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Live Gig Video: Stealing Sheep perform album title track ‘Not Real’ at Vessel studio in Liverpool

 
By on Monday, 30th March 2015 at 4:00 pm
 

Liverpool’s Stealing Sheep have revealed a new live video, filmed in their hometown’s Vessel studio. It’s of them performing ‘Not Real’, the title track to their next album out the 13th of April on Heavenly Recordings. We Liverpool Sound City 2015 at the end of May. Watch the performance below.

Past coverage of Stealing Sheep on TGTF is this way.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e-HmtWyAH0Y[/youtube]

 

(Liverpool Sound City 2015 flavoured!) Video of the Moment #1747: Stealing Sheep

 
By on Thursday, 19th February 2015 at 6:00 pm
 

The BBC may be having their 2nd annual 6 Music Festival in Newcastle this coming weekend, but the North was already raring to go for an exciting year in 2015. The lovely ladies of Stealing Sheep were announced previously to appear at Liverpool Sound City this May in their hometown, and now they’ve got exciting release news for us.

‘Not Real’, their second album, will be released on the 13th of April on Heavenly Recordings, and ahead of that, they’ve revealed the promo for the title track, which will also serve as the LP’s lead single. They’ve reinvented themselves, stepping back from their previously folk-inspired sound for something far more mechanised, yet also poppy. The mesmerising electronic beats (a far cry from ‘Genevieve’ from their first album ‘Into the Diamond Sun’) are a good match to the colourful, fun, and at times surreal visuals, reminding us how important visual art have been to the band. Watch the video below.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Q0UCBNYsms[/youtube]

 

Album Review / Interview: Stealing Sheep – In the Diamond Sun

 
By on Wednesday, 5th September 2012 at 12:00 pm
 

‘Into The Diamond Sun’ is the debut album from the three ladies from Liverpool who call themselves Stealing Sheep. Notable single ‘Shut Eye’, with its backdrop of blooping electronics, thumped toms and delicate, and sibilant vocal refrain which blooms into a multi-layered cacophany of voices, perfectly sums up the Sheep’s sound.

Essentially a collection of pastoral obscurantist folk, there’s a decent slug of weirdness here, as if their hometown’s penchant for psychedelia has imbued itself into the very fabric of the music. Elsewhere, ‘White Lies’ dissects Mitty-esque character flaws with jaunty precision, ‘Genevieve’ has a rollicking character led by a Fender riff, and ‘Gold’ further explores the potential for swirling cymbals, drone tones and the sound of a druid’s subconscious. A few words from the girls…

Hi, guys. For those of our readers who haven’t heard you, give us a description of your sound, your band, your vibe.
Hello! If you haven’t heard us before, I’m going to describe our sound as psychedelic doom pop with lots of harmonies all over it. If you have heard us before, would you agree? I like to think our vibes are a little but dark and a little bit weird but our intentions are good. Our band is made up of us three- Becky, Emily and Lucy and we’re based in Liverpool. The fourth member of the band is our vehicle Colonel Smyth who gets us to all the gigs.

What inspires you? How does your home town of Liverpool influence your music?
The things that inspire us are music, nature, stories, orchestras, each other, sunshine. The best bit about Liverpool is the people that are in it and the events that happen. The music scene is super at the moment. It seems like all our friends have their own bands, studios, performances, plays, nights etc so there is always something going on and something to be involved in. I find that the biggest inspiration and influence.

Latest single ‘Shut Eye’ brings the tiniest hint of lo-fi electronica to your usual sound. Is this influence something you’re exploring?

Yeah there’s lots more of that lo-fi sound in the new album. You can also expect storytelling, psychedelia, jingle jangles, tribal drumming, swooning guitars and whirling harmonies. I think so anyway…

Thanks for that. ‘Into The Diamond Sun’ is the sound of an Indian summer as imagined by Captain Fred, dozing at the controls of his submarine, nymphs prodding and tweaking the controls… and ‘Sharks’ documents his fears of the worst of the underwater beasts. Convenient, eh?

‘Into The Diamond Sun’ is out now on Heavenly Records.
Many thanks to the girls for answering our questions.

 

Standon Calling 2012 Review (Part 2)

 
By on Friday, 17th August 2012 at 2:00 pm
 

Saturday at Standon Calling 2012, and a frozen smoothie gives potentially life-saving succour whilst ensconced in the Little Den, Standon’s kids’ area. A lie-in means baby massage and reggae nursery rhymes were missed; still, the tent is blessed with loads of playthings for little ones and is refuge from the midday rainshower that’s becoming a Standon tradition. But there’s plenty of toys for grown-ups too. Double Negative dark room have set up an example of the rare and elusive dark-tent, and are offering free portrait prints.

As one who has gone no further in analogue photography than home-developing the odd 35 mm film, the opportunity to see every step of the process that would eventually give rise to an A4-sized contact print is too good to pass up. The camera is as tall as a man, and exposes directly onto paper using powerful flash. That paper is developed, and the resulting negative is in turn exposed onto another piece of paper, giving rise to a positive image. One is allowed to agitate the developing trays oneself, and the image which emerges before one’s very eyes is quite magical – no two are the same, and mine came complete with wash marks and my own fingerprint on the border. Super.

Musically, the heart of the festival is the Folk Tent. Showcasing the finest in Anglian rockabilly, acoustic, and the occasional Anglophile American (yes, that’s you I’m talking about, Willy Mason), the vibe was eclectic yet accessible. Worth the entrance fee alone, this stage’s proximity to the pub, the fine lawn outside, and the swimming pool just around the corner meant it displayed the purest Standon vibe all weekend. Highlights include Delerium Tremens, Beans On Toast, Keltrix, Vardo and the Boss, and The Barker Band.

Better even than the music on offer, was the opportunity to chill out on a finely-cut lawn, fake statues scattered about, watching infants both young and old enjoy a couple of days of freedom from statute. Worth its weight in gold. Stealing Sheep, BigKids, King Charles and Field Music were all good value on the main stage, yet nothing could be more exciting than the almost half-hour effort of Mohamed Farah in winning the 10-kilometre run by the fabled country mile. To cries of “Go, Mo!”, and various choruses of “God Save the Queen” and “Rule, Britania”, the sweeping consciousness was one of the triumph of many years’ accumulation of aspiration, perspiration, and inspiration.

There was plenty of parallel perspiration at Revere’s performance at the Cow Shed stage. Singer Stephen Ellis is wrapped up warm in a tightly-buttoned black tunic, and virtually overheats as the set progresses, attacking his lyrics like they were mortal enemies; the string duo of cello and violin add a touch of glamour and depth to the epic tunes – and was that a Mumford up on stage just then? Ellis challenges the audience to respond, clambering onto the barrier and exhorting for all he is worth, and he is rewarded with rapture. The show ends with a note of genuine violence as Ellis smashes his guitar onto the pianist’s keyboard, which goes crashing to the ground – there’s a flash of enmity, then suddenly the stage is empty. If there were medals for intensity, Revere deserve to win gold.

Sunday dawned with the traditional downpour, yet it cleared bright just in time for Lips Choir. A west London group of singing women with no audition policy, this was the perfect Sabbath performance – as spiritual as any denominational service occurring simultaneously up and down the country, with the worship of pop music, rather than God, at its heart. Later there was a dog show, the second run of Standon’s own Olympics, and the highlight of my own weekend, and what put the whole event into perspective: an interview with Hon. Alexander Thomas Trenchard. Should any of our readers be unaware, Standon Calling is held within Standon Lordship, the family seat of 3rd Viscount Hugh Trenchard. Alex is his son and was jailed for 10 months on 3rd February 2011 for defrauding his employer, Tesco, out of £355,000. His parents repaid the money.

Alex expanded upon the story: the 2008 Standon Calling lost money, and he had no other way of paying the most pressing bill – that of security – than by using his company credit card. Several bills proceeded in the same manner, until a full 2 years and countless sleepless nights later, Tesco deigned to check their statements. This was the point Alex was asked to clear his desk, charged with fraud, and sentenced to 30 months at Her Majesty’s pleasure at Milton Keynes jail. After a brief and loving relationship with cellmate Paddy (it cumulated in a clinch summarised by Alex as “a combination of a Judo bout and a Scissor Sisters gig”), Standon Calling 2012 sees the return of the man who conceived the event as a barbeque for friends back in 2001, paying the ultimate price for his ambition. Your intrepid correspondent asked why it took Tesco 2 years to realise what was going on (“They trusted me, and I abused that trust”) – and whether the global grocer offered a plea-bargain event sponsorship deal so he could avoid jail (“I don’t think that would have worked”).

Such sentiment explains everything: the free use of the pool, the superb efforts of those in fancy dress, the willingness of so many to give so much of themselves just to prove that Standon is not simply the pipe dream of one privileged boy, that it can wash its face financially, and come back just as strongly after the ultimate setback. As Alex says, Standon has found its niche, and long may that niche prosper.

The Skints bring their UK street reggae along for a welcome chilled out mid-afternoon skank… Sunday night crescendos with the appearance of Fat Freddy’s Drop. The presence of musicians that have travelled from the opposite side of the globe is testament to the power of music to bring every disparate strand of society together – and the crowd make their appreciation heard.

FFD are essentially a funky vehicle for their brass trio to show off their chops, and that brass trio is essentially a vehicle for Hopepa the infamous bone man – the tracksuited, paunchy trombonist whose impossibly fluid frame skips across the stage, grinding and parping such that the cold reaches of the cosmos can feel his “rambunctious carry-on”. His is the culmination of a decade of hope, and when we pack up and head north in the cold reality of morning, Hopepa is the man who carries our dreams with him.

There is nothing like Standon Calling. It has its quirks, it has its foibles, it has a dedicated following of fans, and it has a deeply passionate team at its heart. I came for one headliner, but I will return in tribute to the place, the people, and the music. Standon on the shoulders of giants, indeed.

 

Video of the Moment #901: Stealing Sheep

 
By on Thursday, 26th July 2012 at 6:00 pm
 

Stealing Sheep‘s glittery new video for ‘Genevieve’ is the second single off their new album, ‘Into the Diamond Sun’, out digitally on the 13th of August. A physical release and a limited edition glitter vinyl follows on the 20th, and if purchased at an independent retailer, the album will also comes with a bonus ‘The Melting Mountain Mix’ CD featuring tracks the band were listening to when recording.

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

 

Liverpool Sound City 2012: Day 1 Gig Roundup

 
By on Friday, 8th June 2012 at 2:00 pm
 

Of the nights TGTF was not hosting a stage, Thursday night at Sound City was the most stellar. After the Taiwan reception at the Hilton, I consumed a high calorie pub dinner full of fried food (yes, I was hungry) and getting chatted up by an LFC supporter drinking wine at the bar. (Search me. What is it with Northerners, why am I always chatted up in the North?). A PR friend and I went searching for the Academy of Arts; my goal was to get to the Mystery Jets set on time. Liverpool is not a big city. Not really sure how we got lost; I’m going with “everything looks different at night” as my story.

We honestly were directed to the wrong entrance to the venue; during the early evening hours, the Screenadelica film showcase area was also playing host to bands, so we entered the building on the Screenadelica side. Suddenly my friend jerks my shoulder – while I was trying to put on my earplugs, so god only knows where the case went – and I can hear ‘Half in Love with Elizabeth’ from behind a really heavy and really dark curtain. In all my time of blogging, I’ve never gone to a gig through the backstage, either on purpose or by accident. Check that off my list, because now I can say I’ve arrived to a gig in that exact way.

To my knowledge, Mystery Jets have never played a headlining gig in Washington. So after getting shut out of Brighton Corn Exchange the previous week at the Great Escape in Brighton, no way was I missing this. I got my camera out just in time for the beginning of ‘Greatest Hits’, which in my opinion should be the next single off ‘Radlands’ (album review here) because it sounds like classic Mystery Jets. (We’ll see about that…) After I fired off quite a few shots, I decided to hang back and just absorb. Part of me couldn’t believe I was within an arm’s length of both Blaine Harrison and William Rees (drummer Kapil Trivedi was in the stage right back corner, which made photographing him difficult). And there they were.

I think I finally realised the gravity of the situation when they played ‘Serotonin’: despite my insistence to my mother, there is nothing like the feeling of being in the middle of a gig, the instrumentation vibrating across your ribs, the words coming out of the speakers and laying right in your ears. Sorry to anyone who was annoyed but ‘Serotonin’ will probably stand as one of the pivotal albums of my career and life in music, so naturally in terms of singing along, I went for it. A little disappointingly, the band didn’t seem as animated as I had expected, though musicianship-wise, they were peerless.

Surprisingly, I was never called back (or barked at, as is the case at SXSW) by security to leave, so I just stayed in the photo pit, enjoying my first-ever Mystery Jets spectacle. I know I’ll never get a completely brilliant experience like that ever again. Other new songs like title track ‘Radlands’, ‘Sister Everett’ and ‘Lost in Austin’, while they didn’t fall flat, just couldn’t stand up to the great Mystery Jets legacy that has built up over the years. I completely appreciate and respect their desire to break out of their mold and do something different, but I think ‘Radlands’ is just too left field for most long-time fans. ‘Two Doors Down’ (video below) had a huge fan response, as did ‘Serotonin’ showstopper ‘Show Me the Light’ and set closer ‘Behind the Bunhouse’ (videos to come on TGTF soon).

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cnu5hvSVelQ[/youtube]

A handy thing about most venues for Sound City generally: the venues are pretty close together. I literally walked across a small square to get to the Red Bull Studios at the Garage, which looked like an actual garage. I caught the last third of Stealing Sheep’s set; Martin had covered them in Newcastle opening for Field Music back in February. Maybe it was the sound levels but I had come expecting a ‘folky’ sound but instead got loud and brash rock, with the brashness best physically exemplified by the drummer’s very bright and heavily sequined shirt. The harmonies were a bit lost in the mix in the songs I heard, and maybe this was the place was so big, each member was so far away from the next on the massive stage. But there’s nothing like watching a band having the time of their lives. Below is some video from the Von Pip Musical Express from their performance.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zz0-0snEoLo[/youtube]

Truth be told, on this stage I was most excited to was to be up next. When I first joined up as USA Editor of TGTF, we were right in the middle of a campaign with the now defunct Radar Maker for a French label I’d never heard of. In the ensuing weeks and months, I became very familiar with the then little-known bands they were hawking around the UK circuit, bands who would soon figure significantly in my blogging career: La Roux, Two Door Cinema Club, Delphic and some touring mates of Delphic’s, electronic duo Chew Lips.

It seems almost like ‘going home’ to be talking about Kitsune because out of all the labels and people we’ve had the pleasure to work with on TGTF over the years, I am proudest of our early promotion of their bands not just because I cut my blogging teeth on Kitsune, I’m sure at the beginning, it was tough going for Gildas Loaec and his crew to break out of the Parisian scene and get his bands played elsewhere. That man has quite the ear for talent and thanks to him we’ve got many acts that I imagine will continue to thrive in the years to come.

Chew Lips’ ‘Unicorn’ in 2010 was an acclaimed album, so now we’re looking to single ‘Do You Chew?’ (video below) to be a harbinger of things to come with their next album due out later this year. I’m so used to seeing press photos of lead singer Tigs with blonde hair, I was in for a bit of a shock when she arrived onstage…brunette. She commands the stage with ease, using her deep voice; what started as a paltry and rather embarrassing showing of punters quickly grew as their set wore on, no doubt mesmerised by what was going onstage. As some friends had suggested to me previously, yes, there is something very sexual about her performance.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z0da7oqQcvc[/youtube]

But hey, I’m there for the music – or maybe the riffs of James Watkins instead! – but I now understand what people have said. ‘Salt Air’, a song I immediately latched on to when we were given the green light to give the Plastician remix of it, sounded amazing, as did songs like ‘Slick’ and ‘Gold Key’. Several new songs like ‘Hurricane’, ‘Rain’, and ‘Speed’, as part of the Tigs-described “99 percent a love album”, sound brilliant live. I can’t wait to hear the whole thing when it’s finally released. Maybe this time I’ll get a chance to see Chew Lips on my side of the pond instead of waiting another 3 years for another chance!

It should come as no surprise that I would hang around for Django Django. After the Blind Tiger human oven incident at the Great Escape, I welcomed being able to see the band and being able to breathe at the same time. (Thanks Liverpool.) I was so disappointed they weren’t wearing the Planet Cheeto outfits! But unlike the unfortunate placement at the tiny Blind Tiger club in Brighton, the Garage was a huge place for them to play to, and punters eagerly filled in to hear what I predict will be the most talked about band come the end of this year’s festival season.

While the massive stage proved to be a problem for Stealing Sheep, the four chaps of Django Django bridged this distance with no problem, with singer Vincent Neff assuming a position at the back at one point to play an enormous tambourine. This is a band that doesn’t do anything on a small scale, so if you’ve had the chance to see them in a small club, (I’m not including Blind Tiger!), consider yourself lucky.

And thus concludes the Thursday night of Sound City. If you’re wondering why I ended so early (around 1 in the morning), it’s because John and I had a big day ahead of us on Friday, when we played host to a Sound City stage of our own. Stay tuned…

 
 
 

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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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