Deptford Goth – 'Life After Defo'
Not only is Deptford Goth actually from Peckham, he’s also not nearly as gloomy as you’d expect. Though he comes close to the melancholy of fellow south east London producer and vocalist James Blake, making ‘Life After Defo’ essential for anyone awaiting Blake’s new record, Daniel Woolhouse ( the man behind the Goth) has actually made something more optimistic. His debut album, recorded at night, soundtracks the darkness before dawn. Woolhouse sings like a man who’s down but not out over instrumentals that are brooding but not bleak, and full of lush, warm washes of synthesiser. At its centre is the gorgeous ‘Particles’, with the murmured refrain: ‘It sticks me in the soil.’ It’s an image of natural decay and rebirth that’s central to ‘Life After Defo’, an album that sounds like new things growing slowly underground.
Here’s what happens when Dreambagsjaguarshoes grows up, packs its bags and moves to Dalston. The Victoria is now owned by the same people as the perennially cool and grungy Shoreditch hangout, and probably represents a mellowing out with age – it’s a pub, it’s more relaxed, it stages live music, and it’s on a backstreet off Dalston Lane instead of the illuminated strip down the road. As a pub, it’s decent – an artily thrown-together look, a few local beers (although not many), and a ‘residency’ from peripatetic grillers Psychic Burger. It’s a misleading name – I sat thinking about what I wanted to eat for half an hour before having to go up and order at the bar in the old-fashioned way. But as US diner food in plastic trays goes, it’s a fine example of its type. Through the back of the pub is the stage, where assorted bands assemble to perform. The Victoria has been a scuzzily democratic live music venue for decades, so it’s great that the new owners kept that going and didn’t turn the room into a dining room/yoga space/Tesco Metro.