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SXSW 2014 Interview: Wonder Villains

By on Wednesday, 12th March 2014 at 4:01 pm

In my first SXSW 2014 interview, I caught up with Northern Irish indie pop band Wonder Villains at the British Music Embassy at Latitude 30 Monday night. The evening’s Creative Belfast event was hosted by none other than Radio 1 DJ Phil Taggart, and the music lineup included Rams’ Pocket Radio and Unknown in addition to the exuberant Wonder Villains. Band members Ryan McGroarty, Eimar Coyle, Kieran Coyle and Cheylene Murphy were positively bubbling with excitement as they got ready to take the stage, as you can hear below.

Wonder Villains’ set included both ‘Blonde’ and ‘Debbie’, the latter of which they dedicated to Blondie singer Debbie Harry after hearing a rumour that Blondie would be in town for SXSW. New single ‘Marshall’ and fan favorite ‘Zola’ were also highlights of the show.

Many thanks to Jimmy for setting up this interview.


Preview: Liverpool Sound City 2014

By on Wednesday, 12th March 2014 at 9:00 am

TGTF loves the North – we love Steven Gerrard, we love The Beatles, we love Alan Shearer, we love The Stone Rose, we bloody love things with gravy on, we even are rather partial to a parmo (it’s covered in cheese and very Northern), so of course, we love Liverpool Sound City. Which, I suppose, means if The Great Escape is the UK’s SXSW, Sound City is the North’s Great Escape. Their mantra? Championing the best breakthrough acts of the year across a variety of intimate and stirring venues, including the strikingly beautiful cathedral, which last year hosted an emotive set by Noah and the Whale, and The Kazimier Gardens, where the festival’s Korean showcase last year was an exciting centrepiece. So, who’s on the bill this year?

They’re probably sick of being known as the band with “that really cute video, which makes me feel sad, then happy, because the man’s face is a bit weird, and Fearne Cotton of the radio mentioned it a lot”. But Kodaline (pictured at top) have in the last year and a half established themselves as an extremely credible Irish alternative to your early 21st century Coldplay – perhaps with a little more sense of adventure – but in essence, the vibes are very similar. They’ll be the star attraction on Saturday the 3rd of May, without a doubt, seeing as they managed to pack a tent at Reading last year. Sound City should be a great chance to get up close and familiar with this group of future stars.

BBC Sound of 2014’s Jungle should be an interesting concept on the Saturday: interesting and a bit peculiar for the fact they aren’t particularly partial to people seeing them on stage, so they usually perform behind a shroud of mist. Barring the shyness, they’re an experimental duo called T and J and their music has mainly been promoted through the extreme viral draw of their first two videos. With the prospect of a live show, the mystery makes them surely an unmissable prospect. Or perhaps a very missable prospect? Who the fuck knows? Just grab a picture if you do…

Stoner-rockers Drenge are performing on the Friday and look an attention-grabbing prospect for mid-festival viewing. They grabbed a lot of hype, perhaps not ‘Vintage Trouble’ levels when they appeared on Jools Holland last year; it was obvious their energy, combined with their raw, rugged riffs would win them some admirers. This is the kind of festival a band like Drenge are made for, and in a close-up and personal venue, expect this double act to incite some carnage.

Last year Findlay grabbed the attention of our very own Martin Sharman and fought her way to the top of our 10 for 2014 poll; now she’s back on the Friday of Sound City. Empowered women of the world, get ready to meet your new champion. Raw, unrelenting and with a siren-like voice that’ll have any warm blooded male ensnared, she is a welcome addition to the line-up.

That’s just a small cross-section of what will be a freaking ace 3 days of new music and if I didn’t whet your appetite yet, you can also look forward to a bit of London based four-piece LSA, dirty rockers Lola Colt or indie-electro-pop trio We Were Evergreen. Liverpool Sound City 2014 has something for everyone and is easily the best route to go down, if you want to spend your 2015 telling your mates: “I was there when they were playing to 50 people in a bar in Liverpool – I was there first”.

For much more about Liverpool Sound City including how to book delegate or punter tickets, visit their official Web site.


Video of the Moment #1468: Big Deal

By on Tuesday, 11th March 2014 at 6:00 pm

Big Deal‘s latest promo video is for ‘Catch Up’, which appears on their LP from last year, ‘June Gloom’. What happens when you give a neglected child a magic kit? Find out by watching the video below.

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Album Review: Story Books – From Post to Post EP

By on Tuesday, 11th March 2014 at 12:00 pm

We at TGTF have spent the last several months preparing for SXSW 2014, but before Mary and I get truly stuck into the festival starting today, we thought it a good idea to look back at Story Books, the Kentish quintet who made such a great impression on our intrepid editor at last year’s SXSW Festival. Story Books are set to hit the road in just a couple of weeks for a headline tour in support of their latest EP, ‘From Post to Post’, due for release on the 17th of March on Communion Records. The tour is slated to be a fairly short one, with only seven dates scheduled. The EP is likewise brief, but in the nature of a good live gig, it saves its best bits for the end.

As with their debut EP ‘Too Much A Hunter’ (reviewed by Cheryl here), the band self-recorded ‘From Post to Post’ before handing it off for mixing by Scottish producer Tony Doogan. Because I love finding connections among all the different bands and artists I listen to, I have to note that Doogan also produced ‘New Gods’, the latest album by Withered Hand, which I reviewed here. But the overall sound of the Story Books EP couldn’t be more different from the warmth and almost uncomfortable intimacy of ‘New Gods’.

Story Books’ lead singer Kris Harris has a smooth, emotionally detached vocal delivery that sounds a tiny bit like Noah and the Whale’s Charlie Fink, and while Story Books lean more synth pop than folk, the similarity between the two bands doesn’t entirely end there. ‘From Post to Post’ has an at-arms-length sense of distance, an almost wistful feeling of looking back at a set of events after some time has passed, much like NATW’s ‘Heart of Nowhere’, yet another connection!.

Opening track ‘Floating Arks’ is both atmospheric and illustrative, the tripping drum rhythm and lilting keyboard melody perfectly symbolizing the lyric in the chorus, “I dreamt of floating arks and playing host to fugitives / I dreamt of running empty, this is how we choose to live”. The next track, ‘Damage’, continues the theme of reflection with the singularly painful lyric, “I felt the sting of regret every time I looked ahead.”

The final track on the EP is the evocative ‘White Maid’, whose expansive dramatic escalation is achieved by slowly layering instruments and sonic effects under the muted vocal lines. The keyboard melody in the lengthy bridge is particularly haunting as the electronic effects kick in and build almost to the point of white noise. The dynamic level backs off for the introspective third verse, which completes its rumination on the past with the lines: “perfection in vain / now I’m reckless and changed / you turned sober and wise / ‘cos you paused in the night / watched me make all the same mistakes you made”.


Story Books will celebrate the launch of ‘From Post To Post’ at their London show on the 25th of March. More details on that gig and the rest of the March tour can be found here. Stream ‘Floating Arks’ below for a quick glimpse into Story Books’ sonic atmosphere.


Video of the Moment #1467: Little Matador

By on Monday, 10th March 2014 at 6:00 pm

‘Stitch Yourself Up’ is the debut single release from Little Matador, following on their ‘Liar Liar’ EP from last year. The song’s hard-hitting lyrics, pounding drums and grinding guitars fully achieve the gritty, edgy rock feel suggested on the EP. In terms of the sleaze factor, the video for ‘Stitch Yourself Up’ is a kind of a cross between Foals’ explicit ‘Late Night’ and Snow Patrol’s bleakly realistic ‘This Isn’t Everything You Are’ (though Connolly and Co. might not appreciate that particular comparison). It also puts a new spin on the recent “cougar” craze, and if you’re averse to public displays of affection, you should be warned that there is some serious tonsil tennis involved.

Little Matador’s self-titled LP is due for release on the 21st of April on Fiction Records and is available for pre-order on the band’s Web site.

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(SXSW 2014 flavoured!) Bands to Watch #299: Waylayers

By on Monday, 10th March 2014 at 12:00 pm

Waylayers are like a cool ice bath in the searing heat of Austin, Texas. This London based synth-pop four-piece feel incredibly fresh, as they engulf you in their delightfully chipper electronica beats. Dripping with a subtle sense of euphoria their new track ‘Medicine’ has the kind of hook deserving of top chart billing – especially seeing as everyone is getting a bit bored of being told how bloody happy Pharrell is.

We get it, Pharrell – it’s the absolute tits being you – now fuck off, will you?

In a completely positive fashion, frontman Harry Lee’s vocals remind me of Chris Martin of Coldplay*, inoffensive and unobtrusive whilst wholly compelling in the same chords. The chorus of ‘Medicine’ feels extremely ‘80s and works as an atmosphere builder perfectly. The final 20 seconds of the single seems like it’s dragged directly from the end of a Rick Astley song.

Nostalgia aside, you can immediately imagine this pulsing from speakers as you wade through a sea of dry ice. In tandem with their earlier EP, Waylayers are certainly an interesting prospect for your perusal at SXSW. They’re the kind of cute British boys, ala Two Door Cinema Club (also three band members) who you can imagine the American population will adore.

With that in mind, Saturday the 15th of March at 9 in the evening at Icenhauer’s is a showcase sure to have the industry crawling with their grubby mitts all over this three-piece.

*I really like old Coldplay and I REALLY dislike new Coldplay.

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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest tours, gigs, and music 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 idiots.

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

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