Looking for previews and reviews of SXSW 2019? Right this way.

SXSW 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | Live at Leeds 2016 | 2015 | 2014
Sound City 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | Great Escape 2018 | 2015 | 2013 | 2012

Don't forget to like There Goes the Fear on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

Album Review: Belle and Sebastian – How to Solve Our Human Problems (Part 1) EP

 
By on Monday, 11th December 2017 at 12:00 pm
 

Belle and Sebastian How to Solve Our Human Problems Part 1 album coverTwo decades after forming, Glaswegian band Belle and Sebastian are still at it, and for their latest release, they’ve decided to turn things on its head. I should probably be referring not to release but to releases, plural. In their earliest years, Belle and Sebastian knocked out albums at a feverish pace: ‘Tigermilk’ and ‘If You’re Feeling Sinister’ were recorded and released in less than a year. While Stuart Murdoch says, “My capacity to be delighted by pop music has not waned”, his outlook on the music business has changed. This has led to their decision to release not an album in a traditional format but three EPs under the umbrella ‘How to Solve Our Human Problems’, each of them to be bolstered by a lead single.

In part 1 of the trilogy, ‘We Were Beautiful’ is that single, an upbeat number that continues the Scottish’s group trajectory towards synth-driven tuneage evidenced in ‘The Party Line’ from 2015’s ‘Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance’. In his semi-sung, semi-spoken words, Murdoch paints a picture of optimism and resilience despite obstacles, much needed in these downtrodden times: “I see you the way you are, I see you the scar… we were beautiful before this all went down”. ‘The Girl Doesn’t Get It’ begins simply and trite enough, with Murdoch’s pronouncement that women have been deceived by “a myth that they’re selling / that there’s one perfect fella”. The song quickly changes to a political direction, into discussion of state of fear and terror we’ve been pulled into in this uncertain world and, I guess for lack of a better parallel descriptor, Britain’s version of Make America Great Again. All the while, a bouncy, poppy, peppy synth-led rhythm reminiscent of OMD confounds.

But maybe that’s the point, to keep you off balance, to create a feeling of unease? ‘Dew Sweet Lee’, a near cloying duet between Murdoch and Stevie Jackson, opens this EP, sounding nothing like the two songs I just described. In it, Murdoch recalls a woman he once loved. But was it a fabulous love affair, or was it all in his mind and he daydreamed up the whole thing? It’s up to the listener to decide. Moving into even slower territory, ‘Fickle Season’ shines gently like stars in a night sky. A repeated tap in the backdrop sounds like the clicking of a clock or a metronome, which seems appropriate here. “Come the season, find a reason / home is anywhere you find me”, sings Sarah Martin, a honeyed yearning in her voice.

The five-track EP ends with an instrumental, ‘Everything is Now’. Sounding like a wonky Broken Bells with flute and like an attempt by a pop band who don’t really know how to jam, you’re left scratching your head after its 5 and a half minute conclusion. EPs are shorter than albums, so they’re usually easier to string together by a common theme, something that doesn’t seem to be obvious here. Maybe the other two EPs that follow will have better guidance towards the titular ‘How to Solve Our Human Problems’? Let’s hope so.

7/10

The ‘How to Solve Our Human Problems (Part 1) EP, the first of three from Belle and Sebastian, is out now on Matador Records. The Scottish group will be touring their newest music in Europe in February, the UK and Ireland in March and will even pop over to Australia in May; all their touring information current as of now is on their Facebook here. For our past coverage on Belle and Sebastian here on TGTF, come through.

 

Video of the Moment #2443: Belle and Sebastian

 
By on Wednesday, 27th September 2017 at 6:00 pm
 

I haven’t visited Scotland 3 years, and I have just watched a video that makes me think I should plan a visit soon. Stuart Murdoch and Belle and Sebastian have a new single ‘We Were Beautiful’, their first new music since their last album’s release. It follows 2015’s ‘Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance’, out now on Matador Records. Directed by Blair Young, it’s described on YouTube as “Life experienced at different speeds as the city wakes up over a Saturday morning. Filmed throughout Glasgow, from Crookston in the south-west, through the City Centre to Easterhouse and Cranhill.” It’s such a nice, positive video, showing the real lives of Glaswegians as they enjoy your lives with their families and their city. Watch it below. For much more on Belle and Sebastian here on TGTF, use this link.

 

Video of the Moment #1874: Belle and Sebastian

 
By on Saturday, 1st August 2015 at 10:00 am
 

Belle and Sebastian have kept busy this year, touring around the world and playing quite a few festivals already, and July isn’t even over yet! As if to keep the dance party going, they’ve released a promo for an extended version of ‘Perfect Couples’, whose original stars on the band’s ‘Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance’ album released in January. Beyond one couple dancing, they wanted many more people to get into the act, and what resulted was a unique parade of people through one room who all eventually get in perfect sync to cut a rug together. Watch it below.

Want to read more on Belle and Sebastian on TGTF? Head this way.

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

 

Live Gig Videos: Belle and Sebastian play ‘Allie’ and ‘Sukie in the Graveyard’ on Seth Meyers

 
By on Wednesday, 24th June 2015 at 4:00 pm
 

Glaswegian legends Belle and Sebastian stopped by the Late Show with Seth Meyers on Monday night, their first appearance on late night American tv in some time. Watch Stuart Murdoch and co. let rip on ‘Allie’ and a web exclusive of ‘Sukie in the Graveyard’ (appearing on their latest album ‘Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance’ released in January 2015 and 2006’s ‘The Life Pursuit’, respectively) on the embeds below.

Read Carrie’s review of Belle and Sebastian’s latest here. Past coverage of Belle and Sebastian in all its glory is this way.

 

Liverpool Sound City 2015: Day 3 Roundup

 
By on Friday, 12th June 2015 at 2:00 pm
 

Header photo by Niall Lea

For more of John’s coverage of Liverpool Sound City 2015, read his day 1 and day 2 round-ups.

As people finally got used to the bizarre layout of the new look of this year’s Liverpool Sound City, the third day had crept up. Brains were frazzled from the night before by the orgy for the senses served up by The Flaming Lips. Revellers who had crept into the city centre to keep the party going after the Lips now had hangovers galore from day 2’s festivities, so the bars were still looking bereft of people on Sunday.

As for the bars, I’ve never seen a festival better prepared. The area was about as long as the similar installations at Reading and Leeds Festivals staffed by just as many luminous vest clad volunteers. Problem was, with just a fraction of the expected clientele walking through, the facilities looked hilariously empty for most of the day. Additionally, planning that saw pints pre-poured for quick service, meant that during the dearth of customers, pints were sitting poured in the baking midday sun. Definitely a decision to review, methinks. Nobody wants a warm pint of Strongbow on the third day of festival if they’re paying through the nose for it.

Aside from logistical issues and the numerous punters moaning and groaning about the health of their legs after an hour long trudge back to their hotel in the city centre, the festival site was a hub of activity on the final day, with the corporate sponsorship’s Red Bull-mobile blasting out crap drum ‘n’ bass remixes of classic tracks as you entered the festival It was a reminder that although until quite recently, the festival had a DIY feeling, everyone has to sell their souls in the end to the corporate monsters. Still, you could be at Creamfields, and count your lucky stars you’re not there.

Because at Creamfields, you certainly wouldn’t be treated to the psychedelic grooves of Moon King, who graced the abandoned warehouse of The Baltic Stage around mid-afternoon as the shroud of grey cloud disappeared from over the site. The Canadian duo of Daniel Benjamin and Maddy Wilde exuded energy and all male eyes were transfixed to the baseball cap-cladded shredder providing the trademark ‘buzz-saw’ guitars, as Benjamin did his best Justin Hayward-Young impression, with about 50% of the balls and swagger of the former. (7/10)

Houdini Dax came highly recommended to me, and with a packed out Cavern Stage to greet me as I arrived, it was obvious I wasn’t alone in hearing of the charms of the Welsh three-piece. From start to finish, the boys exuded an infectious energy to the relatively lethargic crowd, and with a few charming smiles and sing-alongs, they laced the kind of hooks you’ll be humming for days, going down as stern favourites for day 3. Their set closed with ‘Get Your Goo On’: in title it sounds utterly ridiculous, but the song brought a lively 30 minutes to a close with a bit of swagger, some Beach Boys-style call and repeat and at least a 100 new likes on Facebook post set! (9/10)

From melt in your mouth harmonies to a complete disaster was sadly what awaited me with Clarence Clarity. The highly-rated Londoners would probably go down great at a smoky acid-house/post-dub night in Brixton. But, after the splendid chords of Houdini Dax, the semi-glitter pop mash-ups they served in the warehouse ended up sounding like an utter sonic catastrophe. The reverb screamed around the enclosed space and within minutes those without earplugs were vacating the area for something less audibly offensive.

They’ve done their best to sound like a 21st century turn on Outkast, but in doing, so it’s just ended up as a bit of a mess,with Eastern influences mashed crudely into your run-of-the-mill British drum ‘n’ bass. Perhaps this sound would work in a different setting and at another time – but as a prelude to Gaz Coombes, Peace and Belle and Sebastian at about 6 o’clock with the sun still shining, they simply jarred and sounded like a mess. (4/10)

Calming things down on The Atlantic Stage were the gentle tones of Bill Ryder-Jones who cut a lonely figure in the middle of the vast stage. He has all the hallmarks of any 18 year-old music fans crush, with sweeping good looks and swishy hair, plus a moody expression cut upon his face permanently. Sadly, Bill was nothing special at Liverpool Sound City, pumping out a couple of mediocre covers, some staggeringly uninventive, along with three chord originals and all at a pace that sent me daydreaming into thoughts about what delectable burger van food I could chomp on and whether the Premiership season had finished yet. With time I’m sure he’ll find his sound, as his songwriting seemed to hold up, but for now he just felt very vanilla on a day which could have done with some rum and raisin. (5/10)

Now while I was trying to escape Clarence Clarity’s sonic bombardment, I bumped into a young German girl who asked me for tips on who would blow her mind (aside from the obvious), to which I replied the next act on the Cargo Stage, “Findlay is nothing short of phenomenal every time I see her”.

Of course, by doing this, I inevitably delivered the kiss of death to her set.

For an act that normally struts about the stage with an incredible swagger and presence, I was shocked when she delivered a terribly staccato performance, bereft of showmanship and craft. Instead, it just felt like another day at the office. The fierce Debbie Harry-lite figure of Findlay had been neutered and stayed locked behind a set of oversize sunglasses. Whether it was a poorly-thought-out change of tact, to go from ferocious female aggressor to a sultry parlour singer grated on me. Because for the main part, barring from a rousing rendition of ‘On and Off’, she delivered a pedestrian performance stripped of the trademark character I’d promised to my new friend from Central Europe. In fact, it was so disappointing out the corner of my eye I saw the very Fraulein make for the exit after three songs. (6/10) Probably to get a good space for the next band on The Atlantic Stage…

Kings of the indie singalong The Cribs looked every bit the seasoned pros they are compared to some of the green-behind-the-ears acts gracing every one of the stages over the weekend. They easily drew the biggest crowd of the day so far, being probably one of the most recognisable names on the bill, and it’s probably to no surprise as well. Quite easily the three-piece could have turned up, delivered the hits and been on their way with a big smile on their faces – cash in pocket – job done. But instead they threw every bit of themselves into it, to the delight of the Liverpudlian crowd. The three-piece choral harmonies were great and really lifted the entire set, whilst the new poppier material lifted what could have been a bog-standard Cribs set to something far more. (7/10)

In fact, it was the perfect preface to former Supergrass frontman Gaz Coombes, the penultimate act on The Atlantic Stage. As expected, there were no frills and bells like the night before. No gimmicky matching jackets like Everything Everything and The Vaccines, despite Coombes definitely putting a bid in for Best Dressed Man at the festival with his attire. Instead, one of Britpop’s finest men on stage, guitar in hand, was trying his hand at going solo to good results.

Now, while his second solo album ‘Matador’ may have only debuted at number 18 in the Official UK Albums chart, in circles like Liverpool Sound City he was always going to get far more respect and credence than at another festival. Effortlessly cool and with the gently soaring masterpiece that is ‘Detroit’ in Coombes’ arsenal, he commanded the slowly fading light surrounding The Atlantic Stage. Although there were rumblings of ‘is he going to play ‘Alright’?’, in the crowd after a few of his originals, everyone seemed to settle down to enjoy a true legend of his era going out on his own. (8/10)

From one legend, to another. Belle and Sebastian carry with them the baggage of being cult stars. In fact, it’s difficult to find somebody these days that enjoys alternative music who DOESN’T name an experience watching Stuart Murdoch and co. as one of the crowning moments in their musical history. I waited with trepidation, as I’ve never GOT Belle and Sebastian; they’ve just never managed to excite me in the way I want music to. It’s all just felt like wallpaper–jazzy elevator music to me.

The group of Glaswegians manage to captivate the crowd, myself included, with their phenomenally deep songwriting. ‘Nobody’s Empire’ is a personal highlight, as Murdoch’s intensity is poured into every single lyric, as if he was living the experience right there in front of the crowd. It wasn’t the spectacular of colour The Flaming Lips served up, or the singalong, lad-rock frenzy of The Vaccines. But in their own way, Belle and Sebastian delivered one of the most soulful, warm and encapsulating sets of the weekend. (8/10)

So what did I learn this weekend? Delving into the unknown on highly-tipped acts like The Serpent Power and Clarence Clarity can sometimes be a dangerous endeavour, which can lead to your willy being commented upon on social media alongside pictures of genitals being sent to you. But bands like Houdini Dax, The People and the Poet and Hollysiz can come from left-field sources and end up being the highlights of the festival. That’s the joy of events like Liverpool Sound City and The Great Escape: while you can walk in on some absolute duds, it’s unlikely you’ll have a weekend of it with the sheer glut of musical talent on show. Just work on the stage layout guys, or The People and the Poet won’t be back…

 

Update: Liverpool Sound City 2015

 
By on Friday, 30th January 2015 at 9:00 am
 

They’ve been asking if they want to come back all these years, and this week it was confirmed that The Vaccines would indeed be coming back to Liverpool Sound City after a 2-year absence. They’ll be joining Belle and Sebastian and The Flaming Lips at the top of an already incredibly tantalising bill of talent.

The four-piece who shot to prominence of the back of their first album ‘What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?’ have barged their way back onto the scene in proper Vaccines fashion. That is, in the form of another 2-and-a-half minute banger, with guitars so fast you’ll miss them if you blink and a chorus as catchy as a cold at this time of year. The guitars are frantic, as they were on all of The Vaccines’ releases we’ve heard up to now, and the four-piece have undeniably stuck to the same formula that has worked so well for them over the last four years.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gV6eODKYHXI[/youtube]

‘Handsome’ may not have as killer a chorus as ‘Do You Wanna’, but it’s a fantastic pop song with wide appeal, there is no doubt. The new single is released on the 8th of March officially, but is already doing the rounds on social media and the radio, and all around it looks like everybody is pretty happy with what The Vaccines have produced. Will the album be on the same form? Well, from this evidence what can we expect from The Vaccines, more of the same…

As for who’s joining them on the bill at the rejuvenated Liverpool Sound City, which has been moved to pastures anew at the docks, there are some fantastic up and coming talents ready to catch the eye on Merseyside. Female four-piece Dum Dum Girls will bring a bit of shoegaze to the Sound City festival. Math rockers Dutch Uncles have also joined the bill and will be looking to move away from being a festival buzz band and to a group which can really excite people on a festival bill – is this festival the right platform? We shall see.

If overblown hipster chic is what you enjoy, eccentric duo The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger are certainly a feast for the eyes. Whether their off-colour take on psychedelic rock will captivate or confuse, they’re likely to be an interesting draw alongside Roni Size /Reprazent, The Thurston Moore Band, Gaz Coombes, F*cked Up, Evian Christ and Unknown Mortal Orchestra.

But with a BBC Sound of 2015 nomination and countless plays of their new single on Radio 1, the act I’m undeniably the most excited about catching a glimpse of at Liverpool Sound City (barring the headliners anyway) are Slaves. Their no nonsense approach on indie rock and incredible tunes like ‘The Hunter’ and ‘Where’s Your Car Debbie’ are certain to draw a capacity crowd to their slot at the festival, and as it did with me at 2000 Trees 2014, they’re almost certain to leave you asking, “Debbie… Where is your car?”

 
 
 

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.

All MP3s are posted with the permission of the artists or their representatives and are for sampling only. Like the music? Buy it.

RSS Feed   RSS Feed  

Learn More About Us

Privacy Policy