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Video of the Moment #2899: Beans on Toast

 
By on Tuesday, 16th October 2018 at 6:00 pm
 

Jay McAllister is the very English-y named long-soldiering artist Beans on Toast. Incredibly, this year, the quirky folk singer/songwriter from Essex who favours a daffodil in his hair will be releasing his tenth album. ‘A Bird in the Hand’ will be out on the 1st of December on his own Beans on Toast Music. The album is not only momentous for its place in McAllister’s career but for who produced it: Mumford and Sons‘ Ben Lovett, who also produced McAllister’s debut album a decade ago.

The first taster single to be unveiled to the public is ‘Another Year’, which also has a particularly special meaning. It’s a song dedicated to McAllister’s father and daughter and appropriately, its accompanying promo stars the two of them, in nearly opposite ends of the spectrum of life. The lyrics of the song remind us that life is short and precious and we should make the most of every minute of it. Watch the tear-jerky video for ‘Another Year’ below. For more on Beans on Toast here on TGTF, click here.

 

Single Review: Beans on Toast – Open Door Policy

 
By on Tuesday, 31st October 2017 at 12:00 pm
 

Self-described “drunk folk singer” Beans on Toast (aka Jay McAllister) begins his new single ‘Open Door Policy’ on a decidedly pessimistic note: “the world is dying / shit is getting serious / everybody’s lying / it’s impossible to tell the truth”. But despite his initially despondent outlook, ‘Open Door Policy’ finds a ray of sunshine in its biting commentary on the state of Western politics and society.

McAllister’s typically simple folk arrangement allows complete focus on the dry humour and self-depracating wit in his lyrics. He places himself in seemingly contradictory roles throughout the song’s narrative, first identifying himself as “a pacifist, eternal optimist” and then declaring that “I am my own propaganda machine”. He also bemoans the prevalence of “dark money and big data, and the mass manipulation of the human race”, and I have to admit a certain admiration for any songwriter who can fit a phrase like that into a recognisable melody.

The video juxtaposes pixelated and otherwise distorted images of McAllister in a variety of  physical settings with another series of him experiencing virtual reality, presumably in an attempt to illustrate the weird blurring of the boundary between the two. The song itself might be a bit verbose, but ultimately, it’s worth listening through to the end for McAllister’s more hopeful conclusion, which finds a quaint visual counterpart in the pretty yellow dandelion on his hat.

7.5/10

Beans on Toast’s new LP ‘Cushty’ is due for release on the 1st of December via Xtra Mile Recordings. You can have a listen to its cheeky recent single ‘Taylor Swift’ on Spotify. Beans on Toast will be on tour with Xtra Mile label mates Skinny Lister through the end of this year; you can find details on his official Facebook. TGTF’s previous coverage of Beans on Toast is back through here.

 

Beans on Toast / November and December 2016 UK Tour

 
By on Wednesday, 16th November 2016 at 9:00 am
 

Later this week, Essex folk singer/songwriter Beans on Toast (known offstage as Jay McAllister) will close out 2016 with his annual winter tour of the UK. The tour centers around Beans on Toast’s forthcoming 8th album ‘A Spanner in the Works’ which will be released on the 1st of December via Xtra Mile Recordings. The album features an ode to the year almost-gone-by, simply titled ‘2016’. McAllister says of the track: “It might not be the cheeriest Beans on Toast song ever, but sadly it’s been that kind of year.” You can watch the promo video for ‘2016’ just below the tour date listing, along with the brand new video for album track ‘We Made It to the Waterfall’.

The Beans on Toast Winter 2016 tour will begin and end in London, with the final show billed as a “Big London Party” at Omeara, a new venue owned by Mumford and Sons‘ Ben Lovett. Tickets for the following shows are available now and selling quickly, according to Beans on Toast’s official Facebook.

TGTF’s previous coverage of Beans on Toast is right through here.

Thursday 17th November 2016 – London Oslo (sold out)
Friday 18th November 2016 – Newcastle Cluny
Saturday 19th November 2016 – Dundee Fat Sam’s
Sunday 20th November 2016 – Glasgow Stereo
Wednesday 23rd November 2016 – Hull Fruit
Thursday 24th November 2016 – Sheffield Leadmill
Friday 25th November 2016 – Liverpool Constellations
Saturday 26th November 2016 – Manchester Gorilla
Tuesday 29th November 2016 – Nottingham Bodega
Wednesday 30th November 2016 – Leicester Soundhouse
Thursday 1st December 2016 – Norwich Owl Sanctuary (sold out)
Friday 2nd December 2016 – Margate Talking Drum
Saturday 3rd December 2016 – Hastings Brass Monkey
Sunday 4th December 2016 – Norwich Owl Sanctuary (sold out)
Tuesday 6th December 2016 – Birmingham Hare and Hounds
Wednesday 7th December 2016 – Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms
Thursday 8th December 2016 – Bristol Thekla
Friday 9th December 2016 – Swansea Garage
Saturday 10th December 2016 – London Omeara

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

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

 

Handmade Festival 2016: writer Steven’s best band bets

 
By on Tuesday, 26th April 2016 at 11:00 am
 

Header photo of The Magic Gang by Dan Kendall

If you didn’t already heed our warning that Handmade Festival this weekend in Leicester is the festival to be at this season then perhaps, just maybe, the below list of acts that you’re going to be missing out on will change your mind. And for those who will be joining us in during the weekend, take the below list as a starting point for your own weekend musical adventure, there’s plenty to not miss out on so let us give you a bit of guidance. (To read Steven’s earlier preview of Handmade, go here.)

Lacura – Academy 3, Friday 29th April, 17:00

Drops of psychedelia amongst massive indie sounds, Lacura are your perfect opener to the weekend. It’s a toss-up between Lacura or ESTRONS, and Lacura just pip it with their dreamscapes and ethereal feel.

The Magic Gang – Scholar Bar, Friday 29th April, 18:45

To continue your ease into the festival, The Magic Gang (pictured at top) will use their harmonious, ‘60s psych-pop style to command your elation and help you forget about that outside world. Friday afternoon’s never sounded so good. (For past coverage on The Magic Gang on TGTF, go here.)

Black Honey – Scholar Bar, Friday 29th April, 19:45

Black Honey are gaining a lot of momentum with their dreamy, shoe-gaze-esque rock and vocals that call to mind Lana Del Rey if she actually gave us what we wanted rather than slow tempoed ballads. (For past coverage on Black Honey on TGTF, go here.)

We Are Scientists – Academy 2, Friday 29th April, 22:00

As mentioned in our preview piece, the indie duo who are affable beyond belief are gracing our shores again in support of their fifth studio album. With a guaranteed good time to close out the first day of Handmade, to miss out on We Are Scientists would mean depriving yourself of laughs and such major tunes as ‘Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt’, ‘After Hours’ and new single ‘Buckle’ from brand new album ‘Helter Seltzer’. (For loads more coverage on We Are Scientists on TGTF, go here.)

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=le7kyRgMsuE[/youtube]

Jurassic Pop – Scholar Bar, Saturday 30th April, 15:00

In case Jurassic Pop have slid under your radar, they are a band who write songs solely based around the Jurassic Park film series. Debut EP ‘Jurassic Park 4 1/2: The Erotic Adventures of Jeff Goldblum’ is filled with punk, indie and spoken word. If this alone isn’t enough to get you to see the band then nothing will.

OhBoy! – Scholar Bar, Saturday 31st April, 17:45.

This will be around the half way point of the festival, so chances are you’ll be a pleasant state of jubilation and will want to continue this. OhBoy! are you best bet here, with songs that are both ferocious and charming, they’ll certainly kick your Saturday evening off.

The Xcerts – Scholar Bar, Saturday 31st April, 21:15

Powerful pop songs that call to mind fellow Scotsmen Biffy Clyro at their lightest. The Xcerts have been around for 10+ years and over this time you’re guaranteed they’ve worked out a killer live set that will match the brawn of their sound. (For past coverage on The Xcerts on TGTF, go here.)

Johnny Lloyd – Academy 2, Sunday 1st May, 17:15

If you haven’t heard ‘Hello Death’, the debut single from ex-Tribes frontman Johnny Lloyd then you are missing out something extremely special. Heartfelt and solemn, it’s a thunderous track that is surely going to be a wonder to behold live.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OBcv6iYXpCM[/youtube]

USA Nails – Scholar Bar, Sunday 1st May, 19:45.

Harsh, abusive sounding punk that calls to mind Black Flag and Minor Threat, USA Nails are a safe bet to ensure you leave the festival with ringing ears and to get that final bit of energy out of your system.

Beans on Toast – Academy 2, Sunday 1st May, 22:00

Of course, the hardest question of any festival is who to see to on the closing night. With a couple of fine choices, Beans on Toast is potentially the perfect physical representation of that festival ideology, be it a metropolitan one like Handmade or Glastonbury. With songs filled with observation and thought that appeal to every straight minded one of us, when this is matched with the sing-a-long stylings, you have a guaranteed memorable closer and one that will stick with you on that tired, hungover train journey home. (For past coverage on Beans on Toast on TGTF, go here.)

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

 

Live Review: Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls with Beans on Toast and Skinny Lister at the Press Room, Phoenix, AZ – 25th October 2015

 
By on Tuesday, 3rd November 2015 at 2:00 pm
 

Hard-working troubadour Frank Turner and his dedicated band the Sleeping Souls have just wrapped up a full American tour, following the summer release of Turner’s new album ‘Positive Songs for Negative People’. The American tour ended on a bit of an anticlimactic note in New Orleans last week as Turner and two of his bandmates suffered food poisoning and were forced to cancel their final show, but their gig in Phoenix on the previous Sunday night was more successful, with a lively and receptive crowd turning up early at downtown venue the Press Room to catch support acts Beans on Toast and Skinny Lister ahead of Turner’s headline set.

Beans 1

Essex singer/songwriter Beans on Toast (known offstage as Jay McAllister) came on stage without delay and warmed up the still-arriving crowd with an engaging acoustic set of narrative tunes that were by turns personal and political, comical and caustic. From his vantage point at the front of the stage, McAllister drew in the eager audience with a brief commentary on American culture in the form of a song called ‘The Great American Novel’, from his upcoming new album ‘Rolling Up the Hill’. A handful of older Beans on Toast songs were also well-received, particularly the interactive sing along ‘Fuck You Nashville’; though only a few hardy Frank Turner fans were familiar with the tune from previous shows, the rest of us learned the critical chorus line quickly enough to join in.

SL 1

After a brief lull in the action, folk-punk collective Skinny Lister enthusiastically took the stage, bringing their customary whisky jug along to share with the “21 and over” portion of the audience. Opening with songs from their recent album ‘Down on Deptford Broadway’, Skinny Lister quite frankly stole the show, their high energy exceeding what was to come later from Turner and the Souls.

Beginning with ‘Raise a Wreck’ and the incorrigible ‘Trouble on Oxford Street’ before breaking into ‘George’s Glass’ and ‘Cathy’, the band interspersed their established crowd-pleasers with a couple of yet-to-be recorded songs, including an especially charming one called ‘Colours’. Lest the presence of an accordion trick anyone into thinking that these were a sedate group of folk musicians, Skinny Lister ultimately proved their rock-‘n’ roll prowess with a rousing performance of ‘This Is War’, ending their set with frontwoman Lorna Thomas triumphantly climbing atop Michael Camino’s personalised double bass. In red heels.

Turner and the Sleeping Souls were able to capitalize on Skinny Lister’s unbounded enthusiasm in the opening section of their three-part set, bursting onto the stage with uptempo belters ‘Get Better’ and ‘The Next Storm’. Promising a mix of songs from throughout his career, Turner plowed through ‘Losing Days’ and ‘Josephine’ before the Souls left him alone onstage for the second, solo section of the show.

FT 1

This middle section is where the true, diehard Frank Turner fans no doubt found their greatest joy, as Turner plucked his way through a few forgotten gems. ‘The Ballad of Me and My Friends’ was warmly received, as was newer favourite ‘The Way I Tend To Be’, but for my money, this section was a bit overly drawn out, and I was surprised by the rather flat solo version of ‘Glorious You’, which was gloriously anthemic in its recording on ‘Positive Songs for Negative People’.

The Sleeping Souls rejoined Turner for the final section of the show, which rallied the punters’ energy with hit tunes ‘Photosynthesis’, ‘Recovery’ and ‘I Still Believe’, but never quite regained the momentum lost in the previous half hour. I was mildly disappointed that neither ‘Love Forty Down’ nor ‘Silent Key’ appeared in the set on this night, but Turner did touch one last time on ‘Positive Songs’ when he reached the encore, captivating the restless crowd with a stunning performance of ‘Song for Josh’. Once he had our rapt attention, Turner quickly amped up the energy with ‘Try This at Home’ and closed the show on a more characteristic high note with the ‘Four Simple Words’ we were all desperately waiting to dance to.

FT final

Beans on Toast will release his new album ‘Rolling Up the Hill’ in December 2015 via Xtra Mile Recordings. A list of dates for his upcoming November tour of the UK can be found on his official Web site. Frank Turner and Skinny Lister will begin their tour of the UK this week, accompanied by fellow Xtra Mile artist Will Varley; you can find listings of those live dates here and here. TGTF’s full archive of coverage on Frank Turner can be found by clicking here, and our previous coverage of Skinny Lister is right back here.

Frank Turner setlist (setlist photo by Carlos Gonzalez)

 

Camden Crawl 2012: Day 2 – Luke’s Roundup

 
By on Monday, 21st May 2012 at 2:00 pm
 

It’s a much slower, hazier start in NW1 today – very much the morning after the night before. But as hard as the hangover may be, London gig-goers crawl on regardless. Sunday starts slightly later than the festivities taking place yesterday, but there’s still a wealth of new acts to discover without letting the on/off showers dampen spirits.

Yet again draught is being poured and shots slammed at the Wheelbarrow as the alternative rockers Tall Ships (pictured at top) take to the stage. There’s a certain buzz in the air as the pub is full from the front to the back before the Brighton trio play a single note…and then the party begins. Launching into a flurry of crunchy riffs, catchy choruses and colossal instrumentals, the indie-tinged three-piece turn one of the smallest venues on the Crawl into their own personal haven. Regardless of what comes out of the speakers during the next half hour, the crowd will lap it up purely based on the beautiful display of quality musicianship. No three chord songs for these boys, it’s a curious but wholly beneficial mash of grunge, post-rock and even a church organ that are played with such passionate gusto the audience are left captivated and enthralled with one of UK’s hottest prospects.

After John Kennedy’s offerings yesterday, XFM are again hosting bands at Koko (today curated by Ian Camfield) but the sound is much heavier. Sheffield’s mathy synth punks Rolo Tomassi enter the realm for a fury-fuelled barrage of screams, electronics and cymbal crashes. Don’t let the angelic demeanour of songstress Eva Spence fool you, though, as her vocal cords hide an unholy force. The guttural snarls and growls emanating from Spence’s tiny frame are just as mesmerising as they are terrifying. Throwing herself around the stage like a demented music box ballerina, the energy on stage can be felt up in the gods. Teasing in elements of doom with ‘Mr. Crowley’ style keys and a disjointed metal breakdown, it’s the beautifully chaotic ‘Party Wounds’ that lifts Rolo Tomassi up and beyond the ‘just another hardcore band’ tag. Stay tuned for the new album.

Outside the heaven’s are contemplating opening but that doesn’t stop 100-ish people venturing to Camden Gardens to witness a band on the cusp of breaking the scene. Akin to Enter Shikari and ‘There Is A Hell…’ era Bring Me The Horizon, Crossfaith look and act the most rock ‘n’ roll of any band at the festival. Hurtling around at 100 mph with Cheshire cat smiles and constant air-grabbing, these Japanese noiseniks are so proficient at their craft it’s a wonder why other bands bother at all. It takes a metal cover of The Prodigy‘s ‘Omen’ to win over the doubters, but once Kenta Koie opens his lungs the focus is solely positive. Ending their metalcore-meets-synth set on ‘Stars Faded In Slow Motion’ the weary crowd is trapped in a crazed mess of windmilling, air-kicking and shape throwing as Crossfaith crowdsurf their way to victory, claiming yet more fans in a journey to mainstream success.

Back at the Wheelbarrow is a local hero. The some-time one man band Beans on Toast is serving up his irreverent social commentaries. In a stark contrast to festival tradition, Beans on Toast aka Jay arrives on stage 5 minutes early treating his loyal fanbase to his upbeat, acoustic tales. Currently in residence at the Wheelbarrow every Tuesday, the cramped pub is packed tighter than a rush hour tube with eager fans queueing out the door. Opening on the crowd-pleasing ‘MDMAmazing’ Jay’s positive stance on drugs is no secret, and neither is his dislike for the Conservative government. He begins ‘I Shot Tupac Shakur and All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt’ (an anti-Cameron ode containing the words “Hug a fucking hoodie, and he’ll punch you in the face”) before stopping mid-way – a trait that continues throughout the set. In tribute to his favourite Beastie Boy MCA, Jay leads his band and the crowd in a rendition of ‘Fight For Your Right to Party’ that ends abruptly but keeps the mood high and smiles wide. After a much-craved encore of ‘Rainy Day’ the throngs of music lovers pour back into the streets of Camden for the home stretch of the Crawl.

Down at the bottom end of Camden High Street, the stage at the Purple Turtle is warm for bands at the heavier end of the spectrum. Leeds noisemongers Hawk Eyes are smashing their way through a metric fuckton of metal to a deafened crowd. Hawk Eyes however are an acquired taste (a girl wrote the word ‘Shit!’ on my notepad) and sadly, the crowd thins toward the end of the performance that sees the hardcore-tinged rockers lean on newer material including ‘Kiss This’ and ‘You Deserve A Medal’. Unfortunately despite a stellar performance that sees frontman Paul Astick set up his mic stand in the middle of the crowd and scream bloody murder, there’s a general feeling of ‘meh’ amongst the onlookers.

There’s a lonely mic stand in front of an empty ballroom. A prophetic image and one that can be used for the entire post-rock scene. Tonight, though, the Belfast bruisers And So I Watch You From Afar over half-fill the historic venue with their Mastodon meets This Will Destroy You instrumentals. The supercharged three-piece send wave after wave of hooks and grooves until Camden is drowning in sound. It’s heavy but wholly structured and nothing is out of place, even the tangential breakdowns are a rhythmical masterpiece. Calling on material from their debut LP and latest album ‘Gangs’ the mathy ‘BEAUTIFULUNIVERSEMASTERCHAMPION’ and ‘7 Billion People All Alive at Once’ form the most magnificent soundscape of the entire weekend. Come back soon, boys.

Bringing this year’s Crawl to an end are the new masters of metal, Black Moth. Drawing on Black Sabbath and Alice Cooper for influence, the Leeds four-piece have received praise from the likes of Metal Hammer and Artrocker for their groove-laden rawk. Taking elements of Steppenwolf and Motörhead for a slight biker vibe, Black Moth are the new band in metal. It’s stripped back, dirgy, punky and there are no gimmicks. It’s just a four metalheads on stage in band tees and jeans playing some fantastic music that will see the Moth soar ever higher this year. Frontwoman Harriet Hyde stands firmly at the front with her Debbie Harry-esque vocals flowing out of the speakers and into the minds of the metal masses who have appeared out of nowhere.

As the feedback rings out into the Purple Turtle, Camden can rest easy until next year. There’s been over 100 performances in the space of 48 hours in a small corner of town and as the night buses start to fill with tired, drunk faces, the music capital of London has proved again that festivals aren’t about sitting in fields: they’re about music.

 
 
 

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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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