Looking for previews and reviews of SXSW 2019? Right this way.

SXSW 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | Live at Leeds 2016 | 2015 | 2014
Sound City 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | Great Escape 2018 | 2015 | 2013 | 2012

Don't forget to like There Goes the Fear on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

Live “Gig” Video: Glass Animals’ Dave Bayley sings ‘Agnes’ inside a human centrifuge

 
By on Friday, 4th August 2017 at 4:00 pm
 

I wasn’t sure where this new video from Glass Animals would fit on TGTF. It certainly seems to follow the thinking that some of us reviewer types have that ‘artists have to suffer for their art’. I think putting yourself in a human centrifuge qualifies for this. For those of you who unlike Dave Bayley and myself didn’t spend a lot of time in biology and chemistry labs, a centrifuge is a machine that spins in a circle and usually is used to collect the heavier particles in, say a glass tube, by the motion of the spinning.

Apparently there is a human-sized version of this and Bayley decided to subject himself to 18 spins of what he describes as something that looks “like something out of a bond villain’s lair.” During this ordeal, he manages to sing along to their track ‘Agnes’, which concludes the Oxford band’s 2016 album ‘How to Be a Human Being’ (read my review here). He says on the YouTube description of this promo that the song is hard for him to listen to, but this video may be hard to watch, or at least cause some minimal anguish to the viewer. That said, okay, artists suffer for their art, so to pay respect to Bayley suffering for his art, you can watch the video for ‘Agnes’ below. If you can’t stomach it, feel free to peruse our archive here on TGTF on Glass Animals (from way back in 2013!) by following this link.

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

 

Video of the Moment #2318: Glass Animals

 
By on Thursday, 9th March 2017 at 6:00 pm
 

It’s been a while since Oxford’s Glass Animals released an album, hasn’t it? Yes, their second album and the follow-up to ‘Zaba’, ‘How to Be a Human Being’, dropped last summer. (You can read my review of the long player from August 2016 through here.) They’ve unveiled a new video from it this week, for ‘Pork Soda’, which we previously featured in this live gig video from their Christmastime performance last December in Portland. I’ve stopped guessing what the thought is behind all of these music videos from ‘How to Be…’ are about. You’ll see weird and wacky the latest for ‘Pork Soda’ really is below; they’ve even got an interactive Web site built for the track too. For more on Glass Animals – and we have a lot here on TGTF – follow this link.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8RkJhJcfOnc[/youtube]

 

Live Gig Video: Glass Animals perform ‘Pork Soda’ at Portland Crystal Ballroom

 
By on Monday, 13th February 2017 at 4:00 pm
 

Oxford’s wonky pop maestros Glass Animals have become quite the phenomenon in the States. So much that they spend more time over here then they do at home. Before Christmas of last year, they participated in a special local radio station 94.7’s holiday soiree, where the below video was filmed. ‘Pork Soda’ appears on the band’s sophomore effort on Paul Epworth’s Wolf Tone label, Caroline International (UK) and Harvest Records (US), ‘How to Be a Human Being’, which was released last summer. (You can read my review of the long player through here.) Using an actual pineapple for percussion instead of the instrument equivalent provides a surreal moment, but I think the inanity of this got lost on the crowd, who were totally eating up the performance. Watch it below. For more of our coverage of Glass Animals, pretty much before anyone else starting back at SXSW 2014, go here.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vI0-1bw8f7w[/youtube]

 

(Holiday!) Video of the Moment #2245: Glass Animals

 
By on Thursday, 15th December 2016 at 10:00 am
 

Last week, dance pop quartet Glass Animals, or half of them anyway, made an in-studio appearance on BBC Radio 1’s Piano Sessions with Huw Stephens. The programme is billed as a series of “stripped back piano performances from cutting-edge artists”, and on this occasion, Glass Animals presented a stripped back lineup consisting of frontman Dave Bayley at the microphone and bandmate Drew MacFarlane on keys.

Along with a surprisingly elegant piano version of their recent hit track ‘Life Itself’, the pair performed a more traditional but equally smooth rendition of the holiday standard ‘Winter Wonderland’. MacFarlane is impressively fluid and sensitive on the ivories, but the real triumph is in Bayley’s velvety vocal delivery, which has always been a hallmark of Glass Animals’ sensual dance sound. Somehow, it works equally well in the context of a classic Christmas tune.

As a holiday bonus, we’ve included live videos of both performances just below. If this pared down arrangement isn’t enough of Glass Animals for you, you can find our previous coverage of the full band collected through here.

[youtube]https://youtu.be/j5rrUEA9qoE[/youtube]

[youtube]https://youtu.be/WDzadUr1orQ[/youtube]

 

Glass Animals / March 2017 UK Tour

 
By on Friday, 14th October 2016 at 8:00 am
 

Shut out of the tickets for Glass AnimalsUK/Irish tour this month? Don’t fret. The Oxford quartet announced another set of UK dates for next March. These babies go on sale today at 9 AM, so be quick on the mark if you want them. They released their second album ‘How to Be a Human Being’ on Wolf Tone / Caroline International in the UK and Harvest Records in the US back in August. You can read my review of the long player through this link. For more of TGTF’s coverage of Glass Animals, go here.

Thursday 9th March 2017 – Edinburgh Liquid Room
Friday 10th March 2017 – Birmingham Institute
Saturday 11th March 2017 – Leeds Beckett University
Monday 13th March 2017 – Cambridge Junction
Wednesday 15th March 2017 – Bristol Academy
Thursday 16th March 2017 – London Brixton Academy
Friday 17th March 2017 – Norwich Waterfront
Saturday 18th March 2017 – Manchester Albert Hall

 

Album Review: Glass Animals – How to Be a Human Being

 
By on Wednesday, 24th August 2016 at 12:00 pm
 

Glass Animals How to Be a Human Being album coverA few years ago, a little EP called ‘Leaflings’ was released by a mysterious act called Glass Animals. Soon discovered by one Paul Epworth, who signed them as the first band on his record label Wolf Tone’s roster, their combination of disparate elements of rock, pop, r&b and hip hop proved not only unique but weirdly irresistible to the public. Global stardom followed their debut album ‘Zaba’, so it seems good fortune that I caught them live at Liverpool Sound City 2014, a month before its release in June. On their second album out this Friday, Glass Animals are out to prove they’re more than a one-trick pony.

Thematically, the new LP is a major departure from ‘Zaba’. Instead of fanciful stories about peanut butter vibes, twee voles and hermits lacking sex and violence that only seemed possible to have come out of a drug-addled haze, realism rules the day on ‘How to Be a Human Being’. Primary songwriter Dave Bayley admitted in early press releases that the new material had been inspired by people they’d met during their travels: “I try to sneakily record people, and I have hours and hours of these amazing rants from taxi drivers, strange people we met outside of shows, people at parties. People say the strangest shit when they don’t think they’re ever gonna see you again.” Snatches of these secretly taped conversations appear to have found their way onto this LP, acting as spoken word interludes between songs or in the case of ‘[Premade Sandwiches]’, a whole track that sounds like Darth Vader going off on Whole Foods. Let’s hope he got clearance to use these clips. This on the ground, secretive sampling is on par with what frontman Bayley’s biggest hero, Kanye West, gets up to. Err, right.

On their last album, there was a strange yet oddly intriguing juxtaposition between the world of a child and the dark existence that loomed outside of it. Because ‘How to Be a Human Being’ is placed in the real world, there’s less possibility – and room – for whimsy. In a recent interview with Consequence of Sound, Bayley explained that the new record is meant to mirror a path from birth to death, with “Everything in between is what happens in life.” Early on in the album’s ‘life’, video game sounds are incorporated into ‘Season 2 Episode 3’ and ‘Pork Soda’ to reflect the lazy days of childhood.

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

Bayley’s falsetto flits from track to track, singing of things that fit into Glass Animals’ slacker image. Unveiled this week, ‘Season 2 Episode 3’ mentions cereal, cola and “getting blazed”. It’s also a prime example of where the band from Oxford appear to have lost the plot. While the vocal melody is pleasant enough in a singsong, nursery rhyme fashion, the rest of the song is literally voice, video game blips, a keyboard warbling and minimal percussion. Where Glass Animals used to shine – in making something exotic, different and most importantly, groovy – has been lost. Listening to the album, I’m reminded of the ‘90s gangsta rap Bayley says was influential in his formative years in College Station, Texas. Back in the day, how minor keys were used and the menacing undercurrent to the music made sense in the context of the heavy subject matter (drug use, domestic violence, murder).

This kind of negative fog hangs off of several album tracks – ‘Mama’s Gun’ in particular – making for a less distinctive, less than memorable listen. Forgetting its unsettling human barks, ‘The Other Side of Paradise’ is an unflattering snapshot of the very “caught up in camera lustings”, image-centric industry Glass Animals now find themselves the darlings of. Bayley croons, “I feel so fucking numb”, and you’re left wondering if he’s speaking of his own confused mental state inside the machine or if the song is based on an anecdote told to him by another. Because he’s been unwilling to admit which parts of ‘How to Be a Human Being’ are autobiographical or which are stories he’s woven from the experiences of others, you’re never 100% sure of their source. [Update: Bayley revealed in a previously recorded interview with Steve Lamacq that aired on BBC 6 Music on 24/08/2016 that this song was partly based on the real life of his favourite American basketball player Hakeem Olajuwon. You can listen to the interview 2 hours and 30 minutes on BBC iPlayer here.]

On the plus side, ‘Cane Shuga’ has bouncy synths and an intriguing drum pattern from Joe Seaward that will make it fun to watch live. The sleaze of ‘Take a Slice’, with its lo-fi, fuzzy production and wigged out guitar line, tempers its shockingly frank messages, such as “I’m filthy and I like it”. Prostitution rears its ugly, real head in ‘Poplar Street’, the guitar hook intro catchy but similar to John Frusciante’s work on Red Hot Chili Peppers’ ‘Under the Bridge’.

Bayley’s self-described closing bookend to the album, ‘Agnes’, seems to mock our society’s reliance on technology, the sad sound of a mobile phone’s dying battery trilling in the background. Instrumentally, this is as uplifting as this album gets, which highlights what’s missing from this album. I suppose you could argue that while ‘Zaba’ was written from a perspective inside the jungle of a children’s book and this new one is from the concrete jungle, there were bound to be wildly major differences between the two. Because there’s much less to latch on to on ‘How to Be a Human Being’, it makes for a challenging follow-up listen.

6/10

‘How to Be a Human Being’, the sophomore album from Oxford’s Glass Animals’, will be out this Friday, the 26th of August, on Wolf Tone / Caroline International (UK) and Harvest Records (North America). Read my past review of the LP’s first single ‘Life Itself’ through here. For more on Glass Animals on TGTF, follow this link.

 
 
 

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.

RSS Feed   RSS Feed  

Learn More About Us