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Video of the Moment #2150: Trevor Sensor

 
By on Friday, 29th July 2016 at 6:00 pm
 

If you haven’t listened to American singer/songwriter Trevor Sensor before, the rough stridency of his singing voice and the dark cynicism in his songwriting might initially strike you as a bit off-putting. That being said, his songs also have a sharp wit and irreverent humour about them that is somehow perversely appealing. I laughed out loud at the outset of his new video for ‘When Tammy Spoke to Martha’, a deliberately obnoxious lounge-themed tune that sets an unmistakable tone with the slurred opening lyric “I get in trouble every time I go to the bar”. Watch the kitschy, smoke-filled promo below and decide for yourself.

Sensor’s new EP ‘Starved Nights of Saturday Stars’ is due out next week, on the 5th of August via Jagjagwuar. He is scheduled to visit the UK that very weekend for a stop at Oxfordshire’s Wilderness Festival, followed by an appearance at the Green Man Festival in Wales. Sensor will then hop back across the pond for September and October tour dates in North America with recent TGTF alumnus Foy Vance.

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Single Review: Equador – Bones of Man

 
By on Friday, 29th July 2016 at 12:00 pm
 

It’s been a quite a while since we at TGTF have heard anything from electronic music duo Zero 7. We last spoke to one-half of the pair, Henry Binns, in this September 2014 interview around the release of their EP ‘Simple Science’. Binns and his bandmate Sam Hardaker followed ‘Simple Science’ with another EP, the simply titled ‘E.P. 3’, and though they hinted then about the possibility of a new full album release, none has yet materialised.

It’s been even longer since we last chatted with enigmatic singer/songwriter Bo Bruce. Our most recent coverage of the 2012 The Voice UK runner up dates back to the spring of 2013, including this brief interview ahead of her debut album ‘Before I Sleep’. After the album release, Bruce collaborated briefly with a handful of artists including Gareth Emery and Gary Lightbody of Snow Patrol, but her career progress was apparently stalled by health and personal issues.

However, near the end of last year, it was revealed that Binns and Bruce have not only been working on new material, but have in fact been working together on a new project they call Equador. In December, Equador quietly unveiled the video for a track called ‘Blood’, which combines the ethereal beauty of Bruce’s singing voice with Binns’ propensity for creating dramatic yet subtly-layered soundscapes.

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Binns and Bruce have recently combined ‘Blood’ with a new single called ‘Bones of Man’ for a double A-side release. ‘Bones of Man’ is the title track from Equador’s upcoming album, and it gives a fuller taste of what the new pairing might produce. The song’s introduction centers around a stark piano melody under the fragile, whisper-thin timbre of Bruce’s singing voice. As the music progresses, Binns slowly blends that delicate air into a pleasantly hypnotic elixir of thickly-textured backing voices and sensual synthetic instrumentals.

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The partnership between Binns and Bruce may not begin and end with Equador. According to Internet sources including The Sun and Daily Mail, the pair were also joined in marriage last month. We at TGTF are not in the habit of reporting tabloid news, but if the reports are true, we’d like to congratulate Binns and Bruce on both their nuptials and their continued musical collaboration.

7/10

Equador’s forthcoming album ‘Bones of Man’ is due for release on the 30th of September via Bristol indie label Pegdoll Records. Our previous coverage of Bo Bruce can be found here, and previous coverage of Henry Binns as part of Zero7 is right here.

 

Girl Band / December 2016 and January 2017 UK Tour

 
By on Friday, 29th July 2016 at 9:00 am
 

Dublin post-punks Girl Band have announced UK dates as part of a larger winter world tour that begins in November on the Continent. Their debut album ‘Holding Hands with Jamie’ is available now from Rough Trade Records. For more of our coverage on Girl Band here on TGTF, go here.

Wednesday 7th December 2016 – Brighton Haunt
Thursday 8th December 2016 – London Scala
Friday 9th December 2016 – Manchester Soup Kitchen
Sunday 22nd January 2016 – Birmingham Hare and Hounds
Tuesday 24th January 2016 – Leeds Brudenell Social Club
Thursday 26th January 2016 – Edinburgh Summerhall Dissection Room

 

Video of the Moment #2149: Rat Boy

 
By on Thursday, 28th July 2016 at 6:00 pm
 

Hip-hop and punk artist and producer Rat Boy, better known to his mum as Jordan Cardy, will be releasing a new EP at the end of August. Ahead of that new record, he’s unveiled a promo he directed himself from a track off the EP. ‘Get Over It’ has the fast-paced, fun feel that has made him popular with the kids, and the accompanying video is a bit of a madcap mini-film that sees Cardy with friends, making trouble in the American desert. Watch it below. Ray Boy is on tour in the UK in September. For more of TGTF’s coverage on Rat Boy, follow this link.

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Single Review: The Academic – Mixtape 2003

 
By on Thursday, 28th July 2016 at 12:00 pm
 

Indie pop four piece The Academic, who are based in Mullingar, have become one of Ireland’s most exciting new young bands. Honing their own infectious blend of indie pop and rock, the band have been building quite a reputation for their live performances. The band released their debut single ‘Different’ in early 2015 to a rapturous reception, while also receiving airplay by both Radio X and BBC Radio 1. Touring extensively throughout 2015, the band also supported Catfish and the Bottlemen, Kodaline and Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, while also managing to sell out their own headline shows.

Having stormed the past 12 months, the band’s latest release ‘Mixtape 2003’ has been receiving considerable attention after the success of their first EP ‘Loose Friends’, which was released in October 2015. As the name ‘Mixtape 2003’ suggests, the song takes a nostalgia-inspired trip back to when mixtapes were our main means of listening to and sharing music. The band also seem heavily influenced by bands from the early Noughties such as The Killers, Kings of Leon and also The Strokes, with the song drawing heavy influence from that era.

One is instantly hooked by the song’s energetic and melodic guitars, coupled with the simple but catchy lyrics. This all makes for the perfect quintessential indie hit, similar in style to lyrics we would have heard from bands such as The Kooks or The Cribs in the infamous year referenced in the song title. Lead singer Craig Fitzgerald paints a picturesque scene of a carefree youth: “In my car there’s a cd, a mixtape of 2003, a better time for both of us, of skinny jeans and roll ups”. The song itself manages to capture that raw and raucous energy that the band have become increasingly famed for across Ireland. Succeeding in balancing contemporary charisma and retro vibes, The Academic have blended both these elements together to present the audience with their own unique indie sound.

7/10

‘Mixtape 2003’ by The Academic will be released on the 12th of August 2016 through Room 6 Records. The band will be touring the UK in October; details are here.

 

Interview: Matthew Hitt of Drowners

 
By on Thursday, 28th July 2016 at 11:00 am
 

“Well, it was more about liking the way the word looked written down than the fact it was a Suede song”, Drowners frontman Matthew Hitt says about his band’s unique name. “Having said that, that whole Britpop thing has influenced my writing, lyrically. I think Jarvis Cocker and Damon Albarn are master songwriters, and I regularly revisit their records.” Hitt and his New York City-based band released their second album on Frenchkiss Records, ‘On Desire’, in June. You can read my review of the long player here.

Their eponymous debut album, which was released in winter 2014, was described by Q as standing in stark contrast to the electropop saturating the airwaves that year. “When I started writing the songs for the first record, I feel like every band I went to see in New York were drenching themselves in reverb, and there was a lot of like drawn out 4-minute songs,” explains Hitt. “So I guess I was trying to do the opposite of that and have everything trimmed and clipped into the bare essentials. My attitude to that has since changed, but it was really a reaction to the bands I was seeing live at the time. Nowadays, I think we just try to write music that is some sort of reflection to who we are and what we feel as a group.”

Hitt quickly dismisses the cliché of the difficult second album. “It wasn’t really that difficult because by the time we came to writing it ,we all had ideas we wanted to try, and that meant things were exciting again. After touring the first record, we were all ready to start working on new things. When we first met Claudius [Mittendorfer, their producer for ‘On Desire’], we talked about wanting the record to have an atmosphere to it in the way that [Echo and the Bunnymen’s fourth album] ‘Ocean Rain’, for instance, does.” Working with Mittendorfer turned out to be a comfortable for Drowners. “He was very helpful in showing us how to technically achieve these different sounds. We all got along with him, and so the environment in the studio was pretty light and fun. We would try a lot of things out and constantly bounce ideas. I just look back on it being a really fun experience.”

Something that one will latch onto quickly while listening to ‘On Desire’ is the pairing of lyrics on painful subject matter regarding breakups with oddly joyful sounding instrumentation, especially in the guitar work, reminiscent of Johnny Marr’s exemplary playing in The Smiths. Hitt concurs with this. “Yeah, that painful lyric / joyful music thing is something I think we all love about songs in general. It’s certainly present in The Smiths, and for that reason, they are a big influence. I’ve been a lifelong fan, so it makes sense that it affects my musical vocabulary.” When I ask him what other artists had guided them along in the making of the new album, he says, “While we were writing this record we were also listening to a lot of Roy Orbison, ABBA and Echo and the Bunnymen, so I guess they all influenced it too.”

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The stories told in the songs on ‘On Desire’, in particular ‘Someone Else is Getting In’ (see live video from SXSW 2016) and ‘Conversations with Myself’, are hard-hitting on the emotions and seem very personal, which Hitt says is true to some extent. “I think they’re a combination of personal experience, things I’ve overheard people say and things I’ve read about. I think the songs that are on the record were chosen because they shared themes. The main one, I think, being the idea of desiring something. I spoke to Erik [Lee Snyder, Drowners’ bassist] a lot on this record about the types of things we wanted to sing about so I got some ideas from him. Um…otherwise, it’s the same thing I always do: keep a notebook of lyric ideas and browse through it to see if anything ‘fits’ with the music we had written.”

A standout track on the new album is single ‘Pick Up the Pace’. I asked Hitt if he could tell me about the writing of it. “Well, Erik and Daniel [Jacobs, Drowners’ drummer] wrote the music for it, and we recorded it at Electric Lady Studios. I walked around listening to the recording for a couple of weeks, trying to figure out the top line. I wrote it the lyrics one morning and recorded it that afternoon. I guess it’s about lack of communication in general, and the evasiveness that can come from that.” The Welsh-born singer even brought in part of his upbringing to add personal flavour to the track. “In my mind, it all takes places in the village I grew up in, hence the reference to terraced houses.”

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Earlier this summer, Drowners toured in America as support for another band we’ve covered a lot here on TGTF, The Joy Formidable. Hitt says it was a great experience. “The tour was a lot of fun. It was a few weeks before the record came out, so it was interesting to see what kind of reactions we were getting to the new songs that most people hadn’t heard before. The Joy Formidable are lovely people and we had a couple of nice evenings with that lot.” As for the rest of the year, the band will be pretty busy getting ‘On Desire’ out there live to the masses. “We play Lollapalooza at the end of July, and then [there’s] more touring. I know we’re heading to the UK and Europe in October, which I’m pretty excited about. I love touring the UK.”

And lest you think that Drowners would ever rest on their laurels during these dog days, think again: “I know we’re also keen to start writing more new tunes, so I suppose that’s how we’ll spend our summer.” But what if they’re tired of having their heads down, of being studious musicians working on new material? Matthew Hitt has a solution that will work in a pinch. “We always listen to ABBA’s greatest hits in the van. Full-on Swedish singalongs.”

‘On Desire’, Drowners’ sophomore album, is out now on Frenchkiss Records. The band appears in Chicago at Lollapalooza this coming Saturday, the 30th of July, at the BMI stage at 3.20 PM.

 
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About Us

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.

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

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