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Live at Leeds 2018 Preview: editor Mary’s best band bets (part 1)

 
By on Monday, 30th April 2018 at 11:00 am
 

This year’s Live at Leeds 2018 best bets preview will be longer than past years because a lot of the acts (more than in past years, I reckon!) will also appear at Liverpool Sound City or The Great Escape, or both. As a result, I listened to ever band on the Live at Leeds schedule, then cross-referenced the lists so you, the music discoverer, can find them at another event if applicable. The Great Escape will take place in Brighton in 2 weeks’ time, and I am planning to post a Great Escape-specific best bets that will pick up anyone exemplary that I wouldn’t have written about here if they aren’t appearing in Leeds. Hope that all makes sense! If you’d like to read my previous, more general preview on Live at Leeds 2018, follow this link.

Please note: as we always recommend in all of TGTF’s festival previews, the information we post here on Live at Leeds 2018 is current at the time of posting. We strongly encourage you to check in at the Live at Leeds 2018 official Web site closer to the start of the event to confirm venues and set times. Wristbands for the event in Leeds this Saturday, the 5th of May are still available at the bargain price of £36 plus handling if purchased online; early bird and VIP tickets are now sold out. More information on where you can purchase your tickets in person or online is available here.

SXSW 2018 (or earlier) alums: Here’s a list of artists we either saw last month in Austin (or even in previous years) who we enjoyed AND/OR we previewed ahead of the festival -AND- will also be appearing at Live at Leeds this coming Saturday. For your convenience, I’ve listed them in order of appearance on the day so you can slot them into your growing schedule.

IDLES (12:00 PM, Wardrobe [Dr. Martens stage])
Superorganism (2:45 PM, Stylus [The Independent stage])
ONR (5:00 PM, Lending Room)
The RPMs (5:00 PM, A Nation of Shopkeepers [Too Many Blogs stage])
Dermot Kennedy (6:00 PM, Academy [Leeds Festival stage])
Sam Fender (6:15 PM, Stylus [The Independent stage])
Stella Donnelly (7:00 PM, Brudenell Social Club [DIY stage])
TOUTS (7:00 PM, A Nation of Shopkeepers [Too Many Blogs stage])
Fizzy Blood (7:15 PM, Key Club)
Spring King (7:15 PM, Leeds Beckett main stage)
Ten Tonnes (7:30 PM, Leeds Church, Dork stage)
Yak (8:30 PM, Wardrobe [Dr. Martens stage])
Blaenavon (8:45 PM, Stylus [The Independent stage])
Her’s (9:00 PM, Brudenell Social Club [DIY stage])
The Vaccines (9:00 PM, Academy [Leeds Festival stage])
Wildwood Kin (9:00 PM, Leeds International Spiegeltent)
The Xcerts (9:30 PM, Key Club)
Pale Waves (11:15 PM, Brudenell Social Club [DIY stage])

Apollo Junction (electropop; Leeds; 12:00 PM, Trinity stage)
This band from North Yorkshire have been knocking around for the last 6 years with their brand of electropop and somehow, I have only discovered them now. Precious little is available online about them but according to this article, they enjoy Yorkshire Tea and fat rascals at Betty’s, which wins them bonus points in my book. Check them out before an A&R stumbles on them and they get whisked off to bigger venues.

The Orielles (garage rock; Halifax; 12:00 PM, Holy Trinity Church, CLASH stage)
We’ve featured The Orielles over the last 5 years on TGTF, so you’re probably wondering why would I include them here. They released their debut album ‘Silver Dollar Moment’ in February on Heavenly Recordings, and the LP has received accolades, including from The Guardian (“this album is a masterclass in how to produce guitar music that feels anything but futile: by making it specific, strange and superior to much of what’s come before.”). We knew them before they was and now you can enjoy them as a special guest at Live at Leeds. NB: They will also be appearing at Liverpool Sound City later on Saturday at the District and The Great Escape in a fortnight’s time, performing twice on Thursday the 17th of May.

SHEAFS (rock; 1:00 PM, Hyde Park Social Club)
The River Sheaf flows through Sheffield, so I’d fathom a guess that this group of Sheffield Hallam University graduates named themselves after it. This is a band with that snotty punk attitude and muscular guitar rock to back it up. They’ve been selling out venues in the UK and across the Continent, and it seems this is merely the beginning for them. NB: They will be performing at The Great Escape Saturday night the 19th of May at Hope and Ruin.

Tors (folk; Devon; 1:00 PM, Chapel)
Changing gears to a more conventional singer/songwriter outfit, my ears happened upon Tors, a quartet from Devon who amIACre miles away from the region’s most famous musical export Muse. Equally adept at a cappella four-part harmony and sweeping, guitar-driven, folky soundscapes ala Fleet Foxes and Goldheart Assembly, they’re for those interested in a slower, yet richer musical experience. NB: Tors appear Friday night the 18th of May at St. Mary’s Church at The Great Escape.

The Snuts (rock; Whitburn, West Lothian; 2:15 PM, Key Club)
I imagine most bands from Scotland are asked if they are from Glasgow or Edinburgh. The Snuts are from Whitburn, West Lothian, smack dab in between the two. I reckon they must favour Glasgow, as they’ve named a song after it that’s already hit over 440,000 streams on Spotify. No wonder: they’ve got that feel good guitar rock vibe going that everyone loves. Well, most everyone, right?

Black Futures (rock / electronic; London; 3:15 PM, Key Club)
Love psych rock? Love electronic? Hate that the two genres are never together in one band? Fear no more. Black Futures from London are a duo that have somehow successfully melded the two, giving each its due. A band after my own heart. NB: Black Futures will appear at the Great Escape Thursday the 17th of May at Green Door Store.

Hollow Coves (folk; Brisbane, Australia; 4:00 PM, Leeds International Spiegeltent)
Folk duo Hollow Coves will be travelling quite a distance for Live at Leeds. They hail from the hometown of BIGSOUND, the picturesque Queensland port city of Brisbane. You can expect angelically beautiful harmonies from the acoustically inclined folk duo. NB: Hollow Coves will appear twice on Thursday the 17th of May at the Great Escape.

Knightstown (electronic; Brighton via Glasgow; 4:00 PM, Headrow House [NME stage])
In a previous life, Michael Aston was a freelance composer and the keyboardist in C Duncan’s live band. Over the last few years, he’s been making music of his own under the name Knightstown. Aston’s swirly, emotional falsetto vocals float over his electronic compositions, drawing him favourable comparisons to Jamie Woon. He’ll provide an atmospheric performance that will be in sharp contrast to most of the other performances in Leeds on Saturday. NB: He will perform Saturday the 19th of May at The Great Escape as part of the FatCat Records showcase.

The Indigo Project (indie rock; Leeds; 4:00 PM, Stylus [The Independent stage])
I always like a good local band getting the opportunity to showcase at the festival in their own hometown. The Indigo Project are also no strangers to Live at Leeds, having played the event last year. Jangly, bright guitar pop guaranteed to bring a smile to everyone’s face.

whenyoung (pop-punk; London via Limerick, Ireland; 4:00 PM, Brudenell Social Club [DIY stage])
Pop-punk may have been borne out of the Noughties, but it’s still alive and kicking. Female-fronted whenyoung, Irish transplants in the Capital, recall the peppiness of Avril Lavigne while sitting nicely alongside acts like Dream Wife and False Advertising. NB: whenyoung are scheduled to play at the Haunt on Thursday night the 17th of May at the Great Escape.

Lady Bird (punk; Kent; 4:15 PM, Key Club)
Slaves and Drenge got the party going on political punk a few years ago, and the UK has never looked back since. With IDLES and LIFE performing at back to back SXSWs the past 2 years, it seems likely that their buddies from the South East, Lady Bird, will get an invite to Austin soon enough. Signed to fellow Kent natives Slaves’ Girl Fight Records, their future in releasing the kind of informed punk they want is bright. NB: Lady Bird appear at the Great Escape twice on Friday the 18th of May.

Tremors (synthpop; UK/French band based in London; 4:30 PM, Brudenell Social Club Community Room [DIY Neu stage])
Tremors are two Englishmen and a Frenchman from Marseille who somehow came together with the notion that they were going to meld French electropop and New Wave and they were going to do it on their own. So far, they’ve only released a series of singles, including this year’s two heart-pumping tunes, ‘Technicolour’ and ‘Broken Glass’. As an unashamed fan of synthpop in all its guises, Tremors are a unique curiosity worth your time at Live at Leeds.

Stay tuned for the next part of this preview on Live at Leeds 2018. Hopefully tomorrow!

 

Preview: Live at Leeds 2018

 
By on Tuesday, 19th December 2017 at 11:00 am
 

While on my recent birthday trip to blighty, I visited Leeds and remembered with great fondness my first visit to the city. It was for the 2015 edition of Live at Leeds. Now that after 3 years Liverpool Sound City appears to be in perpetuity as a docklands-focussed event no longer centred on its lovely city, it falls to Live at Leeds to provide the sole Northern festival to celebrate its city’s many music venues.

Next year’s event will take place on Saturday, the 5th of May during the first bank holiday of the month. Here we are, having not even reached Christmas yet, and the event organisers have already announced a wonderful slew of tantalising artists scheduled to appear. Birmingham psych rockers Peace occupy real estate at the top of the event bill, alongside Liverpool’s Circa Waves. The Horrors, who returned this year with ‘V’ (reviewed by Steven here), are also scheduled to appear, as are British Sea Power and LAL 2016 alums Anteros, Blaenavon and Spring King.

Festivals are a great time for musicians to road test new material or continue a campaign in support of a new album. Nick J.D. Hodgson will sound familiar: formerly the drummer and primary songwriter of Kaiser Chiefs, he’ll be performing in his hometown prior to the release of his first solo album. FatCat Records signee KNIGHTSTOWN released his self-titled album this autumn and will no doubt be wowing audience with his atmospheric electronic sounds. Aussie surfer poppers Hockey Dad will be returning to blighty for this 1-day festival: they’ll be releasing a new album, ‘Blend Inn’, in February.

This is just a small smattering of artists who will be performing at this exciting event across Leeds city centre next year. Early bird admission tickets to Live at Leeds 2018 are now sold out, but general admission (£39.60) and VIP (£55.00) tickets are still available. For more information about Live at Leeds 2018, visit the event’s official Web site.

 

Video of the Moment #2223: Spring King

 
By on Tuesday, 15th November 2016 at 6:00 pm
 

2016 has been the year of Manchester garage band Spring King. In June, they released their debut album ‘Tell Me If You Like To’ on Transgressive Records; read Carrie’s review of the long player here. Following the release, the group spent much of their summer bouncing from festival to festival, including appearances at Reading 2016 and at LeeFest 2016, where frontman and drummer Tarek Musa chatted with our Steven.

And as if that all wasn’t enough, they’ve got a new music video out today. ‘City’, a firm fan favourite from their debut. Its life began as the very first track to be played by ex-BBC Radio 1 presenter Zane Lowe on Apple’s global radio station Beats 1 in 2015. If this new video looks familiar, it’s because the promo for ‘Detroit’ was also related to a dating game show. In the previous video, the nerd ‘won’ the girl and in this next chapter, they go on their fateful date. What about the post-date fallout? Watch it all unfold in the video below. For more on Spring King, go here.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cgwm9wrbL7Y[/youtube]

 

Reading 2016: Sunday Roundup

 
By on Tuesday, 6th September 2016 at 2:00 pm
 

As so we came to the final day of Reading Festival 2016. Where those who couldn’t quite cut it have left, and those that remain are ready to see the festival out as they started; with no inhibitions and a fantastic soundtrack.

Activities on the main stage Saturday gave a preview as to the heavy-fest that Sunday would be. Bar A$AP Rocky and The Vaccines, the lineup for the day could also have been found at the heavier British festival staple that is Download. The weather decided it didn’t feel like baring it’s sunnier disposition and instead graced us with its greyer, cloudier and wetter side. As pointed out yesterday though, this is where the British thrive, and thrive they did.

Albany, New York pop punkers State Champs opened up the main stage, bringing a brief respite from the dismal weather at Reading with their take on summer anthem genre. For a Sunday morning, the crowd were particularly excitable and offered back a sincere response. Following on from this spot of sunshine were The Virginmarys, a definite band to watch in the UK rock scene, with their brutal vocals, hard-hitting guitar lines and a savageness reminiscent of early punk. Though the crowd may have mildly dispersed post-State Champs, this didn’t stop the band from Macclesfield from delivering a completely brutal set worthy of a much higher billing.

Mancunians Spring King who have had quite the quick ascent to fame, which you can read about in our interview with drummer and singer Tarek Musa back here at LeeFest 2016 in late July, gave a performance to a completely packed out tent. Though the sudden downpour may have instigated this mass collective, the band made sure to capitalise upon it. The set brought fun and tunes in equal measure, with both band and fans having a Another band who had to deal with what the weather dealt them were Coheed and Cambria who were faultless, giving a ferocious performance all the while being on the main stage and open to the elements.

As the rain continued to slowly drizzled over the Reading festival site, the crowds gave up hiding from it, revelling in the weather. Back on the Radio 1/NME Stage, Deaf Havana used their set wisely as a promotional opportunity, announcing the name and release date of their upcoming album. Appearing on stage with only a white sheet across the back of the stage, as the set went on the words “All These Countless Nights” were painted in black, followed by “21.1.17”. The set was a special moment, secured it as one for the band’s history.

What was The Pit for the past 2 days had now reverted back to its original name The Lock Up for the final day. Beach Slang, the American punk band who are bringing back the old school ethos to the genre, completely dominated the tent. Their set was summed up well in the immortal words of frontman James Alex: “We are Beach Slang, and we’re here to punch you right in the heart!” The Lock Up stage continued with its earnest punk environment with Modern Baseball. Having released their third album ‘Holy Ghost’ back in May, they’re finally on our UK shores, giving their diehard fanbase a run-through of these new offerings. Even though A$AP Rocky was ruling the main stage and causing a surge in crowd flow, The Lock Up was still over capacity for the American four-piece. The excited audience simply did not stop moving until the final chord finished, and the speed at which crowd surfers ran from the security to pit and back into the throng was astounding. Another standout set from this year’s festival.

The evening was an anticipated delight from co-headliners Fall Out Boy and Biffy Clyro. As eight pm swung around, the skies were still cloudy but the atmosphere was as electric as ever. A sea of Fall Out Boy merchandise seen around the festival over the course of the weekend was a concrete measurement in exactly how big a draw band were, and for good reason. A show that featured non-stop fireworks, pyrotechnics, choreographed fire dancers and visuals, Fall Out Boy knew they had a massive opportunity, and they ran with it. Running through a majority set that consisted of songs from the last two albums plus a few golden treats, especially finale ‘Saturday’ from 2003’s ‘Take This to Your Grave’, Fall Out Boy certainly ensured that the ravenous crowd were delivered the set they yearned for.

Finally, it was time for the final headliners of the entire weekend at Richfield Avenue. Biffy Clyro were given the honour and duty of closing out this year’s edition, giving everything they had and fully delivering. With a stage show that reflected the precision and grandeur we’ve come to expect from the Scottish trio, it was a set that will surely be remembered in the festival’s history. From opener ‘Wolves of Winter’ to closer ‘Stinging Bell’ that featured a fireworks display, they somehow managed to dwarf the explosive affair that Fall Out Boy had previously.

Using a popular Scottish battle cry, halfway through the set singer Simon Neil roared out, “Mon The Reading!”, whipping the crowd into a frenzy. Biffy Clyro’s ascension through the ranks of musicdom has been made by leaps and strides, and this was the largest of them yet. A perfectly executed set that ran through a majority of newer material – plus the appearance of ’57’, a cut from 2002’s ‘Blackened Sky’ as a pleasant treat – the trio seized the moment and are now reaping the rewards. As the Reading crowd finally dispersed ar the end the festival for another year, the only question on everyone’s mind was, “how are they going to top this next year?” We’ll find out in 2017.

 

Video of the Moment #2176: Spring King

 
By on Monday, 5th September 2016 at 10:00 am
 

Oh dear. The new Spring King promo video for ‘Detroit’ should take you back some years. Chuck Woolery and Love Connection, anyone? For those of you who need a quick primer: three suitors are separated by a wall from a woman they (presumably) all want to go on a blind date with. The single appears on the Manchester band’s debut album ‘Tell Me If You Like To’, which was released back in June on Transgressive Records. Carrie reviewed it for us here at TGTF, and you can read her thoughts back here. For more of our coverage of Spring King here on TGTF, including Steven’s interview with drummer and band leader Tarek Musa at Leefest 2016, follow this link.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A0j76DSUwMA[/youtube]

 

LeeFest 2016 Interview: Tarek Musa of Spring King

 
By on Tuesday, 30th August 2016 at 11:00 am
 

In case you missed last year’s launch of Beats 1 Radio, Zane Lowe’s new home after leaving BBC Radio 1, he had the choice of the entirety of recorded music to kick off these new airwaves. The track he chose, Spring King‘s ‘City’, was not only a surprise to us early listeners, but it was also an unregistered shock to Tarek Musa, Spring King’s drummer and vocalist (pictured second from right in the photo at top). “I was in my boxer shorts playing drums and a journalist from London texted me saying congratulations. I was like, ‘What for?’ I didn’t know what he was on about and he just went, ‘Go online’. I instantly got it, and I couldn’t believe it, it was fucking insane.” As Musa remembers this moment that will surely never be forgotten in the Spring King story, you can still see the amazement and disbelief in this face.

Speaking to TGTF at LeeFest 2016 where the band played a triumphant set, Musa continues recalling this joyous memory. “I guess the Beats 1 thing was like a massive booster. Just before it we went to SXSW [2015] which was quite a big thing for us, and after that Courtney Barnett asked us to support her on her UK tour. The Beats 1 thing was the catalyst on top of the Courtney Barnett and SXSW pieces. It was so cool, that was one of the most crazy experiences of my life. It wasn’t like a PR thing or anything, we had no idea. I just got really drunk for 3 days to celebrate. It was fucking insane, those few days were filled with the idea of what could happen.”

The first change they found was probably the most obvious, as Musa explains. “I think what that did for us primarily was get us a bit of label attention. We had labels who were already interested but a lot of bigger labels sparked interest. More importantly, though, we had so many more people listening to ‘City’, and then listening to Spring King. So many young people commenting on YouTube being all ‘oh, I was brought here by Beats 1!’ etc., that was really insane. That was when our fanbase really began to grow, and that’s what it’s about, playing to loads of people.”

With all this newfound publicity and a fanbase that gained in numbers almost within the space of a 3 and a half minute track, the next obvious move was the debut album, though Musa says it wasn’t actually in the pipeline straight away. “We didn’t start writing the album ’til September because we just came off a tour and went straight into the studio but then went on tour with Slaves and Spector. We had 3 weeks to do the album in the month of September, it wasn’t really planned.”

Going further into this time period, Musa recalls enthusiastically, “I had all these demos and I was like, ‘We’re gonna record these in the studio’ and we had this massive plan of these songs, but when we got there, and we’d never been in a recording studio in our lives as Spring King, it was like, ‘Whoa, there’s a keyboard there and a couple of guitars there, let’s try them all out!’ and then all of a sudden we had all these new sounds. Then we started writing songs in the studio, so we went in with 15 songs we were adamant were going to be on the album and then we wrote 5 new ones while there. It was just such an inspiring place.”

The normal Spring King writing process had reached a bit of a impasse, which fortunately led to this studio time. “We write all our stuff normally in my house, an old lady used to live there in an annex, so we used to record everything there. We had this album planned and we had it planned in for like, late August, nearly set, and then my brother decided to move back in with his baby so we couldn’t record in the house. So we were like, ‘We need to get a studio but we can’t afford this’. Luckily at the same time, the PRS for Music Foundation emailed us and told us our application had been accepted for a grant. It was the perfect time.”

It can’t be denied that Spring King’s current success is a mixture of both hard work and sheer luck. From being the first broadcasted piece of music on a worldwide internet radio station to a funding grant for studio time, they always appear to land on their feet. Musa knows that they need to keep the traction going while it’s still here, over a year after the jettison into the mainstream. “I think the next steps for us is just touring more and thinking about album two. We’ll maybe drop that in about a year or so, but mainly just loads of touring. I think for us, people think ‘Oh, you are doing really well’, but when you’re in the van you don’t really feel that, you just go to shows and play. It might be to more and more people, but that’s all you think about.”

TGTF’s previous coverage of Spring King, including their aforementioned appearances at SXSW 2015 and a review of their debut album ‘Tell Me If You Like To’, is gathered right back here. Check out their new single ‘Detroit’ just below; they’ll be all over the place in the UK on tour in October.

[youtube]https://youtu.be/YD01EMtV-hw[/youtube]

 
 
 

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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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