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Video(s) of the Moment #2373: Carl Barat and the Jackals

 
By on Monday, 5th June 2017 at 6:00 pm
 

Following the rehab and cleanup of Pete Doherty and the reformation of The Libertines, I wondered whether Carl Barat would continue with his other band project, Carl Barat and the Jackals. Thankfully, Barat decided the project still had legs. They have a new EP out now, ‘Harder They Fall’, and just a few days ago, they shared the video for EP track ‘Burning Cars’. Like ‘Sister’ revealed before it, Barat explained to Clash that the track is supposed to distill the feeling of isolation and being forgotten in a small British town, a feeling shared by all the band. You can watch the promos for both ‘Burning Cars’ and ‘Sister’ below. To catch up on TGTF’s past coverage of Carl Barat and the Jackals, including my review of their debut LP ‘Let It Reign’ that was released before SXSW 2015, go here.

 

SXSW 2015: Paradigm Agency showcase at the Parish and Ben Sherman / UKTI showcase at Latitude 30 (Thursday night part 2) – 19th March 2015

 
By on Tuesday, 31st March 2015 at 4:00 pm
 

My Thursday evening review was getting too long, so I broke it up into two parts. To read part 1 of my Thursday evening, go here.

Then it was on to underground DJ / musician haven on Red River, Plush. It is the electronic music fan’s dream: an unpretentious room where you can be as close and practically personal near the guy (or gal) on the decks in the back if you want, but it’s small enough that the thudding beats and the smooth grooves ooze into every nook and cranny of the place, there’s no bad spot in the house. You couldn’t have asked for a better place for my first time to see Rival Consoles (Ryan L. West) perform. Dressed appropriately in a Moog t-shirt, West was ready to knock some socks off and blow some minds.

I would be hard pressed to adequately describe West’s set. Through bleeps, blips, thuds and buzzes (bleeps, blips and/or thuds stretched), Rival Consoles an immersive experience and one you have to be there to experience, and it changes every night because West wants it to be a dynamic experience and not one that is limited by what you hear on his records. I also want to point out that his music, at least what I witnessed at his two shows in Austin at Plush and at the British Music Embassy the next night, weren’t solely about building crescendos and big drops.

Rival Consoles at Plush, SXSW 2015

Certainly there were those moments. But the overall feeling I got was like being before a master craftsman making his art for us, fresh. This isn’t in your face electronica ala deadmau5 or Tiesto, nor is it electronica that is so smooth, you can pretty much guess what is coming next, or just be lulled into a sense of tedium. That’s what I liked about seeing Rival Consoles the most: I was excited about the unpredictable. (Listen to my great conversation with Ryan in Austin here.)

So it was with great disappointment I had to leave early to make my way to the Parish ahead of Pennsylvania lo-fi rockers The Districts‘ set at the Paradigm Agency showcase. I wasn’t taking any chances, knowing this place was going to be completely rammed later for them and the Vaccines who followed. Perth, Australia’s San Cisco, already a household name here in America, had no trouble assembling a packed room, with plenty of punters either going wild for the young indie pop band’s music or at least bopping their heads approvingly from side to side. ‘Fred Astaire’, whose video was nominated for a 2013 ARIA (the Aussie equivalent to a BRIT award), ended their set on a schmaltzy note.

San Cisco at SXSW 2015

Most American bands I know of dress exactly like this – t-shirts, denim jeans, trainers – regardless of the style of their music, but in the case of the Districts, they’re the kind of band where the dress actually makes sense, because with the growly, fuzzy rock they make, you expect they must have just rolled out of a parent’s garage earlier in the day. While ‘Suburban Smell’ is a stripped back, not completely fond ode to the cookie cutter town from where they grew up, it still bears the scuzz of their sound that’s as unkempt as frontman Rob Grote’s hair. This is the appeal of their album released last month on Fat Possum Records, ‘A Flourish and a Spoil’: unpretentious, rough around the edges rock ‘n’ roll.

The Districts at SXSW 2015

The irreverence of ‘Peaches’ “in the Vatican / and oh I don’t want to hear about the bird on the hill” with its droney guitars, the oozy, woozy rhythm of ‘Young Blood’ the “need for a little romance”; the desperation of Grote’s yelps in ‘Chlorine’, with its punishing drums and oddly comforting, homey guitar bridge: it was all better than I ever could have expected. They came to DC a week later but I dared not see them again, since I’ll have this snapshot in my mind of seeing them in Austin, down the front at the Parish, as they bashed away at their kit with reckless abandon. I’ll always remember this night.

From that high, I suppose there was nowhere to go but down. Already excited about having seen the Districts, I was keen to get an equally awesome dose of the Vaccines. The Districts finished roughly at 11:40 PM, which should have given the Vaccines an ample 20 minutes to set up their gear, which included what seemed like overly lengthy guitar and drum kit soundchecks. As I waited, real estate down the front became more precious, as I felt the air being squeezed out of my lungs. For a small girl as myself, it’s not a comfortable situation to be wedged in between two larger, taller people, even if they are girls.

I gave the Vaccines another 11 minutes to sort themselves out before I was over them, extricating myself from the Parish crowd before sprinting down 6th and rounding the corner back to Latitude 30. If I wasn’t going to get my fill of ‘Handsome’ tonight, I was going to get the next best thing, seeing one of my guitar gods Carl Barat with his band The Jackals, who I assumed I’d miss entirely in Austin and this year, as it had been announced the previous week that their American tour had been cancelled. That was probably one of the best split-second decisions I made all week.

I got down the front of Latitude 30 right in the midst of the band playing a song whose words floated down my tongue with ease (“monkey asked the mouse before / if she could love anybody more than he…”); it wasn’t until I came to the next morning talking to Carrie, who had seen them Wednesday afternoon at the Floodfest showcase at Cedar Street Courtyard, that I realised it was the Libertines’ classic ‘Death on the Stairs’. It was such a long time ago…yet it’s still so great.

Carl Barat and the Jackals at British Music Embassy, Ben Sherman UKTI showcase at SXSW 2015

Though I must have arrived after they played most recent single ‘A Storm is Coming’, Carl and co. treated us to several songs from their debut album on Cooking Vinyl, ‘Let It Reign’, such as ‘War of the Roses’, the jaunty ‘Glory Days’ (to which the whole crowd seemed to be snarling the words back at Barat) and more melancholy LP closer ‘Let It Rain’. Ben Sherman and UKTI, you did good booking this band and the next.

So then it was left to the next band to end my night on a high note. Although I’ve caught them live in Newcastle (May 2013), DC (March 2014), and the night previous in Austin, this would be the first time for me to see Public Service Broadcasting at the British Music Embassy and in their wide screen, multimedia splendour. For anyone who hasn’t been to SXSW before, I really must explain that seeing a band at Latitude 30 is a treat: the sound system is usually (99%) on point and the lighting is usually fantastic too(read: you can see everyone on stage!), which means you have pretty much the optimal environment to see your favourite British band.

Public Service Broadcasting at British Music Embassy, Ben Sherman UKTI showcase at SXSW 2015

And you can’t get anymore British than Public Service Broadcasting, can you? After witnessing cuts from the new ‘The Race for Space’ album the night before, tonight I could take a couple of snaps, then just get into their music for the fun of it. With its doom and gloom sounds of air raid sirens and Churchill samples, ‘London Can Take It’ shouldn’t be such a joyous occasion, should it? It probably sounds strange coming from a Yank, but I think given the emotional context, understanding that Britain is still standing how many decades after the Blitz, we (meaning the human race, not just Britons) can look back on those times with respect and admiration because we’re still here generations later.

It’s not that PSB is necessarily glorifying war; they’re giving praise where praise is due, to the people who came before who allow us to be who we are today or, in the case of ‘Everest’ for one, showed us that we as humans could go beyond what we had thought were our mortal limitations. In that regard, ‘The Race for Space’ is similar. This is music for the thinking person. And if we can funk out to ‘Gagarin’ while celebrating the first man in space too, why not? Oh SXSW 2015, you were wonderful. Absolutely wonderful.

 

SXSW 2015: Wednesday afternoon at FLOODfest, Cedar Street Courtyard – 18th March 2015

 
By on Tuesday, 31st March 2015 at 10:00 am
 

The weather in Austin during most of the SXSW 2015 week was smattered with clouds and occasional rain showers, which had us keeping our jackets and umbrellas constantly at the ready. But the Wednesday morning and afternoon turned out to be bright and sunny with a slight cool breeze, perfect conditions for attending the inaugural FLOODfest event in the open air Cedar Street Courtyard. I arrived to the venue early for an interview before the show started, and I got settled inside just in time to catch the end of the Dutch Impact showcase preceding the afternoon’s official activities.

Taymir at FLOODfest 18th March 2015

Bright guitar pop band Taymir rounded off the Dutch delegation with a lively and upbeat set including their catchy singles ‘Aaaaah’ and ‘What Would You Say’, both taken from their debut album ‘Phosphene’. The group of fans filtering into the courtyard for the afternoon showcase soon found their toes tapping and hips shaking to Taymir’s sharply energetic pop tunes, which were a perfect preliminary to set the mood for the stellar lineup ahead.

Avid Dancer at FLOODfest 18th March 2015

First on the set proper for FLOODfest was Los Angeles songwriter Jacob Dillan Summers, known here by the stage name Avid Dancer, with whom I’d had a nice interview outside the venue before the show began (if you missed it, you can stream the interview here ADD LINK). As he mentioned in our chat, Summers played in Austin with two bandmates, and his set at FLOODfest highlighted tracks from Avid Dancer’s upcoming debut album ‘1st Bath’. Both Summers’ singing voice and his songwriting are tenderly melodic, but his songs have a very definite lo-fi grit that gives them traction in the ears and the hearts of their listeners. Outside the confines of ‘1st Bath’ tracks, the real gem of Avid Dancer’s set was a recently written track that didn’t make the album, which I believe he called ‘Gazing’.

Skinny Lister at FLOODfest 18th March 2015

In the 2:00 PM time slot was English folk punk collective Skinny Lister, who really got the party started with their exuberant set, which included a delightful blend of pub rock sing-alongs, rollicking sea shanties, and old style dance tunes. When you see a band whose instrumentation includes both an accordion and a stand-up bass, you don’t necessarily expect crowd-surfing as part of the festivities, but at one point bassist Michael Camino dove right into the audience, trusting himself and his double bass to our enthusiastic hands-on support.

Singer, multi-instrumentalist and self-described “show-off” Lorna Thomas stole the show with her high-spirited dance moves, even closing the set with an interactive waltz in the middle of the crowd. If you didn’t catch it previously, we featured Skinny Lister’s video for ‘Trouble on Oxford Street’, which shows off exactly the kind of hair-on-fire shenanigans they put on display at FLOODfest, along with their signature brand of over-the-top, rock-infused folk music. Skinny Lister’s new album, ‘Down on Deptford Broadway’ is due out on the 20th of April via Xtra Mile Records; watch TGTF for more coverage of the band, including my interview with them on the Thursday of SXSW 2015, in the coming days.

Geographer at FLOODfest 18th March 2015

After Skinny Lister, the mood at FLOODfest took a slightly more mellow turn with San Francisco-based Geographer, whose sensual synth pop sound recently took the form of a new album called ‘Ghost Modern’, released on Roll Call Records. I was taken off guard by frontman Michael Deni’s smooth falsetto and cool vocal delivery as his singing blended seamlessly with the silvery legato of the keyboard, cello and guitar lines. Geographer’s set list included the broadly expansive, airy texture of older track ‘Kites’ as well as the more percussive recent single release ‘I’m Ready’.

Carl Barat at FLOODfest 18th March 2015

The audience in the Cedar Street Courtyard had begun to fill in during Geographer’s entrancing set, and by the time Carl Barat and The Jackals took the stage, we were rammed tight into the open air venue. There were clearly a few long-time fans in attendance, excited to see the former Libertines frontman with his new band. Barat took the stage in true punk rock fashion, dressed in a black leather jacket that he eventually had to remove in the heat of the afternoon. His drummer, Jay Bone, played the set entire set shirtless and was still drenched in sweat by the end, which is a testament to the frenetic energy of the new songs on ‘Let It Reign’ (reviewed here back in February by editor Mary). Barat did manage to squeeze in a couple of back catalogue tunes on his FLOODfest set list, most notably Libertines track ‘Death on the Stairs’, but the band’s heavy emphasis on ‘Let It Reign’ was thunderously well-received, especially the ominously prescient track ‘A Storm Is Coming’, played as clouds started to build up over the courtyard’s outdoor stage.

Frank Turner at FLOODfest 18th March 2015

After Carl Barat and The Jackals’ hard-edged set, our appetites were whet for FLOODfest’s final performer of the afternoon, Frank Turner. Appearing in a solo capacity with only his acoustic guitar for accompaniment, and admittedly still recovering from a slight hangover (he actually described himself at one point as “sweating booze”), Turner eased into his set with a few old favourite tracks before launching into a pair of brand new songs, which he said would feature on a new album expected for release later this year.

One of the new tracks, titled ‘Silent Key’, is a stark yet transfixing recollection of the 1986 Space Shuttle Challenger disaster, which, though exquisitely written and performed, was a difficult listen, and I found myself gritting my teeth through its turbulent emotionality. The other new track, a rebellious four-to-the-floor belter called ‘Get Better’ was released on YouTube the following Friday, coincidentally just as I was finishing up a quick chat with Turner; watch the new video just below, and stay tuned to TGTF for the audio of my interview with Turner in the coming days. ‘Get Better’ seems a perfect follow-up to Turner’s recent hits ‘The Way I Tend To Be’ and ‘Recovery’, which were both vivid highlights of the afternoon’s final performance, as was set closer ‘Photosynthesis’.

 

TGTF Guide to SXSW 2015: FLOODfest’s inaugural event in Austin

 
By on Thursday, 12th March 2015 at 11:00 am
 

This year marks the premiere of FLOODfest at SXSW, sponsored by Flood Magazine and personal media startup Lyve. The FLOODfest bill encompasses four daytime showcases and three action-packed night shows at the Cedar Street Courtyard, beginning on Wednesday the 18th of March and running through Saturday the 21st. Daytime showcases are open to the public with advance RSVP, but admission will be first come, first served based on venue capacity. Each day show will open with a smaller preliminary showcase from 11 AM to 1 PM before the main events begin. Evening shows will require official SXSW badges and wristbands for entry and promise to extend late into the night with big name crowd draws Spoon, Courtney Barnett and Run the Jewels.

The Wednesday daytime showcase in particular is scheduled to include several acts of interest to TGTF fans. The lineup involves folk punk collective Skinny Lister (read our SXSW preview on them here), rock veteran Carl Barât and his new band the Jackals and populist troubadour Frank Turner, who is in Austin not only to perform his music, but also to serve as a Music Convention panelist and to promote his new memoir ‘The Road Beneath My Feet’ (after SXSW he will return to the UK to promote it on a book tour). The Wednesday night showcase will feature Massachusetts quartet Speedy Ortiz as well as Arcade Fire’s Win Butler, performing in his solo side project guise as DJ Windows 98.

Thursday’s highlights include Years & Years and the Ting Tings (read our SXSW preview on them here) during the day, with the Vaccines opening the activities for the nighttime show. The Friday afternoon showcase will wrap up with Best Coast, and the Friday evening show will feature a set by TGTF favourite and SXSW 2014 alumnus Until the Ribbon Breaks. The festivities will wind down on Saturday afternoon with a showcase of Warner Brothers Records artists including current American radio stars Big Data and Priory.

The full lineup for FLOODfest at SXSW is listed below. However, as always, we recommend that you keep an eye on the FLOODfest Web site for updated information, as acts are subject to change.

Wednesday 18th March

11 AM – 1 PM Dutch Impact Showcase: Taymir, Sevdaliza, Jacco Gardner
1 PM – 6 PM INgrooves/XtraMile Showcase: Avid Dancer, Skinny Lister, Geographer, Carl Barât and the Jackals, Frank Turner
8 PM – 2 AM Taymir, Dotan, Basecamp, Speedy Ortiz, DJ Windows 98, Spoon

Thursday 19th March

11 AM – 1 PM Norway Showcase: Marit Larsen, Haust, Hanne Kolstø
1 PM – 6 PM Paradigm/ASCAP Showcase: Hippo Campus, Swimm, Tove Stryke, Years & Years, The Ting Tings
8 PM – 2 AM The Vaccines, Viet Cong, Metz, King Tuff, Courtney Barnett

Friday 20th March

11 AM – 1 PM Sweden Showcase: Amason, Indevotion, Good Harvest
1 PM – 6 PM Capitol Records Group Showcase: Son Real, BJ the Chicago Kid, James Davis, Seinabo Sey, Halsey, Best Coast
8 PM – 2 AM Mick Jenkins, Nosaj Thing, Until the Ribbon Breaks, Run the Jewels

Saturday 21st March

11 AM – 1 PM Volumen Showcase: The Brevet, Ejambre, Apolo
1 PM – 6 PM Warner Brothers Records Showcase: Dylan Gardner, Mystery Skulls, Priory, Greg Holden, Big Data, Twin Shadow

 

(SXSW 2015 flavoured!) Album Review: Carl Barat and the Jackals – Let It Reign

 
By on Monday, 16th February 2015 at 12:00 pm
 

While a fan of Carl Barat‘s last band Dirty Pretty Things in the mid-Noughties, I wrote a poem called ‘Ditching the Shadow’ that expressed my frustration I had for him and Dirty Pretty Things’ music being compared constantly to his legendary partnership with Pete Doherty and the Libertines magic. Inevitably, the same will happen with ‘Let It Reign’, the debut album from his new project Carl Barat and the Jackals. But thanks to the recent promise of a Libertines reunion on record, this time around the musical effort will be seen as potential foreshadowing of the next chapter of the Libs.

After Dirty Pretty Things disbanded in late 2008, Barat focused his energies on a debut solo album, which was met with mixed reviews and confused fans. For Libs and DPT purists, Barat’s latest effort will come as a great relief as a return to form. It’s short – merely 35 minutes and a bit – and on the whole, it manages to be both ballsy and a good swift kick up the arse, while also having moments of pop sensibility. To source his new band, Barat put up an online advert, finding Billy Tessio (guitar), Adam Claxton (bass) and Jay Bone (drums), who Barat says he’s really gelled with: “I was lucky, because I found a bunch of people who genuinely fit together as a gang”. After the tentativeness of ‘Carl Barat’ and the feeling that something was missing, the instrumentation on this new album feels tight and it’s oh so nice to hear the guitars wailing again.

Judging from first taster ‘Glory Days’, with its wonky yet mysteriously catchy rhythm, and just by reading over some of the song titles (‘Victory Gin’, ‘Summer in the Trenches’, ‘War of the Roses’), the subtext of the LP appears to be war, which seems topical given the global turmoil we’re experiencing now. However, if you know anything about the Libertines and Dirty Pretty Things, their enemies weren’t so much governments but people who were trying to tell them who and what they should be, and that theme continues in ‘Let It Reign’. Second single ‘A Storm is Coming’ is a great earworm of carpe diem; replete with la la las, it’s a big singalong.

Barat thunders emphatically in the chorus for my choice for next single, ‘Victory Gin’, “we’re not afraid of anyone / I defy anyone to tell me that I am wrong”; the guitar chords are purposefully fuzzed and muddied for more muscle. It’s a banger. But it’s the almost whispered words in the song’s second verse, “shackled by wires, prank calls and liars / only flesh and blood is real, my love”, that come across far more powerful, as the song reveals itself to be sympathetic to the impersonality of the digital age.

Whether or not it’s true, Libs fans will want to believe ‘War of the Roses’, with its chorus “you’re the greatest friend to me / you’re the only friend to me / nobody cares for me like you do”, is the greatest PDA Carl could ever give to Pete. ‘We Want More’ is the oddball of the pack, sounding like ’80s power pop and is a reasonable success, while ‘Let It Rain’ tries to close the album on a positive note but ends up being too sleepy and forgettable.

Chances are you’re not about to pick up this album unless you like rock. But even my Carl-loving ears started to bleed listening to Barat’s yelling on ‘March of the Idle’, which, despite some softer moments, never really strays from its punishing course, and on ‘Summer in the Trenches’, which could easily have been a DPT b-side. About midway through the album, ‘Beginning to See’ is a welcome respite from the raucousness. “We’ve dirty hands, but our hearts are clean” sounds cliche but in Barat’s surprising lilt with the strumming of an acoustic guitar and even despite being alongside religious imagery (“I don’t mind people changing water to wine”), the sentiment feels genuine. If there’s one take home message of this album, it’s that ‘Let It Reign’ was written and recorded with real heart. Time will tell if the Libertines reunion will take off and be successful. But if it isn’t, it’s nice to know Barat has another band of brothers to thrash some guitars around with.

7/10

‘Let It Reign’, the debut album from Carl Barat and the Jackals, is out today on Cooking Vinyl; watch the album trailer below. The band will be touring starting in 2 weeks in Germany, followed by a North American tour beginning in March that includes a stop at SXSW 2015.

 

(SXSW 2015 flavoured!) Video of the Moment #1738: Carl Barat and the Jackals

 
By on Saturday, 7th February 2015 at 10:00 am
 

In less than 2 weeks’ time, we’ll be able to get our hands on the debut album from Carl Barat‘s latest musical project with his new band the Jackals. Following on from the release of lead single ‘Glory Days’ (watch the previous Video of the Moment feature on the song here), here’s the NSFW video for ‘A Storm is Coming’. (It’s NSFW because of the bare-chested women shown on a black and white tv, which was a relief to me after that excessively violent Kooks video last year.) Viewers have pointed out that it appears to be a homage to the 1920s German film Metropolis; regardless whether or not you’re a fan of foreign film, it’s got a classic sound that supports the Independent’s insistence, “If you like the Libertines you will like this”. Watch it below.

‘Let It Reign’ sees its release on Cooking Vinyl on the 16th of February. Carl and his new band will also be making their way across the pond to play at SXSW 2015, in the midst of a string of North American dates.

 
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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.

TGTF is edited by Mary Chang, who is based in Washington, DC. She is joined by writers in England, America and Ireland. It began as a UK music blog by Phil Singer in 2005.

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