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Video of the Moment #1896: Zola Jesus

 
By on Wednesday, 2nd September 2015 at 6:00 pm
 

The fourth single from Zola Jesus‘ latest album ‘Taiga’, ‘Nail’, now has its own promo video. In contrast to the smooth moves and shapes Nikita Danilova was cutting in the video for ‘Hunger’, there’s a lot of sensual writhing in imprisoning latex this time around to match the imagery of Danilova’s repeated refrain “set me free”. Watch it below.

‘Nail’ is the title track of an EP to be released on Mute Records on the 18th of September. The EP will include at the yet unreleased track ‘Circles’ and Xanopticon‘s remix of ‘Taiga’ track ‘Go’. Our TGTF archive on Zola Jesus is this way.

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Live Gig Video: Royal Blood play ‘Little Monster’ on the Main Stage at Reading 2015 (Saturday)

 
By on Wednesday, 2nd September 2015 at 4:00 pm
 

As an American music editor who loves UK music, it’s sometimes unreal to me that I get the opportunity to see British bands who have already generated huge buzz back in blighty in tiny little places. Last summer I saw Royal Blood play a a packed out 200-capacity DC9. And now they’re throwing the entire viewing population of a massive festival like Reading 2015 into a frenzy? Incredible. Watch the hard rocking duo perform their single ‘Little Monster’ last Saturday at Richfield Avenue below.

Want to read more about Royal Blood on TGTF? Right this way.

If you live in the UK, until the 29th of September you have access to over 40 full sets of action from Reading/Leeds 2015 through the BBC’s Web site for the festival weekend. For full details, go here. If you like outside the UK, you’ll be able to enjoy selected highlights from the weekend on BBC’s YouTube channel, including coverage from the BBC Introducing stage.

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Album Review: The Libertines – Anthems for Doomed Youth

 
By on Wednesday, 2nd September 2015 at 12:00 pm
 

The Libertines Anthems for Doomed Youth album coverI was of two minds when I heard The Libertines – with a reasonably sober Pete Doherty to boot! – were planning a comeback album. When you go for years and years for one of your favourite bands to return (read: waiting for one of the principal band members to clean up his act and escape from the brink of death), it’s only natural to be sceptical about the results in front of you when the day finally comes.

First taster ‘Gunga Din’, which was unveiled to the public back in late June, furthered my scepticism: while it had the requisite “la la las” to get the devoted fans behind it and plucky, bluesy guitar lines in the verses, the rest of the lyrics left me cold. I’m not sure why things changed – perhaps it’s the deep transformation I’m going through personally that’s responsible – but as the plays of the song have ramped up on BBC 6 Music in the weeks that followed, I now find myself singing along to it, smiling.

I feel sympathetic to its message going back to Kipling’s original poem from the 19th century about an Indian water boy who saves a soldier’s life before his own sad, untimely demise and its relation to the song’s chorus. “Oh the road is long / if you stay strong / you’re a better man than I” seems to parallel Doherty’s way back from addiction, as well as Carl Barat‘s steadfast support of him through thick and thin, even when things looked bleak for his best friend. If there is one victory that stands out above all about this album, Doherty completed this drug treatment program at the start of this year in Thailand, where production by Jake Gosling and recording took place. In stark contrast to what played out in the recently released documentary on the late Amy Winehouse, this story has a happy ending. It represents two things we all need as human beings: hope and strength.

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On the surprisingly, beautifully tender ‘You’re My Waterloo’, Doherty’s rendering of someone beloved with so much strength could be a reflection of himself: “just say you love me for three good reasons / then I’ll throw you the rope / but you don’t need it, because you’re the survivor / of more than one life”. On the other side of the spectrum, the down and dirty groove of ‘Glasgow Coma Scale Blues’ (with Doherty’s wail sounding reminiscent of ‘The Haha Wall’) is rocking harder than you’d ever remembered from them, which is another astonishing development. Somewhere in between lies the ‘Iceman’, a folky, vaguely cowboy ballad that you can’t help but imagining Barat and Doherty writing cross-legged on the floor sat across from each other like they might have in the old days. True friendships last.

‘Doomed’ seems a funny word to include in an album title, and I have to wonder if the band included it because the legend of the Libertines still looms large from their popularity in the Noughties. It’s not a presumption this album will be compared to ‘Up the Bracket': it will be so, and to many people. In ‘Fame and Fortune’, the cheeky lines from the chorus “we’re like tin soldiers, responding to the call / to Camden we will crawl, one and all” will make you grin, even if the minor key melody in the rest of the song doesn’t grab you. The first two Libertines’ albums were rallying cries of youth because the band were in their early 20s then, so it’s unfair to compare their motives then and now.

The magnificently energetic ‘Heart of the Matter’ (“no-one can hold a light to your misery”) and ‘Fury of Chonburi’ are the closest you’re going to get to the ‘old’ Libertines, if you’re planning to do some moshing and pogoing at their future gigs. But it’s hardly the norm on ‘Anthems for Doomed Youth’. The lite rock style of the title track is led by Barat’s still strong voice crooning, “life could be so handsome / it’s all gonna be okay / we’re going nowhere / ‘cos nowhere, nowhere’s on our way”. Does comfortable complacency seem strange coming from the same lads who complained there are fewer more distressing sights than that / of an Englishman in a baseball cap”? Maybe, for a bit.

But I have to admit, I rather fancy this mature version of the Libertines. They’re not trying to be something they are no longer. I reckon this is less reinvention than making the kind of music that makes sense to them heading towards middle age, and if Doherty stays clean (and I hope and pray he does), this band has legs as long as they want to keep it going. Hooray for the Libertines!

8.5/10

‘Anthems for Doomed Youth’, the Libertines’ third album and their first in 11 years, is out this Friday, the 4th of September on Virgin EMI. The LP will be released in several different formats: standard 12-song CD, deluxe CD, 12” vinyl, digital download and a box set. (Whew! Well, what did you *really* expect after 11 long years?)

 

Video of the Moment #1895: Kodaline

 
By on Tuesday, 1st September 2015 at 6:00 pm
 

Having followed Irish pop favourites Kodaline since they made a splash early on in their career at SXSW 2013, it seems almost surreal watching their latest promo video for ‘Love Will Set You Free’, from the band’s second album ‘Coming Up for Air’ that I reviewed back around the time of its release in February. From quiet moments alone by the ocean to a rammed gig at the Wiltern in Los Angeles, Kodaline take you along for a behind-the-scenes ride through their busy touring life these days. Proud and happy for you, guys!

Kodaline tour the UK and Ireland in December; all the dates are listed here. All our past coverage of Kodaline on TGTF is this way.

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Live Gig Video: alt-J perform ‘Left Hand Free’ at the Main Stage at Reading 2015 (Friday)

 
By on Tuesday, 1st September 2015 at 4:00 pm
 

My my, how the mighty alt-J have risen. If you don’t believe me, check out their Main Stage appearance at Reading last Friday, performing the incredibly catchy ‘Left Hand Free’, from their sophomore album ‘This is All Yours’ released in autumn 2014, embedded below.

To watch the promo video for ‘Left Hand Free’ that debuted last summer, head here. Want more on alt-J on TGTF? Right this way.

If you live in the UK, until the 29th of September you have access to over 40 full sets of action from Reading/Leeds 2015 through the BBC’s Web site for the festival weekend. For full details, go here. If you like outside the UK, you’ll be able to enjoy selected highlights from the weekend on BBC’s YouTube channel, including coverage from the BBC Introducing stage.

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Album Review: Passport to Stockholm – All at Once EP

 
By on Tuesday, 1st September 2015 at 12:00 pm
 

Passport to Stockholm All at Once EP coverTeenage friends and songwriters Chris “Barny” Barnard (vocals) and Tom Piggott (guitar) are at the heart of London-based act Passport to Stockholm, who I introduced you all to last summer in this previous Bands to Watch. Just last Friday, the group – which includes percussionist Henri Grimes and cellist Mariona De Lamo – released their latest EP, ‘All at Once’. It seems quite a prophetic title, given that Passport to Stockholm are set to perform this year’s CMJ in October in New York City, having already caught the eye of our friends Baeblemusic in the Big Apple who said their EP track ‘Chemistry propels the band “…into the pantheon of passionate and sincere British pop / folk / rock which has dominated the charts for the last 5 years.” But I’m getting ahead of myself here…

The title track begins the EP in earnest, Barnard’s full voice rising, sweeping note to note and above satisfying above the anthemic but otherwise brilliantly understated guitar strums, cello notes and percussion. The overall effect is lush, with his bandmates’ backing vocals joining to add further richness. The pizzicato strings add interest in the verses of ‘Let Me Know’, which are then followed by Barnard’s alternating staccatoing and smooth vocal delivery; the textural differences show a maturity that puts Passport to Stockholm far ahead of any of their indie pop contemporaries.

The earlier mentioned ‘Chemistry’ is the EP standout track, beginning and continuing on with pounding beats, accompanied by the yearning cello. But it’s Barnard’s vocals and the lyrics that are the real stars here. The chemistry addressed here is the tricky, ridiculous kind that stems from the weird gut feeling we get when we meet someone else and know we should be with him/her and going further from that, the terrible feeling that keeps us up at night when she/he is already with someone else (in this case, the woman is married to another man). The painful conflict of reconnecting with and romancing someone you loved and still love is evident in the words “already in love, you got back in touch, I just couldn’t turn you down.” You feel the ache, the void as the song ends with ” I won’t love like this again / I’ll never love like this again.”

The EP closes with the catchy, xylophone-laden ‘Wanted It More’, and if you’ve been listening to the EP from start to finish you come to the conclusion that this song, or any on this EP really, would feel right at home on a rom-com soundtrack or, dare I say it, Radio 2. The sweeping instrumentation with Barnard’s vocals make for a poppy, accessible sound that I’m betting will make waves far beyond their native England in short order.

8/10

‘All at Once’, the new EP from Passport to Stockholm, is out now.

 
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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest tours, gigs, and music we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like idiots.

The blog is edited by Mary Chang, who is based in Washington DC. She is joined by writers in the UK and America. It was started up by Phil Singer in Bristol, UK.

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