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By Mary Chang
on Friday, 24th June 2016 at 6:00 pm
Dublin post-punks Girl Band have gone and collaborated again with long-time bud and director Bob Gallagher on yet another thought-provoking music video. The promo for ‘In Plastic’, is, shall we say, a little creepy. If it wasn’t, I’d be quite disappointed! It’s been a long week for all of us, hasn’t it? So I’m gonna leave this here for you.
Girl Band’s album ‘Holding Hands with Jamie’ is available now from Rough Trade Records. For more on Girl Band on TGTF, follow this link.
By Mary Chang
on Friday, 24th June 2016 at 12:00 pm
In just a few hours, Two Door Cinema Club will be returning to Glastonbury – to play on the Pyramid Stage, no less – after a 3-year absence from Worthy Farm. They’ve also had a 3-year absence from the record shops, following 2013’s oddball ‘Changing of the Seasons’ EP. In the world we live in, where mass consumerism is king and instant gratification is a key driver in buying decisions, 3 years away from the music industry machine is deemed pretty much akin to career suicide. However, according to the press release to promote their upcoming third album to be released in autumn, Alex Trimble, Sam Halliday and Kevin Baird just needed to unplug from all of it.
And unplug from it they did, from their crazy touring schedule and the crazy existence their lives had turned into. And, rather shockingly to me, they needed to unplug from each other, “to alleviate the increasing passive aggressive tensions within it [the band] and battle their various demons”. Wow. As we’ve seen many a band implode for no more reason than that old chestnut “familiarity breeds contempt”, perhaps the foresight to open the pressure valve before the strain became too great will prove the reason for Two Door’s longevity for years to come. Now, however, we should consider their first song since their forced separation, ‘Are We Ready? (Wreck)’.
Having done the initial brainstorming and sketches for their third album over email – a necessity, now that Trimble lives in Portland, Halliday is in London and Baird now calls Los Angeles home – this first taster from ‘Gameshow’ indicates that we’re in for a potentially bumpy ride. Bumpy, in the sense that it appears Two Door have eschewed the obvious hooks and pop sensibilities that made them quick favourites with the kids. Trimble says of the new album, “We’re not embracing the pop that’s going on now in a melodic or structural sense. The two biggest influences for me were Prince and Bowie: both total pioneers who straddled that line between out-there pop and avant-garde craziness.” Uh huh. When asked about how the new single came out, Trimble explains:
While I was writing this single I discovered this term weltschmertz, the German word for being at odds with the world around you. The fact that it was a fully coined term and related to so many people that have existed and do exist made me feel it was okay to not exist on the same level as everyone else, it was okay to be comfortable doing your own thing. ‘Are We Ready? (Wreck)’ was me…not attacking the world around me but outlining why I don’t really get it and why I don’t fit in with it.
The lines “you should be comfortable, don’t think at all” and “you get paid, don’t need any respect” seem to be direct nods to the disaffected creatures performing on a stage they became after becoming indie heroes to a global legion of fans. Through the song, there is a definite sense of mocking of society, albeit a veiled one, as Trimble highlights through his lyrics the inanity of a world made up of people who can’t think for themselves. Thematically, it recalls for me a single last year by The 1975, ‘Love Me’, in which Matthew Healy pointed out the decline of pop music as an art form because of the absurdity of success and how it has changed music.
It’s important to note that you can still dance to Two Door Cinema Club on ‘Are We Ready? (Wreck)’. This is a very good thing. But their songwriting formula has changed. As Trimble says, they’ve chosen to go towards a different kind of pop sound: one that is far less immediate, while allowing for a more cerebral approach with the lyrics. I have to admit, I didn’t like this song at all the first time I listened to it. It truly bothered all my senses that Sam Halliday’s guitar doesn’t sing on here as how I remembered it did on either of their first two albums. If you compare the new single to their previous efforts, there’s a scarily palpable void melodically. They certainly don’t sound like the band I remember.
However, after a few more listens, a strange thing happened. It began to grow on me. The emotional content comes across in spades in Trimble’s voice, and it’s a nice progression from the heart-wrenching vocal delivery in the chorus of ‘Beacon’ track ‘Sun’. Maybe this is the key to appreciating it properly? By choosing the road less travelled, Two Door Cinema Club have consciously taken artistic control of their music. However, this also means they’ve assumed all of the risk for their future. Did they make the right decision? We’ll have to wait until October to find out.
Two Door Cinema Club’s single ‘Are We Ready? (Wreck)’ is available now. ‘Gameshow’, their forthcoming third album produced by Jacknife Lee, will be out on the 14th of October on Parlophone Records. To read any or all of TGTF’s comprehensive back archive of on Two Door, go here.
Scottish songstress KT Tunstall has announced a list of autumn tour dates in the UK and Ireland to accompany the release of her new EP ‘Golden State’. Tunstall signed to the newly relaunched Caroline Records back in February and is expected to release a full album later this year. Her current ‘Golden State’ EP is digital-only, except for a physical CD release exclusive to Barnes & Noble stores in the United States. You can watch Tunstall’s self-directed video for EP track ‘Evil Eye’ just below the tour date listing.
Tickets for the following live dates will be available for general sale today. TGTF’s previous coverage of KT Tunstall, including a review of her last album ‘Invisible Empire // Crescent Moon’ is collected right back here.
Monday 24th October 2016 – Bristol Colston Hall
Tuesday 25th October 2016 – Southend Cliffs Pavilion
Thursday 27th October 2016 – Manchester Albert Hall
Friday 28th October 2016 – Dunfermline Alhambra Theatre
Monday 31st October 2016 – Dublin Olympia
Tuesday 1st November 2016 – Liverpool Academy
Wednesday 2nd November 2016 – Gateshead Sage
Friday 4th November 2016 – Birmingham Symphony Hall
Saturday 5th November 2016 – York Barbican
Sunday 6th November 2016 – Cambridge Corn Exchange
Tuesday 8th November 2016 – Leicester De Montfort Hall
Wednesday 9th November 2016 – London Shepherd’s Bush Empire
Thursday 10th November 2016 – Brighton Dome
By Mary Chang
on Thursday, 23rd June 2016 at 6:00 pm
Manchester’s sassiest girl group PINS have a new video out today for ‘I’ll Get Mine’. The track features on their current album ‘Wild Nights’, released last summer on Bella Union. (Read Carrie’s review of the long player here.) Following the North West band’s lo-fi style, the video is monochromatic, suiting the slow burn feel of the track. Watch the video below. For much more on PINS on TGTF, head here.
Filled with spacious and heart-wrenching instrumentation accompanied with yearning vocals, the second album from Brighton-based Fear of Men is as rich as their debut, while showing an evolution that proceeds nicely into the next step of their career. Shimmering effects that are layered over every aspect of the tracks gives a Cocteau Twins-esque atmosphere, this is a record that truly reaches into your heart and attacks every string possible.
As the opening track ‘Vesta’ builds into an ethereal purgatory, it leads into second track ‘Undine’ with no real resolve, giving the effects of an unsuspected emotional trauma. It’s in this follow-up track that Fear of Men break into their stride and prove that they can be as firm and furious as they can be forlorn. ‘Island’ sees a fully-formed sound that breathes tranquility, while retaining purpose and direction. A rolling drum beat that lies beneath the electronically-driven instrumentation that scintillates, calling to mind an image of the sun rippling through a calm ocean surrounding the enclosed metaphorical island. The chorus builds to a perfect resolve that equally leaves you satisfied as well as melancholic.
Continuing along this trend, ‘A Memory’ doesn’t quite have the draw of the preceding track, but it certainly plays its part in the bigger picture. It’s a similar story for ‘Until You’, which proves a lot more assaulting, with its layered drums that are constantly rolling while the synthesisers build to an overbearing level before dropping out and chaotically interchanging their dominance. We lull slightly at the halfway point with ‘Ruins’, but the move makes sense once ‘Trauma’ kicks in. It’s another purpose driven track, firm with its eyes staring straight ahead. The chorus builds as expected, before dropping into a dark and brooding bridge that takes the life away from the song but still keeps you hooked in.
Throughout, the drums are the pickers of the pace. Obviously, this is the overall idea of the rhythm section in any piece of music. But within Fear of Men’s sound, the drums go from being the underlier to instantaneously being the leader, furiously ripping through the rest of the instrumentation. Jess Weiss’ vocals sit on the top of the arrangements like a beacon, guiding the emotional range of the tracks with either the previously shown yearning or the subtle aggression as shown in ‘Trauma’.
Yet it’s truly the electronic elements of this record that show the strength of the band, with thick and emotive synthesisers that are coupled with effect laden guitars, it’s all prime retro emulation and something that Fear of Men do extremely well. ‘Fall Forever’ certainly is an apt title for this collection of songs, each track representing a different strength of the human psyche, while opening up enough for you to gather your own interpretation and personal attachment. A wonderful take on ‘80s sad, electronic music with a modern angle, Fear of Men should have no problem taking things to the next level after this solid return.
‘Fall Forever’, Fear of Men’s sophomore album, is out now via Kanine Records. To read more about Fear of Men on TGTF, head here.
Hip-hop/punk artist and producer Rat Boy (aka Jordan Cardy) has announced a new set of headline dates for this September, following on from last year’s successful headline tour and his appearance on the NME Awards Tour at the start of 2016. Leading into the new September dates, Rat Boy is also scheduled to make summer festival appearances at Glastonbury this weekend, Latitude, and Reading and Leeds.
Tickets for the following shows are available now. TGTF’s previous coverage of Rat Boy is right back here.
Friday 16th September 2016 – Sheffield Leadmill
Saturday 17th September 2016 – Manchester Albert Hall
Sunday 18th September 2016 – Newcastle University
Monday 19th September 2016 – Glasgow Barrowland
Thursday 22nd September 2016 – London Forum Kentish Town
Friday 23rd September 2016 – Oxford Academy
Saturday 24th September 2016 – Birmingham Institute
Monday 26th September 2016 – Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms
Tuesday 27th September 2016 – Cambridge Junction
Wednesday 28th September 2016 – Bristol Anson Rooms
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