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Bands Around Town #1: West London

 
By on Thursday, 12th November 2015 at 11:00 am
 

Editor’s note: we’re trying a new experiment with a premiere of a different kind of Bands to Watch feature, specific to a region. Our Nick lives in West London and was itching to write about the bands he finds inspiring just on his doorstep. Do you feel the same way about the bands in your area? If yes, get in touch with us on Twitter at @tgtf and we can chat about highlighting your local favourites in a future edition!

West London has always had a rich musical scene. Back in the 1960s, it was where Alexis Korner established his rhythm and blues network in Ealing that would see bands like the Rolling Stones and The Who meet up and get their first breaks. Then came Jim Marshall, who decided to build amplifiers for this burgeoning scene, and Led Zeppelin used to rehearse in a school hall in Hanwell.

But that was the past. I hear you ask, what is the scene like now? Here are the six most exciting and intoxicating bands that the West London boroughs have to offer.

Ella and the Blisters

Filled with the Romany spirit, this bunch of gypsy punks turn every venue they play into a celebration of life and music, and they’ve been entertaining audiences up and down the country since 2013. After a blistering set at this year’s Green Belt Festival and Secret Garden Party, there is a rumour of a second album next year. This septet mixes traditional folk, gypsy jazz, rockabilly, country, New Orleans soul and punk ideology to create something that sounds fresh and vibrant, but also feels familiar due to having one foot in the past.

Two Hands

This trio’s brand of heavy rhythmic rock gives you faith in the genre’s future. Instead of trying to pander to the get rich quick band of pop stars and flavour of the month genres, Two Hands have delivered one exceptional EP this year and there is a rumour of another. Their live sets are enthused with songs that put an etch in your sketch. Mixing Queens of the Stone Age, Interpol, Arctic Monkeys, but with the vocal intensity of Texas is the Reason, Glassjaw and Rival Schools, their sound is big riffs, catchy shouty choruses and ultimately a good time.

Jon Mapp

West London isn’t just known for its rock, jazz is in the fabric of the boroughs. The Rolling Stones met and formed at the Ealing Jazz Club. One local musician carrying the jazz spirit is Jon Mapp. While technically he is not 100% jazz, he does use certain techniques and devices that lend themselves to jazz readily. Mapp plays certain patterns of bass notes, which he then records and loops. Then he plays new bass parts over this, along with percussive beats and rhythms. Easy, eh? But the real cleverness is the intricacies and interplay of the old and new bass runs. It’s melodic, hypnotic and strangely beautiful.

Lorca

Originally from Richmond, Lorca now spends his time between his West London hub, Brighton and DJing breath taking sets around the world. His style is refreshing and inventive. This was showcased on the ‘Forgive Me Love’ / ‘Naoko’ single last year. Now he has started to infuse his output with tribal vocals and rhythms, however it still remains true to Lorca’s bass heavy ethos. Due to countless DJ sets around the world, Lorca’s tracks have a dance floor sensibility that matches his creative vision.

Odd Rival

What’s not to like about Odd Rival? They’re young, play loud and fast and write brilliant songs. Live, they’re incendiary and blow away any other band on the line-up due to their frenetic playing and a hunger to make it. Their brand of math-punk sets them aside from their peers, as not only can they play – and how can they play – but they have an uncanny understanding of melody that means their songs don’t get lost in weighty ideas and unnecessary solos. Stand out track ‘Slave’ sounds like Longcut meets Foals, but with the riffs of Swervedriver at their heaviest.

Du Bellows (pictured at top)

The jewel in West London’s musical crown is Du Bellows. Musically. They sound like a mix of Fleetwood Mac and John McLaughlin at their acoustic, folky peaks. There are elements of the blues in there too, but it’s their vibe that conjures up images of musical past more as much as the present. I could add even more lazy journalism to this and say they remind me of a more stripped down Big Brother & the Holding Company with a certain female vocalist. I won’t, but you get the gist. But it’s the clarity and range of singer Jade Williams’ vocals that are the real hook. She can go from husky whispers to maelstroms of volume and passion in seconds. Also it helps that she’s backed by one of the tightest rhythm sections this side of Nashville, and in TJ Shipton Williams, this band have a guitarist who can not only match her note for note, but predict where she’ll go next.

 

MP3 of the Day #891: Stornoway

 
By on Monday, 19th October 2015 at 10:00 am
 

In case you’ve been living under a rock, 2015 has been a massive year for Stornoway. They released their third album ‘Bonxie’ in April, its recording and production with superstar producer Gil Norton funded by a hugely successful PledgeMusic campaign following the end of their album deal with 4AD and the start of a new one with Cooking Vinyl. In mid-September, the band released the acoustic ‘Unplucked’ EP, featuring stripped back versions of songs off ‘Bonxie’ plus a new live favourite, a cover of Yazz’s ‘The Only Way is Up’. The band will be performing songs from this EP, plus I’m sure much more, at a series of live dates at the end of November, which include a gig at London Tooting Tram and Social at a night that is been run by TGTF alum Braden Fletcher. So it’s all very exciting…

And to add to that excitement, the band have decided to give away a demo of ‘Love Song of the Beta Male’, the closing track of ‘Bonxie’. To get your free copy of the demo, go here to sign up for the band’s mailing list. Hope that gets your week off to a good start!

 

(Charity!) MP3(s) of the Day #890: Run the Jewels / Meow the Jewels

 
By on Monday, 28th September 2015 at 10:00 am
 

When we were at SXSW 2015 back in March, I was at Cedar Street Courtyard, staring at a massive hanging sign for Meow the Jewels, emblazoned with a large grey and white cat wearing serious bling. I like cats a whole lot but I thought this sign was a massive, hilarious joke targeted at cat owners. Later on of course, I read that American hip hop duo Run the Jewels actually planned on taking this ball of yarn (heh heh, get it?), running with it to put together the first-ever cat remix album, featuring what else but cats meowing and purring on these new versions of songs from their album ‘Run the Jewels 2’. Remixers collaborating on this project include Zola Jesus and Geoff Barrow of Portishead. For an idea of what this sounds like, have a listen to first taster ‘Meowrly’ below.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PQIgapTd84w[/youtube]

In case you missed why they decided to do this project in the first place, here’s a brief run-down. Run the Jewels members El-P and Killer Mike decided they wanted to raise money for the families of victims of American police brutality, determining that a concept album as absurd as a collection of remixes featuring cat noises would reflect the absurdity of the senseless killings of Eric Garner, Michael Brown and others. After a successful Kickstarter campaign proved the public was keen on backing the project, no matter how ridiculous the means, the concept became a reality, and last Friday, the ‘Meow the Jewels’ album became available on the Run the Jewels Web site.

We’re running this post as an MP3(s) of the Day feature because you can download the remix album in digital format for free from their Web site; however, if you so wish to contribute to their cause, limited edition vinyl is available for purchase.

 

MP3(s) of the Day #889: Passport to Stockholm

 
By on Thursday, 24th September 2015 at 10:00 am
 

You may recall that London-based pop / rock / classical group Passport to Stockholm recently released an EP, ‘All at Once’, at the end of August. (You can read my review of that EP effort here.) The group, led by childhood friends and songwriters Chris “Barny” Barnard (vocals) and Tom Piggott (guitar) have joined forces with American free download Web site Noisetrade to give away a sampler of four tracks. You can get them for free, but if you like what you hear, we recommend you giving them a tip for their trouble. The ‘What Have We Done?’ sampler pack includes ‘Imperfections’, title track ‘What Have We Done?’, ‘Carousel’ and ‘Reality’.

Get your ‘What Have We Done?’ sampler of their music from Noisetrade here. For more on Passport to Stockholm on TGTF, head this way.

 

Cast / October and November 2015 UK/Irish Tour

 
By on Friday, 18th September 2015 at 9:00 am
 

Veteran Britpop band Cast have announced a brand new album via PledgeMusic, along with a lengthy run of live shows in the UK and Ireland for later this autumn.  The band released the first track from the new album, titled ‘Baby Blue Eyes’, earlier this year.  You can listen to that track, which is also being offered as a free download, just below the tour date listing.

Following their October and November live dates, Cast will celebrate the 20th anniversary of their classic album ‘All Change’ with a show at the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, featuring the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, on Saturday the 5th of December.  Tickets for the following shows are available now; please note that several dates have already sold out.

Previous coverage of Cast on TGTF can be found right back this way.

Thursday 1st October 2015 – Brighton Komedia
Friday 2nd October 2015 – Southend Chinnerys (sold out)
Saturday 3rd October 2015 – Hastings St. Mary’s In The Castle
Sunday 4th October 2015 – Plymouth Hub
Thursday 8th October 2015 – Wrexham Central Station
Friday 9th October 2015 – Belfast Limelight
Saturday 10th October 2015 – Dublin Button Factory
Thursday 15th October 2015 – Falkirk Warehouse
Friday 16th October 2015 – Ayr Town Hall
Saturday 17th October 2015 – Inverness Iron Works
Sunday 18th October 2015 – Montrose Town Hall
Monday 19th October 2015 – Dunfermline P.J. Molloy’s
Thursday 22nd October 2015 – Alloa Town Hall (sold out)
Friday 23rd October 2015 – Paisley Town Hall
Saturday 24th October 2015 – Aberdeen Garage
Sunday 25th October 2015 – Stockton KU
Friday 6th November 2015 – Preston 53 Degrees
Saturday 7th November 2015 – Holmfirth Picturedome
Sunday 8th November 2015 – York Duchess
Thursday 12th November 2015 – Stoke Sugarmill (sold out)
Saturday 14th November 2015 – Wolverhampton Slade Rooms
Sunday 15th November 2015 – Bath Komedia
Thursday 19th November 2015 – Lincoln Shed
Friday 20th November 2015 – Wakefield Unity Works
Saturday 21st November 2015 – Cleethorpes Beachcomber

 

MP3 of the Day #888: Meltybrains

 
By on Friday, 28th August 2015 at 10:00 am
 

I thought it might be nice to send you off on your bank holiday weekend with a free mp3. Today’s comes courtesy of those lovable Irish rogues Meltybrains?, who wowed me at the Music from Ireland showcase Wednesday at SXSW 2015. Carrie also caught them at the full Irish breakfast on Friday and sat down with them for an interview.

The band from Dublin are currently giving away on their Bandcamp the track ‘The Vine’. It’s dedicated to their music lecturer Paddy Devine, “who taught us harmony and counterpoint back when we were in college. Paddy was the nicest lecturer we ever had, he was big into his rudiments and was very strict, but he was the most down to earth person you could ever meet. We were his very last class before he retired and he often took us out to drink wine with him.” Sounds like a nice man, and the eclecticism and innocent whimsy of the track is a lovely thank you to such a hero who helped mould them into the musicians they are today. Listen to and grab the track for your own (or at your own price, should you wish to give Meltybrains? a tip for it) below.

Want more Meltybrains? Of course you do. Right this way, ladies and gents.

 
 
 

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.

All MP3s are posted with the permission of the artists or their representatives and are for sampling only. Like the music? Buy it.

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