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Single Review: Frances – Say It Again

 
By on Wednesday, 13th July 2016 at 12:00 pm
 

After releasing two incredible tracks earlier this year, Berkshire singer/songwriter Frances has just shared a new single ‘Say It Again’. Since 2014, the flame-haired Frances has been garnering a lot of well-deserved attention, including being nominated for the BBC Sound of 2016, and playing at a range of festivals from SXSW to Coachella. To co-write and produce her latest song, she’s teamed up with Greg Kurstin, who has famously worked with a seemingly endless list of successful female artists from Adele to Ellie Goulding.

‘Say It Again’ tells the heartwarming story of being in love but not quite being able to believe that the feelings will be returned. It’s a charming and uplifting track, with Frances’ warm vocals being backed by a steady, upbeat melody, gentle piano and supporting backing vocals. What’s great about Frances’ voice is the way that she sings with a controlled calmness. It’s evident that she’s got a great set of lungs, but she doesn’t always need to belt the song out at the top of her voice. She really makes the most of gentler, understated vocal elements in her music, which sets her apart from the crowd.

There’s a wholesome, comforting sensitivity to the lyrics, which tells of a universal uncertainty when falling in love. She sings, “I know you’ve said it but just / say it again / I wanna know that you mean it this time”. People have banging on and been singing about love and relationships for as long as there has been singing and relationships, but there’s still always something else to be said about them. Frances captures the underlying self-doubt of requited love, and the worries and bliss that goes along with it.

7.5/10

‘Say It Again’, Frances’ current single, is out now on Capitol Records. For more on the young singer/songwriter, including coverage of her appearance at the BBC Introducing night at Latitude 30 at this year’s SXSW 2016, go here.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mkXtzQ8XzMc[/youtube]

 

Video of the Moment #2077: Frances

 
By on Thursday, 5th May 2016 at 6:00 pm
 

Oxford Singer/songwriter Frances, who Rebecca introduced us to in March, has had a pretty eventful year already. For starters, in March, she showcased in Austin, Texas, at SXSW 2016, her first, appearing at the Wednesday night BBC Introducing / PRS for Music Foundation bill at the British Music Embassy at Latitude 30, compered by BBC radio presenters Steve Lamacq (representing 6 Music), Huw Stephens (Radio 1) and Jo Whiley (Radio 2). Though she was nervous, she was chatting and showed off her bubbly self through her soulful songs, which included single ‘Don’t Worry About Me’.

The tune now has its own promo video. No-one enjoys seeing a loved one in hospital and while I don’t want to give the entire game away, you can probably guess there isn’t a happy ending in this. Grab your tissues and watch the video below. Frances begins a UK tour next Monday in Norwich; all the dates are listed here on the events page on her Facebook.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bzWkKXuv00U[/youtube]

 

SXSW 2016: part of Paradigm Agency showcase at Maggie Mae’s, plus the second half of BBC Introducing (Wednesday night, part 2) – 16th March 2016

 
By on Monday, 4th April 2016 at 4:00 pm
 

After a sombre, less than thrilling start to my Wednesday evening thinking about Viola Beach and seeing two acts at Music from Ireland, it was time to move on. Thanks to my upgraded press status at SXSW 2016 this year (thank you, Elizabeth and SXSW Music!), I could jump the massive queue that went down 6th Street to get into Maggie Mae’s. I managed to catch most of Drowners’ set on the downstairs indoor stage.

Drowners were not a band I was familiar with until I happened to see their name on the SXSW shout list for this year. Their name rung a bell; I seemed to remember getting an email about them a long while back, but I couldn’t remember why I hadn’t listened to their music before. Upon further investigation, it all made sense: their eponymous debut album for Frenchkiss Records was released in January 2014, right around the time I suffered the loss of an important friendship, so it’s unlikely I would have enjoyed the album at the time anyway. During pre-SXSW preparations in late January, it tickled me pink to find a band whose own name came from a Suede song (‘The Drowners’), as Suede had just released ‘Night Thoughts’ and I was experiencing the resurgence of my love for Brett Anderson and co

While Drowners are based in New York City and is therefore considered an American band, much has been made about their Welsh frontman Matthew Hitt having made his way to the Big Apple in the first place to pursue a career in modelling. Their music is good time rock ‘n’roll and Strokes-y. But it’s also got a feeling of more pop with pomp. especially on their recently revealed single ‘Cruel Ways’, which will appear on their second album ‘On Desire’, due out in June. Their appearances this week in Austin gave them the opportunity to test out the new material, including LP tracks ‘Human Remains’, ‘Someone Else is Getting In’ and ‘Conversations with Myself’. Of the new material, the bass-heavy thuds of set closer ‘Pick Up the Pace’ won me over.

Drowners at Paradigm Agency showcase at Maggie Mae's, Wednesday night at SXSW 2016

Another great thing that I reiterate time and time again about SXSW is the fact that 99% of the acts who aren’t Drake or CHVRCHES will play multiple shows. So if you happen to miss a band at their first appearance, you’ll have a second (and quite possibly a third or fourth) chance to see them again. As I had to leave the British Music Embassy at Latitude 30 early on Tuesday night to make it in time for Gold Class at the felte / Part Time Punks showcase at Barracuda at midnight, I missed seeing Liverpool’s Clean Cut Kid who were on after Oscar. Though it pained me to miss Gwenno at the Heavenly Recordings showcase at Barracuda, I was able to finally see both her and Stealing Sheep on Friday at the Cerdd Cymru afternoon showcase at Latitude 30 (stay tuned for that post).

Frontman Mike Halls of Clean Cut Kid has a beard that rivals Guy Connelly’s of Clock Opera. One wonders if the two bands will ever tour together, given this kinship of over the top, yet well maintained extended facial hair. Halls, with the very tattooed Saul Godman on bass guitar, look like they could be in a metal band. This makes the kind of music that Clean Cut Kid play – driving and fun indie pop – all the more incongruous. (I will say, however, that both of them have fantastic chops on their axes, especially Halls on his guitar solos, making me think that perhaps they were in a hard rocking band in the not too distant past.) Mike’s wife Evelyn on keyboards and her voice in harmony with him add another level of flair and uniqueness to the band’s music; I appreciated the perfection in their male plus female harmonies, something I didn’t otherwise hear all week at SXSW.

Clean Cut Kid at Paradigm Agency showcase at Maggie Mae's, Wednesday night at SXSW 2016

Though they came to Austin as virtual unknowns – and I’m almost positive no-one in Maggie Mae’s besides me had any idea who they were – the foursome quickly got the crowd, which steadily increased in size as their set went on, on their side. Despite the appearance of being unapproachable, Mike Halls is a likeable frontman, making jokes about how the word vitamin is pronounced in England vs. America (note: it’s different) and prefacing songs with deadpan comments such as “this is a hate song by a man who used to be in love” (not sure what song he was referring to!). ‘Pick Me Up’ is the Liverpool group at its finest and surely will continue Halls’ assertion that chicks dig beards”.

It was time to return to Latitude 30 and relieve Carrie of her place at the BBC Introducing / PRS for Music Foundation night. She had been there for the Viola Beach tribute, Isaac Gracie and Billie Marten, and it was my turn to cover the second half of the night. Following Marten were Steve Lamacq’s tip as Britain’s next great guitar band, The Sherlocks. If you’ve spent any time in Sheffield or indeed, you’ve had a listen to any number of their indie bands in the last 10 years, you have an idea of the Sheffield sound.

The Sherlocks at BBC Introducing PRS Foundation showcase, Latitude 30 Wednesday night at SXSW 2016

Of the biggest bands out of the Steel City, Arctic Monkeys are the most obvious of touchstones to the Sherlocks’ music. Given that Alex Turner and his mates have decided to follow the path of Josh Homme before them, it does seem that there’s an inescapable void where the Monkeys once trod, and the Sherlocks are a good fit for that void. Young, hard working and hungry for success, and as one of their songs are named and possessing a ‘Heart of Gold’, they certainly earned their moment under the lights at Latitude 30 this night.

After talking to Carrie about her experiences earlier at the BBC Introducing night, it sounds like Berkshire singer/songwriter Frances was much more confident and ready for her turn in the spotlight than earlier young female performer Billie Marten. The redhead was smiley and chatty, her stage patter between songs telling us more about herself and how her songs came to be, overall making a very engaging performance. Unlike Rosie Carney at the Music from Ireland showcase earlier in the evening, she was having a great time at SXSW.

Frances at BBC Introducing PRS Foundation showcase, Latitude 30 Wednesday night at SXSW 2016

Frances’ voice is beautiful, as was demonstrated on her newest single ‘Don’t Worry About Me’ performed live. But her versatility shines through on the soulful ‘Borrowed Time’, written with Howard Lawrence of Disclosure, who Frances insisted, and with a wide grin, was “wicked” and “he’s cooler than me!” While it makes my heart sink slightly that a talented lady like her feels the need to have songwriting collaborators (or more likely, her major label has that need), Frances’ vocal talent will take her far.

ESTRONS at BBC Introducing PRS Foundation showcase, Latitude 30 Wednesday night SXSW at 2016

The final act of the night was Welsh band ESTRONS, who realistically should have been on earlier in the lineup. Their sound is the result of frenetic playing and even at 1 AM in the morning, they showed no sign of slowing down. Bolstered by their uncompromising frontwoman Taliesyn Kallström, their brashness would have waken up the dead. Time to say goodnight to Radio 1’s Huw Stephens skulking round the back, to get a few hours of sleep and be back in town in good time the next morning to do it all over again.

 

(SXSW 2016 flavoured!) Bands to Watch #386: Frances

 
By on Monday, 14th March 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.

At just 22 years of age, Frances already has two heady honours under her belt, having been shortlisted for both the 2016 BRITs’ Critics Choice Award and the BBC Sound of 2016 (both of which ultimately went to Jack Garratt). In 2015, the Oxford singer/songwriter released three singles in 2015: ‘Grow’, ‘Let It Out’ and ‘Borrowed Time’. This past week, she followed these with the release of ‘Don’t Worry About Me’ on Capitol Records.

‘Grow’, Frances’ debut single, is a confidently understated track. It’s just Frances and her piano, accompanied by a symphony of vocals at times, before returning to the gentle lull of piano and voice. Despite her relatively short career, she’s also been cowriting with some fairly big names already. Most recently, Frances has been working with Greg Kurstin, who collaborated with Adele on her mammoth comeback hit ‘Hello’. ‘Borrowed Time’ was cowritten with Howard Lawrence of Disclosure and is thus a synthpop number . However, the song still puts focus on her incredible vocal range.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Hw3h9cAIFk[/youtube]

Newest Frances single ‘Don’t Worry About Me’ starts gently and softly, with emphasis placed on the strength of Frances’ crystal-clear vocals, before the piano and layered vocals join in, allowing the track to swell with a choral intensity. Frances’ vocals sound like a blend between Birdy and Lorde: her voice has the power and gravity of Lorde’s tones, paired with the stripped-back nature of Birdy, also matching Birdy’s purity and clarity of tone. Judging by the successes that she has achieved so far less than 2 years after the release of her debut single, she seems set to follow in both Birdy and Lorde’s footsteps and we can expect to hear a lot more from her over the coming year.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yq7j8HphvjE[/youtube]

Frances has a number of upcoming festival dates set for the coming year, including SXSW this week (her appearances in Austin includes a slot at the BBC Introducing and PRS for Music Foundation showcase Wednesday night at the British Music Embassy at Latitude 30), Coachella, Blissfields and Frequency. She is also scheduled to join James Bay on a number of his performances at the Hammersmith Apollo in London this month.

 

TGTF Guide to SXSW 2016: BBC Introducing and PRS for Music Foundation’s SXSW 2016 showcase, 16th March 2016

 
By on Tuesday, 9th February 2016 at 11:00 am
 

Editor’s note: The band Viola Beach and their manager Craig Tarry were killed in a fatal car crash is Sweden on the evening of Saturday, the 13th of February. Our deepest condolences are with their families. Read Communion Records’ statement on their passing here. They will also be eulogised at a special tribute on the night of this showcase in Austin.

What has now become an annual highlight of the week at SXSW is the BBC Introducing and PRS for Music Foundation’s evening showcase at Latitude 30, the home of the British Music Embassy in Austin during the event. Last week, Steve Lamacq announced the six artists that will be gracing the BME’s stage the night of Wednesday the 16th of March, and we can’t wait to introduce them to you. Impressively, nearly every region of the UK is well represented on this list, except for Northern Ireland (which will be putting on their own afternoon showcase on St. Patrick’s Day, when else?) and Scotland (who we hope will have their own showcase as well).

Hailing from the North East of England, Billie Marten is a young female singer/songwriter from Ripon, North Yorkshire. Even 2 years ago when she still sported braces on her teeth, her musical talent was picked up by Burberry Acoustic. Fast forward 2 years, and the young Marten’s delicate, yet smoky vocals have further matured; check out her evocative single ‘Bird’ below. With over 13,000 Facebook likes even before setting foot in America, something tells us mainstream success is just around the corner for this lass.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=smX6xCPDbrE[/youtube]

With a name sounding like they should be a variant of Transformers than a band, Cardiff-based quartet ESTRONS will be representing Wales at the BBC Introducing night. It’s no surprise their fresh and frenetic music has already received backing from BBC Radio 1’s Huw Stephens and Annie Mac. Fronted by Canadian-Swede Taliesyn Kallström who appear to be channelling the spirit of riot grrls like Siouxsie, Courtney Love and MayKay of Fight Like Apes for her vocal delivery, they’ll definitely be bringing unbridled energy to the evening.

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

If it hasn’t happened already, Newbury, Berkshire born singer/songwriter Frances will be on the lips of the world’s music pundits before the month is out. Despite having only one EP to her name – ‘Grow’, released last summer via Communion Records – she’s already nominated for a BRIT, the 2016 Critic’s Choice Award. She’s been compared to Florence Welch and Ellie Goulding, but except for the ginger colour of her hair and the length of it, I don’t see much of a comparison. Frances is her own woman.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O5X5ZUvq5XY[/youtube]

Isaac Gracie first gained prominence on BBC Introducing Norfolk, but it appears he’s decamped now to the West London area of Ealing. He’s already sold out a who in London, garnered attention from NME, and been anointed with a Zane Lowe World Record on Beats 1. For brokenhearted fans of the late Jeff Buckley, to devotees of Johnny Flynn and the Sussex Wit, you’ll definitely take to Gracie’s style of rough, dusty, contemplative songwriting, as exemplified in his track ‘Last Words’.

Lammo loves the Crookes. A lot. So I was gobsmacked he’d found another Sheffield band to put his weight behind. The lucky recipients? The Sherlocks, who our own Rebecca has been aware of since her schooldays some years ago in South Yorkshire when they first started knocking around the Steel City. More like the Arctic Monkeys when they began than the Monkeys sound these days, their sound is one of brash guitars and cool rock ‘n’ roll. Have a listen to their debut single ‘Live for the Moment’.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s4GW14_Sodk[/youtube]

Staying in the North but heading due west, we reach Warrington, whose most famous musical son up to this point has been Ian Brown of the Stone Roses. This is all about to change when Viola Beach will bring their sunny and terribly infectious indie pop / rock to the BBC Introducing night in Austin. Will they follow in the footsteps of BBC Introducing 2015 night alums Blossoms to bring acclaim to another town outside of Manchester? Definitely. ‘Get to Dancing’ below.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GyP0DvEwrh8[/youtube]

 

Communion New Faces / April 2015 English Tour

 
By on Wednesday, 4th March 2015 at 9:00 am
 

Communion Music has just announced the third installment of its biannual New Faces tour, which will take place this April in venues across England. The tour will feature a rotating bill, giving each artist a chance to headline at least one show and putting the emphasis on introducing up-and-coming talent to new audiences. Showcasing musicians include piano pop artist Frances, acoustic troubadour Tenterhook, singer/songwriter Charlotte OC (pictured above and profiled by our David ahead of SXSW 2015 here) and alt-pop songwriter Freddie Dickson.

If you purchase your ticket from MusicGlue via Communion’s Web site you will receive a free EP download featuring a taster track from each artist on the tour. Below the tour date listing, you can sample Frances’ latest track ‘A Million Lines’. Tickets for the following dates are available now.

Monday 20th April 2015 – Liverpool Arts Club
Wednesday 22nd April 2015 – Leeds Brudenell
Thursday 23rd April 2015 – Manchester Ruby Lounge
Friday 24th April 2015 – Oxford Bullingdon
Monday 27th April 2015 – Brighton Sticky Mike’s
Tuesday 28th April 2015 – London St. Stephen’s Church
Wednesday 29th April 2015 – Bristol Louisiana

 
 
 

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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