SXSW 2016 is just around the corner! Our ongoing preview coverage is through here.
| 2013 | 2012 | Live at Leeds 2015 | 2014
Sound City 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | Great Escape 2015 | 2013 | 2012
Don't forget to like There Goes the Fear on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!
By Mary Chang
on Wednesday, 10th February 2016 at 12:00 pm
Editor’s note: we’re making some exciting changes in the way we cover SXSW 2016 this year, especially in the way we preview all the bands that we want to introduce you to before the big event in Austin in March. Read all about our big plans here.
Lusts and Moats are a pair of up-and-coming indie rock acts from the UK, hailing from Leicester and Biggleswade, respectively. But a five-lettered, monosyllabic name isn’t the only thing they have in common. Both channel the spirit of the shoegaze era, as well as some of the giants of new wave.
Leicester duo Lusts, brothers Andy and James Stone, released their debut album ‘Illuminations’ in 2015. These siblings got the idea to start a band together following a trip to Paris, writing their entire album in their parents’ bedroom while playing films on a projector, to “see what ideas were conjured up”. The ‘Illuminations’ LP is a dreamy mix of new wave, psychedelia and indie rock: a fine example of what 21st century music has to offer. For those who worry that music isn’t as great now as it was in the good ol’ days, Lusts might just be the band to change your mind.
The first single to be released from their debut album and the one that caused quite a stir last year is ‘Temptation’, a hazy number with tantalising drum, bass, guitar, and synth rhythms that dance together across the track, and with vocals floating amongst the music like a ghostly spirit. Similar not only in title but also in style to New Order’s ‘Temptation’, both songs portray a melancholy dreariness, albeit with Lusts’ being faster-paced and glimmering with more of a shoegaze haze. Title track ‘Illuminations’ is reminiscent of early Vaccines, especially the vocal comparison to Justin Young’s smoky baritone. Musically, it’s comparable too, particularly at the beginning of the song when the jangly guitar breaks in. I can just picture it being the perfect soundtrack for an edgy independent film about an underdog or outsider.
The duo have been compared to Echo and The Bunnymen so often, they must be tempted to question their own creative originality. But these comparisons don’t stem from the media’s need to dilute Lusts’ captivating variety of gloom. It’s because Lusts transcend the time they’re in and have created a debut LP so put together and sure of itself. They sound like a band coming into the game with what they want to do already worked out, and it’s easy to imagine them following in the trajectory of the Vaccines, or even Arctic Monkeys, both bands whose debut albums were impressively put together and self-assured.
Moats (pictured at top) are a quartet from Biggleswade who, like Lusts, have a variety of new wave and post-punk influences. Their latest single ‘Hungry’ has been played on BBC Radio 1, and BBC Radio 6 and received attention on BBC Introducing’s markets in Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire. The band has also just announced that they will be touring with Brighton band Yonaka in March. Yonaka have an edgy pop-inspired sound that will tie in well with Moats’ gritty pop-esque indie rock.
Back in 2012, Moats released their debut LP ‘Singapore’ under a “name your price” scheme for the entire nine-track album. It was also recorded, mixed and produced independently, further showing their indie spirit. 2015 saw the album’s opening track ‘Toothache’ remastered and released on Spotify. The tune is an exciting blend of stuttering guitar rhythms, with a soothing indie pop beginning, leading to a heavier build towards the middle when the band’s Matt Duncan’s throaty growl erupts on the track. ‘Toothache’ has a similar sound to the xx, particularly with the addition of Asya Fairchild’s vocals. As the relatively under-the-radar singer/songwriter living in Brighton joins Duncan on the track, but she succeeds in acting as a gentle antidote to Duncan’s edgy drawl.
New single ‘Hungry’ begins gentle and mournful, with the soft, spooky pluck of a guitar riff teasing along the track over the gentle motion of a drumbeat. Then Duncan starts singing, his raw, sharp vocals standing out well against the melody. As the grandiose guitars break out about halfway through the track, before being fragmented by slower, quieter moments, instrumentally I’m reminded of Editors. Duncan’s lead vocals are filled with a gritty appetite, echoing a quote from a recent interview, in which the song is described as being about “craving something really badly and constantly working hard towards feeding that craving”. Imagine a dialled down Frank Carter.
Moats operate on the post-punk frequency that has done so much to shape contemporary music. Having said this, the combination of Moats’ music and Duncan’s intense, and oftentimes harrowing voice moves the band into the realm of the uncharted.
Both Lusts and Moats seem to be pushing at the edges of the genres that inspire them. The two bands have a number of dates lined up for the coming year, and both are scheduled to appear at SXSW 2016 in Austin.
By Mary Chang
on Tuesday, 9th February 2016 at 12:00 pm
Banners, the stage name of Liverpudlian singer/songwriter Mike Nelson, is set to make waves at SXSW 2016 next month. (Read Rebecca’s introduction to Banners from last month here.) Why do I say this? Every once in a while, I get a weird feeling in my bones about a new artist after listening to their music and I just know that superstardom awaits them. (Full disclosure: while I haven’t been 100% accurate, my record is none too shabby, having correctly predicted the success of Two Door Cinema Club, We Were Promised Jetpacks, Kodaline and The 1975.) I got the same kind of feeling upon hearing the opening track of Banners’ self-titled EP released last month.
‘Start a Riot’ begins as reverential as might be expected in this era of pop fully embracing synths and effects: with the electronic echo of a choir that are recalled a couple of times throughout the track. It’s a sweeping tune reminiscent of early Coldplay, with the guitars being the most energetic part of the track. Despite the single’s combative title, Nelson’s own vocals are more emotional than argumentative, providing support to a loved one “when your world falls apart” and “if night falls in your heart / I’d light the fire / in the dark, when you sound the alarm / we’ll find each other’s arms / for your love”. ‘Ghosts’ later on in the EP is another Banners track done in a wistful, Chris Martin style.
This slower, contemplative mood doesn’t last. You go straight into ‘Shine a Light’ next, a Kodaline-esque number with plenty of sing-along moments, so much that you can easily imagine it having been penned and sung by Steve Garrigan. Nelson has explained “the song is about feeling lost at sea and desperately searching for a beacon of light. It’s about waiting for that one big wave to finally pull you under while clinging on to that one last ray of hope. It’s a song to the person in your life that offers salvation while the storm is raging around you.” Given that, the use of Nelson’s forlorn falsetto in the slower verses to provide contrast with the faster, bouncier rock chorus is done to great effect, as if to mimic the highs and lows, the ebb and flow of our lives.
EP standout ‘Gold Dust’ is another anthemic pop number with a driving beat. In it, Nelson maintains a positive, engaging stance, insisting that like an alchemist, “when the nights grow cold / and it’s all gone to rust / we can turn it into gold dust”, he came make things better with his love. The EP ends on an equally strong note, with ‘Back When We Had Nothing’. It’s a nostalgic, yet painfully melancholic look back at a simpler, more innocent time.“I feel my blood rushing / burning like a glory blaze / back when we had nothing / we had everything”, he sings, with the desire of wanting to recapture that feeling. Nelson’s strong vocals, bolstered by glittering synths: pop doesn’t get much better than this.
The ‘Banners’ EP is out now on Island Records. If you’re lucky enough to live in North America, you’re in luck. Do yourself a favour and get yourself to one of the many club gigs Banners has scheduled before and after SXSW 2016. He also will be appearing at the Great Escape 2016 in Brighton in May.
By Mary Chang
on Tuesday, 9th February 2016 at 11:00 am
What has now become an annual highlight of the week at SXSW is the BBC Introducing and PRS for Music Foundation’s evening showcase at Latitude 30, the home of the British Music Embassy in Austin during the event. Last week, Steve Lamacq announced the six artists that will be gracing the BME’s stage the night of Wednesday the 16th of March, and we can’t wait to introduce them to you. Impressively, nearly every region of the UK is well represented on this list, except for Northern Ireland (which will be putting on their own afternoon showcase on St. Patrick’s Day, when else?) and Scotland (who we hope will have their own showcase as well).
Hailing from the North East of England, Billie Marten is a young female singer/songwriter from Ripon, North Yorkshire. Even 2 years ago when she still sported braces on her teeth, her musical talent was picked up by Burberry Acoustic. Fast forward 2 years, and the young Marten’s delicate, yet smoky vocals have further matured; check out her evocative single ‘Bird’ below. With over 13,000 Facebook likes even before setting foot in America, something tells us mainstream success is just around the corner for this lass.
With a name sounding like they should be a variant of Transformers than a band, Cardiff-based trio Estrons will be representing Wales at the BBC Introducing night. It’s no surprise their fresh and frenetic music has already received backing from BBC Radio 1’s Huw Stephens and Annie Mac. Fronted by Canadian-Swede Taliesyn Kallström who appear to be channelling the spirit of riot grrls like Siouxsie, Courtney Love and MayKay of Fight Like Apes for her vocal delivery, they’ll definitely be bringing unbridled energy to the evening.
If it hasn’t happened already, Newbury, Berkshire born singer/songwriter Frances will be on the lips of the world’s music pundits before the month is out. Despite having only one EP to her name – ‘Grow’, released last summer via Communion Records – she’s already nominated for a BRIT, the 2016 Critic’s Choice Award. She’s been compared to Florence Welch and Ellie Goulding, but except for the ginger colour of her hair and the length of it, I don’t see much of a comparison. Frances is her own woman.
Isaac Gracie first gained prominence on BBC Introducing Norfolk, but it appears he’s decamped now to the West London area of Ealing. He’s already sold out a who in London, garnered attention from NME, and been anointed with a Zane Lowe World Record on Beats 1. For brokenhearted fans of the late Jeff Buckley, to devotees of Johnny Flynn and the Sussex Wit, you’ll definitely take to Gracie’s style of rough, dusty, contemplative songwriting, as exemplified in his track ‘Last Words’.
Lammo loves the Crookes. A lot. So I was gobsmacked he’d found another Sheffield band to put his weight behind. The lucky recipients? The Sherlocks, who our own Rebecca has been aware of since her schooldays some years ago in South Yorkshire when they first started knocking around the Steel City. More like the Arctic Monkeys when they began than the Monkeys sound these days, their sound is one of brash guitars and cool rock ‘n’ roll. Have a listen to their debut single ‘Live for the Moment’.
Staying in the North but heading due west, we reach Warrington, whose most famous musical son up to this point has been Ian Brown of the Stone Roses. This is all about to change when Viola Beach (pictured at top) will bring their sunny and terribly infectious indie pop / rock to the BBC Introducing night in Austin. Will they follow in the footsteps of BBC Introducing 2015 night alums Blossoms to bring acclaim to another town outside of Manchester? Definitely. ‘Get to Dancing’ below.
Veteran Manchester rock band James will launch the UK leg of their ‘Girl at the End of the World’ Tour this May, following the 18th March release of their album by the same name. The band will also play two shows ahead of the release, one on the 17th of February at the Manchester Academy (which is already sold out) and one the 18th of February at the Scala in London.
Below the tour date listing, you can stream the audio for James’ most recent single ‘Nothing But Love’. Support on four of the following dates, as indicated below, will be played by singer/songwriter Jack Savoretti. TGTF’s previous coverage of James can be found right back here, and our SXSW 2013 preview of Savoretti is right here.
Monday 2nd May 2016 – Bristol Colston Hall (sold out)
Tuesday 3rd May 2016 – Southend Cliffs Pavilion
Wednesday 4th May 2016 – London Shepherd’s Bush Empire
Friday 6th May 2016 – London Forum Kentish Town (sold out)
Saturday 7th May 2016 – London Brixton Academy (sold out)
Monday 9th May 2016 – Norwich UEA
Tuesday 10th May 2016 – Bournemouth Academy
Thursday 12th May 2016 – Llandudno Venue Cymru
Friday 13th May 2016 – Manchester Arena*
Saturday 14th May 2016 – Leeds First Direct Arena*
Monday 16th May 2016 – Hull City Hall
Tuesday 17th May 2016 – Newcastle City Hall
Thursday 19th May 2016 – Glasgow SSE Hydro*
Friday 20th May 2016 – Birmingham Arena*
Saturday 21st May 2016 – Nottingham Royal Concert Hall (sold out)
*with support from Jack Savoretti
Over the Christmas holidays, I had the pleasure of writing a Bands to Watch feature on Blanco White, the solo project of London singer/songwriter Josh Edwards. Highlighted in that article was debut single ‘November Rain’, which appears on Blanco White’s new EP titled ‘The Wind Rose’, along with three other Latin American-influenced songs that put a decisively contemporary spin on a traditional folk style.
Edwards initiated the Blanco White project in 2014, after studying classical guitar in Spain and learning to play the Andean charango in Bolivia. His vision for the project involved “bringing together elements of Andalusian and Latin American music alongside influences closer to home.” The end result is a set of songs with decidedly English lyrics and themes, set over the classical soundscapes of South America.
The Latin American influence here isn’t the uptempo salsa dance style often heard in mainstream pop music, but rather the contemplative minor-key sound of traditional Spanish and South American art song. Edwards’ orchestration includes the expected prominent virtuoso guitar figures but employs vividly modern, minimalist arrangements in the other instruments, creating dramatic energy to match his evocative lyrical style.
Opening track ‘The Lily’, recently featured by Adam Walton on BBC Radio Wales, begins with some of the EP’s most breathtaking imagery in the lyrical lines, “I left a sign with a candle in the streetlight that shone below / where through the night the people dance in linen and smoke / I still remember her song in my head . . .” Melding romance with impressions of fire and sea, Edwards’ rough-hewn singing voice is emotionally raw and instantly captivating as he sings of his elusive Lily, “vanished, some other place by the sea. . . banished by herself, not by me.”
The aforementioned ‘November Rain’ sets another oblique tale of emotional loss against the grey backdrop of a train platform on a cold autumn day. Its unanswered question “so is this why I couldn’t stay?” is never explained in the lyrical monologue, but its anguish is clearly expressed by each insistent repetition. The yearning woodwind solo following the repeated line “there’s nothing left I owe” leads into the song’s dynamic climax, where Edwards unleashes the strength of his voice ahead of the reflective final refrain.
Slightly gentler and more introspective, ’Chalk’ delves further into the feminine mystique with the vivid description of a palm reading enchantress who predicts her subject’s trip to Spain. The accordion and bowed strings in the song’s instrumental arrangement give a hint of the heady atmosphere of a street fair and Edwards’ lyrics are once again as beguilingly quixotic as the imagined siren of his serenade.
Final and eponymous track ‘The Wind Rose’ is even more strongly Latin-flavoured, with gently rolling harp and guitar figures under lyrics that switch between elegant English and sensual Spanish. Edwards is accompanied in the singing of the Spanish sections by Malena Zavala of Argentine indie rock band and Yucatan Records labelmate Oh So Quiet. Zavala’s light, clear vocals float delicately above Edwards’ coarser tone and echo hauntingly over the song’s closing lyric, “as the wind moves the water, in the chalice of a rose.”
Three of the songs from ‘The Wind Rose’ EP are streaming now on Yucatan Records’ official Web site, ahead of the EP’s impending release. If you’re as enchanted by Josh Edwards’ stunning voice and nimble guitar playing as I was, you can also watch a live video of Blanco White performing ‘Rust’, at the bottom of the page.
Blanco White will play a one-off show at London’s Sebright Arms on the 31st of March supporting Eliza Shaddad. His EP ‘The Wind Rose’ is out today on Yucatan Records.
Considering they are a collective of people, numbering a maximum of 12, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros certainly know how to bring out the delicacy in folk music. You would think the larger the number of members, the thicker and more lost the sound would get but they’ve managed to acquire the skill that gives us music which is just as emotive and insightful as, say, early Mumford and Sons, or even First Aid Kit.
On this next single ‘No Love Like Yours’, which is from the upcoming third album ‘PersonA’, the group manage to bring all of their skills to the forefront. What is missing though is the wonderfully harmonised chorus section that wears its heart on sleeve and when that usually is partnered with the sheer size of the band, it swells to create an unstoppable force. That’s not to say the harmonies aren’t here; they certainly are, but it’s a far cry from their breakout hit ‘Home’, so much that it almost feels reserved. Leading man Alex Ebert still manages to use his voice in its most raw and pure form, evoking emotion and as if he’s singing his purest thoughts. When singing, his voice occasionally breaks: it’s barely audible, but when you do hear this, it just adds to the message he’s communicating.
The instrumental driving force behind the track is a tactful combination of intricately plucked guitars and percussion that sits relatively low within the entire mix. Of course, there’s so much more going on, like a slight addition of piano that twinkles lightly above everything, along with the bass supporting the lower end of the track. It all comes together to form a rather pleasing listen that doesn’t pretend to be something it’s not.
The track doesn’t particularly gather in strength. In the conventional sense, ‘No Love Like Yours’ certainly has a beginning, middle and an end, but it’s all quite flat which doesn’t lend itself to what we’ve normally come to expect from the band. As previously mentioned, it’s certainly a pleasant listen. But let’s hope what the rest of the album has to offer has a bit more to it.
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros’ new single ‘No Love Like Yours’ is out now. Their third album ‘PersonA’ will be released the 15th of April via Community Music Group. To read more on Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros on TGTF, go here.
Page 1 of 86123456...1020...»Last »