase and is a truly spectacular collectible for any Cure fan. Limited to just 2500, it’s available from TheFloodGallery.com and comes highly recommended. This is just like heaven for the eyes. Sam Cunningham
THURSTON MOORE: WE SING A NEW LANGUAGE Nick Soulsby (Omnibus)
T2 TRAINSPOTTING 7/10
et’s be honest, a sequel to Danny Boyle’s zeitgeistcapturing, heroin and Britpop fuelled 1996 black comedy ‘Trainspotting’, with the four main characters coming back together twenty years later, could well have been a disaster. And ‘T2 Trainspotting’ isn’t without fault – it’s too long, weighs a little too heavily on nostalgia (who doesn’t sometimes), fails to capture the current Scottish national identity and underplays its female characters played by Kelly Macdonald and Shirley Henderson. Despite all this it’s a triumph of middle aged men trying to come to terms with their past, their mortality and the way their lives have turned out. Having ripped off the others at the end of the last film, Renton (Ewan McGregor) comes back to Edinburgh after going on to live in Amsterdam and have a comfortable job. Sick Boy (Jonny Lee Miller) has changed heroin for coke and runs an escort and blackmailing business, Spud (Ewen Bremner) is scarred from a lifetime of drug abuse and the still-terrifying, wide eyed Begbie (Robert Carlyle) has been in prison all this time, staging a stabbing injury to get to the prison hospital then escape and meet up with his old companions in drugs and chaos. It’s not as good as the original but it’s still powerful filmmaking and the soundtrack (this time featuring the likes of Blondie, The Clash, Wolf Alice and Young Fathers) is another highlight. Choose life, choose T2.
ith the subtitle “The Oral Discography of Thurston Moore”, ‘We Sing a New Language’ focuses on the wealth of music that Moore has created outside of the seminal Sonic Youth. It’s an astonishing oral history with an artist who’s clearly in love with music, from pushing the boundaries of what’s possible with a guitar and amplifier to collaborating with a huge range of musicians. Ass well as a series of interviews with Moore about his lesser known discography, there’s also interviews and memories from 160 musicians, producers and record label owners, including the likes of Michael Gira (Swans), Lydia Lunch, Richard Hell (Richard Hell and the Voidoids, Television), Nick Sclavunos (Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Iggy Pop, The Cramps), Stuart Braithwaite (Mogwai) and many more. With so many views, opinions and praise for the ability and drive of Moore, Nick Soulsby’s book is a passionate portrayal of a unique artist who’s spent over 27 years doing what he loves. Thurston Moore’s new language is spreading. John Youdon
LOUDER THAN WAR
dvds and books issue 9.indd 1
facebook.com/o2ritzmanchester twitter.com/o2ritzmanc instagram.com/o2ritzmanc A C A D E M Y E V E N T S by a r r a n g e m e n t w i t h U TA p r e s e n t
PLUS SPECIAL GUESTS
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dvds and books issue 9.indd 2
DUTCH UNCLES SLUG NEWCASTLE CLUNY
WORDS/PHOTOS: LEE HAMMOND
UTCH Uncles have always been an exciting live prospect but tonight at Newcastle’s Cluny it’s clear that latest album ‘Big Balloon’ has brought out the very best in them, leading to a true, real party atmosphere. Having just released ‘Big Balloon’, a collection of excitable and upbeat tracks that’s garnered rave reviews, the band have hit the road to bring these new songs to life. First up, however, are a band who’ve been described as ‘the stadium rock version of Field Music’ – a description that is a pretty accurate one as it turns out. SLUG haven’t been around for a little while, but tonight is almost a home town show and the huge early turn out is a testament to that. Ian Black and his band are in high spirits as they take to the stage and open up with a blistering rendition of ‘Cockeyed Rabbit Wrapped In Plastic’. There’s always an air of humour to their set and fortunately tonight is no different, with their off kilter, unclassifiable tunes inciting enthusiastic singalongs whilst at the same time leaving the packed crowd aghast with their exceptional instrumental tracks. This jovial set undoubtedly warmed up the crowd in preparation for DUTCH UNCLES, whose equally genre-less odd pop was soon to take centre stage. Tonight it’s a frenzied start from the band as they open with ‘Baskin’’, ‘Bellio’ and ‘Cadenza’, all of which are high tempo and get the crowd moving and sustain the frivolity of the atmosphere in the room. Their previous album ‘O Shudder’ lacked the instant earworm-worthy tracks, whereas this appears to have been rectified on ‘Big Balloon’. Allowing them to sustain the excitement in the room, with tracks like ‘Oh Yeah’ and ‘Streetlight’ it’s hard to stop your feet from getting carried away. The infectious grooves and chant-along lyrics invoke similar sing-alongs to SLUG, particularly as they close out the set with their latest hit and title track ‘Big Balloon’. The thumping beat and instantaneously catchy lyrics ensure that the band leave on a high, only to be coerced into coming back for the obligatory encore. Rousing renditions of ‘Flexxin’ and ‘Dressage’ close out proceedings, leaving this packed crowd on a high after two equally impressive sets. With ‘Big Balloon’ Dutch Uncles have re-affirmed themselves as one of the finest, yet most underrated bands that the UK has to offer.
LOUDER THAN WAR
1-2 lives.indd 1
BLOC PARTY LONDON ROUNDHOUSE
OLLOWING the departure of two band members in 2015, Bloc Party’s Kele Okereke (vocals/guitar) and Russell Lisack (guitar) recruited Justin Harris (bass) and the young Louise Bartle (drums), before unleashing their fifth studio album ‘Hymns’ last year. Over the course of two Roundhouse dates in February, the new look Bloc Party (led by a surprisingly muscled up Okereke) show exactly why we should be thankful they managed to overcome this latest hurdle. Obviously the driving indie rock anthems from their seminal 2005 debut ‘Silent Alarm’ get the biggest response from the energetic crowd, such as the mighty ‘Helicopter’ and the beautiful ‘So Here We Are’, but they’re a force to be reckoned with throughout their set. Okereke’s distinctive, assured vocals are a highlight and Lisack overcomes some technical problems to unleash some mesmerising guitar lines and soundscapes. The dance-infused ‘Mercury’ and ‘The Love Within’ get people dancing, including a smiling Okereke, as Bloc Party prove they’re still a band evolving over time and seem to have plenty to offer. Singing along to indie rock one minute and dancing to infectious club tunes, Bloc Party are a band who love playing live as much as they do defying genre boundaries. Sam Cunningham
WHITE LIES LONDON TROXY
TARTING life in Ealing, London, White Lies have come a long way from the leafy streets of suburbia. Over the course of three albums they’ve continued to evolve their post-punk sound with an eye to filling stadiums, the end result of which is their fourth full-length ‘Friends’ (2016). It’s clear that they’re proud of it, opening with album opener ‘Take It Out On Me’ and peppering the set with prime cuts from it. While the prospect of ‘here’s a new one’ would usually having punters fleeing to the bar, it’s testament to White Lies’ songwriting prowess that the crowd filling the Troxy remains rapt throughout. The likes of ‘There Goes Our Love Again’ and ‘To Lose My Life’ see Harry McVeigh’s rich baritone vocals filling the venue, ditching the guitar to focus properly on ‘...Life’. The secret weapon of White Lies is clearly Jack Lawrence-Brown, who cracks out beats with laser-like focus on the likes of ‘The Price Of Love’ and ‘From The Stars’. Leaving the stage for a brief respite after the double whammy of ‘Don’t Want To Feel It All’ and ‘Death’, the trio (completed by bassist Charles Cave) soon return for a three-song encore, throwing themselves into much-loved cuts ‘Big TV’, ‘Come On’ and the immortal ‘Bigger Than Us’ and inciting the crowd into an orgy of moshing and hugging. James Sharples
LOUDER THAN WAR 1-2 lives.indd 2
WORDS/PHOTOS: JOHN ROBB & RICHARD FOSTER/NEJC KET
ENT is one of the best European festival/conference events. Held in Ljubljana each February, it showcases some of the great bands from Slovenia and the Balkans where a vibrant and thrilling scene is going on as well as some international cutting edge action. Here are some of the highlights: GUSTAVE TIGER, a colourful, cavalier band hailing from Budapest, have something of the Roxy club about them. Their live sound (akin to listening to a bunch of blokes sandblasting a house at close range) is much tougher than their recorded one; though they have an impatience and snottiness that informs both sides of their work. Their record is a weird one, at times really getting into MOR indie territory then jetting off to visit Lush’s back catalogue, or dropping in on Lansing-Dreiden or the Teardrop Explodes. Weird. And some bonkers titles too. They look good in a homemade way though, which is always a plus; rocking a sort of scruffy but shiny and glitzy Poundshop glamour, and looking like they need a wash and some quality pastry products. At MENT Gustave Tiger dragged punk’s legacy through the club like it was a recalcitrant dog on a lead. Fantastic. HEYMOONSHAKER are economy rock taken to its logical conclusion. Two people, one guitar and a human beatbox that somehow sounds huge. Led Zeppelin needed fourteen articulated trucks to make this kind of blues rock racket yet Heymoonshaker do it with a bloke making drum sounds down a mic! And he somehow sounds like John Bonham – I’m still baffled by how good the bass drum sound is and how he makes hi-hat sounds by breathing in. The guitar adds the groove and the songs are festival dynamite. Constant touring will see this band sneak up and take the world unless the human beatbox gets a dose of the flu… THE HOMESICK are fantastically young skinny rats from somewhere in the north of the Netherlands. That distant flatland up in the wilds and marshes where people speak another language and small towns have tightly compressed worlds that flicker and twitch rarely in the rush of modern times. Dressed in streetwear they look like a bus shelter scally gang that has wandered into the music festival by mistake. That is until
HEYMOONSHAKER PIC: NEJCKETIS
they start playing. They are, of course, great. A mish mash of that great no man’s land of Factory records in-between Joy Division and the Happy Mondays and all the oddball genius groups that everyone forgets about. They have that driving dark force of the Joy Divs in the sound but that serious wonk and surreal street humour of the Mondays and then all the semi-forgotten genius weird of Stockholm Monsters, Crispy Ambulance and the first James single chucked in there. They’ve probably never heard of any of this stuff and they defiantly and definitely put their own stamp on affairs and are obviously following their own instinct and not taking any orders. Seriously good band. Croatia’s all-girl band ŽEN make the most beautiful amalgam of droney post-punk pop. They have a set of sounds that make you think of a whole raft of acts from The Cure through the Situationist/Cold Wave post-punk to Slowdive, or even Daniel Land’s The Modern Painters. There’s the odd Durutti Column-style guitar melody chucked in too, just for good measure. Live, they force these sounds out over the top of a wonderfully sparse rhythm section (very much like Electrelane) and in front of a shifting, often superb set of backdrops. Their Bandcamp is really worth dipping into, and they have a record out soon on the great progressive Slovenian label, Moonlee Records. Watching SPASIBO live is like walking through a gale. Ridiculously competent (here we are talking the Mike Watt/NoMeansNo/The Mars Volta school of competence) and looking like a bunch of extras from a Beavis and Butthead cartoon, Spasibo are a true force of nature. This Russian band are totally convincing; an ever-levitating metal-punk stew of green gunk noize. Somehow if Camper Van Beethoven or The Soft Boys had been a metal bands they’d have turned out like this. I daren’t listen to the records. There is nothing better than a band that looks like timid mice that explodes into a flamethrower of sonic possibility. THE SWEET RELEASE OF DEATH are exploring that dank undergrowth and hinterland between the pointlessly derided genius of Bauhaus and the unexplored thickets of art goth and the huge tsunamis of sound of My Bloody Valentine and the twisted sister sublime noise of Sonic Youth – plenty of controlled feedback and collapsing song structures that teeter but hold together for a driving rush. The three piece have a guitar player who unleashes waves of beautiful droning filth over a powerful and concise rhythm section. It’s powerful and thrilling stuff and sees the Rotterdam band, who are now on their second album stake another claim for the vibrant Dutch underground that is producing plenty of fascinating bands and just needs some spotlight for some of them to break out. Throw in compelling sets from TOMMY CA$H and KOALA VOICE and you have one fantastic event.
LOUDER THAN WAR
lives 3-4.indd 1
KOALA VOICE WIRE
LOUDER THAN WAR lives 3-4.indd 2
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LOUDER THAN WAR
ISSUE 9 listings 3 pages.indd 1
A CERTAIN RATIO June: 24th London 229. ADAM ANT May: 5th Newcastle Arena, 6th Edinburgh Playhouse, 7th Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, 9th Manchester Bridgewater Hall, 12th Birmingham Symphony Hall, 14th Bristol Hippodrome, 16th Plymouth Pavilions, 17th London Royal Albert Hall, 18th Brighton Centre, 20th Bournemouth Int. Centre, 21st Leicester De Montfort Hall, 22nd Ipswich Regent Theatre, 24th Watford Colosseum, 25th Southend Cliffs Pavilion, 27th Leeds Arena, 28th Nottingham Royal Concert Hall.
BRITISH SEA POWER April: 6th Bristol Trinity, 7th Leeds Church, 8th Newcastle Riverside, 9th Edinburgh Liquid Room, 11th Manchester O2 Ritz, 12th London O2 Shepherds Bush Empire, 13th Birmingham O2 Academy. BROKEN SOCIAL SCENE May: 23rd Manchester Albert Hall, 24th London O2 Academy Brixton. CAMDEN ROCKS FESTIVAL W/ THE DAMNED, MILBURN & MORE. June: 3rd London Camden various venues. CHELSEA WOLFE April: 16th Glasgow Saint Luke’s, 17th Manchester Gorilla, 18th London Heaven, 19th Brighton Haunt. CHELSEA WOLFE
ALABAMA 3 April: 20th Kendal Brewery Arts Centre, 21st Aberdeen Lemon Tree, 22nd Inverness Ironworks, 23rd Dunfermline PJ Molloys, 28th Cardiff Tramshed, 29th Exeter The Phoenix, 30th Southampton Engine Rooms. May: 4th Cambridge The Junction, 5th Holmfirth Picturedrome, 6th Liverpool O2 Academy, 12th Leamington Spa The Assembly, 13th Sheffield O2 Academy, 14th Brighton Concorde, 19th Hull The Welly Club, 20th Norwich The Waterfront. ARCADE FIRE June: 14th Dublin Malahide Castle. July: 6th Manchester Castlefield Bowl. THE BATS June: 14th Leeds Brudenell Social Club, 15th Glasgow Broadcast, 17th London The Lexington. BEANO ON THE SEA W/ THE BLUETONES, REEF & MORE September: 8th - 10th Hastings Pier.
CITADEL FESTIVAL W/ FOALS & MORE July: 16th London Victoria Park. COLD CAVE March: 15th London Islington O2 Academy. THE COURTEENERS May: 27th Manchester Emirates Old Trafford. DEAFHEAVEN April: 21st London KOKO, 22nd Leeds Brudenell Social Club, 23rd Glasgow Saint Luke’s, 24th Manchester Gorilla, 25th Birmingham O2 Institute, 26th Cardiff Tramshed.
HAPPY MONDAYS November: 14th Bristol O2 Academy, 15th Brighton Dome, 16th London Roundhouse, 17th Cardiff Great Hall, 18th Portsmouth Pyramids Centre, 22nd Folkestone Leas Cliff Hall, 23rd Norwich UEA, 24th Southend Cliffs Pavillion, 25th Cambridge Corn Exchange, 28th Preston Guild Hall, 29th Scunthorpe Baths Hall, 30th Carlisle The Sands Centre. December: 1st Liverpool Olympia, 2nd Leeds O2 Academy, 6th Birmingham O2 Institute, 7th Lincoln Engine Shed, 8th Newcastle O2 Academy, 9th Nottingham Rock City, 13th Manchester Academy1, 14th Llandudno Venue Cymru, 15th Dublin Vicar Street, 20th Aberdeen Beach Ballroom, 21st Inverness The Ironworks, 22nd Kilmarnock Grand Hall, 23rd Glasgow O2 Academy. 24th Pickering Dalby Forest, 25th Nottingham Sherwood Pines, 29th Brandon Thetford Forest, 30th Northwich Delamere Forest. July: 7th Rugeley Cannock Chase Forest.
GLASTONBURY FESTIVAL 2017 W/ RADIOHEAD, FOO FIGHTERS & MORE June: 21st - 25th Glastonbury Worthy Farm.
ELECTRIC FIELDS W/ FRIGHTENED RABBI & MORE September: 1st - 2nd Drumlanrig Castle, Dumfries & Galloway.
GREEN MAN FESTIVAL W/ PJ HARVEY, RYAN ADAMS & MORE August: 17th - 20th Glanusk Park Estate (near Brecon Beacons).
EMMA RUTH RUNDLE April: 26th London Lexington.
HONEYBLOOD June: 16th London KOKO.
FIELD DAY W/ RUN THE JEWELS, APHEX TWIN & MORE June: 3rd London Victoria Park.
INDIE DAZE 4 W/ THE HOUSE OF LOVE, VOICE OF THE BEEHIVE & MORE October: 7th London Kentish Town O2 Forum.
GIGANTIC INDIE ALL-DAYER VOL.4 W/ THE WEDDING PRESENT, EMF & MORE May: 27th Manchester Academy.
JAMES July: 7th Manchester Castlefield Bowl, 15th London Royal Botanic Gardens, 29th Newcastle Times Square.
DEATH IN VEGAS May: 25th London Oval Space. DMAS April: 26th London Electric Brixton.
BELLE AND SEBASTIAN June: 15th London Royal Hospital Chelsea.
DREAM WIFE April: 27th London Tufnell Park Dome.
BMX BANDITS May: 27th Glasgow St Lukes.
ELBOW June: 15th Tetbury Westonbirt Arboretum, 17th Tunbridge Wells Bedgebury Pinetum,
THE COURTNEYS May: 29th Brighton The Joker, 31st Glasgow Broadcast. June: 1st Leeds Headrow House. 2nd London Shacklewell Arms.
LOUDER THAN WAR ISSUE 9 listings 3 pages.indd 2
O2 Guildhall, 5th Plymouth Pavilions, 6th Bournemouth O2 Academy, 8th Norwich Nick Rayns LCR UEA, 9th Cambridge Corn Exchange, 11th Leicester De Montfort Hall, 12th Southend Cliffs Pavilion, 13th London Alexandra Palace.
THE MACCABEES June: 27th & 28th Manchester O2 Apollo, 29th, 30th & July 1st: London Alexandra Palace. MAC DEMARCO May: 30th & 31st London O2 Academy Brixton.
LOS CAMPESINOS! April: 27th Liverpool Arts Club, 28th Glasgow Stereo, 29th Sheffield Queens Social Club, 30th Newcastle Cluny. May: 1st London KOKO, 5th Brighton Haunt, 6th Norwich Arts Centre, 7th Birmingham Hare And Hounds. JAWS April: 25th Manchester Academy, 26th London Scala, 27th Oxford Bullingdon. JIM JONES & THE RIGHTEOUS MIND May: 13th Sheffield The Plug, 17th Leeds Brudenell Social Club, 18th Hull Fruit, 19th Newcastle Upon Tyne The Cluny, 20th London The Lexington, 21st Norwich Waterfront. JOHN POWER (CAST) April: 27th Sheffield O2 Academy2, 28th Birmingham O2 Academy3, 29th London O2 Academy Islington. May: 4th Newcastle O2 Academy2, 5th Glasgow O2 ABC2, 6th Liverpool Arts Club.
KENDAL CALLING W/ STEREOPHONICS, MANIC STREET PREACHERS & MORE July: 27th - 30th Lake District Lowther Deer Park. KINGS OF LEON June: 9th Manchester Arena, 10th Sheffield Arena. July: 6th London Hyde Park. THE KOOKS April: 20th & 21st Manchester Academy, 22nd Birmingham O2 Academy, 24th Scunthorpe Baths Hall, 25th Leeds O2 Academy, 27th Newcastle O2 Academy, 28th Glasgow O2 Academy, 29th Liverpool Olympia, May: 1st Nottingham Rock City, 2nd Bristol Colston Hall, 4th Southampton
MANIC STREET PREACHERS July: Llangollen Llanfest, 27th - 30th Cumbria Kendal Calling, 30th Cheshire Carfest North. August: 4th - 6th Cork Indiependence, 5th Newcastle Live From Times Square, 27th Hampshire Carfest South. MAXIMO PARK May: 5th Birmingham O2 Institute, 6th Newcastle O2 Academy, 8th Aberdeen Lemon Tree, 9th Glasgow O2 ABC, 10th Sheffield Leadmill, 12th London Royal Festival Hall, 13th Bexhill On Sea De La Warr Pavilion, 15th Cambridge Junction, 16th Cardiff Tramshed, 17th Falmouth Princess Pavilion, 19th Manchester Albert Hall.
MOGWAI December: 16th Glasgow SSE Hydro. MUNCIE GIRLS April: 21st Bedford Esquires, 22nd Manchester Punk Festival, 24th Worcester Marrs Bar, 27th Cheltenham 2 Pigs, 29th Liecester Handmade Festival, 30th Guildford Boileroom.
PAUL DRAPER (EX-MANSUN) September: 14th Leeds Brudenell Social Club, 15th Manchester Gorilla, 16th Glasgow King Tuts, 21st London Scala, 22nd Bristol Thekla, 23rd Birmingham O2 Institute2.
POP WILL EAT ITSELF May: 26th London 100 Club. READING & LEEDS W/ MUSE, AT THE DRIVE IN, MAJOR LAZER & MORE August: 25th-26th Reading Richfield Avenue & Leeds Bramham Park. REBELLION FESTIVAL W/ SLAVES, RUTS DC, THE SKIDS & MORE August: 3-6th Blackpool Winter Gardens. RICHARD ASHCROFT April: 18th Glasgow SSE Hydro, 20th Birmingham Barclaycard Arena, 22nd Leeds First Direct Arena, 30th Manchester Castlefield Bowl. RYAN ADAMS September: 14th Manchester O2 Apollo, 15th Edinburgh Usher Hall, 17th Gateshead Sage, 18th Leeds O2 Academy, 22nd London Royal Albert Hall.
THE MEMBRANES W/ BIMM CHOIR April: 29th Manchester Ritz.
NICK CAVE & THE BAD SEEDS September: 24th Bournemouth BIC, 25th Manchester Arena, 27th Glasgow The SSE Hydro, 28th Nottingham Motorpoint Arena, 30th London The O2.
METRONOMY May: 16th Glasgow ABC, 17th Manchester Albert Hall, 19th London Brixton Academy, 25th - 28th Liverpool Sound City. July: 6th - 8th Winchester Blissfields, 20th - 23rd Huntingdon Secret Garden Party, 21st - 23rd Sheffield Tramlines.
Edinburgh Sneaky Pete’s, 17th Newcastle Cluny 2, 18th Leeds Headrow House, 19th London Moth Club, 20th Bedford Esquires, 21st Leicester Cookie, 22nd Manchester White Hotel.
PETER HOOK & THE LIGHT May: 11th Hull Students’ Union. July: 15th Chiddingly Rock Festival. August: 5th Rewind North Cheshire. PINS April: 10th Cardiff Moon Club, 12th Oxford Bullingdon, 14th Glasgow Broadcast, 15th
SACRED PAWS 14th: Cardiff The Gates Arts and Community Centre. THE SELECTER & THE BEAT April: 7th Nottingham Rock City, 8th Bristol O2 Academy, 28th Birmingham O2 Institute, 29th London O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire. SHED SEVEN December: 1st Glasgow O2 Academy, 2nd Newcastle O2 Academy, 4th Blackburn King Georges Hall, 5th Stoke Victoria Hall, 7th Cardiff University Y Plas, 8th Nottingham Rock City, 9th Sheffield O2 Academy, 11th Norwich UEA, 12th Bournemouth O2 Academy, 14th Bristol O2 Academy, 15th Birmingham O2 Academy, 16th London O2 Academy Brixton, 18th Leeds O2 Academy, 21st Hull City Hall, 22nd Manchester Academy. SHIIINE ON WEEKENDER W/ HAPPY MONDAYS, LEVELLERS & MORE November: 10th - 13th Butlins Minehead Arena.
LOUDER THAN WAR
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Pic LOTTE SCHRANDER:
RADIOHEAD June: 20th Dublin 3Arena, 23rd Glastonbury Festival. July: 4th & 5th Manchester Arena, 7th Glasgow TRNSMT Festival.
THE SHINS August: 22nd Manchester Academy, 23rd Nottingham Rock City.
SWANS May: 27th London Roundhouse, 28th Manchester Victoria Warehouse.
SLEAFORD MODS September: 22nd London O2 Academy Brixton. October: 5th Newcastle Northumbria University SU, 19th Lincoln The Engine Shed, 20th Sheffield O2 Academy, 21st Manchester Academy1, 25th Leeds Beckett Students’ Union, 26th Birmingham O2 Institute, 27th Cardiff Y Plas, 28th Bristol O2 Academy. November: 2nd Exeter The Lemon Grove, 3rd Southampton University SU, 4th Brighton Dome, 7th Cambridge Corn Exchange, 8th Norwich UEA, 9th Nottingham Rock City.
THEE OH SEES June: 3rd London Field Day Festival, 4th Bristol SWX, 14th Manchester University.
SOUNDS OF THE CITY W/ RICHARD ASHCROFT, ARCADE FIRE & MORE June: 30th – July: 8th Manchester Castlefield Bowl. STAR SHAPED FESTIVAL W/ THE BLUETONES, SLEEPER, SPACE & MORE July: 29th Birmingham O2 Institute. August: 5th London O2 Forum, 12th Glasgow O2 ABC, 19th Manchester O2 Ritz. THE STONE ROSES June: 13th Belfast SSE Arena, 17th London Wembley Stadium, 20th & 21st Leeds First Direct Arena, 24th Glasgow Hampden Park. SUNNO))) July: 13th Bristol Trinity Centre, 15th Manchester O2 Ritz (Manchester International Festival), 16th Glasgow SWG3 TV, 17th Belfast The Limelight, 18th Dublin Button Factory, 19th Leeds Stylus, 20th Brighton Concorde 2.
THOUSAND YARD STARE June: 2nd London 100 Club. TOM CLARKE FROM THE ENEMY June: 17th Nottingham Rescue Rooms, 18th Cardiff Globe, 19th Bristol Fleece, 21st Leeds Brudenell Social Club, 22nd Reading Sub89, 23rd Southampton Engine Rooms, 26th Birmingham O2 Institute2, 28th Stoke Keele SU2, 30th Glasgow O2 ABC. July: 1st Newcastle O2 Academy2, 2nd Liverpool Arts Club, 4th Manchester Gorilla, 6th London O2 Academy Islington, 7th Sheffield O2 Academy2. VICTORIOUS FESTIVAL W/ FRANZ FERDINAND, FEEDER & MORE August: 25th - 27th Southsea Seafront. THE WEDDING PRESENT June: 7th Newcastle O2 Academy, 8th Birmingham O2 Academy, 9th Nottingham Rock City, 10th London Roundhouse, 15th Bristol O2 Academy. WEEZER October: 23rd Leeds Academy, 24th Glasgow O2 Academy, 25th Manchester O2 Apollo, 27th Birmingham O2 Academy, 28th London SSE Wembley Arena. WIRE May: 4th & 5th London The Garage.
FRANK TURNER With his own indoor festival Lost Evenings across four nights at the Roundhouse in London this May, followed by an arena tour with pop punk giants Blink-182 and some festival performances this summer, British folk/punk troubadour Frank Turner is as busy as ever, as LTW finds out.
Lost Evenings is coming up in May. It must be a major landmark and achievement for you to have your own four day festival at the historic Roundhouse, doing different sets each night. How did the idea come about and develop? Any inspirations? Which night are you most excited for? “The idea came out of a desire for me to have my own festival. We spent a year or two looking into doing something outside, but in the end decided against; partly because the logistics and risks involved are huge, and partly because it would just have been very similar to 2000 Trees or Beautiful Days. I think those two have the market covered. So I was thinking about stuff like Meltdown, and thought it might be a fun idea to do an in-city festival of my own. There’s quite a lot of extra stuff that we have yet to announce - side shows, club nights and so on. Hopefully after this May people will grasp a bit better what the vibe is. We aim to do it again, maybe in other cities too. I think I’m probably most excited about the Sleep night, it’ll be fun to dig out a whole host of old songs.”
As well as your sets you have good friends supporting and will be doing a full programme of events, including panels and workshops, in the days for young people who want to get involved in the music industry. Is this community aspect part of your way of giving back to your fans and the youth? “Yes I wanted it to have a community aspect, and the folks at OneFest have been great working that out. I think music can be more than just sound, it can be something a community vibe is based around, and I like to promote that in what I do. Hopefully the whole vibe will reflect on my philosophy, such as it is.”
You’re also heading out on an arena tour with Blink 182 in July. That will probably get you playing to some people who somehow haven’t seen you yet, right? “Yes, I’d hope so, that’s the idea at any rate. Actually I’m kind of interested in the demographic of people who have paid some attention to what I do in the past but who may have fallen off the radar, so to speak. At the end of the day, you play to whoever comes, but it’ll be an interesting audience range, I think. And, importantly, a lot of fun.”
Finally, what do you have planned for the rest of the year? Recording your next album? “Yes; I’ll be in the USA recording after Lost Evenings. It’s an exciting and febrile time in my mind right now, haha. I’m pretty worked up about new material. Once that’s done, the cycle starts again.”
* - w/ Blink-182, full band. May: 12th - 15th London The Roundhouse (Lost Evenings Festival). July: 3rd Cardiff Motorpoint Arena*, 4th Nottingham Motorpoint Arena*, 5th Leeds First Direct Arena*, 7th Birmingham Barclaycard Arena*, 9th Newcastle Metro Radio Arena*, 11th Glasgow SSE Hydro*, 12th Aberdeen GE Oil & Gas Arena*, 14th Manchester Arena*, 15th Liverpool Echo Arena*, 17th Bournemouth INT Centre*, 19th & 20th London The O2*, 28th Derbyshire Y Not Festival (solo), 30th Kendal Calling Festival (full band). August: 4th Cork Indiependence Festival (solo), 11th Newquay Boardmasters Festival (full band), 13th Winchester Boomtown Fair Festival (solo), 19th Devon Beautiful Days Festival (full band), 26th Southsea Victorious Festival (solo). LOUDER THAN WAR
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LOUDER THAN WAR BACK ISSUES SLEAFORD MODS
“PEOPLE FELL IN LOVE WITH US AGAIN”
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Then & Now
POP WILL EAT ITSELF Coming together in Stourbridge in 1986, the Poppies started out as part of the Grebo scene before opening up their sound with hip-hop and electronica influences. Hitting the Top 10 with single ‘Get The Girl! Kill The Baddies!’, they left behind five albums before calling it a day in 1996. However, having briefly gotten back together in 2005, they returned properly with Graham ‘Crabbi’ Crabb at the helm in 2011 with the release of new material in the form of ‘New Noise Designed By A Sadist’, following it up with latest album ‘Anti-Nasty League’ in 2015. Preparing to play London’s 100 Club on May 26th before hitting Manchester’s Gigantic Festival on May 27th, LTW spoke to Graham about the band’s early years and the future...
THEN IN THE BEGINNING... “We had just split up a previous band that had gotten too professional and too serious, so we set out to not give a fuck and just enjoy the chaos. But deep down, though we wouldn’t have admitted it, there was a strong desire to make a mark, as well as having the best night of our lives every night. It was amazing really, when you’d travel to parts of the country you’d never been to before, and to be faced with people singing the words to your songs and knowing when the chorus hits or where each drumroll leads... It’s exhilarating stuff when you’re used to playing the same three clubs in Birmingham.”
HIP-HOP HOORAY “I got into Mantronix and those hip-hop electro albums in the mid-eighties, but as a band we were just doing the pop-punk thing. I’d have to credit Justified Ancients Of Mu-Mu and Age Of Chance who made me realise that technology could be hijacked in a way that was edgy and mischievous and very exciting. We took to incorporating hiphop as the likes of Run DMC, the Beasties and Public Enemy were incorporating rock music into their sound. The first tour with this new direction confused the fuck out of everyone. The crowd went mild. We soon hit our stride though. People eventually got it.”
POP STARDOM, RCA RECORDS & THE BIRTH OF GOLDEN CLAW
serious again (there’s a theme here…) The A&R department telling us to have EMF write some tunes for us. Yeah, right. Golden Claw was my escape from it all! I enjoyed the solitude and quietness after the mayhem of too much touring. It was good working with Markus Drives (producer). His use of effects and dropping in live percussion to break up the programming was a really useful lesson.”
NOW COMING BACK BRIGHTER “I kept trying to get the band back together and it was going to happen but it fell apart. I didn’t feel I should abandon my back catalogue so a new Pop Will Eat Itself was the only answer for me to continue in a similar vein.”
“I was deliberately dismissive of it, being the contrarian I am. I did realise that chart success was not THE FUTURE what I was after, I wanted longevity “I’ve just fractured my shoulder blade failing to and a loyal following, not be a slave hurdle the garden wall. It was almost a ‘Spinal to radio and TV. The highs with RCA Tap’-style ‘bizarre gardening accident’. I’ll be okay were being bankrolled to a degree for the May gigs but it might be painful - for me we couldn’t have afforded off our as well as the audience. And we’ve also confirmed own backs. US and Australian Shiiine On festival for November too.” tours with hi-jinks a-plenty gave us some of the most Pop Will Eat Itself play London’s 100 Club on memorable moments of our lives. The lows were when it the 26th of May all got too professional and
LOUDER THAN WAR
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POST PUNK FROM NO FUTURE TO NO BOUNDARIES JOHN LYDON'S JOURNEY WIHT PUBLIC IMAGE LIMITED PLUS ECHO & THE BUNNYMEN JOY DIVISION WIRE MAGAZ...
Published on Dec 2, 2019
POST PUNK FROM NO FUTURE TO NO BOUNDARIES JOHN LYDON'S JOURNEY WIHT PUBLIC IMAGE LIMITED PLUS ECHO & THE BUNNYMEN JOY DIVISION WIRE MAGAZ...