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Bear’s Den / February and March 2015 UK and Irish Tour

 
By on Wednesday, 8th October 2014 at 8:00 am
 

Leading into the release of their debut album ‘Islands’, bearded folk trio Bear’s Den have announced a list of live shows in the UK and Ireland for early next year. The band’s European tour will begin and end in England, with a final show at London Shepherds Bush Empire on the 3rd of March. A full listing of live dates, including upcoming North American shows, can be found at the band’s Web site. Presale tickets for the following shows are already available; the general sale will begin on Friday the 10th of October at 10 AM.

‘Islands’ from Bear’s Den is due out on the 20th of October via Communion Records. An acoustic version of the next single from the album, ‘Above the Clouds of Pompeii’ can be found below the tour date listing.

Friday 6th February 2015 – Birmingham Temple
Sunday 8th February 2015 – Dublin Workman’s Club
Monday 9th February 2015 – Belfast Voodoo
Wednesday 11th February 2015 – Glasgow Oran Mor
Thursday 12th February 2015 – Newcastle Cluny
Friday 13th February 2015 – Manchester Gorilla
Sunday 15th February 2015 – Cardiff Clwb Ifor Bach
Monday 16th February 2015 – Oxford Academy 2
Wednesday 18th February 2015 – Brighton Concorde 2
Tuesday 3rd March 2015 – London Shepherds Bush Empire

[youtube]http://youtu.be/3DGF8SblCm8[/youtube]

 

Video of the Moment #1573: Bear’s Den

 
By on Monday, 14th July 2014 at 6:00 pm
 

The new video from London folk trio Bear’s Den is a unique one, though I wish it was for different reasons. Last month, shockwaves went through Seattle Pacific University community when a lone gunman fired on students at the school, killing one and injuring three others. This promo for the band’s upcoming single ‘Elysium’, out on the 21st of July on Communion Records / Caroline International, doesn’t feature actors but instead director Marcus Haney’s own brother and his friends at the end of their school term, and because of the timing of his visit, the filming happened to coincide with this tragedy and therefore was touched by the events that occurred.

I feel like every time a senseless shooting and senseless deaths happen in America, the American people become more and more desensitised to what has happened, as if it’s a part of life here and it’s okay. It’s not okay. I give both Haney and Bear’s Den much credit for releasing this video; the song itself provided some solace to some of the students and I hope this song and video will serve as a wake-up call to our country that THIS CANNOT GO ON. We need stricter gun control. Now.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BH-wP2TDUBQ[/youtube]

 

SXSW 2014: Friday night at Communion showcase, British Music Embassy, and back to B.D. Riley’s – 14th March 2014

 
By on Tuesday, 1st April 2014 at 1:00 pm
 

After spending the entirety of my SXSW 2014 Friday afternoon at B.D. Riley’s on 6th Street for the Full Irish Breakfast, I had just enough time to dash up the hill to 8th Street to St. David’s Episcopal Church for a quick interview before the Communion Music Showcase. I had heard rave reviews of the acoustics inside the sanctuary at St. David’s, as well as the consistently amazing lineups sponsored by Communion Music, so of course I was fairly bubbling over with excitement by the time I reached the church.

Evening activity was just beginning to pick up in downtown Austin, and the outside of the church was still mostly quiet when I arrived. By the time I finished my interview with the lovely and laid back Nick Mulvey in the Holy Grounds coffee shop, music fans were beginning to queue for showcases in both St. David’s venues, the main sanctuary and the smaller Bethel Hall. I chatted cordially with a few other music fans in the queue, and the wait to get into the sanctuary seemed very short indeed.

Unfortunately, I was far enough back in the queue that I didn’t get a fabulous seat inside the sanctuary. To be clear, as far as the acoustics are concerned, there aren’t any bad seats. But I was hoping to snap a few photos, so I chose to sit along the center aisle, and even though I was several pews back, I think I managed to capture the ambience of the evening.

The first band on the showcase was London folk trio Bear’s Den, who stopped in Austin as part of a full North American tour. They had evidently become used to more raucous American audiences than the polite crowd at St. David’s Sanctuary, as lead singer Andrew Davie paused more than once to tell us that our stillness made him a bit nervous. His mild admonitions did lighten up the somewhat stiff atmosphere, and by the time Bear’s Den reached the last song in their set, which included singles ‘Agape’ and ‘Writing on the Wall’, they were comfortable enough to step forward and do it “unplugged”. I was so delighted by their echoing vocal harmonies, and the rest of the congregation were as jovial as they could possibly be while seated on wooden pews.

Bear's Den at St. David's 14 March 2014

The showcase was perfectly organized and running on a tight schedule, so there wasn’t much time for audience members to shift in and out of the church between Bear’s Den and the aforementioned Nick Mulvey. Luckily, not many people chose to leave, as we were treated to a set that spanned Mulvey’s short but impressive solo career. I smiled to myself at the sound of familiar tunes ‘Fever to the Form’ and ‘Nitrous’, but it was the new (or new-to-me) tunes that proved most captivating. This was my first time hearing ‘The Trellis’, from Mulvey’s November 2012 EP of the same name, and a pin drop would have echoed mightily in the sanctuary when he finished it. Also well received was the newer and more upbeat track ‘Meet Me There’, which is due for release in May along with his full length album ‘First Mind’.

Nick Mulvey at St. David's 14 March 2014

As Mulvey closed his mellow set, the sanctuary began buzzing with anticipation for Irish singer/songwriter Hozier. Having already gained radio play in America with his religiously analogous single ‘Take Me to Church’, Hozier was ready to preach his gospel to those in attendance St. David’s Church, and he certainly made a believer out of me. I was stunned by the power in every song on his set list, from the earthy, deceptively sweet folk of ‘In A Week’ to the visceral blues and overt sexuality of ‘Angel of Small Death and the Codeine Scene’. And while the gospel tinge of ‘Take Me to Church’ might have been appropriate for the setting, Hozier’s performance of it on the night was enough to steam up every single one of the stained glass windows.

Hozier at St. David's 14 March 2014

I needed some fresh air after the breathtaking sublimity of Hozier, so I stepped outside to gather my thoughts and check in with Mary via text. Once outside the venue, I quickly realized that I would have some difficulty getting back in, as the queue was growing for the final acts on the Communion roster, Tennis, Sam Smith and Vance Joy. I would later regret missing out on those artists, especially after seeing this video of Smith’s recent single ‘Stay With Me’.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pB-5XG-DbAA[/youtube]

In the end, I hedged my bets and headed to the British Music Embassy to meet Mary for another band I’d recently written about, Scottish duo Honeyblood. The queue outside Latitude 30 wasn’t much shorter than the one at St. David’s, but I did eventually make it inside. Mary was, naturally, down the front, but I wasn’t able to squeeze in through the enthusiastic crowd, and I had to settle for a spot in back near the bar. My photos of Honeyblood weren’t fabulous but for my money, neither was the band’s performance. Their single ‘Bud’ was the only song that stood out among their muddled, distorted grunge pop set. The sound at the venue had been fine all week, so I have to assume that this less than stellar show was a just a small blip on Honeyblood’s radar.

Honeyblood at British Music Embassy 14 March 2014

Disappointed, I met up with Mary for a brief conference in what had become a customary spot for us in the alley outside Latitude 30. Our energy was waning by this point, but I convinced her (read: begged and pleaded with her) to make the short walk back to B.D. Riley’s, where we’d taken in the Irish Breakfast earlier in the day, to have another listen to Rams’ Pocket Radio.

It seems silly, at a festival like SXSW, to see the same bands over and over again when there are so many options so close at hand. We’d already seen Rams’ Pocket Radio twice, but both times I’d been a bit distracted, and I felt that I hadn’t given the songs their proper due, at least in my own mind. This late night show suffered from a few technical glitches and the wandering attention of the audience, which slightly marred the emotional connection of the music. Despite those frustrations, I was increasingly fascinated by his juxtaposition of beautiful, rich musical textures and curious, often strange lyrics. Maybe this is why the ever present ‘Dieter Rams Has Got the Pocket Radios’ appeals so much to me, but I did find myself missing the more straightforward ‘Love is a Bitter Thing’ when he left it off the set list. I didn’t walk away from this show feeling any more enlightened about Rams’ Pocket Radio, but my interest is most definitely piqued to see what he does next.

For the moment, I had to put my bewildered thoughts aside in preparation for the following day, which would be our last at SXSW 2014. But even weeks later, I find myself amazed as I mentally revisit the spectrum of mixed emotions and musical styles from that exhilarating Friday.

 

Video of the Moment #1365: Bear’s Den

 
By on Monday, 28th October 2013 at 6:00 pm
 

Bear’s Den‘s new single ‘Sahara’ is out today, and so is its promo video. Watch it below.

Carrie reviewed the single last week for us; read her thoughts here.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VOgd9U4hYtc[/youtube]

 

Single Review: Bear’s Den – Sahara

 
By on Monday, 21st October 2013 at 12:00 pm
 

London-based Bear’s Den have had a very busy 2013, and they appear set to finish the year on a strong note.  After selling out a UK tour in February, they spent the summer playing festivals, then released their highly acclaimed EP ‘Agape’.  On the strength of that effort, they joined Mumford and Sons for the Gentlemen of the Road Stopover tour before supporting Daughter’s early autumn American tour.  Now nearing the end of a string of Australian dates, Bear’s Den will release their new EP ‘Without/Within’ next Monday (the 28th of October).

The EP’s first single, ‘Sahara’, is a continuously expansive 6-minute track in which Bear’s Den display a talent for setting a mood before delving into the song’s deeper emotional content.  The first 2 and a half minutes of the song are effectively a slow intro, with instruments and voices being added one by one, gradually building dynamic and emotional tension.  The lyrics are poignant and incredibly effective in this musical context, especially when Andrew Davie sings, “As the sun beats down hard upon your skin / Yeah, you can feel her now in all that you can go without, within / A flower grows even though nobody asked it to / A bluebird sings and won’t let herself go out of tune”.

Vocal harmonies are added for the first chorus, “All my life, I wasn’t honest enough, and I thought I would never get over you”.  Then the pulsing rhythm section kicks in, along with a driving guitar melody, as the tone of the lyrics changes in the second verse from pensive regret to hard-won triumph.  That uplifted, anthemic feeling carries through to the end of the song, where the brief coda steals a backward glance at the contemplative introduction.

Davie’s voice is smooth and even throughout the song, never allowing his own singing to take precedence over the lyrics, which are clearly the impetus for the song as a whole.  The vocal harmonies provided by band members Joey Haynes (who recently answered editor Mary’s Quickfire Questions here) and Kevin Jones are similarly effective, adding depth to the sound where the lyrics demand it.  This emotional sensitivity, along with strong vocal and instrumental melodies, appeals simultaneously to the ear and to the heart.  And while the song’s title might slip your mind (there is a lyrical reference in the first verse), its emotional lyrics and expansive sound will certainly stay with you.

8/10

‘Without/Within’ is due for release on the 28th of October on Communion Records.  Its first single, ‘Sahara’, can be streamed below, along with ‘Writing on the Wall’, which is being included as a free download with all pre-orders of the EP.

 

Quickfire Questions #55: Joey Haynes of Bear’s Den

 
By on Wednesday, 16th October 2013 at 11:00 am
 

Joey Haynes of Communion signees Bear’s Den plays guitar *and* banjo (yep, sounds like Communion Records) and he’s been very kind, answering our Quickfire Questions. Can someone please tell me what the deal is with Leonard Cohen? I’ll not reveal any more of his answers; you’ll have to read on to learn more about Joey’s musical upbringing and faves…

What song is your earliest musical memory?
I remember listening to Prokofiev’s ‘Peter and the Wolf’ while very young.

What was your favourite song as a child?
The first album I bought was Europe’s “The Final Countdown” (at the age of 4), and I thought the song ‘Ninja Survive. was pretty badass.

What song makes you laugh?
Most songs by R Kelly.

What song makes you cry?
‘In My Life’ by The Beatles.

What song reminds you of the first time you fell in love? (It’s up to you if you want this to be sweet, naughty, etc.)
Hm, maybe ‘The Actor’ by Michael Learns To Rock or ‘To Be With You’ by Mr. Big. [Mr. Big? That takes me back! – Ed.]

What song makes you think of being upset / angry? (Example: maybe you heard it when you were angry with someone and it’s still with you, and/or something that calms you down when you’re upset, etc.)
I think ‘Ohio’ by Crosby, Stills and Nash is a really powerful embodiment of anger in music. Bach always calms me down.

Which song (any song written in the last century) do you wish you’d written yourself?
So many. Maybe “A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square” by Maschwitz/Sherwin or ‘With God on our side’ by Bob Dylan?

Who is your favourite writer? (This can be a songwriter or ANY kind of writer.)
Leonard Cohen.

If you hadn’t become a singer/musician/songwriter/etc., what job do you think you’d be doing right now?
I’d probably be an academic of some persuasion. Something to do with language or philosophy, most likely.

If God said you were allowed to bring only one album with you to Heaven, which would it be and why? (Sorry, but double albums do not count.)
Maybe ‘Opus Blue’ by Catriona MacDonald and Ian Lowthian. It’s an album I never get tired of listening to. It’s an album overflowing with musical vitality, fantastic melodies and infectious rhythms.

Many thanks to Joey for answering our questions and Ellie for sorting this for us here at TGTF. Cheers!

 
 
 

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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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