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By Mary Chang
on Thursday, 6th November 2014 at 8:30 am
In the same style as in April 2013, true gentleman singer/songwriter King Charles will be playing a gig in the UK each and every night in February 2015. All the details are shown in the graphic from his Facebook page below. Tickets to this tour go on sale tomorrow, Friday the 7th of November, at 9 AM.
By Mary Chang
on Thursday, 6th November 2014 at 8:00 am
Mainstream dark-haired pop tart Jessie J has announced a series of live dates for January 2015. Tickets go on sale tomorrow, Friday the 7th of November, at 9 AM.
Wednesday 21st January 2015 – Glasgow Academy
Thursday 22nd January 2015 – Newcastle Academy
Saturday 24th January 2015 – Manchester Apollo
Sunday 25th January 2015 – Leeds Academy
Tuesday 27th January 2015 – Birmingham Academy
Wednesday 28th January 2015 – London Brixton Academy
By Mary Chang
on Wednesday, 5th November 2014 at 6:00 pm
Scottish gloom and doom rockers (and more recently, electronic sympathists) The Twilight Sad have a new video for ‘Last January’. The song appears on the band’s newest album ‘Nobody Wants to Be Here and Nobody Wants to Leave’, which was just released last week on FatCat Records. Watch the video below.
Following on their last UK tour that concluded in early October, the trio have announced this week a new UK tour for next April; tickets go on sale tomorrow (Wednesday the 5th of November).
As a music writer it’s very easy to get sucked into some sort of hyper-critical vortex of opinionation, with the poor musician at its centre but paradoxically just a bit-part player, the catalyst for the writer’s real agenda. So it was with my last review of the perfectly serviceable Jon Allen, and so it will be again this week with the discussion of Nick Mulvey.
It’s always a rather curve-ball start to the evening by being kept waiting so long for the press ticket to be found that one entirely misses the support act. Suffice to say that if Sivu is as good live as his album, I very much regret that I didn’t get to see him play. Not that I’d have actually seen much of him – the seat that this review was written from was the worst in the house, actually behind the stage, on a balcony of such restricted view that even though I watched him play for more than an hour, I had no idea what Nick Mulvey actually looked like. Until I got up from my cheap seat and moved around a bit. Ha – screw you, Sage Gateshead. In a bizarre puritanical flourish, I am informed that my 5-quid plastic cup of beer isn’t permitted on the upper levels of the Sage Hall 2. So this review was written without the reflective assistance of an alcoholic beverage – until I cracked open my hip flask. Ha – screw you, Sage Gateshead*. Finally, no photo pass can be “found”, which means this review is unaccompanied by the usual high-quality photography. So I took some with my iPhone. Ha – screw you, Sage Gateshead**.
You might expect the negative tone to influence the review of Mulvey himself, but you’d be wrong. How dare you, dear reader, question this writer’s professional integrity? For it turns out that Mulvey is a purveyor of delicately robust songs with just the right amount of virtuoso playing, traditional songwriting chops, avant-garde arrangements, and plain simple funkiness, that tonight’s performance is truly a beautiful thing to behold. The audience are largely converts, with a surprising number being capable of mouthing along to a surprising number of songs. He’s clearly popular with the ladies, particularly those well-dressed ones in their late 20s and early 30s (which make up the majority of the crowd), perhaps nurturing a fantasy that they could get to know the lithe, bearded Mr Mulvey a little better than a brief encounter at the merch stand might allow.
With Mulvey promoting his Mercury-nominated début ‘First Mind’, tonight’s show is a run-through of said collection’s salient parts, which is to say, pretty much all of it. Mulvey is an accomplished finger-style nylon-string player, his unusual, percussive technique rich with African influences. ‘April’ is an appropriately atmospheric start, with its flamenco-style picking and obscure percussion. Non-album track ‘House of Saint Give Me’ is a surprise addition, but it’s not until ‘Meet Me There’ that the crowd really start to get enthusiastic, and you know from that point Mulvey’s got them in the palm of his hand. The band’s pretty good, too: there’s loads of synth squelches, an electric upright bass and a girl on percussive noises. There’s also a hang, a nod to Mulvey’s previous life in Portico Quartet, although it only gets an outing on the very last song.
Highlights? Pretty much all of it, but the undulating rhythm of ‘Juramidam’ and its lucked harmonics are distinctive and funky, ‘Fever to the Form”s familiarity works in its favour, and the set-climaxing ‘Nitrous’, incorporating as it does Olive’s ‘You’re Not Alone’, is both familiar and novel, providing a comforting circularity to climax the gig. Live, Mulvey brings life to what is perhaps a modestly cerebral record, adding funkiness and power where on record it is delicacy and rumination. On this showing, he has a rare ability to connect with an audience, and manages to walk that fine line between populism and credibility with ease.
* I’d be quite prepared to take some sort of manual handling test to prove that I am capable of taking a drink into the first floor balcony of an auditorium without spilling it on the performers below. What say you, Sage Gateshead? I demand a drinking test!
** The Sage is a superb venue, world-class in every respect, except in its rock ‘n’ roll attitude, for which it scores nothing out of ten. If they are on a mission to remove every element of decadence, to reduce the act of gig-going to a sober, well-dressed, well-behaved act of expensive self-flagellation, they couldn’t be doing a better job.
By Mary Chang
on Wednesday, 5th November 2014 at 12:00 pm
If you think this year’s Cassette Store Day on the 27th of September was a novelty not to be repeated in the future, that digital has killed off the format, think again. Halifax’s The Orielles have decided to release their own cassette single (or as they adorably prefer to call it, ‘cassingle’), just last week. Even more unique is the fact that the run has been limited to a mere 100 copies, so if our readers’ collective prescience naming the band #3 on our 10 for 2014 bands to watch countdown and indeed, that of our contributors including yours truly, are correct, this single in its physical form could make you a pretty packet sometime in the future.
Not like you needed any more reason to buy it besides this review, but the artwork on the cassette is pretty cool too: it seems like a simple drawing, but then you squint to look closer and what? It’s a hand (I’m assuming it’s a pun on the front half of two of their members’ surname) holding a bouquet of tulips, but the hand has legs underneath, so the figure is skateboarding at the same time. You can’t make this stuff up, kids… And how old are these kids again? When I was their age, I wasn’t thinking about playing in a band, let alone coming up with artwork that’s both whimsical and thought-provoking. (Don’t laugh, but seeing that I have no drawing skills, I was sat staring at the art for a good while, trying to figure out how they came up with the idea.)
‘Yawn’, this latest offering from the trio – Esme Dee Hand-Halford on vocals and bass, her sister Sid on drums and their close schoolmate Henry Wade on guitar – feels more closely aligned to their 2013 independently released EP ‘Sunny Daze and Sleepless Nights’ than the more recent, harder-edged ‘Hindering Waves’. (Perhaps this is why they’re offering up a demo of ‘Deduce’ from the former EP as its B-side, then?) While single ‘Entity’ (review here, video here) was more dramatic lyrically, there is a gentleness to the new single, as Esme Dee Hand-Halford sweetly sings in the chorus, “I feel like I’ve been asleep / and I’ve dreamed a thousand dreams / feels like I’m not waking up / and I find it hard to breathe”. The effect is not unlike the feeling you get when you’ve woken up from the best dream ever. You don’t want to get out of bed. And you don’t want to talk about it after, because it would tarnish its memory.
As if the notes are in a daydream themselves and are not directly connected with the words, Wade’s guitar playing is equally as playful. Yet somehow it all works together, the guitar complementing the swirly, fantasy nature of the song. Sid Hand-Halford’s drumming with high-hat accents too provides ample flourishes to keep this track from going too dreamy. I mean, after all, this is a band who pride themselves on being surf pop / rock purveyors, not to be confused with all too often snoozy dream pop. No, this is a song that will stay in your head for a long time and by that, I am giving it the highest of compliments.
You can buy the ‘Yawn’ single, backed by a demo of earlier track ‘Deduce’, from the Orielles from York’s Swirly Records here and yes, if for some reason you don’t own a cassette player, a digital version is available.
By Mary Chang
on Tuesday, 4th November 2014 at 6:00 pm
Mancunian stalwarts Cherry Ghost released their third album ‘Herd Runners’ in May on Heavenly Recordings, and here’s their latest promo. The visuals for ‘The World Could Turn’ make you feel disorientated, like you’re inside a kaleidoscope, but it fits the song, which is in usual Cherry Ghost sweeping style; the song is the latest LP’s second single. Watch the unique video below.
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