Introducing London-based trio Island of Love, a band that delivers such a remarkably raucous live show that Third Man Records signed them during their cigarette break immediately after seeing them play. Island of Love are the very first band signed to Third Man Records London, and they announce their self-titled debut album today.
In September 2021, Island of Love – Karim Newble on guitars/vocals, Linus Munch on guitars/vocals and Daniel Giraldo on bass –were invited to perform at the grand opening of Third Man’s The Blue Basement. It’s a good thing Island of Love showed up to the gig at all, given that the band didn’t even think the email invitation they received to play was real. That very real and not-spam offer not only led to their on-the-spot label signing, but to opening slots for Jack White, and now their exhilarating debut. Island of Love is a ferocious and bone-shakingly loud album that marries raw, primal noise led by crunchy guitars with intrinsically melodic sensibilities, and recalls the sound and spirit of peak-era Dinosaur Jr. or Husker Dü. With influences from the band’s start in the London hardcore punk scene and their DIY community roots, the album is elevated by the shared vocal and songwriting duties of Newble and Munch. Produced by Fuzzbrain’s Ben Spence and engineered by Jack Shirley (Deafheaven, Jeff Rosenstock, Joyce Manor), Island of Love is an album full of songs that pinball back and forth between tones and styles, and make up one of the most refreshing and fun debut albums you’ll hear in 2023.
To celebrate the album announcement, Island of Love shares the first taste of the record in the form of a double A-side and video for “Grow” / “Blues 2000.” “Grow,” the first song that IOL ever wrote together, is a thrilling, melodic slice of indie-rock that’s been pulled and reimagined from their earliest (and long sold-out) demo release, Promo Tape, whil “Blues 2000,” masterfully showcases the band’s dueling guitars. The tracks are already ear-splitting, fan favorite staples from the band’s live show, and are always played back-to-back.
- Big Whale
- Fed Rock
- Blues 2000
- Sweet Loaf
- I've Got The Secret
- Losing Streak
- Weekend At Clive's
- Never Understand
- It Was All OK Forever
More on Island of Love:
The members of Island of Love met via the London hardcore punk scene while playing in other bands, such as Newble’s Powerplant, sharing bills with the likes of Chubby and the Gang and High Vis. They booked their own shows, printed their own merch, designed their very distinct artwork, self-released their music and recorded at Fuzzbrain, a studio in East London that’s dedicated to fostering the underground music community by making high-quality studio and rehearsal space accessible to artists at all price points.
So, when they set about making their debut album for Third Man they wanted to carry over as much of that DIY spirit as possible by continuing their relationship with producer Ben Spence and Fuzzbrain studios. Spence, a fellow working class London kid, has been crucial in fostering a vibrant community and thriving scene around his East London studio by creating a studio with built-in equipment and offering free sessions and rehearsal time for musicians under 25 years-old. That’s how Island of Love were able to record their early demos. Spence, Fuzzbrain, and the community it has spawned, have proven invaluable to them. “Growing up I couldn't afford equipment,” says Newble. “But Fuzzbrain was this space where you could go to practice and use insane equipment. We never had to bring guitars, pedals or leads. You could just show up and plug in. We would have struggled to be a band without that place.” Giraldo added, “It's very much [Spence’s] record as much as it is ours.”
Island of Love released their debut collection of demos, Promo Tape, in 2020. By the time of 2022’s EP Songs of Love they had solidified even tighter as a unit. “Promo Tape was us trying to learn to write songs individually but Songs of Love was us trying to learn to write songs as a band,” says Newble. But the leap from EP to LP is even bolder and larger. “What we've done on this album is much more of an accurate representation of us and where we're at,” says Giraldo. “The EP sounds good but the difference on the album is huge.” Giraldo is correct. The LP has production that is bright, punchy, crunchy and allows the songs to positively shine.
For a debut album, and a band so young, there is a great deal of restraint and consideration to be heard. It’s an album that is loud and noisy but also filled with push-pull dynamics that results in moments of tenderness and quiet that then elevates the crunch and power of noisier parts. “The album shows the balance of it being written in bedrooms but being honed in live shows,” says Munch. “It captures a contrast.” And that is perhaps the description that best encapsulates this album. A record that explores duality, balance and contrast; a place where grizzly teeth-rattling noise and explode like fireworks one moment before gliding seamlessly into melody-laced sugary pop hooks and the kind of considered songwriting that truly belies their age. “This album exceeded our expectations,” says Newble. “I’m really proud of it.”