Novella have been putting in the work on London’s live circuit, playing plenty of shows and converting rooms of strangers into ones filled with ardent fans. Their difficult to pin down mixture of C86 indie-melodies, shoegaze distortion, and cool as a cucumber vocals (are cucumbers really that cool?), culminate in a sound with clear influences but yet that’s undeniably refreshing to hear.

Their recent self-titled EP which came out on Monday, puts together the best of what’s got people talking at the gigs. Already their live reputation has seen the group – Hollie Warren (guitar/vocals) Sophy Hollington (guitar) Suki Sou (bass) and Iain Laws (drums) – support esteemed acts including Veronica Falls, Fanzine, 2:54, and Friends, plus sets at The Great Escape and Camden Crawl also saw them impress.

The EP was recorded with Rory Atwell handling production on his Thames-dwelling Lightship95 boat studio and comes out via the Italian Beach Babes label. It’s the first thing the band have released since their debut single in August. “We really wanted to release a collection of songs that reflected our different influences and sounds,” they explain. “Our aim with the EP is to reflect the progression in our song writing and we took more time thinking about the recording process than we ever did before. We experimented with different guitar sounds and vocal harmonies.”

‘He’s My Morning’ is a dark track with an intensity that builds throughout until a climax of fuzzy guitar solos and intense drumming showcases the intricate ability of the band. It’s here as an exclusive download to Clash readers and is definitely one of the highlights on a varied EP emphasising the variety of their ability.

Listen to it now… Grab it HERE.

Right click, ‘Save As…’

Words by Simon Butcher

People are moshing – actually fucking moshing – at an indie pop gig.

Not just any indie pop band, either. Released back in 2010, Beach Fossils’ debut album delighted those-in-the-know but sometimes it seemed that those who knew were rather few and far between. Announcing one UK show as part of a wider European show, the solitary, singular nature of the event seems to have brought this loose knit, disparate tribe together.

Crowded into Water Rats on what is undoubtedly the hottest day of the year (thus far, at least) sweat seems to bead the air. Emerging onstage to no small degree of anticipation, Beach Fossils are forced to face up to 18 months of slow burn success.

Initially, they seem like any other ambling, smouldering indie pop group. Suddenly, though, the entire show clicks into gear. Almost as one, everyone in the room realises that everyone here knows every word to every song. After that, a party atmosphere ensures – the band throw themselves around onstage, before Dustin Payseur crowds from one side of the venue to another.

Clearly loving every second, Beach Fossils must be kicking themselves for not turning their debut album into a double. ‘Daydream’ turns into a mass singalong while ‘Sometimes’ finds Zachary Cole Smith take to the mic.

Left open mouthed, peering at one another it takes Dustin Payseur to state the obvious: “well, I guess we should play here more often”.

There are a helluva lot of people here.

All different kinds, too: old skool rave types, couples on a date, school kids, the curious middle aged and a few impossible to categorise. T-E-E-D suddenly appears to be big news and the pressure, it seems, is on.

Choosing to launch his debut album in KOKO is a strange, bewildering and downright brave move from Orlando Higginbottom. Shuffling onstage though, he appears to be the same shy, self-effacing Oxford kid who first introduced himself with those Greco-Roman EPs.

Expanding in scale, the essential style of a T-E-E-D live show remains the same. Clad in his dinosaur hat, the producer is surrounded by all manners of synths, keyboards, laptops and other bleeping contraptions. Opening up with a run of tracks from debut album ‘Trouble’, T-E-E-D’s music seems to adapt naturally to a larger venue. Lights fan around the hall, with ‘Tapes & Money’ shuddering into life as the dino-dancers gyrate in front of the producer.

It’s the older tracks which really bring a smile to your face, though. The familiar Gaelic samples on ‘Waulking Song’ ring out, with T-E-E-D twisting, contorting the melody lines – still fresh after all this time.

Broadcast around the world via Deezer, the sell out show is a massive step up for the young producer. Yet T-E-E-D still has his old endearing charm: at one point the sound stutters to a halt, with the producer offering a half-shrugged explanation. “Oh well you knew there’d be one fuck up…”

We did. And we love him for it.

Micachu & The Shapes are giving away new cut ‘OK’ – the first track to emerge from upcoming album ‘HERE’.

Way back in 2009 – or thereabouts – Micachu & The Shapes released debut album ‘Jewellery’. As fine and inventive a collection of songs as you will ever discover, the group then embarked on a number of other activities.

Well, now they’re back. New album ‘HERE’ will be released on July 23rd, with Rough Trade once again stepping in to provide label support.

As a special teaser, Micachu & The Shapes have made new cut ‘OK’ available as a free download. It’s available in the widget below.

– – –

‘HERE’ is set to be released on July 23rd.

Rough Trade West is – it’s fair to say – a bit of an institution.

Clutching onto the same location since 1983, the shop has earned global fame through its eclectic choice and unique atmosphere. Knowledgeable staff oversee every purchase, with London whizzing by blindly outside.

As part of our Shelf Life series, Clash decided to hook up with Rough Trade West hero Sean to discuss their average day.

– – –

What’s the first thing you do after you open?
Nigel comes in from Oxford every day, he’s the boss, and he has a massive shit in the morning. Every morning, without fail. So you could say he’s as regular as clockwork. He gets that out the way, I get in earlier about half 8 and start answering emails from people and then we open up around 9:30am and then get the coffees. Then wait for the local loonies to come in.

I imagine the clientèle is hugely varied. Any characters in recently?

We have a guy who’s 81 I think, his name is Cyril – he comes in two or three times a day and buys CDs. He buys anything from Beach House and The XX to Frank Sinatra. He doesn’t care, as long as he likes it and he listens to everything at the counter. He knows all our names.

Does he get you to stick it on the shop stereo?

He listens to it on the headphones and starts rocking out. He’s pretty much daily. Then there’s a local homeless man called Floyd with mental health issues, who comes in and puts the headphones on, bangs his head a couple of times and we ask him to leave. There’s so many regular people.

How do you deal with rowdy customers? Is that a problem you get in Rough Trade?

We don’t really get them in Rough Trade but if we get anyone leery we just beat the fuck out of them. Just deal with it!

Who was the last person you had to chuck out?

The last person we had to chuck out actually was Josh T Pearson. He just wouldn’t shut up. He did an instore here because his album was our album of the year and he wouldn’t shut up, so we had to like…”You’ve got to go now, byyyyye!” Then this couple from Spain turned up and they missed him, so he gave them a hug and took them to the corner bar and carried ion drinking. So he was the last one. He’s a nice man.

There’s always music being played in-store – is that a fairly democratic process or do people tend to take charge of things?

No, we all take a go at playing what’s out there. We tend to play things that are sellable rather than brand new things, although we do play brand new things when we want to sort of guage what interest there is in something. Like, for instance, two weeks ago we had the Bobby Womack album on, so we had that a couple of times and and sure enough a lot of people asked what it was and they like: “oh great.” You can sort of gauge how well you’re going to do with it from that, the public are the greatest gage of what is popular of course. I mean…it’s not just…everyone thinks they have amazing taste blah blah blah, but everyone has…so have the public.

Do you think you can drive sales of an album by playing it in-store?

Yes, 100%. I mean, for instance, we sell that new Damien Jurado album, like hand over first because my boss Nigie loves it. He doesn’t stop playing it. I could fucking sing every song to you if you wished, but i don’t think anyone would want to hear that. We’ve sold, probably in the west London shop, 200 of that record. Just from mere playing. The last one we probably sold 10, but because he likes it so much. That is the best way to sell things.

So Nigel’s routine is he comes in, has a shit, puts an album on several times, sells about twelve copies.

Then lots of west London yummy mummies come in and buy the Damien Jurado album for their dinner party off him, and everyone’s happy!

There are a lot of yummy mummies.

There are. In fairness, they like music as well and they don’t care. The thing is about them people is they don’t care what’s written in magazines, they don’t care about blogs, they just care about the purity and actual sound of it. There’s something to be said for that, all of us people in the music industry, we’re full of shit, really. When something comes out or some new band, you’ve already got a view on it. Like Savages, everyone’s really into Savages, everyone’s got a view on it. The yummy mummies, they don’t care about Savages. When they get an album they might hear it and they’ll say “I like that.” There’s a purity to that.

Quick stop on your lunch break – there’s a lot of choice in West London, where do you go?

We normally go to a place called Mr Christians, which is posh. They do a £4 deal with a sandwich, crisps and a posh drink. We’re all pretty much in there and the people from there shop in here as well. We get nice free coffees from the Coffee Plant as well. It’s all community based around here, it’s more community based in a lot of places.

A classic record shop question, but you must get a lot of odd requests with people in requesting records – can you think of any recently?

There’s this 75 year old Caribbean guy who’s lived in west London for years and years, and (puts on Caribbean accent) he speaks like that… yah man… and he’s really hard to understand, and he buys reggae and Caribbean stuff, and the other day he came in and bought The Birthday Party, which shocked us all. It was like: “are you sure you know what you’ve got?” He was like: “yeah maaaan!” He took it away and we were like, “did you like it?” He was like “…not really.” Apparently, because he lived in the area, he’d heard of them and thought he’d give it a listen. So that was pretty odd.

Do you have any words of advice for people who want to get into the record store game who go into Rough Trade and say “I’d love to work there.”

Be prepared to eat £2.50 meals from Tesco everyday. The wages in retail are terrible and there’s not much glory, but it’s a good laugh. We definitely have a good time here, and as much as we take the piss out of everyone we appreciate them as well. We have a lot of customers who…you know everything about them, because they just come in and battle on for ages. Likewise, we’re quite a big sports shop, Nigel and the bosses here go to the cricket and they take people with them, and we all like football and end up talking about that a lot of the times. There’s a few customers, there’s this guy called Ben who supports Arsenal who doesn’t come in for days after they’ve lost, and rightfully so. But he should shut up about football, he’s been saying Wenger should be sacked for ages.

Have you ever had anyone famous come in and bought something that you thought, “that’s a bit bizarre.”

We get a lot of famous customers, but it’s a bit weird talking about them really. We try not to do that because they come in Rough Trade to be anonymous because they don’t want to be famous, they want to buy records like other people and we’ve got lots and lots of them who…one I would say was…Flea from Red Hot Chili Peppers who asked for the shop to be closed. Not because he was famous, but because he was going to be late. He said “would you mind staying open just for me?” So we were like yeah, that’s alright. He spent a lot of money and was very friendly, and when he left he said “oh, do you want to be on the guestlist for V Festival?”, because they were playing there. Chris went, who was working, “yeah, yeah, yeah!”, so he was like “here’s my managers number, ring him.” When we rang and said “can we be on the guestlist?” he said “oh yeah, he told me about that.” So it was one of those things that’s really wholesome as well. Paul Weller is a regular customer and he had his photo taken for…the Guardian, maybe? I can’t remember, one or the others. But he buys records and he’s interested in stuff. I like people like that, who are still genuinely interested in hearing stuff and not being stuck at home listening to classics, they buiy new bands. But there are so many of them that are coming here.

This is for a series of articles profiling independent record shops across the country…

That shouldn’t take you very long.

It’s a dying breed, but there are a number of them still around… still flying the flag. Do you have any particular favourites in London?

Well, I quite often go to… there’s a second hand shop in west Wickham called Rollin’ Records, which is just on the outskirts of London. It’s a really great second hand shop with a great selection. It’s a proper record shop, you go in for a chat and all that kind of stuff. There’s that new one in Dalston – Kristina – I go and hang out there and have a laugh. I just don’t see other record shops as competition, I see them as good things. I would rather there be more record shops in the world than phone shops and fucking shoe shops. That’s all Portobello road is now: phone shop, shoe shop, phone shop, shoe shop…it’s bull shit. Everyone’s got shoes and phones, surely. You’d have thought they did, but obviously not. But if I go on holiday I go in record shops, that’s what I do. It’s a bit sad.

– – –

Rough Trade site.

Bloc Party have posted a short video trailer for their upcoming studio album ‘Four’.

Late last year Bloc Party began stirring back into life. Writing new material, the band commenced work on their fourth album by jetting out to the United States.

The results are almost here. New album ‘Four’ will be released on August 20th, with Bloc Party posting a short video teaser this afternoon:

– – –

Looks like the guitars are back…

Bloc Party have also confirmed a slew of summer shows. Set to play a number of intimate headline dates across the UK, the band introduced the gigs with a short note:

“Hello internet, I know it’s been a long two and half years since bloc party last performed in the UK. Well it seems that wait is over, we are happy to announce a short run of intimate shows for our friends in the UK and our friends in the US. We will be playing choice cuts from our new record as well as some more familiar jams. We hope to see you soon.”

Bloc Party are set to play the following shows:

June
19 Glasgow Garage
20 Manchester The Ritz
21 London Koko

July
4 Gdynia Heineken Open’er
8 Turku Ruisrock Festival
12 Bilbao BBK Live
13 – 15 Ferropolis Melt Festival
30 Honolulu The Republik

August
3 Los Angeles Hard Festival
3 – 5 Montreal Osheaga Festival
8 New York Terminal 5
11 Las Vegas The Cosmopolitan
16 – 18 St. Polten Frequency

September
4 Mallorca Rocks
5 Ibiza Rocks

Click here to buy tickets for Bloc Party!

Pubic Enemy are working on two studio albums, with both set to emerge later this year.

They might not have the incendiary momentum which fuelled their peak era, but Public Enemy remains gods and we are mere mortals lucky to be caught in their shadow.

Continually touring, the collective have been dropping hints about potential new material. Now the latest newsletter from Public Enemy includes plans for not one, but two studio albums due for release later this year.

‘Most of My Heroes Still Don’t Appear On No Stamp’ was produced with the help of longtime collaborator Gary G-Wiz, with the album set to appear in June. Following this, Public Enemy will then focus on ‘The Evil Empire of Everything’ which is set to be released in September.

Chatting to Billboard recently, Chuck D described the albums as “two concise statements that are connected in the same breath”.

Here’s ‘Black Steel In The Hour Of Chaos’.

– – –

Looking ahead, Public Enemy are set to hit the UK this summer for a rare festival appearance at SW4.

Purity Ring have unveiled the video for ‘Belispeak’ – their latest slice of dark pop Futurism.

What’s up with Canada right now? The Northern nation doesn’t have much of a track record with electronic music, yet right now the country is spawning forward thinking artists such as Grimes, Doldrums and now Purity Ring.

Signed to 4AD, the duo have attracted attention with their dark, almost sci-fi noir take on synth pop. Expertly built productions, Purity Ring recently released ‘Belispeak’ on limited edition 12 inch vinyl.

Now the track has gained some visuals. Suitably ominous, you can watch the full clip for ‘Belispeak’ below.

– – –

Purity Ring are set to release their debut album ‘Shrines’ on July 23rd. The duo are set to play a one off UK show later this summer:

June
12 London White Heat

Click here to buy tickets for Purity Ring!

Photos by Matt Wash

Photo gallery of Saturday at ATP, I’ll Be Your Mirror, with Mogwai, Balam Acab, Dirty Three, Mudhoney, Codeine, Chavez, Bill Wells & Aidan Moffat, The Music of Can, Floor, The Soft Moon and Antoni Maiovvi.

Click here for a review of the festival.

Friends have offered up ‘Home’ – another preview of their forthcoming debut album.

Capable of kick-starting the most stubborn, staid of parties, the debut album from Friends is almost here. Titled ‘Manifest!’ the full length drops on June 4th, with those previews following thick and fast.

6Music presenter Lauren Laverne was given the exclusive first play of ‘Home’ this morning, and you can stream it below.

– – –

Looking ahead, Friends are set to toast the release of ‘Manifest!’ with a number of live shows. The band will drop by London bash Field Day this Saturday (June 2nd) before setting their sights on Dot To Dot.

An ambitious tri-city event, Friends will appear at the Bristol and Nottingham legs. Confirming plans for two headline shows, the short burst of dates ends with a set at Manchester’s Parklife weekender.

Friends will play the following shows:

June
2 London Field Day
2 Bristol Dot To Dot
3 Nottingham Dot To Dot
4 London Rough Trade East
6 London Dingwalls
8 Liverpool Kazimier
9 Manchester Parklife Weekender

Click here to buy tickets for Friends!