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Single Review: BAD//DREEMS – Hiding to Nothing

 
By on Friday, 3rd July 2015 at 12:00 pm
 

What is a good indie rock band in 2015 supposed to sound like? Can someone tell me please? Because I’m getting confused by who’s got the bigger fanbases. The new Palma Violets sounds like the old Libertines, the ‘new’ and reunited Libertines sound like a Dirty Pretty Things retread, and Mac DeMarco and his far too chill style makes me want to slit my wrists. And then we come to this band.

The kangaroo and the platypus are unusual creatures that evolved so because of their isolation from the rest of the world, so maybe South Australia rock group BAD//DREEMS (along with a series of amazing Aussie acts as of late, including everyone’s favourite slacker girl Courtney Barnett and the raucous Delta Riggs) have benefitted from honing their craft on the faraway island of Oz away from everyone else. Having seen them gig in Sheffield in May, I was blown away by their live chops and eagerly awaited when I would hear word, finally, of a debut album. Well ladies and gents, that time has come. This week, BAD//DREEMS announced the August drop of ‘Dogs at Bay’ on Ivy League Records and ahead of it, those kind Aussie lads wanted us to have a first taste of what’s to come.

The Adelaide band’s ‘Hiding to Nothing’ single is loud. Loud, in the sense that this is definitely a song that was written so you would take notice, because it never lets up in its intensity. But it’s not so loud that everything else is obscured by the endeavour of Being Loud. This is music you can certainly head bang to, but by doing so, you might miss out on the melody and the classic chord changes, both of which are quite impressive and won’t leave your head.

Guitarist Alex Cameron explained to Aussie radio station triple j that the song reveals their relationship with their hometown. “At its best it is in idyllic town, with a temperate climate and beautiful surrounds. At its worst it is stiflingly conservative, inward looking, and somewhat bereft of culture,” he says. This is well reflected in the totally singalong-able (and indeed, shoutable) chorus as frontman Ben Marwe sings, “I get tired, I get lonely, I can’t sleep / I see my twisted fate in empty city streets / reckless dragging ’round / this time, don’t bring me down”. If I’m reading this right, the song is also about keeping on keeping on and rising above what life throws at you, even though you have regret over what might have been, which are easily relatable to the Everyman. However you’re feeling in the moment, queue up this new single from BAD//DREEMS and you will soon have a smile on your face.

8.5/10

‘Dogs at Bay’, the debut album from Adelaide, Australia’s BAD//DREEMS, will be released on the 21st of August on Ivy League Records. Single ‘Hiding to Nothing’ is out now. All past coverage on BAD//DREEMS on TGTF is right this way.

 

Live Review: BAD//DREEMS and Francisco the Man with Beat the Bandit at Sheffield Frog and Parrot – 7th May 2015

 
By on Tuesday, 12th May 2015 at 2:00 pm
 

Years ago, for boring reasons I won’t go into here, I decided music wasn’t a sensible career. As the years go on as I’m a music editor, I continue to see more and more instances where the unexpected nature of this job would have driven me absolutely bonkers. But like most things in life, you have to learn to roll with the punches, pick yourself back up and push yourself out there again.

As you may have read in part 2 of my Live at Leeds adventure 2 Saturdays ago, my intention had been to see Adelaide, Australia band BAD//DREEMS performing at A Nation of Shopkeepers. To my shock, really – compared to American crowds, I usually witness extreme politeness when I’m around Northerners, who usually see me trying to make my way to the front of a gig and part the seas so I can do so – everyone who had shown up to see BAD//DREEMS refused to move, staking their spots so they could enjoy the Aussies’ entire gig unbothered. This is a good thing, mind: I’m glad they were so well-received in Leeds, their first time in that city. And luckily, I had a plan B available: they were supposed to play a gig the following Thursday at the Rocking Chair in Sheffield, alongside their current UK tourmate coheadliners Francisco the Man from America.

The original show in Sheffield was to be headlined by local garage rock duo Hot Soles, who wowed me at Liverpool Sound City 2014 with their spunk at a Yorkshire showcase last year at one of my favourite Liverpool clubs, the entirely unpretentious Mello Mello (RIP, sob). After receiving a frantic slew of emails while I was still in Dublin, it became apparent that the Thursday night gig was now up in the air, as someone in Hot Soles’ camp had taken ill, so the Rocking Chair event was now cancelled. A few more emails later, and the decision had been made to move the show to the Frog and Parrot on Division Street and turn it into a free gig.

Obviously, a free gig is not the best for bands, since that means there’s no cut from the ticket sales from them. However, seeing that both BAD//DREEMS and Francisco the Man had travelled thousands upon thousands of miles to come out to blighty and had already brought all their gear out to Sheffield, it’s important to point out that showing up and playing for the locals, even as part of a free gig, is an important step. These days, even with the internet, music Web sites and services like Spotify and Hype Machine, I still find word of mouth an extremely important tool in separating the wheat from the chaff when it comes to bands. Even if the two bands had one new fan from the show in Sheffield, that fan can turn around and tell 10 of his friends about the bands and turn them on to them. And so on. I want to stress this, as even though major label signings are forced down our throats (especially and sadly true in America), us down at the grass roots levels can and will still make a difference to indie music.

Right, so off my soapbox and on to the gig review. From what I gather, BAD//DREEMS and Francisco the Man have already become good friends during their time together over here, which is always great to hear. BAD//DREEMS explained to me before they played that they’d been taking turns with would headline, and this night, it was BAD//DREEMS who went first. With nearly 12K likes on Facebook, the Aussies are already beloved back home, and this trip out would be their first chance to make an impression on the Brits.

Their 2013 debut EP ‘Badlands’ features some truly rip-roaring tracks, including the heart-pound-inducing ‘Hoping For’ and the psychedelic leaning ‘Caroline’. The more recent single ‘Dumb Ideas’ plays right into the lo-fi, garage-y sound that the UK and America love at the moment. What I found most interesting, especially given I’d explained to them earlier in the evening how the Temper Trap were the first Aussie band I had really backed as a blogger, that they are heads and shoulders more fun, loud and aggressive than I had guessed from watching their videos on YouTube, making them just like the Temper Trap an even better proposition live than what is presented on their records. I am admittedly a sucker for a great melodic guitar line, and set standout ‘Too Old’, hit the spot.

Filling out the bill for the evening were locals Beat the Bandit. From the first few bars they played, I had to laugh to myself. If I’d never been given any background on them, I would have known just based on sound they were a Sheffield band. Trading on the expert guitar playing and at times, the melodic, heart-twangy sound of bands such as Britpop’s Longpigs and more recent acts like High Hazels, this isn’t a criticism, just an observation. The band’s most recent release, an EP called ‘Winter’, is available from their Facebook. When you’re there, you see they have roots in Preston, which may explain why a song like ‘Let Me Teach You How to Dance’ sounds just like the most famous musical export of the Sixties from the Northwest, the Beatles.

After an intermission of local indie rock, it was up to Californian rockers Francisco the Man to pull it back and end the evening on a raucous note. An East Coaster such as myself generally does not take bands from California too seriously; as the adverts say, it is true we think they’re all surfers and have ADD, while we chug down our umpteenth coffee, complacent in our neuroticism. While it is true that Francisco the Man’s songs do give off that sun-dappled vibe that usually only comes from a coastal band, the washy, shoegazey guitars on songs like ‘Progress’ alongside hard driving drum beats make for an engaging watch.

Frontman Scotty Cantino (yes, that is really his name) has a hipster beard but thankfully lacks any sort of pretentiousness. They released their debut album ‘Loose Ends’ last year on Fat Possum, and they share their label mates The Districts’ love for huge sounding guitars and emotional lyrics, and you can’t help but be drawn in by a track like ‘You & I’, which filled a place like the Frog and Parrot with so much luscious sound, you’re reminded how great indie rock can be. For more of a live taste of Francisco the Man, check out their live session at Seattle’s KEXP from last year.

Both BAD//DREEMS and Francisco the Man are at the Great Escape this week, so check them out!

 

Live at Leeds 2015: Editor Mary’s Roundup (Part 2)

 
By on Thursday, 7th May 2015 at 2:00 pm
 

Part 1 of my Live at Leeds coverage is this way. For more of my photos from the event, check out my Flickr.

After the highs achieved and all before the 5 o’clock hour at Live at Leeds 2015, I suppose it was inevitable that there would be some kind of letdown ahead. Any music writer will try and map out a reasonable festival schedule that doesn’t have you running yourself ragged, but that too is an inevitable part of the festival experience for us, whether we’re in Austin, New York, Sydney, Liverpool or Brighton. However, the one thing you can never really plan for technical difficulties or cancellations.

There was no mention at all on her Facebook page – and the complete lack of a Twitter account didn’t help either; take note, bands: your fans really do want to know if you’ve decided to pull out of a major event – so it was with much disappointment to learn at the press area Saturday morning that Lonelady, the only show I had pencilled in at the Belgrave Music Hall and the main electronic draw for me all day, had been replaced by someone else. I will say that the sting was slightly taken off by the Patty Smith’s Dirty Burgers Chris and I had eaten there for lunch, as they were without a doubt some of the most delicious burgers I’ve ever had.

In my mind, it was to be left to Worcestershire’s astronomyy to pick up Lonelady’s slack and bring out the beats. I will say first that I have no idea about all the specs and details it takes to run a music venue, but the HiFi on Central Road certainly upset a whole lot of people Saturday in Leeds. What should have been a huge celebration of all things electro and soul in their basement venue turned into a massive problem, which I should have guessed when I ran from the Academy down to the club and astronomy hadn’t even started performing yet. After waiting probably an additional half hour after his appointed starting time, venue staff announced astronomyy would not be going on at all. Boos and jeering began and sadly, it would not be the last of such at the HiFi.

I used the downtime to visit with my Wakefield friend Matt Abbott, a friend of mine who formerly made a name for himself in music as the wordsmith behind Skint and Demoralised, is now a spoken word artist, performing as part of A Firm of Poets, who were at the featured lineup at the Black Swan, part of the Fringe portion of Live at Leeds. I mention the Fringe, as even if you’re skint (no pun intended) or don’t fancy paying for a wristband to Live at Leeds proper, there is still plenty on in town during the weekend that’s free and open to the public if you fancy it.

After we said our goodbyes, I thought it would be a good idea for me to head up to A Nation of Shopkeepers to see what the fuss was about BAD//DREEMS. I have pretty bad claustrophobia – I famously requested my biology midterm exam seat assignment in a university lecture hall be changed one semester, as I had been given a desk directly next to a wall – so this turned out to not be ideal for me at all; the place was packed, which was great, but after I had successfully passed the event bouncer who let me into the place, I found myself pinned in from all sides from people either trying to get drinks from the bar or those who refused to be kind and to make way for anyone else.

I suppose it’s your right to be territorial if you’ve gotten to a venue early and wish to stay, but some people were getting very tetchy and unhappy and it got to the point where I felt like I was going to faint and I had to leave. I did hear BAD//DREEMS’ music through a window outside and I very much enjoyed the guitar rock I did hear. If anything, the crammed in like sardines atmosphere suggests that the people of Leeds were very keen on seeing and hearing the Aussie band play, which is really fantastic for a band so far away from home. They’ll be in Sheffield tonight (the 7th of May) at the Rocking Chair, and I hope I get out of the airport quick enough to see them.

A return to the HiFi to see electro soul duo Honne and their full band setup including a bass player, drummer and a backing singer was worth the wait. However, because of the delays introduced by the astronomyy set that never materialised, the entire day’s lineup was delayed, causing some already drunk by then Yorkshire youths to start acting up, shouting insults in Honne’s direction. I feared a riot , which wouldn’t have been great since the HiFi space is in a basement, so you’ve really got nowhere to run.

Thankfully, they were able to get their act together (literally) and played a truncated yet satisfying set, including the Hype Machine favourite ‘Warm on a Cold Night’, which I imagine will be the song all of their fans will request for years to come. The equally soulful ‘All in the Value’ was another set highlight. Seek out their just released this week EP ‘Coastal Love’ on their own Tatemae Recordings.

As I was stood down the front for Honne, I couldn’t help but fret that I really should have left in the middle of their set to get to Leeds Town Hall for Dutch Uncles, who released their third album ‘O Shudder’ in February. If I’m entirely honest, I was hoping for an appearance of Muncan alongside frontman Duncan Wallis for the track ‘Decided Knowledge’. While I was fretting, I was scanning Twitter to see if there was any point to head there, figuring that the Cribs’ appearance later in the evening likely meant there’d be a massive queue for the hometown boys. Someone had posted a photo of the queue already forming hours ahead of the Cribs’ set, so I skipped them in favour of food, which is a necessary part of festival life, even if you have to force yourself to eat!

Trudging back up to A Nation of Shopkeepers, I arrived at the venue in the middle of a set by all-girl group Jagaara from North London. Punters were gushing over their music, which doesn’t sound all that unique to me: guitars, electronics, female voices, this is well-trod upon ground, folks. I guess I’ll have to investigate them more to form an educated opinion.

I was really at Shopkeepers for Boxed In, whose appearance at Blackjack London and AIM’s Friday night showcase at SXSW 2015 was super fun. I, along with Boxed In mastermind Oli Bayston, were about to be bowled over by the reception in Leeds. I spoke to several people in the audience prior to their set and they all said they had Boxed In’s debut album released last year and couldn’t wait to see the band perform. (Bayston and co. weren’t supposed to be my last band of Live at Leeds; I had intended to stay for the last band Real Lies. But due to technical difficulties at the venue and nearly an hour of waiting after Boxed In, getting my ears pummeled by squeals from the speakers that weren’t supposed to happen and no actual music, I called it a night.)

Running just a mere 5 minutes behind schedule, as soon as Bayston played his first keyboard note, the crowd turned the place into a vibrant dance party. The irrepressible rhythm of ‘Foot of the Hill’ encouraged the ladies to my right to do the dance equivalent of Peter Crouch’s robot moves, arms and legs flailing; ‘Mystery’, the Boxed In radio hit everyone was waiting for caused everyone to shake their tail feather.

As someone who spends a good part of her time trying to promote dance music as a fellow fan, to be able to witness such a spectacle and with so many people enjoying themselves watching a electropop act was equal parts validating and exciting. Fantastic. What a wonderful way to end my first Live at Leeds experience. Fingers crossed I will return next year!

 

Live at Leeds 2015 Preview: editor Mary’s best band bets

 
By on Thursday, 2nd April 2015 at 11:00 am
 

Please note: as with all of festival previews, the information we post here on TGTF on Live at Leeds is current at the time of posting, but we encourage you to check in at the Live at Leeds 2015 official Web site closer to the start of the event to confirm venues and set times. Wristbands for the festivities in Leeds on Saturday the 2nd of May are still available at the bargain price of £27.50. More information on where you can purchase your tickets in person or online is available here.

Under top secret cover earlier this week, TGTF were given the Live at Leeds 2015 band schedule before its official release this morning. We’ve had a read through of the massive schedule, and in this post, editor Mary Chang offers her best bets for the festival in this Live at Leeds 2015 preview post.

Get Inuit
Eskimoes aren’t known to be all that musical or quirky, so imagine my surprise when Kent’s Get Inuit was both. They have a single called ‘Dress of Bubble Wrap’, for god’s sakes. And it’s amazing in its pop brilliance. Like your indie pop / rock a little off-kilter with loads of great guitars and titles like ‘Cutie Pie I’m Bloated’? (I’m not kidding.) This is the band for you.

Get Inuit perform at the Key Club at 3 PM. Past TGTF coverage on the band is this way.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=__wF1ciSmxs[/youtube]

Pixel Fix
2014 was a good year for Oxford’s Pixel Fix. The indie pop trio from Oxford released their ‘Running Thin’ EP in the summer, featuring the ultra catchy ‘Lungs’ and the smooth jam ‘Change This’. In terms of touring, they got to gain many more fans supporting Cheltenham TGTF Bands to Watch success story Young Kato on their spring UK tour, and then later on in November, they were chosen for Communion Music’s New Faces tour. They might be playing an absurdly early time in the afternoon, but I view this positively: you have a better shot of figuring them into your schedule.

Pixel Fix perform at Leeds Uni Mine at 3:30 PM. Past TGTF coverage on the band is this way.

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

Stornoway
No strangers to major tours and festivals, arguably Oxford’s biggest band of the moment Stornoway come to Leeds to promote their new and third album ‘Bonxie’ (out on the 13th of April on Cooking Vinyl), their first with an outside producer (Gil Norton, who has worked with the likes of Pixies and Foo Fighters). And the results are spectacultar: early taster tracks like the reflective single ‘The Road You Didn’t Take’ and the upbeat ‘Get Low’ prove while beefing up their pop sound, they’ve been able to keep the harmonies and wittiness they’ve always been known for.

Stornoway perform at the Academy at 4 PM. Past TGTF coverage on the band is this way.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gTN1L-eyUAk[/youtube]

Astronomyy
As an editor by trade, I’ll usually scoff at song titles and band names that are purposely misspelled. However, in my research ahead of SXSW 2015, the Worcestershire musician’s music truly impressed me and enough for me to put him on my must-see list for SXSW 2015. All was well until he broke the news to me that he wasn’t coming to Austin. (Cue sadface.) To my delight though, he’ll be in Leeds to drop his chill, surf guitar-laced, r&b infused tunes. A recent collaboration with London singer Denai Moore on the track suggests he’s poised to be the next big, in-demand, young producer in the UK.

Astronomyy performs at the Hifi at 4:45 PM.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQs9hco8HVw[/youtube]

BAD//DREEMS
Certainly winning the award for having travelled the furthest for Live at Leeds, Adelaide, Australia band BAD//DREEMS come highly recommended from many Aussies I met in Austin last month. They’re a guitar band with ‘Dumb Ideas’, out to have a good time and they want to bring you along for this loud, raucous ride. Bring marmite, I’m sure they will be wanting some. They also mentioned to me on Twitter about wanting crumbed sausages…I don’t know if Leeds has those but I guess if all else fails, bring some Greggs.

BAD//DREEMS perform at Nation of Shopkeepers at 6 PM.

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

Honne
London soul / electro duo Honne will have a reason to celebrate at the festival – just 2 days after, they’ll be releasing a new EP on their own new record label Tatemae Recordings. EP track ‘Coastal Love’ has already passed 4,500 likes on Hype Machine, and the song follows the already great success of their first track released to the wild, the super sexy ‘Warm on a Cold Night’. Get on this train before it leaves the station without you.

Honne perform at the Hifi at 6:45 PM. Past TGTF coverage on the duo is this way.

LoneLady
In Manchester, the shadows of electronic heroes New Order still haunt music makers, but it’s about bloody time for someone else to bring the city fully into the 21st century. Enter musician/producer Julie Ann Campbell, who records under the name LoneLady presumably to emphasise this is her project and hers alone, because we all know there are some very backward thinking men in this business who think it’s impossible for a woman to do all of this. (Sad, really…) ‘Groove It Out’ is getting a lot of radio airplay at the moment, and deservedly so for its ineffable catchiness and yes, sick groove.

Lonelady performs at Belgrave Music Hall at 7 PM.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zlFe8yfYSHw[/youtube]

Tom Williams
Though he’s more famous for his band of brothers, their “Boat” and the three albums to their name, Tom Williams decided last year during the down time of recording of their third band LP to start writing a new set of songs fit for an acoustic setting and strike out on his own in a new stripped back endeavour. Just released last week, his debut release as a solo artist, the ‘New Guitar’ EP, places the focus back on Williams’ songwriting talent, guitar chords and the rich timbre of his voice.

Tom Williams performs at Leeds College of Music Recital Hall at 10:30 PM. For past coverage on Tom Williams and the Boat, head this way.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-9Q_HP9ZWc[/youtube]

New contributor Chris Donnelly’s Live at Leeds 2015 preview with his best band bets will be posting shortly here on TGTF.

 
 
 

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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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