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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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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.

 

Video of the Moment #2148: Glass Animals

 
By on Wednesday, 27th July 2016 at 6:00 pm
 

Oxford dudes Glass Animals have unveiled another cut from their upcoming album ‘How To Be a Human Being’, their second album due out at the end of August. ‘Youth’ follows the first taster revealed back in May, ‘Life Itself’, which I reviewed back then. Frontman and primary songwriter Dave Bayley says the song was based on an anecdote told to him that particularly resonated with him:

Someone told me a story about her son once that was one of the saddest things I’ve ever heard. What she said was completely heartbreaking, but she told it with such optimism and such a sense of calm. She was on the verge of crying, but she was also smiling and something in her face said that she had found a way to be happy again. This song is trying to get at that sentiment.

The video for the new single follows the waitress first introduced in June in the ‘Life Itself’ promo and what appears to be her son, now lost to her. As you listen to the track, it may sound familiar to you as it does to me. There appears to be an effect used on here identical to one also utilised on Bayley’s remix of BANKS’ ‘Drowning’ 2 years ago. Watch the video for ‘Youth’ below. Glass Animals’ sophomore LP ‘How To Be a Human Being’ will see the light of day on the 26th of August on Caroline International / Wolftone. For more on the Oxford quartet on TGTF, head here.

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Video of the Moment #2147: Twin Atlantic

 
By on Tuesday, 26th July 2016 at 6:00 pm
 

Glaswegian alt-rockers Twin Atlantic are previewing their upcoming album with a new track for us. Single ‘No Sleep’ is a ballsy, hard-hitting reminder of the Scottish band’s pre-2014’s ‘The Great Divide’ punk stylings. It will appear on ‘GLA’, the group’s fourth album, which will see the light of day on the 9th of September on Red Bull Records.

The music video for ‘No Sleep’ is simplistic, described by guitar-playing frontman Sam McTrusty as “a simple video, us in our element, our natural environment. Just playing and reacting to the music. We didn’t want to dilute the track with an elaborate visual. The textures projected behind and onto us were inspired by the album art we made for ‘GLA’. This is us. This is our music.” Watch it below. The band have announced live tour dates in the UK in October and December; check this past tour date post for details. For more on Twin Atlantic on TGTF, go here.

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Album Review: Viola Beach – Viola Beach

 
By on Tuesday, 26th July 2016 at 12:00 pm
 

Viola Beach album coverEarly evening the day before Valentine’s Day 2016, I started receiving frantic Facebook messages from people asking me if it was true about Viola Beach. What was true? I was confused. I hadn’t heard anything. I soon confirmed from multiple sources on social media that the unthinkable had happened. The band had left Norrköping, Sweden, following a well-received set at Where’s the Music Festival, their first appearance outside of Britain, and their car inexplicably went off a bridge, plunging into the water below. As a music editor planning just a month off from SXSW, I’d already pencilled in the band on my schedule in Austin, as had many of my professional contacts. It was unfathomable that young lives such as theirs were gone.

It was especially a terrible loss to the North West town of Warrington that Viola Beach called home, as early indicators suggested success would soon be in their future. Already having their brand of peppy pop receiving the support of BBC Introducing in England, they’d also been anointed with the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to showcase as part of the BBC Introducing bill at SXSW 2016, which they sadly never made it to. In their memory, the families of the band have decided to release their debut album this Friday on the band’s own Fuller Beans Records:

We are tremendously proud of everything the boys achieved in such a short space of time. Craig, Jack, Kris, River and Tom shared a huge passion, talent and dedication to music. We believe the best way to celebrate our sons’ lives is to release an album of their songs. This is their legacy and we know deep in our hearts that the boys would want the world to listen to the music they poured everything into. This was only the beginning for them and these nine songs were written with every intention to be shared, heard and, most of all, enjoyed. We hope that it brings you as much happiness listening to it as we know it did to them making it.

The music made by four wide-eyed lads is, as one might expect, innocent and sweet, or at least honest about that period of life (see ‘Drunk’). Self-released in autumn 2015, debut single ‘Slides and Waterslides’ is the perfect example of this. The song quickly made the rounds in the blogosphere not only in Britain, but also in America. American music blog Pigeons and Planes commented that the single had “a swagger that is not often found on indie pop records”. Let’s just say that this kind of swagger is more TGTF’s speed than Cher Lloyd’s. Despite its title, ‘Swings and Waterslides’ is actually a snapshot of puppy love. Lead singer Kris Leonard croons, “you’re not with me tonight / and only you could make it right”, before the chorus kicks in, with youthful shouts from his bandmates. Overall, the effect is, while greatly helped with a bright guitar melody (think early Two Door Cinema Club) and accompanying bouncy percussion, one of pure pop. The more I listen to this song, the more I hear the promise in Leonard’s voice. You can picture its potential of having as much mainstream influence as Liam Gallagher’s, as a new representation of young (and Northern) England. Now we’ll never know.

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Many of the songs on ‘Viola Beach’ read as tropical pop numbers, with dashes of pop, hip hop and rock. While there’s an obvious reliance on upbeat guitar notes and drum beats, a nod to what’s popular with the kids these day, there’s also a smartness at play. They liked playing with the tempos, changing them from tune to tune to allow for different feels. The jittery ‘Like a Fool’ and ‘Get to Dancing’ (watch it live from their BBC Introducing session from Maida Vale recorded in late 2015 below) have moments when Leonard and his bandmates are shouting at the top of their lungs. They must have had a whale of a time recording those. In contrast, the echoey, chill vibe of ‘Really Wanna Call’ makes it sounds like it was recorded in the Caribbean.

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Another previously released track ‘Cherry Vimto’ is relatively simple, but it showcases Viola Beach’s ability to slow things down and write a ballad. ‘Call You Up’ is another slower one, puts Leonard’s voice through its paces. It’s particularly interesting, as drummer Jack Dakin’s cymbal and other effects inexplicably crash in the background, as if to mimic the emotional tension within the song. One could reasonably hypothesise that this was their one experimental number on the album, and perhaps an indicator that they didn’t plan to stay in the tropical pop genre forever.

‘Boys That Sing’ closes the album and following Coldplay’s tribute to them during their headline set at Glastonbury this year. As Leonard sings it, it’s clear it’s about a girl he’s fallen for and yet, everyone thinks their union is crazy. The chorus goes, “and she said that together we could do anything / and she told me that she loves a boy who knows how to sing / so I learnt how to sing”, what comes across as the sweetest reason a young boy would ever use to decide to become musical. For one night, this song had its time on the world’s biggest stage, and it was beautiful.


I know that not everyone believes in heaven or the existence of an afterlife. I do. And I choose to believe that those who leave us, especially those who leave us before their time, they are with us in spirit and can see what we’re up to every day of our lives. Even though we didn’t have Viola Beach with us for very long, they reminded us that there is inherent joy in the making of music and it is a gift that is best shared and has no boundaries. Their families have had a terrible loss, but I hope that through sharing this album, this gift that they have kindly bestowed on us, they can see that even beyond their physical time on this earth, their boys will continue to bring joy to many.

The eponymous debut album from Viola Beach will be released posthumously this Friday, the 29th of July, on the band’s own Fuller Beans Records. Our thoughts on and coverage of the tribute to them at SXSW 2016 can be found through here.

 
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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.

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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