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Midi Festival 2010
Midi Festival 2010
Background information
OriginManchester, England
GenresIndie rock, art rock, post-rock
Years active2008–2012
LabelsLYF Recordings
Past members
  • Ellery Roberts
  • Evans Kati
  • Tom McClung
  • Joe Manning

WU LYF (pronounced "Woo Life", stands for "World Unite Lucifer Youth Foundation") were a band from Manchester, England that originally became known for creating a mystery about themselves by declining requests for interviews and not releasing much information to the press.[3][4][5] The band described their music as "heavy pop".[6]



WU LYF formed in the summer of 2008 and consisted of "Jeau" (Joe Manning), "Lung" (Tom McClung), "Elle Jaie" (Ellery Roberts) and "Evnse" (Evans Kati).[4] The band started their own record label titled Ridiculous Records.[7] The band's first gig outside Manchester came in July 2010 at the MIDI Festival on the French Riviera, which NME called "undoubtedly one of the gigs of the year".[8] Subsequent shows include France's Transmusicales Festival,[9][10] Berlin's Transmediale festival[11] and headline shows in Glasgow and London. In July 2010 the band announced the formation of the Lucifer Youth Foundation, giving new members an illustrated bandit mask and a 12" single featuring the tracks "Concrete Gold" and "Heavy Pop".

The band started recording their debut album in November 2010 using the money generated by the L Y F membership scheme. Deciding against the conventional studio set up, they instead took over Saint Peter's church in Ancoats, Manchester, to record their album. The album is self-produced. The band declined all offers from established record labels and released their debut album, entitled Go Tell Fire to the Mountain,[12][13] themselves on 13 June 2011 through the L Y F recordings imprint.[14] In support of the record's release, the band played several dates in the UK to critical acclaim,[15][16] culminating in the curation of the Great Bridgewater Street Tunnel as part of the Manchester International Festival.[17]

Making the album


The band had the concept for Go Tell Fire to the Mountain long before the recording process took place. Roberts states that it was written "in a narrative sense and [was approached] as a complete work rather than a bunch of songs thrown together."[18] When searching for a place to record, the group was dissatisfied with the sound they were getting from traditional studios, leading them to settle on an old abandoned church in Manchester. The amount of open airspace in the church allowed for a healthy dose of reverb, which is a critical part of the album's larger than life sound.[19] Despite the media's insistence of the location's relevance to the religious theme of the band, Roberts denies it. Although the church altered the "vibe of the songs", the band asserts that Saint Peter's church sonically fit the album's needs.[18]

Press coverage


Much of the early press coverage on the band has focused on the fact that they do not know much about the band.[20] The New York Observer described the phenomenon as "carefully designed anonymity".[3] One critic highlighted their "ability to maintain mystique at a time when everything is out in the open".[21] The NME's Matt Wilkinson picked the band as one that was likely to define 2011.[22] Stereogum featured WU LYF as a "Band to Watch" in May 2010.[23] They were described as "the cult band of the moment in England" by Rolling Stone magazine in Italy.[24] The Dutch magazine Kicking the Habit described them as sounding like "Tom Waits in a church under the guidance of stoned garage".[25] The band appeared on BBC2's "Culture Show", showcasing a song off their debut album and conducting an interview.[26]

Latter-day press became more concerned with WU LYF's intense, cathartic live shows.[27] Pitchfork gave Go Tell Fire to the Mountain an 8.4 rating and the "Best New Music" accolade, stating, "WU LYF in the manner of Iceage or Odd Future as musicians that have made me genuinely excited about their potential impact on listeners, the same things that make them seem juvenile---the artistic and personal volatility, the semblance of a roving gang more than a band, the invitation to indulge in your most disturbing impulses and yet feel morally superior to an ill-defined majority---are the same things that feel totally galvanizing. And it's easy to imagine Go Tell Fire to the Mountain giving disaffected listeners the promise of an entry to something beyond themselves in a way that James Blake or Bon Iver can't."[19] BBC Radio 1's Zane Lowe named "Dirt" the "Hottest Track in the World" in 2011.[28]

This Wikipedia page on the band has been deleted several times, which itself has been covered by the press.[20]



On 24 November 2012, a video for a new track appeared on YouTube accompanied by a supposed letter from lead singer Ellery Roberts, directed towards his bandmates. It stated: "I am gone. This isn't the end. This is the begging."(sic) At this moment in time it was unclear as to whether this was the end for WU LYF, however their Facebook page also disappeared around the same time the video surfaced. A new track titled "T R I U M P H" accompanied the letter, in which Roberts announced, "WU LYF is dead to me."[29]



Following his departure, the remaining WU LYF members continued on as Los Porcos, a former side-project, releasing 2 tracks in April 2013.[30][31] Tom McClung created a solo project called Francis Lung,[32] and Evans Kati and Joe Manning formed Dream Lovers,[33] debuting their first show at Midi Music Festival in 2015.[34] Ellery Roberts joined girlfriend Ebony Hoorn to form LUH., which stands for "Lost Under Heaven". LUH.'s debut album, entitled Spiritual Songs for Lovers to Sing, was co-produced by The Haxan Cloak and was released in May 2016 by Mute Records.[2][35]


  • Ellery James Roberts — lead vocals, organ
  • Evans Kati — vocals, guitar, harmonica
  • Tom McClung — vocals, bass, guitar
  • Joe Manning — drums, piano






  • "Heavy Pop" / "Concrete Gold" (12" single, 31 May 2010)[37]
  • "Dirt" (promo CD only, June 2011)[38]
  • "We Bros" (12" single, 20 September 2011)[39]
  • "T R I U M P H" (single, 24 November 2012)[29]


  1. ^ Minsker, Evan (12 August 2013). "Listen: WU LYF Former Members Los Porcos: "Sunshine"". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 17 October 2014.
  2. ^ a b Gordon, Jeremy (16 October 2014). "WU LYF's Ellery James Roberts Returns With New Project LUH., Shares "Unites"". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 17 October 2014.
  3. ^ a b Miller, Michael H. (5 April 2011). "Avatars of Anonymous Ambition: Heavy Poppers WU LYF Hit Williamsburg". The New York Observer. Archived from the original on 10 April 2011. Retrieved 1 May 2011.
  4. ^ a b Lester, Paul (10 March 2010). "Wu Lyf (No 743) – This mysterious crew appear to be some kind of strange Manc cult, full of quasi-spiritual fervour and revolutionary intent". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 May 2011.
  5. ^ "Donaufestival mit James Blake, Wild Beasts und Owen Pallett gestartet" (in German). Vienna: Vienna Online. 29 April 2010. Retrieved 9 May 2011.
  6. ^ Chanda, Devin (23 August 2011). "Manchester, United". Life and Times. Retrieved 2 September 2011.
  7. ^ Domball, Ryan (3 August 2011). "WU LYF Talk Mystique, Unintelligible Lyrics". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 6 April 2014.
  8. ^ Wilkinson, Matt (12 August 2010). "Live review: MIDI Festival. Hyeres, France". NME. Retrieved 29 July 2023.
  9. ^ Steenhaut, Dirk. "Wu Lyf @ ABClub". Knack Focus (in Dutch). France. Retrieved 3 May 2011.
  10. ^ "WU LYF: Live aux Transmusicales de Rennes" (in French). France: Ricard S.A. Live Music. Archived from the original on 12 August 2011. Retrieved 7 June 2021.
  11. ^ "MIT & WU LYF live @ CTM" (in German). Berlin: intro.de. Retrieved 3 May 2011.
  12. ^ "Go Tell Fire To The Mountain album review - Louder Than War". 9 June 2011. Retrieved 10 June 2011.
  13. ^ "Go Tell Fire To The Mountain album review - Neo Noir". Retrieved 10 June 2011.
  14. ^ a b "Wu Lyf release first song from 'Go Tell Fire To The Mountain' online – audio". NME. 30 March 2011. Retrieved 1 May 2011.
  15. ^ Murray, Robin (12 April 2011). "WU LYF Add Tour Dates – Manchester band to break cover". Clash. Retrieved 1 May 2011.
  16. ^ Stickler, Jon (13 April 2011). "WU LYF Reveal Dates For UK Tour & Tickets". StereoBoard.com. Retrieved 1 May 2011.
  17. ^ "Wu Lyf top Manchester International Festival's new music". BBC News. 17 March 2011. Retrieved 4 May 2011.
  18. ^ a b Newman, Jason (27 July 2011). "WU LYF Explain The Band Behind The Myth". MTV. Retrieved 6 April 2014.
  19. ^ a b Cohen, Ian (23 June 2011). "Go Tell Fire to the Mountain". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 2 September 2011.
  20. ^ a b Michaels, Sean (23 April 2011). "WU LYF – so good at being a band that nobody's asked about their music yet". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 May 2011.
  21. ^ Kolitz, Daniel (14 April 2011). "Wu Lyf: Playing on Prefix". KCRW. Retrieved 1 May 2011.
  22. ^ Wilkinson, Matt (6 January 2011). "WU LYF Are Fucking Amazing – And Here's The Proof". NME. Retrieved 1 May 2011.
  23. ^ Jessica (27 May 2010). "Band To Watch: WU LYF". Stereogum. Retrieved 20 February 2012.
  24. ^ "Wu Lyf: il quartetto anarchico di Manchester". Rolling Stone (in Italian). Italy. Retrieved 1 May 2011.
  25. ^ "Opinie – Festival programmatie anno 2011: Duck Sauce en de rest". Kicking the Habit (in Dutch). Netherlands. 29 April 2011. Retrieved 9 May 2011. dat klinkt als Tom Waits in een kerk onder begeleiding van stonede garagerock
  26. ^ Graham-Dixon, Andrew (12 July 2011). "BBC - BBC Two Programmes - The Culture Show, 2011/2012, Episode 5, Wu Lyf". BBC. Retrieved 13 July 2011.
  27. ^ Murray, Robin (12 April 2011). "Should one day fill stadiums". Clash. Retrieved 1 May 2011.
  28. ^ Lowe, Zane (25 May 2011). "Hottest Record - Wu Lyf - Dirt". BBC Radio 1. Retrieved 7 June 2011.
  29. ^ a b Dalton, Josh M. (24 November 2012). "NEWS: WU LYF ANNOUNCE SPLIT? RELEASE FINAL SONG T R I U M P H". Retrieved 24 November 2012.
  30. ^ "Former Wu Lyf members debut new band Los Porcos in London". NME. 26 April 2013. Retrieved 6 May 2013.
  31. ^ "WU LYF carry on without singer as Los Porcos (stream 2 tracks)". Brooklyn Vegan. 25 April 2013. Retrieved 6 May 2013.
  32. ^ "LISTEN: FRANCIS LUNG'S "AGE LIMITS"". CMJ. 26 July 2013. Retrieved 26 December 2015.
  33. ^ "Dream Lovers – Go, Gauguin, Go". thisistruluv.com. 11 September 2014. Retrieved 26 December 2015.
  34. ^ "Midi Festival, 2015". thisistruluv.com. 2015. Retrieved 26 December 2015.
  35. ^ Monroe, Jazz (26 January 2016). "LUH. (WU LYF's Ellery James Roberts and Ebony Hoorn) team with The Haxan Cloak for "I&I"". Pitchfork. Retrieved 2 April 2016.
  36. ^ Huffington, Svetlana (24 October 2010), Wu Lyf 2012 Australian Tour – St. Jeromes Laneway Sideshows, musicfeeds.com.au, retrieved 5 April 2016
  37. ^ "Wu Lyf – Heavy Pop / Concrete Gold" at Discogs
  38. ^ "Wu Lyf – Dirt" at Discogs
  39. ^ Bevan, David (20 September 2011). "New WU LYF: "We Bros (Single Version)"". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 16 October 2011.