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Video of the Moment #2132: Little Green Cars

 
By on Thursday, 7th July 2016 at 6:00 pm
 

Dublin alt-rock quintet Little Green Cars have just unveiled a stylised and symbolic new video for ‘The Garden of Death’, which is the current single from their recent album ‘Ephemera’. Released back in March, ‘Ephemera’ deals mainly with the idea of change and transition in relationships, from endings to new beginnings. “The album could be perceived as melancholic, but that’s not how I see it,” says the band’s co-lead singer Faye O’Rourke. “It’s giving a perspective that people can relate to, but also offering hope because these situations always move on.”

One particular ending, the death of fellow lead singer Stevie Appleby’s grandmother, gave rise to a new beginning in the form of ‘The Garden Of Death’. A stark and haunting guitar melody opens the track, and Appleby’s fragile vocals convey a nearly tangible sense of longing as his lyrical protagonist searches for meaning and closure, both in this life and beyond. The vocal harmonies of the chorus fade out slowly at the end, lending the track a faintly ethereal air, but one that lingers long after the song is over. You can watch the heavily metaphorical video for ‘The Garden of Death’ just below.

[youtube]https://youtu.be/G2NNxh1uvDQ[/youtube]

Little Green Cars’ second album ‘Ephemera’ is out now on Glassnote Records. TGTF’s previous coverage of the band is back this way.

 

Live Review: Little Green Cars with John Mark Nelson at Club Congress, Tucson, AZ – 9th April 2016

 
By on Tuesday, 19th April 2016 at 2:00 pm
 

In the midst of our massive ongoing coverage of SXSW 2016, it’s often easy to forget that there’s plenty of music going on outside the scope of the annual Austin festival. I arrived back home after SXSW to discover that my own local clubs were just getting started with their busy spring concert season, and once again I found myself spoilt for choice of good local gigs to attend. It’s been nearly 2 weeks ago now that I caught Irish band Little Green Cars at downtown Tucson’s Club Congress, but the show is still fresh in my mind. With all the SXSW business going on at TGTF, I hadn’t had a chance to get properly acquainted with Little Green Cars or with opening act, singer/songwriter John Mark Nelson, and in the end I was pleasantly surprised by both.

JMN internal

Folk-rock artist Nelson hails from Minneapolis, and I discovered after the fact that he had also showcased at SXSW in March, though I wasn’t lucky enough to catch him while I was there. Despite his relative youth (he’s only 24 years old), he released his fourth studio album ‘I’m Not Afraid’ on Gndwire Records last autumn. He played several songs from the new album at this show, notably including ‘After All I’ve Done’ and ‘Broken’. Just ahead of his SXSW appearance, Nelson unveiled the video for ‘Control’, which features on ‘I’m Not Afraid’ and which made a strong impression in live performance here.

[youtube]https://youtu.be/ZI1d-kLjaB4[/youtube]

Nelson at one point shared with us that his keyboardist and backing vocalist Kara Laudon is a songwriter in her own right, and he graciously allowed her a moment to shine during his set, though I found it odd in the context that she chose to do a cover rather than one of her own songs. A little post-gig research tells me that Nelson sang backing vocals on Laudon’s 2015 album ‘I Wasn’t Made’, and that guitarist Steve Bosmans and bassist Benjamin Kelly also played on both ‘I Wasn’t Made’ and ‘I’m Not Afraid’. The tight-knit nature of the group was evident in their relaxed confidence and spontaneous energy onstage at Club Congress on the night.

I had a fair idea of what to expect from headline act Little Green Cars after this review of their recent single ‘The Song They Play Every Night’ and a quick listen to their sophomore album ‘Ephemera’, which was released back in March. My first impression of ‘Ephemera’ was that its name seemed like a fair title for the record. It was pleasant enough, but nothing on the studio recording particularly struck me. In live performance, however, the songs took on a completely different tone, with the band’s strong vocal foundation lending a vibrant energy that was somehow missing in the album’s production.

LGC internal

Having toured America with blues rock superstar Hozier last autumn, Little Green Cars have gained a reputation that apparently preceded them here, as Club Congress was filled to capacity by the time they took the stage. They opened with slow-building ‘Ephemera’ track ‘The Party’, and co-frontman Stevie Appleby’s whispered lyrics “it doesn’t matter / she’ll believe him / once you’ve seen it / I don’t think you’ve got a choice”, underlaid by a sinister guitar riff, captivated the audience, including myself, in very short order. Appleby then switched spots with the band’s frontwoman Faye O’Rourke for a song showcasing her lead vocals, ‘Good Women Do’. The pair continued to switch at intervals throughout the set, but their transitions were seamless, with the rest of the band providing equally seamless vocal harmonies in almost every song.

poem internal

The Dublin quintet’s set was, to no one’s surprise, heavy on songs from their new album, but what did come as a bit of a novelty was Appleby’s reading of a poem, also titled ‘Ephemera’. His reading might have been more effective if not for an overly enthusiastic male fan in the front row, who took the quiet moment as an opportunity to shout out his undying affection for the band. This would unfortunately continue through the remainder of the set, as Appleby made the mistake of acknowledging the fan’s adoration with a reply. But the band soldiered through and seemed to genuinely enjoy the rapt attention they earned from the rest of their audience.

Of their older tracks, Little Green Cars naturally played fan favourites ‘Harper Lee’ and ‘The John Wayne’, the latter of which Appleby prefaced with a story about meeting a fan actually named—“I shit you not”—John Wayne. The energy level reached a high point with that upbeat tune, ahead of O’Rourke’s spellbinding vocals in the dramatic ‘My Love Took Me Down to the River to Silence Me’ and slow-burning set closer ‘Easier Day’.

As I’ve noted before, the backstage area at Club Congress is all but non-existent, and Little Green Cars didn’t even fully get out of view before coming back onstage for their encore. They chose one more track from each album (‘I Don’t Even Know Who’ from ‘Ephemera’ and ‘The Consequences of Not Sleeping’ from ‘Absolute Zero’) before descending into the crowd for a flawless group acoustic performance of gospel-tinged new album closer ‘The Factory’. Its spiritual chorus lines “Jesus, Mary, Mother of God / I’m alive again” was most effective for its beautiful vocal harmonies, which fairly resonated through the small venue and echoed in my ears long after the show finished. Seeing great bands in such intimate settings is always a treat, and though I’d had my fill in March at SXSW, this show at Club Congress was a nice reminder that I can have the same pleasure closer to home.

Little Green Cars and John Mark Nelson will be on tour in North America through the beginning of May. Little Green Cars will play both festival and headline dates in the UK and Ireland this summer; you can find details on their official Facebook.

 

(SXSW 2016 flavoured!) Video of the Moment #1996: Little Green Cars

 
By on Sunday, 24th January 2016 at 6:00 pm
 

A few days ago, our Carrie wrote this pretty nifty review of Little Green Cars‘ latest single ‘The Song They Play Every Night’. The single now has its own promo video.

In it, a full moon like the one that’s out tonight looks down upon lead singer Stevie Appleby in his bedroom, and then later on the entire indie quintet from Dublin for an oddly dark, eerie visual feeling. ‘Ephemera’, the band’s second LP and follow-up to 2013’s ‘Absolute Zero’, will be released on the 9th of March on Glassnote Records It’s purported to be “a transitional album” by Appleby, and this single seems to suggest maturing-type growing pains. Watch the video below. The band is scheduled to showcase the week after the new album’s release in Austin for a second time at SXSW 2016. Past coverage of Little Green Cars on TGTF is this way.

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

 

(SXSW 2016 flavoured!) Single Review: Little Green Cars – The Song They Play Every Night

 
By on Thursday, 21st January 2016 at 12:00 pm
 

Nearly 3 years on from the release of their 2013 debut album ‘Absolute Zero’, Dublin indie rock quintet Little Green Cars are starting off 2016 with new single ‘The Song They Play Every Night’. The track will serve as the opener for Little Green Cars’ forthcoming new album ‘Ephemera’, which is due for release on Glassnote Records on the 11th of March, just before the band is slated to appear in Austin at SXSW 2016. The new album was shaped by the life-changing events surrounding the band and its individual members during the touring cycle for ‘Absolute Zero’. Over that 2-year time period, bandmates Stevie Appleby, Faye O’Rourke, Donagh Seaver O’Leary, Adam O’Reagan and Dylan Lynch experienced dramatic changes with the passing of family members and the ends of romances, as well as more subtle shifts in their relationships with family and friends caused by the perpetual motion of a demanding tour schedule.

The one constant in their lives, it would seem, was their songwriting. Writing and developing new songs even as they toured the old ones, Little Green Cars attempted to capture the emotion and spirit of the moments they inhabited, despite knowing that the moments themselves were fleeting. In the press release for the new single, co-songwriter/lead vocalist Appleby says, “It’s a transitional album. Lyrically, it’s all about change – the end of some eras, new beginnings, learning from the past and looking to the future. Ephemera means things that are important to you, but only for a short time.”

In that vein, ’The Song They Play Every Night’ is about the moment of recognition that a love affair has run its course. Through-composed in three distinct verses, the song begins with a melancholic guitar intro that is ever-so-faintly reminiscent of classical Spanish flamenco style in its minor key tone and lightly dancing rhythm. The lyrics in the first verse emphasise a sentiment of vague and growing dread, trailing off with the line “don’t make me say it out loud anymore…”

That idea is extended in the second verse, which finishes the thought with a bleak realisation, “if you don’t love me now, you didn’t love me before”. The instrumental bridge between verses two and three is brief but full of longing, as the tempo and dynamic level increase to a more fervent pitch. The third verse alludes to the panicked feeling of looking for a constant in the chaos, as Appleby plaintively sings of “looking for the landmarks that you keep burning down” over ethereally haunting backing vocals supplied by O’Rourke.

‘The Song They Play Every Night’ is poetically evocative and musically refined, creating a vignette that is both poignant and purposefully elusive. As a teaser for the new album, it serves its purpose well, its echoing melodies and eloquent lyrical hooks hinting at the potential for what promises to be a collection worthy of playing night after night.

8.5/10

‘Ephemera’, Little Green Cars’ second album, will be out in March on Glassnote Records. The band will play a one-off live show at London Hoxton Square Bar and Kitchen on the 9th of February.  Following their trip to Austin for SXSW, they will tour in North America through the spring.  A full listing of Little Green Cars’ live dates can be found on their official Web site.  TGTF’s archive of coverage on Little Green Cars is right back here.

 

Little Green Cars / November 2013 English Tour

 
By on Tuesday, 24th September 2013 at 9:00 am
 

Dublin indie darlings Little Green Cars will be going on a short English tour in November. Tickets are available now.

Tuesday 5th November 2013 – Manchester Ruby Lounge
Wednesday 6th November 2013 – London Scala
Thursday 7th November 2013 – Bristol Thekla

 

Video of the Moment #1262: Little Green Cars

 
By on Friday, 19th July 2013 at 6:00 pm
 

Irish indie band Little Green Cars have a new video for their track ‘My Love Took Me Down to the River to Silence Me’, appearing on their debut album ‘Absolute Zero’ that came out earlier this year. (Read Cheryl’s review of the album and their live show in DC in March.) The title of the song is pretty heavy, so it makes sense that the accompanying visual would be pretty desolate. Watch it below.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dmo9zGw1IX4[/youtube]

 
 
 

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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 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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