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Bands to Watch #364: False Heads

 
By on Tuesday, 22nd December 2015 at 12:00 pm
 

False Heads are an East London-based indie rock trio, rooted in a wide range of influences from garage rock to post-punk. The band has recently signed to 25 Hour Convenience Store, the label headed by Gary Powell of The Libertines. The band has already garnered attention from the likes of NME and Q, and has won support from BBC6Music and BBC Introducing, amongst others. Following some alterations to the original arrangement, the line-up is now Luke Griffiths, Jake Elliott and Barney Nash, and the trio have just released new single ‘Steal and Cheat’, which is out now.

On the band’s Facebook, Powell describes how the “marriage between the audio and visual is so in sync that it makes it near impossible to take your eyes off the stage”, and even when listening to False Heads while sat at home at your laptop, it’s not difficult to image the energetic, riotous force that they must be onstage. On the recorded front, they originally released their first EP ‘Tunnel Vision’ in 2013, which was re-released the following year through Hit4Head Records. ‘Wear and Tear’, released earlier this year to quiet acclaim, is the band’s second EP.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WNfqgkMRrnc[/youtube]

Comparisons might be drawn between False Heads’ newest single and The Libertines’ own back catalogue, but this trio are not to be confused for some poor imitation. That said, ‘Steal and Cheat’ does have similarities to The Libertines, more so than the False Heads’ previous stuff. Yet ‘Steal and Cheat’ is a standout track in its own right, and Griffiths’ soft yet edgy vocals, and the gritty lyrics are dripping with a captivating brazenness. The grittier ‘Wear and Tear’ EP released earlier this year draws on grungier influences: think Nirvana’s ‘Nevermind’, in particular ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’, as it can be heard in the opening bars of False Heads’ ‘Twentynothing’.

False Heads pack a punch. Somehow dirty and clean at the same time, the band evokes a whole range of other artists and songs, yet this isn’t to the detriment of the band. They sound a bit like a melting pot of indie rock and punk influences from the past few decades. On ‘Wrap Up’, the punchy guitar rhythms echo the likes of Queens of the Stone Age, and ‘Fall Around’ evokes Pixies’ own use of stomping bass and pithy guitar hooks.

The trio have a number of shows planned for the New Year around London, and a brand new EP is expected sometime in early 2016. Keep an eye out, as they have big things planned for the upcoming year. In Powell’s own words, “Miss them at your peril!”

 

Bands to Watch #363: Swim

 
By on Monday, 7th December 2015 at 12:00 pm
 

Words by Rebecca Clayton

We’ve come a long way since the days of advertising for bandmates in newspapers. Swim, the Swedish chill-wave duo, prove this. Formed in 2013, Swim is the brainchild of Erika and Carl, who collaborated and shared ideas for a year before meeting in person. After recording, writing and producing separately for years, the pair’s forthcoming debut EP is out at the end of this week.

The pair remains relatively low on the radar from a social media perspective, but they will no doubt garner attention following the release of their debut single and EP title track ‘Next to Me’, a track that feels like it could have been unearthed from some dream-induced realm of cyberspace. The single has also garnered attention from the Swedish techno/trance pair Boeoes Kaelstigen, whose remix of the song has been posted to Soundcloud.

According to Swim’s Facebook page, the duo are looking to “create music for your late evenings”, precious moments of solitude, drives along the seaside and the last throbbing hour on the dance floor, and that is precisely the tone that this single conveys. Erika’s vocals, one moment hoarse and low, then hauntingly clear the next, lend well to the atmospheric and mesmerising rhythm of the track.

It’s easy when listening to Swim to pick up on some similarities to other artists tagged with the label chill-wave, such as Washed Out and Toro y Moi, and Erika’s dreamy vocals are reminiscent of Romy Madley-Croft of The xx. However, Swim don’t fit neatly or cleanly into any specific category. Erika and Carl’s own brand of chilled-out indie synthpop is fresh, interesting and genre-defying. .Whilst it does echo other artists in similar areas, the mixture of the mellow, dream-like rhythm, and Erika’s distinct vocals makes it hard to pin Swim down exclusively to one genre.

Swim have two shows planned for the new year, in Switzerland next April, no doubt with many more on the way. If their debut single is anything to go by, the EP due out later this week is set to be a triumph. The debut EP from Swim, ‘Next to Me’, is out on Friday, the 11th of December, on With Love Recordings.

 

Bands to Watch #362: Lewis & Leigh

 
By on Thursday, 12th November 2015 at 12:00 pm
 

Folk-pop duo Lewis & Leigh combine the musical heritage of their two geographically divergent backgrounds to create a sound that is broadly accessible, yet still somehow feels personal and intimate. Vivid lyrical portraits and widely varying musical influences ranging from Americana to Motown, from traditional British folk to edgy London pop, blend effortlessly in the angelic singing voices of Alva Leigh and Al Lewis, who are well-respected songwriters individually, but who have found a sweetly sensitive fusion in their collaboration with one another.

The pair’s illustrative track ‘Rubble’, from their EP ‘Missing Years’, draws comparisons between the American Deep South where Leigh was born, and the Welsh countryside that Lewis calls home. First depicted is the coastal town of Gulfport, MS, which has been levelled by several hurricanes in recorded history, most recently Hurricane Katrina in 2005. (It’s hard to tell which hurricane is referenced in the video below, possibly 1979 Hurricane Frederic or 1985 Hurricane Elena). The song’s second verse refers to the struggles surrounding the Welsh Mining Strike of 1984, with the chorus making the connection between the two seemingly disparate locations, observing how each was reduced to rubble in the aftermath of those disastrous events. The final verse talks about having roots in those places, and being drawn to them, each sympathizing with the other’s toil and trouble. It’s a haunting and thought-provoking song whose musical setting is elegantly sensitive to the musical style and cultural spirit of each region.

[youtube]https://youtu.be/_OfGkXLmuhM[/youtube]

Lewis & Leigh’s debut EP ‘Night Drives’ won attention from BBC Radio 2, with lead single ‘What Is There To Do’ spending four weeks on that station’s playlist back in 2014. The duo subsequently performed live sessions with Dermot O’Leary and BBC Radio Scotland’s Ricky Ross. Their latest single, a soulful jazz pop tune called ‘Heart Don’t Want’, has already received well-deserved attention in America from the likes of Rolling Stone and NPR, as well as a Twitter endorsement from veteran singer/songwriter Ryan Adams.  The song was recorded as part of their latest EP ‘Hidden Truths’ and produced at Urchin Studios by Matt Ingram and Dan Cox, who also helmed Laura Marling‘s latest album ‘Short Movie’.

[youtube]https://youtu.be/DUDZDDF7t18[/youtube]

Lewis & Leigh’s current EP ‘Hidden Truths’ is available now. The pair are currently touring the new EP throughout the UK. Their final live dates for the season are listed below.

Thursday 12th November 2015 – Sheffield Cafe No. 9
Friday 13th November 2015 – Kirton-in-Lindsey Town Hall
Saturday 14th November 2015 – Leeds High & Lonesome Festival
Friday 11th December 2015 – Cardiff St. John the Evangelist’s Church, Canton

 

Bands Around Town #1: West London

 
By on Thursday, 12th November 2015 at 11:00 am
 

Editor’s note: we’re trying a new experiment with a premiere of a different kind of Bands to Watch feature, specific to a region. Our Nick lives in West London and was itching to write about the bands he finds inspiring just on his doorstep. Do you feel the same way about the bands in your area? If yes, get in touch with us on Twitter at @tgtf and we can chat about highlighting your local favourites in a future edition!

West London has always had a rich musical scene. Back in the 1960s, it was where Alexis Korner established his rhythm and blues network in Ealing that would see bands like the Rolling Stones and The Who meet up and get their first breaks. Then came Jim Marshall, who decided to build amplifiers for this burgeoning scene, and Led Zeppelin used to rehearse in a school hall in Hanwell.

But that was the past. I hear you ask, what is the scene like now? Here are the six most exciting and intoxicating bands that the West London boroughs have to offer.

Ella and the Blisters

Filled with the Romany spirit, this bunch of gypsy punks turn every venue they play into a celebration of life and music, and they’ve been entertaining audiences up and down the country since 2013. After a blistering set at this year’s Green Belt Festival and Secret Garden Party, there is a rumour of a second album next year. This septet mixes traditional folk, gypsy jazz, rockabilly, country, New Orleans soul and punk ideology to create something that sounds fresh and vibrant, but also feels familiar due to having one foot in the past.

Two Hands

This trio’s brand of heavy rhythmic rock gives you faith in the genre’s future. Instead of trying to pander to the get rich quick band of pop stars and flavour of the month genres, Two Hands have delivered one exceptional EP this year and there is a rumour of another. Their live sets are enthused with songs that put an etch in your sketch. Mixing Queens of the Stone Age, Interpol, Arctic Monkeys, but with the vocal intensity of Texas is the Reason, Glassjaw and Rival Schools, their sound is big riffs, catchy shouty choruses and ultimately a good time.

Jon Mapp

West London isn’t just known for its rock, jazz is in the fabric of the boroughs. The Rolling Stones met and formed at the Ealing Jazz Club. One local musician carrying the jazz spirit is Jon Mapp. While technically he is not 100% jazz, he does use certain techniques and devices that lend themselves to jazz readily. Mapp plays certain patterns of bass notes, which he then records and loops. Then he plays new bass parts over this, along with percussive beats and rhythms. Easy, eh? But the real cleverness is the intricacies and interplay of the old and new bass runs. It’s melodic, hypnotic and strangely beautiful.

Lorca

Originally from Richmond, Lorca now spends his time between his West London hub, Brighton and DJing breath taking sets around the world. His style is refreshing and inventive. This was showcased on the ‘Forgive Me Love’ / ‘Naoko’ single last year. Now he has started to infuse his output with tribal vocals and rhythms, however it still remains true to Lorca’s bass heavy ethos. Due to countless DJ sets around the world, Lorca’s tracks have a dance floor sensibility that matches his creative vision.

Odd Rival

What’s not to like about Odd Rival? They’re young, play loud and fast and write brilliant songs. Live, they’re incendiary and blow away any other band on the line-up due to their frenetic playing and a hunger to make it. Their brand of math-punk sets them aside from their peers, as not only can they play – and how can they play – but they have an uncanny understanding of melody that means their songs don’t get lost in weighty ideas and unnecessary solos. Stand out track ‘Slave’ sounds like Longcut meets Foals, but with the riffs of Swervedriver at their heaviest.

Du Bellows (pictured at top)

The jewel in West London’s musical crown is Du Bellows. Musically. They sound like a mix of Fleetwood Mac and John McLaughlin at their acoustic, folky peaks. There are elements of the blues in there too, but it’s their vibe that conjures up images of musical past more as much as the present. I could add even more lazy journalism to this and say they remind me of a more stripped down Big Brother & the Holding Company with a certain female vocalist. I won’t, but you get the gist. But it’s the clarity and range of singer Jade Williams’ vocals that are the real hook. She can go from husky whispers to maelstroms of volume and passion in seconds. Also it helps that she’s backed by one of the tightest rhythm sections this side of Nashville, and in TJ Shipton Williams, this band have a guitarist who can not only match her note for note, but predict where she’ll go next.

 

Bands to Watch #361: Suzie Stapleton

 
By on Friday, 30th October 2015 at 12:00 pm
 

Header photo by David Fathi

Really distinctive female singing voices are hard to come by of late, with mainstream singers all trying to affect the artfully hoarse quality of Adele or the girlishly singsong tones of Taylor Swift, while garage rock girl bands seem to have adopted a collective monotonous drone. Even outside the mainstream pop realm, it’s quite rare to hear a female vocalist with the authentic emotionality and unique vocal timbre of Australian blues rock singer/songwriter Suzie Stapleton. Her low, sensual alto alternates between a brittle whisper and raw throaty power, finding every dynamic shade in between to articulate the meanings between the lines of her starkly realistic lyrics.

The five songs on Stapleton’s 2012 EP ‘Obladi Diablo’ are of the tough, gritty traditional blues rock variety and like her singing voice, Stapleton’s guitar style is unscathed by the current mainstream trend of watered down blues rock. The EP’s lead single ‘My Cons are Making a Cripple Out of Me’ is shadowy and evocative, with the wail of overdriven guitars matching the rough-hewn quality of Stapleton’s vocal delivery. Later track ‘Hit’ is similarly dark, both musically and lyrically, the guitars creating a murky background as Stapleton sings the dazed lines “take me down where the air is like wine / the dive is divine / drag me down / I’m hanging on the line”. The repeated refrain “I get hit” grows into a scorching guitar bridge ahead of the intensely bitter closing line “I take the bait every time”.

[youtube]https://youtu.be/MK91c6Yejbo[/youtube]

Stapleton channels fire and brimstone in standout track ‘Song of the Artesian Water’, whose lyrics are adapted from a poem by Australian writer Andrew Barton “Banjo” Paterson: “if the Lord won’t send us water / oh, we’ll get it from the devil / yes, we’ll get it from the devil deeper down”. Stapleton chooses to focus her lyrical interpretation on the repeated phrase “deeper down” as she digs into her own emotional wellspring for a gut-wrenching vocal delivery.

While touring in support of ‘Obladi Diablo’ in 2013, Stapleton garnered the attention of roots musician and producer Cypress Grove, who asked her to perform on the third installment of his Jeffrey Lee Pierce Sessions Project titled ‘Axels & Sockets’. That album was released in May of 2014 and included established artists Iggy Pop, Nick Cave, Mick Harvey and Debbie Harry, among others. Stapleton contributed her signature husky vocals on two tracks from the record, including first single ‘Constant Limbo (Constant Rain)’; listen for her around the 4-minute mark.

[youtube]https://youtu.be/-DB7YLRMm5c[/youtube]

This year has found Stapleton on tour throughout Europe and in the UK, including summer support slots for Mick Harvey and more recent autumn dates opening for Jim Jones and the Righteous Mind. She has recently relocated to London to begin work on her debut full length recording. Her EP ‘Obladi Diablo’ was released via French label Beast Records and is available digitally on iTunes, Amazon and Spotify.

 

Bands to Watch #358: HÔN

 
By on Thursday, 15th October 2015 at 12:00 pm
 

Words by Steven Loftin

Everyone likes things that are a little bit different. We may not admit it, but we love the things in life that don’t conform. Those things that stick out, fingers held high. That leads us nicely on to HÔN, a perfect example of this. With a mainstream sound that echoes that of the poppier end of dance tracks, a lyrical emotional depth of alternative tracks, a style that wouldn’t be lost on a Lady Gaga tour.

Hailing from Denmark, HÔN is the brainwork of Jesper Lidang, frontman and songwriter of The Rumour Said Fire, along with Nis Bested on production duties. Together, they have crafted a sound that is fit for the popular echelons in the industry, while still can keep the scenesters satisfied. (Do you mean keeping them happy / they’d listen to this?)

Utilising his own voice as a key component in the instrumentation, they form layers of dreamscape, allowing his distinctive leading vocals to cut through and deliver a high level of songwriting he has strived for and from all accounts hearing his efforts so far, achieved.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i2wLvuRl9tA[/youtube]

There are also hip-hop heavy moments that can break through, and this is shown in the lead single and first foray into HÔN as an artist, with ‘Silent Lover’. Opening with a massive beat, and leading into his characteristically harmonious chorus, it’s a track with serious pop power that can only prove to be an asset on his new journey. Not to mention that it would be the perfect opener for his debut record.

‘Honeydream’ is the second introductory track to be released in preparation for the debut album ‘White Lion’ which is out near the end of October. ‘Honeydream’ recalls early Chairlift with its use of reverb-heavy synths and melodic charm.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f3HCvxHhuJ8[/youtube]

To give you an idea of exactly where this project could be heading, when asked for a description of his new music by his label, Tambourhinoceros, Jesper replied with a two-page essay entitled ‘I Vanish’. As described, his personality vanished into a universe where he became multiple voices and identities. This project has barely begun, yet it can only wield positive, game-changing results.

 
 
 

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 was edited by Mary Chang, based in Washington, DC.

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