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Chain of Flowers / April and May 2017 English Tour

 
By on Monday, 3rd April 2017 at 9:00 am
 

Following their second visit to America and appearances at SXSW 2017 in mid-March, Cardiff post-punks Chain of Flowers are set to tour England in late April. Being the good Welsh ambassador that he is, the legend that is Huw Stephens interviewed several of the Welsh acts in Austin during the week of SXSW including Chain of Flowers.You can listen to the broadcast for the next 2 weeks on Radio Wales through here. During his chat with frontman Josh Smith on Thursday at the British Music Embassy, they discuss the slight incongruity that this tour only includes English dates. No matter; I reckon they’ll be back playing shows on American shores soon enough. Tickets to the following shows are on sale now. My review of their Thursday afternoon show can be read here; Carrie also caught them at the Music for Listeners afternon showcase at El Sapo, so her review of that is forthcoming. For more on Chain of Flowers on TGTF, follow this link.

Monday 24th April 2017 – Leeds Brudenell Social Club
Tuesday 25th April 2017 – Manchester Castle
Wednesday 26th April 2017 – Birmingham Hare and Hounds 2
Friday 28th April 2017 – Bristol Louisiana
Saturday 29th April 2017 – Southampton Joiners
Sunday 30th April 2017 – Brighton Hope and Ruin
Monday 1st May 2017 – London Camden Lock Tavern (free show)

 

(SXSW 2017 flavoured!) Video of the Moment #2331: Ryan Vail

 
By on Friday, 31st March 2017 at 6:00 pm
 

Derry electronic musician, composer and producer Ryan Vail was one of a handful of wonderful electronic acts I caught at SXSW 2017 who I couldn’t get enough of. Something I love about electronic composers is that they never seem to stop working. In honour of World Piano Day on Wednesday, the Northern Irish artist revealed two songs, one brand new and the other a rework of a previously released song, ‘East Berlin’.

The original of the two, instrumental ‘We Drift We Wake’, has an accompanying black and white promo video. The series of visuals chosen, showing both the natural and manmade world, provide the perfect foil to Vail’s composition, which darts in and out of, then above the shadows. Moments of broodiness morph into more uplifting ones before the song concludes with a softer, delicious delicacy. Watch the video below. For read more on Ryan Vail, go here; we’ll be adding to our archive on the artist as we continue our review coverage of SXSW in the coming days.

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

 

SXSW 2017: rock in its many wonderful forms at the British Music Embassy Thursday afternoon – 16th March 2017

 
By on Friday, 31st March 2017 at 2:00 pm
 

I go through usually unexplainable cycles of change in my musical tastes. However, the impetus for the latest change, while really only reaffirming my long-held admiration for hard rock, has no doubt been the drastic political upheavals that have befallen Britain and America in the last 9 months. The vote in favour of Brexit and the election of Trump have made me feel we’re getting ever closer to the end of days. But rock, in its headbangingly perfect way, has provided a constructive, much needed outlet in which to vent my frustration and anger. At times, rock has provided temporary respite, a brief means of escape when things feel too soul crushing.

I don’t often get the opportunity to stay for an entire showcase at SXSW, but I made time in my schedule for Thursday afternoon at the British Music Embassy at SXSW 2017. Last year, Northern Powerhouse took over Latitude 30 with all Northern line-up of hard-rocking bands. The first band on this Thursday performed on that very showcase, though I missed them then because I was interviewing Craig Johnson of fellow Leeds group Autobahn outside.


Fizzy Blood, British Music Embassy, Thursday 16 March 2017

Now I was finally getting a chance to hear Fizzy Blood‘s ear-splitting, yet oddly melodic brand of in-your-face rock. Dressed like he was going to a Hawaiian luau, frontman Benji Inkley screamed into his microphone like it was no big deal. He told jokes in between their songs and sounded like a good friend of mine from Wakefield. Together with the unrelentingly booming instrumentation behind him, their set was blistering, yet oddly comforting. Somehow, I don’t think Carrie would have agreed with me, ha.


The Sandinistas, British Music Embassy, Thursday 16 March 2017

If I thought I would get a chance to catch my breath, I had another thing coming. Which was fine by me! Next up were the Sandinistas, from Tredegar, Wales. I had a good feeling from the answers their lead singer / guitarist Dan Hagerty gave to our SXSW 2017-flavoured Quickfire Questions that we were on the same wavelength. I wasn’t wrong; you can listen to my chat with him here. But back to their performance. Like Fizzy Blood before them, they were a good, stark reminder that despite the seeming need for pop bands to throw a synthesiser into the mix, all you really need sometimes are the basic band setup (a lead singer, guitars and drums) and well-written songs. Interestingly, they sound less like the Clash (look again at their band’s name, if you missed it) and more like The Libertines.


The Sandinistas, British Music Embassy, Thursday 16 March 2017

The challenge that some bands never manage to overcome is to truly connect with their fans. The Sandinistas, however, made engaging punters look easy by not only being very funny between their songs, but also explaining with a laugh where the inspiration of their songs came from. Hagerty may be happily married but he’s going to take an ex and the village bicycle down a peg, which works well in a room of guys who have been wronged by a woman or two. And they don’t mind taking down another supposedly happily married man, our President, and his trophy wife. “She’s so shallow!” shouts Hagerty and naturally, the crowd approves. Even Hagerty’s own wife can’t escape the same treatment: if he’s to be believed, their single ‘Ready to Blow’ is about the sexual frustration he had before they got together. And so a future hit song was born.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ik74yCjG7S4[/youtube]


Chain of Flowers, British Music Embassy, Thursday 16 March 2017

From the valley to the big city: it was on to another Welsh band, Chain of Flowers. And with their own and different approach to rock: gothy post-punk to be more precise. The Cardiff group had the added benefit of having been in America before, touring our two coasts last summer with their eponymous debut album produced by New York City’s Ben Greenberg. Joshua Smith’s vocals, melancholic in the vein of tortured Ian Curtis and Robert Smith before him, were framed by a buzzy, washy wall of sound. ‘Nail Me to Your Cross’? Admittedly, it’s not for everyone but trust me, you know if you favour this kind of brooding kind of denseness to rock out to.


LIFE, British Music Embassy, Thursday 16 March 2017

From Wales, we were then returned back to the North to face some East Yorkshire ‘tude head on. Quite literally. Hull punks LIFE, eager to preview their debut album ‘Popular Music’ in America, came roaring out the gate with crashing guitars and drums. I’m not fond of punk where it’s loud all the time and there’s no semblance of melody. What’s the point of making loads of noise with no purpose? Mick Sanders has solved that problem with his melodic and memorable guitar lines that skirt pop sensibility.


LIFE, British Music Embassy, Thursday 16 March 2017

But if there was any question of this band’s intentions, his brother Mez Green comes through with his biting lyrics. This is a man you wouldn’t want to cross, the sneer on his face unmistakable as he calls out Tories he’d probably chase down with a baseball bat. Try as you might, but you can’t look away. There is something improbably charismatic about him, a Brett Anderson-like presence preening and twirling onstage, deadpanning about looking for ‘Rare Boots’ in the shopping stalls of Hull but with an acid tongue reminiscent of Mark E. Smith. Something tells me Green enjoys this juxtaposition, all while the rest of the band thunders behind him. LIFE hit out at Brexit in ‘Euromillions’ and win the crowd over, drawn in by their devil may care attitude and equally unruly nature. Good thing too, as they would return to the British Music Embassy Saturday to bid this year’s SXSW adieu. Listen to my interview with Mez and Mick after this set through here.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VbqxNJ2W6G0[/youtube]

 

SXSW 2017: summary of SXSW Conference keynote by Zane Lowe

 
By on Friday, 31st March 2017 at 11:00 am
 

Header photo courtesy of SXSW

Former BBC Radio 1 presenter Zane Lowe made radio history back in 2015 when he became Creative Director and Los Angeles anchor for Beats 1, Apple Music’s first free global radio station. His keynote speech on the Thursday morning of SXSW 2017 split its focus between Lowe’s own career in radio and his vision for the future of radio as a relevant medium for artists trying to share their music.

Lowe might well have been pre-destined to make radio history, as he explained near the beginning of his speech. His father, a journalist in Lowe’s native New Zealand, had set a fine example for him in that regard, as one of the founders of New Zealand’s first private commercial radio station. The pirate station Radio Hauraki, as it is still known, began its operation in 1966, broadcasting from a boat in international waters off the coast of New Zealand. In 1970, the New Zealand Broadcasting Authority broke its monopoly and allowed Radio Hauraki to operate on land, opening the door for privately owned radio in New Zealand.

Lowe’s mention of Radio Hauraki grabbed my interest straightaway, as I already knew the pirate radio station had been an early champion of New Zealand art-rock band Split Enz. I’m a card-carrying member of the Frenz of the Enz fan club, which covers associated New Zealand acts Split Enz and Crowded House, as well as solo efforts by bandmates and brothers Tim and Neil Finn. Without diverging too much from the point Lowe was trying to make, the idea of radio presenters having the freedom to play music they genuinely love on air was the grand idea behind Radio Hauraki, and it has been, quite naturally, a foundational tenet of Lowe’s career as well.

Zane Lowe internal

Lowe discussed his early career in New Zealand, inspired largely by brick-and-mortar record stores and his love of bands like the Beastie Boys and Nirvana, and his eventual move to the UK, where he worked for XFM and the BBC, as a way of putting the the volatile current state of radio into context. Despite the rapidly changing landscape of radio as a medium for sharing music, which we as music fans are all too aware of, Lowe made the salient point that the ultimate job of radio presenters and music journalists—providing an avenue for musicians to connect with their fans—has remained, and will remain, fundamentally constant.

He emphasised that as artists begin experimenting with new avenues of music promotion, radio will have to continue to adapt in order to stay relevant, and radio personalities will have to be prepared to take on new ventures, such as the one he himself has taken with Beats 1. “Fans [are becoming] followers, and followers [are becoming] data”, as Lowe observed, but he still stands by the innately human element of the music experience: the importance of collective listening, whether via live performances, online streams, or the ever-enduring radio broadcast.

If you’re interested in hearing Zane Lowe’s keynote speech from SXSW 2017 in its entirety, you can watch the livestream video just below, courtesy of SXSW.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n56ZZkKlLEo[/youtube]

 

LIFE / April 2017 UK Tour

 
By on Friday, 31st March 2017 at 9:00 am
 

Hot off the heels of their triumphant appearances at SXSW 2017, Hull punks LIFE have arranged a short UK tour for the first half of April. It all kicks off tomorrow for them at home at The Welly Club (definitely up there with Leicester’s Cookie Jar on my list of fun club names in England). Tickets are on sale now to the following shows. You can stream ‘In Your Hands’, the latest track from their upcoming debut album ‘Popular Music’ to be unleashed on the general public, directly below the tour dates. You can listen to my interview with brothers Mez and Mick of the band through here; if you’re patient enough, you can read my thoughts on their performance Thursday afternoon at the British Music Embassy at SXSW at 2 PM BST today. More on LIFE (the band, not yours) will be added to this link as we continue with our reviewing of SXSW 2017 in the coming days.

Saturday 1st April 2017 – Hull Welly
Sunday 2nd April 2017 – Glasgow King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut
Monday 3rd April 2017 – Manchester Gullivers
Wednesday 5th April 2017 – Birmingham Sunflower Lounge
Thursday 6th April 2017 – London Camden Barfly
Friday 7th April 2017 – Bristol Crofters Rights
Saturday 8th April 2017 – Scunthorpe Cafe Indiependent

 

(SXSW 2017 flavoured!) Video of the Moment #2330: Dream Wife

 
By on Thursday, 30th March 2017 at 6:00 pm
 

Dream Wife were busy 2 weeks ago in Austin. The Brighton-based trio were all over the place during SXSW 2017, having done an astonishing long list of shows in town. The hard work has already paid off: for one, Nylon has named the group one of their band crushes. A debut album is expected later this year, and we know the world is now watching.

This week, they have a new promo out for ‘Somebody’, which is sure to be a feminist anthem for years to come. In the song, frontwoman Alice Go insists, “I am not my body, I’m somebody”. Somebody she is, and in the global music industry now, indeed. For more of our coverage of Dream Wife here on TGTF, follow this link.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Ov_uABrg5U[/youtube]

 
 
 

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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