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Review: Mercury Prize 2010

 
By on Tuesday, 7th September 2010 at 10:25 pm
 

When Lauren Laverne revealed the 2010 Barclaycard Mercury Prize nominees in July, I was truly shocked by the lack of true ‘pop’ and the abundance of folk albums given a nod. Despite that, I was pretty happy to see several of the nominees up for the award in 2010 were we’ve featured here on TGTF. Just in case you haven’t heard, the winner of the Mercury Prize receives a hefty £20,000 prize.

Surprisingly (or not?) the Modfather himself Paul Weller and his 10th solo album ‘Wake Up the Nation’ made a late dash in the betting over the weekend before the awards. Rather unsurprisingly, the xx and their debut album ‘xx’, one of the heavy favourites to win from the get-go, continued to be heavily favoured.

Unlike last year, BBC Music News decided to go with a (possibly) clairvoyant rabbit named Matilda to do some prognostication before the big unveiling. This was no doubt in response to the winning reaction to Paul the psychic octopus living in a German aquarium who was 100% accurate in guessing all the winners for every match in the 2010 World Cup. Hours before the winner was announced, Matilda sniffed around the food bowl placed in front of Biffy Clyro‘s image but finally settled on Mumford and Sons. (Evidently, the BBC rabbit isn’t as good as the predictopus.)

Congratulations to the xx who won this year’s prize!

In case you missed them earlier, read Mary Beth’s earlier post for the 2010 nominees.

 

Mercury Prize 2010: TGTF Writer’s Choice

 
By on Monday, 6th September 2010 at 12:00 pm
 

Tomorrow night we will finally find out which album will be crowned the winner of the 2010 Mercury Prize. I’ve asked each of our writers to choose which album they think should win the gong this year, as well as which album they think was criminally absent from the 2010 shortlist. Hopefully you have watched the scene in the film ‘On the Waterfront’ where Marlon Brando says those iconic lines, “I coulda been a contendah! I coulda been somebody!” If not, watch this and you’ll get my meaning:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l0waNRaz6wU[/youtube]

Like all good music reviewers, we’re an opinionated bunch here at TGTF. Continue beyond the cut for our picks…

Continue reading Mercury Prize 2010: TGTF Writer’s Choice

 

EP Review: iTunes Festival, London 2010: Dharohar Project, Mumford and Sons and Laura Marling

 
By on Tuesday, 17th August 2010 at 12:00 pm
 

In December 2009, folk-favourites, Mumford and Sons and Laura Marling, both ventured out to India in order to meet and play with Rajasthani folk collective, Dharohar Project. This intriguing musical meeting went so very well that in June, Mumford and Marling decided to repay the favour, inviting Dharohar Project back over to England. This mystical journey between East and West ultimately spawned an EP (simply titled ‘Mumford Sons, Laura Marling and Dharohar Project’), which contained five collaborations between the three artists. Along with the EP, the troupe also hit the road, and performed two gigs in Bradford and London in July 2010. To celebrate, iTunes have released a further EP from the trio, which contains special live recordings from the London Roundhouse date. There Goes the Fear were granted special permission to hear the record this week, and to be frank, we couldn’t bloomin’ wait.

The record is as wonderful, exciting and mystical as you hope it would be. Mumford and Sons’ famous live energy – enjoyed so much at this year’s festival season – penetrates intensely through the speakers, as Marcus Mumford’s voice rumbles through the stomping crowd amid ‘The Cave’ and ‘Roll Away Your Stone‘. Laura Marling’s stage presence, meanwhile, is as captivating and strong as ever, as she spins her poetic tracks with a fiery attitude. Her striking voice kicks in all directions as she powers through ‘I Speak Because I Can’ and the incredible ‘Rambling Man’. Dharohar Project also have two solo spots on the EP. The tracks proving a truly spell bounding trip into the deeps of Delhi. The mind-blowing intricacy of the Rajasthani folk is dreamy, with the metallic twangs, hopping percussion and expressive vocals of ‘Mala Ramaniya’ and ‘Sakhiri Maha’ allowing for a wonderfully exotic contrast to the more familiar sounds of nu-folk.

The EP undoubtedly shines the most, however, amid the live collaborations between all three artists. Mumford and Son’s ‘To Darkness’ begins out sombre and heartbreaking, before launching into a energetic mass of Indian sounds swelling out across the Roundhouse. Dharohar Project and Mumford and Sons also join alongside Laura in order to perform ‘Devil’s Spoke’. An enchanting mix of Marling’s racy bluegrass sound with wisps of Indian strings, percussion and vocal makes this final track the true highlight of the EP.

To conclude, the connection between Dharohar Project, Mumford and Sons and Laura Marling is a truly beautiful one – one that flows so very naturally, too. This live EP is particularly outstanding as you are immersed in the passion, excitement and sheer joy aroused by the collaboration between these three artists – made notably evident by the delightful woops and claps from the lucky audience present at the gig. This EP is a true treat for the ears – I can’t recommend this magic enough.

 

Video(s) of the Moment #307: Mumford and Sons

 
By on Thursday, 22nd July 2010 at 6:00 pm
 

These videos are a little unusual because of their background: Mumford and Sons and Laura Marling went on a tour in India a while ago and filmed some footage that they have put together in a couple videos on YouTube. Not sure where parts I and II went, but you can watch parts III and IV below. (I can’t be the only one amused that Marcus Mumford has a cherry red suitcase. There is also a gorgeous [short] version of ‘Sigh No More’ in part III.)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q_aD3QoGieg[/youtube]

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=izosZ3bTO5w[/youtube]

 

Mercury Prize Shortlist 2010

 
By on Thursday, 22nd July 2010 at 10:00 am
 

The shortlist for the Barclaycard Mercury Prize 2010 Albums of the Year were announced Tuesday in a ceremony at the Hospital Club in Covent Garden. Chair of Judges Simon Frith said of the twelve nominees: “This year’s Mercury list includes musicians from all stages of their careers and from contrasting parts of the British Isles. It features music that is urban and rural, light and dark, joyful and profound. The records have wit, an abundance of musical energy and their own distinct voices. There is music here to make you laugh, cry, dance and sing.”

Biffy Clyro start off the nominations with their platinum 5th studio album ‘Only Revolutions,’ featuring the hits ‘Bubbles,’ ‘Mountains’ and ‘that Golden Rule.’ Another 5th album that’s up for the coveted prize is Manchester band I am Kloot‘s “Sky at Night,” produced by Guy Garvey and Craig Potter of Elbow. Though 5 albums may seem like a lot, that’s nothing compared with Paul Weller, who is nominated for his 10th solo album, ‘Wake Up the Nation.’

Dizzee Rascal, who previously won the Mercury Prize in 2003 for his debut album ‘Boy in Da Corner,’ is nominated again this year for his fourth album, ‘Tongue ‘N Cheek,’ which is the first album to be released on his own label, Dirtee Stank Recordings.

Leeds-based singer/songwriter Corinne Bailey Rae is nominated for her 2nd album, ‘The Sea,’ featuring the singles ‘Paris Nights / New York Mornings’ and ‘I’d Do it All Again.’ Other nominated 2nd albums include Foalss ‘Total Life Forever,’ Laura Marling‘s ‘I Speak Because I Can’ and Wild Beasts‘s ‘Two Dancers.’

Rather impressively, four of the 12 bands on the shortlist for this year’s Mercury Prize are nominated for their debut albums. In addition to the relative unknowns Villagers (‘Becoming A Jackal’) and Kit Downes Trio (‘Golden’), are two TGTF favorites: the xx and Mumford & Sons. The xx‘s eponymous debut features the singles ‘Crystalised,’ ‘Basic Space,’ ‘VCR’ and ‘Islands,’ and Mumford & Sons‘s masterpiece ‘Sigh No More’ contains the singles ‘Little Lion Man,’ ‘The Cave’ and ‘Winter Winds.’

The Barclaycard Mercury Prize Awards show will take place on Tuesday, 7 September, when the overall winner of the 2010 prize will be decided and announced.

 

Live Review: Mumford and Sons with the Middle East at the 9:30 Club, Washington, DC – 20 May 2010

 
By on Tuesday, 1st June 2010 at 2:00 pm
 

Even before I started writing reviews, I went to A LOT of gigs, and some people have always had trouble understanding the special draw of live music for me, thinking you can’t get anything live that you can’t get on the album. While some live experiences certainly fall short, when you see a truly great live band, there’s nothing that can beat it. Luckily for me (and USA Editor Mary), last Thursday’s sold out Mumford and Sons show at the legendary 9:30 Club fell into the latter category.

To start out the pretty much perfect evening, while waiting outside the venue we were treated to the incredibly rare kind of D.C. weather where it’s neither freezing nor so hot and humid you feel like you’re drowning in fondue. Once inside, the crowd was in great spirits, talking excitedly about what songs they wanted them to play and whether or not they’d heard of the opener, Australian band The Middle East. After writing up one of their videos for TGTF, I was expecting great things from them, and they didn’t disappoint. Six members strong, they played a seemingly endless number of instruments, from the flute to the accordion to something I’ve come to refer to as ‘The Jinglestick’ Combined in a myriad of ways, they created a sound that was both powerful and subtle, and incredibly enjoyable to listen to. Many of their songs are more intense live than on the album (well worth the purchase), but they really shine in slower, quieter songs like ‘Blood’ and ‘The Darkest Side’ where they make great use of their vocal harmonies.

If you’re looking for amazing harmony, though, you need look no further than West London band Mumford and Sons, consisting of  Marcus Mumford, Country Winston, Ben Lovett and Ted Dwane. Their harmonies were flawless, whether powerful and visceral, like in crowd-pleaser ‘Little Lion Man,’ or quiet and haunting, like in the devastatingly gorgeous ‘Timshel,’ a song which left the crowd in awe. Lined up across the front of the stage with their instruments, they had a powerful stage presence, even though they barely moved from their spots. They alternately had the audience staring in rapt attention or dancing and singing along, and the transition between the two was never jarring. Even their new songs, ‘Nothing,’ ‘Lover of the Light’ and ‘Whispers in the Dark’ went down well, and their sparse attempts at banter were pretty hilarious. At one point they asked whether Washington, D.C. was in the North or the South, eliciting outraged shouts on both sides – it’s right in the the middle of the two, and we’ve never been able to choose one. They then joked about Southerners and guns, saying that where they’re from, they are Southerners, quipping, “please don’t shoot us when we leave!”

Other than during ‘Roll Away Your Stone, ‘(enjoy the official video below) when the Middle East rushed the stage wearing nothing but their pants and started banging on percussion instruments, the highlight of the evening was crowd favorite ‘White Blank Page.’ Lead singer Marcus Mumford sang it with a lot of emotion, and the crowd sang along with every word. By the time they reached the long, drawn-out “heart”s at the end of the song, the audience felt like one big family that was all in it together, singing along with the band. The 9:30 Club was the perfect venue for them –  it manages to hold a large number of people while retaining a cozy feel, and it always attracts a good crowd – and they seemed to realize that. They commented several times throughout the night that they had been looking forward to this show in particular because people kept telling them how amazing the venue was, and that we were living up to their expectations. In fact, by the end of the show Marcus said “I think we’re gonna come back” – I, for one, am looking forward to it!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3eEobPFhpws[/youtube]


After the cut: Mumford and Sons set list and photos.

Continue reading Live Review: Mumford and Sons with the Middle East at the 9:30 Club, Washington, DC – 20 May 2010

 
 
 

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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 was edited by Mary Chang, based in Washington, DC.

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