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By Mary Chang
on Friday, 3rd July 2015 at 12:00 pm
What is a good indie rock band in 2015 supposed to sound like? Can someone tell me please? Because I’m getting confused by who’s got the bigger fanbases. The new Palma Violets sounds like the old Libertines, the ‘new’ and reunited Libertines sound like a Dirty Pretty Things retread, and Mac DeMarco and his far too chill style makes me want to slit my wrists. And then we come to this band.
The kangaroo and the platypus are unusual creatures that evolved so because of their isolation from the rest of the world, so maybe South Australia rock group BAD//DREEMS (along with a series of amazing Aussie acts as of late, including everyone’s favourite slacker girl Courtney Barnett and the raucous Delta Riggs) have benefitted from honing their craft on the faraway island of Oz away from everyone else. Having seen them gig in Sheffield in May, I was blown away by their live chops and eagerly awaited when I would hear word, finally, of a debut album. Well ladies and gents, that time has come. This week, BAD//DREEMS announced the August drop of ‘Dogs at Bay’ on Ivy League Records and ahead of it, those kind Aussie lads wanted us to have a first taste of what’s to come.
The Adelaide band’s ‘Hiding to Nothing’ single is loud. Loud, in the sense that this is definitely a song that was written so you would take notice, because it never lets up in its intensity. But it’s not so loud that everything else is obscured by the endeavour of Being Loud. This is music you can certainly head bang to, but by doing so, you might miss out on the melody and the classic chord changes, both of which are quite impressive and won’t leave your head.
Guitarist Alex Cameron explained to Aussie radio station triple j that the song reveals their relationship with their hometown. “At its best it is in idyllic town, with a temperate climate and beautiful surrounds. At its worst it is stiflingly conservative, inward looking, and somewhat bereft of culture,” he says. This is well reflected in the totally singalong-able (and indeed, shoutable) chorus as frontman Ben Marwe sings, “I get tired, I get lonely, I can’t sleep / I see my twisted fate in empty city streets / reckless dragging ’round / this time, don’t bring me down”. If I’m reading this right, the song is also about keeping on keeping on and rising above what life throws at you, even though you have regret over what might have been, which are easily relatable to the Everyman. However you’re feeling in the moment, queue up this new single from BAD//DREEMS and you will soon have a smile on your face.
‘Dogs at Bay’, the debut album from Adelaide, Australia’s BAD//DREEMS, will be released on the 21st of August on Ivy League Records. Single ‘Hiding to Nothing’ is out now. All past coverage on BAD//DREEMS on TGTF is right this way.
By Mary Chang
on Friday, 3rd July 2015 at 11:00 am
Following on from our ticket giveaway last month to Soundwave Croatia 2015, we’ve been offered another pair to another great music festival this summer, and we can’t wait to award them to a lucky TGTF reader!
Beat-herder Festival is a festival in Sawley, Lancashire, nestled in the idyllic confines of Dockber Farm. In the past 9 years, they’ve brought all manners of electronic, reggae, drum ‘n’ bass, folk, psych rock and anything in between to their delighted punters, and in its 10th year in 2015, they will be continuing that trend at the event taking place 17-19 July 2015. High up on this year’s bill are electro stalwarts Basement Jaxx (pictured at top), DJ Erol Alkan and Neil Barnes aka Leftfield (who has just released the amazing ‘Alternative Light Source’). For those of you who are more rock inclined, ’90s indie rockers The Levellers will raise a smile, as will Martha Reeves and the Vandellas for those of you nostalgic for a bit of ’60s doo wop (and let’s face it, their song ‘(Love is Like a) Heat Wave’ would be really appropriate right about now).
For this contest, we’ve been given a pair of weekend and camping tickets, which would set you back about £295 before fees if you bought the tickets today from Ticketline. So this is a very sweet prize. And I bet you’re wondering, how do I get my little mitts on these tickets? Stay calm and follow all the directions as outlined below!
First, we’d like you to please give us your full name and email address. Second, tell us which act on the line-up you’re most excited to see at Beat-Herder, and why. (We want to be sure you’re keen enough on coming along that you’ve taken the time to study the line-up poster, naturally!) I’ll have read through all the entries and choose the best one. This is almost too easy, yeah? Just be sure your entry is in to us before noontime Monday 6 July, as that’s when we’re closing the contest. Good luck!
Please note: this contest is only for tickets for entrance to the festival and does not include travel or accommodation, though the camping fee will be included. So please only enter if you will be able to make your own to the festival site if you win. For a feel of what Beat-Herder has to offer, watch the promotional video from 2014 under the entry form.
By Mary Chang
on Thursday, 2nd July 2015 at 6:00 pm
Guy and Howard Lawrence, better known by their electronic stage name Disclosure, are gearing up to release ‘Caracal’, their second album and follow-up to their 2013 Mercury Prize-nominated album ‘Settle’ in September. As part of a four-part video series directed by Ryan Hope, the brothers have released the first promo installment for the song ‘Holding On’, which includes the vocal talents of jazz singer Gregory Porter. Porter’s soulful voice are a welcome addition to the Lawrences’ massive beats, and in this first of four parts, you’re drawn into a web of intrigue, secrets, suspended cars and tattoos. Watch the video below.
‘Caracal’ will see the light of day on the 25th of September on Island Records. Past coverage of Disclosure on TGTF, including their banging performance of ‘When a Fire Starts to Burn’ Sunday at Glastonbury 2014, is this way.
By Mary Chang
on Thursday, 2nd July 2015 at 12:00 pm
In the shadowy back alleys of Sheffield at night (and also at a pub called Fagan’s in town, depending on who you believe), there walks a man with a well-appointed quiff, spectacles and a knowing swagger all his own. This, my friends, is Richard Hawley, who like Jarvis Cocker is a beloved local singer/songwriter who’s done quite well for himself beyond the confines of South Yorkshire, a legend in his own right. I can hardly believe that after his time in the Longpigs and a stint with Cocker’s Pulp, he had already put out seven albums. Well, until we heard on Tuesday of this week that LP #8 was already in the can, ready to be unleashed on the public in September.
Three years on since the release of ‘Standing on the Sky’s Edge’, which garnered his second Mercury Prize nomination after being given the nod for 2005’s ‘Coles Corner’, Hawley is gearing up to release ‘Hollow Meadows’ on the 21st of September. On his last album, he went into a decidedly psychedelic, more in your face approach than in previous efforts, and I massively disliked the new material at the time, favouring instead the beautifully melancholic tones from the ‘Lady’s Bridge’ and ‘Truelove’s Gutter’ albums. ‘Which Way’ is the first preview we’ve been given to ‘Hollow Meadows’, incidentally named for the supposed “location of a hospital that existed as recently as the 1950s…(in a place) originally known as Auley Meadows – a name thought to derive from the Hawley family who lived there between the 14th and 17th Century”.
You get a good feeling right from the start. To be clear, the guitars make their presence known. But except for the instrumental bridge with a guitar line that starts up like a chainsaw (not ideal), this new tune is led by Hawley’s rich voice, not by or to having to compete with the axes until the outro, where they’re used for an effective ending. There’s a pretty obvious contrast to previous ‘Standing…’ single ‘Down in the Woods’, which was all about how noisy and upfront the guitars could be than anything else.
Instead of psychedelia, the overall feel in ‘Which Way’ is a bluesy one, further supported by a soulful female backing singer and appropriately restrained drumming. Lyrically, the song treads blues ‘poor me’ fodder as well: Hawley sings, “back in time, it would be all right / I knew where I was going for once in my life / now that storm has felled all my dreams / now there’s a shadow hanging over me”, and you feel it in your bones. Considering this is much more than can be said about his Mancunian counterpart Morrissey‘s latest album ‘World Peace is None of Your Business’, odds are based on this taster track that Hawley’s on to something here in album #8. Can’t wait to hear it in full.
Richard Hawley’s eighth studio album, recorded in Sheffield in the spring of 2015, will be released on the 21st of September on Parlophone. For all past TGTF coverage on Richard Hawley, go here.
By Mary Chang
on Wednesday, 1st July 2015 at 6:00 pm
Glen Hansard has announced he will be releasing his second solo album ‘Didn’t He Ramble’ on Anti- Records on the 18th of September, so tonight we have for you a teaser from the Irishman’s forthcoming release. Premiering yesterday as an NPR First Watch, ‘Winning Streak’ is described by director Braden King:
Glen and I talked a lot about the way in which every life is a fight, a struggle. No matter who you are. No matter what you do. They’re all different and they all never end. For me, the song is about that struggle we all face in our own ways and about who has your back along the way. There is no end to it. We may get momentary rests along the way but they are fleeting. We all have to get up again and get back into the ring. And you know, sometimes, those who are the hardest on us are the ones who get us through. The way this turned out, the song kind of became the spirit of this place, the blood running through all these boxers veins. And I love the way in which Glen haunts and inspires it all.
Glen Hansard’s one announced tour date for the autumn is for the 21st of October at London Shepherds Bush Empire, which is currently the end of his European tour that kicks off the 29th of September at Paris La Cigale. Watch the video for ‘Winning Streak’ below.
Last Wednesday night found me once again westbound on Interstate 10 to Phoenix, this time to see Northern Irish singer/songwriter Foy Vance at the downtown Valley Bar. I was headed to a new venue, but the road was familiar and so was the headline artist, whom I’d seen twice before, once in the cozy Washington DC area venue Jammin’ Java and once in a rather uncomfortable stadium-sized atmosphere in Atlanta, where he opened for Ed Sheeran. Vance spent May and early June this year again gracing American stages with the ginger-haired pop phenom, parting company with his friend and colleague to headline a handful of dates across the southern half of the U.S. before heading back across the pond. Phoenix was fortunate enough to host one of these more intimate shows, with Vance accompanied by fellow Northern Irish singer Ryan McMullan.
McMullan’s Ulster accent was immediately apparent as he introduced himself to the small Valley Bar crowd, but over the course of his set, we were regaled with songs of a decidedly American inclination. He engaged us immediately with opening track ‘Listen’ from his soulful blues rock-flavoured EP of the same title. McMullan interspersed the four tracks from that EP with his appealing debut single ‘Mary’, a peppy cover of Stevie Wonder’s ‘Superstition’ and a rather quaint traditional American Creole song called ‘The Lakes of Pontchartrain’, most famously recorded by Northern Irish traditional folk musician Paul Brady. In the fashion of a more seasoned performer, McMullan saved his most impressive moment for last, giving a scorching performance of ‘Holding Me Down’, which in live performance smashed through the relative restraint of the studio version below.
And then, after a brief interlude, the Valley Bar congregation were ready to receive the gospel according to Foy Vance. Taking his position behind the pulpit, er, piano, Vance quickly made himself comfortable and began not to sing but instead to speak. Before diving headlong into a set of new songs, Vance asked us to keep our phones and cameras put away, both so that we could enjoy being in the present moment with him and to avoid having “shit versions” of the new songs going up on YouTube before they could be properly recorded and released. I cringed internally, because this request always strikes me as overly precious, no matter how many times I hear it.
However, on this particular night, in this particular setting, Vance genuinely practised what he preached, quite literally losing himself in a seamless sequence of five opening tracks, including four new songs and the already popular anthem ‘Closed Hand, Full of Friends’. Among the new songs were a gorgeous ode to the city of London and a blistering blues guitar number played later in the show, both of which have enormous potential for a possible future studio recording.
Speaking of the guitar, Vance switched instruments and gears for the second half of the show, picking up the pace with a few familiar tunes from his 2013 album ‘Joy of Nothing’, as well as recent hit ‘Make It Rain’ and a track from his 2007 LP ‘Hope’ called ‘Doesn’t Take a Whole Day’, which turned out to be among the more charming moments in the set. Not content with his own array of songs, Vance also burned through a mind-boggling run of covers late in the show, including Van Morrison’s ‘Crazy Love’, Bob Marley’s ‘No Woman, No Cry’ and a version of Bruce Springsteen’s ‘I’m on Fire’ that can be best described as orgasmic. While Vance’s younger Ed Sheeran-influenced fans might have lost interest at this point in the show, for those of us who recognized the original songs, Vance’s display of musical prowess here was nothing short of spectacular.
Rather than insisting on a proper encore, Vance took only a brief moment off stage before declaring to eager applause, “I want to keep playing, shall we just get on with it?” As the clock approached midnight, Vance wrapped up the evening with ‘At Least My Heart Was Open’ and the by now customary singalong ‘Guiding Light’, which saw McMullan reappear for a brief cameo before the flock of Foy Vance faithful reluctantly called it a night.
Foy Vance will play the Barn on the Farm Festival in Gloucester on the 4th of July and Ireland’s Indiependence Music Festival in Cork on the 2nd of August. He will support Ed Sheeran at Wembley Stadium on the 10th of July as well as joining Sheeran’s Australian tour in November and December. While in Australia, Vance will also play a support slot for Elton John in Brisbane on the 8th of December. You can find a complete list of live dates and ticket information on Vance’s official Web site.
Previous TGTF coverage of Foy Vance can be found right back here.
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