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Bands to Watch #225: Ghost Eyes

 
By on Monday, 5th September 2011 at 12:00 pm
 

I’ll be completely frank – I’ve never been a huge fan of hip-hop. I don’t know why, just can’t get myself into it. Despite so, the act that I’m going to introduce to you have quite a heavy hip-hop-influenced sound.

A trio from London, Ghost Eyes released their debut single not long ago, called ‘Phantom Mountain’. Interestingly, the band have included vocals from an African children choir and also sampled blues guitar. It also has a very obscure video, featuring three dancers in a dark room. The video gives a somewhat eerie feeling, which does echo the song to some extent.

Prefer something more hip-hop? Then ‘Elephant’ is for you. The powerful beats that opened the track clearly make a statement. Not only the beats hint you about the hip-hop influence, but you’ll also find some rap towards the end of the song. Again, I’m not a huge fan of rap, but Ghost Eyes changed my perspective on the genre.

Finally, here comes a freebie goodie. ‘They Left’ was the first song I heard by Ghost Eyes. I was deeply intrigued by the topic of the song: family members leaving home. Although the song’s supposed to be tragic, it is still undoubtedly catchy. I found myself singing along to it during their set at Underage Festival. You can download this track for free here.

Ghost Eyes’ debut single ‘Phantom Mountain’ is now available digitally and also physically, in the form of a 7” vinyl. Do go and buy the vinyl cause you’ll find yourself a little surprise in it!

 

Bands to Watch #224: The Kill Van Kulls

 
By on Wednesday, 24th August 2011 at 12:00 pm
 

Does Manchester really need another electropop band? Between Delphic and the Whip…err…probably not. Anyone who dares to do it now is also going to get the unfair New Order comparison. But I think this one, the oddly-named Kill Van Kulls, deserves a moment of your time. The bouncy bass line and gentle synths at the start of their song ‘Lost and Found’? Very new wave ’80s. (HELLO. Based on these two things alone, it’s kind of a foregone conclusion I’d love this. Have a listen to ‘Fools Wish’…uhhh…there goes my heart on the floor. Think Simple Minds. Watch them perform the song pretty much acoustically below, with the iconic wallpaper at Manchester Deaf Institute as a backdrop, filmed by Manchester Scenewipe.)

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/19661890[/vimeo]

The vocals? MGMT, or possibly current darlings Foster the People. The happiness? The Naked and Famous. I can’t find much about these guys at all on the Web, so if you represent them or something, get in touch, because they seem to be the most mysterious thing to come out of MCR since WU LYF.

And if you really need more persuading, consider that this Manchester quartet will help drown out the noise of those other famous sons of the city yelling at each other. So let’s stop squabbling and enjoy the music eh, Gallaghers?

 

Bands to Watch #223: John Wean

 
By on Tuesday, 26th July 2011 at 12:00 pm
 

John Wean is an unsigned Glasgow quartet that self-describes themselves on their official Web site as follows: “four Scottish lads who write songs about love, life and their biggest interest – girls.” Have to give them credit for being honest! Further, they’ve already admitted they’ve made beginners’ mistakes: listening to the wrong people, entrusting their money to the wrong people and going into the studio to try and record before they had rehearsed and played enough and were ready to do it. Despite these early missteps, they’ve committed themselves to the band; all four of them have quit their day jobs in order to spend all their time to make their dream into a reality, and

I’ve only heard this one song, which is purported to be their debut single. Called ‘Desperate Dan (She Told Me She Was Single)’, I think you know where this song is going. (My reaction? My heart went all fuzzy.) It’s been already described on this Web site as “This tune could be bigger than the Loch Ness Monster” (giggle). It’s pretty good for some guys who recently supported Young Rebel Set at King Tuts after the promoter personally asked them to support on the back of an excellent performance opening for Inspiral Carpets’ frontman and now solo artist Tom Hingley there. And come on, you will agree with me that the Scottish brogue is just adorable, right? Listen to ‘Desperate Dan’ below.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SGcvb7k18C4[/youtube]

 

Bands to Watch #222: The Church of When the Shit Hits the Fan

 
By on Monday, 11th July 2011 at 12:00 pm
 

Words and photos by Martin Sharman

Representing the oft-overlooked genre of Scottish hip hop, The Church of When the Shit Hits the Fan blend bleeding-edge beats and classic hip hop stylings with diverse Celtic and metal influences. TGTF caught up with them at the launch gig of their second EP, the night before their biggest performance to date, on the T Break stage at T In The Park. Whilst their combination of dark, almost nihilstic lyrical tendencies and so-called “Doomcrunk” beats might be too much for some, their intensity is tempered by a tongue-in-cheek delivery. With a background in slam poetry, and previous experience as a professional clown, MC Harlequinade’s mixture of the literary and ridiculous makes for an entertaining and listenable show.

“I consider hip-hop to be a metagenre – instead of using funk and soul, we take our influences from black metal and integrate that into the hip-hop sound,” claims Harlequinade after the set. “Talk of the apocalypse doesn’t have to be negative – my approach is, the world could end tomorrow, so let’s have a party tonight!”

Citing obscure yet prolific hip-hop practitioner Noah23 as an influence, he’s sceptical about the relevance of more mainstream artists. “The underground hip hop scene is in a healthy state – but you have to dig deep beyond the usual knuckle-dragging, chest-beating mainstream acts to find the quality. I want to do something more cerebral.”

Is he looking forward to the band’s biggest performance to date tomorrow? “I’ve got mixed feelings about it. It’s great to be playing such a prestigious gig, but it’s an audience I never thought we’d be exposing ourselves to. We’re just going to have some fun.”

Has the time come when Scottish hip hop to makes a break for the mainstream? Only time will tell. Have a listen to and download a free EP from the band below. More photos of the band from T in the Park are behind the cut.

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Continue reading Bands to Watch #222: The Church of When the Shit Hits the Fan

 

Bands to Watch #220: Waylayers

 
By on Tuesday, 21st June 2011 at 12:00 pm
 

It’s safe to say that the world of atmospheric pop is still expanding. Artists such as Clock Opera and Gallops (featured on Kitsune’s recent release ‘Kitsune Maison 11: The Indie-Dance Issue’) have carved out a niche that many people in the UK want to be a part of. One of the newest bands on the scene are East London trio Waylayers. Since their formation last year, the band have begun to find success at a phenomenal rate. Their personal style of indie-pop electronica has already proved a hit with music buffs across the board, most noticeably 6Music’s Steve Lamacq who recently named them as an ‘Unsigned Band of the Week’. The London three-piece are now readying themselves for the release of their debut single, ‘Hear No Lies’ on the 1st of August (video below).

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2R36s_wFRSs[/youtube]

‘Hear No Lies’ was produced by Ewan Pearson (who notably has worked with the likes of TGTF favourite Delphic and Tracey Thorn), and his influence is noticeable. The catchy synthline stands out in what is a prime example of new atmospheric pop. Having only been a band for a short period of time, they’re still brimming with new ideas and styles. The haunting vocals and ambient melody create a chilling but conversely relaxing soundscape, which still keeps its indie-pop undertones.

Waylayers are due to release ‘Hear No Lies’ on 1st of August. They’re also playing the following dates over summer:

Tuesday 12th July 2011 – London Macbeth
Sunday 17th July 2011 – London Queen Of Hoxton
Friday 5th August 2011 – London Old Blue Last

 

Bands to Watch #219: Other Lives

 
By on Friday, 17th June 2011 at 12:00 pm
 

Since starting out under the name of Kunek in 2004, Other Lives have been honing their craft of sophisticated indie. Forming seemingly in the middle of nowhere (Stillwater, Oklahoma to be exact), Other Lives are only now gearing up to release material over the pond. Having already found famous fans in the likes of Zane Lowe, the Flaming Lips and Radiohead, the buzz around the orchestral quintet is rising.

The first single from upcoming album ‘Tamer Animals’ is one of big sounds but similarly a minimal feel. ‘For 12’ (video below) mixes the instrumentals of acoustic guitar, percussion and keyboards to create music that isn’t overly dominating in any way and allows the vocals of Jesse Tabish to soar. Tabish’s vocals really do lift the song above its original platform, his ability to hit high notes and sing majestically give the song a sombre yet powerful edge. It is this style of intricate, orchestral, expansive almost dream pop which have made Other Lives such a hot commodity in certain circles.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AWMqgeIDJs8[/youtube]

The band’s first album to be released in the UK, ‘Tamer Animals’, is scheduled for release on the 29th of August. The LP was recorded over a period of 16 months in the band’s own recording studio, where every nuance and note was carefully structured to create what will prove to be an astonishing (almost) debut.

Other Lives are playing the following dates in August/September:

Friday 12th August 2011 – Leicester Summer Sundae Festival
Wednesday 17th August 2011 – Manchester Deaf Institut
Thursday 18th August 2011 – London Lexington
Friday 19th August 2011 – Green Man Festival (Brecon Beacons, Wales)
Saturday 3rd September 2011 – North Dorset End Of The Road Festival

 
 
 

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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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