The Big Read

The Big Read

The Big Read – Haim: “The mantra of this record is all about being fearless”

Through death, depression and diabetes Haim just keep getting stronger. With that difficult second album out the way – and an even more difficult couple of years personally behind them – the Cali sisters are back with a load of new tunes, a ripped-up rule book and a determination to do things their way. Charlotte Gunn meets the band in LA and finds that if you’re going to throw Haim lemons, you better get ready for a whole lot of lemonade.

The Big Read – Beabadoobee: “I want to live in the ‘90s!”

Some years ago, Beabadoobee was so shy she had friends perform songs on her behalf – and was the unwitting subject of a WhatsApp group of Mean Girls at school. Now, at 19, she’s mates with Matty Healy of The 1975, she’s internet pals with her beloved ‘90s heroes and she’s become an icon for a generation of kids crying out for a new breed of guitar hero. Following the release of her ace ‘Space Cadet’ EP, Thomas Smith meets Bea Kristi in London to talk about her no-fucks-given approach to music – and why she’s having a ball right now.

The Big Read – Yungblud: “I wanna be the rock star of the 2020 generation”

He's gobby, he's hyperactive, he's outspoken, he's fearless, he feels sexy in a dress, and he's a new breed of rock star. Yungblud – aka Dominic Harrison – reckons he and his growing cult of fans are in this together. On the eve of his biggest release to date, Thomas Smith meets the Doncaster lad done good in New York City for an unfiltered chat about music, life, and getting smashed with Lewis Capaldi.

The Big Read – Foals: “It’s been a decade of the unexpected and they’re all disappointing surprises”

As Foals prepare to release their second album of 2019 with the bombastic and visceral ‘Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost Part 2’, Andrew Trendell meets the band in a fighting spirit to look back on a “decade of regression” and what may lay in store for a generation wading through the aftermath.

The Big Read – Tove Lo: “Sexuality is a fluid thing – it’s hard to be just one way”

After a trio of fabulously rude, giddy records that were both sexually explicit and mordantly funny, Swedish pop powerhouse Tove Lo – beloved of Lorde, Courtney Love and Kylie Minogue – took some time out. “I was sick of myself,” she tells Gary Ryan as she headlines Girls To The Front, the NME gig series that celebrates badass women and non-binary artists. She reconnected with herself on upbeat new album ‘Sunshine Kitty’, which explores a new sense of peace. As she puts it: “It feels pretty cool to be comfortable in my own skin.”

The Big Read – Josh Homme’s Desert Sessions: “I’m like a tour guide heading deep into the heart of bizarre”

What happens when you take 11 unfamiliar musicians, plonk them in the middle of the Californian desert and ask them, simply, to create? 16 years since Josh Homme last spun his rock'n'Rolodex for his influential collaborations album, he's at it again, forming a brand new bizarro supergroup for 'Desert Sessions Vol. 11/12'. NME Editor Charlotte Gunn heads to LA to quiz the hip-swinging puppet-master about what you get when you cross a Billy Gibbons with a Jake Shears.

The Big Read – Kano: “I’m planting seeds to try and stop violence”

Kane Robinson is a pioneer. As Kano, alongside the likes of Dizzee Rascal and Wiley, he became a key voice in the first wave of grime. Over a decade later, he's remained in the centre of the cultural zeitgeist, thanks to his stunning sixth album 'Hoodies All Summer' and a starring role in Netflix's acclaimed revival of Top Boy. Will Lavin meets the quintessential London rapper outside of his natural habitat, in Manchester, where he finds an assured talent who shrugs off his own accolades and admits, "I don't even like acting!"

The Big Read – Iggy Pop: “Punk has to have a sense of hopelessness about it”

Iggy Pop is not exactly who you think he is. Yes, he’s the punk powerhouse behind some of the greatest live performances in rock ‘n’ roll history. And yes, he's the man behind an embarrassment of killer tracks – among them ‘The Passenger’, ‘Lust For Life’, ‘I Wanna Be Your Dog’, ‘Nightclubbing’, ‘Real Wild Child’ – that set a manifesto for rock ‘n’ roll excess. But, as NME Editor Charlotte Gunn finds when she meets with him in London, he’s also a kind, contemplative and curious soul who likes pink, fluffy clouds, collaborating with young artists and “rhythm tracks that go BOING BOING GGRRRRRRRR”. As he releases his eighteenth solo album ‘Free’, Pop ponders whether – after five decades at rock’s coalface – he’s finally won his “million in prizes”.

The Big Read – Lana Del Rey: “I give myself permission to have a lot of colours”

When she blew up in 2012, Lana Del Rey was an untouchable, unknowable character whose preoccupations with heartbreak, America and old stuff cast her as a tragic Hollywood icon in the mould of, say, Marilyn Monroe. But slowly, she’s opened up and let people in, and now, with brand new sixth album ‘Norman Fucking Rockwell’ raising eyebrows and blowing minds, she talks to Rhian Daly about America's failings, forest fires, Donald Trump – and reasons to be cheerful.

The Big Read – Sheer Mag: “So much rock music is bad and meaningless”

Five years ago, Sheer Mag were the buzziest DIY band on the planet. Now, they’re a full-throttle independent rock ‘n’ roll machine who tackle domestic abuse, prejudice, death and anxiety on ferocious new album ‘A Distant Call’. Singer Tina Halladay tells Ben Homewood why the world needs the Philadelphians...