Festival coverage, including that from SXSW 2017 and BIGSOUND 2017, can be read through here.

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Video of the Moment #1741: We Were Promised Jetpacks

 
By on Wednesday, 11th February 2015 at 6:00 pm
 

Scottish band We Were Promised Jetpacks – now a five-piece – have released a new promo video this week for ‘Peaks and Troughs’. The tune appears on ‘Unravelling’, their third album for Fat Cat Records released last October. The song has an unsettling vibe to it, which starts off only mildly creepy, and just gets progressively weirder and weirder as the video goes on. Is that a benign comet or a more sinister asteroid in the distance? Watch the video below.

Past TGTF coverage on WWPJ is this way.

 

Album Review: We Were Promised Jetpacks – Unravelling

 
By on Thursday, 23rd October 2014 at 12:00 pm
 

At a time when the term apathy is almost an outlawed word in Scotland, it’s ironic that an album by a band from north of Hadrian’s Wall inspires an overwhelmingly apathetic feeling within me. From the beginning of We Were Promised Jetpacks‘ third outing ‘Unravelling’ – barring sparse sections of the record – all I could think was what else I could be doing rather than listen to this record.

Maybe I’ll listen to the new We Are the Ocean song ‘ARK’. That’s been buzzing around my head nicely for a while. Or perhaps I’ll try and write a feature piece on that BBC Music cover creation of ‘God Only Knows’, to delve into the madness where they put Dave Grohl in the same vein as (definition of flash in the pan) Sam Smith. Or perhaps I’ll listen to that 30-second snippet of the new Foo Fighters album in the documentary promo.

For me, those thoughts gave the underlying impression of an album that failed to do what I demand from music. It neither grabbed me, nor did it take me on a journey, nor did it inspire any poignant emotion within me – barring apathy – if that can be classified as a discernable emotion. I didn’t feel it was truly experimental either; there was nothing which jumped out and grabbed me and made me think, nobody else is doing that at the moment.

The record truly just doesn’t get going until quarter of an hour in, despite flecks of promise at the end of LP opener ‘Safety in Numbers’. ‘Night Terror’ at least had enough about to wake me from the faux-slumber I drifted into at the top of the album. Perhaps I was expecting too much? But when the NME call their second album “Punchy, literate guitar music”, I expect a bit of punch before around 25 minutes into the blooming thing. ‘A Part of It’ starts off with a bit of bite and vigour, almost enough to nudge me awake from my stasis.

From the brilliantly angst-ridden breakout record of ‘These Four Walls’, We Were Promised Jetpacks showed a great promise in the brilliantly honest songwriting that underpinned the power of their debut outing. Despite their being an almost overwhelming sense of anxiety throughout ‘Unravelling’, this album just doesn’t hit the emotional highs and lows that predecessors have found the note on. As far as British post-rock is going, the group looked certain to push their way to the forefront, but this album despite having all the sheen of a brilliant production and some slick guitar work just feels a little underwhelming.

I just thought a band with the word ‘jetpacks’ in the title may be a little more exciting with maturity, but even after ‘Unravelling’, I still think we’re waiting for lift-off.

5/10

Scottish band We Were Promised Jetpacks‘ third album ‘Unravelling’ is out now on FatCat Records. Read Mary’s review of previous single ‘I Keep It Composed’ here.

 

Video of the Moment #1629: We Were Promised Jetpacks

 
By on Tuesday, 16th September 2014 at 6:00 pm
 

We Were Promised Jetpacks have a new promo for ‘I Keep It Composed’, the second song to be revealed from their upcoming third album ‘Unravelling’. It will be the Scottish band’s next single on Fat Cat Records. I reviewed the single 2 weeks ago here on TGTF and you can read my thoughts on it here.

I’m not so sure the theme of their new video is timed all that well, considering we’re still reeling from the Malaysian Airlines disaster in the Ukraine. But I suppose if there was any time to ‘keep it composed’, it’s after you’ve escaped death and you’ve got no-one to protect you except yourself. Given that they’re Scottish, I also wonder if the video’s meaning is a veiled indication as to which side they’ve taken on the Scottish Referendum. Watch the video below.

We Were Promised Jetpacks are currently on tour in the UK.

 

Single Review: We Were Promised Jetpacks – I Keep It Composed

 
By on Tuesday, 2nd September 2014 at 12:00 pm
 

Subtlety was never We Were Promised Jetpacks‘ strong suit. In their debut album ‘These Four Walls’, the emphatic vocal style adopted by frontman Adam Thompson accompanied by the relentless instrumental sound of the band on ‘Quiet Little Voices’ was many fans’ first introduction to the Scottish group. (Another standout from their debut, ‘Roll Up Your Sleeves’, was incidentally the first song I’d heard from them, leading me to write this Bands to Watch in August 2009.) ‘Medicine’, the first single from their 2011 album ‘In the Pit of the Stomach’, followed a similar formula, with a driving rhythm and unwavering vocals. However, the latest new material to come from the WWPJ camp bears a curious title: ‘I Keep It Composed’. It follows track ‘Safety in Numbers’, which was unveiled in July.

Thompson stretches his vocal cords a bit more on this track, while also bending and holding his notes as well, giving the track a psychedelic feel at times. The bass line seems more pronounced than on their past recordings, but it remains to be seen live if it’s due to the mix and not an actual change in sound or playing on Sean Smith’s part why this is the case. And the overall sound is fuller, and this is no doubt thanks to the bringing on of a fifth band member, Stuart McGachan, who plays guitar and keyboards. Indeed, it’s McGachan’s notes that seem to provide most clarity in a wall of sound slowly buzzing and building towards the song’s eventual climax.

The problem isn’t so much the musicianship; what We Were Promised Jetpacks have created here is good. It’s just not terribly interesting or unique. Perhaps this was the point: ‘I Keep It Composed’ wasn’t recorded to be a pop masterpiece, or even to be a radio-friendly song like ‘Safety in Numbers’. (Now why wasn’t that released as a single, huh?) The title, sounding tongue in cheek, sounded like we were to expect something a bit different from these Scots, but it seems we were sorely disappointed. What will the rest of new album ‘Unravelling’ sound like? Guess we’ll have to wait for October to come to find out.

5.5/10

‘I Keep It Composed’ is the first single from We Were Promised Jetpacks‘ forthcoming third album ‘Unravelling’. The single drops on the 22nd of September on Fat Cat Records, with the LP to follow on the 6th of October. Catch the band on tour in the UK in September and October.

 

We Were Promised Jetpacks / September and October 2014 UK/Irish Tour

 
By on Friday, 8th August 2014 at 9:00 am
 

Scottish five-piece We Were Promised Jetpacks have just announced a September tour of Ireland and the UK, to be followed by a handful of European dates and an already sold out October show at the Lexington in London. A complete list of upcoming dates can be found at the band’s Web site. Tickets for the following shows are available now.

Thursday 11th September 2014 – Cork Cyprus Avenue
Friday 12th September 2014 – Belfast Limelight
Saturday 13th September 2014 – Derry Nerve Centre
Sunday 14th September 2014 – Dublin Whelan’s
Wednesday 17th September 2014 – Aberdeen Garage
Thursday 18th September 2014 – Dundee Non-Zero’s
Friday 19th September 2014 – Edinburgh Caves
Saturday 20th September 2014 – Manchester Deaf Institute
Sunday 21st September 2014 – Brighton Bermuda Triangle
Wednesday 8th October 2014 – London Lexington (sold out)

 

TGTF Guide to SXSW 2014: Rock UK artists showcasing at this year’s SXSW (N-W)

 
By on Wednesday, 26th February 2014 at 1:00 pm
 

Please note: all information we bring you about SXSW 2014 is to the best of our knowledge when it posts, and bands scheduled to appear may be subject to change. To learn when your favourite band is playing in Austin, we recommend you first consult the official SXSW schedule, then stop by the band’s Facebook and official Web site for details of any non-official SXSW appearances.

British rock and its many facets will be on display at SXSW 2014, judging by the variety of acts been given a shout by the festival this year. In the second installment of the exclusive TGTF Guide to SXSW 2014, we turn to the UK bands that play rock, punk, metal and everything in between, alphabetically N through W. (In case you were wondering, there weren’t any Y or Z bands announced, we weren’t leaving anyone out on purpose!) The first half of the rock list, in case you missed it, is here.

Natives
How many UK bands do you know of have already gone on tour in Asia even before their debut album has been released? Not many. Even less when you’ve never heard of said band. So there must be something more about Natives from the New Forest that deserves your attention. They sound entirely unpretentious and (gasp!) just like they’re having a lot of fun too. We don’t know much about them, but we’re guessing there’ll be plenty to say post-SXSW.

New Desert Blues
John writes: “With no sense of pretence, no dramatic unveiling, New Desert Blues have snuck up on my psyche, with the immense track that is ‘Adam’. The five impeccably dressed lads who sounded raw, and ebbed with potential at The Great Escape at The Fishbowl have created something really special with their debut effort.

Refined, and delightfully genuine, New Desert Blues aren’t bursting with youthful exuberance as you’d expect from a group of five less-than-likely lads. They instead emanate a dastardly sense of cool: whether that is in lead singer James Cullen’s ability to pull of the most pretentious of turtlenecks in Brighton sunshine at this year’s Great Escape, is yet to be uncovered.”

PINS
All girl group PINS sound more Brooklyn than Manchester in their raucous, fuzzy rock delivery. Admittedly, their complete lack of Y chromosomes sets them apart from all the other UK rock acts at SXSW 2014, but will this – along with their Christmas song getting an exclusive on Urban Outfitters’ Web site – work in their favour, or will they merely be a curiosity?

Public Service Broadcasting
Martin writes: “They take as their inspiration and sampling material that rich vein of mid-century film footage which gloried in the wonder of British achievements, celebrating the majesty of heavy engineering, the valour of daring explorers, and the gritty triumph of war. The band themselves mirror the tone of their subject matter by dressing in tweeds and having names like Wriglesworth; one half-expects the other band members to be called Ginger and Algy, and for them to fly off in Sopwith Camels after the show is over.

Each piece brings to life a particular microcosm of history via clips from vintage newsreels, spanning about 20 years from the early 1940s to the advent of practical colour television in the 1960s. Wartime propaganda is invoked in ‘Dig for Victory’, the distinctive iconography exhorting the populace to self-reliance via growing their own food is writ large across several vintage television sets adapted for digital projection. ‘Spitfire’ uses copious footage from the 1942 film The First Of The Few to honour the achievements of RJ Mitchell, the designer of arguably the most famous aircraft ever built.”

Royal Blood
The lone true rock band on the BBC Sound of 2014 longlist, the Brighton duo’s is the UK’s answer to, well, both the Black Keys and Queens of the Stone Age. And they’re ready to unleash their punishing bluesy rock on Austin come March.

Saor Patrol
Cheryl writes: “Playing what they have dubbed ‘medieval Scottish rock’, Saor Patrol – which translates as ‘freedom guard’ in Scottish Gaelic – kicks up the amperage on other traditional folk music. Not content to stick with the 100% traditional sound, these guys add a grinding guitar to pull it just this side of modern. Completely instrumental, the combination of this driving guitar overlaid with a bagpipe melody is just different enough from traditional bagpipe bands to turn heads.”

Read the rest of Cheryl’s Band to Watch on Saor Patrol here.

Save Your Breath
Cheryl writes: “There probably wasn’t a lot to do on a Saturday night in the port city of Newport in the south of Wales. Friends Ben Griffiths and Tom Owens solved the boredom by forming a band that eventually was fleshed out to become Save Your Breath. Taking their pop punk sensibilities from the likes of Green Day and their ilk, they forged their sound from the grit of the life around them. What must have started out as a lark between school chums, titles like ‘Not in the Mood for Kiwi’ and ‘Holy Shit, Fortune Teller Miracle Fish!’ show up on their first album, they have matured enough to temper their weird song titles but still have energetic, aggressive tunes worthy of a listen.”

For more on Save Your Breath, read the rest of Cheryl’s Band to Watch on them here.

Slaves
Garage punky duo from Kent have already made a big noise in London and on tour with fellow SXSW 2014-ers Drenge for their punishing live set. Not much else to say except if you like punk, you better start planning your SXSW schedule around these guys, because I think it’s pretty assured their sets will be rammed.

Splashh
Kind of poppy, kind of rocky, kind of surf-y. Not terribly cerebral, but hey, this is the kind of music I expect Best Coast fans to enjoy (and there are a lot of those).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v= http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e_a42mz5fhc

Syd Arthur
Syd Arthur – there is no man named “Syd Arthur”. No, they’re a psych rock band with a wink wink, nudge nudge hippie name, and the players all with long, unkempt hair. “Greatly inspired by the sonic pioneers of the late 60s and early 70s, they have patiently learned how to engineer, produce and mix themselves, using an innovative hybrid of analogue and digital techniques.”

Teeth of the Sea
Instrumental proggy guitars plus synths band with their latest album, ‘Master’ (2013), receiving rave reviews across the board for its inventiveness. Their live shows have received similar plaudits, so if you’re into this kind of music, they’re unmissable in Austin.

Traams
Like your punk as well as your melodies? Described often as “noisy”, “happy” and “joyous”, Chichester’s Traams, then, are for you.

We Were Promised Jetpacks
The Scottish band’s cult popularity in the States was on a high in 2012 when the band appeared at SXSW last, but after being off the radar for quite a while, they’ve just released a live album ‘E Rey Live In Philadelphia’ and will be looking to solidify their standing stateside.

Wolf Alice
Carrie writes: London alt-rockers Wolf Alice are likely to bring in new fans from all corners at their SXSW shows. Their sound is a hybrid of styles, a slightly unsettling middle ground among cerebral indie folk, bright garage pop, and murky grunge rock…The band’s own lyric, from the title track ‘Blush’ might actually be the best description of their overall sound: “Punch drunk, dumbstruck, potluck, happy, happy.”

The Wytches
Ben writes: “These Brighton based psych surfers take a battered base of shoegazing garage rock, douses it with B-movie psychedelia, throws on a lighter and watches it blacken into a ghastly yet basely expressive lump of carbon. The far out three piece had a degree of success with two singles on Hate Hate Hate Records, before announcing their switch to Heavenly Recordings with the release of Afree digital download ‘Gravedweller'”.

Keep it here on TGTF for more in the TGTF Guide to SXSW 2014, coming soon!

 
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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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