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Live at Leeds 2015: Chris’ Roundup

 
By on Friday, 5th June 2015 at 2:00 pm
 

Many a student night in Leeds has started at the University’s various music bars, and Live at Leeds 2015 was no different. The one key difference was that the action kicked off at midday. A trip to Mine saw Tibet, a young contingent from Wales with a ’60s sound and punchy guitars, take the stage. The Cardiff band have gathered support from Huw Stephens recently, and shows with Misty Miller are also helping raise their profile. They induced a vibrant punk sound to a crowd of 60 or so. ‘She Don’t Know’ takes influences from The Kinks, with attacking drums and an upbeat chorus, and it holds their set together. The blissed out B-side ‘My Girl’ has a mature sound, with building slacker rock and brooding harmonies. All in all, they deliver a cohesive and bouncy set and given their catalogue remains so small right now, that’s a feat.

Across town at Oporto we catch LIVES, a Liverpudlian contingent who have kept a quiet online presence so far. Sheltering from the drizzle outside, Oporto is almost shoulder to shoulder, and the quintet deliver a promising show of indie. “While you were waiting, use your imagination.” calls vocalist Jamie on ‘White Lies’ (streaming below), which is one of the few songs the quintet have actually released online. For the past year, it really has been a case of using your imagination, as we’ve waited eagerly to hear more. Since their breakout track though, they have been writing hard, and there are some exciting tracks played today. Sweeping indie riffs and rocky choruses course through the energy of this band, as they do on ‘Short Memory’, and despite the bright bursts of energy, frontman Jamie remains firmly in control. He makes it look so effortless that you almost forget he’s there during the thrashing peaks, before he throws himself towards the crowd and looks back to the stage as he takes in the hard-hitting soundscape his bandmates produce.

We pay a trip to The Key Club next, as things get heavier with a set from Get Inuit. Recently signed to Alcopop! Records, the Kent four piece seem to find the label “dirty pop” following them around almost inevitably, and it all makes sense in a live setting. They come across brutish, with psych riffs shooting through their set rapidly, as Jamie Glass leads the four-piece through their recently released EP. ‘Cutie Pie, I’m Bloated’ has a penchant for supersonic hooks and gutsy cries from Glass, as they jump across the stage. If there wasn’t a barrier, then they would probably have jumped off it. The crowd gives a warm reception nonetheless, as ‘I Would’ slams into lofty instrumentals and ‘Dress of Bubblewrap’ offers another nod to their fuzz-pop panache, which should see its way onto a debut album before 2015 is out.

Up the road at Leeds Uni’s Beckett campus, Port Isla arrive slightly later than planned due to tech problems. The venue fills (and punters rapidly begin to get impatient) almost as quickly as the Suffolk band’s rise since opening for George Ezra and playing a host of festivals in the past year. ‘In The Long Run’ is where their set begins, with joyful harmonies and an upbeat melody. Ever the showman, Will Bloomfield quickly apologises for the delay…”we were doing our hair” he explains cheekily. With their original set list out the window, they fire off a volley of incredibly well written folk pop that includes ‘Volcano’. No sign of their equally upbeat numbers like ‘Steamroller’ or ‘Sinking Ship’, however they are energetic and heartfelt all at the same time, as Bloomfield leads the band as though he’s been a frontman for years. He’s engaging to watch and witty too, not to mention his talents across guitars and keys, particularly as he charms on a song which he explains is about the band’s native Suffolk. The show is slick, and the songs keep getting better as the instrumentation continues to come together and now has added synth treats.

From stadium sized folk pop to indie rock, a return to Mine sees Dundee’s finest Model Aeroplanes pull out all the stops. Rory Fleming (vocals and guitar), Grant Irvine (guitar), Ben Buist (bass) and Kieran Moyles (drums) are undoubtedly on their way to some big things. As on of the tightest bands playing in this overcrowded genre, they make sure you remember them with a bevvy of infectious tracks, and this set includes new single ‘Drunk in the Pool’. They’re in danger of being renamed the ‘single-slayers’ given their canny knack for exuberant melodies, as Irving and Buist provide jagged guitar thrills on ‘Club Low’ and Fleming adds lyrics and persona that other young bands spend years trying to find. This band click so well on stage that they make it look like every show they play is the only show that matters, and from ‘Innocent Love’ to ‘Crazy’, the fun they have on stage quickly rubs off on the crowd.

Leeds’ reputation for live music would struggle without the community-owned Brudenell Social Club, which is where Bloody Knees take to the stage next. The trio from Cambridge produce the most spirited performance of the festival, as their garage punk roars into life with the seismic likes of ‘Stitches’. “And I’m covered in blood, but at least I’m having fun” yells vocalist Bradley Griffiths as the Brudenell comes to life with a circle pit.

Their energetic performance goes on to include a bloody moment no less, as the band’s close fans show reckless abandon to the slew of burly riffs, one reveller in the pit ending up with a bloody nose. The party continues until The Magic Gang bring a little more peace at first, the slow jam guitars of new single ‘Alright’ restoring some kind of normality. By the time their set launches into the JAWS-esque guitar lines of ‘No Fun’ however, bodies are flailing around the room again. There’s plenty of crowd-surfing from this loyal 50 or so fans who are present, with bodies tossed in the air triumphantly, before ‘She Won’t Ghost’ wraps things up. The Brudenell may have had one of the smallest crowds of the day, but it’s also clear this was the wildest crowd Leeds had to offer, clearly a sign of these fledgling band’s having some of the most passionate fans going.

Back in the city centre, Laura Doggett takes to the stage as part of the Communion-curated line-up at Holy Trinity Church. The West Country songsmith delivers a stunning performance, with spiralling vocals and an angelic soundscape of keys and percussion. Her breakout tracks ‘Phoenix’, ‘Old Faces’ and ‘Moonshine’ exemplify her graceful delivery; however, through the angelic twists of her songs, it all feels a little bit too well staged. There have been comparisons to the likes of Florence Welch sonically, but she remains rooted to the spot with only subtle hand gestures to inspire her performance. She proves stunning nonetheless, and more live exposure will hopefully see her sets become more vivid and expressive in the future.

Closing at Holy Trinity is Lucy Rose (pictured at top), on the path towards her second album, the follow up to ‘Like I Used To’, due out this July. Plagued by technical problems, she takes to the stage repeatedly to apologise for the delay, and some 45 minutes late appears acoustically and taking song requests from the audience. Humbled by the support of her patient fans, her acoustic renditions of ‘Shiver’ and ‘Night Bus’ were one of the most priceless ways she could repay them.

Despite being itching to show off her new material, she reluctantly succumbs to performing with a more stripped-back sound, until her band spring to life on ‘Bikes’ as the keys kick in and all technical problems are resolved. In an instant, the crowd grows delighted, whooping and hollering as Lucy and her band beam at the turn of events.

Taking to her electric guitar with defiance, she treats us all to her newest material that oozes of progression. There’s a marked development from the somewhat stripped back, even cagey stories of her debut, with the likes of ‘Our Eyes’ carrying a distinct set of bass lines and reverberating synthesis. “Wait, we are not fine, wait you are not mine…” she says with a grit that would have been out of the ordinary on her softer, folk tinged debut. This confident output makes for a striking arrangement of her other new tracks too; ‘Like An Arrow’ has the kind of resplendent, upbeat harmony she’s renowned for, but just carries an assertiveness that’s been missing in the past. ‘Until The End’ is another new track that has some punch to it, whilst she also performs ‘I Tried’, with a more left-field electronica influenced sound.

It’s a preview of an even more promising next step from Lucy and her band, and amidst the problems of this evening, the new tracks are well received. Seeing her perform in an intimate venue or church environment has been a must in the past, for the song writer who honed her craft at open mic nights. If her evolving sound and flourishing live show tonight is anything to go by though, she’ll be playing far bigger venues before the year is out and still captivating every member of the audience…

 

Live at Leeds 2015: Editor Mary’s Roundup (Part 2)

 
By on Thursday, 7th May 2015 at 2:00 pm
 

Part 1 of my Live at Leeds coverage is this way. For more of my photos from the event, check out my Flickr.

After the highs achieved and all before the 5 o’clock hour at Live at Leeds 2015, I suppose it was inevitable that there would be some kind of letdown ahead. Any music writer will try and map out a reasonable festival schedule that doesn’t have you running yourself ragged, but that too is an inevitable part of the festival experience for us, whether we’re in Austin, New York, Sydney, Liverpool or Brighton. However, the one thing you can never really plan for technical difficulties or cancellations.

There was no mention at all on her Facebook page – and the complete lack of a Twitter account didn’t help either; take note, bands: your fans really do want to know if you’ve decided to pull out of a major event – so it was with much disappointment to learn at the press area Saturday morning that Lonelady, the only show I had pencilled in at the Belgrave Music Hall and the main electronic draw for me all day, had been replaced by someone else. I will say that the sting was slightly taken off by the Patty Smith’s Dirty Burgers Chris and I had eaten there for lunch, as they were without a doubt some of the most delicious burgers I’ve ever had.

In my mind, it was to be left to Worcestershire’s astronomyy to pick up Lonelady’s slack and bring out the beats. I will say first that I have no idea about all the specs and details it takes to run a music venue, but the HiFi on Central Road certainly upset a whole lot of people Saturday in Leeds. What should have been a huge celebration of all things electro and soul in their basement venue turned into a massive problem, which I should have guessed when I ran from the Academy down to the club and astronomy hadn’t even started performing yet. After waiting probably an additional half hour after his appointed starting time, venue staff announced astronomyy would not be going on at all. Boos and jeering began and sadly, it would not be the last of such at the HiFi.

I used the downtime to visit with my Wakefield friend Matt Abbott, a friend of mine who formerly made a name for himself in music as the wordsmith behind Skint and Demoralised, is now a spoken word artist, performing as part of A Firm of Poets, who were at the featured lineup at the Black Swan, part of the Fringe portion of Live at Leeds. I mention the Fringe, as even if you’re skint (no pun intended) or don’t fancy paying for a wristband to Live at Leeds proper, there is still plenty on in town during the weekend that’s free and open to the public if you fancy it.

After we said our goodbyes, I thought it would be a good idea for me to head up to A Nation of Shopkeepers to see what the fuss was about BAD//DREEMS. I have pretty bad claustrophobia – I famously requested my biology midterm exam seat assignment in a university lecture hall be changed one semester, as I had been given a desk directly next to a wall – so this turned out to not be ideal for me at all; the place was packed, which was great, but after I had successfully passed the event bouncer who let me into the place, I found myself pinned in from all sides from people either trying to get drinks from the bar or those who refused to be kind and to make way for anyone else.

I suppose it’s your right to be territorial if you’ve gotten to a venue early and wish to stay, but some people were getting very tetchy and unhappy and it got to the point where I felt like I was going to faint and I had to leave. I did hear BAD//DREEMS’ music through a window outside and I very much enjoyed the guitar rock I did hear. If anything, the crammed in like sardines atmosphere suggests that the people of Leeds were very keen on seeing and hearing the Aussie band play, which is really fantastic for a band so far away from home. They’ll be in Sheffield tonight (the 7th of May) at the Rocking Chair, and I hope I get out of the airport quick enough to see them.

A return to the HiFi to see electro soul duo Honne and their full band setup including a bass player, drummer and a backing singer was worth the wait. However, because of the delays introduced by the astronomyy set that never materialised, the entire day’s lineup was delayed, causing some already drunk by then Yorkshire youths to start acting up, shouting insults in Honne’s direction. I feared a riot , which wouldn’t have been great since the HiFi space is in a basement, so you’ve really got nowhere to run.

Thankfully, they were able to get their act together (literally) and played a truncated yet satisfying set, including the Hype Machine favourite ‘Warm on a Cold Night’, which I imagine will be the song all of their fans will request for years to come. The equally soulful ‘All in the Value’ was another set highlight. Seek out their just released this week EP ‘Coastal Love’ on their own Tatemae Recordings.

As I was stood down the front for Honne, I couldn’t help but fret that I really should have left in the middle of their set to get to Leeds Town Hall for Dutch Uncles, who released their third album ‘O Shudder’ in February. If I’m entirely honest, I was hoping for an appearance of Muncan alongside frontman Duncan Wallis for the track ‘Decided Knowledge’. While I was fretting, I was scanning Twitter to see if there was any point to head there, figuring that the Cribs’ appearance later in the evening likely meant there’d be a massive queue for the hometown boys. Someone had posted a photo of the queue already forming hours ahead of the Cribs’ set, so I skipped them in favour of food, which is a necessary part of festival life, even if you have to force yourself to eat!

Trudging back up to A Nation of Shopkeepers, I arrived at the venue in the middle of a set by all-girl group Jagaara from North London. Punters were gushing over their music, which doesn’t sound all that unique to me: guitars, electronics, female voices, this is well-trod upon ground, folks. I guess I’ll have to investigate them more to form an educated opinion.

I was really at Shopkeepers for Boxed In, whose appearance at Blackjack London and AIM’s Friday night showcase at SXSW 2015 was super fun. I, along with Boxed In mastermind Oli Bayston, were about to be bowled over by the reception in Leeds. I spoke to several people in the audience prior to their set and they all said they had Boxed In’s debut album released last year and couldn’t wait to see the band perform. (Bayston and co. weren’t supposed to be my last band of Live at Leeds; I had intended to stay for the last band Real Lies. But due to technical difficulties at the venue and nearly an hour of waiting after Boxed In, getting my ears pummeled by squeals from the speakers that weren’t supposed to happen and no actual music, I called it a night.)

Running just a mere 5 minutes behind schedule, as soon as Bayston played his first keyboard note, the crowd turned the place into a vibrant dance party. The irrepressible rhythm of ‘Foot of the Hill’ encouraged the ladies to my right to do the dance equivalent of Peter Crouch’s robot moves, arms and legs flailing; ‘Mystery’, the Boxed In radio hit everyone was waiting for caused everyone to shake their tail feather.

As someone who spends a good part of her time trying to promote dance music as a fellow fan, to be able to witness such a spectacle and with so many people enjoying themselves watching a electropop act was equal parts validating and exciting. Fantastic. What a wonderful way to end my first Live at Leeds experience. Fingers crossed I will return next year!

 

Live at Leeds 2015: Editor Mary’s Roundup (Part 1)

 
By on Wednesday, 6th May 2015 at 2:00 pm
 

For more of my photos from Live at Leeds 2015, visit my Flickr.

It’s always a bit daunting to come to a brand new city and hit the ground running at a music festival you’ve heard about for years and have only heard the highest praise for it. Such was my personal trepidation ahead of Live at Leeds 2015, the 9th annual installment of an event where artists descend on the West Yorkshire town, drawn in like moths to a flame.

I’ve no idea how anyone ever did this festival prior to the advent of the smartphone. It seemed by the time I finally sussed the lay of the land and knew where all the venues were, it was all over. In between 11 AM of picking up our press credentials at the First Direct Arena until midnight, the 13 hours were packed with bands; running around to see said bands; catching up with friends, many of whom were in some of those said bands, but others who were new mates; and familiarising myself and falling in love with nearly every venue I had the pleasure of stepping into. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their kindness, hospitality, good food, and of course the amazing music that makes an event like this so worthwhile, ensuring my first Live at Leeds experience was a good one.

Despite the intention I set for myself at every festival – “Don’t get lost!” – construction and obstructed signage at the Leeds Coach Station turned me around and made me late for Longfellow performing at the Wardrobe on the east side of the city centre. The group from London recently released the new EP ‘Remedy’ on Fierce Panda Records (read my review of it here) and were eager to perform in front of their first-ever audience in Leeds. Ever the testament to the city as supportive to the British music scene, the 1 PM gig was well attended. Good on you, Leeds!

I arrived just in time for EP standout ‘Where I Belong’, showing their knack for anthemic songwriting. Their set also included BBC 6 Music stalwart ‘Kiss – Hug – Makeup’, another EP number ‘Chokehold’ and what frontman Owen Lloyd calls “their birthday song” they bring out for celebrations, ‘May the Light’, which appears on their 2014 mini-album ‘Prelude’. Longfellow’s set ended on a high note with live fan favourite ‘Medic’.

Staying put at the Wardrobe, I got a full dose of Racing Glaciers. I have to admit in recent years, I’ve had a jaded eye for any band that has a synthesiser set up centre stage; I’m half expecting a couple of plinky-plonky notes being dropped not for any good reason but just because it’s required these days. Seeing that they appeared directly after Longfellow and also have a keyboard player, logic would dictate that the sound system would make Racing Glaciers’ anthemic style I sussed from them on record translate to something similar sounding to the Londoners who played before them. Instead, the massive loudness and brashness from the band from Macclesfield, including, dare I say it some funky bass notes live, suggest to me that they’re a band who should not be so easily pigeon-holed. Their self-titled and ‘Don’t Wait for Me’ EPs certainly deserve further attention.

After a brief catch-up on the way with TGTF friends The Orielles who had just finished their own gig at Leeds Beckett Stage 2, I was on to my third band of the day. I had a general idea that I would be trekking north and upwards towards the Mine in the Leeds Uni Student Union, but I had no idea the labyrinthine path Google Maps had laid out for me would take me up steps of Rocky-isian proportions. But if there’s anything that will inspire me to get somewhere and quickly, it’s a band.

Half out of breath by the time I reached Leeds Uni, I arrived just in time for the final soundchecking by Oxford indie pop band Pixel Fix, whose ‘Running Thin’ EP of summer 2014 was one of my favourites from last year. They have that poppy, bouncy synth thing going that’s not quite as dancey as Friendly Fires but nearly there (see ‘Lungs’) and that’s where they shine; I’m not as convinced by the oozy, woozy, r&b jam attempts but hey, that’s what sells on Radio 1. What is entirely evident is the undeniable energy that can only radiate from youth, with frontman Marcus Yates definitely looking the part with his spiky blonde hair. With the right kind of promotion, Pixel Fix are the kind of band you expect playing to a crowd of screaming teenagers in a venue near you. Soon.

Despite my prior impression that the place would only be filled with hipster uni kids bopping their heads side to side to the beat, there were plenty of adults too, many of them chatting with each other and saying how good this band was and how quickly they expected them to “make it”. This isn’t a common occurrence from where I come from, so I base on these overheard conversations that the older generation of Leeds music fans has excellent taste and hopefully good prescience!

What goes up must come down, yes? Or so the saying goes. Once I figured out how to get to and up to Leeds Uni, it was reasonably quick work to get back into the city centre. In my rush to not be late to my next band appointment, rushing through the corridors of Leeds Student Union, I nearly collided headfirst into Tom Ogden (you can’t miss him with that gorgeous, flowing Pantene hair of his) and the rest of Stockport psych band Blossoms, who were checking out bands before their set at the Stylus later that day.

Following a quick hello and a run back into town, I was at the Academy, whose front door oddly shares frontage space with pretty amazing Gothic architecture (the whole thing is a Grade II listed building). As much as I adore Oxford’s Stornoway, Leeds Academy has a capacity of 2,300 in the main space, and I had a hard time believing their folk pop sound would translate well into such a cavernous location.

Boy, was I wrong. As I am sat here typing this up while on holiday in Ireland, it occurred to me yesterday while seeing a larger than life mural of U2 on the side of a building in Temple Bar that Bono has nothing on Brian Briggs at this point. I enjoyed a good portion of their third and latest album ‘Bonxie’ that was released a short time ago on Cooking Vinyl, but I found the collection uneven and hoped against hope that the new tracks would sound amazing live.

At least I was right on the mark with that prediction! My feeling is they had such a good time working with an outside producer for the first time, it freed them as both musicians and people, and it gave them just the right encouragement to step outside their comfort zone that perhaps they might not have felt without working with Gil Norton. Straight out of the gate, frontman Briggs seemed much more at ease speaking to a throng of people than I have seen him ever, which was incredibly good timing, seeing that a massive crowd had assembled at the Academy to see his band play.

Their opening salvo ‘Between the Saltmarsh and the Sea’, smartly continuing the Stornoway tradition of artfully arranged harmonies, was simply and devastatingly beautiful, its expansiveness reaching into every nook and cranny of the Academy and certainly into each and every heart present in the venue, and album single ‘The Road You Didn’t Take’ followed suit. The uplifting nature of both ‘Get Low’ and ‘Lost Youth’ can’t be beat, and in a surprising turn of events, a rousing, folk-ified cover version of Yazz’s ‘The Only Way is Up’ had fangirls and fanboys of all ages singing along – loudly, I might add – to the Oxfordians. Nods to their early years with 2010’s ‘Beachcomber’s Windowsill’ were also included, including an unexpected but completely appreciated dedication to your humble editor on ‘I Saw You Blink’. All in all, it was a performance that you couldn’t ask for anything more from. Except more songs: calls for an encore went sadly unheeded.

Stay tuned for part 2 of my Live at Leeds 2015 review, which will post tomorrow here on TGTF.

 

(Live at Leeds and Great Escape 2015 flavoured!) MP3 of the Day #878: Get Inuit

 
By on Monday, 27th April 2015 at 10:00 am
 

Kent indie / alt pop band Get Inuit are gearing up for some exciting times next month, as they’ll be making appearances at both Live at Leeds 2015 and the Great Escape 2015. Ahead of that, they – along with Huw Stephens last Wednesday night on his Radio 1 evening programme – unleashed onto the unsuspecting public their new single ‘Mean Heart’.

It’s an unrelenting stonker of a tune and they’re giving it away for free for a limited time in exchange for your email address. Have a watch and listen to the lyric video for ‘Mean Heart’ below and if you like it, grab it from their site.

They’ll be appearing at Live at Leeds on Saturday, the 2nd of May, at 3 PM at the Key Club, and at the Great Escape on Saturday, the 16th of May, at 1:45 at the Komedia Studio Bar as part of the Great Day Out showcase.

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(Live at Leeds 2015 flavoured!) Album Review: Stornoway – Bonxie

 
By on Thursday, 9th April 2015 at 12:00 pm
 

Stornoway Bonxie cover“Bonxie” is the Shetland term for the great skua, a migratory seabird described as a “powerful, intimidating and ruthless predator”. At first, I had trouble equating this bully of the natural world with Oxford band Stornoway, whose emotionally charged style of pop / folk is touching and anything but violent. But listening through the band’s third album named after this great bird, their first LP for new label Cooking Vinyl, you feel that it’s not so much about them wanting to ‘eat’ or destroy other bands (which, to be fair, wouldn’t be wrong, considering this is such a dog-eat-dog kind of industry) but instead more indicative of their ambition to be at the top of the heap.

The problem with ‘Bonxie’ as a collection is rooted with their exploring with different styles, with some efforts much more successful than others. This is probably the consequence of their decision to use an outside producer on a studio album for the first time. Gil Norton, mostly famous for working with much harder rock bands such as Foo Fighters and Pixies, was enlisted to work on this album and his work experience no doubt pushed the group beyond their comfort zone. His assistance was funded by the band’s PledgeMusic campaign that has proven so successful, at the time of this writing they’ve already earned well past 500% of their original funding goal.

One big reason why Stornoway are so beloved by their fans is that they’re such incredibly down to earth people and also quite self-deprecating. They can get away with writing a song like ‘Love Song of the Beta Male’: loaded with bright horns and sappy lyrics, it somehow comes across not as wimpy but entirely sweet (“don’t ask me to make you rich or even bring home the bacon / but I’ll cook for you when I’m here and when I’m out on the road / I’ll write sentimental songs about the way you make me feel inside”).

However, I can see where this geeky playfulness might peeve some listeners not familiar with the band’s back catalogue. For all of its handclaps and sprightly gaiety, ‘Lost Youth’ is a bit of a lightweight on record, though I’m sure live it’s a much better prospect. The driving rhythm of ‘When You’re Feeling Gentle’ is awfully catchy but you’re left wondering, is this the same band I was listening to 15 minutes ago? Or did I faff with one of the knobs and accidentally switch on an indie guitar band? Then there are the slower tracks – ‘Sing With Our Senses’, ‘We Were Giants’, ‘Heart of the Great Alone’ – that are certainly sweeping and majestic and deserve praise on their own for their instrumentation alone, but in the song line-up, they create a bottleneck of Laurel Canyon-era excess.

What succeeds best on ‘Bonxie’ are the tracks that take the group back to their roots, to the indie pop and folk gems off their 2010 4AD debut album ‘Beachcomber’s Windowsill’. The LP begins confidently with ‘Between the Saltmarsh and the Sea’, which draws comparisons between a lover and the forces of nature; one can’t help but see a connection in the song’s treatment and with ‘The Coldharbour Road’, and the result is strikingly beautiful. Stripped back with just voices and guitars, the four-part harmony laden ‘Josephine’ is another study in exquisiteness, the lyrical gist the result of cross-pollinating the tale of Rapunzel and hopeless, fatalistic romanticism.

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The first taster released to the wild in early January, ‘The Road You Didn’t Take’ is a stunner, taking frontman Brian Briggs’ philosophical cues from older song ‘The Bigger Picture’ (from 2013’s ‘Tales of Terra Firma’ LP) and fully embracing one of Briggs’ major goals on this record – “I wanted a shake up and I wanted to feel more connected to the outdoors – I wanted to feel small” – while channeling American poet Robert Frost. And the outdoors are never too far away when it comes to Stornoway’s music. The press sheet advertises that the calls of over 20 species of bird are featured on ‘Bonxie’, giving the album a unique whimsy. I mean, really, when was the last time you heard so many different birds on a pop record? Birds even feature prominently on the promo video for ‘Get Low’; the message of the song is optimistic, with the insistence that you should never give up your dreams or on love, and seeing the band, let by ornithology doctorate-holding Briggs in an open-top convertible, racing a gaggle of geese as they majestically circle and fly is a sight to behold. Sonically and lyrically, this is the height of ‘Bonxie’.

One thing this new LP from Stornoway definitely does not lack is variety. However, the schizophrenic nature of this mixed bag and its contrasting styles from song to song means this album won’t be for everyone.

7/10

‘Bonxie’, Oxford band Stornoway’s third album, is out Monday, the 13th of April, on Cooking Vinyl. Past coverage on Stornoway on TGTF is right this way. The band will begin a new UK tour on the 21st of April in Southampton; they will also perform at Live at Leeds 2015 on the 2nd of May at the Academy in Leeds at 4 PM. A making-of the album type video, narrated by Brian Briggs in their camper van while they were working on the album, is below.

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Live at Leeds 2015 Preview: Chris’ best band bets

 
By on Thursday, 2nd April 2015 at 12:00 pm
 

Please note: as with all of festival previews, the information we post here on TGTF on Live at Leeds is current at the time of posting, but we encourage you to check in at the Live at Leeds 2015 official Web site closer to the start of the event to confirm venues and set times. Wristbands for the festivities in Leeds on Saturday the 2nd of May are still available at the bargain price of £27.50. More information on where you can purchase your tickets in person or online is available here.

Under top secret cover earlier this week, TGTF were given the Live at Leeds 2015 band schedule before its official release this morning. We’ve had a read through of the massive schedule, and in this post, our newest contributor Chris Donnelly offers in this Live at Leeds 2015 preview his best band bets for the festival.

Ady Suleiman
Nottingham’s soulful songwriter Ady Suleiman has finally put out his first studio recordings in recent weeks, taken from his debut EP ‘This Is My EP’. His debut single ‘So Lost’ is a fusion of spoken word poeticisms and smooth R&B tempos, as the half English, half Tanzanian youngster delivers a sophisticated jazz swagger. A live appearance will showcase his impeccable harmonies and on stage charisma, as he looks ahead to a year where his song writing looks to finally gain the recognition it deserves.

Ady Suleiman performs at Holy Trinity Church at 3 PM.

Port Isla
Producing catchy folk-rock comes easier to Port Isla than most, with their recent EP ‘In The Long Run’ turning heads (and ears) across the UK. Vocalist Will Bloomfield and his bandmates have taken some Coldplay inspiration in writing electrifying songs with catchy choruses and expansive instrumentals. A tour with George Ezra has increased support for them, and their recent signing to Parlophone signals even greater things are to come since their debut ‘Sinking Ship’.

Port Isla perform at Leeds Met Stage 2 at 4 PM.

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Twin Wild
This indie rock four-piece have already supported You Me At Six, and hit the road with Nothing But Thieves earlier in the year. Their first year at Live At Leeds comes off the back of immense success with their breakthrough track ‘Fears’, which even AlunaGeorge reposted on their Soundcloud. It’s full of soaring, anthemic rock climaxes, whilst latest single ‘Another Stranger’ has an even sharper set of riffs at it’s core, both of which are set to make a frenzied set at The Key Club.

Twin Wild perform at The Key Club at 4 PM.

Osca
Not to be confused with any other Oscars at this year’s festival, these Londoners spurn ambient guitar-pop, with a wistful touch. Their debut EP ‘Blood’ is the perfect introduction to the four piece, as they introduce their prowess at mixing folky, Kodaline-style harmonies with brooding stadium rock, and well-crafted electronic production too.

Osca perform at Leeds College of Music at 4:30 PM.

The Mispers
This five-piece know how to put on a good show, having started their own ‘Missing Til Monday’ parties in the capital during their formation. Frontman Jack Balfour Scott and his bandmates have a riotous presence, backed with a set of killer folky, alt-rock inspired songs, such as ‘Brother’, ‘Dark Bits’ and ‘The Weekend’. Somewhere amongst their passionate live performance you’ll even discover them finding room for violin arrangements…..

The Mispers perform at Wardrobe at 5 PM.

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The Amazons
Hailing from Reading, this band are keeping their cards close to their chests, keeping a mysterious presence despite an intense industry furore to manage them. On ‘Something In The Water’ it all fits into place; “If I close my eyes, and I fall asleep, will I think about you?” come the gravely lyrics from their frontman, with some gripping Alt-J and Maccabees influences in the indie guitars and tropical synths that drive through their eddying choruses.

The Amazons perform at The Faversham at 6:30 PM.

Lauren Aquilina
Three EPs into her journey as a songwriter, Lauren Aquilina continues to astound at just 19. Currently working on her debut album, each release so far has shown a marked maturity and progression in her work, from the chart ready heartbreaker ‘Fools’, to the dramatic cinematic sound of ‘Lovers or Liars’. She’s capable of some spine tingling piano balladry, and coupled with impressive vocals, her legion of young fans isn’t going to stop growing anytime soon, from the UK’s teens to Taylor Swift….

Lauren Aquilina performs at Leeds College of Music at 9:45 PM.

Lucy Rose
Having seen Lucy Rose and her work their magic in a church setting 2 years ago, I simply can’t recommend this set enough. It’s a chance to catch her fresh from her first UK headline tour in over a year, and with some new material from her follow up to her 2012 debut ‘Like I Used To’. Expect an evening of spine-tingling acoustic numbers, with the perfect blend warming folk-pop feist too.

Lucy Rose performs at Holy Trinity Church at 10:15 PM.

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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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