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MCR Live

LIVE: Surfbort @ Soup Kitchen

WORDS + PHOTOS: FELICITY DELL

Surfbort, a wild and wonderful four-piece band hailing from across the pond. Formed in Brooklyn New York the band are made up of vocalist Dani Miller, guitarists Alex Kilgore and David Head and drummer Sean Powell. Their inspirations are undoubtedly that of the electric ’80s punk scene that provides for an explosive and provocative live show. Surfbort‘s discography is made up of three albums Trash, Surbort 7” and their latest Bort To Death, which they are currently touring across Europe.

Joining the band on the Manchester date are local lads, Bleach Boy. The quartet is made up of Milo(vocals), Sam(bass), Cian (drums) and Tommi (guitar), despite hailing from all around the UK the group are based in Manchester and will surely be taking the music capital by storm. The grungy lyrics and blaring guitars give for an energetic set with Milo seeing no boundaries in the stage-while spending a large amount of time in the audience. This was to the liking of the crowd and even audiences’ members whom of which had no prior knowledge of the group were dancing and engaging in the set. The band looked at home on the stage and their raw passion and energy carried the set along at a speed in which would be missed at the blink of an eye.

In terms of Surbort, there was no questioning why they were headlining a venue such as Soup Kitchen, by the time they were to start the venue was packed, many of the people there were avid fans and had pushed their way to the front of the venue, ready to start a mosh pit. When the band walked out, the room was filled with cheers, which quickly turned into the eclectic 80’s punk that could insight any riot. The crowd was awash with energy and everyone in the room even the sound engineers and bar staff were nodding and dancing along.

The band’s presence was most noticeable with their choice of extravagant clothing and even more crazy hair. It couldn’t have been longer than 5 minutes before Dani was in the crowd hugging and dancing with the eager fans, many of which were starstruck by her presence. A variety of their tracks were playing including the fantastic and hauntingly catchy Trashworld and my now personal favourite – the elegantly titled Hippie Vomit Inhaler. Despite being unaware of them before this show, I was pleased and excited to see such a thrilling live show that despite knowing only a few songs I could enjoy profusely.

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La Discotheque returns to Albert Hall this February

Returning to Manchester after their 2nd birthday tour, La Discotheque brings a stellar line up of disco and house to Albert Hall on Saturday, February 23rd. Headlined by the Founding Father of House, Lil’ Louis, along with sets from Dmitri from Paris, Horse Meat Disco and Luke Solomon.

Known for its huge lineups, La Discotheque brings Lil’ Louis to Albert Hall for the first time in seven years. Widely referred to as the “The Founding Father of House” with his seminal piece of work – French Kiss – released on Pete Tong’s FFRR imprint in 1989, remains one of the most recognisable tracks in House music today.

Joining Lil’ Louis is Dimitri from Paris, who returns to La Discotheque for a second time. Boasting such a prolific discography, the Frenchman is a true champion of the Disco era and a favourite of disco fans worldwide. London favourites Horse Meat Disco also provide support, having gone from strength to strength since they last played at La Discotheque in Manchester. They’ve been flying the flag all over Britain and selling out countless parties across numerous cities. It’s the queer party for everyone: “Homos and heteros, bears, fashionistas, naturists, guerrilla drag queens and ladies who munch”. Now mainstays on the club and festival circuits as DJs, and with tours in Asia and beyond becoming a formality, the Horse Meat revolution is well and truly underway and en route to Albert Hall on February 23rd.

Photo: Jack Kirwin -JK Photography-

The final announced support slot comes from La Discotheque debutant Luke Solomon.A true linchpin of the underground House music scene, Luke founded the long-running imprint “Classic” together with Derrick Carter back in 1995, produced Horse Meat Disco’s latest album and has been running the A&R for Defected Records for nearly a decade now. Despite operating on the fringes of the underground for so long, Luke has made big strides in recent years, touring extensively and bagging ‘Soldier Of The Scene’ at last year’s DJ Mag Best of British Awards.

Of course with it being La Discotheque, you can expect a load of surprises and VIP extras. We can’t wait to don the glitter once more and get back to Albert Hall. You can get your tickets HERE

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ALBUM RELEASE: ‘Encore’ – The Specials

WORDS BY MARK HUGHES

There was a real sense of anticipation leading up to the release of the first, The Specials, studio album for thirty-two years. When a band makes only two albums but puts an indelible stamp through the core of your young body, then you wonder where a 32-year hiatus will lead studio album number three. Mainly, as a pessimist, will it be a disappointment after all this time of waiting? But when you play the first track and think “yep this is cool”, the second track “oh I like this”, the third track, the released single, so you know it and love it already – and so it goes on. Smiling, foot tapping and moving to “da riddim” throughout the album.

This experience reminds me of when my 13-year-old self listened to More Specials, for the first time, and I discovered that they were more than just a revival ska band. Just like the first album introduced me to my love for Jamaican music, with its mix of originals and covers, then the second album opened other new influences for me. Songs such as the cover of Rex Garvin’s Sock it to em JB was my introduction to American R&B.

This new album, Encore, has the feel of both previous studio albums; politically driven, topical lyrics and authentic grooves. It also becomes personal with Terry Hall baring his soul on The Life and Times (of a Man Called Depression), which is both sad and most beautifully presented and Lynval Golding delivering a hard-hitting commentary, on the track BLM (Black Lives Matter), of how he and his family struggled to be accepted; experiencing racism, hatred and ignorance when invited by the UK to emigrate to England, on the Windrush.

The mixture of funk and ska is evident, as incredible covers by The Equals (Black Skin Blue Eyed Boys) and The Valentines (Blam Blam Fever), followed by an awesome alternative version of Ten Commandments, seen through the eyes of guest vocalist and activist Saffyiah Khan, who delivers a vitriolic feminist/anti-feminist comeback to Prince Busters misogynistic original, with the heavy rhythm provided by a version of Dawn Penn’s dancehall classic You Don’t Love Me. There are, of course, some powerful originals of their own in the mix too, such as the cleverly scripted and carny grooved Breaking Point, which tackles the cataclysm of social media and global politics that provides the most powerful line on the album; “with the help of God and a few marines, we’ll blow this place to smithereens.”

As always The Specials serve up education in their messages, but with the rhythm throughout being so mesmeric that political delivery and the slap around the face to the human race is almost subliminal at times. All of a sudden the message just hits you smack bang between the eyes!

Torp Larsen’s intelligent production takes the essence of Jerry Dammers to create a very authentic representation of the Dammers moniker, as demonstrated in studio album number 2 (and probably the self-titled first album as well, even though production is credited to Elvis Costello). With only three of the original seven members in the current line up (Terry Hall, Lynval Golding, and Horace Panter) then the authenticity is to be considered even more remarkable. If it looks like The Specials, quacks like The Specials and sounds like The Specials, then it probably is The Specials.

With my pessimism happily shot down and my disappointment replaced by euphoria, then I can gladly report that I’m feeling like my 13-year-old self once again by playing the album over and over and over until a parent tells me to “Give it a bloody rest” and at my age this isn’t gonna happen any time soon.

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ALBUM RELEASE: Red Rum Club – ‘Matador’

WORDS BY MAURINA ANGIONI

Red Rum Club‘s first album ‘Matador’ is exactly what we were expecting to hear from the Liverpool sextet. The first thought when listening to it is that the name ‘Matador’ summarise perfectly the whole experience and we don’t even need to listen to the eponymous track to understand it. The trumpet comes out as compelling and assertive straight in the first seconds of the opening track ‘Angeline’, immediately defining the unique sound of the band together with a precise rhythmic session and powerful guitar chords.

‘Angeline’ sets the bar high for all the other tunes in the album, which are generally catchy and uptight, like some renegades fleeing the desert while dancing. The song is imbued with love words and a sense of loneliness cried out loud with power and emotional energy. But Red Rum Club are not only this.

If you watched one of their videos or live performances you should know that they are capable of fitting in different dresses. When a song like ‘Hung Up’ or ‘TV Said So’ plays we can understand how much different they can be, with the second track just a stone away from a certain late 80s/early 90s vibe.

The new single ‘Would You Rather Be Lonely?’, of which the sweet video was filmed in the iconic Matthew Street in Liverpool, gives a sense of peace and love and has a strong indie influence, definitely making difficult to write this review while sitting when I would gladly dance the track.  After the little detour into indie, closing with the well-known ‘Honey’, we go back to the main sound of the album: listening to ‘Nobody Gets Out Alive’ with its dramatic lyrics, you can see profiling on the horizon a young lovestruck Clint Eastwood.

‘Calexico’, also an old acquaintance, brings us again to a Latin country, with the passionate vibrato of the trumpet, the rich sound of the bass and the warm voice of singer Fran Doran bejewelling the composition and turning it into a sexy dance. When we hear the last songs, ‘Remedy’, and ‘Matador’, we feel that we have reached the end of a journey somewhere far away and want to do it all over again. The general sound is a well self-defined spaghetti western feeling with just a bit of Zorro, and I say this in the most positive way.

The lyrics of the whole album try to explore the ranges of solitude and loneliness with emotional, perfect for the sound and the cinematic images that it creates. It feels like a knight is coming to my rescue with sweet and witty words but wearing a suit like Vincent Vega in Pulp Fiction. I didn’t know that was possible.

The Red Rum Club kept the promise of a strong burning debuting album and we can assume without doubt that they’ll do the same with their lives when the tour kicks in. They are definitely a band to follow in 2019. I made them one of my resolutions for the new year and so should you.

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INTERIOR’s Top Acts to Look Out For in 2019

WORDS BY JACOB BRAILSFORD

January blues, diet plans, financial experts and Interior invited to predict the must-see acts over the next 12 months for MCR Live. Proverbial hot cakes on-sale right now include the likes of The Orielles, Holy Now and Hen Ogledd. Some other names that spring to mind include offerings from Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs, BC Camplight, Swedish Magazines and many more – so little time, so many bands! So here are our top picks to look out for over the coming months:

Leah Senior (Thursday 7th February, The Castle Hotel)

Leah hails from Melbourne, Australia, and is signed to King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard’s Flightless Records label. Fans may already be familiar with her work as the haunting narrator on the bands 2017’s ‘Murder of The Universe’ album by King Gizzard. She heads to Europe in February on her first headline tour. Be warned though, this is as far removed from the world of King Gizzards‘ as you can get, her unique dark folk is just the cure for the winter months.

James Chance + Les Contortions (Friday 15th March, Soup Kitchen)

Central figures in the foundation of the No Wave scene in NYC back in the late 70’s, their first recording was produced by Brian Eno. James Chance used to jump off stage and attack members of the audience who, in his estimation, weren’t exerting enough energy during his earlier gigs – taking into account the fact that he is now 64, I think we MIGHT just be alright. We don’t like to draw opinions on our approach to how we offer shows across the UK / what’s the formula (who cares) but this is is a fine example of the cross over between old and new worlds collide. The music can do the talking on this one.

Sauna Youth (UTR LABEL TAKEOVER) Sat 30th March

We emailed UTR HQ back in June and proposed a takeover / showcase at The White Hotel to celebrate 10 years of the formation of the label. The night features Sauna YouthTrash KitGutternsipe and Dog Chocolate. Fans of UTR will be familiar with their discovery of John Maus, Mac DeMarco and Apostle. The label seems unstoppable and continue to promote shows the UTR moniker. We last caught Sauna Youth in the summer at Soup Kitchen, on the back of their third album. Avid listeners will be familiar with the repetitive and grinding guitar loops of Sauna Youth, with lyrics referencing the daily struggle, politics and working life – delivered in less than 120 seconds.

Strange Cages + Working Men’s Club (Friday 29th March at The Castle, Manchester / Saturday 30th March at HPBC, Leeds)

Strange Cages, are a band that have been building a big reputation down south for some time now, swirling psych riffs reminiscent of Nuggets. Wall-to-wall riffs and squelching vocals to keep your attention all night long. But also, joining them on both nights we have Manchester babes Working Men’s Club. Their next single ‘Bad Blood’ is set to be released next month via Melodic. Already in their short existence they have supported The Brian Jonestown Massacre and The Wedding Present (a mean feet for any group).

Girls In Synthesis (The Castle, Thursday 11th April)

Girls In Synthesis, we invited these to join the Damo Suzuki All Day Ordeal (May 2018) that had the last backing group of The Fall as sound carriers. We also brought Sex Cells to the North for the first time. From the off, the group got in the audiences faces, literally decamping the entire stage to the floor, think Fugazi, Albini and Crass. Interior isn’t just a ‘promoter’ we work with some of the most interesting bands and DJs we can get a hold of, since September we have been working alongside the group to set up their first headline tour this coming April and securing them a support slot at Brixton Academy with Wolf Alice a few weeks ago.

The Membranes + Henge  (The Ritz, 8th June)

Membranes frontman John Robb is no stranger to the Manchester punk scene, his now annual event at The Ritz has come along way. Now in its third year, it has been host to The Lovely Eggs, Brix & The Extricated, Sink Ya Teeth and The Blinders. This year is no exception, with most of the lineup still to be teased out over the next couple of months. But for kick off we have Henge, Glove and The Membranes.

Henge are an endearing live act and a festival favourite in the North, where they’ve brought their galactic antics to events like Bluedot, Kendal Calling and Beat-Herder. Firm favourites, big things are expected this year from this group. Claiming partly to be from Manchester but also some other far flung galaxy under the spell of krautrock (perfect Interior medicine).

Like this? Read up on all of our blog posts HERE 👀

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ON THE RADAR: 2019

Over the year, 2018 weened out a host of new acts that met the limelight. From Boy Azooga to Parcels, independent acts have blown-up the music scene and set their sights on the big-time. But what can come through in 2019? Of course we don’t know yet who are going to rise up from the depths of their rehearsal spaces and practice rooms but our MCR Live contributors have selected the next generation of acts that they can see appearing on your playlists over the next twelve months.


EGYPTIAN BLUE

WORDS BY HANNAH TINKER

Their name comes from the “colour that disappeared” – the deep blue pigment that surfaced in the Egyptian period and vanished until it was rediscovered in the Roman Era –  but be assured, Egyptian Blue aren’t going to disappear any time soon. The Southern four-piece have cropped up slotted in amongst the vinyls of record shops up and down the country, as well as featured on many a ‘top track of 2018’ list from BBC Radio 6 to Piccadilly Records. Although still relatively unknown, they’re more than likely to break the mould in 2019 and be presented at some of your favourite venues.

FFO. Squid, Duds, Sorry.


HOTEL LUX

WORDS BY JESSICA CAMPBELL

Think of the South of England and your mind will probably be drawn to the colourful stony beaches of Brighton, the White Cliffs that lead to more exotic places or the first right of passage as a rowdy 16-year-old, Newquay. But Portsmouth? It’s more than likely that you’d probably only recognise it as the place you’d pass through to get to Bestival (RIP). However, one band are about to change this – mainly hailing from these haunts comes the macabre Hotel Lux. Though a young band, the 5-piece provide gritty realism through their lyrics – case in point being smash single of 2018 ‘Daddy’ which focuses on the often overlooked seedy underbelly of every city, all which seem to possess a sense of familiarity for front-man Lewis which in turn will leave you wholly satisfied, if not with realistic world portrayed through their lyrics. If you like dark, punky music that your mum probably won’t get, these are your guys.

FFO. Lady Bird, Goat Girl, The Rhythm Method.


LAVA LA RUE

WORDS BY EMMA LANGFORD

Lava La Rue is a west-London rapper last year releasing ‘LAVALAND’ consisting of a few short tapes integrating soft vocals with the sounds of London showcasing her personal style. Earlier on in the year in June, she released her EP ‘Letra’ showing a more hip-hop infused, upbeat sound. The track ‘Widdit’ was a success, bagging her a show on the notorious YouTube channel ‘A Colors Show’, a platform promoting fresh talent. Lava La Rue is also the founder of the nine8collective, a London based music, and arts collective, promoting and collaborating the work of its artists and musicians. La Rue’s silky lyrics and distinctive sound have caught the attention of many listeners. She is one to look out for in 2019.

FFO. Biig Piig, Poppy Ajudha, Puma Blue


32 TENS

WORDS BY CRAIG HOPKINSON

32 Tens are a Warrington based indie rock band, are set to make a serious impact on the unsigned, emerging U.K. music scene in 2019. This awesome band is already receiving thousands of streams and playlist features on Spotify, are members of the quickly growing AWAL independent music community to distribute globally and have also played a tranche of gigs across the U.K. for the last eighteen months. Their music is an energetic blend of harmonic melody, intense, heavy drums, funky bass, and lead guitar solos and very dynamic lyrics. The intensity and passion really shine through with every song and performance and so these guys are definitely a band to watch out for next year.

FFO. The Snuts, Rascalton, Chappaqua Wrestling


WALT DISCO

WORDS BY JESSICA CAMPBELL

Listen to just 30 seconds of one of their songs or seeing their oversized art-rock cum new-romantic inspired attire and you’ll wonder whether what you’re listening to is from now, or some 20 years ago. Inhaling the somewhat ‘twisted’ society around them and exhaling glittering tracks like ‘No Need For A Curtain’, which explores a documentary based on prostitution in Leeds, Walt Disco are breathing a new and beautifully flamboyant life (far beyond their years) into the flourishing Glasgow music scene. Punk AF. Glamorously gothic, with elements of Bowie ringing clear (both in haunting stage prowess, to recorded sound) everything the quintet do catches the eye. Need a douse of something refreshing to fit with your new year revamp? Walt Disco have it all.

FFO. Crack Cloud, HMLTD, The Ninth Wave (and banging clothes).


IMOGEN

WORDS BY JACK MCKEEVER

The London-based producer/DJ Imogen took the final quarter of 2018 by storm. She turned in a stonking hour mix for Rob Booth’s legendary Electronic Explorations series, and her impossibly murky breaks assault ‘Katla’ was a highlight of Mumdance’s ‘Shared Meanings’ mix CD. She takes severe techno as a starting point and splices into various grinding, wiggling forms, making tracks as likely to make one quiver as to bang fists. Early 2019 sees her appear in Brussels alongside Charlotte De Witte, and in June she’ll appear at the hallowed Junction 2 Festival in her hometown. Here’s to hoping there’ll also be a load of seismic releases from her throughout the year.

FFO.


BOY AZOOGA

WORDS BY RUSSELL HOPE

When you know you’re good you have to be incredibly good to back up that arrogance and cock-sureness of knowing how good you are and then you come across those artists that do what they do with humble confidence and appreciation of where they are and where they are going in their career. Boy Azooga is the latter and the captain of the ship (Davey Newington) has the full respect of those who have listened to his debut album ‘1, 2, Kung Fu’. Through the full variety, ranging from the grit of ‘Loner Boogie’ to the sheer brilliance and beauty of ‘Jerry’. After witnessing the album live at Bluedot in the summer, you just know that the follow up to this album has the potential of being even better. I can thank Mary-Anne Hobbs from BBC Radio 6 for opening my ears to this one and after being live on there last month I’m sure Davey is thankful too.

FFO. The Orielles, Pip Blom, The Vryll Society


CONFIDENCE MAN

WORDS BY HANNAH TINKER

Make way for the act that stole the show in 2018’s festival scene: Confidence Man. If you’re a Disco fanatic, you’ll know of the icon that is Rosin Murphy and her ability to immediately get the floor moving. Like the Disco Queen herself, the two-piece has faced audiences who didn’t know the Confidence Man title and left them proclaiming their excellence. Feel-good gets a re-boost with this group, they know exactly what to say to make it right and brighten any negativity. I for one am angling to see this pair at a festival in 2019, having heard that their spectacle of a show lets the euphoria run right up your spine. It’s Pop, it’s Disco, it’s Dance. It’s everything you need in 2019.

FFO. Methyl Ethel, Winston Surfshirt, Haiku Hands


PERSIAN HUGS

WORDS BY SOPHIE BILLINGTON

This four-piece band of men in Liverpool offers a clean but heavy sound with a lot of smooth talking. With guitars and drums that take turns in the spotlight, Persian Hugs are a classic rock outfit that are simultaneously polite and gentlemanly yet wild and unruly. The lead, Henry Belcher, is the kind of man that you want to take home to meet your parents but not for very long. Every release has been a hit so far and Persian Hugs’ following is fast growing on Spotify due to the undeniable panache that comes across in the band’s deliverance of mature and thoughtful stories.

FFO. Sea Girls, Red Rum Club, Corella


ANOTHER SKY

WORDS BY RICHARD SAMUEL

Another Sky burst on to the scene in 2017 with their progressive indie rock, that has a real cinematic quality to it. Gluing together some real classic elements with a tangible rawness, sharp observant lyrics, dark yet uplifting and the distinct vocals of Catrin Vincent that are hauntingly beautiful. If you go deeper you will find ambient guitars layered upon penetrating bass lines and apprehensive beats. Think Radiohead meeting The xx but with added bite and you’ve got something that is thrillingly haunting.  I also love the lyrics “Why worry ‘bout the weather or nuclear weapons when you can eat for free on a black card at Nandos?” on recent single ‘Chillers’, which show a band wanting to tackle big issues instead of singing about why their ex has broken their heart.

FFO. Sam Fender, Stereo Honey, Art School Girlfriend


PATAWAWA

WORDS BY JESSICA CAMPBELL

I’m going to go ahead and say it – Patawawa released the catchiest tune of 2018. Ever since monster-single ‘Patagonia’ dropped, the Matlock-based trio have gone from strength to strength playing up and down the country to packed out crowds at headline gigs and festivals alike and (not-so) rumours have it, a new EP is set to drop in the coming weeks. As new bop ‘Wires’ exhibits, Patawawa are showing no signs of stopping – taking their inherently Nu-Disco sound to new levels with Latin flavours sprinkled throughout. Hearing all this, I’m sure that you can imagine that no matter when you hear them, listening to Patawawa it’ll feel like you’ve been thrust back to the midst of the summer. And live? If you’re having a shit day, the three-piece will be sure to change that with beaming smiles as they bounce around the stage, filling any room with a contagious energy that doesn’t slow down for a second.

FFO. Parcels, Crazy P, Franc Moody


BLACK MIDI

WORDS BY HANNAH TINKER

It’s rare nowadays that anyone doesn’t have a social media presence, let alone a music act aiming to rise up through the ranks. Meet black midi. A quick scan of their scarce social media pages shows they only post their gig listings and nothing else. Word-of-mouth has brought them an alert fan-base, each passing on the folklore of this newcomer with no online bearing. Clamouring for every scrap of information they can find, the BRITS Academy graduates: black midi are in high demand. It’s a unique math-rock take on the independent acts floating around nowadays. As individual in their promotion as they are in their performance, go see for yourself at their twenty *almost* consecutive January and February 2019 tour dates.

FFO. Shame, Warmduscher, Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs

Like this? Read up on all of our blog posts HERE 👀

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2018 IN REVIEW: Top Tracks

For all musical acts, there are tracks that stand their own. Whether it cements their career, signifies a change in direction or, on a grander scale, is unique to the industry – musicians are graded song by song. Over the twelve months of marvelous music that 2018 brought us, there were a whole host of singles that catalysed careers and united fans across the country. But which records stood out for the contributors at MCR Live? Which songs will outlive the year and remain lodged in our brains (and playlists)? Take a look at what we picked, right here:


‘Curse of the Contemporary’ – LUMP

WORDS BY CIERA LITTLEFORD

‘Curse of the Contemporary’ was released, seemingly out of nowhere, in April by Laura Marling and Mike Lindsay (Tuung) under the name LUMP. It was at the beginning of our heatwave, and that bass-line became the staple of my summer. Now, it feels just as fresh as it did back then – Marling’s gorgeous vocals glide effortlessly between octaves over Lindsay’s almost hazy sounding guitar. ‘”f you should be bored in California, I’m sure I’m not the first to warn ya” threatens to stay in your head on a loop for weeks, but it’s hard to complain; it never gets old.


‘Only My Honesty Matters’ – B.E.D.

WORDS BY HANNAH TINKER

By now, you’re used to lyrics about anguish and pity towards the World, cast alongside a heavy punk-edged, indie bassline. The lead singer straddles their Fender, gaunt black makeup streaked down their face. ‘Only My Honesty Matters’ gladly sets that image aside. The ‘B’ in B.E.D. is Baxter Dury, the stark voiced son of punk legend Ian Dury – of Madness fame – whose vocals take lead in the track. Much like his famous father, Baxter’s voice is a thick, cockney drawl which pours out the lyrics put together by himself and singer/songwriter Dellilah Holiday ‘D’, of London-based punk act Skinny Girl Diet.

It’s a modern-day poem that speaks of how predictable and complacent society has become: “Listening to Florence & The Machine and having a roll-up/Impudent white, obvious people with shocking clothes and awful music, red death and assigned to being a nob/alternative thoughts, alternative clothes or leisurely dressed boss, corduroy, all-in-one time team”. The backdrop is a repetitive chorus of drums and synths orchestrated by Dellilah and ‘E’: composer and musician Etienne De Crecy. It’s not the commonplace political, bohemian angry song, that leaves you with sweat dripping from the nape of your neck. It’s stating the obvious, it’s matter-of-fact, it’s not mocking us, it’s pointing the finger. It’s Dury.


‘It Makes You Forget (Itgehane)’ – Peggy Gou

WORDS BY EVE WHITESIDE

Early on this year, lady of the moment Gou released a classic house track on Ninja Tune that undoubtedly deserves a mention. What makes this such a stand-out tune is that it has so many layers throughout, possessing both buoyant energy and features her own enchanting Korean vocals throughout. The depth of the track stands out against her previous releases, a step away from her synthy disco signature.

‘It Makes You Forget (Itgehane)’ has since had many remixes, which reveal the appeal it has had to more artists in the electronic music scene. It remains fresh and current while lending to the classic 1990s-house background, and it’s clear this is just one of many more exciting releases coming from Peggy Gou.


‘Four Out Of Five’ – Arctic Monkeys

WORDS BY CRAIG HOPKINSON

Known for crafting a U.K. rock sound so iconic that it would later be engrained into the woodwork or concrete of every rock dance floor across the country for a decade. Arctic Monkeys released ‘Four Out of Five’ in 2018 with a completely fresh musical idiom.

With a new ’80s funk-influenced, down-tempo and up-stroke guitar infused sound that stunned fans everywhere, Alex Turner and the rest of the band released a really dynamic and thoughtful concept album, ‘Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino’, and ‘Four of Five’ was released as its lead single.

Accompanied by an awesome music, video which pays great homage to science fiction movies; ‘The Shining’ and ‘A Space Odyssey 2001’ by Stanley Kubrick, ‘Four Out of Five’ is jam-packed with layers of lyrical storylines and cryptic narratives, a unique and brand new sonic pallet with instrumentation that is off the charts, and a whole new artistic direction.


‘Lux Prima’ – Karen O and Danger Mouse

WORDS BY CIERA LITTLEFORD

Last month, Karen O (Yeah Yeah Yeahs) and prolific producer Danger Mouse dropped Lux Prima, the first single from an exciting project (due next year) the two have embarked on. It’s a nine-minute-long, sandwich of a song – it opens and ends with an ambient, winding synth section featuring an Air-esque drum and bass line. Three minutes in, this ends and Karen’s distinctive vocals work together with a string staccato, crooning ‘I’m nowhere / I’m no one / I’m nobody / There’s nobody but you’. The looping structure enables us to get fully immersed for a while in a dreamy, astral soundscape while we wait for more of this fascinating collaboration.


‘Pick Up’ – DJ Koze

WORDS BY EVE WHITESIDE

If you found yourself circulating electronic music festivals this summer, this will surely be one of your most heard and remembered tracks. The blissful tones of this relaxed yet stimulating dance track will be sure to inspire minds for months to come. Sampling the vocals from 1972 track “Neither One of Us” by Gladys Knight proves a success running throughout creating a haunting edge and a message about heartbreak.

One of the most interesting points about this track is the fact that it is made up of synths and melodies quite simplistic, yet it does not sound simple in the slightest. Coming straight off his album Knock Knock, this tune is an ultimate crowd pleaser which will be circulating electronic music for a while to come.

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LIVE: Christine & The Queens @ O2 Apollo Manchester

WORDS BY DAVID WILKINSON

“I think I’ll always be a tiny little bit…tilted”. French singer-songwriter Christine & The Queens treated everyone at O2 Apollo Manchester to a force majeure of femininity, passion, and fun. Part gig, part theatre production, part comedy routine she was on top form and provided an incredibly entertaining performance.

Sometimes I always feel a bit detached when watching heavily choreographed sets. Is the performer just on autopilot or are they feeling everything we’re feeling? I’ve always thought performances are best when there’s a little sense of danger and chaos occurring on stage. However, despite each dance routine being inch-perfect you still got the feeling that she was feeling every emotion that she sings so eloquently about.

Watching her was like watching an art performance on loss, relationships and finding one’s belonging. Her upbringing in theatre has heavily influenced her as a performer. The dance routines are impressive and the signing is perfect to a note. Even songs entirely in French get the crowd singing as if they’ve all got a degree in the language. It’s funny actually. Watching her onstage reminding me of the way Michael Jackson used to move to an extent and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that at one point she launched into a cover version of his ‘Man On The Mirror’.

Tilted remains her most powerful work and it’s no surprise this is the song that gets the biggest reaction from the crowd. It’s a beautiful symphony which makes you proud to be different. If you’ve ever felt strange or that you didn’t belong or were somehow different but you couldn’t put your finger on it then this song will resonate with you in ways you couldn’t possibly explain.

She has charisma to die for and it isn’t a stretch of the imagination to think of her doing comedy routines as well as singing and dancing. There were moments during the gig when she soliloquised about life, love and the human experience. All of these moments were funny, poignant and beautiful. This was the last of her UK tour but she’ll no doubt be on a few festival line-ups next summer. Make the time to go and see her. You won’t regret it.

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