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Video of the Moment #2385: Sundara Karma

 
By on Wednesday, 21st June 2017 at 6:00 pm
 

It’s usually an excellent sign of already achieved success if a debut album is being re-released as a deluxe edition. Sundara Karma appear to be in that boat with their debut that was released back at the start of this year. The Reading group appeared in America in March for SXSW 2017 and then appeared on the bill of a SiriusXM Advanced Placement tour on our side of the pond, and now it looks like they’ve got something special for their fans all over the world. The deluxe version of ‘Youth is Only Fun in Retrospect’ will include some previously unreleased tracks, including ‘Explore’, which has its own promo video.

Funerals are usually pretty formal affairs but in this video, Sundara Karma are committed to making this an unforgettable sendoff. Watch the promo video below. Catch the band on tour in the UK in September and October; all the tour dates are listed through here. To read through all of TGTF’s coverage of Sundara Karma, including Carrie’s interview with two of their members, go here.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WfZkO2VcNHg[/youtube]

 

Sundara Karma / September and October 2017 UK Tour

 
By on Wednesday, 7th June 2017 at 9:00 am
 

Following their headline turn at Dot to Dot 2017 and ahead of summer festival appearances, SXSW 2017 alumni Sundara Karma have announced a new headline tour for this autumn. The band from Reading released their debut album ‘Youth is Only Fun in Retrospect’ back in January. The album is out now on RCA Records / Chess Club. Tickets to this tour go on sale this Friday, the 9th of June. To read more of TGTF’s past coverage on Sundara Karma, use this link.

Wednesday 27th September 2017 – Cardiff Tramshed
Thursday 28th September 2017 – Bristol Academy
Friday 29th September 2017 – Southampton 1865
Saturday 30th September 2017 – Nottingham Rock City
Sunday 1st October 2017 – Glasgow ABC
Tuesday 3rd October 2017 – Manchester Academy
Wednesday 4th October 2017 – Coventry Empire
Thursday 5th October 2017 – London Brixton Academy
Friday 6th October 2017 – Liverpool Guild of Students
Saturday 7th October 2017 – Sheffield Plug

 

Preview: Dot to Dot Festival 2017

 
By on Tuesday, 16th May 2017 at 11:00 am
 

As the months of the smaller festivals are now upon us, it’s time to look at which are worth going to. We’ve already given you the lowdown on The Great Escape, but there’s another one that is equally as worth your time. Dot to Dot Festival, which started back in 2005 in Nottingham, is now a 3-day touring wonder. There’s the main festival lineup, a plethora of bands playing over the 3 days in the three different cities – Manchester, Nottingham and Bristol – plus local acts making each day’s lineups unique.

Metropolitan festivals are still on the rise as people look to cheaper options for that “festival feeling”. The giants will always be giants, but the smaller festivals tend to be gems that appeal to those who can’t afford £200+ for a weekend away. Also on the rise are touring metropolitan festivals. Taking their lineups around the UK to strategic North, South and Midlands locations to give everyone a chance to catch their show, but the fact Dot to Dot makes sure to specifically highlight local acts, making them a first of their kind.

Heading up this year’s core festival lineup are Sundara Karma (pictured at top at SXSW 2017), who released one of the debuts of the year back in January, ‘Youth is Only Fun in Retrospect’. Powerful, contagious indie rock filled with spirit, the group led by Oscar Pollock are a necessity for not only the new generations but the old. They’re the quintessential festival band you need to see. Another band you can catch on all 3 days of Dot to Dot are Scottish indie duo Honeyblood. Having released their highly-anticipated sophomore album ‘Babes Never Die’ at the tail end of last year, they’ve been on tour since and they’re simply captivating live. So far, so good: Dot to Dot seems to be delivering well on its lineup.

It would simply be rude to not have a deeper look into these local acts. It’s a rare opportunity for a fairly large chunk of the respective music scenes to come together and show off their homegrown talent.

Manchester

There will always be a strong, vibrant music scene in Manchester. Its musical history is quite literally littered with iconic names and faces that are known throughout the world, but who’s stepping up to the plate and coming up the ladder? The name highest up the bill for the local bands is The Slow Readers Club, and it’s easy to see why. Everything about their sound is Mancunian, from the dazzling indie guitars to the marching beat that echoes back to Joy Division. You’ve also got PINS, the punk foursome who are kicking asses and taking names, especially with their latest release, ‘Bad Things EP’ that features none other than punk godfather Iggy Pop. None too shabby, eh?

Bristol

Another one of those spots around the UK where creativity shines. Filled with a surplus of differing genres and talent songwriters, Bristol has a pretty special lineup, and one of those names is Willie J Healy. Crafting indie pop songs that are filled with his quirky mind workings, Willie is one of the brightest new names coming through the ranks. Van Zeller is an even fresher band, but they’re slowly taking over the DIY live circuit down in Bristol. Raucous and riotous: two of the music’s most important aspects.

Nottingham

Perhaps not quite the same musical melting pot as the other two locations, though it certainly has had its moments, Nottingham has a few treats in store in its lineup that are definitely looking to change that mindset. Kagoule have been making a few waves in the British scenes for a little while now, their debut came out back in 2015, but it’s still as fresh as it was then. Though he’s not actually Nottingham based, Tom Lumley is a name that needs to be mentioned, plus he’s on the Notts poster. A songwriter from Cambridgeshire, his tracks are as new as they are old. Flavours from the rock spectrum dot his songs, bringing out a modernity that’s often missing from other artists, so his repertoire doesn’t feel.

So there you have it. A brief glimpse into the wonders that await the landscape of the UK with Dot to Dot festival. Go forth and roam the country with some bright newcomers and find some local talent. Tickets are still available for all 3 days of this festival, which stops in Manchester on Friday the 26th of May, Bristol on Saturday the 27th and Nottingham on Sunday the 28th. Before booking fees, Manchester tickets are £12, while Bristol and Nottingham’s are £20 each, a real bargain. Buy your tickets through here.

Editor Mary Chang contributed to this preview.

 

SXSW 2017: Saturday night’s fond farewell to SXSW at the British Music Embassy – 18th March 2017

 
By on Monday, 24th April 2017 at 2:00 pm
 

In contrast to the rest of the hectic week, the Saturday night of SXSW 2017 was a fairly relaxed one, at least for my weary feet. According to my smartwatch, I had logged over 87,000 steps and almost 45 miles of walking distance over the course of the week, and I was happy to be staying in one place for the evening. Even happier because that place happened to be the British Music Embassy at Latitude 30, which hosted the BBC Music / UK Department of International Trade showcase. Mary’s additional thoughts on this showcase are back here.

Anna Meredith internal

The first performer of Saturday night was Scottish art-pop composer Anna Meredith. She and her rather unusual band (comprising cello, electric guitar, tuba and drums along with Meredith herself on synthesiser, clarinet, xylophone and vocals) made a truly joyful noise on stage, starting the showcase on an incredible high. Meredith has carved herself a unique niche on the classicial-popular music continuum in Britain, and the presence of NPR’s Bob Boilen at Latitude 30 on the night may well indicate that Meredith’s star is on the rise here in America as well. NPR recently featured ‘Dowager’, from Meredith’s 2016 debut LP ‘Varmints’, on All Songs TV.

Alice Jemima internal

Singer/songwriter Alice Jemima created a very different mood in her set, one with significantly fewer bells and whistles. Jemima’s stage presence was reserved, but in a flirty kind of way, and the same could be said of her songs. They catch your attention in a subtle way, with clever lyrics, trippy electro-dance rhythms and Jemima’s softly soothing voice. ‘Cocoa Liquor’, from her recent self-titled debut album, was one of the standout tracks on her set; you can find out more about the song in my post-performance interview with Jemima.

[youtube]https://youtu.be/Xp0Dnsgocf0[/youtube]

Aquilo internal

While I was outside chatting with Ms. Jemima, Lancashire pop duo Aquilo were taking the stage inside Latitude 30. By the time our short interview was complete, the venue had filled to capacity, and we had some difficulty getting back inside. We arrived back to find that Aquilo’s soulful pop sound, defined by Tom Higham’s falsetto vocals and Ben Fletcher’s deft keyboard playing, had quickly set the entire room swooning and swaying.

[youtube]https://youtu.be/Rh__vTd7CoY[/youtube]

SuperGlu

I’m not a big fan of so-called slacker rock, but Manningtree four-piece SuperGlu brought an unexpected and infectious energy to the genre in their live set Saturday evening at the British Music Embassy. Bold, colorful, and never too serious, this band is just flat out fun to watch. Take a listen to their anything-but-sleepy latest track ‘Dreams’ just below.

Sundara Karma Oscar internal

The midnight slot on the Saturday night showcase was occupied by Reading alt-rockers Sundara Karma. Frontman Oscar “Lulu” Pollock gave us a bit more banter between songs on this night than he had at Stubb’s the night before, and the injection of character was quite welcome. He’s a curious persona, is Lulu, elusive in some ways but nevertheless engaging. His three bandmates didn’t do much speaking, but it quickly became clear that they didn’t need to. Their slick, seemingly effortless playing style is almost unintentionally flashy, yet visually and sonically mesmerizing. [Check out Carrie’s interview with Pollock and drummer Haydn Evans in Austin through here. – Ed.]

[youtube]https://youtu.be/zaevPi1nEFA[/youtube]

LIFE internal

BBC 6 Music presenter Steve Lamacq did his final duty for the evening, introducing the last band on the bill, Hull punk rockers LIFE. He was clearly excited to see them play, even rubbing his hands together in delight at one point after he stepped offstage and before he joined in the moshing. Once the band started, it was easy to understand Lamacq’s eagerness. This band is unapologetic, unalloyed punk, with none of the qualifiers (folk punk, post-punk) we so often see in this genre-bending era. Lead vocalist Mez Green really played up that rebel quality for the gathering of cameras at the front of the stage, but it felt authentic to their in-your-face, devil-may-care sound. The photo above was taken just before Green descended from the stage and mounted the bar, prowling its length like a predatory cat and sending his audience into a fit of wild, ecstatic dancing to close out the final night at the British Music Embassy.

Though Mary and I left Latitude 30 on a euphoric high, chatting and laughing about the great bands we’d heard, I couldn’t help but feel a slight twinge of sadness at leaving it all behind for another year. The British Music Embassy has played host to some of the best up-and-coming artists and certainly some the most exciting showcases in my SXSW experience; this year was no exception. So, rather than goodbye, I said a silent “au revoir” to the venue, to the people inside, to the artists who graced the stage, and to SXSW for another year.

 

Live Gig Video: Anteros shares behind the scenes tour video set to single ‘Cherry Drop’

 
By on Thursday, 20th April 2017 at 4:00 pm
 

Anteros have had a pretty rad 2017 so far. The London pop band we featured in Becky’s Live at Leeds 2016 roundup last year have had the amazing opportunity to tour with both Two Door Cinema Club and Sundara Karma already this year. In their latest promo video, they wanted to offer us a peek into the fun they’ve with their tourmates who are now friends. It’s set to single ‘Cherry Drop’, which appears on their ‘Drunk’ EP, out now on Distiller Records. Enjoy the video below, and live vicariously through the freewheeling visuals filmed by Phoebe Fox. To catch up on all of our coverage of Anteros here on TGTF, use this link.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3J0zoJeUW68[/youtube]

 

SXSW 2017: A Friday night mix of British, American and Canadian acts – 17th March 2017

 
By on Wednesday, 19th April 2017 at 2:00 pm
 

It felt somewhat strange that I spent St. Patrick’s Day at SXSW 2017 on mostly non-Irish acts. Friday afternoon at SXSW has typically been reserved for the Full Irish Breakfast, but that had happened on Thursday this year. The only hint of Ireland I heard on this St. Patrick’s day was early on Friday, when I stopped briefly at Latitude 30 for the Output Belfast day show. My Friday evening was instead full to the brim with British and American acts, save one Canadian artist who made a strong impression near the end.

“DSC08894"

I started the evening with an early show at Stubb’s BBQ. Reading quartet Sundara Karma were first on Friday night’s bill, (as we had discussed in my interview with them on Tuesday) and they played before just as the sun was beginning to set over Austin. The crowd at Stubb’s trickled in slowly, with punters lingering over dinner and beer. But once the band started playing, all attention was on the stage.

“DSC08876"

Sundara Karma frontman Oscar Pollock didn’t spend a lot of time on pleasantries, instead allowing the band’s sharp lyrics and edgy guitar melodies to do most of the talking. But make no mistake, this band cultivates an almost psychedelic visual impression onstage as well, with long hair and flashy gestures to match their dynamic alt-rock sound. They certainly weren’t daunted by the large outdoor stage at Stubb’s, and their impact was successfully established. I overheard several punters enthusiastically sharing the name Sundara Karma as I made my way to the exit after their set. Stay tuned for more on Sundara Karma in my recap of Saturday night at SXSW, posting soon.

DSC08892

My next stop was west of Congress, at another venue I’d never visited before, the Tap Room at the Market. The Market is a bustling, trendy Austin night spot, with the smaller Tap Room nestled below. On this night, the Tap Room was hosting the Grammy Museum Homegrown showcase, which featured a curation of artists from the Los Angeles area. I arrived on the scene just in time to hear one of the singers I’d featured in my preview of L.A. artists at SXSW.

BeLL

Alt-pop singer BeLL was already onstage, and I was immediately taken aback by the power in her vocal sound. I was excited to hear her quirky but catchy single ‘Bang Bang (Remember My Name)’, which had caught my attention in writing the aforementioned preview. It debuted back in November and has already been featured in a television trailer on ABC Family here in the States; you can catch a listen below before it blows up on radio waves everywhere.

[youtube]https://youtu.be/ljNVT3b5Y0A[/youtube]

Warbly Jets

Up next was a band who pride themselves on not fitting into the L.A. music scene, alt-rock quartet Warbly Jets. Their sound is certainly more in the supersonic jet-propelled vein than the sunny pop and laid-back folk you might typically expect to hear from Southern California. Onstage, they were both smoothly self-assured and and a tiny bit cocky, convincing their audience that they’re a force to be reckoned with. Their debut single ‘Alive’ was a highlight of the evening.

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

OPS

I was already peripherally aware of next band on the docket, Ocean Park Standoff, because my kids know their current single ‘Good News’. It’s an infectiously upbeat track, perfect for radio play or maybe even for a summer 2017 Spotify playlist. As it turns out, the song is also pretty representative of what Ocean Park Standoff does in live performance. The band were smiling and relaxed throughout their set, and their good vibes were expansive enough for a much larger room. Keep an eye out for this trio to make their mark during their upcoming American tour dates with Third Eye Blind.

[youtube]https://youtu.be/TX9ODx2_Vqk[/youtube]

Following my stop at the Grammy Museum showcase, I had intended to try to catch Ryan Adams at Austin City Limits, even nabbing a SXXPress pass for that show earlier in the day. But while I was at Stubb’s, I got the news that Adams had cancelled his performance due to illness. I was mildly disappointed, but I did have a backup plan to catch another American singer/songwriter, David Ramirez at Maggie Mae’s Rooftop.

"David

People in Austin were out in full force to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, and 6th Street was jam-packed. Adding to the crush and confusion was the fact that many of the music venues had multiple queues outside to deal with the different priority entries: Platinum and Music Badges, Interactive and Film Badges, Music Wristbands, and paying customers. Obviously this was only an issue for the high-demand shows, but it’s something SXSW organisers will need to focus on for next year, as many of the venues simply didn’t have the space or staff available to cope with up to 4 different queues for each show. Maggie Mae’s was one of the most difficult venues to get into, not only because is it located in the heart of 6th Street, but because it has two stages and only one entrance.

David Ramirez band

Austin native Ramirez had a full band in attendance for his show at Maggie Mae’s Rooftop. In my previous experience, this has been a nice addition to his sound. He’s a starkly effective performer alone, but the depth and vibrance of his country-rock sound really come out with the addition of backing vocals, keyboards and drums. Unfortunately for Ramirez, his Friday night set was plagued by technical problems. After a lengthy and apparently unsuccessful soundcheck, Ramirez and his band played a truncated set, leaving out several favourite songs that appeared on his written setlist. He did, however, play a couple of newer songs that got the local crowd’s attention, including the London-referencing track ‘Too Far Away’.

I finished the evening (and started the next morning) at St. David’s Episcopal Church, where the Communion Music showcase was being held. I’d been to the church’s Bethell Hall already on this trip to Austin, but I hadn’t yet visited the Sanctuary, and by midnight on Friday night, it was already becoming full in advance of a performance by Rag’n’Bone Man scheduled for 1 AM.

This was the one occasion during the SXSW week when the availability of SXXPress passes worked to my advantage. Earlier in the week, I had either failed to get passes in time, or I simply hadn’t needed the ones I did get. But I’d managed to get one for St. David’s on this night, and the staff at the church were remarkably adept at handling their queues, probably because the venue has been open to non-credential holders in past years. I intentionally arrived early to the Communion showcase, knowing by their reputation that the earlier performers on the bill would be worth seeing, even if I wasn’t already familiar.

"Charlotte

I wasn’t disappointed in that regard with French-Canadian pop singer Charlotte Cardin. Her silky, delicate vocals and soulful pop song arrangements were easy on the ears without being too saccharine, perhaps thanks to their ever-so-subtle jazz inflections. Her debut EP ‘Big Boy’ was released last July on Cult Nation Records and features songs in both English and French, including standout track ‘Like It Doesn’t Hurt’. She also won over a few fans with this cool, almost aloof-sounding version of Chris Isaak’s ‘Wicked Game’.

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

Very few punters left after Cardin’s performance, and despite the dreaded 1 AM time slot, there was a bit of hustle-and-bustle in St. David’s Sanctuary surrounding the arrival of Rag’n’Bone Man. Mary had reported to me the very long queue outside the British Music Embassy for his performance there earlier in the evening, and the audience here were fairly buzzing with anticipation.

"RBM

In a bit of a surprise, Rag’n’Bone Man (aka Rory Graham) started his setlist with the song most of us already knew, ‘Human’. This was an acoustic version, less immediately bombastic than the one we’ve heard on American radio, but it was singularly and tastefully appropriate for performance on the St. David’s stage. Graham was equally gentle and mild-tempered in his onstage banter, though he did pick up the dynamic in his songs as the set went on. We were treated to current American radio single ‘Skin’ as well as a stunningly beautiful song I hadn’t heard before called ‘Grace’, which you can take a listen to just below.

[youtube]https://youtu.be/SCnsEy0tpbw[/youtube]

The authenticity of Rag’n’Bone Man’s performance, along with the high-quality of his songwriting and musicianship, exemplifies what I’ve come to expect from the Communion showcase over my years at SXSW. Though I wasn’t able to see the whole show on this Friday night, I was glad to at least catch the end of it, discovering a promising new artist and witnessing a rapidly-rising up-and-comer in the process.

 
 
 

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.

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