Fortuna POP!’s 20 Years Of Trouble – Farewell Shows feat. The Butterflies of Love, Sodastream, Martha/…

Fortuna POP!’s 20 Years Of Trouble – Farewell Shows feat. The Butterflies of Love, Sodastream, Martha/…

Twenty Years Of Trouble

Fortuna POP! Farewell Shows
5 days. 6 London venues. 22nd – 26th March 2017

Get your tickets here:

Featuring The Ballet, Bearsuit, The Butterflies Of Love, The Catenary Wires, Chorusgirl, Comet Gain, Darren Hayman, Elva, Evans The Death, Flowers, Joanna Gruesome, The Loves, Mammoth Penguins, Martha, Milky Wimpshake, Pete Astor, The Proper Ornaments, September Girls, Simon Love & The Old Romantics, Sodastream, The Spook School, Steven James Adams & The French Drops, Tender Trap, Tigercats, Withered Hand, Would-Be-Goods, Special Guests & more to be announced.
Join us to celebrate Twenty Years Of Trouble with many of the bands responsible for Fortuna POP!’s untimely demise. Everything’s ending here.

Five Day Festival Pass guaranteeing entry to all shows – £55

Advance tickets –


Wed 22 March – MOTH Club

First night meet-up with Simon Love & The Old Romantics + DJs + Special Guests – (Five Day Pass Holders Only)

Thur 23 March – 6.30pm – Bush Hall

Withered Hand + The Ballet + Pete Astor + Would-Be-Goods + DJ Ian Watson (How Does It Feel To Be Loved?)

Fri 24 March – 6.30pm – Islington Assembly Hall

The Butterflies Of Love + Sodastream + Flowers + Darren Hayman + DJ Declan Allen

Sat 25 March – 3pm – Tufnell Park Dome / Boston Music Room (all dayer)

Comet Gain + The Proper Ornaments + Evans The Death + The Loves + Mammoth Penguins + Milky Wimpshake + Bearsuit + September Girls + Tigercats + Special Guests

Sun 26 March, 12 noon – The Lexington

Steven James Adams & The French Drops + Tender Trap / The Catenary Wires + Elva + DJs John Jervis & Ben Clancy (The Hangover Lounge) – (Five Day Pass Holders Only)

Sun 26 March, 6:30pm – Scala

Martha + Joanna Gruesome + The Spook School + Chorusgirl + DJ Paul Richards (Scared To Dance)


About Fortuna POP!

Fortuna POP! has become something of an indie institution since it was started in 1996 by Sean Price, just as britpop and grunge were fading from the nation’s consciousness. The label moved quickly from limited edition 7″s in plastic bags to its first bona fide hitmakers The Butterflies Of Love who were made Single Of The Week in the NME in the days when that was still a big deal, and whose debut album received glowing review across the music press. That early success allowed the label to attract an international roster of indiepop talent, including the UK’s Comet Gain, America’s The Aislers Set and The Ladybug Transistor, and Australia’s The Lucksmiths, and orphaned bands from labels such as Sarah Records and él Records such as Amelia Fletcher‘s Tender Trap and Jessica Griffin‘s Would-Be-Goods. Peel favourites such as Bearsuit, The Loves and Milky Wimpshake flocked to the label but, having flirted with greater success before when releasing the debut single by Fanfarlo, it was the signing of The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart in 2008 that took the label to the next level, with indiepop at the time enjoying a huge resurgence thanks to clubs such as Twee As Fuck and How Does It Feel To Be Loved?
Around the same time the label signed Anglo-Australian indiepop outfit Allo Darlin’, a band who would go on to become Fortuna POP! mainstays, and on the back of their success and that of the Pains, began working with ex-Hefner main man Darren Hayman as well as releasing albums by such serious contenders as Crystal Stilts, Herman Dune and The Pipettes. While Hayman and Allo Darlin’ continued to release excellent albums alongside bands such as Withered Hand, Let’s Wrestle, Tigercats, Chain And The Gang and Pete Astor, the label nurtured a new generation of bands starting with Evans The Death and continuing with Joanna Gruesome, The Spook School, Flowers and Martha, keeping the label vital and relevant as indiepop itself moved towards a more DIY aesthetic with an emphasis on feminism and gender politics. Indeed, one of the key tenets of Fortuna POP! has always been its commitment to the representation of woman and LGBT artists, with other latter-day examples including September Girls and New York sissypop duo The Ballet.
In 2016 the label announced that it would cease operations due to rising debts. A series of farewell shows at the end of March featuring many of the bands released by the label will celebrate its twenty years of existence.




Wednesday 22nd March, Doors 7:30pm

MOTH Club, Old Trades Hall, Valette Street, London E9 6NU

First night meet-up with Simon Love & The Old Romantics + DJs + Special Guests

Five Day Pass Holders Only


Formerly the leader of the legendary Cardiff-based psych-pop champs The Loves, whose fusing of Nuggets-style garage pop, bubblegum fuzz, sugar sweet indiepop, and hand-clapping, hip-shaking rock’n’roll made them firm favourites of Marc Riley and John Peel. Like a lusty uncle gate-crashing a wedding, Simon Love stomps all over notions of dignity or cool, landing at some glorious point of skewed, classic brilliance. Keeping the ear for a golden melody that served him so well from his days in The Loves, Simon’s new stuff with The Old Romantics twists killer McCartney/Elton John songwriting into grubby new shapes, a special episode of TOTP2 half-cut on Newcastle Brown and swearing. Do not miss this young man.

“A potty-mouthed UK version of Father John Misty. Uniquely British and wickedly funny, coupled with a finely tuned songwriting skill and ear for a clever arrangement” Shindig!


Withered Hand + The Ballet + Pete Astor + Would-Be-Goods  + DJ Ian Watson (How Does It Feel To Be Loved?)

Thursday 23rd March, Doors 6:30pm

Bush Hall, 310 Uxbridge Rd, Shepherds Bush, London W12 7LJ

£13.50 in advance from We Got Tickets / £15 Door

Tickets –


Active in the world of visual art and dabbling in music for many years, Dan Willson aka Withered Hand came late to singing and songwriting at age 30, in a period of reflection between the death of a close friend and the birth of his first child. The resultant material, much of which went on to become debut album Good News, was praised for its depth and startling honesty and saw him embraced by Fife-based musical powerhouse the Fence Collective and his songs picked up by MTV and cult series Skins.

In 2014, five years on from “Good News”, Willson returned with the critically acclaimed second album New Gods, a triumph of songwriting talent and superb musicianship that touched the heart of everyone that heard it. Willson went for broke, enlisting legendary Scottish producer Tony Doogan (Mogwai, Teenage Fanclub), and a veritable who’s who of Scottish music including King Creosote, Eugene Kelly of The Vaselines, and members of Belle & Sebastian and Frightened Rabbit. The result: eleven meditations on love, fidelity and transience that saw Willson’s songwriting hit dizzying heights: by turns confessional and melancholy, raucous and life-affirming; a beautifully executed collection of songs from one of Scotland’s most gifted songwriters.

“Endlessly lovable stuff… zings with Teenage Fanclub-ish exuberance.” (NME)


Unashamedly “sissy” and explicitly queer, The Ballet marry the DIY ethos of the Hidden Cameras with the wry poeticism of The Magnetic Fields to create literate, infectious pop gems. Formed in 2005 by Greg Goldberg and Craig Willse they’ve released three albums to date, the self-released Mattachine! (2006) and Bear Life! (2009), and I Blame Society through Fortuna POP! in 2013. Inspired by Stephin Merritt’s body of work, songwriter Goldberg also draws from an array of pop artists and periods, from 60’s bubblegum to 80’s synthpop and 90’s indiepop, fusing these in sophisticated and novel ways which rewards repeat listening. Avoiding autobiographical or confessional modes, Goldberg nonetheless mines his own psychological constitution and intellectual interests to craft songs whose overt musical prettiness is often contrasted by a dark and complex subtext.

“Recalling Holiday-era Magnetic Fields, these songs bop with heady buoyancy, yet are underpinned by complicated but universal themes: self-deception, infidelity without shame, war fatigue and finding love in a world of online hookups.” Time Out New York


Indie auteur Pete Astor, previously of The Loft, The Weather Prophets, and other esteemed acts, released his most recent album “Spilt Milk” via Fortuna POP! in 2016. It was recorded onto ½ inch tape at the home studio of James Hoare of Ultimate Painting, The Proper Ornaments and Veronica Falls, with James playing guitar, bass, drums, keyboards and singing backing vocals. The album has all the hallmarks of a Pete Astor classic, drawing together key strands and tributaries of his work over the years, blending intuitive songwriting, acute lyrics and incisive melodies.

Spilt Milk is part of a continuum: from Astor’s beginnings with The Loft and The Weather Prophets on Creation Records in the 1980s, via his solo work through the 1990s and his more left field albums with The Wisdom of Harry and Ellis Island Sound on Matador Records, Heavenly and Peacefrog, through to his return to solo work with the Songbox album in 2012. As well as this ongoing musical activity, Astor is also Senior Lecturer at the University of Westminster, where he teaches, researches and writes about music; 2014 saw the publication of his study of Richard Hell and the Voidoids’ Blank Generation as part of Bloomsbury’s 33 1/3 Series.

“A doleful jangle that often feels like a bedsit Velvet Underground fronted by Lawrence or Ray Davies… the true beauty of Spilt Milk lies in Astor’s wry commentaries on domesticity, raging libidos and the pitiless march of time”


Eccentric and evocative guitar pop helmed by Jessica Griffin, enigmatic star of cult label él, with her crew of elegant rascals – Peter Momtchiloff, guitarist (Talulah Gosh, Razorcuts, Heavenly, Scarlet’s Well) and occasional songsmith; Debbie Green, drummer and darling of the London nineties garage scene (Thee Headcoatees); and ex-Adam and the Ant and Monochrome Set bassist Andy Warren. Since their reactivation in 2002 the Would-Be-Goods have released three albums full of melancholy charm and wit coupled with a classic guitar pop sound ranging from new folk, tango to garage rock. Love songs to lions, frolics in the Garden of Eden, French Casanovas and personal demons await you. Let the Would-Be-Goods be your guides.

“Elegantly melancholy indie from a dapper London band” (Word)


The Butterflies Of Love + Sodastream + Flowers + Darren Hayman + DJ Declan Allen

Friday 24th March, Doors 6:30pm

Islington Assembly Hall, Upper Street, Islington, London N1 2UD

£15.50 in advance from We Got Tickets / £18 Door

Tickets –


The Butterflies Of Love return to our shores after a gap of ten years to headline the Friday night of Fortuna POP!’s long goodbye. Hailing from New Haven, Connecticut, they made three albums (1999’s ‘How to Know’, 2002’s ‘The New Patient’ and 2007’s “Famous Problems”) of soul-searing melancholy and strange psychedelic rock’n’roll. In their time they had Single of the Week in the NME (back when it meant something) and glowing reviews in Mojo, Uncut, The Times, The Guardian and many more, were compared to the likes of Galaxie 500, Pavement, the Velvets, REM and The Go-Betweens, recorded sessions for John Kennedy at XFM and John Peel at the BBC, and even inspired the latter to applaud live on air. Their shows are wonderful, shimmering, intense affairs and are not to be missed.

“Yearning melodies and softly-softly harmonies (think The Go-Betweens), a back-porch swing (Lambchop, maybe), tentative yet high-tensile guitar work (Velvet Underground, Pavement)…whatever sorry state you may be in at the time, you must haul your arse to one of these shows.” (Time Out)

From Perth in Australia, Sodastream are Karl Smith (vocals, guitar) and Pete Cohen (double bass, saw and deeply baritone backing vocals). Their debut single was plucked from the slush pile by John Peel and not long after they were awarded Single Of The Week in Melody Maker by Moby. They went on to release four albums on some of the most renowned indie labels around the world including Rough Trade and Fortuna POP!, and earned comparison to the likes of Low, Nick Drake and Will Oldham, jumping effortlessly from acoustic introspection and instrumentals to raucous singalong shanties without any hint of affectation. After disbanding in 2007 they recently reformed, with a new album “Little By Little” set for release in March 2017. Even with the additions of horns, harmonicas, and the drums on their studio albums, the core of their sound remains the same as it is live — Smith’s acoustic guitar, Pete’s driving double bass and some of the best, most beautiful songwriting to come out of Australia in years.

“One of Australia’s best kept secrets, they are up there with the Lucksmiths as one of the country’s finest contemporary exports, and I guess it’s no surprise that there is something of the spirit of The Go-Betweens intrinsic in their sound.” (Tangents)


There’s something great about a three-piece—think The Cocteau Twins, The Clean, Galaxie 500—and the way that irreducible nucleus takes its strength from its limitations, making a virtue of its purity. And so it is with London trio Flowers, with singer Rachel Kenedy’s ethereal vocals and Sam Ayres textured guitar backed by the powerful, metronomic beat of drummer Jordan Hockley. Flowers have released two albums to date, their Bernard Butler produced debut Do What You Want To Do, It’s What You Should Do in 2013, and second album Everybody’s Dying To Meet You in 2016. Taking their musical inspiration from shoegaze, C86 and New Zealand’s Flying Nun label, they effortlessly blend their thrilling pop songs with noise while leaving space for more stripped back elements, striking a perfect balance between the sweetness of Kenedy’s voice and Ayres’ abrasive guitar stylings.

“A little Jesus And Mary Chain, a lot of Black Tambourine, and one hell of a voice.” – doNYC


Formerly the singer-songwriter of the much-loved Hefner, Darren Hayman is now well over ten albums into an increasingly idiosyncratic career path, where he has taken a singular and erratic route through England’s tired and heartbroken underbelly. Darren is also writing the best tunes of his career – increasingly complex and mature songs. At the core of his solo career is his Essex trilogy of albums, beginning with 2009’s Pram Town and 2010’s Essex Arms, and culminating in 2012’s The Violence, a 20-song account of the 17th century Essex witch trials. From this he developed an album of English Civil War folk songs of the time (2013’s Bugbears) and stayed with the historical theme for last year’s Chants For Socialists, which saw him set William Morris’ words to music, creating an album of kindness and hope that brought Hayman’s most critical acclaim yet. Hayman’s latest work is his enthralling and ambitious new album Thankful Villages. Hayman visited each of the fifty four villages in Britain where every soldier returned alive from World War I and created a piece of music and a short film for every one.

“London’s laureate of sexual dysfunction, discomfort, and dog-eared under-achievement… the match of Ray Davies, or any of the quintessentially English masters.” (The Guardian)


ALLDAYER – featuring Comet Gain and The Proper Ornaments

Saturday 25th March, Doors 3pm

Tufnell Park Dome / The Boston Music Room, 2 Dartmouth Park Hill, Tufnell Park, London NW5 1HL

£17.50 in advance from We Got Tickets / £20 Door

Tickets –

Comet Gain + The Proper Ornaments + Tigercats + Evans The Death + The Loves + Milky Wimpshake + Bearsuit + September Girls + Mammoth Penguins + Special Guests


Led by songwriter David Feck, Comet Gain have released a string of critically acclaimed records on Kill Rock Stars, Track & Field, What’s Your Rupture? and, of course, Fortuna POP!.  Unapologetically literate and emotional, Comet Gain seek out inspiration as much in the music of girl-group era pop, heartfelt Americana, British post-punk, and 60s psychedelia, as in the words and images of the beat poets and in the cinema of both the British and French new-wave of the late 50 and early 60s.

Comet Gain insist on locating and articulating the romance and the heartbreak that permeate and terrorize the everyday, whilst refusing to slip into sentiment or mawkishness.  From artists like The Make-Up and Jens Lekman to a younger generation of DIY musicians like The Cribs, Love Is All, Veronica Falls, Comet Gain’s influence remains a traceable and tangible thing.

“Three in the morning in someone’s London apartment, unattached men and women not giving up on the night: At first you hear blithering, then the smartest blithering you’ve ever heard. Then shots in the dark: “There’s no security in purity.” Then anguish and hope, forgiveness and curses, and a heartbreaker from its title to the last note: “Why I Try to Look So Bad.” By this point you’re hearing people you’d like to meet.” (Greil Marcus)


Mining the rich territories of The Velvet Underground and The Beach Boys, The Proper Ornaments are comprised of Argentinian Max Claps and James Hoare (also of Ultimate Painting and Veronica Falls) – who both sing and write the songs – and joined by Daniel Nellis (bass) and Robert Syme (drums). Claps arrived in London in 2008 on a one-way ticket from Buenos Aires, aided by former Rolling Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham. Oldham had produced a record by Claps’ Argentinian band of the time but the group had fallen apart in a mess of drugs and acrimony and Claps’ family were attempting to intervene by sending him to a mental hospital. The only option seemed to be to flee the country. As he recalls, “The day before flying to the UK I got run over by a car and had to escape hospital in order to make it so I arrived with bandages and my head all stitched up.”

A few weeks later Max walked into the vintage clothes shop where James Hoare sat behind the counter reading a book on The Velvet Underground, and attempted to cause a diversion while his kleptomaniac girlfriend stole a pair of boots. “She didn’t steal them in the end,” says Max. “They weren’t her size”. However, the shop assistant and the would-be accomplice bonded over a mutual love of the Velvets, Love, Felt and West Coast pop and began writing together, taking their name from a song by the pioneering soft psych band The Free Design. They released their first single, “Recalling”, in 2010 and in 2013 Lo Recordings released all their output to date on a collection titled “Waiting for the Summer”. Their first album proper “Wooden Head” was released on Fortuna POP! in 2014 and they’ve just released the follow-up “Foxhole” through the excellent Tough Love label.

“Serious psych-pop contenders” – (NME)


Formed in Cardiff in 2000, The Loves released their debut single on Radio One DJ Huw Stephens’ Boobytrap Singles Club in May 2001, since when The Loves have had approximately 47 members come and go, making band leader/dictator Simon Love the Welsh Mark E Smith. Their debut album “Love” was released on the highly acclaimed London indie label, Track & Field. At this time the band also became friendly with The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, leading to the band performing at the CMJ Music festival in New York. Since 2003 however, Karen O hasn’t been returning their calls. As well as many sessions for Marc Riley, The Loves also recorded four sessions for John Peel including one live from Peel Acres on Valentine’s Day 2002 at which the band were fed heart shaped pizzas. Since 2004 however, John Peel hasn’t been returning their calls. In 2007 the band released their second album “Technicolor” through Fortuna POP! and made Album Of The Week in The Sunday Times, before following it with album three “Three” in 2009. They released their final LP “…Love You” on Fortuna POP! in 2010 before calling time on ten tawdry years at the top on Valentine’s Day 2011. Now they’re back for this special one-off show with not one, but two (2) drummers. Don’t miss it.

“One has to wonder why the likes of The Loves are not huge popstars when the music industry falls over themselves to give us the download today gone tomorrow pop stars fresh from the conveyor belt world of reality TV. Capitalism eh?” (Indie MP3)


Tigercats combine the talents of songwriter, singer and guitarist Duncan Barrett with his brother Giles on bass, Laura Kovic on keyboards and vocals, and Jonny Evans on drums, as well as Paul Rains from Allo Darlin’ on guitar. Their 2012 debut Isle of Dogs (Fika Recordings) fizzed with jangly punk, afro rhythms and spoken word sections, while their 2015 follow up Mysteries was a more sophisticated pop record, effervescent and spirited, with care and love poured into every song. A band of outstanding musicians, their infectious hooks and sheer danceability make them a formidable live act and they’ve toured across Europe and the USA, playing shows at Primavera, Indietracks, End of the Road festival and NYC Popfest.

“An indiepop band you can dance to. That’s actually rarer than you’d think. 10/10” – (Neon Filler)


Named after the undertaker in Dylan Thomas’s ‘Under Milk Wood,’ Evans the Death’s 2012 self-titled first album mixed Smiths-influenced indie with scratchy noise-pop topped by Katherine Whitaker’s striking vocals. The brilliant debut saw critical acclaim from Q, Uncut and Artrocker, and radio play on BBC Radio 1, BBC 6Music and XFM.

After a change in line-up, the band regrouped for the recording of ‘Expect Delays’, a more ambitious and focused record encompassing additional influences including shoegaze and indie-rock whilst sacrificing none of the band’s spontaneity and vitality. The band’s third album “Vanilla”, their most ambitious and experimental work to date, was released via Fortuna POP! in June.

“You might have mistaken them for a standard-order, indie pop group, but Vanilla ups the ante considerably. It’s a dense, courageous storm of an album, revved-up and snarling. Fractious, thrilling pop.” (Uncut)


A potent mixture of fizzing pop tunes, punk attitude and protest folk have made Milky Wimpshake one of the UK’s best loved indiepop bands. They’ve released numerous singles and compilation tracks on assorted indie labels, along with four albums, 1998’s “Bus Route To Your Heart” released on singer Pete Dales’s own legendary Slampt label, 2001’s “Lovers, Not Fighters”, 2005’s “Popshaped”, and 2010’s “My Funny Social Crime”. For many Milky Wimpshake are the spiritual godfathers of the now-thriving North-East music scene that has spawned Martha, No Ditching and Onsind, and as überlord of the Slampt label Pete was responsible for launching a hundred fanzines and as many bands, The Yummy Fur and Kenickie included. With a new album “Encore, Un Effort” released in 2015 – featuring the vocal talents of Sophie Evans in a series of duets – Wimpshake show no signs of slowing down just yet.

“Leaders of the pop underground.” (A Layer of Chips)

Formed in Dublin in 2011 and named after the Big Star song (by way of The Bangles), September Girls draw inspiration from the likes of The Velvet Underground, The Cure, My Bloody Valentine and The Jesus And Mary Chain, and play reverb-soaked noise-pop of the finest order, once described as “a combination of razorwire guitar lines, thudding Moe Tucker beats and girl group melodicism”. Their debut album Cursing the Sea garnered widespread coverage, with a Guardian New Band of the Day piece, NME radar and 8/10 review and a 4* review in The Fly as well as coverage in The Sunday Times, The Observer and Uncut. The Financial Times said that they were “like a less malevolent Jesus and Mary Chain – impressive power, conjuring exactly the right balance between noise and sweetness” while Time Magazine no less named them as one of the 11 best new bands in the world. Their 2016 follow-up, Age of Indignation, bristles with atmospheric textures and dark-hearted noise, retaining the swirling psychedelia and intensity of their debut, but somehow managing to be even darker and more urgent.

“This is shard-filled, reverb-drenched noise-pop at its most riveting and atmospheric.” (The Sunday Times)


Bearsuit are a boy/girl five-piece from Norwich, known for their electric and outlandish performances, especially their many and varied onstage outfits, from blood covered zombies to majorettes. Favourites of the late John Peel they recorded four Peel sessions and scored three Festive Fifty top five hits. Once compared to Belle And Sebastian meeting Sonic Youth in a car crash, Bearsuit have a style very much their own, mixing sweet indie-pop melodies, stop-start rhythms, quirky electronics, and lots of noise. Their debut album Cat Spectacular! (2004) was followed by Team Ping Pong (2005), a collection of songs previously only released on 7″ singles, and their second album Oh:io (2007). For their third album The Phantom Forest (2011) the band underwent a line-up change and swapped violins, flutes and horns for dirty synths and fierce guitars, resulting in a more beefed-up, edgy sound. Having called it a day in 2013 we are properly excited that Bearsuit have agreed to reform for this Fortuna POP! 20th Birthday show.

“Retro space age, riotously cute disco-punk. This is what my 80s sounded like.” Everett True


When the much-loved Standard Fare called it a day after nine years and two albums, Emma Kupa upped sticks and moved from Sheffield to Cambridge, where she recruited Mark Boxall (bass) and Tom Barden (drums). Previously the bassist and lead singer in Standard Fare, Emma relished the switch to guitar in Mammoth Penguins, allowing her the space to deliver her trademark soaring vocals and to indulge in the occasional mean guitar solo, and with Tom’s driving energy and Mark’s bouncy pop bass they quickly developed their riff-tastic powerpop sound. Their debut album Hide And Seek was released via Fortuna POP! in 2015.

“Loud, thrashy heart-on-sleeve feet-on-the-dancefloor anthems… An infectiously catchy record and brilliant debut.” Louder Than War


Steven James Adams & The French Drops + Tender Trap / The Catenary Wires + Elva + DJs John Jervis & Ben Clancy (The Hangover Lounge)

Sunday 26th March, Doors 12 noon

The Lexington, 96-98 Pentonville Road N1 9JB

Five Day Pass Holders Only


Steven James Adams, the former songwriter/singer/guitarist from the critically acclaimed Broken Family Band, released his brilliant second solo album Old Magick on Fortuna POP! earlier this year, proof that Adams’s gift for marrying exceptional lyrics with inescapable earworms is very much intact. With minimal instrumentation, Old Magick is, in part, a reaction to Adam’s first solo outing House Music (2013), an album recorded in his living room and featuring an array of musical friends, including members of bands as disparate as pop-rockers The Vaccines and folk-idols Lau. House Music followed two full band albums with indie pop-rockers Singing Adams. Adams’ shows are wonderful to behold: funny, intimate and wildly unpredictable. According to a recent Guardian article “you’d struggle to find a British songwriter of the last 15 years who’s had such consistently good reviews.” A genuine entertainer, a truly gifted songwriter, and perhaps the closest thing there is to a British Bill Callahan, Adams has produced a high watermark of a record in Old Magick, proof that his reputation is deserved.

“Across his work with The Broken Family Band and the Singing Adams as well as his recent solo records, Steven James Adams has shown a keen eye for the small delights and absurdities of life. It’s pleasing too, this time, to hear Adams singing unadorned and less accompanied; it lets the melody run uncluttered and those brilliant lyrics step forward” Q


The Catenary Wires were formed in 2014 when Amelia Fletcher and Rob Pursey (ex-Talulah Gosh, Heavenly, Marine Research, Tender Trap) moved out of London. Unlike some of their earlier incarnations, The Catenary Wires are minimalist, melancholy, and a little woozy. Originally forming the band just for themselves at home, Rob and Amelia started playing songs on their daughter’s 3/4 size acoustic guitar. They are still refusing to give it back. The band agreed to play a first gig in public at the Arnolfini in Bristol, in support of a new film about Sarah Records, and, since then, they have played several shows around the UK, and in Tokyo, Madrid and New York. Elefant Records released their debut album, Red Red Skies, in 2015.

“Indie pop royalty Amelia Fletcher and Rob Pursey depart from their usual predilection for fuzzy 60s girl¬group hooks on mini-album Red Red Skies and replace it with a more gentle, melancholy sound, though an innate knack for melody remains a constant theme, with Amelia’s saccharine voice being a familiar and prevailing aspect. Red Red Skies will no doubt tug at the heart strings.” London In Stereo


Led by Sarah Records luminaries Amelia Fletcher and Rob Pursey, Tender Trap began as a project with a drum machine designed to fit into a small car and over the course of four albums grew into five strong rock outfit filled with riot-grrrl-esque tales of sisterhood and revenge that wouldn’t be out of place among the punkest moments of Amelia’s previous outfits Talulah Gosh and Heavenly. Brimful with energy, ideas and that unquenchable pop spirit, mixing the vocal harmonies, oohs, ahs and sha-la-las of classic girl-pop with the stripped down beats and dirty guitars of the Shop Assistants and The Vaselines, Tender Trap were one of the mainstays of Fortuna POP! before they called it a day in 2013, Rob and Amelia going on to form The Catenary Wires.

“In a nicer parallel universe, Tender Trap’s Amelia Fletcher is the most influential artist of her day” (NME)


Australian Elizabeth Innset Morris was the ukulele-wielding singer and songwriter in Allo Darlin’, who released three fabulous album on Fortuna POP! before splitting up last year amongst scenes of some fervour at their farewell shows. Now married and living in Oslo Elizabeth has formed a new band with her husband, Ola Innset Morris of Making Marks. This will be their first ever full band show, and their first outside of Norway. Beyond that we know little, other than that a banjo is involved, and that if Elizabeth is involved it’s sure to be amazing.


Martha + Joanna Gruesome + The Spook School + Chorusgirl + DJ Paul Richards (Scared To Dance)

Sunday 26th March, Doors 6:30pm

Scala, 275 Pentonville Road, King’s Cross, London N1 9NL

£13.50 in advance from We Got Tickets / £15 Door

Tickets –


Hailing from Pity Me near Durham, Martha play energetic, impassioned power pop with intricate vocal interplay and lush four-part harmonies, informed by 90s indie rock and Scandinavian anarcho punk. The band is comprised of J. Cairns (guitar), Daniel Ellis (guitar), Naomi Griffin (bass), and Nathan Stephens Griffin (drums). All four members sing and write the songs. Daniel and Nathan also play in Onsind, while Naomi also plays in No Ditching. Their debut album “Courting Strong”, produced by MJ from Hookworms, came out in 2014 and was included in NPR’s top 50 albums of that year, winning them the epithet “One of Britain’s best rock bands”. Following a Glastonbury appearance last year at the personal invitation of Billy Bragg, the this year took to the stage at the End Of The Road festival. Their second album “Blisters In The Pit Of My Heart” was released via Fortuna POP! in July last year.

“Martha are one of the most thrilling and likeable bands to emerge from the North East in god knows how many years… Courting Strong is just fantastic”. (Drowned In Sound)


Joanna Gruesome’s terrific debut album Weird Sister took the world by storm when it was released in September 2013, going on to win the Welsh Music Prize. Fantastic press support saw glowing press reviews across the board with particular love from Pitchfork and from NME, including a spot on the front cover as part of their Rule Britannia issue, as well as live coverage from The Guardian, Observer and The Independent. At radio the album’s singles scored a remarkable four out of four on the BBC 6Music playlist and the band played sessions for both Lauren Laverne on 6Music and for Huw Stephens on Radio One. Second album Peanut Butter was released in 2015 and was a further experiment in combining hyper melodic pop music with sonic violence, containing a record number of hooks, traces of nut and elements of jangle pop, British hardcore punk, atonal music, screaming and drone organs.

“Joanna Gruesome are a brilliant band from Cardiff who love their fuzzy melodies and songs dripped in scuzzy reverb.” (Huw Stephens, Radio One)


The Spook School’s latest album, Try To Be Hopeful, is brim full of noisy, tuneful and triumphant queer pop songs about identity, sexuality and being awesome. Since forming in 2012 they’ve become increasingly involved with the DIY queer punk scene, taking inspiration from the passionate, like-minded people they’ve met along the way, and from bands such as Martha, Joanna Gruesome, Trust Fund and Tuff Love. Citing influences including Buzzcocks, T-Rex and the noisier end of C86, the new album is louder, bolder, fuller-sounding and captures more of their live sound—aided and abetted by producer MJ of Hookworms.

“It sounds like such a simple formula: write catchy pop songs about things which are important to you, but the fact is The Spook School have nailed it better than pretty much anyone in recent memory.” (Drowned in Sound)

The brainchild of German songwriter, singer and rhythm guitarist Silvi Wersing, Chorusgirl blend the shimmering dreaminess of 4AD bands like Lush, the noir pop of The Cure and the bittersweet electricity of The Breeders across songs that sparkle with melody and pop nous but are stealthily subverted by something darker. Dig beneath the surface of the perfect pop songs and you’ll find heavy lyrics about saying goodbye, giving up, grief, alienation and loneliness. With their debut album Chorusgirl breathed new life into guitar pop, reinvigorating the genre with fresh hooks and sharp-edged songs full of heartache, anger and grit.
“Chorusgirl take up the female-fronted fuzzbomb art-pop baton that Lush and The Long Blondes help patent – jangling guitars carrying along a bucketful of big hooks, Silvi Wersing’s strident, cool-as vocals, joy camouflaging the pain.” (Sweeping The Nation)

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