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Single Review: Various Cruelties – The Great Unknown

 
By on Tuesday, 10th January 2012 at 12:00 pm
 

Various Cruelties‘ latest single ‘Great Unknown’ has a fitting title, given the band is currently treading on the cusp of their debut album. The London-based band formed in 2010, and since then have honed their formula, crafting a series of indie pop hits to build up tension before their highly-anticipated release.

‘Great Unknown’ progresses naturally, building upon a catchy riff that carries the tune through an explosive, almost anthemic ending. Lead singer Liam O’Donnell, whose voice almost echos the style of Band of Horses‘ Ben Bridwell, is missing a bit of edge towards the end. But in this case, it is much appreciated, and allows instrumentation to kindly meet the vocals half way. It’s both refreshing and rare when rock bands don’t over-do the frontman ego, and in this case, it’s one of Various Cruelties’ strong points.

All in all, Various Cruelties are a promising young bunch, and have already played shows with the likes of Noah and the Whale, Tribes and Funeral Party. And with their feet hanging over the edge of a pretty major leap, Various Cruelties are throwing down a little cushioning with this single, a listen that is easy without being simple, catchy without kitschy, and big without being overambitious.

8/10

Various Cruelties’ new single ‘The Great Unknown’ is out now.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xh4j8HNTzLE[/youtube]

 

Bands to Watch #232: Youth Lagoon

 
By on Wednesday, 16th November 2011 at 12:00 pm
 

The birth of the MacBook has led to an interesting progression in music, especially because each machine comes equipped with the program Garage Band. Now, everyone with a laptop has access to a creative outlet, enabling every nostalgic, angst-y, twenty-something to express themselves via premade loops and heavily altered vocals. These projects tend to run together like the pigments in an over-saturated watercolour painting, making it hard for any particular composition to stand out amongst the floods of reverb that have doused the scene, and easy for any such project to be written off as layman.

However, Trevor Powers, the man behind one such project, has found a way to distinguish himself from the masses. Under the moniker Youth Lagoon, Boise, Idaho native Powers crafts budding, dream-like melodies which are conversely grounded in complex lyricism, making his project a legitimate effort. Powers has all of the necessary components of someone to write off: he is overtly nostalgic, drenches his vocals in reverb, and crafts simple, looping melodies. But unlike most of the amateur efforts, Powers has a distinct knack for both poetry and arrangement, and his recently released album, ‘The Year of Hibernation’, is one of the best bodies of work to hit the chillwave, homegrown scene. Watch the video for ‘Montana’ below.

Though Powers’ songs are somewhat methodical, he employs a formula that works. Beginning with a fragile melody, he layers effects, loops and haunting vocals until the song shifts from a quiet whisper to a booming hymn. It is a structure reminiscent of waking up from an all-too realistic dream, echoing the feeling of trading a somewhat unsettling dream for the cold breath of reality.

Lyrically, Powers poetically entwines themes of youth, mentality, and God with natural imagery, crafting cyclical and persistent metaphors. Powers is not touching on something unique or profound, he is tapping into questions many are asking, which is perhaps why there are so many bedroom musical projects in the first place. The difference is that Powers does it well.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8IKPT30jOJw[/youtube]

Keep your eyes peeled for further Youth Lagoon releases. If Powers plays his cards right, it is not unlikely that he will continue to be successful, joining the likes of Panda Bear, Toro Y Moi and Neon Indian, and continue to progressively define a growing scene.

 

Single Review: Worship – House of Glass

 
By on Wednesday, 2nd November 2011 at 12:00 pm
 

Though they formed just last year, Worship, based in Reading, have stirred up the scene with their evocative, unearthly sound. Their forthcoming single, ‘House of Glass’, reinforces their sound, layering gossamer vocals with a strong bass line and quickly paced drumming. Lead singer Tim Alexander sounds like he just got back from a funeral, lamenting into the microphone. His style is underwhelming, but purposefully so, and it adds a distinct mourning feel to the track.

This track sounds like an infertile landscape, haunting yet beautiful in its own barren way, with detail not apparent, but not absent. The quick paced beat is unsettling, but juxtaposes well against the rest of the track. Keep a wary eye on these boys: they could stand out against the sterile terrain, or fade just as quickly into the horizon.

6.5/10

‘House of Glass’, the debut single from Worship, will be released on the 21st of November. Below is a stream of ‘House of Glass’ and also the video to the band’s track ‘Collateral’.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZAk7H6EiIL4[/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 was edited by Mary Chang, based in Washington, DC.

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