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Album Review: Knightstown – Knightstown

 
By on Tuesday, 18th September 2018 at 12:00 pm
 

Knightstown album coverThe path to creation is often as important as the end product itself. In the case of Knightstown’s debut album, the songs that made it on to the record were part of an arduous 3-year songwriting process for Michael Aston. Classically trained at Oxford and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow, ‘Knightstown’ represents Aston’s most ambitious effort to date as an indie electronic artist since completing his studies. It follows EP ‘Keep’, which was unveiled in the first quarter of 2018. Interestingly, although violin was the first instrument he picked up as a child, Aston’s primary instrument of choice is keyboards. This fact has already led to some inevitable but favourable comparisons to established acts like South London producer Sampha and the Mercury Prize-winning James Blake, comparisons Aston himself has welcomed.

The album smartly begins in familiar territory, with previously released single ‘First Cry’. In this track that’s just shy of 5 minutes in length, there’s plenty of time for Aston to set the tone for the rest of the record. With ‘First Cry’, he’s created a dreamy atmosphere, with his light-as-air falsetto, melodic instrumentation that never overpowers, and a compelling mechanical beat. This lovely, gentle dreaminess continues on ‘Moon’ and ‘Two Appear’, the latter of which closes the album with an additional soulful edge.

For those looking for something a bit more lively, ‘Charlatan’ is a standout, Aston upping the tempo with a staccatoing background synth melody and crunchy beats. On the super catchy, programmed beat-driven ‘Bitter End’, Aston sings, “save your tears for a stormy night”. Whether you choose to bop your head or golf-clap your hands to the rhythm, it’s definitely an earworm. Speaking of handclaps, there’s some in another previously released single, ‘Catcher’. Its cheerful tempo makes it feel like an electronic soft-shoe.

To let us know he hasn’t forgotten his classical roots, Aston has utilised lush instrumentation on a few tracks here to make us feel like we’re in the presence of an orchestra. Remembering that he’s a solo artist, this is quite the feat. On ‘Eyes Open Wide’, Aston’s voice bounces in the verses, then soars with the uplifting nuances of the arrangement. The frenetic synth notes on another album standout, ‘Come Home to Me’, take us on a ride into space, up high into the heavens. The song’s strings, however, remind us of the tune’s humanity, our debt to Aston’s musical training and of the ability of instrumentals to elicit emotion.

Some songs on Knightstown’s debut album demonstrate Aston’s ability to write gentle, atmospheric electronic dream pop. Others suggest his willingness to go in a dancier, more pop-orientated direction. Which way he chooses to go from here, we’ll definitely be listening.

8/10

Self-titled debut album ‘Knightstown’ is out now on FatCat Records. I interviewed Michael Aston at The Great Escape 2018 in Brighton in May; check out the interview from this link. All our past coverage on TGTF on his solo project Knightstown is through here.

 

Video of the Moment #2896: Low

 
By on Monday, 17th September 2018 at 6:00 pm
 

Minnesotan trio Low released their latest LP last Friday, and it’s already garnering quite a bit of acclaim. ‘Double Negative’, now available from venerated indie label Sub Pop, is, incredibly, their twelfth studio album. It was produced by BJ Burton, who also served as producer on 2015’s ‘Ones and Sixes’.

‘Rome (Always in the Dark)’ figures later in the tracklisting for the new album. To celebrate the release of the record, the band have released its accompanying promo video. Its collage-like nature gives it a feeling of a scrapbook come alive, with seemingly pulsating colours and patterns that at times seem like they’re on fire. These visuals mirror the dissonant delays and reverb employed on the track. Watch the video for ‘Rome (Always in the Dark)’ below. The band will be on tour on the Continent in a few dates in the UK on October before a longer tour on the eastern half of America in November. More UK and Continental dates follow in early 2019. All live performance details can be viewed on the band’s official Web site. More coverage on Low here on TGTF can be viewed through here.

 

Live Gig Video: Fenne Lily shares 2018 Green Man performance of ‘Car Park’

 
By on Monday, 17th September 2018 at 4:00 pm
 

Bristol-based singer/songwriter Fenne Lily will be busy this autumn out on tour. Following a headline show on the 12th of October at London Borderline with SXSW 2018 showcasing band Wyldest, she’ll be supporting two great acts in the UK and America. In October, she’ll be the opening act for American singer/songwriter Lucy Dacus. Then, following Thanksgiving here in the States, she’ll be supporting Canadian Andy Shauf on a short tour hitting Washington, DC, Philadelphia and two nights in Brooklyn.

Before all of that, and actually last month, Fenne Lily and her band were at Green Man Festival in Wales, where they recorded this gem of a performance. It’s of ‘Car Park’, from her self-released debut album ‘On Hold’, out now. Some fans have noted that this live version is a little faster than the version on record. But hey, aren’t live shows supposed to be spontaneous and deliciously different? Watch the performance below. You can read our review of Fenne Lily’s single ‘What’s Good’ through here.

 

Video of the Moment #2895: Talos

 
By on Thursday, 13th September 2018 at 6:00 pm
 

Talos has a deluxe version of his album ‘Wild Alee’, his debut that was released last year, out now. The deluxe edition has several brand new tracks, including ‘Seance’, which, as the name sounds, should have a ghostly, creepy video to go along with it. Eoin French, the Cork-based singer/songwriter, has delivered with its accompanying lo-fi promo directed by Niall O’Brien, which makes you question what you’re seeing and what is real.

The release of this video has been paired with the news that there will be a new Talos EP out next week. A three-track audio and video EP, ‘Live At St Luke’s’, featuring songs that were recorded live at two sold-out dates at the famed Cork venue, will be available from Friday, the 21st of September. In October, Talos will be out on tour in the UK and Ireland with Editors; he’ll then be on a headline tour of his own in the UK and the Continent before heading out to North America with Peter Bjorn and John in late November into early December. Check out his tour dates on his Facebook and his official Web site. To read through our past articles on Talos, come through.

 

Sam Gellaitry / November 2018 UK Tour

 
By on Thursday, 13th September 2018 at 9:00 am
 

To follow a few dates on the continent, Scottish electronic producer Sam Gellaitry has announced a handful of shows in the UK. Tickets to the shows listed below are all on sale now. Below the tour date listing, you can listen to a new track from Gellaitry, ‘long distance VIP’, in the embedded Soundcloud widget. Our past coverage on the artist from Sterling can be found through this link.

Friday 2nd November 2018 – Edinburgh Sneaky Pete’s
Saturday 3rd November 2018 – Leeds Headrow House
Sunday 4th November 2018 – Manchester Soup Kitchen
Tuesday 6th November 2018 – Brighton Green Door Store
Thursday 8th November 2018 – London Corsica Studios

 

Video of the Moment #2894: Savoir Adore

 
By on Wednesday, 12th September 2018 at 6:00 pm
 

As much as I kvetch and complain about the heat of a DC summer, I don’t know if I can say goodbye to summer just yet. Pulling on a jumper or blazer for work this week has given me quite a bittersweet feeling. The new Savoir Adore video for ‘When the Summer Ends’ is, visually, full of reminders of what makes summer great. Long summer drives, noshing on popcorn with late night movies, fun times in the pool with your friends: what more could you ask for? ‘When the Summer Ends’ in a enjoyable, poppy synth number feeling as easy and breezy as the kind of summer day you wish could last forever. The single will appear on the first half of a two-part album, ‘First Bloom’, which will be available from Nettwerk Music Group on the 19th of October. Catch all of the Savoir Adore goodness (er, articles on them) here on TGTF through this link.

 
 
 

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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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