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Video of the Moment #2400: Gold Class

 
By on Thursday, 13th July 2017 at 6:00 pm
 

Australian post-punks Gold Class will be releasing their second album on the 18th of August on felt. ‘Drum’, their sophomore effort, will follow their 2015 well-received ‘It’s You’. Two weeks ago, we showed you ‘Twist in the Dark’, the first taster from the upcoming record. Today, we’ve got another taster single from ‘Drum’ for you. Unlike the promo for ‘Twist in the Dark’, the one for ‘Rose Blind’ is definitely more artsy. Were you “born to resist the tether” too? In what appears to be the twilight of Morrissey’s years, frontman Adam Curley’s plaintive lyrics feel even more emotional. Watch the video for Gold Class’ new single below. To read more of our coverage on the Aussie group, follow this link.

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Video of the Moment #2388: Gold Class

 
By on Tuesday, 27th June 2017 at 6:00 pm
 

Australian post-punk group Gold Class will have a new album out in August. ‘Drum’ will follow 2015’s acclaimed ‘It’s You’. These days, I try not to put performance videos in the Video of the Moment slot, as I think they ought to go into the Live Gig Video feature instead. However, Gold Class’ DIY style, performing this new single ‘Twist in the Dark’ in a nondescript room, isn’t the same as some other band blasting pyrotechnics and singing to thousands of their fans. So I’m going to make an exception this time, as frontman Adam Curley’s intense performance to you, the viewer, is pretty remarkable. At times, he looks like he’s going to lose his legs and faint from all the passion. Watch the promo video below. Enjoy all our past coverage of Gold Class , including my coverage of them at SXSW 2016, through here.

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SXSW 2016: felte and Part Time Punks’ showcase at Barracuda (Tuesday night, part 2) – 15th March 2016

 
By on Tuesday, 29th March 2016 at 4:00 pm
 

As a music journalist covering SXSW, you pretty much have to be a ninja, moving quickly through the city, from venue to venue, often under the cover of darkness. There’s really no way around it if you want to cover and bring attention to as many bands as possible in a span of 5 days, which is how I see my role in the SXSW experience. This year, knowing that my covering SXSW 2016 conference panels at the Austin Convention Center would restrict my afternoon showcase options, I had to be crafty if I was going to fit in as many bands on my watch list as possible. Luckily, to my utter pleasure, Los Angeles via Brooklyn label felte Records were putting on a fantastic showcase in association with LA Sunday night fixture at the Echo Part Time Punks Tuesday night at Barracuda (formerly Red 7) and it slotted in nicely after my activities earlier in the evening at Latitude 30.

felte signees Gold Class has been billed by more than a few media outlets as the Aussie answer to The Smiths and Joy Division, and Jennifer’s review of the band’s 2015 debut album ‘It’s You’ supports this. It is important to note that the Melbourne band are not a carbon copy of either legendary group from Manchester but take the best bits from both and bring the feelings of alienation and revolution from a diffident attitude in ’80s Britain firmly into the 21st century with their personal brand of politically charged post-punk.

There are two levels on which the comparison between them and The Smiths works best. Dressed all in white for the occasion as if his clothes were a form of protest all their own, lead singer Adam Curley commands all of the attention in the indoor space with his booming, bellowing style of vocal delivery. While singing lyrics like “the way you hold yourself / it’s like you’re ready for an execution” in ‘Life As a Gun’, he’s not afraid to be who he is, to sing what he wants to, to explore his identity and confront headfirst the idea of shame onstage. (He’s already getting mauled by hugs by fans after shows in their native Australia, so I imagine becoming beloved to the rest of the world’s misfits is not too far behind.) The other inescapable similarity of their sound to that of the Smiths is the jangly guitar of Evan James Purdey, providing an oddly jaunty lead that counterintuitively soothes against the backdrop of Curley’s otherwise dark vocals, much like what Johnny Marr’s playing did against Morrissey’s tales of gruesome murders and mishaps in love.

Nite Fields are another Aussie band, hailing from Brisbane, way up the coast from Melbourne in the Australian state of Queensland. Though this quartet also dabble in dark themes, their preferred mode is not post-punk but in more of a dream pop direction, synths buzzing away. (This explains their post-SXSW support slot with Scandinavian synthpop band Lust for Youth.) I’m not sure why this was, maybe they were jetlagged, but after seeing Gold Class put themselves out there confidently and as if naked as the day they were born, Nite Fields seemed comparatively pretentious and holding back. One of my friends once said to me that The Jesus and Mary Chain, while a good band on record, proved to be absolutely boring live at the 9:30 Club. I couldn’t escape that image in my mind as I stood less than enthralled as Nite Fields closed out the indoor stage’s bill for the night.

Watford band Sad Lovers & Giants were a surprise addition to my Tuesday night, playing to a decent crowd on the outdoor stage of Barracuda at midnight. The band’s sound is an intriguing mix of post-punk and psychedelia, with an occasional saxophone solo thrown in for good measure (check out their 7″ single ‘Colourless Dream‘). While I fully admit I’d never heard of them before this, it was great to see so many longtime (read: older) fans in the audience, falling into a trance and giving themselves over to the group’s music.

Sad Lovers & Giants at the felte Part Time Punks showcase Tuesday at Barracuda, at SXSW 2016

Following on the outdoor stage to finish out the night were even more (!) post-punks, Autobahn from Leeds. I was intrigued to learn that in fact the band’s name had nothing really to do with the famed German motorway with no speed restrictions, though their driving, muscular industrial sound seems tailor made for putting down the sun roof of your car, putting your foot to the gas (er, petrol?) and speeding away from everything, maybe not on a motorway but down a desolate country road you have all to yourself. There’s a sinister edge to their sound as well, similar to that of their Tough Love Records labelmates Girls Names from Belfast, who I saw earlier in the evening. Frontman Craig Johnson is a commanding bloke who leans on his mike stand defensively and in such a way that suggests he could crush it with the palm of his hand. When he sings, he looks pretty menacing and not someone you’d want to tangle with, which I get, because that’s what this kind of music needs.

Autobahn at felte Part Time Punks showcase Tuesday at Barracuda, at SXSW 2016 2

But curly-headed Johnson insisted to me in our chat Saturday that Autobahn’s music is less about being aggro or depressed than it is about “a celebration of the beauty of sadness and the daring to be emotional in these irony laced times”, as Louder Than War’s John Robb puts it more eloquently than I ever could. As a popular saying goes, “you can take the boy out of the North, but you can’t take the North out of the boy”. As a Yankee outsider, I’ve always viewed music from the North as being the domain of people in touch emotionally with themselves and their surroundings, and being intelligent enough to write it in such a way that someone either ‘gets’ you or they don’t. And if you’re smart enough to tap into their wavelength, you too can find solace in the beauty of the desolate.

Autobahn at felte Part Time Punks showcase Tuesday at Barracuda, at SXSW 2016

 

Album Review: Gold Class – It’s You

 
By on Friday, 6th November 2015 at 12:00 pm
 

Words by Jennifer Williams

Gold Class It's You album cover2015 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.

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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.

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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.

8.5/10

‘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.

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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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