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In the Post #50: We Are Scientists

 
By on Tuesday, 9th March 2010 at 12:00 pm
 

The third album ‘Barbara’ from those loveable American pranksters We Are Scientists is on the horizon. However, we won’t be able to get our little hands on the album for a couple more months. In the meantime, we have a little teaser in the form of ‘Rules Don’t Stop’.

Per my interview with Chris Cain and Keith Murray in February about the new material, it was written for a three-piece line-up, unlike the last album, 2008’s ‘Brain Thrust Mastery’, which featured synths (a change from their original sound I wholeheartedly embraced). They took a back to basics approach with this third album-length offering, so I’m expecting ‘Barbara’ to sound more like their debut, ‘With Love and Squalor’ – you remember the cover, don’t you? The one with the cats?

I disagreed with the sentiment, but some critics complained that ‘Brain Thrust Mastery’ was overthought and unnecessarily complicated. I think these detractors will be pleased with this first single from ‘Barbara’. ‘Rules Don’t Stop’ is a punchy, barely 2-minute affair. And when I say ‘affair’, it’s an all too brief one, with a poppy melody and lyrics sung by Keith Murray with usual We Are Scientists conviction. Hearing it live for the first time in January, well before it debuted as one of Zane Lowe’s ‘Hottest Records in the World’, was a total joy, so I’m expect great things from this new album. The promo video for ‘Rules Don’t Stop’ premiered yesterday, and you can check it out below.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QmjvnU4VKaA[/youtube]

By the way, I’m not entirely sure what’s the deal with the band’s current citrus fixation. But I’m guessing it has to do with a creature they dreamt up that has a mirrored tile exterior and is filled with 100% juice. Don’t believe me? Watch this video of the guys hamming it up with celebs at the NME Shockwaves Awards on 24 February. (Editor’s note: there’s a slightly off colour joke question proffered by Bombay Bicycle Club, so if you’re easily offended, you may want to stop playing the vid at the 4-minute mark.)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wtiuc0yWc9Q[/youtube]

The single ‘Rules Don’t Stop’ will be released on CD and vinyl on 5 April in the UK. We Are Scientists’s third album ‘Barbara’ is scheduled to be released on 14 June.

 

In the Post #49: Friendly Fires and Holy Ghost! Cover Each Other’s Songs

 
By on Tuesday, 16th February 2010 at 12:00 pm
 

One of the more unique songs to be reviewed recently on Steve Lamacq’s Roundtable on 6music is Friendly Fires‘s reinterpretation of ‘Hold On’, the dancefloor hit by New York City electro duo Holy Ghost! It’s only one half of a split single to be released in early March: Holy Ghost! returned the favour by covering Friendly Fires’s singalong ‘On Board’. When asked about it previously by BBC 6music News, singer Ed Macfarlane said that they had definite desire to do a reinterpretation of the Holy Ghost! track rather than simply a remix like the painstaking one he did for Phoenix‘s ‘Fences’.

This is no doubt unusual, having versions of big hits by two heavy hitters of the current electro dance scene on the same single, but what I like most about these reinterpretations is that these were recorded in mutual appreciation of each other’s music. That is, one band was fully aware that the other was going to put their personal loving stamp on one of their tracks and vice versa. Both acts also did instrumental versions of the the songs they covered; Holy Ghost! provided a dub mix of ‘On Board’ as well.

Speaking on Monday to Steve Lamacq by phone from his band’s East London recording digs, Macfarlane further explained that the idea came about when Friendly Fires ran into Holy Ghost! in Corsica last summer (presumedly at dance music festival Calvi on the Rocks). Macfarlane is a massive fan of the NYC duo’s work, so when Holy Ghost!’s Alex Frankel suggested the idea of doing covers of each other’s songs, he jumped at the chance. He considers both songs to be “really old” (released in 2007 – that’s old?) and is really happy that the project came to fruition. You can catch the interview on iPlayer until next Monday afternoon, the 22nd of February, here (fast forward about an hour and 19 minutes into the show).

Friendly Fires’s take of ‘Hold On’ starts shimmery as their own holiday anthem, ‘Paris’. With the pronounced bass lines, bouncy synths and in-your-face percussion (more agogô, more cowbell!), there’s no mistake that this is from the St. Albans trio. If it’s even possible, the chorus of “and hold tight, don’t make more plans / and don’t talk, don’t say no words / and be still, now move like this / and hold on, until the kiss…” seems even sexier than it was in the Holy Ghost! original. And the Fires’s version feels tighter, about a minute shorter than the original.

‘On Board’ has been made much more dancefloor friendly by Holy Ghost! Their track features backup singers credited as ‘the DFA Celestial Choir’; perhaps one of their members provided the female laugh when the song starts, reminscent of the laugh at the start of Duran Duran’s ‘Hungry Like the Wolf’. I’m really liking the echo effects on the vocals, the repeated “don’t stop!“s from the choir halfway through, and the wickedly funky underlying bass lines so much that I almost don’t miss the cowbell. It should also be noted here that this song marks one of the last songs !!! and LCD Soundsystem‘s late drummer Jerry Fuchs played on before his untimely death in November 2009.

After the cut: If you’re unfamiliar with either original, we’ve got you covered. You can watch Friendly Fires’s humourous video for ‘On Board’, then listen to ‘Hold On’ (as Holy Ghost! apparently don’t have an official promo for it).
Continue reading In the Post #49: Friendly Fires and Holy Ghost! Cover Each Other’s Songs

 

In the Post #48: Wolfmother – White Feather

 
By on Wednesday, 3rd February 2010 at 12:00 pm
 

So it took Wolfmother a whopping four years to release the follow up to their self-titled 2005 debut. Ok, ok, so I guess some kudos has to go towards frontman Andrew Stockdale, as every single band member did leave him pre-recording Cosmic Egg, which must have proven a little difficult to say the least. But hey, the drummer and bassist did decide to jump off the Wolfmother band-wagon due to those dreaded “irreconcilable personal and musical differences”. AKA, one does wonder, Andrew’s completely annoying inability to progress beyond his obsessively 70’s rock turn outs?

As that’s exactly what Cosmic Egg was. That same old wham-bam mixture of Sabbath riffs and Plant wails. Yeh, it’s freekin’ rock and roll – Guitar Hero come to life – but it’s also pretty out-dated, and alas, the new record has split fans and critics alike. Still, erm, putting all that aside, TGTF recently grabbed hold of Wolfmother’s third single from the new album to see how the track stood out on it’s own.

White Feather kicks off with a riff basically copied and pasted from Rolling Stones’ ‘Start Me Up’, just hidden by some cheeky distortion. Then we have the return of Stockdale’s trademark squall surprisingly being backed by not so crazy, crunchy chops, but instead squeaky guitar licks, which slide around like flying fireworks in the distance. The typically epic drums are similarly lightened by welcomed use of a cowbell. A super huge solo hits midway, which is cheesy but monstrous, before the chorus arrives back for one last time, by which time it’s hook has surprisingly embedded into the mind. The classic rock pastiche is still turned to full volume, but hey, White Feather has certainly proved to be one of Wolfmother’s more bearable tracks.

Check out the official video to White Feather, which is released February 15th, below.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8c4_vPkYjYM[/youtube]

 

In the Post #47: Gorillaz – Stylo

 
By on Thursday, 28th January 2010 at 12:00 pm
 

After a 5 year stop gap, Essex quartet Gorillaz are finally back with a brand spanking new album this 2010. Titled ‘Plastic Beach’, the upcoming record is set to feature everyone from Snoop Dog, Lou Reed, Kano to Mick Jones and Paul Simonon of The Clash (no doubt Paul’s involvement with Damon’s side-project, The Good, The Bad and the Queen helped this little collaboration). TGTF recently got their mitts on the latest musical slice from 2D, Noodle, Murdoch and Russel, and have since given it a darn good listen or two…

Titled ‘Stylo’, the first Gorillaz single to be released in four years is certainly an electronica sensation, yielding intrigue and discomfort. The track features input from the legendary Bobby Womak, who’s rich, soulful vocals rub perfectly against Albarn’s (or should I say 2D’s..) glacier voice amid the verses. The chorus proves similarly spellbinding with it’s unrelenting drum machine, galvanising synths and Albarn’s dizzy vocals, subtly brainwashing the mind as they circulate mischievously in the distance.

The robotic ‘Stylo’ certainly emits a twisted, sinister atmosphere, almost making for uneasy listening. But that is exactly why I love this track, and why I love Gorillaz. Judging by this digital firework of a number, the cockney cartoons are still well-up for releasing music that’s fantastically curious and entertaining, and alas makes ‘Plastic Beach’ one of my most anticipated albums of 2010.

‘Stylo’ is available digitally now, and ‘Plastic Beach’ is released on March 8th. Pre-order at Amazon now.

 

In The Post #46: Caitlin Rose – Dead Flowers

 
By on Wednesday, 27th January 2010 at 12:00 pm
 

Caitlin Rose is a 22 year old country-folk star hailing all the way from Nashville, who chooses to cite Buddy Holly and Bob Dylan as just two of many influences upon her dreamily nostalgic music. Armed with a beautiful voice and an acoustic to go with it, TGTF were terribly excited to be handed Rose’s brand new EP, ‘Dead Flowers’, earlier on this week.

The EP kicks off with ‘Shotgun Wedding’. Said track proves to be a perfect foot-stomper of an opener, led by excitably picked acoustics and Rose’s falsetto twang which often echoes the wide-eyed vocals of Joanna Newsom. ‘Answer In One of These Bottles’, meanwhile, is a catchy Carter Family-esque ditty – the lyrics taking on a noticeably darker demeanour to the Virginia band, however, as it tells tales of alcohol and it’s ability to temporarily pass the pain.

Rose chooses to showcase her inner Patsy Cline while covering the legend’s ‘Three Cigarettes in an Astray’. Admittedly, Cline’s voice will be forever unbeatable, but you truly hear the power of Rose’s lungs here, as she belts out this woozy track with an equal amount of passion as Patsy did back in the 50s.

‘Docket’ is perhaps one of the more light hearted tracks on the EP, especially with it’s unexpected lyrics ala “The surgeon general can suck on my dick”. Intriguing! ‘Gorilla Man’, meanwhile, is similarly playful, with Caitlin’s hick vox jumping joyfully over a tap-tapping tambourine. Still these two tracks are perhaps the least compelling-bodied among the EP, proving that Rose still has time to grow in strength as an artist.

Caitlin drops a second cover among the EP as she takes on The Rolling Stones’ ‘Dead Flowers’. The rock is stripped from the country, with Rose taking the upbeat pace of the original track down a significant notch. This is not to say she doesn’t do the song justice, far beyond it. Rose in fact recites the poignant lyrics near perfectly, her rounded voice buttering over the acoustic calypso wails with pure ease. It’s a truly stunning homage, one which I’m sure Jagger and Richards would be beyond proud of.

The EP ultimately draws to a close, however, with ‘T-Shirt’, the second track on ‘Dead Flowers’ to feature Rose merely reciting over a clapping tambourine. Spouting lyrics of lost love, it’s a whole lot more emotional than ‘Gorilla Man’, and, as she drops the tambourine to the floor at the last breath of the track, ‘T-Shirt’ closes the EP on a stripped back, restrained note, certainly leaving the listener craving more from the wonderful upcoming star that is Caitlin Rose.

Lucky for us, Caitlin is set to release a full-length album later this 2010, so keep your eyes peeled for more music from Miss. Rose very soon.

MP3: Caitlin Rose – Shotgun Wedding

[audio:https://www.theregoesthefear.com/media/201001/shotgunwedding.mp3]
 

In The Post #45: Twin Atlantic – Lightspeed

 
By on Tuesday, 26th January 2010 at 12:00 pm
 

Glaswegian alt-rockers Twin Atlantic have had quite a meteoric rise since forming in 2007, having in the space of just a few years gone from practicing in drummer Craig Kneale’s dining room to supporting bands like Biffy Clyro, the Subways and the Smashing Pumpkins. Their fans are so dedicated, they’ve even been known to get tattoos of the band’s lyrics and logo. When you listen to their new single, ‘Lightspeed,’ their continued success and their fans’ adoration seems completely natural.

The song throbs with energy and there’s so much passion behind singer Sam McTrusty’s vocals that it gives the song a defiant edge. What really strikes me about this song is how authentic it feels, due in large part to the “vocals dripping with gorgeous Scottish vowels.” McTrusty says on their website that the song is about “a kind of togetherness, and us being determined not to give up.”  The way each of the parts, from the drums to the vocals to the guitar, is so powerful while at the same time perfectly in balance really adds to this sense of togetherness. It almost feels like a rallying cry for the band. If they were a football club, this is the song they’d blast before heading out onto the pitch. “Together [they] might just move as fast as light,” so consider yourself lucky that you heard of them before they became massive.

Check out the video for ‘Lightspeed’ below:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3njDN2UpRfY[/youtube]

‘Vivarium,’ the mini-album from which ‘Lightspeed’ is taken, is available now. The ‘Lightspeed’ single will be released on 1st March 2010. Twin Atlantic will be playing a series of dates in the UK (see their website) before embarking on a North American tour in March and April 2010.

 
 
 

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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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