Festival coverage, including that from SXSW 2017 and BIGSOUND 2017, can be read through here.

SXSW 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | Live at Leeds 2016 | 2015 | 2014
Sound City 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | Great Escape 2015 | 2013 | 2012

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Video of the Moment #2399: Dutch Uncles

 
By on Wednesday, 12th July 2017 at 6:00 pm
 

Dutch Uncles have a new video out for ‘Streetlight’. Taken from their fifth album ‘Big Balloon’ (reviewed by our Steven through here), the song, as well as its accompanying video, is a bit unusual, as singer Duncan Wallis explains:

‘Streetlight’ felt like it demanded a more cinematic visual so have our mugs involved would’ve only distracted, or even muddied, that vision. The trust and experiences we’ve shared with our dear friend Nick made him a perfect candidate to handle the exposed nature of the song. He sort of hit the nail on the head with the idea of falling in love with a streetlight, as it really is that literal an analogy within the song. Sort of…

Watch the promo, directed by the band’s mate Nick Middleton and starring dancer Brazilian dancer Gabriela Flarys, below. It might not make you dance circles around a streetlight like Gene Kelly, but it’s still quite interesting. For much more on Dutch Uncles here on TGTF, use this link.

 

Album Review: Dutch Uncles – Big Balloon

 
By on Thursday, 9th March 2017 at 12:00 pm
 

Weird indie pop strikes back with the return of Dutch Uncles and their fifth album ‘Big Balloon’. Not afraid to be whatever the fuck it wants, ‘Big Balloon’ is unabashed with its highs and lows, and it’s all the better for it. Wasting no time, proceedings start with the title track where there’s literally no escaping the groove. The bass kicks in toting a rapid attitude, which the drums dutifully mirror. But it’s when the track’s melody appears that you’re sucked into the long game, creating an irrefutably catchy chorus. While the layout of the track may be oddly precarious in its separate pieces, together as one, it comes together to form a powerhouse of an indie pop track.

‘Baskin” continues this trend, but lowers the assault to a guitar pop level rather than straight forward, abrasively sugar-coated indie. Not quite the earworm as its predecessor, its sounds appear and, as soon as they’ve arrived, they disappear around you, keeping you intrigued and paying attention. Following this, ‘Combo Box’ is unashamedly Eighties: a track that could quite easily have been written by a mid-Seventies, ‘Fame’-era Bowie.

Staying consistently out of the ordinary, ‘Same Plane Dream’ is a flurry of synthesisers and singer Duncan Wallis’ trademark androgynous vocals. It’s all very good at getting you hooked in and almost hypnotising you, but there’s no major differentiating between them all ultimately. That is, until ‘Achameleon’. Beginning rather modestly with a simple piano line, which Wallis joins with similar simplicity, with the line occasionally stepping out of its projected bounds just to remind you that it’s Dutch Uncles you’re listening to and not some other paint-by-numbers ballad band. It continues through to a pleasing melody, while abrasive-cum-beautiful strings join in building a more frantic tempo. You soon realise that the track isn’t a simple piano-man heart on sleeve situation but rather the track is made to represent a madness that comes with those feelings.

As the abrupt ending of ‘Achamelon’ leaves you a little bit lost, ‘Hiccup’ does as its name suggests. It winds in and out of peacefulness until a powerful pop chorus emerges from the building quirkiness. Now we’re full steam back into pop mode. ‘Streetlight’ has a major funk edge to it, with synthesisers adding their power to the bass’ marching thunder. There’s also a wonderful way about the Dutch Uncles approach to songwriting, where they manage to construct the notions the songs are about into worlds that you can visualise. ‘Street Light’ has a dark evening hidden amongst its soundscape, influencing the song’s title.

‘Oh Yeah’ has none of the real charms the previous tracks featured. It feels like a direct lift of a cliche Eighties track. By all means it’s fun, but it turns the journey that has been crafted, swiftly into a mere facsimile rather than a clever, modern take. Definitely one that should have made its way to the cutting room floor. Somewhat of a saving grace, ‘Sink’ has a dark pop nature to it. Featuring a consistent canvas of jittery synth, the rest of the track stacks neatly on top, forming one of the albums less cheery moments, which is a relief to the perma-smile the rest somehow feature.

Finale ‘Overton’ is a world of its own, decidedly apart from everything before it. Rather than opting for a grandiose effort, it feels more akin to a throwaway, though its abrupt ending does seemingly fit the album’s curious nature. A solid fifth return from Dutch Uncles, while it may not be groundbreaking, it’s certainly a challenging listen that demands a lot of you. Something that can’t be said for a lot of releases.

6/10

‘Big Balloon’, Dutch Uncles’ fifth album, is out now on Memphis Industries. You can read more of TGTF’s coverage on Dutch Uncles through here.

 

Video of the Moment #2313: Dutch Uncles

 
By on Friday, 3rd March 2017 at 6:00 pm
 

Marple’s Dutch Uncles released their latest album, their fifth called ‘Big Balloon’, in mid-February on Memphis Industries. In their previous videos, the band have taken full advantage of the elasticity and gracefulness of the body of their lead singer Duncan Wallis, and the latest promo is no exception. In ‘Oh Yeah’, Wallis takes a spin around the roller rink, with famous friends we’ve featured here on TGTF, Liverpool’s Stealing Sheep, dressed like The Pink Ladies, no less. (They and fellow Manchester-based band Everything Everything both donated guest vocals to this single.) Not sure what statement they were trying to make with an avocado and a glass of wine, guess I’ll have to ask next time I see them. Watch the freewheeling (no pun intended) video for ‘Oh Yeah’ below. To read much more on Dutch Uncles on TGTF, follow this link.

 

Video of the Moment #2263: Dutch Uncles

 
By on Monday, 16th January 2017 at 6:00 pm
 

Before the new year, Manchester math rockers Dutch Uncles revealed ‘Big Balloon’, the lead single and title track to their upcoming newest studio album. ‘Big Balloon’ the LP will be their fifth and is scheduled for release on Memphis Industries on the 17th of February. At the start of December, our Adam reviewed the single, now A-listed on BBC 6 Music. You can read Adam’s review through this link.

The single now has a promo video, directed by Nick Middleton and filmed at Buxton Raceway. Getting to the place required a drive through some idyllic countryside, and I’m assuming the contrast between the rolling green hills of England and mangled metal cars was intentional. It’s like the beguiling study of contrasts that every Dutch Uncles song contains. Watch the video below. We’ve got a pretty big archive on the band on TGTF, which you can have a look through here.

 

Single Review: Dutch Uncles – Big Balloon

 
By on Thursday, 1st December 2016 at 12:00 pm
 

When it comes to out of the ordinary, new wave, alternative pop music, it seems that Manchester is the place to be. There may not be many bands doing this kind of thing, but the calibre of bands who are is incredible. Dutch Uncles are definitely one among the great Mancunian new wave scene who have just shared the release date for their upcoming 5th studio album ‘Big Balloon’. And luckily for us, they have released the title track, the album’s first single, last week as a preview to the long player.

Dutch Uncles present a forward-thinking side to pop music. It is very intricate, intelligent and thoroughly thought out. Each instrument plays its own part, and never used just to fill space. After four previously released studio albums, the Mancunian four-piece now have quite a back catalogue of releases. With each album, there is an unexpected development within their music, shown through the band experimenting more with ambiguous time signatures and phrasing, as well as producing erratic rhythms catchy hooks.

Without a doubt, ‘Big Balloon’ continues this trend. The song opens with an absolutely monstrous bass riff from primary songwriter and bassist Robin Richards, then goes into what Dutch Uncles do best: create an off-kilter rhythm that plays around with the accents of a 4/4 beat, creating the illusion that it’s in an irregular or compound time signature. Being a bass player, I was instantly hooked and wanted to learn the bass line. The first 5 seconds of this track shows so crystal clear why Richards and drummer Andy Proudfoot work so well together. The heavy use of mid frequencies within the bass tone are excellently accompanied by Proudfoot’s huge, deep, full-sounding drums, filling out the lower frequencies, thus resulting in an exceptionally powerful rhythm section.

Frontman Duncan Wallis defuses the tension of the strictly rhythmic bass and drum groove perfectly with an ‘80’s synthpop keyboard sound and his soft, calming vocal tone we all know and love. He recites lyrics that point perhaps toward mental health, but it’s always difficult to decipher his ambiguous and sometimes genderless lyrics. The approach to the vocal melody within ‘Big Balloon’ is very well executed, despite being in some ways basic. Melodically, it doesn’t venture far from what would be considered safe, but what Wallis showcases in rhythm is where the topline grasps the listener. Bearing this in mind, Wallis’ note choice, in partnership with the extended chords, manages to embellish the bass incredibly well. In this case, what he’s doing is both difficult and simple, as the bass is only playing one note (D) but in two octaves.

The structure of this song is strength in itself. The band knows how good the drum and bass intro is and how well it carries the track. With it, they know how long it can continue before it loses its novelty. Right on the cusp of waning interest, the chorus drops – rather unexpectedly, but still as driving as the previous 39 seconds of bass-driven pop. The chorus opens the song up, unveiling the hidden choir of vocal harmonies and dream-like synths that sprinkle the seemingly never-ending chord progression, solidly led by the thick, heavy bass notes. Although the guitar has been quiet up until this point, it continues the chorus somewhat with an emulation of the vocal melody, but covered in fuzz. In doing this, it helps strengthen the main focal point of the track by providing a contrast to Wallis’ smooth vocal melody with a crunchy, distorted version of the melody.

If the single ‘Big Balloon’ is anything to go by in relation to the upcoming album, we’re in for a serious treat.

9/10

‘Big Balloon’, the fifth studio album from Dutch Uncles, drops on the 17th of February 2017 on Memphis Industries. The single is available now; stream it below. You can find dates to the supporting tour in the new year here. For much more TGTF goodness on Dutch Uncles, go here.

 

Dutch Uncles / March 2017 UK Tour

 
By on Friday, 28th October 2016 at 8:00 am
 

Greater Manchester band Dutch Uncles have announced their fifth album is on the horizon. It’s all been very hush hush but with a new profile photo and cover shot on their Facebook, anticipation is high. Says frontman Duncan Wallis, “For the past 15 months we’ve been constructing an album that reflects our live instincts, so to say that we are giddy at this announcement would be an understatement.”

Naturally, the band will be supporting this new release and with that, they’ve announced a UK tour to take place in March 2017. A presale has already started, but the general sale for tickets begins today at 9 AM. For more of TGTF’s coverage on Dutch Uncles, go here.

Wednesday 1st March 2017 – Edinburgh Electric Circus
Thursday 2nd March 2017 – Newcastle Cluny
Friday 3rd March 2017 – Leeds Wardrobe
Saturday 4th March 2017 – Nottingham Bodega
Monday 6th March 2017 – Birmingham Hare and Hounds
Tursday 7th March 2017 – Sheffield Plug
Wednesday 8th March 2017 – Oxford Academy 2
Thursday 9th March 2017 – Bristol Fleece
Saturday 11th March 2017 – Brighton Haunt
Sunday 12th March 2017 – Southampton Talking Heads
Monday 13th March 2017 – London Village Underground
Wednesday 15th March 2017 – Manchester Dancehouse Theatre

 
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About Us

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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