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(Contest!) Video of the Moment #2364: Keston Cobblers’ Club

 
By on Thursday, 18th May 2017 at 6:00 pm
 

Editor’s note: to enter the contest, you need to read this whole post and watch the whole video to get and follow instructions. DO NOT ENTER HERE ON TGTF.

Folk pop band Keston Cobblers’ Club released their new LP ‘Almost Home’ at the end of March, and they’ve now unveiled an interactive video for the album’s latest single ‘Demons’, which comes hot on the heels of our recent album review. The new video has an old-fashioned Americana theme to match the folk quality of the music, but there’s a MAJOR twist at the end that you won’t want to miss.

The clever Cobblers have turned their ‘Demons’ video into a classic murder mystery, and they’re offering a huge incentive for their fans to play detective. The reward: £250 cash PLUS all albums and EPs signed by the band, sweatshirt and t-shirt and original film poster. We reckon the albums alone are worth an attempt! Check out our past coverage of Keston Cobblers’ Club through here.

Instructions for playing the game can be found at the end of the video, and fan theories as to “whodunnit” must be submitted by the 26th of May. The band will choose a winner on the 29th of May on Facebook Live; you can connect with their official Facebook by clicking here.

Is your interest piqued? Watch the video for ‘Demons’ below, then click on the “Start Now” button at the end to take your turn at solving the mystery. Good luck!

[youtube]https://youtu.be/0PNK3XIx-yo[/youtube]

 

Album Review: Keston Cobblers’ Club – Almost Home

 
By on Thursday, 11th May 2017 at 12:00 pm
 

Keston Cobblers' ClubAs a follow-up to 2015’s ‘Wildfire’, ‘Almost Home’ from Keston Cobblers’ Club is perhaps not a great departure for the band in terms of their overall sound, but more a continuation of their sonic growth. “I love an element of consistency from bands,” says lead singer Matthew Lowe, “but you do also want to bring something new to the table with each release.”

For ‘Almost Home’, that “something new” comes in the form of a renewed focus on songwriting, specifically narrative and melody. The emphasis is immediately apparent in the album’s title track, which is rhythmically crisp and precise in its vocal harmonies, with an engaging vocal melody set to Lowe’s easy-on-the-ears singing voice.

[youtube]https://youtu.be/u-8ljbZXjHE[/youtube]

‘Bicycles’ is another breezy, upbeat track, laced with sweet vocal harmonies and a catchy chorus melody about “angels riding bicycles”. The similarly bright, tropical sounding ‘Hand that Feeds You’ reminisces about days by the sea and will undoubtedly evoke memories of sun and salty air for anyone who’s ever spent time at the beach. The Cobblers balance these lighter moments with introspective songs like ‘Concord’, whose plucked banjo and muted percussion underscore markedly moodier lyrics.

Keston Cobblers’ Club lean on their solid folk foundation throughout the album, notably in the narrative of ‘Martha & Giles’. According to Lowe’s track-by-track review at The Line of Best Fit, the song was inspired by historical accounts of the Salem Witch Trials of 1692, when Giles Corey heroically, if somewhat belatedly, came to the defense of his wife, Martha, who had been accused of witchcraft. The song’s sparse instrumental arrangement highlights a poignant vocal duet between Lowe and his sister Julia, while the brass solo in the bridge adds a palpable air of sadness and regret.

Julia Lowe’s vocals are featured early in the tracklisting on the uplifting ‘Demons’, and later in the more experimental track ‘Winning’. The former is an example of the folky quality I had expected from the Cobblers, while the latter is more divergent in its thematic tone and its musicality. ‘Winning’ has a distinct pop quality in its pervasive singsong melody, but the instrumentation is surprisingly diverse and colorful, and its chorus takes a perverse pleasure in taunting, “I’m winning, I’m winning”.

Keston Cobblers’ Club have taken a fair few risks here, branching out to an electronic-based sound with ‘On Your Own’ and taking a more abstract approach to ‘An Island’. Though not entirely representative of the album as a whole, the tripping tempo and catchy vocal melody of ‘On Your Own’  make a bold statement and might even be an interesting single release. By contrast, ‘An Island’ is definitely an album track, best appreciated by discerning listeners who will enjoy the contrast between the dramatic intro and the harmonic subtleties in its final repeated line “fly away tonight”.

Album centerpiece ‘Forest Hill’ centers around the idea of home, as Lowe ruminates about his roots: “Forest Hill was just a wood until you came into my world / I’m gonna pull up these weeds and plant a brand new type of seed.” Its expansive musical arrangement grows to a broadly sweeping finish in a brilliant sonic illustration of Lowe’s lyrical content, and his vocals have a strong emotional impact in the repeated line “we may be poor, but we’re worth a whole lot more”.

Closing track ‘All I Need’ is similarly graceful and even more consciously expansive in its dynamic quality. Starting with a simple piano melody and executing a slow textural layering of instruments behind Julia Lowe’s lilting vocals, the song maintains a potent feeling of anticipation and energy throughout, much like the album itself.

‘Almost Home’ is delicately balanced between Keston Cobblers’ Club’s familiar sound and their ever-present willingness to experiment within the folk-pop genre. Their enthusiasm for vibrant soundscapes and simple, emotionally evocative stories is very much in evidence here, and their evolution as a band is clearly an ongoing process. Above all, ‘Almost Home’ is a genuinely pleasant listen, perfect for the quickly-approaching summer months.

8/10

Keston Cobblers’ Club’s third LP ‘Almost Home’ is available now. You can take a look back at our past coverage of the band through here. The band have just wrapped up a list of live dates in England, but the action surrounding the album release doesn’t end there. Check out this intriguing tweet and follow Keston Cobblers’ Club’s social media accounts to stay up-to-date on all the latest goings-on.

 

Keston Cobblers’ Club / April 2017 English Tour

 
By on Wednesday, 1st March 2017 at 9:00 am
 

Folk pop group Keston Cobblers’ Club will be releasing a new album at the end of next month. ‘Almost Home’, their third and the follow-up to 2015’s critically acclaimed ‘Wildfire’ (read Carrie’s review of it here), will drop on the 31st of March. While the band led by siblings Matthew and Julia Lowe are starry-eyed over a European tour that is currently in the works, they have an English tour in April already planned to support the new release. Tickets are on sale now to the following dates, which fill up nearly every evening in the second half of the month. We’re expecting a slew of summer festival dates to follow in due course too. Under the tour dates, you can have a taste of their forthcoming LP in the form of the title track’s music video. To read more of our past coverage here on TGTF on Keston Cobblers’ Club, use this link.

Tuesday 18th April 2017 – Manchester Royal Northern College of Music
Wednesday 19th April 2017 – Brighton Komedia
Thursday 20th April 2017 – Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms
Friday 21st April 2017 – London Union Chapel
Saturday 22nd April 2017 – Ashford St Mary’s Church
Sunday 23rd April 2017 – Exeter Phoenix
Tuesday 25th April 2017 – Milton Keynes Stables
Wednesday 26th April 2017 – Nottingham Rescue Rooms
Thursday 27th April 2017 – Kendal Brewery Arts
Friday 28th April 2017 – Durham Gala Theatre
Saturday 29th April 2017 – Sheffield Greystones (two shows: 3 PM matinee and 7:30 PM evening show)
Sunday 30th April 2017 – Bristol Colston Hall Lantern

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u-8ljbZXjHE[/youtube]

 

Album Review: Keston Cobblers’ Club – Wildfire

 
By on Thursday, 11th June 2015 at 12:00 pm
 

KCC WildfireKeston Cobblers’ Club are the latest in a series of folk-pop bands who are going above and beyond the typical recording and touring process in an attempt to create an interactive musical experience for their audiences. They follow in the footsteps of successful folk-oriented bands like Cocos Lovers, who began hosting the annual Smugglers Festival in 2011 as part of the Smugglers Records label, and Stornoway, who have recently concluded the first ever Nature Reserves Tour in conjunction with the Royal Society for the Preservation of Birds. In the spirit of playing folk music in a naturalistic context, Keston Cobblers Club have organized an extended outdoor launch party for their new album ‘Wildfire’, in the form of an eponymously titled weekend festival called Camp Wildfire. Billed as a “bustling adventure camp” by day and a “wild forest music festival” by night, Camp Wildfire promises an eclectic mix of activities to match its namesake album’s eclectic mix of sound elements.

Following up on Keston Cobblers’ Club’s 2012 debut album ‘One, For Words’, ‘Wildfire’ avoids the dreaded sophomore slump by finding the finely-tuned balance between the Cobblers’ established strengths and the addition of a few innovative new elements to keep their sound fresh. Lead female singer Julia Lowe calls the new album more of an evolution than a change in direction. “There’s a signature Cobblers’ recipe that we’ll always follow,” she says. “That’s strong vocal harmonies, powerful drums, and hooky melodies and these are all still here. But the instrumentation has grown, that’s the biggest difference.”

The band’s updated sonic palette involves soaring string and brass arrangements and electro synth overlays, which provide a rich ornamentation for the more organic classical and folk elements. Traditional dance rhythms and complex vocal harmonies dominate the album, and the Cobblers use their expanded instrumentation to traverse a wide range of dynamic and textural values, often within the context of a single song. Lyrically, the songs all have an air of romantic tragedy about them, and the full, vibrant instrumentation lends itself well to expressing their almost operatic melodrama. Matthew Lowe’s powerfully emotional vocal delivery is exquisitely executed throughout the album, most notably in its swelling choruses.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jeOHIfudAG0[/youtube]

The song styles on ‘Wildfire’ are also quite eclectic, with more purely folk sounding tracks like ‘Won’t Look Back’ sitting comfortably alongside the soulful jazz tincture of ‘Contrails’, the tribally rhythmic title track ‘Wildfire’, and the tropical, almost reggae suggestion of ‘St Tropez’. The album is appropriately bookended by the delicate piano melody of darkly evocative opening track ‘Laws’ and the acoustic guitar echo of the intensely visceral closing track ‘The Mad’.

What binds these songs together into a cohesive unit is their foundational focus on melodicism, vocal harmony, and boldly distinctive rhythms. With ‘Wildfire’, Keston Cobblers’ Club have created an album that stays true to the band’s established folk roots without ever being too tightly restricted by them. The album is both carefully crafted and enthusiastically energetic, which is always a winning combination in my book.

8.5/10

Keston Cobblers Club’s sophomore LP ‘Wildfire’ is due for release next Monday, the 15th of June, on Tricolour Records/Absolute via Universal. Previous TGTF coverage of Keston Cobblers’ Club, including details of their October and November 2015 tour dates, can be found here.

 

Great Escape 2015: Day 3 Roundup (Part 2)

 
By on Friday, 22nd May 2015 at 2:00 pm
 

Part 1 of my coverage from the Great Escape 2015 on Saturday is this way.

Le Galaxie @ Patterns downstairs (Jack Daniel’s)

So after getting my brains beaten in by a band from Cardiff, I was expecting for something a bit different at Patterns downstairs with Landshapes. However, when I arrived at the venue, there was a brief lull, and then an epileptic fit of strobes accompanied with throbbing beats. Uhhh, I don’t think this is Landshapes? (I was informed later that due to another band pulling out of the lineup, all the acts were going on a half-hour early. If you’re keen on Landshapes, you’re in luck, the London band was on Marc Riley’s 6 Music show Thursday night.) I realised quickly that I was now watching Le Galaxie from Dublin, which was fine by me because I was in the mood for some real electronic after a so far real dance-less Saturday at the Great Escape 2015. While Carrie covered the band at the full Irish breakfast at SXSW 2015, I am pretty sure the stars aligned on purpose so I would be at Patterns at that very moment to catch them.

Le Galaxie at the Great Escape 2015

Most dance music runs to one theme, love: how to get it, how to keep it and what to do when you lose it. With enough dB in the background to keep your heart pulsating. Having a charismatic frontman is paramount. In the case of Le Galaxie, Michael Pope knows how to shake what his momma gave him. It is not what you expect from a hulking Irishman with an epic beard; he looks more like he should be playing with Fleet Foxes, not fronting an electronic band. (I didn’t see the tattoos that are apparently also a trademark of his.) Watching him shake his arse and show off his fancy footwork in front of a Brighton crowd absolutely loving it was quite the sight to see. ‘Put the Chain On’ was a banger, the song that sticks out in my mind because the band was so on point. I think that was one of several where Pope took his microphone and went straight to the barrier to commune with the fans. Another big one was ‘Lucy is Here’, a darker, older but still goodie track. This is exactly the kind of band I expect would have an amazing – and deservedly so – draw at a festival like Ultra. It’s not just synths and buttons pushed. Pope and co. make sure everyone is included in their dance party, and it’s an unforgettable experience.

Young Kato @ Shooshh

Next on my hit parade for Saturday night was Young Kato, who I’ve been following since their early days. They’ve now released their debut album on Republic of Music this month, ‘Don’t Wait ’til Tomorrow’, which has been a long time coming, and I couldn’t be happier for the lads. Their show at Shooshh would be their crowning moment at the Great Escape 2015, where they would show off their new tunes and bring out the older ones for devoted fans. ‘Drink, Dance, Play’, which always ends up being a ridiculously fun exercise in jumping up and down, yelling and screaming the chorus, never disappoints, and it sure didn’t disappoint in Brighton. The vibrancy of the uber optimistic ‘Sunshine’, the title track of their autumn EP last year, closed their set out on a high note. Onward and upwards, lads!

Young Kato at the Great Escape 2015

Even though it was a little chilly to me, the dry weather was nice in Brighton, which means there were queues at most venues thanks to eager punters everywhere you went in the city. The Spiegelpub and Spiegeltent area around hub of transit activity The Old Steine was a new one to me, but I was very intrigued with the premise: being inside it was very much like being at an outdoor festival, which means if the weather is good, it’s fantastic, but if the weather’s crap, every man for himself.

Keston Cobblers’ Club @ Spiegeltent (Jazz Cafe Presents…)

After getting some cheesy fries with loads of mayonnaise and feeling like an idiot for eating them with a fork (hey, I still had to take photos, yo!), I entered a Moulin Rouge-themed area where Keston Cobblers’ Club would be playing. I have my favourite songs off their debut album ‘One, for Words’, and hoped I would hear them. One of the catchiest tunes off their debut, ‘Your Mother’ is a unique one, with horns and banjo joining the fray, the band’s lush harmonies sounded beautiful against the instrumentation. The group also showed off some new songs from their upcoming second album ‘Wildfire’, which will be released in June.

Keston Cobblers' Club at the Great Escape 2015

Sadly, I was drowned out for the request for a slower one by the rest of the crowd, which in the end is fine because I would have preferred them to gain new fans than to make one music editor happy. The crowd was in the mood to dance or to be more accurate, to stomp. While I was stood in the front of them, it quickly became a square-dancing hoedown, punters pleased with the up tempo gaiety their songs provided them on a mild night by the sea. At one point, I was sure I was going to be stamped to death, as everyone was so boisterously stomping their feet on the wood floor of the Spiegeltent. All’s well that ends well, though: after their set was over, new fans rushed like the dickens to the front to buy their CD. A job well done, then.

Blossoms @ Green Door Store (Dr. Marten’s)

I had been thinking for a long while how I wanted to end my Great Escape 2015 experience and after a friend had disappeared from me post-Keston Cobblers, I decided my original plan was best. I rushed quickly back up Brighton’s hilly streets to the Green Door Store, the site of my most epic fail at the Great Escape to date. Two years ago, at the same crowded venue, I got nowhere near the front so I could hear Teleman but could not actually see them. This time, I wasn’t about to be denied. I was a little pushy but was never rude and by the grace of god, I finally saw a clearing and was down the front for Stockport’s Blossoms, who I’d enjoyed at the BBC Introducing stage at SXSW 2015. I think it was a pleasant surprise for the band to see me, as they didn’t even know I was at the festival.

Blossoms at the Great Escape 2015

Watching a middle-aged man in sunglasses (remember, it was nearly midnight by this time, and dark) and a leopard print shirt, grooving to Blossoms, that image from this year’s event will definitely stay with me. He was clearly feeling and breathing in their psychedelic pop vibes, as were many down the front. Kitted out with their new shoes courtesy of stage sponsor Dr. Marten’s, the five-piece were on point. I still don’t know what ‘Blow’ means, it probably has some rude explanation that would make me blush, but for some reason I really connect with its sound, and I admit I have played the video for the song a few too many times on YouTube, Tom Ogden’s vocal line in the chorus is just about perfect, and bloody hell, you must be a stone if Josh Dewhurst’s guitar solo doesn’t bring you to near tears.

Afterwards, I went to go thank the lads for a hell of a set. We all hugged and they asked me, “when will we see you again?” Ha. I couldn’t cry then. It’d be too embarrassing. But I hated knowing I was going home the next day. But hopefully that reunion with them and everyone else I met up with in Brighton will be sooner than later. Fingers crossed.

 

Keston Cobblers Club / October and November 2015 UK Tour

 
By on Wednesday, 6th May 2015 at 9:00 am
 

Keston Cobblers Club have just announced that they will follow up last year’s EP release ‘A Pocket Guide to Escaping’ with their second full-length album titled ‘Wildfire’, due out on the 15th of June on Tricolour Records/Absolute via Universal. Speaking of the album, band member Julia Lowe says, “There’s a signature Cobblers recipe that we’ll always follow. That’s strong vocal harmonies, powerful drums, and hooky melodies and these are all still here.” Below the tour date listing, you can hear that for yourself in the video for album track ‘Won’t Look Back’.

Along with the news of the album release, Keston Cobblers Club have announced a lengthy 14-date autumn tour of the UK, as well as festival appearances at The Great Escape, Cambridge Folk Festival, Larmer Tree Festival, and their own adventure expedition Camp Wildfire. Tickets for the following live dates are on sale now.

Wednesday 14th October 2015 – Liverpool Leaf
Thursday 15th October 2015 – Glasgow Broadcast
Friday 16th October 2015 – Edinburgh Electric Circus
Saturday 17th October 2015 – Bury Met (English Folk Expo show)
Sunday 18th October 2015 – Leeds Brudenell Social Club
Thursday 22nd October 2015 – Nottingham Bodega
Friday 23rd October 2015 – Exeter Phoenix
Saturday 24th October 2015 – Bristol Thekla
Sunday 25th October 2015 – Cambridge Portland Arms
Wednesday 28th October 2015 – London Scala
Thursday 29th October 2015 – Norwich Arts Centre
Friday 30th October 2015 – Guildford Boileroom
Saturday 31st October 2015 – Brighton Hope and Ruin
Friday 6th November 2015 – Oxford Bullingdon

[youtube]https://youtu.be/jeOHIfudAG0[/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 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.

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