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EP Review: iTunes Festival, London 2010: Dharohar Project, Mumford and Sons and Laura Marling

 
By on Tuesday, 17th August 2010 at 12:00 pm
 

In December 2009, folk-favourites, Mumford and Sons and Laura Marling, both ventured out to India in order to meet and play with Rajasthani folk collective, Dharohar Project. This intriguing musical meeting went so very well that in June, Mumford and Marling decided to repay the favour, inviting Dharohar Project back over to England. This mystical journey between East and West ultimately spawned an EP (simply titled ‘Mumford Sons, Laura Marling and Dharohar Project’), which contained five collaborations between the three artists. Along with the EP, the troupe also hit the road, and performed two gigs in Bradford and London in July 2010. To celebrate, iTunes have released a further EP from the trio, which contains special live recordings from the London Roundhouse date. There Goes the Fear were granted special permission to hear the record this week, and to be frank, we couldn’t bloomin’ wait.

The record is as wonderful, exciting and mystical as you hope it would be. Mumford and Sons’ famous live energy – enjoyed so much at this year’s festival season – penetrates intensely through the speakers, as Marcus Mumford’s voice rumbles through the stomping crowd amid ‘The Cave’ and ‘Roll Away Your Stone‘. Laura Marling’s stage presence, meanwhile, is as captivating and strong as ever, as she spins her poetic tracks with a fiery attitude. Her striking voice kicks in all directions as she powers through ‘I Speak Because I Can’ and the incredible ‘Rambling Man’. Dharohar Project also have two solo spots on the EP. The tracks proving a truly spell bounding trip into the deeps of Delhi. The mind-blowing intricacy of the Rajasthani folk is dreamy, with the metallic twangs, hopping percussion and expressive vocals of ‘Mala Ramaniya’ and ‘Sakhiri Maha’ allowing for a wonderfully exotic contrast to the more familiar sounds of nu-folk.

The EP undoubtedly shines the most, however, amid the live collaborations between all three artists. Mumford and Son’s ‘To Darkness’ begins out sombre and heartbreaking, before launching into a energetic mass of Indian sounds swelling out across the Roundhouse. Dharohar Project and Mumford and Sons also join alongside Laura in order to perform ‘Devil’s Spoke’. An enchanting mix of Marling’s racy bluegrass sound with wisps of Indian strings, percussion and vocal makes this final track the true highlight of the EP.

To conclude, the connection between Dharohar Project, Mumford and Sons and Laura Marling is a truly beautiful one – one that flows so very naturally, too. This live EP is particularly outstanding as you are immersed in the passion, excitement and sheer joy aroused by the collaboration between these three artists – made notably evident by the delightful woops and claps from the lucky audience present at the gig. This EP is a true treat for the ears – I can’t recommend this magic enough.

 

Album Review: Mt. Desolation – Mt. Desolation

 
By on Tuesday, 10th August 2010 at 12:00 pm
 

There’s so many so called ‘super groups’ around these days. So much so we’re going to have to start dividing said super groups into yet further labels themselves, ala, super and, erm, not so super, super group. Are you still with me? Anyway. We have Josh Homme’s Them Crooked Vultures, Jack White’s Dead Weather, Thom Yorke’s Atoms for Peace. Oh, and er…Keane’s Mt. Desolation

Hey, hey, where are you going? Don’t run away just yet! I know Keane don’t exactly have the coolest reputation in rock and roll, but one shouldn’t judge pre-hearing, right? So I was very intrigued when Mt. Desolation’s album arrived in my inbox this week. The alt-country group was a project initially hatched by Keane pianist Tim Rice-Oxly and his fellow bassist Jesse Quin while “sipping Guinness by a fire in a nice old pub ” in Dublin. Quite a modest beginning for a band which ultimately landed the likes of Ronnie Vannucci Jr of The Killers on drums, Tom Hobden of Noah and the Whale on fiddle and Winston Marshall of Mumford and Sons on banjo (to name but a few). Bet you’re interested now, right?

Well. I don’t want you getting too excited. Despite this coming together of talent, Mt. Desolation’s self-titled debut really isn’t all that earth shattering (sorry if I burst your musical bubble). I think it would be fair to say this record is just a product from a bunch of fellows who are spinning some country tunes in their spare time. Hey, the official biography even states that Mt. Desolation was “without any motive other than just doing what they loved”. But in a way, this lack of world-domination sprinkles the record with an element of welcomed freshness. This is not a hard-going, serious record which you are meant to sit, study and ponder over. No, it’s a record merely meant for listening to and enjoying – just like the obvious enjoyment experienced by those who recorded it.

Tracks worth name-checking amid the album include opener ‘The Departure’, a gloriously upbeat number with a skippy piano and a chorus that Gram Parsons’ Flying Burrito Brothers would be proud of. ‘Annie Ford’s’ strong vocal and epic-poppy rhythm is pure Springsteen – just with a nice added injection of indie guitar – while the gloriously fun ‘Platform 7’s’ pacey percussion and boy-girl vocals make you want to hike up your skirt to reveal your cowboy boots nestled nicely beneath.

There are expected fillers – ‘Bitter Pill’, for example, sounds like an average indie-rock track, while the stripped back acoustic tracks like ‘My My My’ are somewhat hard to take seriously as emotionally-charged authentic country tunes, especially when the lyrics are a bit, well, cliché and rubbish – “I won’t lie, but sometime’s it’s hard to talk when you’re an old-fashioned guy. And all my life I fixed my blues with a glass of whiskey and ice. My my my, is all I’d say. Your heart died. But you remain.”. Ahem.

But still. There are some wonderful tracks on here. ‘Bridal Gown’ reveals itself to be a truly haunting number, with it’s sombre vox and weeping strings, while the slow-paced highlight ‘Midnight Ghost’s’ rich slide-guitar and swelling harmonies are smokily Southern – the country sound achieved at it’s purest by the band (despite those cliché lyrics making a return as the band make use of that old trick of name checking states – “I came from Carolina….through Virginia…West through Arizona, Texas and New Mexico”.).

So, for those of you who tread in fear around anything that mentions the word Keane, seriously, do not let their name put you off this record. If you like toasty Southern sounds, well, there is a decent collection of ditties to be found here. Admittedly, it does go off kilter every now and then, and hey, it won’t ever be up there with the country super groups of Crosby, Stills and Nash, but it’s still a nice record for turning the lights down to and just enjoying.

 

iPhone app: iFest

 
By on Thursday, 5th August 2010 at 12:00 pm
 

We love a good festival here at There Goes the Fear. Alas, lack of showers, decent toilets and a nice bed can sometimes put a downer on things, so we certainly appreciate when something comes along to make the experience a little less stressful. Today, we’d like to let you know about an awesome new app developed especially for festival goers in possession of one of those nifty Steve Jobs’ numbers, the iPhone. Titled ‘iFest’, the app – which was created by recent University of Plymouth graduate and avid music fan Chris Blackmore – is packed with features to make your stay go that bit more smoother (smoother than the slippery mud already makes it, of course).

The app’s content – which currently works for Glastonbury, Reading, Leeds, Bestival, Creamfields, Sonisphere and V – includes a tent finder, so should you have a bit too much to drink one night, fear not! Once iFest is installed, your iPhone will be able to locate the positioning of your tent, allowing you to gradually stagger back via the technological wonderment of GPS. Not sure whether to pack a bikini or a rain mac? Ah why, consult your iFest app, who’ll readily hit you up on the weather forecast for the area. Want to check out any updates on the festival you’re going to? Hey, there’s even a news stream delivering the latest headlines on your festival straight to your iPhone – as well as live stage line ups. On top of that, festival site maps, Facebook and Twitter integration is included.

Chris told TGTF iFest “harnesses readily available information from multiple festival websites to give the user as much information as possible, and with the integration of a bespoke festival database, iFest ensures you have and know everything you need for your weekend”. A festival goer himself (he’s just got back from Glastonbury and is heading to Rock en Seine next month), Chris said his passion for the music events fuelled him to make the app – “I’ve always found it difficult to access information at festival sites, I had this idea of tapping into the proliferation of smart phones and utilising their capabilities, and it spurred on from there! Many of the features within iFest gives the user a real-time source of content rich information, which significantly enriches a festival experience.”

To learn more about iFest, head over to app’s website now. You can grab iFest at the iTunes App Store for a mere 59p. To confirm, the festival currently works with Glastonbury (which was in June), Reading, Leeds, Bestival, Creamfields, Sonisphere and V (the latter of which is coming up in just two weeks).

So, for a fun and hassle free festival this 2010 – iFest is your new best friend.

 

Bands to Watch #186: Surfer Blood

 
By on Tuesday, 3rd August 2010 at 12:00 pm
 

Every now and then, a band comes along that gets me real excited – so excited, I actually want to shout their names from the rooftops. Alas due to health and safety issues, I passed on the rooftop idea and took to Twitter instead, and have spent this past week annoying my ‘followers’ (mostly consisting of Spanish bots trying to sell me, er, enhancement drugs) with countless tweets about my love for Surfer Blood, my new indie crush.

And here come the comparisons. Think the summertime hooks of Vampire Weekend, add a dash of vintage lovesickness ala Beach Boys, and finally, a pinch of the true staying power of indie giants ala Pavement and The Pixies – and I think we have cooked up a nice recipe reflecting Surfer Blood – my favourite discovery of 2010 so far.

The Floridian quintet have already been given the green light by king of pretentiousness (but hey, no doubt brilliant tasting) site that is Pitchfork – who placed the band’s debut single ‘Swim’ in their ‘Best Tracks of 2009’. Said song revels around in an echo chamber, filled with thundering guitar riffs and reverb chants inducing epic, stadium worthy sing alongs. Indeed, after hearing ‘Swim’, I was pretty darn psyched, so I decided to check out Surfer Blood’s debut album, ‘Astro Coast’. The record is a bundle of fun, filled with indie gems lined with a surf edge. Tumbling guitar licks, and swirling vocals singing about David Lynch movies – Astro Coast, and Surfer Blood as a whole, are far too good an indie force to be tomorrow’s fish and chip paper.

Check out the video to ‘Swim’, below, and be sure to catch Surfer Blood at Reading/Leeds Festival this August.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5AEldiUP408[/youtube]

‘Astro Coast’ is available for purchase at Amazon for £9.99

 

Album Review: Queens of the Stone Age – Rated R (Deluxe Edition)

 
By on Tuesday, 20th July 2010 at 12:00 pm
 

It’s been a whopping 10 years since the release of Queens of the Stone Ages’ breakthrough record, Rated R. The millennium dawned as the Queens signed to a major label, and with their second record, proved to the world that this controversial move doesn’t mean you have to compromise your sound. Hailed one of the greatest albums of the decade by the likes of Rolling Stone magazine, Rated R also sits quite comfortably amid by ‘Favourite Records of All Time’ list. The album is a, dare I say it, rock masterpiece – 45 flowing minutes of sultry sounds sending you off in all sorts of directions – and still remaining as fresh and as edgy as it was back in 2000. Alas, I was pretty freekin’ happy when I heard Homme and co were to release a deluxe edition of the album next month to celebrate the big tenth anniversary of Rated R. Along with the original record, the special edition is packed with a second disc containing a live performance from Reading Festival in 2000, and some B sides to boot. Aka, party time for a Queens of the Stone Age fan girl/boy like myself (ahem, I don‘t have posters of Josh Homme on my wall really, promise).

Okay so let’s get down to looking at the important stuff, those eleven incredible tracks that compromise the demigod album that is Rated R. The record kicks off with ‘Feel Good Hit of the Summer’, a song about life’s excesses. Not that you wouldn’t have worked this out yourself as Homme spits the lyrics of “Nicotine, Valium, Vicodin, Marijuana, Ectasy and Alcohol. C-C-C-COCAINNNEE” into your speaker. Drugs are bad, kids, bad, but boy said list of illegal substances sounds incredible when set to crunky riffs which march towards the listener like angry troops. And then a transition as smooth as Sean Connery rolls in song two, ‘Lost Art of Keeping a Secret’, an endlessly sexy, smoky track led by growling distorted riffs, and a devious Homme, who practically bites your earlobes as he coos “Whatever you do…don’t tell anyone”.

Carry on reading the rest of our review of Queens of The Stone Age’s Duluxe edition of Rated R…

 

Album Review: Tom Jones – Praise and Blame

 
By on Wednesday, 14th July 2010 at 2:00 pm
 

Tom Jones‘ latest record, Praise and Blame, has featured in the press a lot over the last few days – just for all the wrong reasons. A leaked email showed Island Record’s vice-president David Sharpe tearing down the album, claiming “Imagine my surprise when I walked into the office this morning to hear hymns – it could have been Sunday morning. My initial pleasure came to an abrupt halt when I realised that Tom Jones was singing the hymns!”. Sharpe went on to ask, “I have just listened to the album in its entirety and want to know if this is some sick joke????”.

Thing is, this email surely only means the joke is on Sharpe – a suited big wig, clearly expecting ‘more of the same’. “Having lured him from EMI, the deal was that you would deliver a record of upbeat tracks along the lines of Sex Bomb and Mama Told Me”, Sharpe protested. Excuse me while I hurl, David. You see, Jones has spent the past few years trying to be said groovy Grandaddy of pop – only making himself somewhat a comedy figure in the music world. His last album, 2008’s ’24 Hours’, was Tom trying to be in the now, working with hip producers attempting to make a hip record. However, with Praise and Blame, the Welsh wonder has at last ditched the hair dye, the pile of underwear on stage and general cheese in order to make a heart and soul of a record which showcases exactly why Jones still deserves to be considered one of our greats.
Carry on reading our review of Jones’ new album…

 
 
 

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.

All MP3s are posted with the permission of the artists or their representatives and are for sampling only. Like the music? Buy it.

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