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Live Review: Ignite #004 starring Cara Rose, BETA WAVES, November Lights and Walt Disco at Glasgow St. Luke’s Church – 27th of November 2018

 
By on Monday, 10th December 2018 at 2:00 pm
 

In the ‘dear green place’ live some very dear friends, so it’s no surprise I found myself the day after my birthday at a gig in a church. A “delightful church renovation habit” seems to be a ‘thing’ in Glasgow (see Oran Mor for probably the most feted). St. Luke’s in particular is pretty cool, as it’s adjacent to the Winged Ox bar, named for the fanciful creature the saint has been portrayed as in art. I’d been in here once before, its American feel oddly welcoming. This show was particularly special as it was the fourth in a series of them put on by the artist development project Ignite Scotland funded by Help Musicians UK and PRS Foundation. It was explained to me that acts chosen for these shows are some of Scotland’s best up-and-comers.

In Buchanan yellow tartan, Glaswegian blonde chanteuse Cara Rose (surname Dickson) opened the night with her soulful vocals. Her voice only accompanied by keyboard, the performance recalled the poppier vibes of Adele and the late Amy Winehouse. Turns out that Winehouse, along with Lianne La Havas and Lauryn Hill, are named on her Facebook as her primary influences. ‘No Safe Place’ is “an older song” Rose wrote about the plight of Syrian refugees. As Dickson notes in a sad tone, the sentiment is still as apt as when she first wrote it. Below is an amateur-shot video of the song being performed at St. Luke’s back in August.

‘Ready to Fall’ was a set standout, the staccatoing notes on the keyboard adding a touch of the dramatic while she showed off her impressive vocal range and control. Still, every young girl aspiring to be a singer wants to be the next Adele. Can she set herself apart from the rest of the pack? I’ll be keen on hearing more from her as she progresses.

Cara Rose IGNITE 004 2018

On paper and if judged solely by their stage setup alone, Dundonian duo (say that five times fast) BETA WAVES seemed made for me. Don’t get me wrong: the programmed beats and those played were indeed catchy, providing a needed energetic boost after Cara Rose’s set. I found their New Wave-leaning backing mesmerising. However, I felt the singer/guitarist’s vocals weren’t forceful or bright enough to stand up to the instrumentation.

‘Another Mad Crab’ (DIY promo video above) is their latest and final single to be released this year, and I wish it just had a bit more oomph both live and on recording. Previous single ‘Love Love Love’ fares better live, with a disco beat that’s head-bop worthy and a bit more life vocally. Soldiering on after a delay in start due to a wonky second-hand Macbook, I admire how they didn’t let the technical difficulties faze them.

Beta Waves IGNITE 004 2018

Glasgow via Ayrshire duo November Lights, augmented live by two additional band members, appear to be fully formed. I’m sure it must have taken a lot of time and effort to get to this place, but I had to admit I stood there wondering to myself why they haven’t been featured on BBC Radio 1 yet. The story goes that frontman and keyboardist James Hopkins was a solo artist initially, then tapped friends to put together a band to move forward with his musical vision. The American pop influence is palpable, with Hopkins having a Brandon Flowers’ like presence and charisma.

November Lights IGNITE 004 2018

The anthemic feel of their music bears striking resemblance to the TGTF-tipped Kodaline (check out ‘Talk’ below) and The 1975. Hopkins’ energy as he busted out the dance moves on ‘Pray’ and their other uptempo tunes kept things lively; he looks remarkably like a young Ed Macfarlane from Friendly Fires. I’m expecting to wake up tomorrow and find out they’ve been signed to a major. I guess you gotta just watch this space.

The band chosen to close the Ignite Scotland show were Glasgow via Perth band Walt Disco, whose name I’m assuming is a Scottish pun on the Mickey Mouse creator. Lead singer James Potter has a theatrical, at times yelpy, at times warbly voice like David Bowie’s (see ‘Sling’ below). Bowie’s influence seems to have seeped into the band’s stage attire, which is proudly androgynous and eclectic. Seriously, how many musicians have you seen walking around with a crushed velvet shirt and golfing trousers?

With squealing guitars and a rhythm section much more muscular than that of the preceding acts, they were a welcome kick in the arse ending. While their off-kilter jangly guitar rock weren’t my cup of tea, I can totally see those looking for something different and willing to break out of the usual genre boxes to enjoy them. I went to a similar kind of young emerging acts’ night this time last year in York and in comparison, this night in Glasgow felt far more electric and better organised. I reckon it speaks to the level of talent and quality of acts that Ignite Scotland can put together a weeknight show like this and have a good turnout.

Walt Disco IGNITE 004 2018

 

Video of the Moment #2912: Anteros

 
By on Friday, 7th December 2018 at 6:00 pm
 

When we last wrote about Anteros, through this single review of Lily’s, we had news of an autumn UK tour. We now have information about their debut album expected in the new year. ‘When We Land’ is expected to drop on the 1st of March on Distiller Records. The latest taster to be unveiled from the upcoming LP and one that also has its own video is ‘Fool Moon’. Despite finding themselves in the middle of the desert, Anteros’ frontman Laura Hayden is resplendent in a floor-length glittery dress that fits perfectly with their energetic, poppy sound. Watch the video for ‘Fool Moon’ below. Stay tuned for their debut album in the new year, which seems awfully conveniently close and ahead of SXSW 2019 (hmm…) For our past coverage on Anteros here on TGTF, follow this link.

 

Bands to Watch #410: Cloth

 
By on Friday, 7th December 2018 at 12:00 pm
 

Header photo of Cloth by Erin NicCoinnich

I’ve just returned from a much needed holiday in Glasgow, which included a stop on the very last day of the most excellent Rip It Up exhibition in Edinburgh that celebrated the musicians from north of the border who have gone on to make a great big noise not just in Britain but well beyond Scotland’s physical borders. I have come back with my ears filled with new music and high hopes for the artists from Caledonia in 2019. One of these great new hopes are Cloth, a trio based in the cultural capital. What they’re doing and how they’re doing it represent for me how music-making in Glasgow is being transformed as of late.

The initial part of their story sounds similar enough to many a story in this business, no matter where in the UK. Twins Rachael and Paul Swinton attended Stow College in Glasgow with future bandmate and drummer Clare Gallacher. As children, the siblings Swinton were given Epiphone guitars at age 10 and soon found their way to picking out the chords to Deep Purple. While their ‘origin date’ on their record label’s Web site lists 2016 as their formation date, I’m sure there were attempts, false starts and noodlings around with ideas for a sound. For such a young band, they’ve had incredible luck to have already worked with the likes of Derek O’Neill (guitarist for King Creosote) and done recording at Paul Savage’s famed Chem19 studio, where so many of our favourite great Scottish records have been made.

Two Mondays ago, on the 26th of November (my birthday, no less), they were in session with Vic Galloway as the BBC Radio Scotland Introducing band of the moment. Knowing their primary musical touchstones – Cocteau Twins, Baltimore’s Beach House and the xx – handily explains their minimalist dream pop sound. Live, both Rachael and Paul play guitar; the noticeable lack of a bass guitar onstage isn’t apparent when listening to them on recording. ‘Old Bear’, their newest single that dropped last Friday, features Rachael Swinton’s ethereal lead vocal accompanied by a satisfyingly syncopated rhythmic backing that you can easily bop your head to. My vote for their best song so far is ‘Tripp’, its overall effect managing to burn a sultry figure even through the shadowy minimalism. This is considered, beautiful pop that just happens to be driven by guitars. Their sound is so far and away from the American and British slacker rock scenes I’ve never related to, sharing more kinship with the stories and emotions of folk but through a pop filter. You can watch all of the live clips from the session, including a cover of Tame Impala’s ‘Disciples’, through this link to the BBC Radio Scotland Web site.

How I understand it, they’re perfectionists like myself, not wanting to put out any substandard product, preferring to put in plenty of time and effort into making something they would be proud to stick their names on. To date, they have only released a handful of singles and through a record label with an ethos that seems it could only come from Glasgow. This past May, the band were snatched up by Last Night From Glasgow (LNFG), a DIY, non for profit record label “managed by volunteers who will neither draw a salary, nor take a share of the profits” that “provide[s] a viable alternative for both recording artists and consumers.” (You can read more about the label through this article at Creative Scotland.) Given the difficulty and shadiness of the music industry, a clearly defined path for artists to release music can only be a good thing, especially if fans can put money in to help them and get rewarded for their financial support.

Cloth are expected to be working on their debut album on LNFG next year, and I’ll be looking forward to hearing it when it’s released to the wild. Tonight, Friday, the 7th of December, they will perform as the primary support act to fellow Scot C Duncan at Glasgow Mono.

 

Video of the Moment #2911: Sam Fender

 
By on Thursday, 6th December 2018 at 6:00 pm
 

I’m a big fan of anyone who’s willing to broach difficult topics and without fear. Naturally, Newcastle’s Sam Fender caught our ears for this very reason. Just last week, he was announced to be a ‘repeat offender’ (ha), meaning he’ll return to SXSW in March 2019 to wow crowds in Austin. The Geordie’s latest earworm to get a video (okay, you got me, it’s a lyric video) is for ‘Poundshop Kardashians’. Less than 3 minutes long, it’s a short but snappy wonder providing biting commentary to the “beautiful people devoid of emotion’ that our society seems fixated on through the lens of reality telly. The track appears on Fender’s just released ‘Dead Boys’ EP that I sadly missed reviewing b/c my laptop gave up the ghost last month. (Never fear, I’ll figure out something soon.) This animated lyric video is a great treatment for these cartoon people that have far too much influence and these cartoon times that we live in. Watch the video for the track below. Fender’s ‘Dead Boys’ EP is out now on Polydor Records. All of our past coverage on Sam can be read through here; it includes my review of him performing live at the inaugural This is Tomorrow festival in Newcastle back in May

 

Live Gig Video: Childcare perform ‘Man Down (King Kong Shake)’ at Bristol Tobacco Factory

 
By on Thursday, 6th December 2018 at 11:30 am
 

I recently had a conversation with mates in Glasgow that live videos used as promo videos seem like a cop-out to me. Anyone with a bit of money can send a videographer to an arena show and film an audience’s reaction, right? What is far preferable to me are videos specifically intended to capture an intimate experience with a band doing what they do best: performing a song they’ve spent time and effort writing and perfecting. The most recent and best example of this I’ve come across is a recording of Childcare atop the roof of the Tobacco Factory in Bristol, on a sunny day no less. The South London band seem remarkably at home with the rays pouring down on them and next to solar panels. ‘Man Down (King Kong Shake)’ is a new version of a track that appeared on ‘Luckyucker’, their second EP that dropped this summer, and it seems tailor-made for Bristol’s Lacuna Sessions with its slacker-y, downtempo rhythm.

 

Video of the Moment #2910: Benjamin Francis Leftwich

 
By on Monday, 12th November 2018 at 6:00 pm
 

Earlier this year, London via Yorkshire singer/songwriter Benjamin Francis Leftwich released a new EP, ‘I Am With You’. Last week, he premiered the music video for ‘Gratitude’, a new single that has been taken from his upcoming third album. There’s precious little we know so far about the upcoming LP except that it’ll drop on Dirty Hit Records in early 2019. What we do know is that ‘Gratitude’ is a breathy, beautiful tune that swells to a choral crescendo at its conclusion. Watch and listen to the promo for ‘Gratitude’ below. Past coverage on Benjamin Francis Leftwich on TGTF is through here.

 
 
 

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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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