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(SXSW 2016 flavoured!) Bands to Watch #372 and #373: Fickle Friends and Clean Cut Kid

 
By on Wednesday, 27th January 2016 at 11:00 am
 

Editor’s note: we’re making some exciting changes in the way we cover SXSW 2016 this year, especially in the way we preview all the bands that we want to introduce you to before the big event in Austin in March. Read all about our big plans here.

This is not a drill. I’m about to throw down the term “summer anthems”, and we’ve not even seen the back of January. But that’s exactly what Fickle Friends (pictured at top) and Clean Cut Kid have me dreaming about. These two bands tend to lean towards pop, making for fresh, easy, joyful listening from both.

Fickle Friends have created a sound that leaves you yearning for the summer. The quintet out of Brighton bring a breezy blend of synth and indie pop that’ll have you thinking about those dog days lying in the sun and chilling at festivals. Shortly after forming in 2013, Fickle Friends began to garner attention when they won Jamie’s (Jamie Oliver) Summer Jam competition, which was a battle-of-the-bands type of contest for unsigned acts. The winner was given the opportunity to perform at Big Feastival alongside Rizzle Kicks and Basement Jaxx. The festival was co-hosted with Alex James of Blur and held on the bassists’ farm in the Cotswolds.

The band announced this month the exciting news that they’ve signed a record deal with Polydor. While they are yet to confirm a release date, they’ve been tweeting candid shots of themselves working away in the studio. Over the past couple of years, Fickle Friends have released a number of solid and catchy singles, from their debut ‘Swim’(a particularly Haim-esque track), through to their latest ‘Say No More’, on which it sounds like they’ve found their groove.

‘Say No More’ is energetic, with a seriously catchy chorus, and it will have you singing along after just one listen. The track has a glistening electro rhythm and a funky, ’80s feel. Its upbeat air reminds me of The 1975, especially with its jaunty bass line and feel-good vibe that pours indie, synth and pop into a vibrant cocktail that’ll have you nodding your head along in no time.

Equally spirited and also bursting with fresh, interesting indie pop are Clean Cut Kid, who have recently announced that they will be joining Fickle Friends on some dates of the Brighton band’s forthcoming UK tour in February and March. The band, a four-piece from Liverpool, are husband and wife Mike and Evelyn Halls plus Saul Godman and Ross Higginson. Their music boasts incredible harmonies from the Halls in a series of addictive singles. Clean Cut Kid sound like a delicious melting pot of a lot of great indie pop bands. Imagine Vampire Weekend, mixed with a less gloomy Mumford and Sons, with Haim thrown in for good measure.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d-a5GHXwNQw[/youtube]

‘Vitamin C’, Clean Cut Kid’s debut single released in the summer of 2015, is a catchy, quirky tune. It has a sentimental, life-affirming texture, its upbeat, spirited tempo of the song reminding me of the first time I heard Vampire Weekend’s debut album. At the risk of sounding a bit cheesy, it’s the sort of song that makes you want to stop and look around a bit more, and enjoy the moment you’re in, even in spite of the melancholy edge to the lyrics.

‘Runaway’, from their latest single, has a lilting and pleasing melody that belies the darker implications of the song’s title. While in ‘Vitamin C’ we hear much more of Evelyn Halls, Mike Halls’ vocals, are at the forefront of this track. His voice doesn’t match with his appearance in a way that I find oddly satisfying, in the way that with some great books that can’t be given away by their covers. With full beard and trucker hat, I was admittedly expecting a deeper vocal from Mike than the silvery, gentle tones that you hear on the track. Both singles are uplifting and catchy, and I’m excited to see where the foursome are going next.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FRumUyadht0[/youtube]

Fickle Friends will be touring the UK in February and March 2016, with support from Clean Cut Kid on some dates. Both bands are scheduled to appear at SXSW 2016 in Austin in March.

 

Fickle Friends / February and March 2016 UK Tour

 
By on Monday, 25th January 2016 at 8:00 am
 

The ink is barely dry on their newly-signed contract with Polydor Records, but Brighton indie pop band Fickle Friends have just announced a lengthy list of UK tour dates for February and March.  The tour will include a headline show at the Sheffield Leadmill on the 26th of February and a Leap Day gig at Edinburgh’s Electric Circus, before ending with a hometown date on the 12th of March.

Support for select dates will be played by Liverpool rock quartet Clean Cut Kid.  Following these live dates, both bands are scheduled to head across the pond to Austin for SXSW 2016.  Stay tuned for our upcoming Bands to Watch feature, which will cover Fickle Friends and Clean Cut Kid in more detail.

Tuesday 2nd February 2016 – Guildford Boileroom
Wednesday 3rd February 2016 – Cardiff Moon Club
Thursday 4th February 2016 – Bournemouth 60 MP
Saturday 6th February – Bedford Esquires
Sunday 7th February 2016 – Leicester Scholar *
Monday 8th February 2016 – Bristol Louisiana *
Tuesday 9th February 2016 – Chester Live Rooms *
Thursday 11th February 2016 – Stourbridge River Room
Tuesday 16th February 2016 – Liverpool Studio 2
Wednesday 17th February 2016 – Reading Oakford Social *
Friday 19th February 2016 – Southampton Joiners *
Saturday 20th February 2016 – Totnes Devon Arts Centre *
Sunday 21st February 2016 – Colchester Arts Centre *
Tuesday 23rd February 2016 – Norwich Waterfront *
Wednesday 24th February 2016 – Nottingham Bodega *
Thursday 25th February 2016 – Manchester Sound Control *
Friday 26th February 2016 – Sheffield Leadmill *
Sunday 28th February 2016 – Newcastle Think Tank *
Monday 29th February 2016 – Edinburgh Electric Circus *
Tuesday 1st March 2016 – Aberdeen Tunnels
Thursday 3rd March 2016 – Glasgow King Tut’s
Friday 4th March 2016 – Stockton Kubar
Saturday 5th March 2016 – Lincoln Engine Shed
Monday 7th March 2016 – Hull Fruit *
Tuesday 8th March 2016 – Leeds Oporto *
Wednesday 9th March 2016 – Birmingham Rainbow
Friday 11th March 2016 – Aldershot Arts Centre
Saturday 12th March 2016 – Brighton Patterns *

*with support from Clean Cut Kid

 

Preview: Wychwood Festival 2015

 
By on Friday, 19th December 2014 at 9:30 am
 

The first acts for Wychwood Festival 2015 have been announced by organisers. Legendary reggae band UB40, Scottish brothers The Proclaimers and British vocalist and musician Ghostpoet (pictured above) are among the artists performing at the family-friendly festival.

Held at Cheltenham Racecourse, Wychwood Festival 2015 will take place 29-31 May. Other acts appearing across the weekend include Dreadzone, Electric Swing Circus, Rusty Shackle and Fickle Friends.

Headlining the main stage on the Saturday are the newly-reunited founding members of UB40. Ali Campbell, Astro and Mickey Virtue are expected to perform hits such as ‘Red Red Wine’, ‘Kingston Town’ and ‘Falling in Love With You’. Also playing the main stage on the Saturday are The Proclaimers. The pair, who are best known for tracks including ‘500 Miles’ and ‘I’m on My Way’, most recently worked on a Christmas charity single, a cover of The Farm’s ‘All Together Now’. Meanwhile, 2011 Mercury Prize nominee Ghostpoet will headline the Big Top Stage on the same night.

Speaking about the announcement, festival director Graeme Merifield said, “We are hugely excited to welcome UB40 (with the exceptionally talented Ali Campbell, Astro and Mickey Virtue back together) for what I have no doubt will be an incredible Saturday headline performance on our Wychwood main stage.”

Wychwood Festival celebrated its tenth birthday in 2014, which saw performances from the likes of The Boomtown Rats, The Levellers, The Stranglers and Craig Charles. Merifield added, “The tenth birthday celebration this year was an absolute delight and, with this firmly in our mind, Wychwood 2015 is set for even bigger and better things.”

Early bird tickets, which range from £18 to £119, are available until Wednesday, the 31st of December. Further acts are expected to be announced in the new year. You can find out more about Wychwood Festival 2015 on the official Web site.

 
 
 

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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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