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Video of the Moment #1045: Metric

 
By on Sunday, 18th November 2012 at 6:00 pm
 

Made up of live clips from their current tour, Metric have released a new video for their song ‘Breathing Underwater’. Watch it below.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PZuLsz4yPPM[/youtube]

 

Album Review: Metric – Synthetica

 
By on Tuesday, 10th July 2012 at 12:00 pm
 

Leaping from a smattering of early season festival appearances, through the release of fourth studio album ‘Synthetica’ and on to their current UK tour, things have all of a sudden gotten hectic for Metric. It’s taken 3 years for this Canadian New Wave four-piece to follow on from the critically ambivalent ‘Fantasies’, leaving fans to question whether the turn of the Noughties had sounded their death knell. With ‘Synthetica’, a brooding and fathomless re-appraisal of band and self alike, that question no longer remains.

The opener, ‘Artificial Nocturne’, builds through a sinister synthscape, narrated by the ever present vocalist Emily Haines, into a rising cloud of static-like reverb, tied down by the driving crashes of drums and piano keys alone. The relentless industrial beat of lead single ‘Youth Without Youth’ (previous Video of the Moment here; live version from Montreal below) wouldn’t sound out of place on Nine Inch Nails 2005 release ‘With Teeth’, and the chorus lifts a key to create a blurry eyed energy that is enticingly danceable.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cpe692054fQ[/youtube]

The ominous trill Spanish guitar trill on ‘Speed the Collapse’ opens in to a manic corridor of a prechorus, before being chased out in to the sanctuary of the choral hook. ‘Breathing Underwater’ has that mythical, triumphant sound of Angels and Airwaves or Take That’s comeback album; conjuring images of a band on a rooftop – hands aloft – bathed in an urban sunset. By ‘Dreams So Real’, this release hits an unfortunate mid-album lull, and the criticism of religiously repeated lyrics “aA scream becomes a yawn/I shut up and carry on” is one that was levelled, in part, to their 2009 album ‘Fantasies’. ‘Lost Kitten’ is bizarrely childish, while ‘The Void’ is a gratingly repetitive amalgam of their new wave roots.

Title track ‘Synthetica’ is an artsy, garage rock take on disenfranchisement and disillusion that sounds a little like an up tempo version of The Strokes’ ’12:51’, but with a bombastic finish that fires in to the sunny Californian r &b of ‘Clone’. ‘The Wanderlust’, with its cavernous call and response vocals (for some reason it’s Lou Reed responding), simple melody and tumultuous crescendo professes a level of vulnerability, really should be the last track of this album; the layered vocal and trance-like Arabic synth give closing track ‘Nothing But Time’ a sense of brevity that should really have been used to plug the gap earlier on.

What’s glaringly obvious from even the most fleeting of appraisals of ‘Synthetica’ is that it acts as an infinitely versatile scaffold from which to persuade fans of all eras back for a fresh take. There is a return to the originality of debut album ‘Old World Underground, Where Are You Now?’ – when Metric were almost as well known for being Yeah Yeah Yeah’s roomies – without in the commercial airs of ‘Fantasies’. It lands somewhere alongside the interstellar indie of the Big Pink, and goes far towards accomplishing Haines mission statement of representing “the original in a long line of reproductions”.

7/10

Metric’s fourth studio album ‘Synthetica’ is out now on the band’s own Metric Music International label.

 

Video of the Moment #852: Metric

 
By on Friday, 22nd June 2012 at 6:00 pm
 

Metric‘s new album is out next week, and here is the promo for the first single, ‘Youth Without Youth’. The lyrics and the whiny synth have a definite ’80s feel to it.

The Canadian band’s fifth album ‘Synthetica’ drops on Monday (25 June).

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

 

Metric / July 2012 English Tour

 
By on Thursday, 19th April 2012 at 9:00 am
 

Metric have announced three regular gig dates in England in July in between various festival appearances on the Continent. Pre-sale tickets are now on sale through this link on the band’s Web site. Their new album ‘Synthetica’ will be released on the 18th of June.

Monday 2nd July 2012 – London Shepherds Bush Empire
Saturday 7th July 2012 – Manchester Ritz
Sunday 8th July 2012 – Oxford Academy

 

Album Review: Metric – Fantasies (Deluxe Edition)

 
By on Wednesday, 16th June 2010 at 12:00 pm
 

Originally released early last year, Canadian indie rock band Metric‘s fourth studio album ‘Fantasies’ has now been re-released as a deluxe edition, with a bonus disc that features two bonus studio tracks, 3 acoustic tracks, three remixes and two acoustic covers. As I trust that TGTF readers are on the cutting edge of music, most of you have probably heard the incredible album that recently won the Juno Award for Alternative Album of the Year. But if you were living under a rock, then you’ve really missed out: ‘Fantasies’ is album that perfectly balances glam and killer hooks with brooding introspection. It can be gritty and powerful in places and soft and haunting in others, and it is packed with crowd-pleasers like ‘Help I’m Alive’ and their newest single ‘Stadium Love’ (watch the video below).

But I unfortunately can’t say the same for the bonus album: the juxtaposition of Emily Haines’s baby voice with the pounding drums and powerful riffs of ‘Fantasies’ makes for a thrilling dynamic that doesn’t shine through as much in the acoustic versions of ‘Gimme Sympathy,’ ‘Help I’m Alive’ and ‘Sick Muse’. When not tempered with gritty guitars and drums, Haines’s vocals are almost too sweet. The remixes are unimaginative and unnecessary, as the songs that are remixed (again, ‘Gimme Sympathy,’ ‘Help I’m Alive’ and ‘Sick Muse’,) are perfectly dance-able as they are.  It would have been more interesting to hear remixes or alternate versions of the less well-known tracks like ‘Collect Call’ or ‘Front Row,’ rather than packing an album with multiple versions of the same 3 songs. As for the new songs, ‘Waves’ is a good effort, but lacks that extra spark that makes the original album so special. ‘Gates’ is very simple, with just Emily’s vocals over acoustic guitar, and while it is certainly pretty, it almost feels unfinished.

The bright spots in the otherwise underwhelming bonus disc are the two cover tracks. Their cover of Pink Floyd’s ‘Nobody Home’ sees guitarist James Shaw take over vocals, and the results are pretty good. His low, rough voice works well against the simple piano backing, and the arrangement is true to the original, just without the horns and the strings. Without Neil Young’s southern drawl, their cover of ‘Sugar Mountain,’ also sung by Shaw, sounds a bit like Cat Stevens, and in my opinion is the best track on the disc.

As much as I love the original album, the bonus disc is a hodge-podge of tracks that don’t seem to have been given much thought beyond “could a bonus album make us more money?,” and that’s a shame. I can only hope that Metric puts more thought into it when they decide to record their next album. But as for this Deluxe Edition, unless you’re a super-fan, I’d recommend saving your money and just going for the original.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6N4a7RX5x7E[/youtube]

Full Track Listing After The Cut

Continue reading Album Review: Metric – Fantasies (Deluxe Edition)

 

Album Review: Various Artists – The Twilight Saga: Eclipse Soundtrack

 
By on Tuesday, 15th June 2010 at 12:00 pm
 

Against my better judgement and as hard as I tried to resist, I have to admit that I am a Twilight fan. What drew me in to the books was the first movie, and one of the reasons I liked it so much was the fantastic soundtrack. The Twilight series always manages to get some amazing bands on their soundtracks, many of whom write original songs, and they integrate them seamlessly into the films. And while I can’t speak for how well it will fit with the tone of the film (it isn’t released in America until 30th June and in England until 9th July), the soundtrack for ‘Eclipse’ is certainly as good as the last two.

You can’t review a Twilight soundtrack without mentioning Muse. They have contributed a song to each of the three Twilight soundtracks, which is not surprising, as they’re author Stephenie Meyer’s favorite band, but of the three, this is probably my least favorite. In general, I agree with US Editor Mary’s review of it: that it’s good, but it’s a bit cheesy – it’s definitely a grower.

TGTF favorites Metric open the album with their track ‘Eclipse (All Yours),’ and it’s a great way to begin. Vocalist Emily Haines hits gorgeous high notes in the chorus — “Now I’m all yours / I’m not afraid, I’m yours” — channeling the voice of protagonist Bella Swan. Working with film composer Howard Shore, they created a great song, but it’s missing a bit of the intensity and attitude that I’m used to from the Canadian indie-rockers. Another standout track comes from Florence and the Machine, with the track ‘Heavy in Your Arms’. As usual, it’s the stunning vocals that really make this dark, intense song, with Flo going from more reserved singing in the verses to really belting it out in the chorus: “I’m so heavy, heavy, heavy in your arms.” Florence and her machine may be better-known, but soulful Australian popstress Sia gives her a run for her money with her gorgeous, haunting vocals on ‘My Love.’

One band set to gain a lot of popularity from their inclusion on the soundtrack is Fanfarlo, who TGTF interviewed back in December. They contributed the folksy ‘Atlas,’ which you can see a stripped-down acoustic version of below. The song has a much lighter, more carefree feel than the majority of the album and the vocals are flawless. Adding to the slew of great female vocalists is Bat for Lashes‘s Natasha Khan, who collaborated with Beck on the hypnotic and haunting ‘Let’s Get Lost,’ with Khan taking the lead vocals and Beck providing the backing vocals and synth.

Not to be outdone, the male-led bands also contribute a dizzying array of fantastic music. While Muse held the rock mantle on the first soundtrack with ‘Supermassive Black Hole’ and shared it with Band of Horses on the ‘New Moon’ soundtrack, this time the honor goes to blues-rock duo The Black Keys with their song ‘Chop and Change.’ It’s raw and gritty with a great guitar riff, and everything you’d expect from the Akron, Ohio band. Indie darlings Vampire Weekend are perhaps the most appropriately named of all the bands on the soundtrack, and their song, ‘Jonathan Low,’ is unsurprisingly one of the most upbeat. Recorded towards the end of last year, it’s a bit different from what you might expect from Vampire Weekend’s recent material and is richly orchestrated, with a 12-string guitar part played by Rostam Batmanglij.

A somewhat surprising inclusion is British electro duo UNKLE, whose song ‘With You in My Head’ featuring The Black Angels is at once catchy and mysterious, dance-able and ethereal. Providing a bit of Americana is Band of Horses, who admittedly “don’t know crap about [Twilight]” but think “they put really really cool soundtracks together”. An outtake from the band’s most recent album, ‘Infinite Arms,’  ‘Life on Earth’ is slow and relaxing and has absolutely gorgeous vocal harmonies. And rounding out the album in spectacular fashion is Cee Lo Green of Gnarls Barkley with the upbeat and soulful ‘What Part of Forever.’

Even if you can’t stand the Twilight Saga, do me a favour and go buy this album. If you like the bands we cover on TGTF, chances are you’ll love it – hell, half of them are on the soundtrack!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pb2c-eBuKOI[/youtube]

View Full Track Listing After the Cut

Continue reading Album Review: Various Artists – The Twilight Saga: Eclipse Soundtrack

 
 
 

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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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