| 2013 | 2012 | Live at Leeds 2015 | 2014
Sound City 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | Great Escape 2015 | 2013 | 2012
Don't forget to like There Goes the Fear on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!
By Mary Chang
on Wednesday, 25th November 2015 at 12:00 pm
I always feel a sense of loss when the months and years pass and I’ve heard nothing about a beloved band. Northern Irish psych band Cashier No. 9, who I met in London in 2011 the week of my birthday, fell into in this category. The last peep out of Danny Todd and his band was this free download and cover of Harry Nilsson’s ‘Moonbeam Song’, which, to be honest, left me disappointed, as it wasn’t an original song. The question in my mind was, were Cashier No. 9 finished?
While the group from Belfast appear to have disbanded permanently, the band members still standing – Todd and James Smith – have returned in a new guise, exmagician, and a debut EP. There is still that sense of whimsy that was evident in Cashier No. 9’s sound, as well as sufficiently reined in reverb and catchy melodies. Second track ‘Place Your Bets’ shows the most similarity to my favourites of 2011’s ‘To the Death of Fun’. On it, effects have been placed on Todd’s vocals, making him sound like he’s underwater, while the melody and guitars swirl and plenty of trippy oohs have been placed strategically throughout. The instrumental outro shines bright, as a trumpeter’s talents rises above the psychedelic organ.
The trumpet makes another welcome appearance on the end of EP title track ‘Kiss That Wealth Goodbye’, giving it an almost big band quality. It’s an interesting turn of events, as the tune begins and continues on a minor key progression delivered by a purposely indistinguishable marriage of scuzzy guitar and synth, one that would suggest darkness is up ahead. “Light up my face, straighten my tie / jump off the page, see your hope whizzing by / but they all like feeling alive / they all just let go of high hopes and kiss it goodbye”: Hello, is that a dig at fellow (but Southern and hugely popular) Irish band Kodaline? This also isn’t the first time Todd has pointed out musicians don’t make much money: see ‘Goldstar’. Of this new EP and direction, Todd says, “it’s the dirt under the fingernails.”
After the first two tracks showing off in your face swagger, the second half of the EP feels sleepy. ‘Smile to the Gallery’, while it shows similar psychedelic leanings, has a dreamy edge and minimal lyrics. The guitar work at the start before the words kick in are beautiful, evocative. The EP closes with ‘Tear On Let Off Some Steam’; it confused me, as it seems to have moved the duo backward in time back to the ’60s, being nowhere as inventive as the first two tracks. Make no mistake, the results sound good, but after such a promising first half, listening the second half is like listening to a completely different band. Which fork in the road will they take for the inevitable (hopefully, anyway) debut album? Let’s hope the former.
‘Kiss That Wealth Goodbye’, the debut EP from ex-Cashier No. 9 band members Danny Todd and James Smith as new artist exmagician, is out now on Bella Union.
By Mary Chang
on Tuesday, 24th November 2015 at 12:00 pm
Words by Rebecca Clayton
‘Making Time’ is Jamie Woon’s second album and comes over 4 years after his debut ‘Mirrorwriting’, which was released back in 2011 to mixed reviews. So far just one single has been released from the new album, the catchy ‘Sharpness’ (Mary’s previous In the Post feature on the song here), which embodies the less is more spirit that echoes throughout the rest of the album. The singer/songwriter from London has managed to produce something difficult to place: one minute were hearing the scratchy drawl of Willy Mason on a brass-accented acoustic track, the next you’re bopping along to some smooth soul vibes and echoes of old-school r&b.
It’s mellower than his previous stuff: you won’t hear much of the electronica influence that is present on earlier songs ‘Night Air’, ‘Lady Luck’, or ‘Shoulda’. Perhaps some fans will find this disappointing, but this still feels like a step forwards: holding on to the trip hop/soul infusion of previous stuff but bringing something different and fresh to the table. That’s why this album has the air of evolution about it, drawing on much of what was great about Woon’s earlier work but smoothing out the edges a little bit. There are certain adjectives that you can’t help but use when describing the album: soulful, smooth, mellow, chilled. It’s easy listening.
But, that’s not to be confused with unexciting or dull. The opening track ‘Message’, for example, is stirring, the gentle build of the song’s opening with Woon’s vocals effortlessly fusing into the song alongside the minimalistic piano notes. ‘Skin’ also has a mesmerising opening to the track. The use of autotune brings a surprising depth to the song, paired well with the soulful oohs that reverberate throughout, like a lullaby.
Woon’s strong yet sultry vocals are predominate and hold centre stage throughout the album, complemented by the soulful undertones. The instruments are controlled and often times subtle, used to complement Woon’s voice rather than mask it. The lyrics really are quite lovely. From the opening lines of ‘Skin’ (“skin with its open agenda / rise to the top for some air”) to “light into darkness / cut on the sharpness of you” on ‘Sharpness’ (Woon’s most played song on Spotify), the lyrics have a physical feel to them, evoking nature and human connection.
It’s easy to hear echoes of Frank Ocean throughout Jamie Woon’s album, in particular the opening track ‘Message’, with Woon’s smooth voice lapping alongside the soulful music like murmuring waves. The whole album, at various times, is wonderfully reminiscent of ’90s r&b, I’m particularly thinking of R Kelly’s warbling vocals and the stripped back use of instruments in much of his music. Woon’s vocal ability lends well to the tracks. Some songs, such as ‘Celebration’ and ‘Sharpness’, are standouts. ‘Celebration’ is distinctly different to the rest of the album: it was a nice surprise to hear Willy Mason’s gravely tones on this track, paired with the bursts of brass, the jangly acoustic notes and the soft tempo of the drums marching along. On the previously mentioned ‘Sharpness’, at times throughout the song it’s easy to hear Daft Punk, Frank Ocean and Jamiroquai, and perhaps that’s why I like it so much. It sounds so familiar, while still being different, and won me round straight away.
Admittedly, a couple of songs, like ‘Lament’ and ‘Forgiven’ are pleasant enough to hear, but don’t really leave a distinct impression. But, as an overall collection, it really does work. It’s well crafted. This is an archetypal chill-out album, great for a lazy afternoon at home or to be left purring away in the background at work. The lyrics are beautiful, the melodies soulful and classic. On a couple of the tracks there’s a little something left to be desired, but, having said that, I love it, and have been playing my favourite songs non-stop. If it didn’t get me there on the first listen, but it really did on the second.
Jamie Woon’s ‘Making Time’ is out now on PMR Records; Woon will be on tour in the UK in March 2016. For all past coverage on Jamie Woon on TGTF, head here.
There are very few mysteries still left within the music industry. It’s a place where most things are to be given and digested by the audience very easily, which of course leads to sales, which in turn leads to money. They love money. More recently however there has been an artist causing quite the stir in the dance music scene, and his name is Brolin.
An unknown face to an unforgettable beat and emotive lyrics, you very well may have not heard of Brolin, since he is a man of very few words or performances. His career path, since 2012, never really took into account the need for hype or publicity. Rather, he chose to construct things up in his own time, pacing himself between releases. Even garnering plays from Radio 1, this still didn’t push his aspirations past his own personal goals. He crafts delicately pieced together tracks that feature sweeping percussion and strings, entwining perfectly to create a soundscape perfectly suited to late city nights.
Opening his debut album ‘The Delta’ with one of the singles he teased us with last year, ‘Nightswimming’ is a beautiful breakbeat surrounded by airy synths a la M83, companioned with his soft, carefully cadenced voice. This is everything you’d expect from this dance music Zorro and is the perfect introduction.
With second track and single ‘Swim Deep’ (emotional video above), things get a little more on the lighter side of things, especially for Brolin. Utilising a pre-chorus that builds to an almost traditional break before dropping with a chorus that travels lightly and dances around with an err of caution. Moving swiftly into his third and most recent release, ‘Kingston’, we get a look into the mind of Brolin better than ever. It’s almost a warning label for what we should expect from him, with a constant verse repetition of “if the eyes are the windows to the soul, you might see I like control”, you get an idea for the kind of mysterious figure we’re dealing with. Someone who knows what they want, how they want to do it and doesn’t care about orthodoxy.
Brolin certainly has a penchant for writing tracks that somehow appear reserved but at the same time have such grandeur about them, almost like a shy socialite. Repetition is a major feature in most of his tracks, which for dance music is fine, but this album to be able to cross over into the mainstream it might hinder his process. Of course, if we’ve learnt anything so far, it’s that he doesn’t care.
Four of the tracks on this album are named after large cities (‘NYC’, ‘Barcelona’, ‘Koln’ (Cologne) and ‘Reykjavik’), which as I previously mentioned is completely apt considering that is all the imagery this album conjures. That is, of late nights in large cities, soundtracked by a marriage of emotion and musical brilliance. Each song builds its own landscape, high-rises of crescendos and falsettos, bustling streets of beats and string sections.
2016 could very well be the year Brolin becomes a name everyone is familiar with, now with a debut release under his belt and the previous accolades, the only thing holding him back will be his ideology, which is fresh in an industry full of the easy and predictable. Maybe being his own downfall will be his biggest asset? Let’s wait and see.
Brolin’s debut album ‘The Delta’ is out now on Megastomo.
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.
By Mary Chang
on Wednesday, 11th November 2015 at 12:00 pm
We are now deep into autumn, pretty soon enough to enter into the cold days of winter. It’ll all too easy to fall into the trap of lethargy, to hibernate, to hide away from everyone else because we can’t be bothered to get out of bed. While it may seem that Fictonian, known to his mum as Glen Roberts, did exactly this when he escaped the urban sprawl of London in favour of rural Herefordshire and solitude, the creative juices that flowed when he was left to his own devices in the countryside have culminated in a truly beautiful collection of songs, in the form of his debut album ‘Desire Lines’, which will be released this Friday.
In an era where the imagination and genius of solo composer, one-man bands are flourishing and indeed, being applauded – if one needs convincing, have a look at the Mercury Prize recognizing C Duncan‘s ‘Architect’ and Ghostpoet‘s ‘Shedding Skin’ in the nominations for the 2015 gong and East India Youth‘s ‘Total Strife Forever’ in the year previous – Roberts’ talent should be closely examined and enjoyed through ‘Desire Lines’ as a potential contender for next year.
On ‘The Hat’, which features little other than the slow, gentle buzzing of an accordion (synths?) and piano, Roberts’ voice is husky and rough, recalling Bryan Adams in his early career, while also remaining wistful. With the warmth of its chords, ‘Make It Be Ours’ has a shuffling, sweeping chorus fitting for the most beautiful of torch songs: “see that star? / it isn’t too far / if it’s in your heart / let’s make it be ours.”
But the true standout of ‘Desire Lines’ is ‘I Remember’: majestic in its simplicity, the piano chords building up to Roberts’ words – “I believed in love / but it never comes / I wait” – sung with all the melancholy of love lost. Chris Martin wishes he could write something as emotional as this. This, however, is not to say Fictonian is a project stuck on slow, overly sad dirges. On the other side of the tempo spectrum, the jaunty melody and oom-pah rhythm of ‘Moira Junction’ mirrors “my heart is like a pendulum / swinging to and fro / don’t know which way to go” in the song’s story, giving you the feeling of a heart so badly broken, its owner can’t make a move in his confusion.
Then there are the little things that all added up make this an unusual, loveable album. With its unidentifiable plinks and plonks that Stornoway, Patrick Wolf and the recently returned Clock Opera would be proud to call their own, opening track ‘Anticipation’ is satisfyingly whimsical and a great beginning to the record. A similar whimsy appears again on ‘Mrs. Jones’, with an intro and outro having a delightful, wonky carnival-like quality.
Previously revealed single ‘Little Blue Book’, playful with tambourine jingles and whistled notes, is probably the most poppy and accessible track on the album. Its gentle, lumbering, yet uplifting melody is easy on the ears, while the lyrics tell of accepting that life goes on, but the most important part to making the most of yours is to go after your dreams, so you won’t have to live with regret when you’re old. Words of wisdom.
The folky, disheveled troubadour sensibility and deadpan lyrics of life observed on ‘Full Circle Influence’, plus the background metallic clanking and Eastern melody leading the track out might sound like a strange way to end this album. But it clearly shows that Roberts has a great many ideas and could go in just as many directions on his future releases. Listening to this one song, I am reminded of later Stephen Duffy / Lilac Time, a criminally underrated songwriter and artist. When I mention Duffy’s name, I generally get glazed eyes looking back at me, because no-one’s ever heard of him or his genius. This musn’t happen with Fictonian. I won’t let it.
Have you ever listened to an album and got the distinct feeling that you’ve heard it all before? That you once held it beloved and have listened to it on repeat again and again? ‘Desire Lines’ is that stunning kind of record. And you will want to play it again and again.
The debut album from Fictonian, ‘Desire Lines’, is out this Friday, the 13th of November, on Distiller Music.
By Mary Chang
on Friday, 6th November 2015 at 12:00 pm
Words by Jennifer Williams
2015 provides yet another worthy entry into the post-punk revival in the form of Melbourne-based band Gold Class. Formed in 2014, Gold Class are finally introducing themselves to the world proper with their freshman release ‘It’s You’. Luckily for Gold Class, while presenting a sound that is familiar to many ears, they manage successfully to create a sound that is uniquely their own.
Gold Class frontman Adam Curley’s vocal delivery, overflowing with melancholy and grit, bears more vocal resemblance to Ian Curtis or Andrew Eldritch. When delivering lines like “You give and you take, you take what you’re given / They’re talking about the children you won’t have”, from the slow-burning ‘Michael’, you feel the warmth of his vocal like sun hitting the back of your neck in summer: soft and hot as it the heat seeps into your skin. From the stylish opening track ‘Furlong’ with its steady drum beat as the foundation and the shimmery sound of the guitars to the slow building marching rhythms of ‘Pro Crank’, there is a lot to like, even love about this record.
Intensely energetic and incredibly catchy, ‘It’s You’ presents a sound that while it is not a total reinvention of the genre, it is not a total rehash of the ghosts of indie and punk rock past either. Curley’s passionate vocals are in perfect concert with James Purdey’s strong and consistent guitar sounds, filled out nicely by the strong rhythm section of bassist Jon Shub and drummer Mark Hewitt. There are plenty of bands that can coast on one or two “superstar” members and a few who may even be able to get away with it. Gold Class isn’t one of them. It is the totality of the combined contributions from each of the member that gives the band’s sound a sense of fullness, resonance and urgency.
If there is any quibble to have with this record, it is the fact that I don’t think the production does justice to the music. After an initial listen, I couldn’t quite figure out if the sound should be cleaner or dirtier. On repeated listens, the production still isn’t working for me, and I figured out the answer to my initial query, it’s both. The instrumentation is strong on its own and could handle a grittier treatment. On the vocal end, I really wish the vocals were a bit cleaner. As much as I can say that this is subjective and about individual taste when you have lyrics you want and need people to hear, I can’t say that the My Bloody Valentine approach is the way to go. Vocal treatment while not nearly as severe still manages to leave a lot to be desired. When you consider the band definitely has their own worldview and lyrics to match, it would be awesome if you could actually make them out more clearly. It’s a contrast that I think this record could have benefitted from.
That said, I do appreciate a good piece of protest rock, and in an age of brain-dead pop music and meandering ‘by the numbers’ rock bands, it’s refreshing to come across a band with style and substance. ‘It’s You’ is a more than honourable effort and the more you listen, the more you appreciate the record’s nuances. The music can be hard and still possess fragile beauty and vulnerability Like Gang of Four before them, Gold Class can balance the political and still make you want to dance. Clocking in at nine tracks, the record ends somewhat abruptly. You think there might be a hidden track somewhere as soon as the last track finishes and then just realise that it’s over. The only thing to do is to press repeat and fire it up again.
‘It’s You’, the debut album from Gold Class, is out today on Felte Records. Watch the official video for ‘Bite Down’ from the LP below.
Page 1 of 109123456...1020...»Last »