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Video of the Moment #2922: Teleman

 
By on Tuesday, 12th February 2019 at 6:00 pm
 

I’m pretty opinionated about live videos filmed at gigs that are hawked around as promo videos. I’m a smidge less critical about the karaoke-style lyric videos. Trust Teleman, on the top of my favourite bands of the moment, to make a very special lyric video for ‘Between the Rain’. Resident artist and keyboardist Jonny Sanders must have spent a lot of time coordinating the clips and editing together the unusual lyric video, which you can watch below. The song appears on ‘Family of Aliens’, the third album from Teleman that was released at the start of September 2018. (You can read my thoughts on the LP in my review here. ‘Between the Rain’ is available now as a digital download. ‘Family of Aliens’ is also out now on Moshi Moshi Records. I’ve written quite a lot about Teleman over the years; you can catch up on all my writing on them through this link.

 

Live Review: Teleman with C.A.R. at Bristol Thekla – 27th September 2018

 
By on Monday, 8th October 2018 at 2:00 pm
 

It took nearly a decade, but I finally made it to arguably the most unusual venue in the UK. It’s not a 19th century Scottish church turned venue, that’s Oran Mor in Glasgow, or a treatment centre for the hearing impaired turned venue, that’s Manchester’s Deaf Institute. No, last Thursday night, I found myself on a decommissioned cargo ship moored in Bristol Harbour to see one of my favourite live bands. The show at Thekla marked the start of a 2-and-a-half week UK tour in support of their latest album ‘Family of Aliens’, released in early September. (Read my review of the album through here.) In a previous interview with Lauren Laverne on BBC 6Music, Teleman mentioned Bristol was always a good place to gig. The city didn’t disappoint them, being the first date on the tour to sell out.

C.A.R. Bristol 1

Chloé Raunet is the one-woman show C.A.R. She’s a French-Canadian based in London and a singer and synth and keyboard player. While she was likely unknown to the majority of the crowd – I know I didn’t know anything about her – her mix of driving beats and oft yelping voice was just the right amount of subversiveness in sound just above the headliners’ own. Her 2014 debut ‘My Friend’ was >described by Dummy magazine as “an electro pop album that’s quite self-consciously weird.” Her follow-up, this year’s ‘Pinned’, stars oddly catchy tunes like ‘Growing Pains’ and the live standout of her set ‘This City’, rich with metallic clanks and her disaffected vocals. Keen on grabbing a free remix of ‘This City’ done by Teleman drummer Hiro? Right through here.

Teleman Bristol 2

As one might expect, the set list for Teleman’s inaugural night for the ‘Family of Aliens’ tour was heavy on tunes from the new LP. Of the three singles that previewed the official release of the album, early calls for ‘Song for a Seagull’ from the audience proved it’s clearly the fan favourite. Bemused but seemingly prepared for this response, frontman Thomas Sanders was quick to quip that we’d get it soon enough. When the moment finally arrived in the set, time seemed to pause: the song has become quite personal to me, and not just because I’m named early on in its promo video. I have been on both sides, having been the untouchable seagull and having been in love with one. There are equal parts of wonderment and bewilderment when you fall in love with someone you can’t fully connect with on an emotional level. I suppose you could argue the song sounds way too happy, but I look at it as an acknowledgement of the essence of love: it’s beguiling and frustrating but ultimately wonderful.

Teleman Bristol 1

The delightful synth bounce in their tunes comes across even better in a live setting. A song like ‘Fun Destruction’ – an examination on the struggle between having a fun, messy night out and then confronting your hungover self in the morning – is ideal for a gig, the ordered and anarchic bits of the song at odds but in a way that works flawlessly. Sanders admitted anxiously before ‘Twisted Heart’ that we were the first people to ever hear it live. While it’s definitely chaotic, it was all too easy and wonderfully so to give in to the chaos and revelry of the night that continued into now perennial live favourite ‘Dusseldorf’. Older beloved tracks ‘Tangerine’, ‘Cristina’ and one-off Speedy Wunderground single ‘Strange Combination’ joined the party, too. When the band finally had to sadly say goodbye, they ended with ‘Not in Control’, its motorik beat and droney nature acting as perfect sendoff. Until next time, Teleman, thank you.

Teleman Bristol 5


After the cut: Teleman’s set list from the night.

Continue reading Live Review: Teleman with C.A.R. at Bristol Thekla – 27th September 2018

 

Album Review: Teleman – Family of Aliens

 
By on Thursday, 6th September 2018 at 12:00 pm
 

Teleman Family of Aliens album cover“Push the spikes in deep / the pain is going to set you free!” Thomas Sanders declares on Teleman single ‘Cactus’, released back in May. It’s a pronouncement that also stands as a neat summation of the Teleman story so far. It’s an ongoing saga where the connected topics of love and lust, along with loneliness, escapism and depression, are given conveyed in vivid, unusual wordplay against a bouncy, synth- and drumbeat-led backdrop. Now at album #3, Teleman’s wonky, oddly catchy tunes should no longer be a surprise but an expectation to be fulfilled at first listen.

Produced by Boxed In’s Oli Bayston, their Moshi Moshi labelmate, ‘Family of Aliens’ follows in the heady footsteps of 2014’s ‘Breakfast’ and 2016’s ‘Brilliant Sanity’. It manages to add another wigged-out, yet enjoyable chapter to Teleman’s musical history. Early taster single ‘Submarine Life’ went old school, utilising ‘80s style vocoder, making everyone think that the third Teleman album was going to sound robotic, at least initially. Turns out they were just teasing us. Phew.

The new LP is front-loaded with two other early previews, placed well for maximum pop dancing possibilities. ‘Cactus’ delves into the world of the pretty people, those that put themselves on a pedestal of no fixed meaning or influence. In reality, they’re in their own little bubble and can’t relate to anyone else, which is their true tragedy. Sanders asks rhetorically, “What’s the point of looking good if no-one ever gets near you?” It’s a bit of a warning to young people, that what material and physical occupations consume them in youth turn out to be devoid of substance by the time you’re older. The band spends a good minute and a half on an instrumental jam to close out the song, providing more than ample opportunity for us watching them at the Great Escape 2018 to cut shapes at the Paginini Ballroom.

Buoyed by a sweet and springy rhythm and ‘80s feel good synth chords, ‘Song for a Seagull’ pulls things back from the shadowy dance floor. Sanders sings of a different kind of but equally tragic character: like in the Beatles’ ‘I Saw Her Standing There’, the girl across the room you’ve fallen for but in this case, she’s mentally miles away and there’s no way to get through to her. A seagull flying high above the sea might not be the greatest parallel to a human woman on earth. It certainly captures the idea of escaping to a better, beautiful place where you’re unable to be touched or hurt, though (“it’s not hard to see how someone you love is going to mess you up”). For the fans, there are nods to ‘Brilliant Sanity’ in here, from “a little bell that rings” from ‘English Architecture’ (signaling something magical has happened, like falling in love) and a guitar note progression in the outro bearing resemblance to that which closes out ‘Fall in Time’. Contrast ‘…Seagull’ to the chaotic machinations of ‘Twisted Heart’, exploring “the feeling twisted in a world so straight”, of feeling like a square peg in a round-hole world.

Not fitting in is a recurrent theme in on this album: whether it’s given a frenetic treatment on title track ‘Family of Aliens’ or a gentler one on ‘Always Dreaming’, the topic is handled with empathy by Sanders. On ‘Fun Destruction’ and ‘Sea of Wine’, reliance on alcohol is given much consideration, described by Sanders in the preview material I was given as “our English way of using alcohol to deal with problems, lose inhibitions, meet lovers”. With alcoholism comes losing touch and at its worst, self-loathing and the realisation that something’s going terribly wrong. A synth wail joins the chaos on the former, while on the latter, ‘Sea of Wine’ floats away in a piano- and beat-driven reverie befitting our fast-paced lives.

A potentially overlooked song for its comparative simplicity instrumentally is ‘Between the Rain’. The jaunty piano backing is less important than Sanders’ storytelling: partnering with someone who isn’t fazed by anything leads to your own anxiety coming roaring to the forefront like a sore thumb. Initial exasperation (“I can tell myself it’s a plastic heart / impossible to break it / melt it down!”) eventually leads to appreciation for the peace and maybe even acceptance? Whether it’s this song or another or several others in the collection, it isn’t hard to find yourself in here. Joyously quotable and easily accessible, ‘Family of Aliens’ might just be Teleman’s most mainstream popular album yet.

8/10

‘Family of Aliens’, the third album from London-based Teleman, is out tomorrow, Friday, the 7th of September on Moshi Moshi Records. The band are on tour in the UK in September and October; tickets are on sale now except for the sold-out at Bristol Thekla on the 27th of September and Leeds Brudenell Social Club on the 4th of October. Want to flip through our past coverage on Teleman here on TGTF? Come through.

 

Great Escape 2018: Day 3 Roundup (Part 2)

 
By on Friday, 8th June 2018 at 2:00 pm
 

I slipped out of the Prince Albert, allowed another one of Rebecca Taylor’s fans to scoot in where I’d been, and returned to the Hope and Ruin for music far meatier at the This Feeling showcase. I didn’t plan it like this, but they would be the second of three acts I’d see from Sheffield Saturday night. If you’ve done any reading on Sheffield at all, you’ll know its name comes from the River Sheaf that runs through the city. So I had a hunch even before I opened the biography on hard rockers SHEAFS where they were from. Delivered with a sneer, minor key anthem ‘This is Not a Protest’ is a foot-stomper, while ‘Mind Pollution’, encouraging not a revolt but a bigger revolution, is another laced with ‘tude. Forget the Sherlocks, SHEAFS have just pushed them out of the way.

SHEAFS Saturday the Great Escape 2018

I returned to the Old Ship for Charles Watson gigging at the Moshi Moshi Records evening showcase. Like Rebecca Taylor, he’s trying to carve an identity for himself that’s separate from the one he held in Slow Club. On his debut ‘Now That I’m a River’, Watson’s sound is decidedly more similar to that of his songwriting in his previous band, sounding at times like a throwback to ‘70s Americana, complete with the echoes. Imagine Burt Bacharach going folk, or the Eagles with less rock. It seems like a lot of artists are reaching backwards in time for inspiration. It begs the question, has the singer/songwriter genre gone has far forward as it possibly can and the only option left to keep things somewhat interesting is to go backward?

Charles Watson Saturday the Great Escape 2018

To get some air and to see some more music, I walked a short distance down Ship Street to the Walrus to check out a band far from home. ShadowParty are a group that formed in Boston and includes members of New Order and Devo. I’m embarrassed to say I had no clue who they were. Perhaps the knowledge of their existence spread quickly across New Order and Devo’s respective fandoms, filling this basement venue? I wasn’t terribly impressed by the part of their performance I caught (equipment overload for one, but that might not have been their fault but the festival’s for putting them in such a small place), but I’m guessing from the news posts from early May that they’re still in very early days of performing live together. Feel good first single ‘Celebrate’ was unveiled on the 1st of May, the first taster ahead of the release of their debut album on the 27th of May on Mute Records.

Shadowparty Saturday the Great Escape 2018

It was back to the Old Ship for the piece de resistance in my Great Escape 2018. Going through my reports from past editions of this festival, I had completely forgotten, or possibly blocked out my getting shut out of Teleman’s set at the Green Door Store 5 years ago. I know at the moment was I was mad as a wet hen and probably wanting to cry. They’re unequivocally one of my favourite bands of all time. As that old chestnut goes, “Patience, grasshopper.” The following year, I got to see them play songs from ‘Breakfast’ at two shows, one in New York Midtown and one in Brooklyn (RIP, Glasslands). Now, 4 years on from there, I’d get to see them at the Paginini Ballroom. The only way their performance could have been any better: if they’d been allowed to play both ‘Breakfast’ and ‘Brilliant Sanity’ in their entirety.

On this trip, I had to fill in some of my less knowledgeable British musician friends that three-fourths of Teleman used to be in another amazing band called Pete and the Pirates. That conversion took place quite a long time ago now, and with two whole albums under their belt, I kind of expected more of those songs to be in their set. Fair do’s that they’d want to put older material to bed and play the songs they’re currently most excited about, but also massively courageous to fill their performance with songs unlikely to be firm favourites except to maybe their most ardent social media followers.

Teleman Saturday the Great Escape 2018 1

Single ‘Cactus’, which will appear on their upcoming third studio album ‘Family of Aliens’, is plenty catchy, but I think it’ll take some growing on me before it joins the heady ranks of my favourites from ‘Breakfast’ and ‘Brilliant Sanity’. For those of us who have memorised the latter, we were rewarded with ‘Fall in Time’ and ‘Dusseldorf’, the latter capping off a plenty bouncy and enjoyable set building anticipation towards the new album’s release and their upcoming tour to take place in the autumn. I’ve been invited to a curry dinner and to jump on a boat with them (long story for another time); we’ll see if I make it back to dear old blighty for that then. Cross your fingers and toes for me.

TGTF’s Great Escape 2018 coverage, that’s a wrap!

 

Deer Shed Festival 2017: Day 3 Roundup

 
By on Tuesday, 15th August 2017 at 2:00 pm
 

Words and photos by Martin Sharman, formerly Head Photographer at TGTF

Sunday morning at Deer Shed Festival 2017 dawns brightly, and last night’s storm in a teacup is but a fading memory. Traditional Sunday morning activities are executed: the consumption of coffee and pork products in bread, playing in a giant cardboard city, perhaps a tutorial on how to write (hint: let your consciousness stream away, don’t edit as you go, grammar and spelling can go hang). There’s only a few hours left of the big activities like the science tent, so it’s time to get on it again. But by lunchtime, the kids had been offloaded onto some friendly passers-by, which meant a good opportunity to sit down in one place and let the main stage do its thing.

Flamingods at Deer Shed 2017

And what a thing it was. SXSW 2017 alums Flamingods bring Bahraini psychedelic shoegaze – not a genre you encounter every day – and it’s superb. Frontman Kamal Rasool plays a bizarre traditional guitar-ish instrument (not unlike the three-string cigar box guitars being sold by Chickenbone John elsewhere on site), there’s much instrument-swapping and the ever-present thwack of crazy drums. They end with an epic 10-minute jam, the sort you can sway around to seemingly for hours on end. The crowd is massed and appreciative, and it becomes clear that this particular Sunday isn’t the traditional Deer Shed warm down. It’s actually shaping up to be something very special indeed.

Teleman at Deer Shed 2017

Teleman have quietly matured into a band of great importance. In the early days, they could be a bit too aloof for their own good, but two albums in, today’s performance presents their delicate songs in a muscular, festival-ready form. Classics like ‘Cristina’ and ‘Dusseldorf’ carry mass appeal hidden in their precise arrangements, and they properly rock out towards the end. They’ve surely made a plethora of new fans here today.

And so we come to what is arguably, in this writer’s opinion, the finest bill-topper in Deer Shed history. Neil Hannon as The Divine Comedy marches on stage in full French Revolutionary regalia, as the note-perfect band launch into ‘Napoleon Complex’. And thus begins a masterclass in how to do witty, tuneful, intelligent – and most importantly, inclusive – social commentary through pop music. ‘A Woman of a Certain Age’ is a touching discourse on advancing years from a female perspective, and ‘Catherine The Great’ takes on a further poignancy when dedicated to his partner and fellow musician Cathy Davey. After a quick costume change, ‘The Complete Banker’ gently knives society’s favourite punching-bag profession to musical accompaniment that the Sherman brothers would be proud to claim for their own back catalogue, yet Hannon has the good grace to apologise to any bankers actually in the crowd.

Neil Hannon as The Divine Comedy at Deer Shed 2017

But they know what we’re all waiting for. Unafraid to delve into the earliest reaches of their back catalogue to please a crowd, we lap up ‘Generation Sex’, ‘Something for the Weekend’, and, gloriously, ‘National Express’. Moments when an entire crowd – and possibly an entire festival – are united around one band, one song, one line of lyrics, are rare indeed, and The Divine Comedy deliver. A brilliant moment of joy, togetherness and love amidst the turbulence of modern life. That’s what Deer Shed is all about.

Regardless of my personal views on one or two of the acts, it should not be inferred that this was anything other than yet another brilliant chapter in the Deer Shed story. Stuff that is taken for granted but really shouldn’t be – superb food, properly clean toilets, ample camping space, decent beer – was all present and correct. I’m very excited about what a little birdie whispered about a potential lady headliner for next year. And thus Deer Shed grows with the kids that revel within it – every year is different, bringing new challenges and fresh joys – and we love it all the same.

 

Video of the Moment #2217: Teleman

 
By on Monday, 7th November 2016 at 6:00 pm
 

Teleman released their second album back in April, the follow-up to the amazing ‘Breakfast’ in 2014. ‘Brilliant Sanity’ is likely to be one of my favourite albums of the year, and one of the album’s strongest cuts now has its own promo video. ‘English Architecture’ has such a quirky sound, with Tommy Sanders’ funnily droll lyrics and engaging, bouncy rhythm. Naturally, it was filmed in an actual English town: the seaside environs of Margate on the Kent cost. Watch it below. To read through all of our archive on Teleman, go here.

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