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Video of the Moment #2859: Cold Fronts

 
By on Wednesday, 27th June 2018 at 6:00 pm
 

Cold Fronts recently completed a month-long North American tour with Aussies Hockey Dad. The Philadelphia band unveiled a new single, ‘Fantasy Du Jour’, on the 20th of April (you know, THAT day), and it was only last week that they released its accompanying video. It’s less hectic and less in-your-face than some fo their other tracks, which is actually nice to chill out with in these dog days of summer on the East Coast of the U.S. Check out the video for ‘Fantasy Du Jour’ below. It’s the title track of the band’s current album, released at the start of May on Sire Records. For all of our past coverage on TGTF on Cold Fronts, use this link.

 

Live Review: Cold Fronts with Heyrocco at Black Cat Backstage, Washington DC – 5th November 2015

 
By on Monday, 9th November 2015 at 2:00 pm
 

It’s always great to get validation from the Real World that a band you saw promise in early on has done well. Take, for example, the headliner last Thursday night at Black Cat Backstage, Cold Fronts. I saw them open for Chicagoans Empires a year ago at DC9, where I thought they were more energetic and made more of a lasting impression than their tour mates.

Fast forward 12 months, and the group from Philadelphia have just released their debut album ‘Forever Whatever’ on Sire Records in the States, a few years after Warner Brothers VP Seymour Stein stumbled upon them at SXSW. (Not to mention my suggestion in my DC9 review of them that they should tour with The Cribs actually came true when the Jarman brothers played three sold out shows in New York back in March.) True to their personality as exhibited the first time I saw them in DC and then during their first visit to Brighton this year for the Great Escape 2015, their debut is a free-wheeling, fun record guaranteed to get you out of your cold weather blues.

Heyrocco Washington live

We missed the first support act, Nashville’s Chrome Pony, instead beginning our night of music with South Carolinan band Heyrocco (yes, their name is all one word and against my good editor sense). Frontman Nathan donned a hot dog costume to take the stage: the conversation starter to end all conversation starters turned out to be a gift from a Halloween reveler at a show during the previous Halloween weekend. The cool thing about Heyrocco’s set was that as it went on, I couldn’t have predicted how it would end. ‘Teenage Movie Soundtrack’ is the name of their debut album out now, described on a press release as “a perfect marriage of grungy angst and bubblegum pop”. They were a great fit to open for Cold Fronts, as both bands have a similar “c’mon on guys, let’s have fun at all costs!” kind of attitude, and they’ve got a poppy edge to their otherwise lo-fi guitar rock (I would think you would have to, with a song titled ‘Mom Jeans’).

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3S2Bmd3f5oU[/youtube]

Well, at least some of it anyway. They ended with a loud, jammy hard rock number that really required some headbanging and well, it would have been rude not to, am I right? Having my interest sufficiently piqued and now having listened to the whole album on their Bandcamp, the more intriguing of their tunes to me are those that seem to be channelling Bush, Nirvana and ’90s grunge like single ‘Jake Miller’s House Party’. For those of us who lived through grunge and for those of you who might not have, there’s plenty to like about this band.

Now that the crowd were sufficiently warmed up, Cold Fronts hit the stage in fine form. Despite having been on the road for a while by then and having just come from North Carolina during what frontman Craig Almquist joked was a horrible drive up motorway I-95, they were clearly excited about the recent release of their debut album and getting to play songs from it to their Washington fans. Instead of playing the entirety of the debut – even skipping what I considered their best track at DC9 last year, which turned out to be a crowd toe-tapper in Brighton, too, ‘Hit Me’ – Cold Fronts had the confidence to stick in a few new ones in their set including ‘Number One’, with Almquist saying how eager they were to get back into the studio to lay down more tracks.

Cold Fronts Washington 2015 live

Still, there was plenty to love in their set, no matter at what point in their history you’d become a fan of the band. The charismatic Almquist was stoked to perform ‘Heart Attack’, which he explained was the first song they’d ever written, appearing on their first EP ‘Pretty American’, released in 2012, and the folks down the front obviously knew the tune, shouting and raising their fists in approval. The melodic ‘Catch’ from the new LP, with its emphatic “ah ah ah ahs”, was another stunning crowd pleaser. They ended their set with ‘Energy Waster’: fast-paced with its adept guitars, it reinforced the nice balance Cold Fronts strikes between likeable pop and true rock talent. Nice one, guys.

 

Great Escape 2015: Day 1 Roundup (Part 2)

 
By on Wednesday, 20th May 2015 at 2:00 pm
 

Part 1 of my Thursday (day 1) roundup of is this way.

Up front the seafront I went and back to Patterns to check in on some relatively new American friends. Philadelphia band Cold Fronts, who I met last year supporting Chicago’s Empires on their North American tour. At the time, they weren’t known outside of Philly and I had made the suggestion to frontman Craig Almquist that they had a vibe and sounded a lot like the Cribs (one of Almquist’s favourite bands) and to see if they could get in touch with the band to maybe support them one day. So Cold Fronts’ people called the Cribs’ people…and the next thing I hear, Cold Fronts are supporting the Cribs’ New York residency in March 2015 just prior to SXSW. Is that mad or what? See, kids? Dreams do come true. (A sidenote: when Mary Chang suggests you to do something to further along your career, it’s probably a good idea to do It. Because, you know, you might end up supporting the Cribs one day.)

Cold Fronts at Great Escape 2015
Probably one of the biggest regrets I have from the Great Escape 2015 is leaving their set early to run up Brighton’s hill to see another band I’d heard good things about. As I was stood waiting for the Cribs the next night at Wagner Hall, a local musician and his girlfriend who were behind me were telling their other friends, “we saw these guys from America last night, they’re called Cold Fronts, they were amazing. The best part was when the singer got up top of the bar and started dancing!” And I missed that! ::grumble:: This was a sentiment that was repeated in multiple venues I stopped in for the rest of the festival, and I couldn’t help but feel proud to be an American once, knowing a band I like and support won over the Brits at a music festival across the pond.

Cold Fronts at Great Escape 2015
There were two persistent themes throughout my time in Brighton during the Great Escape 2015: queues everywhere and equipment problems at venues. The latter proved problematic twice for my plans for the evening. I left Patterns early to go back up to the Brighthelm Centre in anticipation of catching CLAY, a band from Leeds that sound like a more poppier Jungle on their early track ‘Oxygen’. Unfortunately, like Patterns that afternoon, the venue were facing a major delay in getting things sorted for the evening. I waited for a while, chatting to a fellow American who happened to be visiting London from her graduate school program in music in Valencia, Spain, but then realised my time would be better spent down at the Old Ship Paganini Ballroom, where I assumed I’d be seeing up and comer North West singer/songwriter Adam French. His father befriended one of my American friends in an Irish pub the night before (I wasn’t there because I’d left her to go home and plan out my 3-day schedule – seriously, you can’t make this stuff up).

I arrived to the Paganini Ballroom to much confusion. After making my way to the front of the crowd, the music the band onstage was making didn’t match up to my idea of French, who sounded to my unsympathetic ear like another Ben Howard. No…these guys sound more like Friendly Fires, the first band I’d fallen in love with as a music blogger 6 years ago, crossed with the melodic guitars of Two Door Cinema Club and pop whiffs of The 1975. Interesting…

Lake Malawi at Great Escape 2015
Lake Malawi, fronted by Albert Cerny and his Czech buddies who split their time between Prague and London, I steeled myself based on Cerny’s bouncing around on stage that the music would quickly turn bog standard boring to me the way Bastille’s does, but phew, they didn’t. Incredible vibrancy in the music from Cerny and his mates, and their punters shouted their appreciation for the band, which Cerny himself said he was surprised about – I guess he thought they wouldn’t be well received, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Their debut EP ‘We Are Making Love Again’ is out on Monday, and expect that – and them – to go stratospheric.

I couldn’t wait around for Adam French after all, because I had a hot date with a man who had so far proved very elusive. astronomyy had been given a shout to SXSW 2015 but turned it down, so I assumed I’d be able to see him live finally at Live at Leeds 2015. Thanks to the HiFi Club being plagued with equipment issues, it was not meant to be, though he amused himself after the incident by checking out the bands at Nation of Shopkeepers, stood behind me while I was photographing Boxed In but was too bashful to say hi (I really don’t bite!) while I had no idea whatsoever.

Whatever happened before meant nothing now though, stood under the overly bright lights of Shooshh’s stage and prepared to be amazed. Shall we say I was not disappointed in the slightest? astronomyy seems to me a master of production and the studio, but from what I have read, he is new to the live scene, so these series of shows and festival appearances this spring are like a baptism by fire. Songs like the upbeat ‘When I’m With U’ feel like the next logical, soulful, more chill progression from my previous love Friendly Fires, maybe if the xx had convinced their former touring buddies that less is actually more. If not readily apparent from listening to his music online, he also plays a mean guitar, which is a surprising fact that makes the live experience the more awesome. It’s kind of like finding out the guy you fancy also knows how to bake cupcakes – ooh.

astronomyy at Great Escape 2015
There is a fragile beauty to the minimalist nature of astronomyy’s music that I find intoxicating. This is not hit you over the head with production kind of r&b (you know who I am talking about), nor is it the kind that turns me off in a second with all of its swearing and awful language (though, okay, there is some occasionally), but to me the vibe is so strong and more important. If you read the lyrics, ‘Nothin On My Mind’ is about finding that perfect love that transports you to another place and time, where nothing else matters. That is a good way of explaining what good music does to a music fan: it takes you away from anything that is hurting you and puts you on a higher, better plane. I don’t know, maybe I have just bored you with my waxing philosophical on astronomyy, but yes, the man’s music does something to me very special and I am looking forward to hearing much more from him.

astronomyy at Great Escape 2015
Maybe I should have called it quits after having a near religious experience with astronomyy at Shooshh, but I thought I should try and shoehorn artists #10 (NYC singer/songwriter duo Jack and Eliza, who I caught just minutes of at Patterns upstairs after leaving Shooshh) and #11 into my Thursday after deciding a very late night set by Belgian electronic artist Mugwump (who would have been #12) at Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar was not in the cards. Tropics, aka Chris Ward, was scheduled to perform at the Prince Albert, whose upstairs performance space I generally avoid because it’s always hot and sweaty and therefore deathly claustrophobic. I don’t have fond memories of seeing my first Great Escape band ever, Francois and the Atlas Mountains, in that room. But a music editor’s work is never done, so in I charged.

Tropics at Great Escape 2015
How Ward was wearing long sleeves and looking so relaxed, I have no idea. I guess he and his band were in the zone. Two women next to me were throwing shapes and not to the rhythm of the songs, so I think it’s safe to say they were very, very drunk. The atmospheric ambient music of Ward, from the sexiness of ‘House of Leaves’ to the soulful ‘Rapture’, demands a captive audience (I think anyway) and while there were plenty of appreciative punters at the Prince Albert, the overall amount of squeezing, pushing and shoving around in that relatively small space distracted me from enjoying Ward’s craft. Suffice to say, I hope I get an opportunity to listen to his music in a much more relaxed way one day when sweat is not pouring down my face and I haven’t been running around for the last 12 hours. One day. Soon. I hope.

 

Live Review: Empires with Cold Fronts at DC9, Washington DC – 15th November 2014

 
By on Tuesday, 18th November 2014 at 2:00 pm
 

Here’s something that doesn’t happen everyday. Well, for this music editor anyway. Somehow, on Saturday night I went to hole in the wall DC9 to see two bands that were both…wait for it…American. And the opening band Cold Fronts aren’t even from that far away at all. I learned after the show that the Philadelphia foursome were playing an outdoor generator show at SXSW 2012, unaware that Warner Brothers / Sire Records bigwig Seymour Stein was on the sidelines, taking notes. They’re now signed with Warner. So you budding musicians out there, dreams do come true.

But you’re probably wondering what they sound like, aren’t you? Admittedly, I didn’t do a huge amount of research for this show, deciding that since it was a Saturday night, I was going to relax, open my ears and take it all in. This worked especially well with Cold Fronts, as their performance was every bit about the music as it was about having fun. It’s been a while since I’ve seen the members of a band jumping around with their guitars without abandon and really, only two bands came to mind: the Cribs and PAWS, both featuring insane guitar players happily throwing themselves around the stage. I wasn’t far off the mark at all: singer/guitarist Craig admitted to me that he’s a massive fan of the Cribs, as well as PAWS’ track ‘Sore Tummy’. (Hey hey, Jarman Brothers, I hope you are listening? Because I just found out they have the same booking agent as you. Google them and sort out an opening slot for them on your next tour.)

The meteorological term ‘cold front’ usually indicates changes in barometric pressure and temperature and possible precipitation. Not usually a harbinger of good things. However, don’t let Cold Fronts’ name put you off; I was told the name comes from the fact that many of their songs were written during the winter months as an attempt to battle seasonal affective disorder. Their newest single ‘Hit Me’ (stream below) is a great example of a song to knock you out of the wintry weather doldrums: the chorus uses a clever metaphor between gambling and relationships, and the entire thing is just so darn catchy and the lyrics are easily sung along to (but they’re really witty lyrics too) that I’m almost positive it’s going to be a radio hit in due course. You heard it here first… Another one of their songs whose name I did not catch was punctuated by what appeared to be each of the four band members racing each other to see who could play the loudest and faster. This is some band with muscle! An album should be on its way in 2015.

Chicago’s Empires spent the last 6 years like all other bands: working hard. This year though the band released their third studio album ‘Orphan’ on Island Records’ Chop Shop imprint. Hopefully this LP will prove to be the breakthrough they’ve been looking for. John reviewed their EP ‘How Good Does It Feel’ this summer and he had described their bass lines reminding him of the Vaccines. However, upon actually seeing them play live, they recalled for me not the Vaccines but a couple of massive bands from recent memory. Their musical style is of the bombastic rock variety: think U2, when they were actually good, ‘Joshua Tree’-era and before they started to suck, and the Killers before Brandon Flowers’ ego inflated beyond reasonable proportions.

There’s even hints of Springsteen and ‘The ’59 Sound’-era Gaslight Anthem in the driving ‘Keep It Steady’, one of the set’s standouts from their 2012 album ‘Garage Hymns’. Heavy-hitting percussion? Check. Epic guitars? Check. I thought it didn’t exist anymore, but it’s clear Empires are the sound of 21st century American rock ‘n’ roll, and it couldn’t sound better. You also can’t escape being mesmerised by frontman Sean Van Vleet; he goes sans instrument during a show, except for occasional tambourine banging, something that his light-haired, stubbly doppelganger Ricky Wilson also indulges in. The band tell me they actually supported Kaiser Chiefs before in their hometown of Chicago but at the time, Wilson was wearing a hat and therefore no physical comparisons could be drawn. Van Vleet’s baritone is similar to that of Matt Berninger’s and also to some extent Tom Smith, but Empires are nowhere near as gloomy as Editors. Which I think is a good thing for American audiences.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1T7QumRKTPo[/youtube]

What’s even more startling is while they might not be household names yet, this band already appear to have an army of fans: wearing flannel over their Empires’ emblazoned t-shirts, these girls were quick to solidify their places down the front even before they took the stage. These were also the same audience members who sang back the lyrics of ‘Spit the Dark’, from the band’s self-released debut album from 2008, ‘Howl’, word for word back to Van Vleet while he pointed the mike in their direction, with the refrain “I will guide you in the night” repeated back and forth between singer and crowd. For this to happen at a place like DC9, that’s dedication. Dedication I fully expect to see repeated on a much larger scale sometime in the near future.

After the cut: Empires’ set list.
Continue reading Live Review: Empires with Cold Fronts at DC9, Washington DC – 15th November 2014

 
 
 

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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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