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(SXSW 2015 flavoured!) Album Stream: Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit

 
By on Monday, 16th March 2015 at 3:00 pm
 

So let’s say you’re a fancier of Melbournian Courtney Barnett‘s lo-fi slacker rock and you’ve been gutted for weeks knowing you couldn’t see her play in Austin this week as a showcasing artist at SXSW 2015. Fret no more, because today we’ve got something everyone, no matter where you are in the world at this moment, can enjoy. The lovely woman has just released today a full album stream of her upcoming debut album ‘Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit’, which sees its official release next Monday, the 23rd of March, on House Anxiety / Marathon Artists. Listen to the new LP a week early in full below.

All our past coverage on Ms. Barnett is right this way. One of her high profile appearances this week in Austin is Thursday night as part of the star-studded inaugural FLOODFest at Cedar Street Courtyard.

 

(SXSW 2015 flavoured!) Quickfire Questions #93: Jake Bonta of Bad Veins

 
By on Monday, 16th March 2015 at 1:00 pm
 

It’s this week, people! The music portion of SXSW 2015 officially kicks off tomorrow! Just as we did for SXSW 2014 last year, we’ll be running a special version of the TGTF Quickfire Questions, served up SXSW style with an extra couple of questions to get inside bands’ and artists’ heads so they’ll tell us what they really think of the event. We’re up to our fourteenth interviewee for this campaign, and this time round we’ve got drummer Jake Bonta of Cincinnati duo Bad Veins stepping up to the plate. It hadn’t occurred to me how important hockey is to the good people of Ohio (or perhaps the male population there) and Jake tells us of his fond memories of the sport, as well as the importance of a ’70s hard rock powerhouse to his musical background. Read on…

What are you most looking forward to doing while you’re in Austin?
Definitely the warmth. It’s been so ridiculously cold here in Southern Ohio for the past
few months, and we’re super ready to soak up the beautiful sunshine and eat some killer food.

Of the bands who have already been announced, do you have any that are must-sees
on your schedule? If yes, who are they and why?

I do actually. I’m really into hip-hop, and being a drummer I really dig the production behind the ‘beats’ and the amount of attention that they put into them. Anyways, here’s my list so far: Kevin Gates, Earl Sweatshirt, Rae Sremmurd, 2 Chainz, BØRNS, The Ting Tings, Best Coast, Royal Teeth, and I’m sure there will be more once we get there.

Name something you’re packing in your suitcase that we might find unusual. (You are
welcome to elaborate.)

I have a medal that my brother received for winning a hockey tournament he was in. I’ve always wanted him to come out on the road with me and see what it’s like to do what I do. He’s a huge inspiration of mine. Hockey has always been a hugh part of our lives, and an even bigger part of his. Then he moved halfway across the country to play Junior A hockey, which I’m super proud of him for. So now I carry this medal in my suitcase around the country as a way of bringing him with me.

If we happen to run into you in a bar, we’d like to buy you a drink. What is your tipple of
choice?

I’ve been really digging gin and tonics lately.

What advice would you give other bands who have never played at SXSW before?
Don’t put too much stress/focus on one show. Also, try to have a good time and be nice to everyone you come into contact with, even if you think they aren’t ‘important’. I feel like that’s something you should always do, not just at SXSW.

Our usual list of Quickfire Questions:

What song is your earliest musical memory?
My earliest musical memory would have to be the moment I was at my first-ever professional hockey game with my parents, and the home team scored a goal. The entire crowd stood up, yelling as loud as they possibly could, and this song came on. It was ‘Rock and Roll Pt. 2′ by Gary Glitter. That song forever changed my life. I went home that night and found that my dad had the song on vinyl. I stayed up super late trying to emulate that same drum beat that moved so many people at the hockey game. That night was the first time I ever played with intention. I was 9 years old.

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What was your favourite song as a child?
Another pretty important song to me as a child was ‘D’yer Mak’er’ by Led Zeppelin. It was the first song that my dad and I played together in the same garage that Bad Veins had our first few practices in.

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What song makes you laugh?
‘Lifestyle’ by Rich Gang. There’s a certain line in the first verse that gets me every time I hear it. I do like the song. It just sounds funny to me.

What song makes you cry?
‘Hurt’ by Johnny Cash. Such a bone chilling song.

What song reminds you of the first time you fell in love? (It’s up to you if you want
this to be sweet, naughty, etc.)

‘While The Fire Was Out’ by Brighten.

What song makes you think of being upset / angry? (Example: maybe you heard it
when you were angry with someone and it’s still with you, and/or something that calms you
down when you’re upset, etc.)

It’s actually an entire album. It’s called ‘Illuminate’ by the band Lydia. I remember listening to this record non-stop after I was seriously heartbroken by a girl I was talking to at the
time. Oh the memories.

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Which song (any song written in the last century / 100 years or so) do you wish you’d
written yourself?

‘Hallelujah’ by Leonard Cohen. That song is so clever and it’s arguably one of the most popular songs of the last century. So many people have covered it, and it’s always been an important song to me.

Who is your favourite writer? (This can be a songwriter or ANY kind of writer.)
Stephen King has always been a writer that I’ve enjoyed. I remember his book ‘IT’ was one of the first books I started reading at like 12 years old. It scared the crap out of me.

If you hadn’t become a singer/musician/songwriter/etc., what job do you think you’d
be doing right now?

I’d most likely be a tattoo artist. I love tattoos a lot, and I’ve actually started painting tattoo flash recently. It’s so much fun.

If God said you were allowed to bring only one album with you to Heaven, which
would it be and why? (Sorry, but double albums do not count.)

‘Led Zeppelin II’. Such an influential and important album to me. [You and me both, brother – Ed.]

Many thanks to Jake for answering our questions and Courtney for arranging this for us. Catch Bad Veins at their official SXSW 2015 showcase Saturday the 21st of March at 10 PM at Bar 96.

 

(SXSW 2015 flavoured!) Quickfire Questions #92: Buffalo Sunn

 
By on Friday, 13th March 2015 at 1:00 pm
 

Now long now before the music portion of SXSW 2015! But just as we did for SXSW 2014 last year, we’ll be running a special version of the TGTF Quickfire Questions, served up SXSW style with an extra couple of questions to get inside bands’ and artists’ heads so they’ll tell us what they really think of the event. We’re now up to a baker’s dozen of these 2015 Quickfire Questions answered, and this time we’ve got Daniel Paxton of Dublin band Buffalo Sunn to answer our list of festival flavoured queries. We’re clearly going to have to do some questioning in Austin about what “Planky” is at the full Irish breakfast next Friday, and I’m going to have to find Daniel as a fellow Alan Parsons Project fan so we can cozy up. Until then…

What are you most looking forward to doing while you’re in Austin?
Most of all looking forward to playing some shows and bringing some Sunn to Texas; also it’s a good feeling walking down 6th Street in the sunshine.

Of the bands who have already been announced, do you have any that are must-sees on your schedule? If yes, who are they and why?
Hamilton Leithauser is playing, really like his solo album plus loved the Walkmen.

Name something you’re packing in your suitcase that we might find unusual. (You are welcome to elaborate.)
A plank of wood, I’d explain but it would take too long. We call it Planky. :)

If we happen to run into you in a bar, we’d like to buy you a drink. What is your tipple of choice?
There is a place on 6th Street called the Iron Cactus that sells frozen margaritas with cactus juice in them. Apparently either way they are great so I’ll have one of them please and thank you :)

What advice would you give other bands who have never played at SXSW before?
Play a good show enjoy yourself and try to take it all in.

Now on to our usual list of Quickfire Questions…

What song is your earliest musical memory?
My earliest memory would be listening to my Dad blaring The Alan Parsons Project on the family record player, some great tunes on that album to be fair :)

What was your favourite song as a child?
That’s a tough one, I remember hearing the La’s ‘There She Goes’ when I was 8, that song was a real game changer for me.

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What song makes you laugh?
All the theme tunes to the movies and TV programmes we watched as kids, the Karate Kid to name one!

What song makes you cry?
We’re getting personal now! Eh I don’t know about actual tears but the Beach Boys’ ‘All I Wanna Do’ is a mixed bag of emotions for me.

What song reminds you of the first time you fell in love? (It’s up to you if you want this to be sweet, naughty, etc.)
Jesus! The War on Drugs – ‘I Was There’.

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What song makes you think of being upset / angry? (Example: maybe you heard it when you were angry with someone and it’s still with you, and/or something that calms you down when you’re upset, etc.)
Anger to me takes up too much emotion. I move on quickly, life’s too short.

Which song (any song written in the last century / 100 years or so) do you wish you’d written yourself?
The Band – ‘The Weight’.

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Who is your favourite writer? (This can be a songwriter or ANY kind of writer.)
There are so many people! I really like Brian Wilson, maybe he is a good starting point.

If you hadn’t become a singer/musician/songwriter/etc., what job do you think you’d be doing right now?
Rust repairer and full time survivor ;)

If God said you were allowed to bring only one album with you to Heaven, which would it be and why? (Sorry, but double albums do not count.)
If the creator had a record player I’d bring………Neil Young – ‘Harvest’ :)

Thanks to Daniel for answering our questions and also to Zoe for helping sort this out for us.

 

(SXSW 2015 flavoured!) Bands to Watch #347: Jack Garratt

 
By on Friday, 13th March 2015 at 12:00 pm
 

Header photo from the BBC’s Jack Garratt archive at Reading and Leeds 2014

Amongst the British Music Embassy SXSW 2015 showcases in Austin, BBC Introducing and the PRS Foundation will be hosting a 22-year old already creating some serious waves.

In a previous life, Jack Garratt might have been considered a ‘one-man band’. The term following him around at the moment tends to be ‘multi-instrumentalist’ or ‘bedroom producer’ however; both terms which go far beyond underselling him. With James Blake and The xx comparisons already being drawn, his electronic influences have gathered many new fans since he served up an impressive debut EP, ‘Remnants’, and a breathtaking Reading and Leeds set, during 2014.

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The bearded songsmith has been hitting all the aural sweet spots on this rise. Take the soft backbeats of his early track ‘Worry’; 9 months on since its Soundcloud debut and the slick beats, bluesy vocals and angular synths have been streamed over 1 million times. On his other early material (try ‘Water’), his ambitious use of sound and texture is also evident, the shimmering electro-bass hooks justifiably seizing your attention, along with the sharp chimes of jazz keys.

Garratt has already spent his time refining and developing this sound mind you, and is just as capable at experimenting away from these catchier, radio-friendly moments. He meshes his soulfulness with a chilling atmosphere on ‘The Love You’re Given’, as warm r&b influences and his mesmerising vocals come together with refreshing ease on the slow-burning ballad. For all the heartfelt beauty this produces, his production skills come to the fore with the howling energy that the closing chorus hits you with, as a colourful and contrasting blur of synths dramatically engulfing you.

On what will be one of his first trips to America, Garratt is likely be humbled by any crowd who turn out for him at SXSW. The truth is that really, if you miss him and his talented live expose in building up songs from single beats to the potent waves of energy that his music culminates in, you’ll be missing a truly game-changing young artist who’s headed for stages in front of thousands in the very near future.

Jack Garratt appears as part of the BBC Introducing and PRS Showcase on Wednesday the 18th of March at the British Music Embassy at Latitude 30; read more about the night in Mary’s preview here. Catch him at the following appearances:

Wednesday 18/3 – British Music Embassy / BBC Introducing and PRS for Music Foundation @ Latitude 30, 11 PM
Thursday 19/3 – New Shapes @ Red Eyed Fly, 4:45 PM
Friday 20/3 – Communion @ St. David’s Historic Sanctuary, 12:45 AM

 

(SXSW 2015 flavoured!) Quickfire Questions #89: Lenka

 
By on Tuesday, 10th March 2015 at 1:30 pm
 

Just a week off now and it’s time for the music portion of SXSW 2015! But just as we did for SXSW 2014 last year, we’ll be running a special version of the TGTF Quickfire Questions, served up SXSW style with an extra couple of questions to get inside bands’ and artists’ heads so they’ll tell us what they really think of the event.

We’re at number 10 of this ongoing series ahead of the goings-on in Austin, and today we’re having a chat with Australian pop singer Lenka, who I featured as part of the second part of our preview of the Aussie bands coming over for SXSW. (Part 1 is here.) She appears to be a keen crafter, as she’s bringing along some song-appropriate props to Texas with her and admits what she might be doing if she wasn’t singing, as well as admit what X-Ray Specs song makes her “feel something triumphantly rude”. Interest piqued? Read on…

What are you most looking forward to doing while you’re in Austin?
Presenting new music, meeting people and eating BBQ.

Of the bands who have already been announced, do you have any that are must-sees on your schedule? If yes, who are they and why?
Marina and the Diamonds! She’s rad, I’d love to see her show.

Name something you’re packing in your suitcase that we might find unusual. (You are welcome to elaborate.)
Homemade cardboard clouds. Why? You’ll have to see the show! [Intriguing… -Ed.]

If we happen to run into you in a bar, we’d like to buy you a drink. What is your tipple of choice?
I’d like a Hendrick’s and tonic with cucumber please.

What advice would you give other bands who have never played at SXSW before?
Pace yourself, look after yourself. Don’t get trashed on the first night. (Wait till the last night.)

Now to our usual list of Quickfire Questions…

What song is your earliest musical memory?
‘Walking on Sunshine’ by Katrina and The Waves. It made me happy. :)

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What was your favourite song as a child?
See above. Also, ‘Inchworm’ from Hans Christian Andersen.

What song makes you laugh?
‘Bam Bam’ by Sister Nancy. Because my little boy thinks it’s “Bum bum dinner”.

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What song makes you cry?
‘All I Want Is You’ by U2. Lots of songs by Bonnie Prince Billy.

What song reminds you of the first time you fell in love? (It’s up to you if you want this to be sweet, naughty, etc.)
Metronomic Underground by Stereolab reminds me vividly of falling in love in a grimy hotel room in Sydney circa 1999.

What song makes you think of being upset / angry? (Example: maybe you heard it when you were angry with someone and it’s still with you, and/or something that calms you down when you’re upset, etc.)
I don’t know if it’s anger, but the song ‘Germ-Free Adolescents’ by X-Ray Specs makes me feel
something triumphantly rude.

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Which song (any song written in the last century / 100 years or so) do you wish you’d written yourself?
Oh my god, so many. ‘Oxygen’ by Will Mason, ‘Royals’ by Lorde, ‘The Ship Song’ by Nick Cave, ‘Come Together’ by The Beatles. To name but a few…

Who is your favourite writer? (This can be a songwriter or ANY kind of writer.)
Tom Robbins I think. I love the sneaky spiritual philosophy that comes through the silliness.
If you hadn’t become a singer/musician/songwriter/etc., what job do you think you’d be doing right now?
Crafting probably. Making expensive baby clothes and pottery that no one wants…hahaha.

If God said you were allowed to bring only one album with you to Heaven, which would it be and why? (Sorry, but double albums do not count.)
‘Abbey Road’ by The Beatles. Good tunes and good memories from throughout my life.

Massive thanks to Lenka for answering our questions and Nina for facilitating. If you’re in Austin for the festivities next week, you can catch Lenka alongside her countrymen and women at the Aussie BBQ on Friday the 20th of March at 4 PM at the West Tent of Brush Square Park. She will also appear at the ASCAP showcase at the Driskill’s Victoria Room that Friday night as well.

 

Album Review: Darlia – Petals

 
By on Thursday, 5th March 2015 at 12:00 pm
 

Blackpool has yet to be labelled with a reputation for cultivating firecracker, grunge rock. With their mini-album ‘Petals’ however, the town’s native rock ‘n’ roll trio Darlia could be in a position to complete that transformation.

That transformation will have to come after you piece your way through their previous singles, mind. Darlia’s attempt at a so-called ‘mini-album’ sees them strike at your ears with what is essentially, an extended EP: a half way house between their ballsy breakthrough singles and a debut full length, which is anticipated for release at the end of 2015.

‘Stars Are Aligned’ has been a defining track in their steady rise, with a fug of heavy, thrashing riffs that kicks open the eight-track collection, as 20-year old frontman Nathan Day’s adds woozy Brit-drawl with the lyrics, “Let’s not make peace again, I’m tired of hearing amends”. Darlia are committed to casting a sound far bigger than their three-piece, pulling it off with catchy appeal and memorable choruses, both here and on ‘Never Been to Ohio’. The band’s notoriety first came with their breakout track ‘Queen of Hearts’, which has been supercharged with a new recording for ‘Petals’. The swift 2 minutes and 47 seconds are now even more intense, as they navigate dramatic and charging shifts in momentum, from steady indie rock verses that are laced with a volley of riffs, before surging into euphoric choruses.

‘Candyman’ is where the band really hit the sweet spot of their anthemic indie rock and live up to the expectations as one of the UK’s most promising new bands, however. They remain grungy and fierce, rushing with overpowering choruses, but the driving bass, lofty drums and bolshy vocals (“choose which doomsday suits you most, while I set the scene…”) keep them sounding more controlled and mature as they ebb into the grunge-pop of ‘Dear Diary’. On ‘Say Your Prayers’, Darlia come as close to a ballad as they may ever come, and it’s a cracking effort. Slow burning, at this tempo they accomplish their most nostalgic moments, including with their acoustic closing cuts of ‘Pandemonium’ and ‘Candyman’.

Just as they needed to prove their worth as more than flat-out rock and rollers, Day and his bandmates have proven themselves to be songwriters who are equally adept at channelling a more passive and composed sound. Reverbing riffs are still their backbone, but Darlia have finally highlighted that there’s far more to them than raucous energy alone. Now it’s just a question of which direction they’ll take their album in – they can only coast along on their standout singles for so long.

7/10

‘Petals’ is out now on B-Unique Records. You can stream it in full below. Tickets to their just announced April/May UK headline tour are on sale now.

 
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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest tours, gigs, and music 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 idiots.

The blog is edited by Mary Chang, who is based in Washington DC. She is joined by writers in the UK and America. It was started up by Phil Singer in Bristol, UK.

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