Expectation is a wondrous thing, Dear Reader. No artist wants to be ignored - everyone is forever chasing the buzz. But, once that glare of the spotlight is fixed in place, the pressure is on.
For our August cover star Sam Fender, that’s a heavier force than most have to cope with. Already selling out live dates up and down the country, he’s even beaten bona fide sensation Lewis Capaldi to a Brit Award. Big, big things are expected.
Big things that, truthfully, we expected to land this month. When we first started talking to Sam for this month’s cover feature, his debut album was due to arrive in early August. Then, medical issues struck him down, taking him out of the firing line for a prolonged period of time. A prime Glastonbury slot - the sort that can prove the launchpad for an entire career - had to be pulled. With that record moved to September, there are more eyes on him than ever before.
But for all the expectation, there are few worries Sam can carry that weight. Spoiler alert, but ‘Hypersonic Missiles’ already sounds like a huge album - one packed with bangers and able to spark difficult conversations that, let's be honest, we urgently need to have. We’ve got a genuine star on our hands, people.
Sam's not hogging all the sparkle this month, though. As you'd expect, Dork is rammed tighter than you and your mates in a Fiat 500 on your way to 'the festivals'. If you're after Genuine Album of the Year Contenders, you need look no further than the mighty Marika Hackman. With a record that's holding nothing back, just thank goodness you didn't have to play it to your parents. Murph from the Wombats is 'going it solo' - just with some help from his all star mates - as we introduce Love Fame Tragedy, while Kim Petras is wielding top draw pop like a deadly weapon.
There's also interviews with The Regrettes, Ider and Mini Mansions, and we head to Manchester with Mumford and Sons to try and make an enormodome feel, y'know, more intimate. Turns out it's more than just some nice curtains and a scented candle. There's introductions to Nasty Cherry, Penelope Isles, Chappaqua Wrestling and Walt Disco in Hype, a hearty 'lovely to see you' for Tarek from Spring King, as he returns with new project Dead Nature, Wallows dealing with our parade of daft questions and loads, loads more. Loads.
The all new issue of Dork is out now. You can order a copy above, or subscribe here. Alternatively, you'll be able to pick up one from our nationwide stockists, or read it on Issuu 'digitally', if you fancy.