Posts Tagged ‘Fat White Family’

On a recent afternoon, four members of the band Fat White Family were sitting in an East London cafe, dressed, as always, like they’ve been riffling in the trash bags at the back of a thrift store. And that is being polite. The band’s third album, “Serfs Up!,” had just made the Top 20 here, and the group was returning from a photo shoot at a nearby children’s playground, where it had been instructed to vacate the merry-go-round.

This was very much in keeping with its image as naughty misfits from London’s grotty underbelly. Fat White Family has a knowing disregard for good taste. The band has sung about Hitler and Goebbels, Ike and Tina Turner’s abusive relationship, serial killers and heroin abuse. “Serfs Up!” is more accessible than its first two albums, geared around thrusting disco and psychedelic country, and yet there is still the nuclear-pop of “Kim’s Sunsets” (probably the sexiest song ever written about Kim Jong-un) and one inspired, in part, by Theodore J. Kaczynski, the so-called “Unabomber.”

Fat White Family formed in 2011, in south London, and came out of a squat-party scene that shaped its politics. The group is anti-gentrification, anti-consumerism, anti-censorship, and at points some of its members have been homeless or struggled with addiction and mental health issues. The band also rejects the notion that pop should have a politically correct agenda, and its music explores — sometimes gratuitously — the grim, often more perverse side of subjects like toxic masculinity and sexual desire.

“We’re entering into an age of new puritanism,” said Lias Saoudi, Fat White Family’s frontman. “It’s depressing that we’ve let things drift in that direction. If you can’t explore difficult ideas in art, where can you explore them? Not everybody can afford a therapist.”
“We live in an offensive world,” he added. “It’s not polite, it’s not kind, it doesn’t care what you believe. It’s solipsistic rubbish to think otherwise.”
The band’s history of drug and alcohol abuse is well-documented. In 2016, after playing its biggest headline show, it kicked founding member Saul Adamczewski out, again, because of a spiraling heroin and crack habit. He has since rejoined, and wrote many songs on “Serfs Up!,” but he declined to be interviewed.
“You can never get rid of the heroin problem in this band,” said Saoudi. Instead, the group has gotten used to the unpredictability this brings: So far, there’s been a revolving cast of 26 members, though the other musicians present during the interview, Lias’s brother, Nathan Saoudi (a keyboardist), the saxophonist Alex White and the guitarist Adam J. Harmer, are the band’s current mainstays.

What is constant, however, is that Fat White Family likes to blur the lines between self expression and shock value, irony and the impulse to be outraged. During early live shows, Saoudi tried on a few old punk-rock tactics: smearing himself with feces or appearing onstage naked.
Back then, he said, “everything was so boring, and tame, and homogeneous” in guitar music, and Saoudi thought that “somebody should give it a nudge in the explicit direction, to heighten the medium, so it’s not all moronic indie-boy pop.”

The Irish pop musician Róisín Murphy was so taken by the band after seeing one of its live shows, she got in touch via Instagram and asked whether she could direct a music video. She dreamed up the Monty Python-inspired visuals for Fat White Family’s recent single “Tastes Good With the Money,” which depict the band at a bourgeois tea party that goes awry.
“They have a true punk vein running through them,” she said in a phone interview. “Bands like that don’t come around that often.” Lias Saoudi said that being anti-establishment “will always be our politics” but “Serfs Up!” marks a shift in tone away from nihilism: It is “upbeat and melodic,” said Saoudi, rather than “dismally pessimistic” like their previous material.

The album is about “learning to celebrate” the world’s harshness “in a beautiful way, so it’s not so disturbing,” he added The band was interested in “sneaking interesting ideas into a pop song,” said White, the strikingly mullet-haired saxophonist, and seeing what it can “get away with.” The day after our interview, Fat White Family hosted its own “pop-up boutique experience” at an empty store in South London — a sarcastic nod to the retail trend that is often a harbinger of gentrification. At Fat White Family’s store, however, fans lined up to buy radical pamphlets that poked fun at the British Prime Minister, Theresa May, and secondhand items such as a pair of Lias Saoudi’s soiled sneakers. Bands with similar anti-consumerist messages performed, with names like Pregoblin and Scud FM, that have sprung up here following Fat White Family’s success. “They definitely created a revolution,” .

The new Fat White Family album has landed. Look at that poster too. On Limited gold vinyl. Serfs Up! is a lush and masterful work, lascivious and personal. Tropical, sympathetic and monumental. It invites the listener in rather than repel them through wilful abrasion. Fat White Family have broken previous default patterns of behaviour, and as such their third album heralds a new day dawning. Echoing within the arrangements throughout are traces of blissed-out 60s TropicaliaVelvets / Bowie sleaze-making and star-gazing, 80s digital dancehall, David Axelrod-style easy listening, joyous Pet Shop Boys synth crescendos, acid house, post-PIL dub, metropolitan murder ballads, doom-disco and mouth-gurning, slow-mo psychedelia so by the time it comes to a close only a fool would deny that Serfs Up! is something very special indeed.

An album steeped in lush, lascivious, tropical warmth – imagine Arcade Fire in a trippy haze with Alan Vega heading down to the doom-psych-disco.

Fat White Family“When I Leave”, from ‘Serfs Up!‘, out 19th April 2019 on Domino Record Co

Fat White Family“Tastes Good With The Money”, from ‘Serfs Up!’, out 19th April 2019 on Domino Record Co.

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Serfs Up! April 19th

I suppose it was almost exactly two years ago that myself and what was left of this band exiled ourselves to Sheffield in search of yet another renaissance, with only our unshakable dedication to the struggle and a copy of The Commodores ‘Nightshift’ to pull us through. Most Londoners never have and never will fully understand the true horrors of a northern winter, what that much grey sky can do to the human heart. We baptised ourselves again and again in her bitter drizzle, feeding on the monotony of it all as if it were the nectar of the elect. And by the side of a rotten canal in a room half the size of a public toilet, armed with a limited equipment budget, our wits and time, we once again set upon revealing the true face of God, measuring out his/her/their glorious countenance in rhyme, meter, groove and melody.

It is with deep and terrible glee therefore that i can at long last announce the arrival of our 3rd full confession ‘Serfs Up!’ on April 19th of this very year. The first single ‘Feet’ marks our re-entry and is featured below,

Band Members
lias, saul, nathan, adam, taishi, severin

Fat White Family – “Feet”, from ‘Serfs Up!’, out 19th April 2019 on Domino Record Co.

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Fat White Family are getting ready for a return. Fat White Family are on the return they play a couple of warm up shows before the festival run to announce, The band will be dropping a few tunes from the new LP. Theyre only small venues so be swift be safe..

To mark the occasion, the band hit the stage of Hebden Bridge Trades Club to prepare with a warm-up show. With a new LP on the way, a new tour which has been entitled ‘Tour Of Discipline’ Fat Whites played a couple of new tracks and rolled out some of the fan favourites.

With Saul Adamczewski seemingly back in the band after previous in-band issues, Fat Whites look healthier and happier and well and truly in the mood to make a mess of countless venues across the country.

While we all need to wait patiently for new material, here’s some live footage of their recent show in Hebden Bridge:

“Touch The Leather” – Live at Hebden Bridge Trades Club

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The bundle of joy born today, June 1st, 2018, Whale City. What a luxury. Welcome to Whale City. 2018.  Brain-melting psychedelic riffage, frantic punky percussion and jagged, thumping bass licks. Warmduscher have crafted a dynamic combination of heavy, mindless riffs and meticulously crafted nuanced rock, like only they can.

The second album from Warmduscher. South London recidivists Warmduscher include members of Paranoid London, Fat White Family and Childhood. There is power in repetition. Longtime Warmduscher biographer Dr Alan Goldfarb describes Whale City as “a rock opera so vast in magnitude that – were in not for my being strapped naked to a chair in a garage – could send a man hurtling towards the outer perimeters of uncharted space.” It’s difficult to argue with. The characters that inhabit Whale City are, as the title suggests, larger than most aquatic life forms. A cast of millions. Pretty Lilly, Whale Jimmy, Uncle Sleepover, Ice Cream Keith, Disco Minny. The people you walk by late at night with bottles in their hands and money in their pockets. The woman with bright red lipstick and straight razor smiles. Thrill seekers to a person. Powerful. Intoxicated.

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Intoxicating. In the words of Clams Baker, Whale City is “a playground for the people that have stepped above and beyond their comfort zone.” What are you waiting for? If you love the repetition of the Fall, the chaos of Fat White Family and own a Pebbles or Nuggets compilations – then this a must have.

Naively pretty melodies … Insecure Men.

It’s seldom that anything involving Fat White Family comes with a heartwarming story . Their music springs from a grimy personal world of mental torment and hard drug use. And yet, there is something at least vaguely cheering about the story behind the eponymous album by Insecure Men, a project that really came to life when the band’s chief songwriter, Saul Adamczewski, was asked to leave temporarily after – and this is a very Fat White Family kind of story – refusing to vacate the Paris venue the band were playing on the night of the Bataclan attack because he’d arranged to meet a heroin dealer there later on.

After a fairly harrowing spell in rehab, Adamczewski has emerged not only clean, but eager to make music more tuneful and less unsavoury than the oeuvre of Fat White Family, in the company of his schoolfriend Ben Romans-Hopcraft. The latter is no stranger to unexpected musical transformations: his own band, Childhood, converted themselves from a middling shoegazey alt-rock combo into the makers of last year’s Universal High, a brilliant, unfairly overlooked album rooted more in the tradition of British street soul than in indie music.

Anyone familiar with Adamczewski’s previous work might point out that suggesting an album is more tuneful and less unsavoury than Fat White Family’s work isn’t really saying much, and they would have a point. It is perhaps worth noting that the lyrics on Insecure Men variously deal with Operation Yewtree, Gary Glitter’s post-prison sojourn in south-east Asia, Adamczewski’s brief period as a crack-addicted building site labourer in Penge and the respective deaths of Whitney Houston and her daughter Bobbi, retold from the viewpoint of the latter’s ghost.

Insecure Men is often more unsettling than the last Fat White Family album, because, rather than the wilfully tuneless and grey noise that was Songs for Our Mothers’ stock in trade, its tracks set this stuff to naively pretty melodies, at which Adamczewski is considerably more adept than his past work might lead you to believe: unashamed pop choruses abound, presumably stockpiled while attending to a different musical agenda. The Whitney Houston track features a children’s choir, made up in part of the members of Rough Trade’s young trio Honey Hahs (aged 11-16), singing about a celebrated, mythic cure for reviving a victim of a drug overdose.

Elsewhere, the music carries echoes of glam, the showtune-inflected singer-songwriter stylings of Harry Nilsson, 80s synthpop, and the kind of cheap drum machine and saxophone-assisted lounge music you might once have encountered in the bar of a provincial hotel. Deliberate or not, the preponderance of clangorous, trebly guitars, Adamczewski’s disconsolate, estuary-accented vocals and the way the grimy production drowns everything in reverb recalls the early 80s work of indie pioneers the Television Personalities.

It also avoids the biggest failing of the last Fat White Family album in that the songs never seem to be trying to shock you for the sake of it: set to a fragile, off-key piano, the closing Buried in the Bleak depicts the dysfunctional relationship between Adamczewski and Fat White Family frontman Lias Saoudi far more effectively than the similarly themed tracks from Songs for Our Mothers that dragged Hitler, Goebbels and Ike Turner’s abuse of Tina into the equation. Once you get over your initial queasiness about its subject matter, Whitney Houston and I is desperately and affectingly sad, a portrait of a young woman who never escaped her mother’s shadow even in death, while Mekong Glitter is horrified by its subject’s lack of repentance and by the old pop world’s willingness to turn a blind eye.

It adds up to an album that feels like far more than just a repository for the tunes and musical influences, a slice of darkly skewed pop that’s weightier and much better than the side-project label suggests. Whether it represents a one-off diversion or an ongoing path that runs parallel to Adamczewski’s main musical outlet remains to be seen – there’s apparently a third Fat White Family album due later this year – but Insecure Men is good enough to make you hope it’s the latter.

A supergroup of members from Fat White Family, Childhood and more – plus a schoolteacher on vibes calling himself Steely DanInsecure Men play a kind of skronked Ariel Pink-style exotica, where rudimentary drum machines patter behind psych-pop ballads about Cliff Richard, teenage sexuality and Penge.

In many ways Insecure Men – the band led by the fiercely talented songwriter and musician Saul Adamczewski and his schoolmate and stabilising influence, Ben Romans-Hopcraft – are the polar opposite of the Fat White Family. Whereas sleaze-mired, country-influenced, drug-crazed garage punks the Fat Whites are a “celebration of everything that is wrong in life”, Insecure Men, who blend together exotica, easy listening, lounge and timeless pop music, are, by comparison at least, the last word in wholesomeness.


The band originally formed in 2015 in the cramped confines of The Queens Head pub, Stockwell, in the Fat White Family’s notorious South London ‘practice space’. Saul recorded all of the songs he wrote at The Queens Head onto tape at Sean Lennon’s studio in upstate New York. This tape, recorded on his own in a corridor onto an ancient Tascam while in a foul mood with his mates, essentially became Insecure Men’s self-titled debut album as more layers were dubbed over the top until nothing of the original demos remained.

Saul lists some of the influences on their sound, mentioning the exotica of Arthur Lyman, the early electronic pop of Perrey and Kingsley, the supreme smoothness of The Carpenters, the songwriting chops of Harry Nilsson and the hypnagogic uncanniness conjured up by David Lynch, describing what they do as “pretty music with a dark underbelly to it”.

The Moonlandingz – comprised of members of the Eccentronic Research Council and Fat White Family – are Hale-Bopping their way into our consciousness with this blistering debut: a sonic rollercoaster that ricochets somewhere between Earl Brutus and The Cramps, the nihilistic vocal stylings of Nick Cave and a swaggering zombie Elvis. The band have just released a MOONLANDINGZ DELUXE version of this acclaimed album

The Moonlandingz—the outer space troupe featuring members of the Fat White Family and Eccentronic Research Council—have readied this special edition of their lauded debut full-length, Interplanetary Class Classics.

The Sean Lennon-produced LP was picked on BBC 6Music’s top albums of the year,

Out January. 26th, the deluxe version features the original 11 compositions, plus 20 bonus songs. These tracks include b-sides from all the EPs, remixes, unheard demos, and more.

Special guests include Philip Oakey of The Human LeagueYoko Ono, and Randy Jones of the Village People.

The band’s Adrian Flanagan says, “It’s nice to have all these tracks in one place, so to draw a line under what’s gone and make way for our future, next to the greats. We may not be there when you want us but we will be there when you truly need us. Till then, we are observing your earth!”

 A new version of “Sweet Saturn Mine,” featuring Philip Oakey of the Human League.

Among the eerie swirling synthesizers and infectious singalong melodies is a well-crafted opus of total cosmic bedlam. It also features guest vocals from Yoko Ono, Phil Oakey, Rebecca Taylor of Slow Club and Randy Jones aka the Cowboy from The Village People. Expertly crafted, Interplanetary Class Classics exists truly in a class of its own.Absolutely fucking mental. Really the review could be that first sentence and still be entirely encapsulating of what is an incredible album. Unrestrained and entirely liberated The Moonlandingz take on everything and everyone in this LP.

While there are some more ‘dance floor ready’ tracks (Sweet Saturn Mine is a particular favourite), it also features that enigmatic swashbuckler Johnny Rocket (Lias Saoudi of FWF) getting all croony. This album calrifies The Moonlandingz as the supergroup they’ve always professed to be. ‘The Strangle Of Anna’, might be the best track of the year too.

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The Moonlandingz – the band born from a semi fictional concept album by Sheffield electronic analogue weirdos the ‘Eccentronic Research Council’ and fronted by Fat White Family frontman, Lias Saoudi – have shared their brand new This Cities Undone EP, ahead of their forthcoming and fast-selling UK headline tour dates.

The extended player includes a single version of album closer ‘This Cities Undone’ featuring guest vocals from Yoko Ono and Human League’s Phil Oakey, alongside a Confidence Man remix and new cut ‘Dirty Red Rose’.

“I’m a big fan of Yoko’s 70’s albums like Approximately Infinite Universe,” the band’s Adrian Flanagan said. “During a late night semi drunken recording session, I suggested to Sean Lennon – who we were working with up at his studio in upstate New York – that this crazy psychedelic freak out track that we had on the boil – but had no lyrics for – could really work with Yoko doing her thing on it. Sean got it straight away, said that he thought it was a good idea and after that brief suggestion it was never mentioned again… About two months later I’m at a tiny gig in some old spoon factory in Sheffield, watching a bloke play a home made synth in a shoe box with a wind up clockwork parrot sat on his shoulder, when I get an email off Sean titled MUMLANDINGZ. In the email was a video clip of his mum doing this incredible vocal over our music… The hair on the back of my neck stood on end, her voice stirs you like the most primal of rock and roll, it’s got so much spirit, it’s proper witchcraft!

“After receiving the Yoko vocal, Lias Saoudi and I set about writing some words for the track back in Sheffield. A week or so later we got our friends Philip Oakey and Rebecca Taylor to come and sing on the track and then Dean Honer and I went back to NYC to mix it,” he added.

“It was a song that went on quite a journey, but it was worth every bit of the trip. I see the track as a celebration of the activist in us all, the downtrodden, the ignored, people bullied by their local council, the government, the CEO’s in the workplace, the people you never voted for making a complete pig’s ear of running your cities, lunching out on decent hard working taxpayers money, whilst thousands of kids sleep rough in the street and whilst tower blocks burn. We live in frightening times, under the pretense of a so called democracy and something’s got to give!”

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The brand new track from Fat White Family ‘Breaking Into Aldi’. Now, that’s not because I think due to their low, low prices it would be heinous crime to steal from the multi-national conglomerate, but because this track is pure is pure riot and roll. Organs blaze across a drum machine beat slashed with riffs to murder your puppy to. Crescendoing in a very catchy chorus which is screamed with the sorest throat across the microphone Fat White Family are doing what they do best; causing havoc.

Lias has said this “This song is a post apocalyptic vision of a barely united United Kingdom bereft of quality German supermarkets and their insipid low prices; Breaking Into Aldi is the anthem that never was, a call to arms for the senselessness of our future futility, an overcrowded shadow begging for a rerun, a sell out by sell outs for sell outs. This Fat Whites collaboration with Cole Alexander of the Black Lips, Sean Lennon and Zumi Roscow of the K Holes is by all intents and purposes the sound of hopelessness attempting to bleed itself dry.”