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TGTF ‘Playlist’: Valentine’s Day 2018

 
By on Friday, 16th February 2018 at 11:00 am
 

Header photo modified from the original by jessicahtam on Flickr

Across social media platforms this past Wednesday, musicians gifted Valentines to their listeners in the form of–what else?–new music. To continue these artists’ generous spirit of love and giving, we at TGTF would like to share a small sampling of the LOVE-ly new songs we’ve heard over the past week. We’d normally do this in the format of a Spotify playlist, but as some of the songs aren’t available on Spotify just yet, we’ve decided to share them more in the form of a mixtape, including videos and streams from YouTube and Soundcloud.

Among the highlights of our list is a brand new track from American singer/songwriter Ryan Adams. Its bright, jangly guitars and lyrical Beatles reference (“all you need is love”) are are markedly more optimistic than Adams’ usual lovelorn fare. For those listeners on American side of the pond, Adams has accompanied his new track with another Valentine surprise: he will play a one-off show at the famed Colorado concert venue Red Rocks on 14th June 2018 with support from Swedish sister duo First Aid Kit.

Canadian troubadour Dan Mangan takes aim at our sentimental side with a simple but evocative new piano ballad called ‘Fool for Waiting’. Mangan’s singing voice is light and clear yet full of feeling, as he delivers lofty emotional declarations like “Some say I’m a fool for waiting/ they don’t know this fool doesn’t mind.’

Australian folk pop singer Vance Joy is set to release his second LP, the romantically titled ‘Nation of Two’ on the 23rd of February via Atlantic/WEA. The album’s most recent single ‘Call If You Need Me’ is an honest and straightforward plucked guitar ballad that plays right to the strengths that made Joy famous around the release of ‘Riptide’.

James Bay, once referred to here as wearing “Hitchin’s most famous hat”, has recently reinvented himself with a new look as well as a novel electro-pop sound for his recent single ‘Wild Love’. Luckily for those of us who quite liked his debut LP ‘Chaos and the Calm’, Bay hasn’t entirely abandoned his old ways. His soulful singing is somewhat muted here, but his wailing guitar is still very much in evidence near the end of the track.

Speaking of electro music, Irish husband-and-wife duo New Portals have released a starkly atmospheric new track titled ‘Inch’, just in time for some deep post-Valentine’s Day introspection. They describe the track not as a love song, per se, but as being “about the difficult decision to be made in a relationship when it seems like the spark has gone.”

Indie rock singer Eleanor Friedberger has announced a new LP with the release of an upbeat synth pop track called ‘In Between Stars’. In keeping with the Valentine hangover effect, Friedberger’s album is titled ‘Rebound’, and is due out in May via Frenchkiss Records (bien sûr!).

Baltimore-based electro duo Beach House dropped their new track ‘Lemon Glow’ without fuss or fanfare as Valentine’s Day drew to a close in American time zones. Shared with he simple Twitter message “Wishing everyone out there love tonight”, ‘Lemon Glow’ immediately attracted the Internet’s attention with the undulating optical effects in its video as well as the reverberant oscillations in its soundscape.

Last but not least, American rock singer Butch Walker shared a cheeky cover version of 10cc’s‘s romantic 1970s’ track ‘I’m Not In Love’, recorded with French songwriting duo The Dove and the Wolf. The French pair’s version is an upgrade of sorts, with silky female vocals and Walker’s surprisingly delicate whisper sliding easily into the song’s smooth soft rock arrangement.

 

Video of the Moment #2761: New Portals

 
By on Thursday, 21st December 2017 at 6:00 pm
 

Northern Irish husband and wife team New Portals have a new video out for their single ‘Sober’. It’s taken from their most recent EP, the four-track ‘Golden Hour’, this time presented in an acoustic format. The song itself and its message both seem quite appropriate for this time of year. We all have seen how things can get out of hand when people have too much to drink, words are said that would have never been said without Dutch courage and more people get behind the wheel under the influence during ‘festive’ times. Ruth Aicken sings, “I like to party when we’re sober / don’t need no buzz when you come over, because you are the reason / I like to party when we’re sober”. ‘Sober’ is a good reminder to stay safe this holiday season and how we must look out for one another. For more of our past coverage of New Portals right here on TGTF, follow us this way.

 

SXSW 2017: Thursday afternoon at the Full Irish Breakfast and the Radio Day Stage – 16th March 2017

 
By on Thursday, 30th March 2017 at 4:00 pm
 

It’s become a yearly tradition for TGTF to cover the Full Irish Breakfast, a daytime showcase put on by Music from Ireland at B.D. Riley’s Irish pub on 6th Street. Carrie generally does the honours while I usually take five, tucking into my complimentary breakfast, avoiding the pub’s Lipton tea and bemoaning the absent black pudding and mushrooms. This year for SXSW 2017, however, I stood in for Carrie at the start of the showcase, as she was down at the convention center, listening to Zane Lowe.

This was all fine by me, as the first band on were Belfast’s New Portals specialising in synthpop, therefore squarely in my wheelhouse. We had featured the act’s single ‘Winter Skin’ before Christmas last year and prior to our Derry correspondent Adam’s preview of the Northern Irish acts coming out to SXSW 2017. I should probably read our previews one more time before we go out to Austin because I evidently forgot that Mike and Ruth Aicken are married. They’re way too young and cool to be married! Ruth was wearing a baseball cap and her voice is sultry and poppish, leading me to compare her to Lorde and BANKS, both who young girls seek to emulate.

New Portals, full Irish breakfast, B.D. Riley's, Thursday 16 March 2017

I would think B.D. Riley’s is an unusual place for Irish artists to perform because on most days, it’s sunny in Austin and the windows out to 6th Street are thrown wide open. With New Portals’ music, it’s a bit odd to be hearing electronic music in a sunny environment and not in a club. However, Ruth let herself be totally drawn into the moment, singing with her eyes closed, grooving to the music as if she was in her own little world. But we were welcomed into that world, the buzz of the synths and the catchiness of the beats pulling us into the music despite it being eye-blinkingly 11 in the morning. As I looked around the room, I saw quite a few Guinness and gin and tonics being drunk, so it wasn’t too far from what it’s like being in a club…

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FTIWWPB6mOw[/youtube]

The great thing about a man and his guitar: he takes next to no time to set up. For a completely different change of pace, fellow Northern Irish artist Ciaran Lavery was next up on the bill. We’ve been fans of Lavery for quite a while, and we covered him when he came out to Austin last year. The popular ‘Shame’, with Lavery’s plaintive vocals and simple yet effective guitar chord progressions, proved so disarming, I was nearly in tears.


Ciaran Lavery, full Irish breakfast, B.D. Riley's, Thursday 16 March 2017

Lavery clearly impressed the crowd, as several people asked me for his name and I recommended his live album ‘Live at the Mac’ that Adam reviewed for us at the end of 2016. I find his droll hand at stage patter hilarious, though I do wonder if it goes over better in front of Irish fans, several of whom had come all the way over from Belfast that I met at the breakfast. In any event, a job well done.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DHd4x9K2-X0[/youtube]

After sitting in on the enlightening and moving talk by Russell “DMC” McDaniels back at the convention center, I was able to catch most of Middle Kids’ performance on the Radio Day Stage early Thursday afternoon as part of the KCSN afternoon showcase there. I included the female-fronted Aussie band in my best bets of acts from Oz showcasing this year in Austin.

Middle Kids, Radio Day Stage, Thursday 16 March 2017

By the time they arrived at SXSW 2017, they had under their belt an appearance on American alt late night tv programme Conan, so they’d already had their American close-up with thousands of armchair viewers. The brashness of their hit ‘Edge of Town’ hit the spot with Radio Day onlookers. For an indie band on one of their first-ever trips to America, you really can’t do much better than having such a great reception on the biggest stage in the convention center.

Middle Kids, Radio Day Stage, Thursday 16 March 2017, 2

 

TGTF Guide to SXSW 2017: Northern Irish artists showcasing at this year’s SXSW

 
By on Wednesday, 8th March 2017 at 11:00 am
 

The Emerald Isle may be a relatively small island, but there is no denying it is bursting with talent from top to bottom. Yesterday, we introduced you to the seven acts from below that pesky dotted line in the Republic of Ireland proper who will appear at SXSW 2017. Today, our focus is on the seven artists from Eire who carry British passports. The summaries below were written by the newest member of our team and our Northern Irish correspondent based in (London)Derry, Adam McCourt, except where noted. Please note: all information we bring you about SXSW 2017 is to the best of our knowledge when it posts and artists and bands scheduled to appear may be subject to change. To learn when your favourite artist is playing in Austin, we recommend you first consult the official SXSW schedule, then stop by the artist’s Facebook and official Web site for details of any non-official SXSW appearances.

Ciaran Lavery – singer/songwriter / Aghagallon
Ciaran Lavery is an Irish singer/songwriter from the small town of Aghagallon in County Antrim. Lavery soared to success after his singles ‘Left for America’ and ‘Shame’ racked up over 29 million plays on Spotify. With the release of his latest live album ‘Live at the Mac’ back in December (read my review here), Lavery has built quite an eclectic discography including 2 studio albums ‘Not Nearly Dark’ (2013) and ‘Let Bad In’ (2016), preceded by the album ‘Sea Legs’ in collaboration with fellow Northern Irish showcaser Ryan Vail (2016) and his debut EP, ‘Koesher’ (2014). FFO: Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie, Villagers

Read TGTF’s past coverage on Ciaran Lavery through here.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UhZRAkWxUF8[/youtube]

Jealous of the Birds – folk/rock / Portadown
Jealous of the Birds is the musical moniker of Naomi Hamilton. Hailing from the wet and windy coastal town of Portadown, Jealous of the Birds channels her surroundings with sweet and chirpy songs. Sticking to the lo-fi indie sound, Hamilton’s debut EP ‘Capricorn’ released in March 2015 gathered much attention from BBC Radio 1’s Huw Stephens and one of Ireland’s longest and most accredited radio stations Across The Line. Her debut album ‘Parma Violets’ was released in May 2016 and just recently, she collaborated with fellow SXSW attendee Ryan Vail on a track entitled ‘Love is a Crow’. FFO: PORTS, Foy Vance, Girls Names

Read TGTF’s past coverage on Jealous of the Birds through here.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8rED0XiO93c[/youtube]

New Portals – electronic/pop / Belfast
New Portals (pictured at top) are an electronic/pop duo from Belfast. Husband and wife Michael and Ruth Aicken began as the key members of an alt-folk group called The Jepettos before turning their attention to synth-laden pop tracks, while still keeping the angelic tonal quality of Ruth’s vocals. Since re-establishing as New Portals, the couple have made their mark by releasing a bombardment of seven singles (with five music videos) over their short career of a year. You can check out our holiday feature late last year for their seasonally appropriate single ‘Winter Skin’ through here. FFO: Imagine Dragons, Banks, EMBRZ

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ghog_fnSKI[/youtube]

Protex – punk / Belfast
Punk rockers Protex have been in existence as a band longer than many of their fellow Northern Irish acts have been alive. Still, their staying power in the industry is testament to the continued interest – a need – for guitar music that provides a kick in the arse. FFO: Sex Pistols, New York Dolls (Mary Chang)

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vj2I-Z0B-oQ[/youtube]

Robocobra Quartet – experimental / Belfast
Probably one of the more interesting Irish acts to head to SXSW is Robocobra Quartet. Formed whilst studying Music Technology at Queens University, Belfast, the band take influence from jazz, hardcore punk and classical music. Their debut album ‘Music for All Occasions’ was released in November lof ast year, and it’s packed with spoken word vocals, squealing saxophone and unexpected improvisation. The band is under the direction of drummer and vocalist Chris Ryan and with Tom Tabori (soprano saxophone), Thibault Barilon (tenor sax, alto saxophone, flute) and as of recently, Ryan Burrowes who replaced Nathan Rogers on bass. FFO: Melt Yourself Down, At The Drive-In, Fugazi

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N-SfI3WC0iA[/youtube]

Ryan Vail – electronic / Derry
Ryan Vail is a solo electronic composer from Derry. He has been writing, composing and releasing music since 2012, with his debut album ‘For Every Silence’ being released last April. Vail is no stranger to experimentation and genre crossing. He’s known for bringing a whole new sonic picture to the world of electronic/dance music by incorporating elements of folk and classical music with unique recording and composition methods. See Jealous of the Birds’ profile above to read more about their recent single collaboration. FFO: Chet Faker, Ciaran Lavery (see above), Burial, James Blake

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r_7Xyi9LAq4[/youtube]

Silences – singer/songwriter / alternative / Armagh
Silences began as a musical outlet for singer/songwriter Conchúr White back in 2013. With the addition of White’s cousin Breandán White, and close friends Christopher Harbinson, Michael Keyes and Jonathan Downing, Silences have released 3 critically acclaimed EPs: ‘Nevernames’ (March 2014), ‘Sister Snow’ (October 2014), and ‘Luna’ (April 2016). The Armagh-based five-piece have received considerable support from the likes of Huw Stephens, Annie Mac and Phil Taggart of BBC Radio 1 and Gary Lightbody of Snow Patrol and have appeared at top festivals such as Latitude, The Great Escape and Electric Picnic. FFO: Bon Iver, Jeff Buckley, Death Cab for Cutie, alt-J

Read TGTF’s past coverage on Silences through here.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4mgCDoBn3Pg[/youtube]

 

(Holiday and SXSW 2017 flavoured!) Video of the Moment #2247: New Portals

 
By on Friday, 16th December 2016 at 10:00 am
 

Belfast husband-and-wife alt-pop duo New Portals (aka Mike and Ruth Aicken) announced last week on their Facebook page that they’ve been tapped as showcasing artists for SXSW 2017. Almost immediately, the pair followed their “Facebook official” announcement with a new and seasonally-appropriate single titled ‘Winter Skin’.

Though the drum machines, hard-edged synths and double-tracked vocals of track itself are unequivocally modern, the promo video for ‘Winter Skin’ is facetiously packaged on YouTube as a documentary video from 1979. In reality, the vintage footage of skiers fighting through harsh weather conditions was prepared by the Aickens’ young daughter Freiah-Beth, and was then overlaid with the song’s lyrics displayed in a contemporary stylised typeface.

[youtube]https://youtu.be/S-Lfrw7w0D4[/youtube]

Just after the video was dropped online, New Portals announced a remix of ‘Winter Skin’ by Northern Irish producer Aidan Sheppard, known professionally as FVRY. FVRY’s treatment is crisper and cleaner than the original, with a radiant sparkle in the keyboards. Its added instrumental emphasis on the song’s chorus, “and does this feel alright with you / it hurts a little each time you say it”, provides a much-needed musical hook to the more subdued (dare I say chill?) original arrangement.

Stay tuned to TGTF for more on New Portals as we begin our preview coverage of SXSW 2017. As always, any information we bring you about SXSW 2017 is to the best of our knowledge when it posts, and the artist lineup is subject to change. For news and updates on SXSW 2017, please consult the festival’s official schedule here.

 
 
 

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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