On paper, my Friday had the most challenging schedule for the entire weekend, with 2 panel sessions (and a performance in between, all the way down on the seafront – eep!), and lots of and lots of band clashes. It had the potential to be the most frustrating day of all, but to be honest, it actually worked out fine, thanks to my planning and some accidental run-ins with some TGTF favourites. First, I’ll explain what happened in the afternoon…
After getting shut out of a morning session because “it’s full up” (I’d been to sessions the day before and people could stand on the sides if they’d arrived late; I can only guess I was refused entry b/c I was a mere 10 minutes tardy), I spent some time walking and window shopping round the North Laines area of Brighton, where there are lots of cutesy little independent shops. Forget cute shoes, there are cobblestones, my friends. Brighton, like DC, has colourful murals on the sides of buildings, except in Brighton, they’re on the sides of pubs. Take for example this unusual one of legendary soul singer James Brown:
I met up with my local PR friend Ed and we went to a charming little café. I’ve never seen mozzarella on a burger before but I ordered it and it really hit the spot. I should have photographed it, the chef lady put a massive slice on top of my beef. Totally epic. But good thing I was all sorted out with food, since we would be soaking up some drinks later on in the day. We headed down the hill and to the sea…but not for the sea. For bands, of course!
Like SXSW, the Great Escape has pretty good daytime programming, including a pretty active scene thanks to the Alternative Escape. At the seafront club LIFE, Euphonios, Killing Moon, the Recommender and Strongroom Alive were putting on a great showcase all afternoon. This was great, as the weather had finally turned the corner, the sun was shining, and I was able to check out Savoir Adore (who took the spot of an absent Saint Saviour) and I Dream in Colour in this unique performance space, akin to an attic or loft with a window.
Speaking of the word ‘later’ and time, I wish I had known about Savoir Adore so much earlier. I’m happy to say, though, that unlike most Americans who have stumbled onto them in the last couple weeks, I did not come to know them by the Tide laundry detergent telly advert featuring their song ‘Pop Goes the World’. (I think it’s highly possible to be their ‘5 Years’ Time’-style breakout, so if it gets them more fans, all the better.) The band from New York City had to do a stripped set in the cramped LIFE upstairs stage, but they sounded amazing. I’m rather glad they don’t live far from me; I’m hoping that means they’ll tour in DC again soon enough. Watch a clip of their song ‘Loveliest Creature’ below.
I had promised Shell Zenner I’d swing by the Queens Hotel to say hello while she did her on-site broadcast for Amazing Radio. When I arrived, I was kind of surprised their set up was literally in the middle of the lobby. What was to stop any streaking bands? Oh wait… I did however go downstairs to catch half of Sissy and the Blisters’ set on the Amazing Radio stage. Loud and balls to the wall, exactly what hung over festival goers needed to start day 2 at the Great Escape. Me? I headed up and back out to return to LIFE, wanting to save my ears for later.
I Dream in Colour’s fan base keeps growing by leaps and bounds, and the London via Essex band stuck this date at the Alternative Escape in before the following weekend’s ‘London’ single launch in, where else, London. (Read John’s review of their latest single here.) Singer Richard Judge looked particularly smart and respectable in a blindingly white dress shirt, which was deliciously at odds when he picked up his guitar and became Mr. Rock Star. And if you were wondering, yes, I love it when he’s on his guitar. Personally, I think it suits him more than when he’s behind the keys. But that’s just me…
Then it was back up the hill with Ed to attend Record of the Day’s discussion entitled, “What’s the point of music reviews in the digital age?” Obviously, this is something of interest to all music bloggers worth their salt, because we all want to be professional writers someday. Former Q editor-in-chief Paul Rees said something I truly applauded: he said labels shouldn’t penalise reviewers with annoying stream versions of albums and that more often than not, it’s someone inside the label that’s leaking albums, not the journalists. Well said.
Then I personally caused a moment of silence when I asked if the reason why most publications and even music Web sites now run 100-word album reviews (obviously not long enough to fully explain any part of an album) and if this was a symptom of the lack of attention span for most internet users. You could hear the crickets. I wasn’t sure if they wanted to punch me for being insolent, or they just refused to admit that what I’d described was exactly what was happening on the Internet.
Feeling like I needed to explain myself, I chatted with freelancer Will Hodgkinson of the Times and Mojo writing fame after the session to agree with what he’d replied with, that we should be giving our readers credit and not dumb content down for them. With that, I felt proud of what we do here at TGTF: there’s a reason why there are more words for all of our reviews you will see on this Web site: I’d rather you have a more complete picture of an album rather than the soundbite-y types that have become far too commonplace on the Web. If you can’t commit to read one of our reviews, you must not care enough about music, because we love what we do. And if our reviews aren’t what you want, then I’d rather you go somewhere else.
I huffed and wheezed my way back down to the Queens Hotel with every intention of seeing Mammal Club there. Unfortunately, I got conflicting reports about whether the band from Newcastle was performing by people I saw in the lobby. To be sure, I went downstairs to check out who was performing and whoever was on sounded nothing like Mammal Club, so either the times had changed or I didn’t recognise them. Either way, I missed them. I also missed them at Liverpool Sound City, because they were playing the same night and time as our stage. Boo.
Instead, I headed back to LIFE in the hopes of running into more bloggers at the Blog Up event that had started earlier in the afternoon. It was getting close to finished, and Shell Zenner was back at it, spinning tunes from her beloved iPad. Who should I run into but Breaking More Waves’ Robin? What an exceedingly nice and sweet chap! Seeing I’d never met him before, it was great to finally see him. To me as a blogger, this was what was so great about both the Great Escape and Sound City: being American, I rarely go to events where there are huge groupings of bloggers.
Besides Robin, I had also met Ollie of Memphis Industries (who always ReTweets our Dutch Uncles and Field Music-related Tweets – cheers Ollie!) and Matthew of Song, by Toad the day before as well, which was also very cool. My heart warmed every time I heard someone say to me, “oh yeah! I read There Goes the Fear all the time!” and “so it’s you who runs it! So wonderful you could come over to America for this, nice to meet you!” When I am at home, I am reminded by the personal difficulty to set up interviews and press passes in America that TGTF isn’t a household name in America…yet. We’re no Pitchfork or Stereogum; we don’t try to be either and I don’t want us to be like either too. We’re doing what we want to do, the way we want to…and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I Dream in Colour are back with their single ‘London,’ with vocals that manage to pierce your heart effortlessly and with the kind of riffs which wouldn’t sound unfamiliar on ‘The Joshua Tree’.
They’ve done it again, producing music that is just so uplifting in nature that it can never fail to put a smile on your face, whether it’s the subtle drips of piano underlying the track or just the fact that through being quite minimalist it manages to just sound gorgeous. Now anyone who knows me will know I love a good belting chorus, screamed at the top of your voice ala Foo Fighters. But I Dream in Colour have won me over with pure catchiness and a simplicity. It’s easy to make your way as middle of the road indie band these days, but this band, while not being particularly out there and groundbreaking, have the ability to portray serious emotion, in a catchy and generally uplifting way.
While the airwaves are crammed full of Cheryl Coles and other generically rubbish acts, I Dream in Colour again with ‘London’ have produced something refreshingly real, showing real craft and vision and exceptional thought.
It’s a real treat to listen to, I recommend you do.
I Dream in Colour’s next single ‘London’ will be released on the 21st of May. The band will appear at the Alternative Escape in Brighton this Friday (11 May) at 14.00 at LIFE, then at Liverpool Sound City on Thursday (17 May) at Zanzibar Club at 21.00. They are also on tour this month starting next Monday at Sheffield Soyo; all the details are here.
By Mary Chang
on Wednesday, 9th May 2012 at 11:00 am
‘You Are the Quarry’ had been called Morrissey‘s comeback album in May 2004 after the much-maligned ‘Maladjusted’ released in 1997. Things were looking good for the Mozzer; the album was his highest charting album ever in America. Fast forward a couple months and I’m flipping through cable channels to find something interesting to watch and I hear a couple bars of something familiar. I look more closely at the television. It’s the new MTV teen reality show Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County, and during what I’m guessing was supposed to be a tender moment, what do I hear in the background but ‘First of the Gang to Die’.
Sadly, I don’t have a YouTube video to go along with this; the video above is taken from the film for Who Put the M in Manchester?, filmed live at the MEN in 2004 (I’ve played my DVD of this so many times, my DVD skips, I think I broke it). But in my research for this piece, I also learned it was used in an episode of Date My Mom, such that a boy and the coed his mother chose as his date can disappear into the sunset. By limo. We have no way of knowing if Steven Patrick Morrissey himself approved the usage of this song, but it’s hard to believe he would allow the song, about a kid in a Latino gang who becomes a martyr by being the first in his group of friends to die, to be used in either context. While it is a pop song, it’s not really a song about sunny days and going out on dates.
It seems not surprising that the E4 reality drama Made in Chelsea, essentially the UK’s answer to Laguna Beach with well-heeled rich kids from a posh area of London, also uses current ‘hot’ songs in their shows. I won’t list every artist, but a quick glance at the tracklisting for the first episode of the first series for Made in Chelsea lists tunes form some pretty impressive stars that we’ve written about before: Adele, Dragonette, Morning Parade, Muse, the Script, Tinie Tempah (erroneously credited as ‘Tinie T’) and Two Door Cinema Club (twice!). Either the producers have been reading up on the music blogosphere or consulting with people in the know on ‘what’s hot’ (more likely the latter).
That said, what role – or what rights – do artists have in permitting (or not permitting) the use of their songs on television. The use of Noz’s ‘First of the Gang to Die’ and the Made in Chelsea soundtracks came into my mind when I read that Australian singer/songwriter Gotye, recent Saturday Night Live performer and pretty much world pop sensation, was complaining that his mega hit ‘Somebody That I Used to Know’ was no longer his. Specifically, this had to do with its usage in the American pop tv sensation Glee. You know, that show where famous songs are redone by teen actors and generally speaking, the original versions of the song gain quite a lot of publicity, while the young people of the world get confused about music history. Goyte’s quandary? “I wasn’t sure whether something so mainstream was right for my music and whether it reflected on my music in my bad way. But I think I realised that the song’s so popular, it’s kind of out of my hands, so when something like Glee comes along, why would I say no?”
The man subsequently whinged on the success of the song, saying, “sometimes I feel like I’m a bit sick of it. My inbox, on any given day, has at least five covers or parodies or remixes of it and there’s only so many times you can listen to the one song.” I don’t know about you, but I can’t even begin to count on both hands how many bands I’ve met over the last 3 years that would love to be a similar position of ‘discomfort’. I guess success – and the happiness you get from success – is a fickle thing; maybe when you have it and realise it’s not so great, you want to bash it and everything that comes with it. Careful though: Goyte had to give his permission to the producers of Glee to use ‘Somebody That I Used to Know’ in one of their episodes. He could have easily put the kibosh on the matter entirely by blocking its use on the popular American tv show; there are probably others, but most notably Kings of Leon and Foo Fighters have refused the Fox tv programme permission. Dave Grohl’s response to the invitation: “It’s every band’s right, you shouldn’t have to do fucking Glee. And then the guy who created Glee is so offended that we’re not, like, begging to be on his f**king show… f**k that guy for thinking anybody and everybody should want to do Glee.”
While I agree with Grohl on this – I personally can’t stand the show and how it repurposes already great music, only to redo them in charmless, overblown, unworthy imitations – there seems to be no right or wrong answer for an artist or band considering allowing commercial use of their songs. Some bands still and will always feel that allowing such permission debases the artistic value of their hard work and inspiration. However, maybe the gold standard yet groan worthy rule of PR applies here: “there is no such thing as bad publicity.” As much as Goyte might complain that the song he wrote no longer belongs to him, ‘Somebody That I Used to Know’ is still #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for the third week running. Suffering for one’s art? Maybe not so much.
By Mary Chang
on Tuesday, 28th February 2012 at 9:00 am
Gaining momentum from a sold out show at London Cargo 2 weeks ago, Essex’s I Dream in Colour have announced details of an upcoming UK tour for May. Tickets are on sale now. They’ll be celebrating the release of their next single in London, rather appropriately with the name ‘London’, on the 20th of May at the Borderline.
Monday 14th May 2012 – Sheffield Soyo
Tuesday 15th May 2012 – Newcastle Cumberland Arms
Wednesday 16th May 2012 – Glasgow Berkley Suite
Saturday 19th May 2012 – London Borderline (single launch party)
Monday 21st May 2012 – Nottingham Red Room
Tuesday 22nd May 2012 – Leicester Firebug
Wednesday 23rd May 2012 – Bristol Thekla
Thursday 24th May 2012 – St. Albans Horn
Friday 25th May 2012 – Cambridge Corner House