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Video of the Moment #1904: Brother and Bones

 
By on Monday, 7th September 2015 at 10:00 am
 

Tipped early on by our own John Fernandez, London via Cornwall alt-rock band Brother and Bones released their self-titled debut album this year. From the LP, the punishing ‘Omaha’ now has its own monochromatic video. Interspersing shots of a majestic horse in full gait with shots of the band themselves giving it all they’ve got in live performance, it’s a compelling promo. Watch it below.

Read through our past archive on Brother and Bones through this link.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=seQC5UdhzKE[/youtube]

 

Live Review: Brother and Bones with Noah at Nottingham Bodega – 25th November 2013

 
By on Tuesday, 3rd December 2013 at 2:00 pm
 

It would be a lie to say the calm before the storm that is a Brother and Bones gig is, technically, ‘calm’: it’s more of a shuffle for the first-timers to get as close to the speakers as possible, ready to get their ears blitzed by a pounding aural-assault, and a hive of seasoned fans standing just far enough back that they’ll enjoy the gig without losing the bits of their ears that are, well, important.

Before the Southern five-piece take to the rather small stage at The Bodega (no cloakroom; yes, I’m bitter, I had a fucking massive bag), we were treated to local two-piece Noah, whose harmonies were quite beautiful. The only gripe I would have is that their cover of Whitney Houston’s ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’, sadly, was of the same quality as Bastille’s cover of Corona’s ‘Rhythm of the Night’ and conjured in me the same levels of rage and disdain.

So I’ve decided to ignore this obvious crowd pleaser and focus instead on the double’s spellbinding vocals and brilliant storytelling. Their third song, a number about how guitarist Joe stopped a father from beating his son (true story, top man) was told ever so simply and Rebeka Whittle’s voice melted in a striking and soaring harmony that remained true to their minimalist sound. A few more original songs and no more covers and they’ll be headlining shows in Nottingham, no doubt – the talent is undeniably there. Plus, they both have that whole extremely good-looking vibe going on, which tends to help in the music industry, sorry Lauren Mayberry from CHVRCHES.

Which brings me on to a conversation I had before the gig, with Richard Thomas from the headline act Brother and Bones and my compatriot for the night Alex Foxley-Johnson, where we ended up on the situation that Brother and Bones are in: a band with a fantastic underground following, a brilliant mix of carefully put together songs and yet they remain unsigned. Richard says “you’ve pretty much got to be pre-packaged these days” “Should he start twerking?”, I jest. Because falling short of taking part in the newest and grimmest dance craze, it’s difficult to see what else Brother and Bones can do to get themselves noticed.

Surely, they are the full package: a talented, charismatic and ridiculously vocally-gifted frontman, a band of brilliantly experimental musicians who aren’t afraid to push boundaries and who create one hell of a racket when they perform and a gaggle of tunes able to bring any room / festival / audience to their knees, ranging from the staggeringly poignant ‘Gold and Silver’ to the room-shaking beauty of ‘Don’t Forget to Pray’.

Somehow though, Monday’s audience were rather unreceptive to the pure showmanship of Thomas et al. The best reaction it seemed was from a small section of ladies in the middle, who later turned out to be half of the England Women’s Cricket Team, with one of the team taking to Twitter to voice her disdain for the fact the band are not signed. Even with a lethargic crowd, doing their best to suck most of the enthusiasm out of the lively Southern lads, Brother and Bones still managed to produce an ear drum pounding wall of sound. Their set was a showcase to their maturity as well, opening with their some of their most raucous barnstormers and finishing off with a majestic cover of the Black Crowes’ ‘She Talks to Angels’.

It would be lazy to say the Monday night audience were entirely responsible for the sense of lethargy in the crowd; Brother and Bones were putting their blood and grit in to the evening’s set and deserved a better response. They certainly showed why they are still one of the best live acts in the UK at the moment. Catch them, and for god’s sake it’s not a criminal offence to sing along on a Monday evening after work. You showed ’em, cricketers…

 

Single Review: Brother and Bones – To Be Alive

 
By on Monday, 7th October 2013 at 12:00 pm
 

It’s almost 3 years since I fell head over arse over heels in love with Brother and Bones’ music. Stumbling aimlessly into a basement in Brighton for the Great Escape 2011, I expected to be subjected to a typically synthed up pile of indie bullshit and was surrounded by nodding A&Rs as we all yearned to discover that next big thing. In this basement though, it was a hotbed of primal energy. Because that is what Brother and Bones are about; immensely powerful rock and blues riffs that have you jumping up and down on the spot like a maniac.

Three years on and there seems to be a shift in the bands tact – towards a new emphasis on lead singer Richard Thomas’ voice. The Cornish five piece haven’t completely ditched the rolling raucous bass lines, but there is a subtle shift towards showcasing the tremendous vocal range of the pint-sized Jack Sparrow lookalike Thomas. New single ‘To Be Alive’ is testament to this understated change of direction. The video is a sepia showcase of a band who obviously are an extremely tight unit, spending every waking minute on the road joshing about. There are even a few shots from their live shows, which I can pray testament to by saying they are best experience live. With double drummers the sound they make is absolutely massive and in Richard Thomas they have a humble and amicable frontman.

The final 30 seconds of To Be Alive are testament to the beautiful soulful rock and roll that Brother and Bones have been producing for the last three years. I can only hope that their new EP will be when the rest of the world realises what a gem in the British music scene that Brother and Bones are.

8.5/10

The ‘To Be Alive’ EP by Brother and Bones will be out on the 4th of November on Last Step Records. Watch the promo video for the title track below.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2s20kRj7V7g[/youtube]

 

Great Escape 2013: John’s Day 1 Roundup

 
By on Wednesday, 29th May 2013 at 1:00 pm
 

As I stepped foot on the platform of Brighton station, I was met with not the 65 MPH winds that I was foretold, but instead with flecks of sunshine and a bustling throng of people ahead of me. So I trundled cautiously down the street wrapped in my cardigan and carrying my rather inconspicuous suitcase, I walked past The Hope, where my first live music experience of The Great Escape 2013 would take place.

Who would be that first experience? Well, a band that I came upon, completely by chance at The Great Escape 2011, by the name of Brother and Bones. Their signature brand of acoustic-driven stompery, which struck a real accord with me then wasn’t the centre point of their set this time around.

Instead, the focal point was that of Richard Thomas’ majestic vocal talents. The all out hoe-downery of their past shows was forgotten in favour of the more sensitive and subtle touch. Whether it was the best approach ion the tight confines of the Hope, is up for debate, but regardless of that Thomas and co.’s elegant harmonies struck an accord with the partisan audience of critics, A & R’s and the rest. Fully acoustic number ‘Gold and Silver’ was a mixture of what is brilliant about Brother and Bones though, fully showcasing the vocal prowess of Richard, whilst drawing attention to the elegance of the songwriting. (7/10)

After a brief interlude for a spot of Tiffin and a change of clothes to more sun-appropriate attire, I headed to The Warren to catch hotly tipped Tom Odell. After a reasonable amount of time queuing for an act, whom I believed was overhyped but worth a listen, I ended up in the staging area of the venue. A kind of Secret Garden Party / 2000 Trees hybrid in the middle of Brighton. Quaint? Yes. But after quarter of an hour longer waiting I lost patience and decided to head to The Prince Albert for some light folk.

Now Dancing Years (pictured at top) are an entirely different kind of prospect to what I expected. Going in relatively unprepared, I was expecting some wobbly synths, dodgy time signatures and all the other indie clichés that we love and loathe in equal measure. What I was met with was a touching mix of melancholic folk, but with the focal point of David Henshaw, in a more understated fashion than Brother and Bones earlier. In fact, the show revolved around the man, with the gentle violin being drowned out by his obvious talent.

He came across as a kind of squeaky clean Jack Steadman / Will Harvey hybrid. Resolute in stance, yet face-to-face as personable as any frontman, he makes the perfect central point for Dancing Years. The band’s gentle melodies are only going to see their stock gather strength and with shades of Dry the River interspersed amongst the soaring harmonies, they make for easy listening. Add to that equation that big hitters like Seymour Stein were in the audience and you’ve got ones to watch right here people. The only disappointment was the rather sparse crowd, probably owing to the venues distance from the main swarm of events. (8/10)

The allure of something raw like Dingus Khan was too much after the sheened sounds of Dancing Years, so off to the Hope I rattled my broken body. Only to be met by a sprawling queue, which while being entertaining in the characters I met, who included a Dingus Khan fan from Warner Music, a 19-year old PA for We Were Evergreen’s manager. and two bookers from the Netherlands’ PinkPop festival, who I’d like to note had some fantastic hairstyles.

And while the conversation was stimulating, the popularity of Dingus proved too much, as I was not allowed into the venue. However, I am reliably informed by Ollie McCormack of Top Button Digital that they were brilliant, and that the album is great to shake of the cobwebs of TGE on a Monday.

Following up from the disappointment of missing Dingus, I stumbled into the Hope for the second time that day to catch Dinosaur Pile-Up. Another Leeds-based outfit that in 2011 provided me with the scenes of the most chaotic gig in my memory, with stage invasions galore, circle pits aplenty and an appropriate amount of urine in plastic cups. It’s a festival, eh?

This set was a far more restrained affair, with the audience only really getting into it properly in the final few songs. Dinosaur Pile-Up’s hectic, strangled shredding should have been perfect for this venue, with shoulders pressed firmly against the walls by band and punters alike. ‘Mona Lisa’ kept its attraction and proved the hub of the set for me musically. Nevertheless, the moment of the short set was when a circle pit broke out at the front, and the smile of the veteran moshers face next to me as he watched with glee at the chaos unfolding, albeit momentarily in front of him. (6/10)

 

Great Escape 2013: Mary’s initial impressions from Day 1 afternoon

 
By on Tuesday, 28th May 2013 at 1:00 pm
 

The first weekend I was in Britain on holiday in May, I spent covering Liverpool Sound City with John and Martin. Part 2 of my double music festival holiday, then, was to happen 2 weekends later, at the Great Escape in Brighton, my second time venturing to the seaside for emerging talent and burgeoning favourites. I had arrived 2 days in advance so I could get 2 good nights’ sleep in before John arrived, which was probably a good decision because we didn’t sleep much during the time of the actual 3-day event. While the day I arrived was marked by an uncomfortable driving rain and gale force winds that I was sure would blow off the roof of the flat we rented for the week, divine intervention happily allowed us to get away with no brollies or macs during the festival, which was a pleasant shocker to me after getting thoroughly soaked on the first day last year.

But our festival experience didn’t begin so well. I got a frantic text from John earlier in the day that his coat and keys had been nicked in a pub in Lincoln the night before. His train was late and he was pretty sure he was going to miss the one band he was so keen on seeing that first day, Brother and Bones, whom he’d discovered at the Great Escape 2011, and I was sad for him about that. I suspect he will describe the scene to you in his day 1 report, but I kind of envisioned in my head him running around like a crazy person in Victoria rail station, as he managed to not miss his train down to Brighton.

The next thing I knew, that afternoon I was shooting off from the Old Courtroom to meet him at the Hope on Queens Road to see Brother and Bones for the first time. This was entirely unplanned but looking back in hindsight, it was pretty appropriate for my first show at TGE 2013 to be at the Hope; I’d been walking around town that grey and miserable day on Tuesday and lost my hat somewhere during the walkabout, when I ambled down the Queens Road and suddenly it dawned on me what had been doing there a year ago previous. Seeing another band, the Crookes, for the first time.

Brother and Bones Great Escape live

However, I don’t know if it was a problem with the ventilation or what, as it certainly wasn’t hot Thursday in Brighton. But when it came time for the Brother and Bones set, it was hot, sweaty and gross inside the main room of the Hope. It compared highly unfavourably to the Crookes’ 2012 set for that reason alone; it was crowded then, but I don’t ever recalling having to wipe my sweaty forehead even before the band arrived onstage. But John has been banging on about B&B for a long time, so of course as editor I wanted to see what the fuss was about. He described frontman Richard Thomas as “a mad Jack Sparrow”. Ok. Looking at my photos now, I completely understand the description. Musically, the band is a kind of a strange mixture of Biffy Clyro and folk, and unfortunately not really my thing, so I couldn’t really gauge if this was a good set for them or not. Worse, I couldn’t breathe in the room – too many people + heat = disaster – so I had to beat a hasty retreat and leave John alone to enjoy them.

This gave me ample time to stroll comfortably towards a conference panel at the Komedia, or what is now being called Duke’s at Komedia. I should have known from the name alone that there was something terribly wrong. As I walked down Gardner Street, I could see a neon sign of stripey legs hanging from the side of a shopfront. What is that? As I got closer, my heart sank at what was before me. It honestly looked like a sweet shop had exploded, or maybe Nickelodeon had gotten their mitts on the place and decided everything needed to be day glo orange. Goodness. I saw some great bands in the spaces there in 2012 (Juveniles and JD MacPherson, just to name two) and I don’t know how obvious the backdrop is in this video interview, but part of the Komedia’s charm was that the front part when you walked in was a dive-y looking coffee bar, with wood trim that was well worn but loved. You could get a cup of coffee and a slice of cake and sit down with a book on one of the benches and be perfectly happy with such simplicity. The fact that it’s no longer how I remember it in my mind and they’ve turned into a cinema makes me a bit sick inside.

That said, I suppose for the coffee drinking, popcorn and cake eating public, the inside cafe upstairs is a relaxed, if oversanitised place to get a drink or a bit of food before a film. Me? I just went inside there to charge up my phone and pore over my 3-day schedule, and who should walk in but Everything Everything themselves and their entourage. I looked up from my papers and bassist Jeremy Pritchard smiled and waved at me, “Mary! Fancy seeing here. You all right?” It is moments such as these that make me think, gosh, how is this happening? This would never happen in my day job. Just too funny.

Everything Everything In Conversation panel

The band, ahead of their Thursday night headlining slot at Brighton Dome, were getting ready to be interviewed for an In Conversation panel with Xfm’s John Kennedy. I often have this conversation with other journos about why interviews go well – or terribly wrong. While sometimes it could be the fault of the interviewee, if they’re tired or entirely disinterested in the promotion, more often than not it falls on the interviewer to come up with the right kind of questions to engage and challenge the subject and maintain their attention but also to be able to tease out the information that you think your readers and listeners want. I think Kennedy did an admirable job in this case, but it also helped that Everything Everything themselves are generally funny, amiable chaps who are genuinely are glad for the position they’re in and the opportunities they’re given.

 

(10 for 2013!) Quickfire Questions #39: Richard Thomas of Brother and Bones

 
By on Tuesday, 18th December 2012 at 1:00 pm
 

Richard Thomas and his Brother and Bones nabbed the top spot on the TGTF readers’ 10 for 2013 poll, so it only seems fitting that we gave Richard our Quickfire Questions. He kindly answered them; if you were wondering what soundtrack Richards was obsessed with, wonder no more! Read on…

What song is your earliest musical memory?
Sitting around with all my family at Christmas with everyone passing the guitar, playing old country songs and the Eagles and the Beatles. Good times

What was your favourite song as a child?
Haha…when I was really young I remember being obsessed with The Lion King soundtrack and used to love how epic and powerful the orchestra was. I used to get really into it and pretend I was the conductor listening to it in the car.

What song makes you laugh?
Anything by Olly Murs.

What song makes you cry?
Tracy Chapman – ‘The Promise’. And Ray Lamontagne – ‘Burn’. Uncompromised, raw honesty. Incredible stuff.

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.)
I think of the album ‘O’ by Damien Rice….suitably depressing. Maybe it’s the songwriter in me that’s drawn towards to melancholy side of ‘falling in love’…

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.)
Anything by Rage Against the Machine. ‘Your anger is a gift’ right?!

Which song (any song written in the last century) do you wish you’d written yourself?
It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding) – Bob Dylan. If you write something like that you know you’re in a different league and on a different planet.

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

If you hadn’t become a singer/musician/songwriter/etc., what job do you think you’d be doing right now?
I’ve never even thought about it….No idea…erm…a magician? Love card tricks…

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.)
I’m pretty sure I’d be knocking on the wrong door….

Cheers Richard for answering our questions!

 
 
 

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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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