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Northern Irish soul troubadour Foy Vance is allowing us a sneak peek at yet another track from his forthcoming second full length album ‘Joy of Nothing’.
‘Closed Hands, Full of Friends’ starts off with an insistent throb, filled in with resonant piano notes, it then builds up to the shattering release of “But I’m feeling alright!” Crafted with a perfect mix of strings, piano, and voice, oh my god that voice, it’s 4 minutes that was on a loop for me as soon as I heard it. With a rallying cry of “I will find my means to an end with an open-hearted home and closed hand full of friends”, you can feel the swelling of grandeur within the space between the notes. The song builds to a sudden end that provides instant closure, yet leaves me clawing for more. I simply cannot wait for this album later this month.
Vance is also offering his b-side ‘Dark Horse’ for free via Noistrade. Grab it, listen to it below, pre-order ‘Joy of Nothing’ and fall in love with this man. ‘Joy of Nothing’ will be available 26 August on Glassnote Records.
I’m sorry Miss Jackson, but I am in fact for real. Someone has gone and maliciously nicked the title of the song in your honour and turned it into a nu-emo call to arms. Apologies, Andre 3000.
Yes, Panic at the Disco are back, and with that inevitably the comparisons to their contemporaries Fall Out Boy follow. None more so than with their new single, ‘Miss Jackson’, but more on that later. Even after significant line-up changes since their debut ‘A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out’, Panic at the Disco are still led by the mischievous Brandon Urie, who when he isn’t busy having cascades of urine thrown at him, actually doubles as a pretty charismatic and charming young frontman.
‘Miss Jackson’ is still a departure from their earlier material, however, that can be expected with the Vegas boys shying away from calling people whores and the like in their past two records. This song though leaves me thinking; have they gone and done a Fall Out Boy, by releasing something a bit off the wall, but altogether very radio friendly, much like ‘My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark’. They’ve always shared a close affinity with the emo poster boys, and this song while having an inherent replayability is nothing that will have people remembering the glory days of PATD.
Instead, indifference and a relative sense of “oh, they’re still about” is all I felt with the arrival of ‘Miss Jackson’, and while the nostalgia that follows them is welcome, you won’t hear me squealing with joy at Panic’s return.
‘Miss Jackson’ is the first single from Panic at the Disco’s next album ‘Too Weird To Live, Too Rare To Die’, out this autumn.
My memories of Kings Of Leon vary from the grand spankingly brilliant, with me and my Dad driving round our island paradise of Guernsey, screeching at the top of our lungs, that we were CHARMERS, until our voices were as broken as a goat (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ggP2_5kPZts).
Then came the ominous cloud of ‘Only by the Night’, and the band that was OUR (and every other music critic) band, became every Tom, Dick and Harry’s band. They were thrust onto the Radio 1 A-list and you couldn’t go into a nightclub without hearing some garishly mixed ‘Sex on Fire’ megamix. KOL were no longer that cool band, adored by musos in the UK. They became a dirty word. Then came Reading 2009, a moment where I thought the Followills would cast off the shackles of stardom and flourish.
Instead, they pulled a naughty boy tantrum and stropped off, throwing their toys (and guitar, ouch) well out of the pram and into the onlooking crowd. The follow-up to their 2009 behemoth, ‘Come Around Sundown’ was as underwhelming as underwhelm-ment goes. Their attempt to return to the roots of their early success saw them drop to the dreary depths of a song about returning home, ‘Back Down South’. It smacked of desperation.
So imagine my joy when my ears were welcomed to the sound of a “supersoaker, red white and blew ‘em all away”. They ere back, they’re firing on all cylinders and there’s hope. Album ‘Mechanical Bull’ is set for release soon and in ‘Supersoaker’, they don’t have an automatic chart marauder, but instead they have returned to their routes, with a genuine sense of sincerity. It may not be the wanton disregard of ‘Four Kicks’, but it’s certainly a sign of brighter prospects for any Kings of Leon purists, who had long since abandoned the church of Followill.
The ‘Supersoaker’ single from Kings of Leon is out now; stream the song below. Their next album ‘Mechanical Bull’ is out on the 23rd of September.
The Vaccines have rejoined us, mid-July with new track ‘Melody Calling’, designed to tempt listeners away from bubbly summertime pop for some late summer heat. Easy to listen to, the foursome fills up the perfectly sized 3 minutes with simple, repeated lyrics and a tiny bit of trademark crunchy guitar. With a melody that is indeed catchy, the sound is a touch more grown up than the lad rock they are so well known for. Perhaps the change to big-time LA producers John Hill and Rich Costey has prompted this advance?
Although their last album ‘Come of Age’ arrived just 10 months ago, this is the title track from a new EP out in a couple week’s time, acting also as a summertime tease to whet our appetites for what’s to come and perhaps temper expectations from ardent fans. But if this new sound heralds a change for the Vaccines, I will be on board. I was not as big a fan of their previous ‘Post Break-Up Sex’-kind of songs. The music has more depth and sophistication to it despite the lackluster repetition in the lyrics. It could bode well for Justin Young and company. But I will reserve judgment until I hear more.
The ‘Melody Calling’ EP from the Vaccines will be out on the 12th of August. Stream the track in the Soundcloud widget below.
By Mary Chang
on Thursday, 25th April 2013 at 12:00 pm
Words by Jordy Fujiwara
It’s been more than three years since the album ‘Contra’ was released, so it’s understandable that Vampire Weekend would look to build some considerable hype for the upcoming ‘Modern Vampires of the City’ album, due out the 13th of May on XL Recordings.
In addition to a partnership with VEVO, YouTube, American Express and, serendipitously enough, actor Steve Buscemi, the band has circulated two very interesting songs online. ‘Diane Young’ and ‘Step’ were uploaded to YouTube on the same day, enjoying almost exactly the same amount of views to date – about 1.4 million each. Both tracks are excellent in their own right, but what I find the most intriguing is how they are such polar opposites in many respects. So much so that I can’t help but assume the boys chose to preview these two for a reason. The videos are down below, but let’s talk about them first.
‘Diane Young’ is a very punchy, driving song that dives right in and doesn’t really slow down. It’s loud and unapologetic with interjecting ‘Miserlou’-style riffs and a thrashy-crashy reverb-laden percussion. ‘Step’ on the other hand has patient pace. The keys and a calm bass lead the melody. The song feels like it unfurls musically, as the octaves build soothingly through Ezra Koenig’s passionate delivery.
Lyrically, I feel like ‘Diane Young’ is much more straightforward (well, for Vampire Weekend at least). The verses are nice, structured AABBs. The bridge and hook are simple and catchy (“baby baby baby!”); you can get into this song without having to really grasp the depth of the story itself. That said, it is interesting to interpret Diane Young as “dying young” and explore the hints in the words that speak to death and living in or for the moment.
‘Step’ takes a different approach. It is a very rich, lyrical song, chalk full of references, little allegories and clever phrasings like, “I just ignored all the details of a past life / stale conversation deserves but a butter knife”. The verses are much less structured than ‘Diane Young’, flowing more like poetry and relying on Koenig’s timing and meter to complement the music. Each line reads like a profound revelation, and you find yourself really trying to figure out what it might mean – for yourself, for life, for love… in other words this song makes you think. (If you want to really tear apart the lyrical meanings for either song, I suggest you head over to rapgenius.com and search for these tracks there – folks have put a lot of time and energy going through them both almost line by line.)
Finally, the videos. If the little analysis above doesn’t cement the idea that these two pieces aren’t just different, but almost diametrically opposed, then the videos will. ‘Diane Young’ is shot in rich colour – ‘Step’ is black and white. ‘Diane…’ barely cuts at all; it just recycles the same few seconds of slow-mo video; ‘Step’ cuts at practically every measure and is shot at regular speed. The video for ‘Diane Young’ is blatantly tied to the first line (“you torched a Saab like a pile of leaves”)’ ‘Step’s use of everyday scenes from New York is clearly not as overt, though the city is mentioned in the song and, of course, the band is from NYC. And glaringly, ‘Diane Young’ is not a lyrics video, where Step seems like it was almost built with karaoke in mind, which speaks to which song was felt to have more lyrical presence.
With all that in mind, have a look for yourself at the video below if you haven’t already. Can you spot any more differences? Together, they’re billed as a double A- single, and I think they make a lovely, complementary pair. If they represent two ends of the range of songs we’re to expect with ‘Modern Vampires of the City’, it’ll be a triumph of an album for these young and burgeoning artists.
Liam Gallagher’s post-Oasis band Beady Eye are back in the ring in 2013 with a pugilistic new single, ‘Flick of the Finger’. In his typically blunt and defiant fashion, Gallagher comes out swinging with the opening line, “woke up this morning / I was laid out flat on the dark side”.
As might be expected, the forward-charging rhythm section and the guitar melody give the song a definite Oasis-type sound. Unlike Oasis (with older brother Noel at the songwriting helm), the vocal melody here is stubbornly repetitive, with no proper chorus or bridge to break up the monotony. This combined with Liam Gallagher’s overly nasal singing and the strident brass in the instrumental arrangement creates an effect very much like fingernails on a chalkboard.
The song ends somewhat weirdly, with a spoken section referring to some vaguely imagined proletariat rebellion. This section contains the title reference, about government scientists creating weapons that “can, with the flick of a finger, tear a million of you to pieces”.
Never one to pull a punch, Gallagher has written a song full of swagger and braggadocio, but without any particular sting or power. His approach is somewhat heavier-handed here than on their debut album ‘Different Gear, Still Speeding’, which may be an indication of the musical direction Beady Eye intends to take in the future.
‘Flick of the Finger’ is the first preview of Beady Eye’s second studio album, currently operating under the working title of BE 06.2013. It is presumably due out in June.
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