Festival coverage, including that from SXSW 2017 and BIGSOUND 2017, can be read through here.

SXSW 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | Live at Leeds 2016 | 2015 | 2014
Sound City 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | Great Escape 2015 | 2013 | 2012

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Video of the Moment #2745: The Spook School

 
By on Friday, 17th November 2017 at 6:00 pm
 

Scottish indie pop quartet The Spook School have unveiled another new video from their forthcoming LP ‘Could It Be Different?’, due out early next year on Slumberland Records / Alcopop. The new single, titled ‘Less Than Perfect’, features lead vocals from bass player Anna Cory, and though its lyrics talk about the disappointment of unmet expectations in adult life, the song itself is pure pop perfection. Its music is joyously bright and bouncy, with an infectiously catchy chorus hook: “it’s all right now / not what you hoped but that’s okay / teenage hopes are never less than perfect anyway”.

The video treatment for ‘Less Than Perfect’ finds the band members in a series of funny, awkward and altogether unexpected scenarios, as a light-hearted play on the song’s lyrical theme. As guitarist Adam Todd observes, “There’s a bit of party in our songs, no matter what the subject matter is.”

Along with the new single release, The Spook School have also announced that they will tour North America early next year with American alt-rock duo Diet Cig. You can find a full listing of The Spook School’s upcoming tour dates on their official Web site. TWatch the new video for ‘Less than Perfect’ just below. TGTF’s previous coverage of The Spook School is collected back here.

 

Video of the Moment #2744: alt-J

 
By on Thursday, 16th November 2017 at 6:00 pm
 

alt-J have become known equally for their off-kilter music as well as their unusual videos. For the promo video for ‘Pleader’, the English band take on a saga from a Welsh mining town. The song appears at the end of ‘Relaxer’, their current album that was released this past summer. Read Carrie’s review of it through here. (In case you need a musical primer on the sacrifices Welsh miners and their families made in the 20th century, I recommend Public Service Broadcasting‘s ‘Every Valley’, which was released in February.) Watch the promo for ‘Pleader’ below. ‘Relaxer’ from alt-J is available now from Infectious Music / Atlantic Records. For more on alt-J here on TGTF, use this link.

 

Live Review: The Coronas with Rachel Levitin at DC9, Washington, DC, 12th November 2017

 
By on Thursday, 16th November 2017 at 2:00 pm
 

As mentioned in my review on Monday of the Sherlocks gig there last week, DC9 has really come up in the world. It was previously one of my favourite places to see bands in Washington but after seeing The Coronas play there on Sunday night, I think DC9 has won the top prize. A near sold out show for the Irish rockers made for a rowdy but extremely fun and interactive show, as you will read below.

The opener for the night was local singer/songwriter Rachel Levitin, who was joined by Alex Touzinsky on fiddle. Whether it was planned or not, as soon as I saw the fiddle come out during the soundcheck, I couldn’t help thinking this was an act perfect to open for an Irish band, am I right? Though the bespectacled artist – and her adorable acoustic guitar, I might add – might be small in stature, Levitin makes up for it in sass. She seems equally at home between blues-inflected and more traditional singer/songwriter-y pop numbers.

Rachel Levitin

She explained that the story told in ‘Get Back Up’, her most recent single, was based on a real-life experience of walking and then falling on her face, which she then turned into an inspirational song. The recorded version of this song will remind you of angsty guitar rock/pop from the ‘90s. ‘Lucky Penny Blues’, which she noted was her grandfather’s favourite among all of her music so far, is on the sultrier side of things, showcasing her strong voice. No tentativeness here. Will some independent label please snap her up? Simon Raymonde, are you listening?

The Coronas

The Coronas are rather special to me, because I ‘found’ them and not because someone was pitching them to me. I had been trawling for new music to listen to from Ireland and impressed with ‘Tony Was an Ex-Con’ smoky ballad ‘Someone Else’s Hands’, I decided to write a Bands to Watch feature on them. This was back in November 2010, after they’d already released 2 albums. It probably also helped loads that my heart had just gotten stomped on by a two-timing musician and Danny O’Reilly’s melancholic thing was just the right thing for me to listen to while I bawled my eyes out. Genre-wise, The Coronas are a rock band primarily, but they also do the rock/pop mélange quite well too. We’ve written a fair bit on them since my discovery of them. I am honestly baffled why they aren’t as massive in the UK as they are in Ireland, where they regularly sell out large venues.

Given their track record back in Eire, it’s an exceptional treat to see them play in an intimate, 200-capacity venue. Judging from the booming accents lubricated by alcohol around me, I got the impression that quite a few fans came over from Ireland for this show. Impeccable thinking. Us Washingtonians hadn’t seen the Coronas in town in 6 years, at which time we were treated to a brand new, disco beat-led, yet to be titled song that turned into ‘Addicted to Progress’ on 2011’s ‘Closer to You’. Hearing it on this night, recalling when O’Reilly asked us for help to name it at the now long gone Red Palace on a cold March night in 2011, then thinking about their incredible ‘progress’ over the years in Ireland couldn’t have been sweeter.

The Coronas

Earlier this year, the Dublin quartet released their fifth album, ‘Trust the Wire’, so the set list was heavy with tunes from the LP. This included opening track ‘We Couldn’t Fake It’ and ‘A Bit Withdrawn’, explained by O’Reilly as that sweet spot you have with a partner where you can be sat with them and nothing has to be said between you two because it’s all understood. In case anyone forgot where the Coronas were from, O’Reilly jumped into the crowd with his acoustic guitar to lead a bare version of ‘Heroes and Ghosts’ to celebrate the 10th anniversary of their debut release, going into full Irish language mode on one of the verses. This surely must have wowed the youngest audience members, two boys under the age of 10 who were brought along to the show by their mother.

Then they were back to older favourites for the encore, which like nearly every song they played that evening in Washington, were met with raucous cheers. The crowd sung along to ‘San Diego Song’ and ‘Just Like That’ with gusto, at times allowing O’Reilly and band to take a breather, listening to the words being shouted back at them. It was one of many beautiful moments at this show. Yes, I know, some people just adore the 9:30 Club. But for my money, I’d rather come to DC9 and have an experience like this that won’t be duplicated anywhere else.

The Coronas

The Coronas have two more shows in North America (Friday at the Echo in Los Angeles and Saturday at Brick and Mortar in San Francisco) before they head down under for a series of club shows. They return to Dublin the first week of December for three shows at the Olympia, on the 5th, 7th and 10th of December.

After the cut: The Coronas’ set list.
Continue reading Live Review: The Coronas with Rachel Levitin at DC9, Washington, DC, 12th November 2017

 

Single Review: Charles Watson – No Fanfare

 
By on Thursday, 16th November 2017 at 12:00 pm
 

Singer and producer Charles Watson, best known until now as part of Sheffield alt-pop duo Slow Club, has just debuted his first solo material in the form of an atmospheric and synth-laden single titled ‘No Fanfare’. Watson gave some broad hints at the style of his solo work in Slow Club’s 2016 LP ‘One Day All This Won’t Matter Anymore’, which we reviewed right back here. The divide between his artistic leanings and those of his musical partner Rebecca Taylor was already beginning to surface on that record, and the two of them have apparently decided to follow their separate muses for the time being. (Taylor has also released solo work under the moniker Self Esteem.)

With light, ethereal instrumentation and Watson’s delicately introspective vocals, ‘No Fanfare’ doesn’t exactly soar, but instead gracefully floats through the listener’s sonic consciousness. That quality is surely intentional, and it seems remarkably appropriate to the song’s persistent lyrical examination of the ephemerality of relationships. “What chance have we got / when the flowerless sing of flooded orchards?”, Watson sings over a strummed acoustic guitar and a wash of amorphous synths.

His lyrics straddle the line between poetry and prose, often blending indistinctly into the soundscape. But musically, his idea still comes across. The synths adopt a mild wail of sorrow ahead of the pleading question “was it the cool mountain air / making your mind feel calm and empty / or was it the absence of myself?”. The addition of brass halfway through the song brings a hint of richness and warmth to the sonic texture, and a gorgeous electric guitar solo injects an air of poignant longing before the track comes around to close, as if at peace, back where it began.

7.5/10

‘No Fanfare’ is out now on Moshi Moshi; take a listen to it just below. You can read our past coverage of Charles Watson as part of Slow Club through this link.

 

 

Video of the Moment #2743: Dream Wife

 
By on Wednesday, 15th November 2017 at 6:00 pm
 

It’s hump day. So it’s perfect for a video for a song called ‘Let’s Make Out’, right? It’s the name of Dream Wife newest single, which we assume will preview their debut album, scheduled to drop at the start of the year. For this promo, the gals hailing from England and Iceland head back to the ’80s, acting as the talent onstage at a glammed out New Wave dance. Naturally, the kids in the crowd grooving to their music are trying to do exactly what their single instructs. Watch it below. ‘Dream Wife’ will be out on the 26th of January 2018 on Lucky Number Records. For more on Dream Wife here on TGTF, follow us this way.

 

Live Gig Video: Sylvan Esso premiere live performance of ‘Die Young’ from Shakori Hills Festival

 
By on Wednesday, 15th November 2017 at 4:00 pm
 

Back at the end of September, electro-folk duo Sylvan Esso played a special warm-up show ahead of the Shakori Hills Grassroots Music and Dance Festival in their home state of North Carolina. The bill for that evening’s show also included fellow indie rock duo Wye Oak and eclectic art-rock solo act tUnE-yArDs, but Sylvan Esso were clearly the hometown crowd favourites, taking top billing with tracks from their latest LP ‘What Now’.

The following video performance features the duo’s latest hit single ‘Die Young’, which has found a comfortable home on SiriusXM Alt-Nation since its release earlier this year. This live version finds singer Amelia Meath in a giddy mood, giggling as she thanks the large crowd and getting a little more down and dirty than usual with her vocals, while producer Nick Sanborn grooves along to his own electronic beats. The pair are currently on tour in the UK; you’ll find details of those live dates here and a full listing of Sylvan Esso’s upcoming worldwide shows on their official Facebook.
You can read more about Sylvan Esso on TGTF through this link.

 
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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours 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 no-one's watching.

TGTF is edited by Mary Chang, who is based in Washington, DC. She is joined by writers in England, America and Ireland. It began as a UK music blog by Phil Singer in 2005.

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