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Video of the Moment #1094: Dutch Uncles

 
By on Wednesday, 16th January 2013 at 6:00 pm
 

Dutch Uncles‘ new album ‘Out of Touch in the Wild’ is available now from Memphis Industries. Read my review of the amazing LP here. The video for ‘Flexxin’ shows off singer Duncan Wallis and his smooth dancing moves. Watch it below.

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

 

Album Review: Dutch Uncles – Out of Touch in the Wild

 
By on Friday, 4th January 2013 at 12:00 pm
 

Ever since I started blogging a good 4 years ago, I’ve come to expect at least a good 2 years’ time lag between albums, because bands need to tour the dickens out of the first album to get as much mileage as they can before they are allowed to go back to the studio and hole up for months to plan, write and record the follow-up. Further time is spent (wasted?) moving these recording tapes back and forth between producers and mixers before the master is finally finished, and while I completely accept that good things take time, I can’t help feeling antsy about my favourite bands’ upcoming releases.

Dutch Uncles Out of Touch coverDutch Uncles’ last album length effort, ‘Cadenza’ (review here), was released on the 25th of April 2011, but in the same year I was pleasantly surprised to get a taste of even newer material live in Manchester in December 2011, and then again a couple months later at SXSW 2012. After a Great Escape panel discussion on indie labels last May 2012, I found out in a cheeky reconnaissance-type chat with co-head boss of Memphis Industries Ollie Jacob that Dutch Uncles were making good time on their next album, which suffice it to say, was way ahead of this established schedule in my head. I thought, woohoo! Then summer came and went without so much as a peep of news.

Finally in September, my waiting was finally rewarded: ‘Fester’ was announced with fanfare, available as a freebie for fans for a short time. (Watch the video below.) But I had to wait a couple more months to today, when I can tell you my thoughts on ‘Out of Touch in the Wild’ having heard the new album at last. At a spry 37 minutes, this is not an album you will be languishing over, wondering when it will stop. No, you’ll have wondered where the time has gone when the Marple boys are done with you.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q2Caeg1FMCo[/youtube]

If you thought the song titles on ‘Cadenza’ were mental (‘Dolli’, ‘X-O’, ‘Zalo’), get a load of those on the new album. ‘Zug Zwang’ wins the prize for the oddest here, but ‘Pondage’ is a close second. I didn’t think it was a real word, but Wikipedia asserts it has the very boffin definition of “the comparably small water storage behind the weir of a run-of-the-river hydroelectric power plant”. As the first track, it is a gentle push, a nice toe into the water with broad string orchestration and Duncan Wallis’s dream-like vocals on top of an otherwise frantic, speedy guitar line.

Speaking of the orchestration, usage of a string section is nothing new for Dutch Uncles, if you’ve been following their story since spring 2011, when ‘Cadenza’ was released. ‘Sting’, with its sweeping grandeur stuck in the ‘70s, was just a precursor to ‘Flexxin’. This carefully layered track is a catchy as hell singalong (“you can hold my hand / I feel it / you understand”) with driving drums and strings, has been picked up by none other than that ‘influential’ American music Web site my own mum has equated to a rampaging mob of reviewers, so we can expect a whole new group of people being turned on by this band’s musical charms. While I’m happy about this, I’m also mentally preparing myself for all the drunk people being irritating and yelling, “play ‘Flexxin’!” at all their future shows. Along with layered vocal effects, ‘Godboy’ uses these strings to take the band to new heights.

Another standout on the album is ‘Bellio’; glittering with disco synth and a super funky bass line, it’s my sure favourite from the bunch. ‘Fester’, getting the nod from American music blog granddaddy Stereogum, is a percussive tour de force of delivered by marimba and insistent banged piano notes. The general vibe of ‘Threads’ is similar, it’s just less obvious. The melody of ‘Nometo’ slinks around corners with Wallis’s voice slickly; the tune is the math-rock version of the lounge song: smooth, yet still eclectic. The only song that didn’t please me was ‘Phaedra’. Named after a female character with a colourful life in Greek mythology, the song itself was anything but colourful, almost dirge-like with a menacing bass undertone.

The longest track on the album, at nearly 6 minutes, is closer ‘Brio’, which I can’t decide whether it’s an ode to the Swedish toy manufacturer or not. The driving rhythm will get your toes tapping and your brain swinging from side to side like a metronome. It reminds me of the time I discovered Kraftwerk through Newton’s Apple, an American public television show’s use of ‘Ruckzuck’. Ahead of their time they were. The same could be said for Dutch Uncles. While ‘Cadenza’ had several amazing highlights (‘X-O’, ‘Fragrant’, ‘The Ink’), ‘Out of Touch in the Wild’ comes across more fully-formed and is the better of the two for a continuous listen.

9/10

Dutch Uncles’ new album ‘Out of Touch in the Wild’ is out on the 14th of January on Memphis Industries.

 

MP3 of the Day #711: Dutch Uncles

 
By on Wednesday, 5th December 2012 at 10:00 am
 

Dutch Uncles are starting to get traction in America (yeah, that one piece in Pitchfork on ‘Fester’ by one former NME editor did wonders…), and they’re now getting picked up by all sorts of American media channels. That’s how I found this giveaway of ‘Flexxin’, which I’m guessing will appear on their new album ‘Out of Touch in the Wild’ out in January on Memphis Industries. I hope you guys remember us little people when you’re all big and mighty…

 

Video of the Moment #1038: Dutch Uncles

 
By on Tuesday, 13th November 2012 at 6:00 pm
 

Dutch Uncles go all boffin in their new video for ‘Fester’, the first single from their forthcoming Memphis Industries album ‘Out of Touch in the Wild’ out on the 14th of January 2013. Watch the video below.

Get a free copy of ‘Fester’ through this MP3 of the Day post.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5BVZzkwDucQ[/youtube]

 

MP3 of the Day #678: Dutch Uncles

 
By on Friday, 21st September 2012 at 10:00 am
 

We’ve got Dutch Uncles album news! Their next album ‘Out of Touch in the Wild’ will be out on the 14th of January on Memphis Industries. And ahead of that, the Marple band are making available their forthcoming single, ‘Fester’, for absolutely free. But be quick, as this will only be available for a limited time. Listen to and follow the link provided to get your free download. The single will drop on the 12th of November.

 

Deer Shed Festival 2012 Review (Part 1)

 
By on Wednesday, 1st August 2012 at 2:00 pm
 

If required to choose three bands to invite to the apocryphal desert island for a night’s entertainment, one would be hard pressed to come up with a bill more satisfying than Moody Gowns, Janice Graham Band and Dutch Uncles. It is with a heavy heart, then, that I report that that superb line-up is exactly what I missed on Friday night at this year’s Deer Shed festival. Due to a combination of not being able to cut work early, having to perform a new tent’s virgin erection, and putting a little one to sleep in the big outdoors for the first time, the fantasy triumvirate was heard somewhat faintly from distance, and then only with the wavering consent of a fickle breeze.

When the dewy arena was finally breached, Saint Etienne were halfway through their headline set. Sadly, what sounded like a 120dB piledriver interrupted several songs, clearly deafening Sarah Cracknell and dampening what should have been a pillowy ride of joyous gossamer pop. However, no sooner had the main stage shut for the night, then a motley crew of folky songsters took up residence at the back of the ale tent, and kept everyone dancing in a happy, beery fug for until the wee small hours. Local brewers Daleside had come up with a signature Deer Shed ale; a fine drop which by rights required several tastings to reveal its true complexity of flavour. Fuelled by this and several sets of quality Celtic-tinged folk, the tent was still buzzing as TGTF meandered tentwards way past bedtime.

A quick word about the camping areas: in comparison to more populous events, Deer Shed has more camping space than campers, meaning that pretty much everyone gets to rent their own decent plot of prime grassy real estate for the weekend. I saw no cramped camping, except for those groups who chose to pitch together of free will. There were just about enough portaloos, and they were kept clean all weekend; no into-the-pit-of-Hades bravery required. Most campers were respectful of the need for quiet in the family camping, except for one group of morons who insisted on playing terrible songs on an out-of-tune acoustic guitar in the early hours of Sunday morning. Note to them: we’re here to hear professional, world-class musicians. Nobody wants to hear your sad, honking version of ‘Sonnet’ at 1am, you antisocial pricks. Family camping is for families, which implies children and parents getting some much-needed sleep. Children without their parents, like yourselves, should pitch up in regular camping, where your behaviour might be slightly more tolerated. /rant.

Saturday morning dawned with blazing sunshine, the like of which hadn’t been seen all year, adding to the discernibly special atmosphere which would develop over the course of the weekend. Dominated by a vintage Ferris wheel, and looking even better in the sunshine as it had in the dusk the previous night, the arena is simply one large field with facilities dotted around the edge, and the eponymous deer shed up in one corner, behind the main stage. Such is the compact nature of the site, one is never more than 5 minutes’ walk away from any particular attraction, making long drags from one band to another a thing of the past. A stroke of scheduling genius means that as soon as a performance finishes on the main stage, another starts in the tent directly opposite, making for a pretty much continuous flow of music. Ace.

There was so much other stuff going on at Deer Shed, it hardly seems appropriate to call it a music festival: festival with music sounds more accurate. However, this is a music site, so the bands will be reviewed properly. Please note: the nature of attending a festival with kids means that their needs come first; sometimes one has to skip a much-anticipated performance if a little one needs to be fed, changed, or put to bed. If an act is missing from this review, assume that they were missed out of necessity rather than choice. That being said, there was so much on offer, one never felt short-changed. First up, Washington Irving wake everyone up with their Scottish guitar-folk – think bedmates of Admiral Fallow, or moments of Travis on a good day with flutes and big harmony moments. A mellow, widescreen set: the sound of setting sail from Tobermory under an autumn sunrise.

A quick, 1-minute nip to the In The Dock tent, and it’s Woodenbox. These guys boast a mini horn section, just the ticket to jazz up their funkily-loping, ska-jumping sound (the band themselves call it Mariachi-folk). Kicking off with the darkly immense, New Orleans-jazz-infused ‘Everyone Has Their Price’, the tent was bouncing, straight off the bat. Several pieces off their EP ‘The Vanishing Act’ later, it was clear just what a powerful act Woodenbox are. Just two performances in, and the ‘New Band Of The Festival’ award already has a strong nomination.

Via an (un)holy combination of Glastonbury’s Emerging Talent competition and Mumford’s Ben Lovett’s Communion label, we have Treetop Flyers. Whilst they are perfectly fine entertainment in a laid-on-a-sunny-blanket-with-a-pint-of-cider way, one cannot help but think they’re simply a mashup Southern Gothic tribute band – there’s Crosby, Stills and Nash in plain earshot, and indeed plenty of Young in Reid Morrison’s voice. Utterly competent stuff, and possibly the next best thing to seeing Young in person. But when you’ve been exposed to the visceral, feedbacked intensity of a guitar-breaking performance by Young himself, utterly competent doesn’t quite cut it any more.

Laki Mera are in an entirely different league of originality – their sound is both electronic and organic, vintage synths vying with acoustic instruments and the silky tones of Laura Donnelly (pictured above and at top). Comparisons can be made (Massive Attack, Cocteau Twins, Bonobo); however the band have a sound entirely their own: each piece is crafted into a proper song, and it’s simply gorgeous to listen to. Donnelly herself is an excellent frontwoman, shaking her long hair with abandon, and emoting into the middle of next week. Chilled and powerful at the same time, Laki Mera are yet more evidence of the exciting music pouring out of Scotland at the moment.

Beth Jeans Houghton took the main stage attired in a natty purple leotard, tights fresh with mud from the previous day’s show, and proceeded to romp through most of this year’s ‘Yours Truly, Cellophane Noise’ released on Mute Records. Such singular material needs no introduction – indeed, no explanation is possible – suffice to say the performance was polished, if a little aloof. Perhaps familiarity has dulled Houghton’s enthusiasm for the songs, or the band are a little gigged-out, having been treading the boards for months on end now. It seems a reasonable guess that her character being as it is, BJH is far happier exploring new avenues and trying out novel material than playing the same set over and over. Such are the trials of pop stars.

Ah, Field Music. How on Earth such subtle, cerebral, detail-heavy, music can be delivered in such an exciting, danceable manner really is one of the small miracles of modern times. The band stick to the format of this spring’s ‘Plumb’ launch gigs, the opening movement of which introduces today’s set. A handful of favourites close it (‘Just Like Everyone Else’ is truly sublime live, a companion mood piece to The Beatles’ ‘I Want You (She’s So Heavy)’). Sandwiched are a few favourites from albums gone by – ‘In Context’ jerks its way into the audience’s feet, the whole performance is warmly received, and judging by post-festival Facebook comments, Field Music deliver the set of the weekend. Weighing up the combination of perfect musicianship, strong, unique, material, and the Brewis brothers’ own easygoing manner, it’s difficult to disagree.

Stay tuned for part 2 of Martin’s experience at Deer Shed Festival, which will post tomorrow.

 
 
 

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.

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

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