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By Mary Chang
on Friday, 20th November 2015 at 4:00 pm
Currently buzzed about Dublin punks Girl Band should need no introduction. But just in case you’ve been living in a convent / under a rock / in a cave / take your pick, you should know that their debut album ‘Holding Hands With Jamie’, released at the end of September on Rough Trade Records, has continued to stoke the fires of hype that has surrounded the band since they appeared in Austin for SXSW 2015.
If you have so far been not lucky enough to catch them live or perhaps you are just curious what all the fuss is about, they have released this video from a recent Rough Trade session, a performance of ‘Baloo’ from their debut LP. Capturing the band’s anarchic style and featuring lead singer Dara Kiely’s hopelessly rough all over vocals, this is definitely for the lot of you who call yourselves punk fans. Watch the eye-opening performance film below.
Hungry for more on Girl Band? You can catch our entire archive so far on the Irish group here.
By Mary Chang
on Thursday, 19th November 2015 at 6:00 pm
Canadian rockers Metric have a new video out for their song ‘The Governess’, which appears on their newest album ‘Pagans in Vegas’, which was released in September. The promo follows frontwoman Emily Haines wearing a large, wide-brimmed hat (channelling Pharrell or Stevie Nicks, perhaps?) as an cowgirl-like itinerant, espousing her thoughts on the never wavering desire for youth and the looking back on days gone by fondly.
It can’t be a mistake that her travels take her to Las Vegas, the city of sin, a place where as many dreams are made as are dashed. Despite the hardness and impersonal nature of the locales visited, Haines’ vocals and the country, twangy instrumentation are suitably yearning and lovely. Watch the video below.
All past coverage of Metric on TGTF is this way.
By Mary Chang
on Thursday, 19th November 2015 at 4:00 pm
In case you’ve been living under a rock, the new Honne EP, entitled ‘Over Lover’, was released the first week of September. I’ve been buzzing about them since last summer but it’s taken some time for the feeling to take globally (it took Stereogum a year from there to get the memo). On Tuesday, SXSW announced on their second band list for the 2016 event the good news that we’ll be seeing the London pair perform in Austin! So it’s excellent timing for a new live video from the duo to pique new ears and soothe already made fans.
‘I Can Give You Heaven’ is one in a continuing queue of soulful songs from Andy Clutterbuck and James Hatcher that I’m sure has Barry White smiling and giggling to himself from beyond the grave. Needless to say, the Honne vibe is one of lovin’ and loving one another, and we can sure use some of that these days. Watch below as Clutterbuck effortlessly oozes sensuality through his vocals, with Hatcher watching on, tickling the ivories in this stripped back version of the song. Its original appears on the new EP. For more Honne on TGTF, go here.
After the tragic events in Paris last weekend, which struck close to home with an attack on the Eagles of Death Metal concert at Le Bataclan on Friday night, even the hardiest of gig-goers might find themselves hesitating to venture out for a show. Such was my situation on Sunday night, when I headed to downtown Phoenix’s Valley Bar to see Brooklyn indie pop band Here We Go Magic. It was unusually cold and rainy in Phoenix that night (a recurring theme with my recent trips to Valley Bar, as you’ll know if you read my review of David Ramirez’s show last week), and I had half a mind to stay safely and snugly tucked away on my sofa at home rather than making the 2-hour drive. However, I felt pulled to make a show of resistance against the fear inspired by the Paris attacks, if only in a small way. Since I already had the ticket in hand, off to Phoenix I went.
I arrived a little after the announced time for doors at the Valley Bar, but it turned out that the bands, Here We Go Magic and support act Big Thief, were running a bit late as well. When Big Thief took the stage about half an hour behind schedule, there were only a handful of people in the venue, mostly hanging back near the bar area. Undeterred, lead singer Adrianne Lenker and company drew the small crowd in with their alt-rock style songs. The hesitant punters slowly crept nearer to the stage during their set, and by the end, the band were receiving enthusiastic applause and genuine shouts of approval.
I was pleasantly surprised to hear that Big Thief weren’t just another one on the rapidly growing list of female-led garage bands. So often, those bands come off sounding a bit feckless or somehow apologetic for making a loud noise. Not Big Thief. Lenker’s songwriting does have that self-conscious introspection in its lyrics, and the breathy tone quality of her singing voice falls somewhere between Patsy Cline and Chrissy Hynde, but the band’s folk rock style musical arrangements lean more toward the rock end of the spectrum and are anything but frail and delicate.
Their brash sound was displayed to full advantage in the instrumental interludes, when Lenker stepped away from the mic and led her male bandmates through a series of screeching guitar solos. That being said, one of the most memorable moments in Big Thief’s set came when guitarist Buck Meek performed a contrasting a capella version of his solo song ‘Sam Bridges’, which immediately called to mind the folk roots of Bruce Springsteen or Bob Dylan.
Meek and Lenker are both a solo artists aside from their work with Big Thief, and when I stepped out to the merch table after the show, Lenker was selling copies of her own solo CD ‘Hours Were the Birds’ as well as Big Thief’s latest offering (recorded as Adrianne Lenker and Buck Meek, and titled ‘A-sides’). She mentioned that most of the songs on their current set list were new and will appear on their upcoming album, to be released sometime next year. In fact, Big Thief’s recent single ‘Masterpiece’ was just released at the end of October, as a prelude to their tour with Here We Go Magic.
Luke Temple and his Here We Go Magic colleagues opened their headline set without preliminary chatter, starting with a pair of new songs from their recent LP ‘Be Small’. As it turned out, ‘Ordinary Feeling’ and ‘Stella’ served as a nice warm up for the more energetic ‘Make Up Your Mind’ and an extended version of ‘Hibernation’. I was immediately surprised by how much more vibrant Here We Go Magic sounded in live performance, as I’d always heard their studio recordings as being very muted and mellow, more atmosphere than tangible presence. But on this night, they played through the new tracks and the older ones alike with the smooth, spellbinding grace of a jazz combo, each band member watching and responding naturally to the others, the main focus always at stage right on frontman Temple.
The centerpiece of Here We Go Magic’s set was clearly the infectiously quirky lead single from ‘Be Small’, ‘Tokyo London U.S. Korea’, whose catchy title line inspired a bit of singing along among the tiny Valley Bar crowd. That’s not to imply that the audience wasn’t engaged with the performance; on the contrary, the vibe in the room was one of captivated attention and appreciation for the musicianship on display. It’s just that most of Here We Go Magic’s songs aren’t particularly of the singalong variety. Despite that reputation, I’m willing to bet that very few could walk away from ‘Tokyo London U.S. Korea’ without catching the earworm. Find out for yourself below.
While Here We Go Magic’s setlist was predictably slanted toward the new album, the band did touch on each of their older recordings. Songs from their self-titled debut album and their excellent 2012 record ‘A Different Ship’ made notable appearances in the first half of the set, and a pair of tracks from 2010’s ‘Pigeon’, the mildly hypnotic ‘Land of Feelings’ and the psychedelic coda of ‘Collector’, came nearer to the end. The band wrapped up the set proper with brand new single ‘Falling’, and finally, the small audience’s reward for braving both the weather and weekend’s earlier events came in the form of a brief encore, featuring my own favourite Here We Go Magic tune, ‘How Do I Know’.
Here We Go Magic’s latest album ‘Be Small’ is available now via Secretly Canadian. They will play a single UK show at XOYO in London on the 22nd of February as part of a 2016 European tour, which is also currently scheduled to include several dates in France.
By Mary Chang
on Wednesday, 18th November 2015 at 6:00 pm
It’s Wednesday, the most hohum day of the week. You’re still wistful about the last weekend and you aren’t any closer to the next. We feel your pain. This will give you the kick in the rear you need.
Where could you have more fun than acting like a kid again in an indoor playground? In this new promo for ‘Missing Persons’, Asylums‘ most recent single released last month? More poppy (no pun intended) and accessible than previous single the Enemy and Ash. (I’ve jumped around onstage with the Enemy before, so I’m confident they are ready.) Watch the free-for-all video for ‘Missing Persons’ below.
I’ve never imagined hell as being a warm and sunny place, but in the hands of Kip Berman and the Pains of Being Pure at Heart, it becomes pleasantly balmy and inviting, if only for a very brief time. The band’s concise new EP ‘Hell’ takes its title from its only original tune, which Berman says is “about how insufferable performances of sensitivity are when there’s a good song playing and someone you want to dance with.” The song ‘Hell’ is pure ephemeral pop, with a peppy beat and a jaunty guitar riff under Berman’s nonchalant vocals. His breezy, disaffected delivery of the chorus line “now we’re going to hell, oh well’ effectively sums up his stated meaning without too much further elaboration.
‘Ballad of the Band’ is equally sunny and upbeat, bathing itself in the ’80s-style irony of setting wryly self-conscious lyrics to cleanly melodic and engagingly jaunty music. The Pains’ cover isn’t vastly different to the original by Birmingham alt-pop band Felt, the main change being a subtle shift in the instrumentation, minimizing the carnival style keyboards and instead putting emphasis on the guitar melody.
The final track on the EP is another cover, again not particularly experimental, but this one more overtly bitter and mildly punk rock in its styling. Vocals for ‘Laid’ (originally by Manchester rock band James) are here provided by Jen Goma, lead singer for A Sunny Day in Glasgow, who also sang some of the most memorable moments on the Pains’ last full length album ‘Days of Abandon’. Her delivery here is grittier and more forceful than what I’ve heard from her in the past, omitting the James version’s falsetto vocal melisma on the repeated word “pretty” and opting instead for a low growl that seems somehow appropriate for a cover that takes quite literally the song’s lyric about “messing around with gender roles.” Before you dive into the new version, you can have a listen to the original just below.
The ‘Hell’ EP was released in conjunction with the Pains of Being Pure at Heart’s November live dates, which included a show in London earlier this month before the band headed around the globe to Asia. They’ve just wrapped up a pair of shows in Japan and will play the Clockenflap Festival in Hong Kong and the Neon Lights Festival in Singapore at the end of the month. The digital-only ‘Hell’ EP is available now via the band’s one-off label Painbow.
If the brevity of the new EP leaves you wanting more from the Pains of Being Pure at Heart, you can check out our archive of coverage on the band right back here.
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