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
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Single Review: Roo Panes – A Message to Myself

 
By on Monday, 13th November 2017 at 12:00 pm
 

Header photo by Sophie-Emma Rider

Dorset singer/songwriter Roo Panes has recently released his first taste of new music since his 2016 album ‘Paperweights’, in the form of a standalone single titled ‘A Message to Myself’. The new track takes a slight step away from Panes’ previous guitar-based songwriting style, which I had described as “earthy” and “organic”, and expands his sonic palette to encompass a more atmospheric, almost ephemeral quality.

‘A Message to Myself’ starts with an ethereal “ooo” over a simple piano accompaniment, before Panes’ deep yet effortless baritone enters. His lyrics are poetic in form and a bit obscure in meaning, but his self-directed message seems to be about finding clarity and peace in the solitude of his own mind, away from the influence of the outside world. “If I’d heard every word / or read every line upon the shelf”, he sings in the title lyric, “I’d still need a message to myself”.

Though it consists only of two verses and a simple refrain, the song spans over 5 minutes in length without ever losing its gentle but steady momentum. Produced by Bassi Fox of Mt. Wolf, the subtle instrumental details in the arrangement set an ambient, introspective tone as well as adding hints of texture and color to the overall soundscape. The falsetto vocal in the refrain will appeal to fans of Bon Iver singer Justin Vernon, and Panes uses his naturally melodic singing voice as a deftly integrated part of the instrumental texture in the song’s lengthy and delicately layered coda.

7.5/10

Roo Panes’ newest single ‘A Message to Myself’ is out now on CRC Music. Talented photographer Sophie-Emma Rider has published a series of photos of the equally talented and remarkably photogenic Roo Panes on her own Web site, which you can find by clicking here. TGTF’s previous coverage of Roo Panes, including a lovely interview from SXSW 2016, is collected through here.

 

Video of the Moment #2209: Roo Panes

 
By on Wednesday, 26th October 2016 at 6:00 pm
 

It’s been a pretty cool year for Roo Panes. The Wimborne-bred singer/songwriter released his second album ‘Paperweights’ on CRC Records back in March, just before he showcased at SXSW 2016. His latest music video is for ‘Lullaby Love’, a track taken from the album, and Panes has chosen an unusual way in this promo to deliver the music. Despite being sat in a canoe and rowing away, his attention is unwavering as he sings his song. While it’s certainly an unconventional way to deliver a lullaby, it’s beautiful, and you gotta give credit to the fellow for incredible creativity. Watch the video ‘Lullaby Love’ below. For more on Roo Panes on TGTF, follow this link.

 

SXSW 2016: more from the British Music Embassy, plus Roo Panes Wednesday afternoon (part 2) – 16th March 2016

 
By on Wednesday, 30th March 2016 at 4:00 pm
 

Catch up on part 1 of our Wednesday afternoon coverage of SXSW 2016 here.

Wednesday at SXSW 2016 was an unusual day for us in Austin, so let me (Mary) explain the reason for the tag-teaming on this post. Carrie and I headed to FLOODfest early to catch Everything Everything, and I hung around to interview their guitarist Alex Robertshaw after they played there, also managing to catch a bit of next act Haelos, but Carrie had already left to see the start of at the British Music Embassy. I turned up later to rejoin Carrie and cover the rest of the British Music Embassy showcase, as well as wait for some additional interviews, and she went off to meet Roo Panes south of the river for an interview of her own. Got all that? Good. Carrie’s contributions to this piece are marked below.

Switching gears from a seasoned pro in the business showing the youngsters how it’s done (Jane Weaver), the bill then turned to two much younger acts. Banners, aka Liverpool singer/songwriter Mike Nelson and band, was clearly the standout performance of the afternoon. The lanky Northerner brought swagger and energy into the British Music Embassy with his well-crafted pop melodies.

Banners British Music Embassy Wednesday SXSW 2016Single ‘Start a Riot’ caused hearts to swell with its gentle yet powerful message, while the driving tribal beats of and the singalong qualities of ‘Shine a Light’ were reminiscent of Bastille’s successful maiden SXSW appearance at the very same venue 3 years before. Both songs appear on Banners’ self-titled EP released in January, an admirable musical appetizer of pop hits ahead of his debut album that he told me in a chat after his performance will hopefully see the light of day this summer. Fingers crossed!

Blaenavon are an indie rock trio with ties to the town of Liss in Hampshire. Yet confusingly, their band name is identical to a Welsh town and World Heritage Site in southeastern Wales. While we didn’t get a chance to ask the Transgressive signees about this disconnect while they were in Austin, the “three boys with a story” have that air of mystery and intrigue mixed with darkness, which explains NME drawing comparisons between them and Wild Beasts and WU LYF. By 5 in the afternoon after my two interviews outside, the venue was packed out and I could not get back in. However, two girls stood at the doorway, singing along to every word to songs I assume appeared on the band’s 2013 ‘Koso’ EP, now imprinted forever in these girls’ brains.

Of what I did hear, I was sufficiently impressed with singer Ben Gregory’s guitar chops live, which I found an interesting contrast to his playing of an acoustic guitar as the band filmed ‘Dragon’ recently for Burberry Acoustic. One wonders if Gregory ever considered going in a direction more like their fellow Transgressive act and folk singer Johnny Flynn, as the deep timbre of their voices are similar. Food for thought.

Carrie: While Mary was busy at the British Music Embassy, I headed south across the Colorado River to the Hyatt Regency Austin to interview folk singer/songwriter Roo Panes. The rather dashing Mr. Panes and I had a nice chat on the hotel patio, which you can listen to right back here, even witnessing a riverboat show passing us by in the course of the conversation. We then headed inside to the lobby, where he played a charming solo acoustic showcase to a mellow but very attentive audience. I was glad to hear him mix in a few of his older songs with the ones I already knew from his recent album ‘Paperweights’, even including an off-the-cuff performance of a track from his 2012 EP ‘Once’ called ‘I’ll Move Mountains.’

Roo Panes at the Hyatt Regency Wednesday at SXSW 2016

Our busy Wednesday afternoon was punctuated by only a brief stop for dinner ahead of an equally action-packed Wednesday night schedule. Stay tuned to TGTF for more of our SXSW 2016 coverage in the coming days.

 

SXSW 2016 Interview: Roo Panes

 
By on Monday, 28th March 2016 at 11:00 am
 

Late on the Wednesday afternoon of SXSW 2016, I made my way south of downtown and across the Colorado River to the Hyatt Regency Austin to see an intimate acoustic show by singer/songwriter Roo Panes. Having never seen a gig in this venue before, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but when I walked into the hotel lobby, I was surprised to see the stage set up just inside the front doors, where casual passersby could enjoy a bit of live music alongside those of us there specifically for the show.

Ahead of his early evening performance in the lobby, I had the chance to sit outside on the hotel patio and talk with Panes about his new album ‘Paperweights’, which I reviewed just before my trip to Austin, right back here. Also in the interview streaming below, Panes touched on his first album ‘Little Giant’ and the continuously ongoing nature of his songwriting process.

Prior to the start of the interview, Panes and I chatted about his previous travels to the United States, which have included a trip to the Grand Canyon and a brief stay in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The subject of Grand Rapids would come up again near the end of Panes’ acoustic set inside the Hyatt Regency Austin lobby. He serenaded his small but attentive audience with new album tracks ‘Summer Thunder’ and ‘The Original’ before harkening back to a song from his 2012 debut EP ‘Once’, which was titled ‘I’ll Move Mountains’ and which Panes revealed was written while sitting outside on a patio during his time in Michigan. If you haven’t already heard it, you can take a listen to ‘I’ll Move Mountains’ in the video just below.

Thank you to Phoebe for helping us arrange this lovely interview.

TGTF’s collection of previous coverage on Roo Panes can be found by clicking here.

 

(SXSW 2016 flavoured!) Album Review: Roo Panes – Paperweights

 
By on Friday, 4th March 2016 at 12:00 pm
 

Roo Panes Paperweights coverWimborne-bred singer/songwriter Roo Panes cites his Dorset roots and his love of the nearby Lake District as key to his inspiration for new LP ‘Paperweights’. In the album’s press release, he speaks of “the peace, the silent solitude, [the] pastoral warmth . . . that couldn’t have manifested within urban limits”. His earthy, organic folk style will appeal to fans of Nick Mulvey, though Panes sticks to a more traditionally British, less globally-influenced track.

Panes keeps his songwriting fairly simple on ‘Paperweights’, allowing his lyrics and his rich velvety baritone voice to sustain the songs. Working with producer Rupert Coulson (Portishead, Robbie Williams, Oasis), Panes approached the album from a fairly minimalist viewpoint. “I’m a really big fan of the idea that you don’t need all the stuff you find in a big studio – it’s about how you use the things you do have,” he says. “Rupert had a lot of imagination, and got a good grasp of the room and harnessed it.”

Indeed, the larger themes on ‘Paperweights’ likely did require some harnessing. These are songs about heartache, forgiveness and eternal love, topics which on one hand could easily become trite, on the other potentially over-affected and pedantic. Panes strikes a fine balance between the head and the heart, with poetry and musical interpretations that appeal to both.

The album opens with the unassuming plucked guitar strains of ‘Stay With Me’, where Panes tenderly assures us in the chorus that “you’re right where you are supposed to be” ahead of delicately layered vocal lines in the song’s coda. In ‘Corner of My Eye’, he takes on the idea of unrequited love, making a well-worn idea newly eloquent in his delivery of the lyric “I’ve noticed that your star shines brightest / when seen out of the corner of my eye / and when I look at you, you vanish / maybe I’m just blinded by your light”. Bowed strings and subtle woodwinds sweep along behind the vocals, creating lush, intricate harmonies under the steady momentum of the guitar rhythm.

First single ‘The Original’, featured in our introductory Bands to Watch article on Roo Panes picks up the pace a bit more ahead of the slow-building ‘Lullaby Love’. Dramatic strings and brass gain intensity throughout the latter track, preventing it from becoming an actual lullaby as Panes sings “it’s your lullaby love that keeps me awake”. The song segues into title track ‘Paperweights’,whose nimble guitar rhythm mimics the trickle of water in a stream, giving context to the poetic idea “I’m afraid to float until you tell me you can swim.’

Panes’ falsetto shines in the chorus of ‘Water Over Fire’, mixing vivid emotion with elegant restraint. The song itself is bit deceptive on first listen, its sensual rhythm and passionate vocal delivery spicing up lyrics about unexpected forgiveness, as Panes explains in this interview with music magazine Relix. Continuing the album’s preoccupation with nature, ‘Summer Thunder’ paints its textual imagery (“summer thunder, come again / you’re hard to wish away / I just keep on driftin’ with your rain”) with a subtly shifting melodic rhythm and a restless brass descant.

The bass-heavy groove of ‘Where I Want to Go’ closes the album proper on an upbeat note, but astute listeners will notice a hidden track tacked onto the end of it. Older favourite song ‘Awoken’ is tucked away here like a secret treasure, carefully squirreled away for just the right moment. Its chorus lyric “I know I said tomorrow will be better than today / I guess I’m just beginning to learn the way” echoes through as if from a distance, leaving only the impression of Panes’ exquisite vocal delivery in its wake.

8/10

Roo Panes’ second album ‘Paperweights’ is out today and now available from CRC Records. Stay tuned to TGTF for a review of Panes’ upcoming SXSW 2016 appearance; our previous coverage of Roo Panes is back this way.

 

Roo Panes / March 2016 English Tour

 
By on Friday, 12th February 2016 at 9:00 am
 

As we mentioned yesterday in this (SXSW 2016 flavoured!) Bands to Watch feature to properly introduce him, Dorset singer/songwriter Roo Panes will play three live shows in England next month, just ahead of the release of his new LP ‘Paperweights’. The album is due out on the 4th of March via independent label CRC Music, and the official audio stream for its title track can be found just below the tour date listing.

Tickets for the following shows are available now. TGTF’s collected coverage of Roo Panes can be found here.

Tuesday 1st March 2016 – Manchester Band on the Wall
Wednesday 2nd March 2016 – Bristol Colston Hall
Thursday 3rd March 2016 – London Cadogan Hall

 
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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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