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(Great Escape and Liverpool Sound City 2012 flavoured!) Bands to Watch #240: The Big Sleep

 
By on Thursday, 26th April 2012 at 12:00 pm
 

Not to be confused with the chain of hotels, the 1946 Howard Hawks film staring Humphrey Bogart, nor any other act of the same name past or present (yeah, there’s plenty of confusion to be had), the Big Sleep are one of New York’s latest exports and they’re of the dark indie rock variety. Their third album launched in America at the end of January and will be out in Europe at the end of the month, but with a huge UK and European tour coming up to promote it, it seems that the Big Sleep are finally going to be making some waves on the venues and festivals of Britain.

It’s atmospheric, it’s powerful, it’s grungy without being grunge.  They’re more Metric than Sonic Youth, more 2:54 than the xx, but they could fit alongside any of the aforementioned, as long as you’re into dark guitar lines. Their sound to date has been a bit on the rough side, but with years under the belt, it seems the act have steadily tuned into exactly the sound they want to create. The promise that came with the last two LPs has a few months to materialize and with ‘Nature Experiments’, it may well do.

The band are hitting up the Great Escape and Liverpool Sound City this year, as well as a host of other UK dates below and there’s no doubt they’ll be bringing a tension-destroying atmosphere with them. In case this still hasn’t sold you, the video for new single ‘Ace’ is also below.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yza-e4rjMpQ[/youtube]

Wednesday 2nd May 2012 – Brighton Hope (Great Escape Festival)
Monday 14th May 2012 – Manchester Castle
Tuesday 15th May 2012 – Glasgow Nice ‘n Sleazys
Wednesday 16th May 2012 – London Camden Barfly
Thursday 17th May 2012 – Liverpool Arts Academy (Liverpool Sound City)

 

(Liverpool Sound City 2012!) Album Review: Clock Opera – Ways to Forget

 
By on Tuesday, 24th April 2012 at 12:00 pm
 

Clock Opera have appeared from relative obscurity, to produce their debut album ‘Ways To Forget,’ a beautifully crafted record. I think – no, I know – that people are going to enjoy it.

From first listen, Clock Opera most definitely occupy that most odious of genres for me, synthy, indie-poppy, squealy, joyous rubbish. Luckily for them and me, they occupy it, and then completely make it their own. They go from piano solos in songs like ‘Belongings’, sounding like they could have been lifted straight from Elbow’s ‘The Seldom Seen Kid’, to jittery soundscapes like in ‘A Piece of String’, where lead singer Guy Connelly does his Guy Garvey impression once again.

First single ‘Belongings’ is a beautifully constructed piece of music: it builds itself to a frenetic conclusion with some truly beautiful piano work then explodes into something brilliant beyond belief. Now, while the record does rely on synths and some electronic composition, it isn’t overwhelmed by such elements. In song ‘Lost Buoys’, the band find a perfect harmony between seamless production and delicate intricacy.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EnDqI_F6pnQ[/youtube]

This band have mashed together a lot of sounds and influences on this record. Some bands who try this, for example Animal Collective, are experts at this. Mashups almost always leaves me scratching my head and with an overwhelming sense of confusion, but Clock Opera on this album have got it just right. I feel a bit like Goldilocks tasting the last bowl of porridge after extended listening.

I’ve found an album which goes for it as far as being experimental and creative, doesn’t have a fist-pumping chorus and is quintessentially cool, and at last, I like it. It reminds me of that day I woke up and went ‘Total Life Forever’ by Foals is actually a fantastic album, what kind of crack have I been smoking? I recommend you give this album your time of day, because if you don‘t, well you are doing your ears a disservice. Plus the lead singer sounds like Guy Garvey. How cool is that?

8/10

‘Ways to Forget’, the debut album from Clock Opera, is out now on Island. The band have been confirmed to appear on the TGTF stage at Liverpool Sound City on Friday the 18th of May. More details about the TGTF stage will be released soon.

 

Update: Liverpool Sound City 2012

 
By on Monday, 23rd April 2012 at 9:00 am
 

Haven’t you heard? TGTF will be coming to Liverpool Sound City this year and we’ll soon be revealing information on who’ll be playing our showcase…but that’s not all of the good news. Since Mary’s original preview posted in February, the full Sound City line-up has been announced, and it’s a doozy.

Manchester’s D/R/U/G/S are new to the line-up, as are obvious football fans and good bunch Flat Back Four. They join a host of larger acts, ranging from Radio1 friendly rapper Professor Green headlining the Thursday (17 May), to favourite to every advertiser around, those Aussie boys the Temper Trap (pictured at top) headlining Friday. Irish singer/songwriter James Vincent McMorrow closes out the festival as Saturday’s headliner.

TGTF favourites I Dream in Colour are another band who have managed to secure a place at this rapidly growing musical showcase. It’s the kind of festival you go to, if you just want to be ahead of the game. You want to be able to say a year down the line, when all your friends are raving about this new local band Pete Bentham and the Dinner Ladies, you can say, “oh by the way, I saw them about a year ago at Liverpool Sound City”.

That’s what you are in for if you buy one of the outstandingly cheap tickets for the festival, which at £45 for a 3-day wristband works out at the simply mad price of 76p per gig. Yeah, I know, don’t feel bad because you feel like you are robbing the organisers, you’re not! And if you only want to check out the talent on one day, day wristbands are only £25. These tickets, along with 14+ ones at £15, delegate badges at £150 and assorted t-shirts are available here.

 

The Temper Trap / May 2012 UK Tour

 
By on Friday, 30th March 2012 at 9:30 am
 

The Temper Trap will be touring the UK in May in support of their hotly anticipated second album (confusingly titled ‘The Temper Trap’), which will include lead single ‘Need Your Love’. They will also be making an appearance on the Friday of Liverpool Sound City. Tickets are on sale now.

For a taste of the Aussie band’s live performance these days, read my review of their Stubb’s BBQ show on 15 March at this year’s SXSW.

Wednesday 9th May 2012 – Falmouth Princess Pavilion
Thursday 10th May 2012 – Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms (sold out)
Saturday 12th May 2012 – Cardiff Coal Exchange
Sunday 13th May 2012 – Newcastle Northumbria University Student’s Union
Monday 14th May 2012 – Glasgow O2 ABC
Wednesday 16th May 2012 – Birmingham HMV Institute
Thursday 17th May 2012 – Manchester HMV Ritz
Friday 18th May 2012 – Liverpool Arts Academy (Liverpool Sound City appearance)
Monday 21st May 2012 – London Koko (sold out)
Tuesday 22nd May 2012 – London Koko (sold out)

 

Preview: Liverpool Sound City 2012

 
By on Thursday, 2nd February 2012 at 9:00 am
 

Starting first as a single showcase at South by Southwest in 2007 featuring Northwest UK acts, Liverpool Sound City has grown by leaps and bounds in stature and convention size and will be taking to the venues of the music-loving city again this 17-19 May.

The festival has announced their first set of bands scheduled to perform at this year’s event. The first headliner to be announced is rapper Professor Green, who is hugely popular on Facebook (for the unbelievers, he’s got more than 1.4 million followers there.) Other bands revealed for the event include White Denim (pictured above), who headlined our Saturday night stage at Brighton Coalition at the Great Escape in 2011; Cloud Nothings, who have just released their second album ‘Attack on Memory’ (Marc’s review here), and psychedelic electronic act Death in Vegas. The new talent that Sound City is famous for breaking will include Yukon Blonde, Charli XCX and Fixers.

Many more bands will be announced in the coming weeks. This year also marks the first time Sound City will host the UK Music Student Awards (taking place at the Echo Arena on the 17th), showing the event’s support for and celebrating, identifying and supporting new talent within music education in the UK.

Wristbands for the 3-day event are currently going at the early bird bargain price of £20. For more information on tickets and the event, please visit the official Liverpool Sound City Web site.

 
 
 

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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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