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(SXSW 2015 flavoured!) Live Gig Video: Longfellow play acoustic versions of ‘Gabrielle’ and ‘Where I Belong’ for Ont’ Sofa

 
By on Thursday, 27th November 2014 at 4:00 pm
 

Longfellow have been a favourite of mine ever since I got wind of them from the fine folks of Fierce Panda. We were so very pleased to hear that the band from London had been given a shout, their second, for SXSW 2015, so you can bet we’ll be catching them live and catching up with the fabulous fivesome in Austin in the new year. Yeehaw! (Sorry, couldn’t resist…)

Er, sorry, back to the matter at hand. The premise of Ont’ Sofa is similar to Sofar Sounds – have a band play acoustically in an intimate setting – except not in front of an audience in someone’s home. For those of you who haven’t had a chance to see Longfellow live, these videos of ‘Gabrielle’ (from the band’s wonderful mini-album ‘Prelude’, released this summer) and new song ‘Where I Belong’ give you a flavour of what beauty to expect. Watch the videos below.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L5Ch1YBoul4[/youtube]

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v56gKxIjAD4[/youtube]

 

Album Review: Various artists – Endangered: Fierce Panda 2004-2014

 
By on Monday, 14th April 2014 at 12:00 pm
 

Fierce Panda Records may be famously noted by pedants of the British music business as being the label that launched the careers of Coldplay and Keane, but if that was all to the label, it wouldn’t be still standing. It’s hard for me to fathom that here we are in the year 2014, and Fierce Panda has been in business for 2 decades. The London indie label has championed the little guy and released so much great music in the last 20 years, it would take me far too long to go through their storied history than there is space on our humble Web site. Instead, I’m going to focus on a new 18-track compilation the label is offering up for free with any record purchase from their online shop.

The LP’s title ‘Endangered: Fierce Panda 2004-2014’ is innocuous enough, not at all telling of its contents when, in fact, it is a careful selection of, oddly, the saddest songs from their back catalogue of the last 10 years. I say oddly, because celebrating and (surviving) 20 years in anything these days is cause for celebration, surely? However, despite being advertised by the label themselves as “some of the weepiest tunes it has had the tragic pleasure to put out over the past ten years”, you should be more impressed by the quality of the music not to slit your wrists. Hopefully, anyway. Maybe the whole ‘sad song’ is meant to be cheeky, now that I think about it.

‘Endangered’ does not rely solely on sob story, folky singer/songwriter types and in so doing, shows the breadth of Fierce Panda’s roster. But let’s first examine the more obvious sad songs. Danish girl/boy duo The Raveonettes‘ ‘Last Dance’ is innocent and twee, and Canadians Woodpigeon‘s ‘The Saddest Music in the World’ that opens the album is similar, but with added Simon and Garfunkel influence. Los Angeles quintet Milo Greene‘s harmonies shine on the Biblical leaning ‘Son My Son’, while the voice and songwriting of Tom Hickox, already being compared to Leonard Cohen and Nick Cave’s, haunts with desolation on ‘Let Me Be Your Lover’, with sombre piano and then added strings and horns.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kLGd50B16Ck[/youtube]

The more bombastic numbers in this collection include the now-on-hiatus Walkmen and their optimistic (or delusional?) ‘In the New Year’, the slow burning Acres of Lions‘ ‘Collections’, Hatcham Social‘s rich guitars in ‘Sidewalk’ and Dingus Khan‘s whistle-filled ‘Made a List’; the latter’s inclusion in particular surprised me, but it just goes to show that even if you’re looking rough and tumble on the outside, you can still feel sadness inside. The sonic beauty of Ultrasound‘s ‘Sovereign’ is marred, presumably on purpose, by the repetition of the lyric “we are unclean” and the business of sex and sin, all wailed by singer Andrew “Tiny” Wood. The same can be said for tracks that include synths or twinkly keys: ‘They All Laughed’ by the Spinto Band sounds cheerful in a music box sort of way but it veils, not very well, the disgust he has for a former love, while the psychedelic feelings that Hey Sholay‘s ‘The Bears The Clocks The Bees’ engenders are appropriate for a song about confusion in a relationship.

It should also noted that sadness can also come out of mind games, craving someone else or the deepest regret. The industrial Nine Inch Nail-sey sound of Department M‘s ‘J-Hop’ (stream above) comes with the element of desire with its sensual lyrics, “we ply / by the logic of the reasoned minds / and one last time I’ll come to your body / what do you need?” The genius behind Art Brut‘s ‘Rusted Guns of Milan’ is Eddie Argos’ admittance, in his usual funny way, that he’s messed up in a relationship and he wants a second chance. Meanwhile, a similar request for a second chance is captured in a brilliant snapshot in ‘Last Decade’ by Goldheart Assembly (video below), showing a man’s final moments, first desperate to reconcile with a lover but then resigning to his fate: “but you know I’d go back, but there is no way…” I Like Trains‘ ‘A Rook House for Bobby’ I’m guessing is named for chess champion and famed recluse Bobby Fischer, using his hermit existence as a metaphor for how love can cause depression. The self-deprecation and admittance of weakness in the little girl voice of Melanie Pain in ‘How Bad Can It Be’ is, no pun intended, painful: “everyone knows I won’t change / everyone knows love is not my game / everyone know who I am / everyone but you.”

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uE667lCVBDA[/youtube]

Additional Panda melancholy comes courtesy of Sheffield in the form of two exemplary tracks. A man’s exasperation over his lover’s worry about losing him is made all too real in Tom Hogg’s expressive vocals with his bandmates’ gorgeously crooning backing in ‘Would You Be Blue’ by the Hosts (stream below) from this year’s debut album from them, ‘Softly, Softly’. Meanwhile, the loneliness of the protagonist of The Crookes ‘Howl’ from ‘Soapbox’ released today is haunted by the memory of another’s love, as George Waite’s voice is alternately dreamy and contemplative in the romance of song-induced candlelight: “and there’s no time, only light / no clocks, but shadows that hide the point when day becomes night / it’s hard to tell with these skies… I heard the howl, I love you but you keep me down.”

I think those two songs tell the ‘sad song story’ of Fierce Panda’s last 10 years the best, and why? Sad songs, like love songs, are often misunderstood. Emotions like sadness, loneliness and indeed, even love are like jewels. Whether they mean to or not, the people who gloss over emotion don’t seem to understand that they aren’t one-dimensional but instead multi-faceted, with dull and lifeless versus bright and sharp faces and something new to discover upon each listen. As a collection of the ‘sad song’ genre, ‘Endangered’ is a great introduction to the many wonderful artists on the Fierce Panda roster, and I can’t imagine you won’t find at least one song that will make you feel something deep in your heart.

7.5/10

You can get ‘Endangered: Fierce Panda 2004-2014’ now for free if you order any album from the Fierce Panda online shop here. For more information on the bands signed to Fierce Panda, those included in this collection and those not, visit the label’s official Web site. For a limited time, you can get another eight-track song sampler (not all sad songs!); more details in this previous MP3(s) of the Day post.

 

MP3(s) of the Day #818: Fierce Panda ‘Survival’ eight-track sampler

 
By on Wednesday, 2nd April 2014 at 10:00 am
 

Fierce Panda Records have put out some great music over its storied 20 years in business. We should know; we’ve reviewed albums by and become enamoured with many of their artists. In case you needed further convincing (but you really shouldn’t), the influential London indie label is giving away a pack of eight mp3s for free through Amazon UK. What’s included in the bundle?

1. ‘Robin Song’ – Woodpigeon
2. ‘Cutty Love’ – Milo Greene
3. ‘Under the Waterway’ – Goldheart Assembly (pictured at top)
4. ‘Where the Wind Blows’ – The Hosts (read my review of their 2014 album ‘Softly, Softly’ here)
5. ‘Sofie’ – The Crookes (read my review of their 2014 album ‘Soapbox’ here)
6. ‘Breaking Into Cars’ – The Raveonettes
7. ‘Good Enough’ – Mélanie Pain
8. ‘The Angel of the North’ – Tom Hickox

Get your pack of free eight mp3s from Amazon here.

 

TGTF Exclusive Interview: The Crookes at Fierce Panda’s 19th Birthday Slamdown at London Scala – 21st May 2013

 
By on Tuesday, 2nd July 2013 at 1:00 pm
 

Photos by Braden Fletcher of Sound Influx; interview filmed by Samuel Hopper of Woodpile Sessions and Toby McCarron of Sound Influx

The first time I met Sheffield band The Crookes was at my first Great Escape, in May 2012. I was so excited to finally see them live; as an American, I didn’t think I’d have too many chances and this chance fell into my lap just at the right moment when I happened to be at the festival. Armed with nothing but a Sony point and shoot, I wanted to videotape the interview I was doing with them while we were sat in the beloved coffee bar of the Komedia that has sadly now turned into a noisome, candy-coloured cinema. The actual interview came out all right, but that was mostly due to the Crookes’ friendly nature in dealing with this American music editor who was quaking in her boots with the prospect of interviewing some of her musical idols.

Flash forward about a year later, to when the Crookes were due to headline their record label Fierce Panda’s 19th birthday party ‘slamdown’ party at London’s Scala on the 21st of May 2013. It’d been advertised as their biggest headline show to date in London. Having followed their pursuit of musical success from the early days of a CDR of ‘Backstreet Lovers’ played on Steve Lamacq’s then Radio 1 programme in 2009 all the way to today, I decided that since I was lucky enough to be in London for the actual event, I wanted to document this important moment in their career. Regular readers of TGTF will recall that I previously posted exclusive live gig videos of new single ‘Dance in Colour, second album title track ‘Hold Fast’ as part of my live gig review of the show and the encore that included George Waite’s stunning solo of ‘The I Love You Bridge’ and ‘Afterglow’ B-side ‘Honey’ from the evening.

What you didn’t know was hours before the actual show, myself, along with some friends from Sound Influx and the Woodpile Sessions, were running around the Scala, working on some other exclusive bits. This is one of those bits: a completely candid interview with the band on their story so far since I last chatted with them in Brighton last year. They’d had an amazing 12 months, which included the release of second album ‘Hold Fast’ (review here); a support slot with hometown legend Richard Hawley; a repeat shout at this year’s SXSW, their second time at the famous music festival in Austin; and their newest release of the double-A-sided single ‘Bear’s Blood’ / ‘Dance in Colour’.

None of us knew it at the time – or if the band did, they certainly did not let on – that a few weeks later, they would be celebrating an American recording contract. No, this interview was a pretty relaxed affair of me chatting with friends on the eve of the most important night in their career up to that point, and I couldn’t have been happier for them. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did doing the interview with them. (If you’re wondering why drummer Russell Bates is not in these photos, it’s because he left after the interview and we didn’t get to shoot any photos until after we were done with a session. And that session is still forthcoming, so hang tight for that.)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S6YNhFs7OFY[/youtube]

Thanks very much to Braden, Sam and Toby for their kind assistance in this TGTF / Sound Influx / Woodpile Sessions collaboration, without whom none of these videos would have been possible. Big, big thanks to the Crookes for indulging me yet again with an interview; they are honestly the sweetest guys in the business. I also want to thank their manager Penny for being a sweetheart and bearing with me with my many requests I sent through to her during my travels across Britain, as well as the head of Fierce Panda Records Simon Williams for allowing me to interview both the Crookes and the Heartbreaks during such an important event on the Panda calendar.

The Crookes Scala Interview 2

 

TGTF Exclusive Interview: The Heartbreaks at Fierce Panda’s 19th Birthday Slamdown at London Scala – 21st May 2013

 
By on Tuesday, 2nd July 2013 at 11:00 am
 

Photos by Braden Fletcher of Sound Influx; interview filmed by Samuel Hopper of Woodpile Sessions and Toby McCarron of Sound Influx

A couple weeks ago, I had the pleasure of sitting down with the lovely boys of The Heartbreaks before they appeared live as part of the absolutely fantastic bill for their label Fierce Panda Records’ 19th birthday party. (They were accompanied that night by the equally fabulous Hey Sholay and headliners The Crookes.) I just to ask about two of their members’ previous work experiences as ice cream men in their seaside hometown of Morecambe (really, how could I not?) and how it felt to be singled out for their amazing music by the man himself Morrissey and going on tour with him. And of course I couldn’t not ask them about forthcoming new material that fans are anxiously awaiting for after the 2012 release of their aptly titled album ‘Funtimes’.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=My4p5Xnc4FY[/youtube]

I could not have done this without the assistance of Braden, Sam and Toby, so thanks very much, guys, for this TGTF / Sound Influx / Woodpile Sessions collaboration. And of course we’d never have an interview without The Heartbreaks, who were true Northern gentlemen in every respect and made me long for the North West! Thanks very much too to Nian for helping set up this interview and a big thank you to the head of Fierce Panda Records Simon Williams for allowing me to interview both the Crookes and the Heartbreaks during such an important event on the Panda calendar.

The Heartbreaks Scala Interview 2

 

TGTF Exclusive Live Gig Videos: The Crookes play ‘The I Love You Bridge’ and ‘Honey’ in Fierce Panda 19th Birthday Slamdown encore – 21st May 2013

 
By on Friday, 7th June 2013 at 4:00 pm
 

Header photo by Lennon Gregory

When you’re a fan of a band – any band – I think there’s certain expectations you have when you go see that said band live. Even if you prayed for days on end, there are certain songs that you just know will never show up in a set list. Despite my greatest wish to see ‘Stars’, ‘The Crookes Laundry Murder 1922’ and ‘I Remember Moonlight’ played live by the Crookes, I always have assumed I’ll never see them live. The time has passed; two out of three of those are of the 2011 ‘Chasing After Ghosts’ / Alex Saunders era and therefore unlikely to be pulled out for public consumption again.

I had a similar resignation when it came to ‘The I Love You Bridge’, the last track on ‘Hold Fast’; it’s so different from the rest of the album in tempo and raucousness, and admittedly, it can be a bit of a downer, depending on the way you look at the words, so I just never expected it to pop up in a Crookes live set list. However, at last month’s Fierce Panda 19th Birthday Slamdown in the deft hands – literally – of singer George Waite performing this song, written about the iconic Sheffield landmark, with a guitar. All alone onstage and under a single spotlight, his performance was, in a word, breathtaking. As a singer, I get chills just thinking about it. “It’s a magic trick / an escape from this…who cares she told him no / it’s the gesture, don’t you know? / we’ll cling on and we won’t let go”: if you ever needed hope, this is the song to give it to you in spades.

The other video I have for you is for ‘Honey’, which is probably best known to Crookes fans as the b-side to ‘Afterglow’, the first single to be released from ‘Hold Fast’. In stark contrast, it’s a hard rocking number, as you will see from the energetic performance below, but it has equally thought-provoking lines: “I want to die with sunshine on my face…I’d rip out my pages to be someone else.” Likewise with ‘The I Love You Bridge’, I wasn’t expecting to hear this in London and I just keep thinking, what a wonderful treat they gave us fans. Watch both videos below – enjoy!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vzL2YU5yp-8[/youtube]

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TmWkIj52Ih0[/youtube]

 
 
 

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 was edited by Mary Chang, based in Washington, DC.

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