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SXSW 2015: Saturday’s slew of final activities and a last stop at the British Music Embassy – 21st March 2015

 
By on Friday, 10th April 2015 at 2:00 pm
 

My final day at SXSW 2015 was truly a mixed bag of shows as I tried to squeeze in every last opportunity before my long drive back home the next day. In the course of the day, I stumbled upon a few exciting new artists before rounding off the festival back at the British Music Embassy.

I started with a planned visit to the free showcase at Waterloo Records, which featured English electro-dance group Clean Bandit. In spite of the uncooperative weather, punters donned ponchos and popped up umbrellas in the courtyard to catch the danceable grooves of recent single ‘Stronger’ before lining up inside for the band’s CD signing session. Fellow English vocalist Jess Glynne made her anticipated cameo appearance near the end of the set for Clean Bandit’s previous single ‘Real Love’ and breakout hit ‘Rather Be’.

Clean Bandit at Waterloo Records 21 March 2015

After a stop inside the record store for some souvenir shopping, I headed downtown to meet up with Mary, who was in the middle of a busy Saturday schedule of her own. She suggested that I stop in at B.D. Riley’s to catch Aussie blues singer/songwriter Hamish Anderson.

Hamish Anderson at BD Riley's 21 March 2015

I was warmly greeted by the staff at the door of B.D. Riley’s, where I had spent most of the previous day at the full Irish breakfast. On Saturday I was surrounded by Australian accents rather than lilting Irish ones, as the Sound Gallery showcase hosted by Sounds Australia took over the venue. Anderson clearly had more than a few fans in attendance, and I had to squeeze around fellow punters to get a good view of his guitar chops on the small stage at B.D. Riley’s. Anderson’s opened with a cover of Them Two’s ‘Am I a Good Man’ before he turned the focus to his new ‘Restless’ EP, starting with the aptly titled ‘Burn’ and ending with another scorcher, ‘Howl’. Anderson’s heavily blues influenced guitar style was matched only by his heavily blues influenced keyboard player.

Hamish Anderson's keyboard player

Finding myself at a bit of a loose end after Anderson’s set, I checked my Twitter feed to find an online acquaintance urging me to catch local Austin band O Conqueror’s final SXSW 2015 set, at a venue called The Tiniest Bar in Texas. It was a bit of a walk, especially given the continuing rain, but I decided to take a chance. As it turned out, the bar itself might actually be the tiniest one in the state, and I almost walked past it before I realized that the showcase was just outside in the awning-covered courtyard area.

I arrived early enough to grab a bite to eat from one of the food trucks in the courtyard, and while I was noshing, I used Twitter to arrange a quick meet up with O Conqueror’s keyboard player Alex Hartley before the start of their set. Alex and I shared a laugh when he mentioned that O Conqueror had been confused several times with Northern Irish band More Than Conquerors, whom I had covered earlier in the week. O Conqueror’s set included edgy recent single ‘Lost Your Mind’ whose video was filmed, appropriately enough, in downtown Austin. Their engaging stage presence, led by frontman Dustin Doering, and melodious guitar-driven rock have clearly already won the hearts of Austin locals, and they gained at least one new fan at SXSW 2015 as well.

O Conqueror 21 March 2015

Feeling quite satisfied with my new musical discovery, I headed back to Latitude 30 to hear the final evening showcase of the year at the British Music Embassy. The first featured band was Scottish duo Honeyblood, who have had a change in lineup since I saw them last at SXSW 2014. New drummer Cat Myers appeared not only at ease with the situation, but well and truly in control of it, showing off her chops at the drum kit on more than one occasion. Singer Stina Tweeddale appeared equally confident, singing with greater intensity and conviction on last year’s hit ‘Bud’, which features on Honeyblood’s self-titled debut album from last summer.

Honeyblood at Latitude 30 21 March 2015

As the side project of Mazes’ Jack Cooper and Veronica Falls’ James Hoare, London guitar duo Ultimate Painting are another in a long string of artists playing the rock ‘n’ roll version of musical chairs. Their hazy psych rock left a vague impression on me, but the impression was deliberately indistinct and broadly atmospheric rather than sharply focused on specific guitar melodies or vocal lines. Their songs might not have been not my cup of tea, but they surely a represent a notable stylistic expansion for both band members.

Ultimate Painting at Latitude 30 21 March 2015

Spanish sensations Hinds, formerly known as Deers, were next on the lineup, but they were plagued by sound issues and ultimately had to cut their set short, much to the disappointment of the fans who had crowded in to see them. (Our own editor Mary was unfortunately among those stuck in the lengthy queue outside Latitude 30, but she had managed to see this band Wednesday at the daytime Sounds From Spain showcase.) Despite the difficulties, Hinds were engaging and energetic on stage, smiling bravely as they played through a handful of songs. Their uneven rhythms and stark tempo changes would likely have worked better had it not been for the sound problems, but in context it was difficult to tell when their stops and starts were deliberate. Nevertheless, there was a group of determined Hinds fans at the front of the stage who danced, cheered and sang along as best they could.

Hinds at Latitude 30 21 March 2015

Among Hinds’ fans in the audience was Carl Barat, who had appeared in Austin with his new band the Jackals. From my vantage point at the front of the stage, I turned around to see if Mary had gotten inside and instead found Barat standing just over my right shoulder. In the intermission after Hinds’ set, I introduced myself to the former Libertine, saying that I’d gotten some photos of him earlier in the week. He pulled a genuinely shocked expression and asked, “on stage, though, right?” I laughed and assured him that they were stage photos from Wednesday’s FLOODfest and not paparazzi-style snaps. Hearing this news, he gave me a hug and a kiss and thanked me for being there to promote the band. I slipped a TGTF card and badge into his black leather jacket pocket and set my sights back on the stage.

Another psych-rock band, Happyness, was up after Hinds, and they appeared to have a much easier time of it on stage at Latitude 30. Admittedly, their music is so aloof and deliberately low-key that it might be difficult to know if they were having a problem. But their extended guitar jams built in intensity throughout the set, leading to a massive coda at the end which found guitarist Benji Compston flat on the floor by the time it finished.

Happyness at Latitude 30 21 March 2015

The final act on the schedule for the night was Irish punk quartet Girl Band, who I had caught briefly the day before at the full Irish breakfast. After having to fight her way through the queue and the crowd, Mary and I decided to call it a night. Frankly, I was feeling a bit “flat on the floor” myself after the long and exciting SXSW week. I left town the next morning with a myriad of new sounds and new faces permanently etched into my memory, and naturally I made them each a part of my eclectic road trip playlist on the drive home.

 

Ed Sheeran named as most streamed artist of 2014

 
By on Friday, 5th December 2014 at 5:30 pm
 

Ed Sheeran has been named as the most streamed artist worldwide in 2014, with his album ‘X’ being streamed over 430 million times since it was released in June.

Music streaming service Spotify revealed that the singer/songwriter beat the likes of Eminem and Coldplay to the top spot, based on data collected from over 50 million users across the world. Calvin Harris and Katy Perry make up the remainder of the top five. Speaking about his achievement, Sheeran said, “It’s a great thing to be above so many amazing artists who I’d assume would be streamed more than me.”

However, despite his successes in the streaming charts, Ed Sheeran failed to make the top five tracks globally. Singer/songwriter, rapper and producer Pharrell Williams took the top spot with ‘Happy (from Despicable Me 2)’, which beat off competition from Clean Bandit‘s ‘Rather Be (ft. Jess Glynne)’ and Calvin Harris’s ‘Summer’. Katy Perry’s ‘Dark Horse’ and John Legend‘s ‘All of Me’ complete the top five.

Steve Savoca, head of content at Spotify, said: “This has been a phenomenal year for a rich variety of amazing artists on Spotify. Over 50 million dedicated music fans listened to more than 7 billion listening hours in 2014 alone.” He added: “Huge congratulations to Ed Sheeran on achieving most-streamed album on Spotify for the wildly successful ‘X’, and also for earning the overall most streamed artist of 2014 thanks to his dedicated fans on Spotify.”

Ed Sheeran’s success in the streaming chart is largely down to timing. His album X, which is available on Spotify, was released a couple of weeks before he took to the Pyramid stage at Glastonbury 2014. In the same month, it was announced that the Official Charts Company would be counting audio streams within their chart data. Following his performance on “The X Factor” on Sunday, October 26th, 2014, the singer’s third single ‘Thinking Out Loud’ was streamed over 1,638,000 times in a week. Not bad, eh?

However, not all artists have been as supportive of music streaming services. Quite famously, Taylor Swift made the move to withdraw all of her music from Spotify at the start of November 2014, as she believes artists don’t receive enough money from the service. Other famous artists who are missing from such services include AC/DC and The Beatles.

The streaming results, which includes artists we’ve written a lot on TGTF about including Coldplay, Glass Animals and Hozier, in full:

Top five global artists

1. Ed Sheeran
2. Eminem
3. Coldplay
4. Calvin Harris
5. Katy Perry

Top five global males

1. Ed Sheeran
2. Eminem
3. Calvin Harris
4. Avicii
5. David Guetta

Top five global females

1. Katy Perry
2. Ariana Grande
3. Lana Del Rey
4. Beyoncé
5. Lorde

Top five global groups

1. Coldplay
2. Imagine Dragons
3. Maroon 5
4. OneRepublic
5. One Direction

Top five global tracks

1. Happy (from Despicable Me 2) – Pharrell Williams
2. Rather Be (feat. Jess Glynne) – Clean Bandit
3. Summer – Calvin Harris
4. Dark Horse – Katy Perry
5. All of Me – John Legend

Top five global albums

1. X – Ed Sheeran
2. In the Lonely Hour – Sam Smith
3. The New Classic – Iggy Azalea
4. G I R L – Pharrell Williams
5. My Everything – Ariana Grande

Top five global viral tracks

1. Take Me to Church – Hozier
2. Gooey – Glass Animals
3. Ojos Color Sol – Calle 13
4. Coffee – Sylvan Esso
5. Hey Mami – Sylvan Esso

Most streamed artists in UK

1. Ed Sheeran
2. Arctic Monkeys
3. Eminem
4. Sam Smith
5. Coldplay

Most streamed tracks in UK

1. Rather Be (feat. Jess Glynne) – Clean Bandit
2. Happy – Pharrell Williams
3. Waves (Robin Schulz Radio Edit) – M Probz
4. All of Me – John Legend
5. Stay With Me – Sam Smith

Most streamed albums in UK

1. X – Ed Sheeran
2. In the Lonely Hour – Sam Smith
3. Wanted On Voyage – George Ezra
4. The New Classic – Iggy Azalea
5. G I R L – Pharrell Williams

Top viral tracks in UK

1. Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen) – Baz Luhrmann
2. Gooey – Glass Animals
3. Everyone Is Gay – A Great Big World
4. Take Me To Church – Hozier
5. Far From Any Road – The Handsome Family

 

Single Review: Clean Bandit – Real Love (ft. Jess Glynne)

 
By on Thursday, 20th November 2014 at 12:00 pm
 

British electronic group Clean Bandit achieved phenomenal chart success in 2014 with ‘Rather Be’. The track, which features vocals from English singer/songwriter Jess Glynne, spent four weeks at #1 in the Official UK Singles Charts: it sold 163,000 copies in its opening week back in January, making it the second fastest-selling single of the year (behind Band Aid 30‘s ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?’). On the back of Rather Be, Clean Bandit and Jess Glynne have teamed up once again for their latest single ‘Real Love’.

The four-piece band’s unique selling point is their ability to fuse a range of genres together in their music, including classical, funk, dance and pop. Combined with the soulful vocals of Glynne, ‘Real Love’ offers a distinctive blend of styles that stands out amongst the wave of dance music that is currently dominating the charts.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qdo_-U4PEsk[/youtube]

The track, which is the first to be taken from the new edition of their debut album ‘New Eyes’, opens with the rich sounds of a bass, cello and piano, as Glynne’s terrific vocals trickle over the top. As the momentum and energy builds, ‘Real Love’ bursts into a dance chorus that brilliantly demonstrates Clean Bandit’s signature style. While the lyrics tether on the edge of being too repetitive, as Glynne repeatedly belts out “this is real, real, real, real love” throughout the chorus, ‘Real Love’ is a solid track highly reminiscent of ‘Rather Be’.

However, this likeness to their first collaboration is the main downfall of the song. The song doesn’t bring anything new to the table, as Clean Bandit and Jess Glynne have played it safe by attempting to ride on the success of ‘Rather Be’. Had they taken a few more risks, this could have been a smash hit. Instead, we’re left with a slightly underwhelming track that will struggle to make a significant impact on the charts.

7/10

‘Real Love’ is taken from Clean Bandit’s debut album ‘New Eyes’, out now on Atlantic Records. The band recently announced that they are embarking on a UK/Irish tour in March 2015.

 

Clean Bandit / March 2015 UK/Irish Tour

 
By on Wednesday, 19th November 2014 at 8:30 am
 

Clean Bandit have announced a list of headline shows in the UK and Ireland for next March, including dates at the Apollo in Manchester and Alexandra Palace in London. Their new single ‘Real Love’, the follow-up to hit track ‘Rather Be’, came out on Monday and once again features guest vocals from Jess Glynne. You can watch the video for ‘Real Love’ below the tour date listing. Tickets for the following shows go on sale this Friday, the 21st of November, at 9 AM.

Thursday 5th March 2015 – Belfast Mandela Hall
Friday 6th March 2015 – Dublin Academy
Sunday 8th March 2015 – Cambridge Corn Exchange
Monday 9th March 2015 – Birmingham Academy
Tuesday 10th March 2015 – Glasgow Academy
Wednesday 11th March 2015 – Manchester Apollo
Thursday 13th March 2015 – London Alexandra Palace

[youtube]http://youtu.be/qdo_-U4PEsk[/youtube]

 

The BBC at Glastonbury 2014 (Saturday): Clean Bandit playing ‘Rather Be’ at the John Peel Stage

 
By on Sunday, 29th June 2014 at 9:00 am
 

Wherever you will be hanging your hat this weekend, whether you’re joining the sheep at Worthy Farm or you’ve got your feet up in front of the telly, us here at TGTF will have you covered when it comes to Glastonbury 2014. The dedicated people they are, the folks at the BBC will be working all hours during the festival and feeding us live coverage as it becomes available. What does this mean for you? We’ll be passing along all the best bits to you, our faithful readers.

We all knew this moment was going to happen at Glastonbury 2014, so I’m glad someone at the BBC had the forethought to record it. ‘Rather Be’ was Clean Bandit‘s breakthrough hit, and judging from the enthusiastic crowd for them at the John Peel Stage Saturday, they didn’t disappoint. Watch the video below.

For more of the BBC’s Glastonbury coverage online, head this way. Stay tuned for more videos from Glasto 2014 right here on TGTF.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dome2odusLM[/youtube]

 

Preview: Live at Leeds Festival 2014

 
By on Friday, 2nd May 2014 at 1:00 pm
 

Live at Leeds is one of the most intense examples of one of the most intense of gig-going events: the one-dayer. Leeds boasts more than its fair share of fine venues, and Live at Leeds brings them together under one banner for 12 hours of fine new music. Your brave correspondent has attempted to listen to every one of the over 200 artists on offer – and failed. Therefore here’s a list of what stands out as a possible way to negotiate the myriad of combinations.

The Brudenell Social Club has a strong offer all day. We Were Evergreen (3 pm) trade in Parisian twee-pop blended with indie tunes: a fine, summery start. And after that, because the Brudenell has two stages, it’s one band after the other, every half hour. No time to even visit the bar. Dive In are from Glastonbury and offer chiming melodies and a voice uncannily similar to Brian Molko, if he was full of happy pills. Coasts have the nerve to call their latest single ‘A Rush Of Blood’ – and although there is a touch of Coldplay in some of their soaring choruses, they’re unlikely to be confused with the London behemoth: there’s a nice discordant solo in ‘Stay’, and ‘Wallow’ is almost like Bastille with big guitars. A mixed bag then, but certainly one worth assessing live.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=68yQl4VRiBQ[/youtube]

Jarbird bring some admirably minimalist electronica overlaid with a lot of twisted, vocodered singing. And with a song called ‘More Bad Celebrity Poetry’ betraying a humourous cynicism, what’s not to like? Happyness, despite being from London, bring sunshine-on-a-string Americana – ‘It’s on You’ properly chugs like the Lemonheads, chock full of classic melodies and a college-rock slacker sensibility; ‘Montreal Rock Band Somewhere’ is a slow-burner, with a lazy bassline sketching out a groove and slurred vocals about drawing letters on one’s person. As you do. Woman’s Hour are a bit like a cross between Wild Beasts and The xx – which gives them a lot to live up to. They sound capable of it. With their debut album coming in July, now is a great time to check them out.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZS5paNae-ss[/youtube]

From smooth electropop to guitars – both Creases and Primitive Parts supply lo-fi riffing and retro rock ‘n’ roll beats. Primitive Parts clearly have one or two Graham Coxon records in their collection. Onwards: I can’t stop playing ‘Hiroshima’, a fine example of orchestral pop from Norway’s Highasakite. Ingrid Helene Håvik’s vocals are stunning, framed beautifully by the delicate instrumentation.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KLQqTaSg-nI[/youtube]

The 8 pm hour provides a dilemma – whether to make the 10-minute walk to The Packhorse to catch TGTF favourites The Orielles; perhaps a taxi ride to the Belgrave Music Hall to see the suave chamber delights of New York’s San Fermin, coming over all Tindersticks and Hem; or to stay at the Brudenell for an increasingly noisy night, kicking off with Montreal’s hard-riffing duo Solids. Indeed, the picture of where to be and what to hear becomes increasingly distant and hazy as the night draws in. Several hotly-tipped acts will have already been missed: Courtney Barnett, Flyte, Arthur Beatrice, and the headliners are either heavy-ish (Pulled Apart By Horses, Catfish And The Bottlemen (pictured at top), The Hold Steady), or poppy-ish (Clean Bandit, King Charles). Leeds’ very own I Like Trains set up a homecoming gig at Leeds Town Hall, celebrating 10 years in the biz.

In short, there’s something for everyone, and nobody can see everything, so it’s probably best to go with the flow and not worry too much about it. Or just spend all day at the Brudenell. See you there…

 
 
 

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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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