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Interview: Liam Magill of Syd Arthur (Part 2)

 
By on Thursday, 15th September 2016 at 11:00 am
 

If you missed part 1 of TGTF’s interview with Syd Arthur frontman Liam Magill, you can find it right back here.

Syd Arthur‘s current opening slot for Jake Bugg‘s North American tour doesn’t afford them the luxury of much time on stage at the moment, but Magill says the band are trying to play a mix of songs from their 2012 debut LP ‘On an On’ and 2014’s ‘Sound Mirror’ along with the new ones. “It’s kind of like half and half, because we’ve got three records to dip into, and lots of material we can chop and change and make different sets up as we go. So we’re experimenting and trying the new stuff out, as well as playing older songs. Sometimes it can be short with an opening slot, but we’ve got like 45 minutes, so there are sections that are open where we can freak out and jam out and stuff. It’s fun to do that every night, you know, and keep it a bit free like that”.

[youtube]https://youtu.be/tABbt263JXw[/youtube]

The band sound remarkably clean and tight on the first three singles from ‘Apricity’, especially considering that they’ve recently had a major change in their lineup. Drummer Fred Rother was forced to step away from Syd Arthur before they started recording the new album, due to severe hearing difficulties. Rother is replaced on the album and in the band’s live setup by Josh Magill, sibling to Liam and bass player Joel. “It was a precarious moment, Fred leaving, but Josh sort of saved the day, in a way. The transition was slightly difficult because we’ve been a tight band, you know, us four members, for a long time. That was a big change, and it seeps into the music of this new record and informs the new record, because Josh is obviously on this new album. It’s a different style of rhythm and he’s a different drummer.”

Raven Bush is Syd Arthur’s resident multi-instrumentalist, and Magill says that he and the rest of the band used a broad sonic palette on ‘Apricity’. “There was lots of experimenting on these recordings, trying to get the best sound, and lots of stuff was done and ditched in trying to get to the best thing. Raven’s playing lots of keyboards, he’s playing mandolin, synthesizer, stuff like that.” In this context, Magill specifically mentions an instrumental track called ‘Portal’, which he describes as “quite hypnotic and expansive” before mentioning, a bit wistfully, that the track is “actually sort of like a dedication to Fred.”

For his part, Liam Magill seems happy to have another brother alongside him on tour. “[Josh] has been really good. He’s taking to the whole thing really well. He’s played [with us] before, and he had a band before, but he’s really gotten so involved now, and he’s playing so well. It’s worked out a treat. It can be good to have your brothers around. The joking and the banter is fun, you know, having some family on the road. [And] Raven’s been with us for a long time, we’re a big family. Bands are like that, bands are like a little family unit, you know.”

Touring across North America with Jake Bugg has been a valuable experience for the band as well, despite (or perhaps because of) the difference in style between Bugg and Syd Arthur. “He’s an interesting songwriter, he’s very mainstream”, says Magill. “But it’s about us getting that exposure across America [with] the people that he’s pulling in. It’s a business thing, in a way. But just watching him the last couple of nights, I’ve got a lot out of just seeing what he does. I’m not a massive fan, I wouldn’t go to a show of his, but I’m involved with it all now and it’s interesting. It’s not what you’d expect, necessarily, but it’s working. His fans are enjoying our music when we open up, and we’re enjoying him.”

Following the tour with Jake Bugg, Syd Arthur will return to England in October for a quick tour with Austin, Texas rock band White Denim. Magill describes White Denim as slightly more similar to his own band’s sound: “It’s guitar music, bluesy, rocking guitar music. They are like us, but I suppose we’re a bit more English, and we have a bit more sort of a jazz influence or something compared to them.” I suggest that it might not be possible to find an exact match to Syd Arthur’s unique blend of psychedelic-jazz-rock, and Magill laughs. “No, we’re a bit of an outsider band.”

The middle of October will find Syd Arthur embarking on their own headline tour of England and Ireland, which will extend into early November. The band will celebrate the release of ‘Apricity’ with a special album launch show on the 18th of November in their hometown of Canterbury.

I thank Liam for taking time out of his busy tour schedule to chat with me, and he ends the interview with a neat contextual twist. “It’s fine”, he says, “we just pulled over off the [highway], and I think the lads are having a drink while I’ve been sitting on a bench in the sunshine chatting with you, so it’s all good.” Be it summer sunshine in the States, or winter ‘Apricity’ back in England, both seem to suit Syd Arthur quite well.

Our thanks to Dan for coordinating this interview, and our best wishes to Fred as well.

Syd Arthur’s new album ‘Apricity’ is due out on the 21st of October on Communion (UK) / Harvest Records (North America). TGTF’s previous coverage of Syd Arthur can be found through this link.

 

Interview: Liam Magill of Syd Arthur (Part 1)

 
By on Wednesday, 14th September 2016 at 1:00 pm
 

It’s been a couple of years since we at TGTF last spoke with Canterbury rock band Syd Arthur. They made a lasting impression on me at SXSW 2014, where I saw them play the Harvest Records showcase along with Glass Animals and Arthur Beatrice. At the time of my last chat with the band, Syd Arthur were in the midst of the promotion cycle for their second album ‘Sound Mirror’ and had just finished an American tour with progressive rock band Yes.

Now, a bit more than two years later, Syd Arthur are back in America, touring through the end of September with singer/songwriter Jake Bugg. They’re also anticipating the release of a new album, their third, titled ‘Apricity’, due out on the 21st of October. Syd Arthur played shows along the U.S. West Coast at the end of last week, and I had the rare opportunity to do a phone interview with the UK band while they were in the same time zone as myself. I caught the members of Syd Arthur at a stop along the road “somewhere between Seattle and Portland” last Friday afternoon, and though they were between gigs, lead singer and guitarist Liam Magill graciously agreed to have a chat with me while his bandmates took a break for refreshments.

Magill revealed straightaway that Syd Arthur had a brand new single released that very day, a groove-oriented track called ‘No Peace’. ‘No Peace’ is the third single from ‘Apricity’, following ‘Sun Rays’ and the album’s title track. I wondered about the sleek, vaguely pop-leaning sound of the three new songs from a band who have often been described as “psychedelic” and “progressive”, but Magill says it’s not really a new approach. “It’s always been a part of something we’ve tried to do”, he says. “We’ve always tried to streamline and condense lots [of sounds] into a small thing. I guess this is just more of that sort of thing going on. But when you hear the whole album, there are expansive tunes on there. And when we’re playing live, we can open them up and do more expansive stuff with them in the live setting as well.”

The full album ‘Apricity’ might be expansive, musically speaking, but its title is quite specific. In case you haven’t yet consulted your dictionary on the matter, the word ‘apricity’ refers to the warmth of the sun in wintertime. “It’s a curious word,” Magill muses. “It’s like the feeling that you sometimes get, feeling the warmth of the sun in the winter. We were feeling [that] here and there, writing the record and tracking the record. We didn’t know the word at the time, we just knew that feeling.” He says they happened upon the name when band member Raven Bush’s girlfriend gave voice to the feeling. “Raven’s girlfriend is quite a wordy person, and she told us the word, and we liked the concept and the word itself, so we decided to use that.”

[youtube]https://youtu.be/CSs8MrEq3PY[/youtube]

Eponymous album track ‘Apricity’ has been waiting even longer for a title, and Magill’s explanation turns into a discussion of Syd Arthur’s fluid songwriting approach. “That’s an old song, but it was reworked several times up until it becoming the ‘Apricity’ song on our record. A lot of the time, the music’s been written first and the lyrics will be added in. Or there’ll be some music that won’t have any words associated with it for a while, you know, and then all of a sudden the words fall into place. Sometimes I’ll have a title, and just that one word or two words will springboard a whole tune. Often there’s words that just appear as the music’s being written, and they cling, and then you add stuff to that and it all becomes clear. It all just comes together over time, really.”

Early album single ‘Sun Rays’ fits quite neatly into the ‘Apricity’ theme, but it also played nicely into the more summery vibe of TGTF’s July Spotify playlist. “It is a catchy tune, yeah”, Magill agrees. “It’s fun to play, and it connects well live. It’s quite powerful, and it feels quite modern and sort of supersonic, in a way. We’re enjoying playing that one, it’s fun.”

Stay tuned to TGTF for part 2 of this interview, which will post tomorrow. In the meantime, check back through our prior coverage of Syd Arthur right back here.

 

Preview: Home Gathering 2016

 
By on Wednesday, 31st August 2016 at 10:00 am
 

After the success of its first year, Home Gathering is set to return with one of Tyneside’s most celebrated bands, The Unthanks. As last year, the band will oversee and curate the festival across two of Newcastle’s most historic sites on Friday the 16th and Saturday the 17th of September. The Unthanks have long held ambitions of running their own festival one day, and after the triumph of their first Gathering last year, the festival has continued to grow and is set to be even bigger in 2016.

The Mercury Prize-nominated Tyneside band were thrilled to have some Newcastle’s finest acts such as Hyde & Beast and Richard Dawson on their first bill. Describing Home Gathering as a festival of everything they like, Adrian McNally of The Unthanks says this event is “Not just music, our favourite local beers and food artisans, stalls with local artists and makers. We’ll have a hand in every detail to ensure that despite our own largely miserable music, it will be a party from start to finish!” The magnificent Richard Hawley will headline the Friday night, supported by The Young’uns, winners of Best Band at the BBC Folk awards for the last 2 years running. Richard Hawley’s eighth studio album released last year, ‘Hollow Meadows’, has received national acclaim.

Saturday will see London three-piece Kitty, Daisy & Lewis take to the stage. The sibling-led band, renowned for their love of everything vintage, are signed to Radio 1 presenter Rob da Banks’ label Sunday Best, have opened for massive acts such as Coldplay and Jools Holland. Finally taking centre stage themselves, The Unthanks will headline the Saturday night with their award-winning brand of English folk firmly celebrating their North East roots. In the decade between Rachel Unthank and the acclaimed debut Winterset’s ‘Cruel Sister’ and The Unthanks’ eighth record and BBC Folk Award-winning ‘Mount the Air’, the band have achieved a lot. After touring Africa with Damon Albarn and being nominated for the Mercury Music Prize, sisters Rachel and Becky Unthank have always done things their own way. Bringing their own unique blend of award- winning jazz and folk to the stage will ensure a show the audience will not forget.

Improving on from last year, the atmospheric post-industrial Boiler Shop, which will be used as the main venue, has been expanded vastly. Adding a lot of indoor toilets, a bigger bar and relocating the artisan food sellers outside, in a bid to reduce the background noise suffered by quieter artists last time. Furthermore, for more intimate shows, there will also be performances at the beautiful Mining Institute just around the corner. The festival will also play host to spoken word poet Liz Berry, folk royalty in the form of Marry Waterson and fearless musical maidens The Moulettes. There will also be an exceptional airing of Steve Reich’s Different Trains, which will be performed by the Liverpool String Quartet.

McNally says further of the festival: “The line-up not only reflects our tastes but our influences too. We don’t think music fans will find a more varied bill and we hope, most of all, you’ll like something you weren’t expecting to. Having covered a lot of musical ground ourselves as The Unthanks, we know we are very lucky to have an open-minded and venturesome audience, ready to trust and join us on our journeys. To paraphrase Mark Twain, it’ll be like the weather – if you don’t like it, just wait a few minutes.”

To purchase day or weekend tickets to Home Gathering Festival 2016, go here.

 

Blossoms / September and October 2016 UK Tour

 
By on Thursday, 28th July 2016 at 8:00 am
 

Stockport indie rock band Blossoms have announced the release of their self-titled debut album on the 5th of August, along with a lengthy list of tour dates to follow the release. Leading into the September tour, Blossoms will play a special show at the Stockport Plaza at midnight on the 5th of August for fans who preorder the album via their online store, as well as an official album launch show at Kingston’s New Slang on the 11th of August. They will be supported on this tour by Declan McKenna and fellow North Westerners Cabbage.

Tickets for the following shows will go on sale tomorrow, Friday the 29th of July, at 10 AM. In the meantime, you can find TGTF’s previous coverage of Blossoms right back here.

Friday 23rd September 2016 – Birmingham Institute
Saturday 24th September 2016 – Bristol Bierkeller
Monday 26th September 2016 – Cambridge Junction
Tuesday 27th September 2016 – Norwich Waterfront
Thursday 29th September 2016 – London Forum Kentish Town
Friday 30th September 2016 – Manchester Academy
Saturday 1st October 2016 – Glasgow ABC
Monday 3rd October 2016 – Newcastle Riverside
Tuesday 4th October 2016 – Sheffield Leadmill
Wednesday 5th October 2016 – Leeds Beckett Student Union
Friday 7th October 2016 – Nottingham Rock City

 

WIN / Tickets to see Barenaked Ladies in Bournemouth, Liverpool -OR- Cambridge in September

 
By on Monday, 25th July 2016 at 10:00 am
 

If you were a child of the ’90s and recognise the band in the photo up top as they were back then in those days – or indeed, simply have a penchant for funny, chirpy, tuneful pop – you’re probably a fan of Barenaked Ladies. In May, they released the live album ‘BNL Rocks Red Rocks!’, recorded at the iconic outdoor venue in Colorado. To support this release, they’ve announced a series of live dates in the UK in September.

Thanks to our friends at Gigs and Tours, we have some tickets to this tour to give away. To be exact, we’ve got a pair of tickets each to their announced shows in Bournemouth (4th of September), Liverpool (7th of September) and Cambridge (8th of September). And being the decent sort we are, we want to gift them to three lucky readers of TGTF. What do you have to do to win, you ask? Read on, friends…

You’ll need to fill out the below form completely, all four steps. First, give us your full name. Second, give us your email address. (We won’t spam you, honest. We need a way to contact you if you win.) Third, please provide your full UK postal address so we can post you your tickets if you are one of the lucky winners. Fourth, we need to know which show you want to win tickets for (Bournemouth, Liverpool or Cambridge). Finally, to prove you’re not a robot and you actually like the band, answer this one question: what is the name of their time-themed megahit single from 1998?

That’s it. Of all the correct entries we receive, we’ll choose one winner for each of these three shows at random to receive a pair of tickets apiece to the concerts in September. All good? Be sure you get your entries in by 12 PM British time Wednesday, the 27th of July, when we’ll close the contest. As mentioned above, we’ll contact the winners by email, so make sure you’ve entered your email address correctly. Good luck! If you’d rather not chance it and want to buy tickets to this show, you can buy them direct from Gigs and Tours here. Their entire September 2016 UK tour is listed below. Tickets are on sale now for all shows.

Please note: this contest is open to UK residents only and you must be able to get yourself to the designated city for the show. Please check venue age restrictions; TGTF won’t be held responsible if you’re turned away at the door for being underage and not meeting such requirements. All duplicate entries will be discarded.

Friday 2nd September 2016 – Glasgow ABC
Sunday 4th September 2016 – Bournemouth Academy
Tuesday 6th September 2016 – Cardiff Tramshed
Wednesday 7th September 2016 – Liverpool Academy
Thursday 8th September 2016 – Cambridge Corn Exchange
Friday 9th September 2016 – London Roundhouse

This contest is now closed. Winners will be contacted soon by email.

 

Catholic Action / September and October 2016 UK Tour

 
By on Friday, 22nd July 2016 at 8:00 am
 

Glaswegian alt-pop quartet Catholic Action have announced a list of UK tour dates for this autumn, bookended by two shows in Edinburgh on the 6th of September and the 1st of October. The band’s official Facebook also hints at the imminent release of an unnamed new single ahead of the live dates, via London indie label Luv Luv Luv Records.

Tickets for the following live dates are available now. TGTF’s previous coverage of Catholic Action is back this way.

Tuesday 6th September 2016 – Edinburgh Liquid Rooms
Friday 9th September 2016 – Perth Twa Tams
Thursday 22nd September 2016 – London Old Blue Last
Friday 23rd September 2016 – Leeds Belgrave Music Hall
Saturday 24th September 2016 – Manchester Deaf Institute
Sunday 25th September 2016 – Glasgow King Tut’s
Thursday 29th September 2016 – Inverness Mad Hatters
Friday 30th September 2016 – Dundee Buskers
Saturday 1st October 2016 – Edinburgh Mash House

 
 
 

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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