I don’t like festivals all that much (mud, granola and hallucinogens are a very bad combination in my opinion, especially when you could be going swimming), but I missed them like hell last summer when they were a total impossibility. It’s cheering to have them coming back, albeit in a small capacity. Instead of having a quiet cry whilst reading Glastonbury According to AA Gill, we can experience festivals in person again—at least to a certain extent.
Anyone who thinks they can socially distance a mosh pit has another thing coming, however, as a socially distanced mosh pit would basically be paying to go for a three-mile run. Imagine what the aliens would think. Humanity must be a sort of never-ending Marx Brothers film to extraterrestrial lifeforms…
But never mind that, onwards to Very Important Music News. The Cambridgeshire-based indie-pop duo Collars debut EP Everything Present 1 dropped on July 16th, and it’s prime summer listening. You can catch the duo live at any number of venues across the country this summer and fall.
Lil Simz’ recent collaboration with SAULT, Nine, is absolutely unmissable. It’s the only album I’ve had on repeat all month. Come for SAULT’S signature smooth melodies and addictive beats, stay for Lil Simz’ witty, introspective raps.
Nathan Saoudi’s band Brian Destiny debuted loads of exciting new material at a socially distanced show last month. Totally Wired’s very own James George Potter went to investigate and was instantly hooked by the Brian Destiny sound, “I Wanna Be Gay,” being the stand-out tune of the evening.
Trashmouth Records have released a remix of Meatraffle’s The Horseshoe. I could write a lot about it but there’s already an article up on it, so I’ll just say it’s an absolute bop, because it is.
It’s a short column this month, as the heat is affecting my cognitive abilities. Signing off now to submerge my head in ice or to listen to Everything Present 1 again–both are equally effective ways to calm down and cool off. It’s either that or move north, and I just don’t have the patience to deal with snowshoes and the possibility of getting involved in rumbles with polar bears over fish finger sandwiches. It’s just not worth it, and I’m not going vegan again. Much like this column, life is far too short.
Yours in solidarity and Bandcamp Fridays,
Header Photo Credit: Brian Destiny live at Oslo Hackney by James George Potter
The Glaswegian glam pop outfit Walt Disco have been making waves in the European indie scene since their debut EP Young Hard and Handsome was released in September of 2020. Consisting of six members, James (lead singer); Finlay (guitar and keyboards); Lewis (guitarist); David (synth); Charlie (bass); and Jack (drums) the group’s appearance is reminiscent of David Bowie, Marc Bolan, and mid-1970s Brian Eno with a dash of ABBA thrown in for good measure.
Yet Walt Disco somehow remain totally unlike any other band that has gone before them. They have a distinctly 21stcentury feel, a fervent embrace of unapologetic self-expression and decadence (the intensity of which stems possibly from the increasingly alarming structural malfunctions seizing up our current way of life on Earth.) The band have quickly forged their own signature sound, inviting listeners into a colorful realm of rock n’ roll that Dork Magazine has dubbed, “Walt Discoworld.”
The group recently released a single entitled Selfish Lover, accompanied by a video featuring the band parading around an abandoned mansion decked out in glam rock deshabille and kabuki theatre-meets-Pierrot makeup. The Selfish Lover release coincided with an announcement that the group had signed to Lucky Number Records and were planning a tour of the U.K. to promote the single.
On behalf of Totally Wired, I recently caught up with lead singer James Potter and guitarist Finlay McCarthy for a chat on myriad topics ranging from writing pop songs on computers to raiding Grayson Perry’s closet, to the tour gigs they’re most looking forward to.
The interview occurs on Zoom, because, well, of course: it’s 2021. James Potter appears on the screen first, their dark curly mullet pushed back over their ears, and shortly after, guitarist Finlay McCarthy pops up, sporting a Mick Jagger-y shag with the tips dyed blue. “I’m in!’ he crows, after exchanging suitably chummy greetings with bandmate James. (“Thank you, it’s a mess,” he says self-deprecatingly when I compliment his hair.)
We get down to business, starting with the simple stuff: How did the band members originally meet? “Over the space of a couple of years. Me, Dave and Lewis were in the original line-up and then Finlay joined at the start of 2019, then Jack joined during a long tour in autumn 2019, and then Charlie joined in around December 2019,” James explains.
I ask what the main inspiration for starting a band was. “I suppose, personally, it’s just because it’s like the only thing I’m good at,” Finlay says. “Ever since I started playing guitar when I was like, 13, I was just like, ‘Ok. That’s what I’m gonna do. I’m gonna leave school and find people to play with…And I’m gonna take a part-time job until it works.’ And now it has.”
I inquire after who the primary songwriters in the band are. Do they all contribute equally, or do they have a Lennon/McCartney thing going on where some work on melody and some write lyrics?
“I don’t think it’s ever been six of us in the same room, but all six of us contribute,” James says.
“We kind of had to look at the way we were creating over lockdown. And we found that a lot of it has come from writing through the computer rather than jamming in a room,” Finlay explains.
“I think often I find lyrics from the feeling an instrumental will give me,” James muses. “So it’ll be quite a lush instrumental often before I start writing lyrics. Sometimes the lyrics’ll come early but more often than not, I have to have a real feeling and emotions already from the music and find something from that. Because a lot of people won’t listen to lyrics. So, you don’t always even need lyrics, but melody is the main thing that moves people in music. And you need the right words to fit a melody.”
We move on to discussing the band’s latest single, a high-energy pop number called Selfish Lover, written during lockdown: “Yeah, it was like, April last year,” James recalls. “Lewis sent a garage band demo. We really liked the energy of the instrumental. We just wanted to make it a wee bit more circusy and interesting, so we gave it the intro bassline and the sort of slightly swingy feel…”
Despite having good bones, the song took a lot of “chipping away,” at before it reached its final state, Finlay says. James grins and admits, “…the guitar riff, the middle eight and the first chorus one, was a guitar riff we stole from another song that didn’t quite make it…”
“You stole a riff from your own song? Self-piracy?” I laugh.
“Yeah, we stole a riff from our own song because the rest of the song just wasn’t strong enough, but it had a really good riff. So, we were like, fuck it, we’ll just put it in this song…David Bowie plagiarized his own songs all the time,” James says. I mention how much James’ voice reminds me of Station to Station era David Bowie on certain Walt Disco tunes, and the conversation turns to the band’s musical inspirations and influences.
“Having six of us, there’s quite a mishmash, but we all share very similar interests, like the Associates,” Finlay says. “We got really into electronic music over lockdown, cos all we were trying to do was write pop songs. And sometimes you just wanted to switch off and listen to a beat or a cool sound. That kind of seeped into the pop songs that we were trying to write.”
James delves deeper into dissecting the band’s writing methodology: “We’d often start with these quite complex, experimental electronic tracks and then complete that as its own little thing, and then send it over to a different computer and then view it differently… and then once the bass and guitar are on, give it a pop structure and pop melody. That’s the most successful writing process we’ve had.”
The conversation veers from songwriting to another crucial part of Walt Disco’s collective artistic practice: getting dressed up. Thinking of the flamboyant mix of costumes in the Selfish Lover video (where the band wore everything from thigh-high black leather boots to baby pink satin corsets, housewifely 1950s half-slips, faux fur wraps and leather harnesses,) I ask if they have a favored designer or stylist.
“For the Selfish Lover video we were working with a stylist called Jack Shanks…he’s great,” James says. “He’s kind of the same build and the same height as all of us and that means he’s got lots of great things in his own wardrobe that fit us, and then we’ll always bring lots of our own wardrobes to the shoots.
“Once everyone’s dressed, I make sure I have a look at everyone, ‘cause I love styling. It’s quite funny when everyone’s ready, and then I go round and am like: ‘I need to have a line-up,’ and then I’ll be like, ‘You’re not done,” and “you’re not done.’” They laugh. “Sometimes they’ll get a wee bit hurt and I’m like, ‘No, it’s for the video.’ It has to be right.”
“It’s always been something that’s been a big part of the band, even before we worked with stylists. Getting ready in the dressing room was always fun,” Finlay reminisces fondly.
I ask if there are any particular designers or fashion icons whose closets they’d like to raid.
“I think the one for both of us would be Grayson Perry,” James says, and Finlay oohs in agreement. “Definitely one of the biggest fashion icons of this century.”
I ask which artists first sparked their interest in music as kids, and Finlay looks a bit sheepish. “This may sound totally mad, but I didn’t like music when I was little. I just wasn’t interested in it, at all, until I got to high school. But I remember in my music class, we got a temporary music teacher that showed me ‘My Iron Lung,’ by Radiohead, and I was like ‘That’s cool.’ That kind of sent me down the rabbit hole.”
James hasn’t heard this story before, and seems vaguely disappointed that Finlay’s “musical awakening,” took the form of Radiohead: “…a shame,” they say. Finlay thinks for a moment and adds, “It’s probably subliminal, but my mum was playing a lot of Kate Bush and stuff in the car, when I was little. I didn’t like it then, but I do now.”
The soundtrack to James’ growing-up years was very different: “There were a lot of very guitar-y CDs in my house. Also, my parents would put on Queen and Scissor Sisters all the time, but I can’t remember if it was my request or not…it would kind of make sense if it was. I remember the CD player and the sound system were a real centerpiece of the living room when I was six or seven.”
I say that with the music industry stopped in its tracks for so many months, returning to the previous cycles of promo, releases and touring must feel almost alien in its strangeness.
“You get used to your face not being anywhere, and then it’s everywhere!” James agrees, laughing.
Starting in July, Walt Disco are set to embark on a thirteen-date tour staggered over the course of four months. I ask which gigs they’re most excited to play. “I’m excited to go back to Edinburgh. That’s my home,” Finlay says, face lighting up. “And the gig we played there in October 2019 was the biggest gig we’ve ever played. Can’t wait to go back and play an even bigger venue.”
After so many months of forced stagnation, live music is back in action, and so are Walt Disco.
As the world starts to feel a bit more normal again, we’re slowly but surely getting a peek at some of the fantastic music that’s been written over the past year. With an influx of new artists, debut records and video premiers, it’s got us excited for all the fabulous live music to come.
It’s been another phenomenal month yet again for music submitted to us by our readers, so hit that play button and discover some of the most sensational tunes we’ve found.
As a new era of superlative British punk-rock beckons, with the arrival of bands such as Savages, IDLES and Dream Wife onto the scene, comes the next bullet out of the gun. WITCH FEVER are Manchester’s very own screaming sensations and most definitely a force to be reckoned with. With their explosive attitude and dirty, Black-Sabbath-style licks, Witch Fever could be well on their way to seeing some of Europe’s biggest crowds come to witness.
The band have released tour dates across Europe starting early next year playing alongside IDLES, where you can be sure the unmissable lineup of Amy, Alisha, Alex and Annabelle will be kicking it where it hurts. One thing’s for sure, Witch Fever have enough attitude, talent and fetish-wear between them to make even Syd and Nancy blush.
Are you Freak N Out yet? We are at the first tantalizing single from dwi. When not playing bass with Canadian Rock band The Zolas, Vancouver-based dwi (Dwight Abell) is creating magnificent psychedelic tunes of his own for you to melt away into this summer. This new single is just the first enticing peek into what lies in store from dwi’s upcoming EP ‘Mild Fantasy Violence,’ set for release this coming September and promises even more fantastically warped and wonderful soundscapes along with otherworldly synth sounds.
The second track from their third official album, Dany Laj and the Looks take the best elements of rock, country, and pop and serve up a fruit cocktail of delectable sounds. Their quirky new single You & Me is matched equally in peculiarity by its excellent video and is a track sure to make all music fans wonder, ‘What was in that last rum punch?’ It is, in our opinion, the perfect form of introduction to the wild and wacky world of Dany Laj and the Looks. So, why not stick around and see what sonic delights the band is cooking up in their brand new album ‘Ten Easy Pieces?’
Back on our list once again, and one band who has certainly become our go-to on a hot sunny day, Hot Plastic Poets from North Carolina are essential listening. The band are back with another brilliant melt-in-your-mouth single. So grab your trunks, your towels, and your sandals, because every day spent listening to this new track is like a day at the beach. Hot Plastic Poets are helping us feel the sun on our backs, even here in rainy London.
The talent behind the wonderfully enchanting Palace Cats, Joe Doris and James Bowden, are two friends who have seen their fair share of challenges this past year with the pressures of the pandemic. Fortunately, it’s nothing the two musicians haven’t been able to transform into their beautifully dreamy soundscapes, which have won over listeners from around the world. Silky and self-produced, Sea Island Cotton features an array of soothing sounds tied together with a fabulous TR-808 groove, sure to bring a nostalgic feel wherever it goes. So, take a trip down the rabbit hole of Palace Cats, filled with friends, lovers, and polaroid pictures.
You didn’t think we could let you leave without mentioning that the astonishing Paris Youth Foundation are releasing their debut album on the 9th of July, did you? Save the date! ‘How To Ruin Your Life’ is an unmissable ensemble of hits from Liverpool’s most exciting new Indie group. The album surely delivers on all of the bits we’ve come to love about the band’s sound and more. Oh boy – you’re in for a real treat.
It’s been a whirlwind month for the poor suckers out on of the frontlines of the music industry, myself included. Like everybody else, I have been glued to my laptop for livestreams, during which I have broken two Bose speakers and possibly also ruptured my roommate’s left eardrum, but I’m chalking that up to her allergies and not to the volume at which I was blasting MISTY MILLER’s livestream with Easycome Acoustic Club.
Speaking of recent noteworthy streams, Glasgow’s own indie goth-pop darlings, THE NINTH WAVE (rock n’ roll social workers if ever any did exist) played a livestream show at Leith Theatre with Lucia and the Best Boys, and I hope to hell you blessed your ears and eyes with it—it was the first time the songs from their sophomore album Happy Days! were played live, and thus a red-letter day…
If you are of the festival going-persuasion, LUCIA AND THE BEST BOYS announced that, come September, they will headline the River Stage at TRNSMT Festival. (Other headliners include Lil Simz—be still, my beating heart!—Sports Team and Walt Disco.) A word of advice, preorder your tickets, plan your wardrobes and sort your granola out NOW. It’ll give you something to live for. And don’t bring a tent if you really want to have fun; tents just get in the way. So does complicated eye makeup, which only summons rain. Just wear some big earrings. Searing the lead singer’s retinas with reflective bling is a far better way to get their attention than looking like a raccoon having an existential crisis.
The Best Band in all the World, GOAT GIRL, are headlining Wide Awake Fest on Friday, September 3rd where they are billed above Idles. This suggests that there is indeed justice in the Universe. Black Country New Road, black midi, and Tropical F Storm (Iggy Pop’s BBC 6 show turned me on to these freaks, go give their tune “Brain Drops,” a listen, it’ll melt your synapses) will also perform.
If you like GOAT GIRL then saunter on over to Bandcamp and check out The Most Underrated Band in all the World, MADONNATRON, who are once again flying under the radar. I’m over here chewing my acrylics in anticipation of what fresh sonic delights they are possibly preparing to unleash upon us unworthy listeners. Musica Alla Puttanesca was released nearly 2 years ago and I’m hungry for more…
Speaking of bands rumored to be releasing new albums in the near(ish) future, FAT WHITE FAMILY released their firstborn film, a gonzo digital diary entry romantically dubbed Moonbathing in February. I’m sure the sight of Alex White’s lovely mullet in a bubble bath was enough for many of you to give the film a five-star rating but hearing the Fat Whites revert to their country roots—with Lias on guitar, Nathan on keyboards, and Alex on flute and sax–was melancholy bliss beyond belief.
Welcome back to Creators Monthly, and blimey, what another great month! Thanks to all the artists who submitted their music to us this month – a record-breaking number! Here are just some of our favourites.
So strap in and prepare yourself – let’s take it away!
Post-punk rock bands from Ireland are something of a favourite here at Totally Wired. The Clockworks hit single ‘Enough is Never Enough’ is another great example of a song we can’t get out of our heads. With nods to The Clash and other legendary bands, The Clockworks are now taking on the world for themselves. We look forward to the band’s new single due for release very soon.👀
This 6-piece psychedelic rock band hailing from Germany create this superb blend of garage-punk with a prominent twist of indie-rock. Something about their cool but fun charm hits home with fans of bands such as The Strokes and The Libertines. A certain experimental approach in the production of their music, their latest single ‘Purgatory Pool Party’ is the perfect tune to put a spring in your step.
Tapwaterlucy is an indie-pop artist from London who, counter to what her name suggests, is anything BUT bland. ‘Bringing glamour meets satire in both her music and visuals’ is how this 20-year-old singer describes her style, combined with a touch of comedy, this artists concoction of tastes makes for the perfect antidote for lockdown-blues.
A luscious, hopeful tune could be precisely what the world needs right now. Brightest London, from Ohio, describe their ethos as ‘music for a long drive’. The band threw themselves into their projects over the lockdown months, offering a sense of freedom and adventure in a time where neither feels within reach. Their latest single, ‘Try’, has a spectacular escapism quality, with a tear in our eyes and hope in our hearts for getting back to reality soon, Brightest London are here to see us through.
Chloe Berry from NYC is an artist who perfectly encapsulates the life of a young person in the big city. Her first single, ‘Fed Up With You,’ is a captivating life lesson, full of continuously uplifting grooves stacked ontop of sorrowfully slow verses – a story of ups and downs and a perfect anecdote for life. An artist who is well worth checking out.
Whilst sat in her childhood bedroom in Chicago, Daphne Browdy found inspiration for her single ‘Bookend’, a song about a year of losing friends, making new ones and wrestling the feeling of being isolated from them. A touching melody that comes right from the heart and one to which we can all relate. This young artist is on a mission of exploring her soul’s inner depths through her enchanting tunes. This is only the start of her musical journey and we hope to see more great music on the horizon. We can’t wait to hear what comes next!
New-wave psych-rock band, The Worn Jets, offer up something of a nostalgic quality to their kick-ass sound, taking us right back to the golden days of garage-rock. Their New EP TWJ takes inspiration from many of their punk-rock predecessors. We can’t wait to see even more music coming soon.
While not playing with his band 80 Unlacey, featured in September’s Creators Monthly, Dylan Innes has set about on a solo journey. Collaborating with audio engineer Doug Williams, Dylans’s solo album ‘Taste the Tide’ is set for release this month. After listening to his recent work, it’s an album you should be dead excited for.
Ivan4sure is an artist from Hungary set for his first EP to be released later this year. His latest single, ‘Tinder Date’, was inspired by a quarantine date no less and was released as a funky upbeat ‘Valentine’s Day special’. The song and it’s fresh new sound has given us a sneak peek into what’s in store; definitely an artist to have on your radar this year.
The Scribes are a Hip Hop group from the UK with a brand new single we just can’t get out of our heads. ‘Haunted House’ is a tune created in collaboration with producer J-Boom, a ‘fitting soundtrack to the chaos of 2020.’ The video for Haunted House drops on the 15th of March, so keep your eyes peeled.
‘Oo Ah, la La’ is not just an exciting first single from artist Fin Cliff, but a cracking one too, and all from the bedroom of this 17-year-old from Leicester, UK. Finn started releasing music just last year, with all of his current singles written to be played live once music is finally back on stage. A young artist with a lot of talent and one we’re incredibly excited to hear more from.
The latest single from Vanarin, ‘Care’, is a whirlwind of synth sounds and warped guitar melodies, ripe for a tune full of nostalgia and one that gets us incredibly excited for the future. Care is the first single of the ‘Italian Alt-Pop’ groups new album ‘Treading Water’, a highly anticipated follow up from their first album in 2018.
BEL’s second feature on Creators Monthly, but we just can’t help ourselves! After capturing wide attention with her single ‘Treading Water,’ the writer behind the synonym, Isabel Whelan, has somehow topped herself with her latest tune. It makes us wonder just how far this young songwriter will go – one to watch out for, that’s for sure!
And we’re back! Can you believe December has already come and gone? This year hasn’t been an easy one for musicians worldwide, but despite the tough times, we’ve heard some phenomenal tunes. DIY music has made a massive comeback and revived an era of the ‘bedroom musician’, an age in which some of the best songs throughout time have emerged.
So without further ado, for one last time this year, let’s dive into Creators Monthly – music submitted to us by YOU, our readers. WE LOVE YOU.
Julia Johansen, originally from Finland, arrived in Paris with her guitar in hand ready to pursue a new adventure in music. Stepping off the plane, she met Lewis Lazar and Christopher Willatt, two other songwriters who had also just set foot in the country. Together, they became Oracle Sisters and by combining their ideas, built the extraordinary amalgamation of sounds you hear today. It’s been a big year for the band, who have just released their debut EP and gigged alongside the likes of Fontaines D.C.
Their first single ‘The Dandelion’ from their upcoming EP premiered this month, creating excitement for things to come amongst their growing number of fans. Their dreamy soundscape embodies a calling to new experiences, a love letter to the groups new found Parisian home and the beautifully unexpected events which transpired to bring this trio together.
Kirsteen Harvey’s early influences growing up in Glasgow were a broad mix of genres, all of which have helped shape her sound today. Kirsteen transitioned from the world of performing arts and branched out into the world of songwriting. Experimenting with her sound and creating this great blend of Jazz, Country and Folk music, her latest single ‘Dancefloor Treason’ is the third in a wave of new material with much more to come. Her singles ‘Dancefloor Treason’ and ‘Tongue Tied’ are woven together through a shared story told through two different perspectives.
The year 2020 started with a bang for the band Gaylips after being played on Radio 6 music, but then as we all know, Covid hit the world of music big time, with upcoming artists significantly affected. This duo, however, decided not to sit around twiddling their thumbs and waiting for recording studios to reopen. They got down to business writing and recording over Zoom and performing online acoustic sets to their Facebook following. The resulting songs are something the band are incredibly proud. The unexpected twist at the start of their musical journey only preserves a particular DIY element, which from their songs to this awesome music video, makes us feel like we’ve travelled back to the 90’s MTV garage rock days.
Frankie Raye takes a unique approach to songwriting. Her new single ‘Theodora’ is inspired not by her own life, but by a 6th-century Byzantine empress married to Emperor Justinian I. As one of the most powerful Women in Byzantine history, Theodora used her power to influence a positive change in women’s rights. Through these historical anecdotes, songwriter Frankie Raye echos her own message to the world, an influential songwriter with a voice to be listened to.
Santa Monica is young songwriter Sofie Veins’ debut single, written and recorded from her bedroom at home. At only 17 years old, we can’t wait to see what this young talent writes next. The single is the first from her new EP currently in the works.
Gulz is a 22-year-old songwriter from Newcastle who’s latest single ‘Welcome Home’ is full of the very best elements of the UK’s Britpop era. In classic Britpop style, his songs speak about a generation’s frustration with their country, with things out of their control, with the ongoing pandemic and with awful political figures.
Gulz has been performing live for the last three years while living in London, where he studies as a medical student. In his spare time (something medical students don’t have much of yet somehow he manages it) Gulz fills every local open mic night and bar with the sound of his infectious guitar riffs and smooth, charming voice.
The last artist on our list is often someone truly extraordinary, and Marlene Oak is no exception to that. The effortlessly cool singer from a tiny island off the coast of Stockholm, Sweden, is quickly taking her country by storm, and soon the rest of the world with it. Her fantastic-tune ‘Never Comes Easy’ from her 2016 EP Head Held High, is a brilliant blend of blues, rock, folk and soul. Marlene ties all this together again brilliantly in her brand new album ‘Northern Winds’. With an out-of-this-world voice, her new album has quickly built up significant interest, and it’s something the rest of the world needs to hear.