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(Great Escape 2015 flavoured!) Video of the Moment #1798: Young Kato

 
By on Wednesday, 6th May 2015 at 6:00 pm
 

Following the completion of a major UK tour this spring, Young Kato‘s long awaited debut album ‘Don’t Wait ’til Tomorrow’ is out this week through Republic of Music, and it’s great, in the footsteps of last year’s ‘Sunshine’ EP. I’ve been following the Cheltenham band for a while now and I can’t be anything but super proud and happy for them. Today I’ve got for you the animated promo for ‘Children of the Stars’, an optimistic, upbeat track from the new LP.

After being away from the event for 1 year, I’m pleased to announce the band will be performing at this year’s Great Escape in Brighton on the Saturday, the 16th of May, at Shooshh at 9:30 PM. Be there or be square!

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Live at Leeds 2015: Editor Mary’s Roundup (Part 1)

 
By on Wednesday, 6th May 2015 at 2:00 pm
 

For more of my photos from Live at Leeds 2015, visit my Flickr.

It’s always a bit daunting to come to a brand new city and hit the ground running at a music festival you’ve heard about for years and have only heard the highest praise for it. Such was my personal trepidation ahead of Live at Leeds 2015, the 9th annual installment of an event where artists descend on the West Yorkshire town, drawn in like moths to a flame.

I’ve no idea how anyone ever did this festival prior to the advent of the smartphone. It seemed by the time I finally sussed the lay of the land and knew where all the venues were, it was all over. In between 11 AM of picking up our press credentials at the First Direct Arena until midnight, the 13 hours were packed with bands; running around to see said bands; catching up with friends, many of whom were in some of those said bands, but others who were new mates; and familiarising myself and falling in love with nearly every venue I had the pleasure of stepping into. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their kindness, hospitality, good food, and of course the amazing music that makes an event like this so worthwhile, ensuring my first Live at Leeds experience was a good one.

Despite the intention I set for myself at every festival – “Don’t get lost!” – construction and obstructed signage at the Leeds Coach Station turned me around and made me late for Longfellow performing at the Wardrobe on the east side of the city centre. The group from London recently released the new EP ‘Remedy’ on Fierce Panda Records (read my review of it here) and were eager to perform in front of their first-ever audience in Leeds. Ever the testament to the city as supportive to the British music scene, the 1 PM gig was well attended. Good on you, Leeds!

I arrived just in time for EP standout ‘Where I Belong’, showing their knack for anthemic songwriting. Their set also included BBC 6 Music stalwart ‘Kiss – Hug – Makeup’, another EP number ‘Chokehold’ and what frontman Owen Lloyd calls “their birthday song” they bring out for celebrations, ‘May the Light’, which appears on their 2014 mini-album ‘Prelude’. Longfellow’s set ended on a high note with live fan favourite ‘Medic’.

Staying put at the Wardrobe, I got a full dose of Racing Glaciers. I have to admit in recent years, I’ve had a jaded eye for any band that has a synthesiser set up centre stage; I’m half expecting a couple of plinky-plonky notes being dropped not for any good reason but just because it’s required these days. Seeing that they appeared directly after Longfellow and also have a keyboard player, logic would dictate that the sound system would make Racing Glaciers’ anthemic style I sussed from them on record translate to something similar sounding to the Londoners who played before them. Instead, the massive loudness and brashness from the band from Macclesfield, including, dare I say it some funky bass notes live, suggest to me that they’re a band who should not be so easily pigeon-holed. Their self-titled and ‘Don’t Wait for Me’ EPs certainly deserve further attention.

After a brief catch-up on the way with TGTF friends The Orielles who had just finished their own gig at Leeds Beckett Stage 2, I was on to my third band of the day. I had a general idea that I would be trekking north and upwards towards the Mine in the Leeds Uni Student Union, but I had no idea the labyrinthine path Google Maps had laid out for me would take me up steps of Rocky-isian proportions. But if there’s anything that will inspire me to get somewhere and quickly, it’s a band.

Half out of breath by the time I reached Leeds Uni, I arrived just in time for the final soundchecking by Oxford indie pop band Pixel Fix, whose ‘Running Thin’ EP of summer 2014 was one of my favourites from last year. They have that poppy, bouncy synth thing going that’s not quite as dancey as Friendly Fires but nearly there (see ‘Lungs’) and that’s where they shine; I’m not as convinced by the oozy, woozy, r&b jam attempts but hey, that’s what sells on Radio 1. What is entirely evident is the undeniable energy that can only radiate from youth, with frontman Marcus Yates definitely looking the part with his spiky blonde hair. With the right kind of promotion, Pixel Fix are the kind of band you expect playing to a crowd of screaming teenagers in a venue near you. Soon.

Despite my prior impression that the place would only be filled with hipster uni kids bopping their heads side to side to the beat, there were plenty of adults too, many of them chatting with each other and saying how good this band was and how quickly they expected them to “make it”. This isn’t a common occurrence from where I come from, so I base on these overheard conversations that the older generation of Leeds music fans has excellent taste and hopefully good prescience!

What goes up must come down, yes? Or so the saying goes. Once I figured out how to get to and up to Leeds Uni, it was reasonably quick work to get back into the city centre. In my rush to not be late to my next band appointment, rushing through the corridors of Leeds Student Union, I nearly collided headfirst into Tom Ogden (you can’t miss him with that gorgeous, flowing Pantene hair of his) and the rest of Stockport psych band Blossoms, who were checking out bands before their set at the Stylus later that day.


Following a quick hello and a run back into town, I was at the Academy, whose front door oddly shares frontage space with pretty amazing Gothic architecture (the whole thing is a Grade II listed building). As much as I adore Oxford’s Stornoway, Leeds Academy has a capacity of 2,300 in the main space, and I had a hard time believing their folk pop sound would translate well into such a cavernous location.


Boy, was I wrong. As I am sat here typing this up while on holiday in Ireland, it occurred to me yesterday while seeing a larger than life mural of U2 on the side of a building in Temple Bar that Bono has nothing on Brian Briggs at this point. I enjoyed a good portion of their third and latest album ‘Bonxie’ that was released a short time ago on Cooking Vinyl, but I found the collection uneven and hoped against hope that the new tracks would sound amazing live.

At least I was right on the mark with that prediction! My feeling is they had such a good time working with an outside producer for the first time, it freed them as both musicians and people, and it gave them just the right encouragement to step outside their comfort zone that perhaps they might not have felt without working with Gil Norton. Straight out of the gate, frontman Briggs seemed much more at ease speaking to a throng of people than I have seen him ever, which was incredibly good timing, seeing that a massive crowd had assembled at the Academy to see his band play.


Their opening salvo ‘Between the Saltmarsh and the Sea’, smartly continuing the Stornoway tradition of artfully arranged harmonies, was simply and devastatingly beautiful, its expansiveness reaching into every nook and cranny of the Academy and certainly into each and every heart present in the venue, and album single ‘The Road You Didn’t Take’ followed suit. The uplifting nature of both ‘Get Low’ and ‘Lost Youth’ can’t be beat, and in a surprising turn of events, a rousing, folk-ified cover version of Yazz’s ‘The Only Way is Up’ had fangirls and fanboys of all ages singing along – loudly, I might add – to the Oxfordians. Nods to their early years with 2010’s ‘Beachcomber’s Windowsill’ were also included, including an unexpected but completely appreciated dedication to your humble editor on ‘I Saw You Blink’. All in all, it was a performance that you couldn’t ask for anything more from. Except more songs: calls for an encore went sadly unheeded.


Stay tuned for part 2 of my Live at Leeds 2015 review, which will post tomorrow here on TGTF.

 

Album Review: PJ Bond – Where Were You?

 
By on Wednesday, 6th May 2015 at 12:00 pm
 

PJ Bond Where Were You coverFormer punk musician PJ Bond has just released his second studio album ‘Where Were You?’ via Xtra Mile Recordings, home of fellow folk-punk crossover artists Frank Turner and Skinny Lister. Bond’s more recent Americana-folk style, which is infused with a just a hint of punk rock energy, fits in perfectly with the genre-bending mentality currently being nurtured at Xtra Mile, which we first heard described in an interview with labelmates Skinny Lister at SXSW 2015. Bond describes his own relationship with the record label in a positive way as well:

“Xtra Mile is one of the rare labels where it seems that they put out music that they truly believe in, and are not so much constrained by genre that they’ll question whether or not it is a ‘good idea’. This approach by clearly music-loving people is what drew me most to XMR, and was supported by everyone with whom I spoke about them. Honesty, respect, heart, these are the common threads. All in all, I think I’ve found a lovely home.”

That sense of contentment and belonging is at odds with the general mood of Bond’s songs on ‘Where Were You?’, which relate nostalgic tales of restlessness and regret. The album has a sentimental air of melancholy about it, each song’s reflective storyline playing out both in its lyrics and almost imperceptibly in the musical gestures between the lines. The real ingenuity in Bond’s songwriting is in the way he creates a mood, sets a scene, and then allows the stories to play out in his listeners’ imagination.

Musically, the album is centered around catchy guitar melodies and a warmly reverberant production style, which paired with Bond’s unadorned, passionate singing tone allow the lyrics to deliver their full impact. The uptempo tracks on the album, such as ’87 Broadcast’ and lead single ‘The Better Option’ gain energy from propulsive rhythms behind that lyrical and musical melodicism. Some of the slower, more pensive numbers, by contrast, tend to lose momentum, particularly mid-album track ‘Hellfire’, which, at nearly five minutes in length, stretches itself just a bit too thin.

Opening track ‘Everglades’ is the most immediate and captivating tracks on the album, with its lightly innocent guitar intro accompanying the foreboding first lyric “I came to town with nothing but a warning / everyone here hears everything”. Its lyrical narrative takes a dark turn into a dangerous tale of love, abuse and jealousy, asking “Do you think anyone would ask if he ended up missing?” before the final repeated fade-out “I could take him down into the Everglades…”

‘Calm in the Corner’ is one of the album’s more effective slow numbers, employing light percussion and ethereal backing vocals under its existential refrain: “there’s a calm in the corner, I don’t know what / but it’s staring straight at me, I can feel it in my guts”. It segues smoothly into ‘Seer’, a gentle examination of the potential risks involved with falling in love, and then into ‘Neighborhoods’, which wistfully observes the universal conflict between past and present.

The album title ‘Where Were You’ presumably refers to the initial poetic line in ‘For J.’, which is one of its most elusive and yet emotionally poignant tracks. ‘Lucknow to Birmingham’ is similarly obscure thematically, but its fuzzed out guitars give it a bit more traction leading into the gritty final track ‘We Were Just Kids’.

The overwhelming honesty and authenticity of Bond’s lyrics is certainly the most essential characteristic of ‘Where Were You’. While I might have liked to hear a bit more dynamic and emotional range in the instrumental arrangements, I was intrigued by Bond’s ability to create and convey stories that are by turns enticingly exotic and intimately relatable.

6.5/10

PJ Bond’s second full-length album ‘Where Were You?’ is out now on Xtra Mile Recordings.

 

Keston Cobblers Club / October and November 2015 UK Tour

 
By on Wednesday, 6th May 2015 at 9:00 am
 

Keston Cobblers Club have just announced that they will follow up last year’s EP release ‘A Pocket Guide to Escaping’ with their second full-length album titled ‘Wildfire’, due out on the 15th of June on Tricolour Records/Absolute via Universal. Speaking of the album, band member Julia Lowe says, “There’s a signature Cobblers recipe that we’ll always follow. That’s strong vocal harmonies, powerful drums, and hooky melodies and these are all still here.” Below the tour date listing, you can hear that for yourself in the video for album track ‘Won’t Look Back’.

Along with the news of the album release, Keston Cobblers Club have announced a lengthy 14-date autumn tour of the UK, as well as festival appearances at The Great Escape, Cambridge Folk Festival, Larmer Tree Festival, and their own adventure expedition Camp Wildfire. Tickets for the following live dates are on sale now.

Wednesday 14th October 2015 – Liverpool Leaf
Thursday 15th October 2015 – Glasgow Broadcast
Friday 16th October 2015 – Edinburgh Electric Circus
Saturday 17th October 2015 – Bury Met (English Folk Expo show)
Sunday 18th October 2015 – Leeds Brudenell Social Club
Thursday 22nd October 2015 – Nottingham Bodega
Friday 23rd October 2015 – Exeter Phoenix
Saturday 24th October 2015 – Bristol Thekla
Sunday 25th October 2015 – Cambridge Portland Arms
Wednesday 28th October 2015 – London Scala
Thursday 29th October 2015 – Norwich Arts Centre
Friday 30th October 2015 – Guildford Boileroom
Saturday 31st October 2015 – Brighton Hope and Ruin
Friday 6th November 2015 – Oxford Bullingdon

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Gengahr / October 2015 UK Tour

 
By on Wednesday, 6th May 2015 at 8:00 am
 

London alt-rock quartet Gengahr have just announced a list of headline dates in the UK for this October, which will follow a full summer festival season and support slots for The Maccabees and The Strokes.  Gengahr’s highly anticipated debut studio album ‘A Dream Outside’ is due for release on the 15th of June on Transgressive Records.  Just below the tour date listing, you can stream their new single from the album, titled ‘Heroine’.

General sale for the following headline dates will begin this Friday, the 8th of May.  A full list of Gengahr’s scheduled live dates can be found here.  Previous TGTF coverage of Gengahr, including an interview at SXSW 2015, is right this way.

Tuesday 6th October 2015 – Brighton Komedia
Wednesday 7th October 2015 – Bristol Exchange
Thursday 8th October 2015 – London Scala
Friday 9th October 2015 – Nottingham Bodega
Saturday 10th October 2015 – Oxford Bullingdon
Monday 12th October 2015 – Birmingham Hare and Hounds
Tuesday 13th October 2015 – Norwich Arts Centre
Wednesday 14th October 2015 – Cambridge Portland Arms
Friday 16th October 2015 – Manchester Deaf Institute
Saturday 17th October 2015 – Leeds Wardrobe
Monday 19th October 2015 – Glasgow King Tut’s
Tuesday 20th October 2015 – Newcastle Think Tank
Wednesday 21st October 2015 – Sheffield Harley

 

Video of the Moment #1797: East India Youth

 
By on Thursday, 30th April 2015 at 6:00 pm
 

Off his brilliant sophomore album ‘Culture of Volume’ out now on XL Recordings (I reviewed it here), Will Doyle aka East India Youth has a new promo out this week for album cut ‘Beaming White’, which he’s described as “a Pet Shop Boys-style pop banger”. I imagined based on the style of the song, the music video would have to be set in a club to have the right atmosphere, but Doyle instead chose a car of all things as the focal point for the promo and indeed, the beginning of the video looks like it would work as a luxury automaker’s telly advert.

Well, until the car gets a bit crowded. If you listen to the lyrics, there is the contrast of the dark and the light (“you showed me the dark, and the rest was beaming white”), and the video parallels this contrast in the peace of a solitary driver with the sensory overload of bodies and limbs in such a confined space. Watch it below.

East India Youth is currently in America, with his North American tour to support ‘Culture of Volume’ beginning tonight, the 30th of April, at the Casbah in San Diego. The tour runs until the 15th of May in Philadelphia, after which time Doyle returns to the UK for a run of dates in May and June, supported by Hannah Peel.

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About Us

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.

All MP3s are posted with the permission of the artists or their representatives and are for sampling only. Like the music? Buy it. If you want a track removed, email us and we'll sort it ASAP.

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