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Single Review: Casual Sex – A Perfect Storm / Pissing Neon

 
By on Wednesday, 1st October 2014 at 12:00 pm
 

If there was ever a track which could mellow out an earth shuddering headache, you’d probably drift towards ‘Pissing Neon’ by Casual Sex. Despite immediately conjuring up a wrecked stoner pissing rainbows, it’s a chilled out as your nan after she’s completed her favourite crossword puzzle – ya know, when you see her with that smile on her face. Good, we’re at the right place.

Drawing heavily from the influences of ‘90s, disco this double A-side Sam Smith, Ed Wood, Peter Masson and Chris McCrory have crafted a beautiful soundscape which borders on trip-hop. Oh, and to dispel any confusion – no, he has no relation to that cretin Sam Smith who shares his name, is all over the ol’ wireless like a venereal infection and who inexplicably looks set to write a Bond theme. More on that later.

The metronomic intro of ‘A Perfect Storm’ (see stream at the bottom of this post) feels like the start of a retro video game, until Smith cuts in with his nasal heavy vocals – ever syllable dripping with smarm: “it’s a ruse / it’s a ruuuuuussseee.”

The harpischord-esque jangling guitar brings the song along at a skipping pace. It’s almost the kind of track you’d expect on in the background as someone from The Simpsons or Family Guy took acid and became a hippy. The production is sublime and each part compliments the other in beautiful symbiosis.

A full length offering soon would be nice sooner rather than later to capitalise on the sheer level of hype this record will produce.

9/10

Casual Sex‘s forthcoming single ‘A Perfect Storm’ / ‘Pissing Neon’ will be released next Monday, the 6th of October, on We Can Still Picnic Records on limited edition 7″ vinyl and digital download. Stream ‘A Perfect Storm’ below.

 

Casual Sex / October 2014 UK Tour

 
By on Monday, 1st September 2014 at 8:00 am
 

Glasgow indie rockers Casual Sex have announced their new double A-side single as well as a short list of UK tour dates for this October. The single, which includes two contrasting tracks called ‘A Perfect Storm’ and ‘Pissing Neon’, will be officially released on the 6th of October via We Can Still Picnic Records. You can take a listen to ‘A Perfect Storm’ below the tour date listing. Tickets for the following shows are available now.

Monday 6th October 2014 – Glasgow CCA
Tuesday 7th October 2014 – London Sebright Arms
Thursday 9th October 2014 – Inverness Hootananny
Friday 10th October 2014 – Edinburgh Pleasance Theatre

 

SXSW 2014 Interview: Casual Sex

 
By on Thursday, 27th March 2014 at 11:00 am
 

Ah yes, the band on everyone’s lips, Casual Sex. (In case you haven’t figured this out yet, it’s very important to refer to the band with their proper name to avoid embarrassment in the wrong company…) They had a whirlwind of a week gigging, playing in all sorts of places across Austin, but I would have imagined that their Friday night appearance, surrounded by their fellow countrymen at the Showcasing Scotland night at the British Music Embassy was particularly special for them. It was certainly special to me, even from the get-go: once inside Latitude 30, I was greeted by a burly yet kindly man in a kilt!

It was amazing to have all four members of Casual Sex – Sam Smith, Ed Wood, Pete Masson and Chris McCrory – sat down next to me for this great interview in which we talked about their brilliant week in Austin including the amazing food, where the band name came from (come now, we all wanted to know that surely, yeah?), and they talk to me about Glasgow as well.

Also of note: usually it’s me bringing things to shows for the bands I know, but this night, I was the one to be surprised. Many, many thanks to the guys who brought me a special EP as a present and signed it for me. It is now installed in a place of honour on my desk at work. Cheers guys for your time and your kind present!

 

SXSW 2014: Friday night free-for-all via London, Tokyo and Glasgow – 14th March 2014

 
By on Wednesday, 26th March 2014 at 3:00 pm
 

After my rather chill Friday daytime experiences at the Irish breakfast at B.D. Riley’s and interviewing some fab folks, it was time to get back to work. First things first, however. I arrived early to the Mohawk to meet up with Sivu for a cheeky chat at the Omni before his soundcheck at the House of Vans evening showcase there. He turned out to be one of the loveliest people I’ve ever met, and to be honest, being able to see him with a full band and full set up at Liverpool Sound City is the one of the main reasons I’ve decided to visit England in May. Not saying that I didn’t like his stripped back performance with guitarist and backing vocalist Lucy Parnell, but I just have this image in my head – and can hear in my ears – that the full experience will be 1,000,000x better.

Sivu is just finding his feet release-wise in America, recently having signed a deal with Canvasback Music, who have released music by alt-J here in the States, and if you listened to my interview with him, this association makes total sense. But as he is relatively unknown in our country, it’s not a huge surprise that a set so early in the evening (8 PM on the nose) didn’t attract a huge group of people. However, I met a girl in the queue outside and convinced her further that she should stay; she did, and she thoroughly enjoyed the set, as did I. While the song collboration of ‘I Hold’ Sivu did with Marika Hackman sounded bare, Parnell did an amazing job standing in for Hackman and the combined vocals of hers and Sivu’s were amazing. The stripped back version of last year’s single ‘I Lost Myself’ was mesmerising, and it was like the Mohawk indoor stage, with its boudoir lighting and red walls, were custom made to go with it.

Not sure what I would do after Sivu, my new friend said that the Japan Nite at Elysium would be a good shout. I then realised it might be the only time I might run into my good mate Johnny Au, Head Photographer at The AU Review. Was I right, or what? He was down the front, covering the entire showcase. I had no prior knowledge of Jungles of Red Bacteria Vacuum from Tokyo, but whoa mama, they were certainly different than anything else I had been seeing all week in Austin. Originally from Osaka, I’ve read they’ve suffered from various band member changes, but whatever they’ve done to get to this place, the all-girl, all-punk band now based in the capital of Japan rock out with a ferocity that I really needed to see and hear that night. I now own one of their albums called ‘Pleased to Eat You’. Not exactly my usual British pop fare, yeah?

After the face melting experienced at Elysium, I headed back down to British Music Embassy to catch a band whose name is guaranteed to elicit a giggle from anyone aged 8 to 80 for as long as they persist to exist. Casual Sex, the indie rock band based in Glasgow, have been dogged by comparisons to Franz Ferdinand ever since they made their first appearance in the blogosphere. However, I get the feeling from with the ease that singer/guitarist Sam Smith applied lipstick on himself, explaining he wanted to be more like us girls, he’s been doing this far longer than Nick McCarthy in the recent comical video for ‘Erdbeer Mund’.

However, while the moment of lipstick application could be perceived merely as a gimmick, Casual Sex the live experience (that sounds dirty, not my intention, sorry) was actually more interesting than I expected (as the band were in person too, as evidenced by my interview with them post-gig; stay tuned for this tomorrow) and I think we all should give them credit for taking funk, rock and even a bit of pop, mix them all up, and take them to the next level. Yes, I can see the ‘sexy’ comparisons to Franz, but don’t make the mistake of thinking that’s all they are. Jangly guitars, a funky rhythm section and irresistible vocals? Hello. Just say yes to Casual Sex. Just be sure you use the proper name of the band, for if you don’t, I’m not responsible for any activities you get up to.

My evening was supposed to have ended with an interview with Dems after they played at Buffalo Billiards. But when we arrived at the door to the venue, security told us we could not go in because “we’re counting the money inside”. What the heck does that mean? We must have waited a good 20-25 minutes before I said I was going home. With a signed vinyl all the way from Glasgow in hand, I’d already had an excellent night.

 

TGTF Guide to SXSW 2014: Rock UK artists showcasing at this year’s SXSW (A-M)

 
By on Tuesday, 25th February 2014 at 1:00 pm
 

Please note: all information we bring you about SXSW 2014 is to the best of our knowledge when it posts, and bands scheduled to appear may be subject to change. To learn when your favourite band is playing in Austin, we recommend you first consult the official SXSW schedule, then stop by the band’s Facebook and official Web site for details of any non-official SXSW appearances.

Oh, British rock. Its many facets will be on display at SXSW 2014, judging by the variety of acts been given a shout by the festival this year. In this first installment of the exclusive TGTF Guide to SXSW 2014, we take a closer look at bands that play rock, punk, metal and everything in between, starting alphabetically A through M. And away we go…

Band of Skulls
John writes of their latest single: “…we were treated to the anything but a ‘Sweet Sour’ follow-up to Band of Skulls’ aforementioned 2011 record, bonus single, ‘Be Mine’. It hardly starts in true, chug-a-lug-ing Band of Skulls format, with a lingering guitar solo from Russell Marsden building in to the twin harmonies of Marsden and bassist Emma Richardson, underscored by an old school piano melody. The song builds like the back drop to a love scene from a an old western, and I felt the first time that I was walking into an old saloon bar, as the two harmonised, ‘hit me with your love, be mine / all our future’s in the balance'”.

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

Bring Me the Horizon
John writes: “Their fourth album is undeniably the moment where BMTH came of age. It’s such a clichéd phrase, but it’s obvious Sykes and co. have a found a sound that truly epitomizes where they are as a band on this record. On ‘Antivist’, we have a trademark display of BMTH bile and vitriol, as Sykes does his best to use the F and C bombs as frequently as he can in one song. Meanwhile, ‘Shadow Moses’ is a beast of a different order, showcasing a BMTH embracing a spot of synth, while still remaining fierce in their breakdowns.”

Read more from John here.

Cage the Gods
Leather, check. Tats, check. Long hair like they just don’t care, check. Yes, this London-based band fits the stereotype of hard rockers out of Britain but here’s something you don’t hear every day: a band that has English, Irish, Scottish and Welsh members playing in perfect harmony. Or maybe the better description is rocking out in thunderous, bluesy accord. ‘Favourite Sin’? Check it out below.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hjr2dkyBwmw[/youtube]

Casual Sex
John writes: “Anybody looking for quintessential British indie boys will be pretty delighted by what this four-piece have to offer, as Casual Sex appear to be an indie offering cultivated from a mix of what’s doing the rounds at the moment, a la Franz Ferdinand, Royal Blood, The 1975 and Night Engine. There’s a broody, almost sullen vocalist in Smith, backed by Edward Wood providing the dreampop guitar elements, Peter Masson on bass and Chris McCrory tapping away on drums. Mixed in with some pre-1970s goodness for proper measure, they’re a taste of all things British in four-good looking blokes. Marketable and sure to be gobbled right up by the A&Rs at SXSW.”

Read more in his Bands to Watch piece here. Singer Sam Smith also answered our SXSW flavoured Quickfire Questions.

The Crookes
The Sheffield based band were recently bestowed a generous grant from the UK government for the purpose of making a go of breaking America, but there is much more this group has to be proud of. For one, they’re only the second band after Death Cab for Cutie have released three albums on their London indie label Fierce Panda, with ‘Soapbox’ due out in mid April. With a steadily harder edge since their humbler 2010 ‘Dreaming of Another Day’ beginnings, they’ll be ones to watch this year.

Read my glowing review of ‘Soapbox’ here. The band also answered our SXSW flavoured Quickfire Questions as a team here.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zmn9F9vKxzU[/youtube]

Drenge
Martin writes: “…opportunistic recommendations from politicians aside, what’s all the fuss about Drenge? With a slender lineup consisting of brothers Eoin and Rory Loveless and nobody else, the Sheffield pair conjure a mighty brick wall of distorted guitars and scarily thrashed drums.”

Read the rest of Martin’s Bands to Watch piece on Drenge here.

Et Tu Brucé
What would have happened if the Byrds got together with Stuart Murdoch? They’d probably be rocking out and sounding like Et Tu Brucé. The guitars and harmonies are effortless, and if they’re really touring with the Zombies as it says on their Web site, sorry, I think they’ll give those grandpas a run for their money. And clearly from the video below, they have a sense of humour. (Yes!)

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

Evans the Death
This band already has a Rolling Stone description (huh?): “This London band mixes post–Smiths jangle and early–grunge sludge, as Katherine Whitaker explores varying shades of bad romance. Her raw emotion blends with slashing, whirling guitars to inject paralysis with weird power.” When you see they’ve been signed to Slumberland Records here in America (‘Allo Darlin’ and the Pains of Being Pure at Heart‘s American home), it all seems to make sense…

Fat White Family
Ben writes: “Anarchic South London six piece Fat White Family might well be as well known for unveiling a “bitch is dead” banner at their Brixton bolthole in the immediate aftermath of Margaret Thatcher’s (debatably) tragic passing, as for their debut album ‘Champagne Holocaust’. Gloriously menacing and wildly off-kilter, their unique brand of noise can be heard at British Music Embassy’s parting blow on the Saturday night of SXSW 2014.”


This London duo brings a little bit of everything: grooves, psych rock, lounge club sleaze. As such and with little out on the internet about them, they’re virtually impossible to describe. However, Ben Moorhouse and Leo Duncan have been quite active, and following on from two self releases in 2013, they’re releasing single ‘Turn Your Light On’ is part of a AA side to be released by fine North East folks and friends of ours Generator in March.

The Kooks
“Are the Kooks still going?” An actual question from a musician friend of mine who asked me who I was most keen on seeing at SXSW. Having nearly as long of a history as one of my standouts from SXSW 2012, Kaiser Chiefs, the Brighton indie rockers do have something to prove: that even though it’s been over 2 years the release of 2011’s ‘Junk of the Heart’, they’re still a viable export. Having at least two showcases at SXSW at high-profile venues (the Parish and Stubb’s), let’s see if they make the most of their opportunity.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8pvHZ4ddR-4[/youtube]

Morning Parade
The Harlow boys have been around quite a while now and command big audiences back home, but they’ve yet to make a real splash stateside. Is it time for limelight beyond the UK? The dazzling indie splendour of ‘Alienation’, the title track of their 2013 Parlophone-released EP, seems tailor made for mainstream MTV in America.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hcm5fJS8jZE[/youtube]

Stay tuned for more in the TGTF Guide to SXSW 2014, coming atcha soon!

 

(SXSW 2014 flavoured!) Quickfire Questions #64: Sam Smith of Casual Sex

 
By on Thursday, 13th February 2014 at 11:00 am
 

For the next couple of weeks leading up to SXSW 2014, we’ll be running a special version of the TGTF Quickfire Questions, served up SXSW style with an extra couple of questions to get inside bands’ heads so they’ll tell us what they really think of the event. In the first of these, lead singer Sam Smith of Glaswegian ‘it’ band Casual Sex tells us about what he’s most looking to in Austin and we learn how Bryan Ferry and Brian Eno have figured into his life.

You can also read John’s SXSW 2014 flavoured Bands to Watch on Casual Sex here.

SXSW-related questions:

What are you most looking forward to doing while you’re in Austin?
Soaking up the atmosphere and getting into the local cuisine and culture. Oh, and hopefully being somewhere warm after another wet, cold Scottish winter.

Are there any bands that you have as must-sees on your schedule? If yes, who are they and why?
There’s so many, I don’t really know where to start. Though we will be supporting our Scottish compatriots.

Name something you’re packing in your suitcase that we might find unusual. (You are welcome to elaborate.)
A Womble (a creature from Wimbledon Common that recycles rubbish). Nope, nothing to declare here other than pants, socks and notebooks.

If we happen to run into you in a bar, we’d like to buy you a drink. What is your tipple of choice?
I like a good ale or stout or if it’s hot, an ice cold pilsner. Beer, really.

(For the SXSW newbies) What have you heard about the festival? Are you excited / anxious / scared / etc. and why?
I’ve heard it’s hectic, a lot of fun and very busy, I just hope we can get our logistics nice and smooth so we can focus on soaking it all up rather than running around panicking.

Then it’s on to our usual TGTF Quickfire Questions:

What song is your earliest musical memory?
‘Walking on the Moon’ by the Police.

What was your favourite song as a child?
‘Heart of Glass’ by Blondie.

What song makes you laugh?
‘Rhinocratic Oaths’ by the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band.

What song makes you cry?
‘The Old Man’s Back Again’ by Scott Walker.

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.)
‘Over You’ by Roxy Music.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kzaI22Vq4-U[/youtube]

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 am always cold and calm. But in an event of an emotion, to calm myself, ‘Discreet Music’ by Brian Eno.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wG03l_fMI70[/youtube]

Which song (any song written in the last century / 100 years or so) do you wish you’d written yourself?
So many, but will go with ‘In My Life’ by the Beatles.

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

If you hadn’t become a singer/musician/songwriter/etc., what job do you think you’d be doing right now?
Hopefully an artist, if not a secret agent. [Best answer so far! -Ed.]

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.)
‘Roxy Music’ by Roxy Music.

Thanks very much Sam for answering our questions!

 
 
 

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 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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