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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:


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


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.


Video of the Moment #250: the xx

By on Friday, 21st May 2010 at 6:00 pm

Continuing on with their thematically dark videos, the xx have a new one for their song ‘Islands’. Directed by Saam, it’s described on YouTube as ‘the xx in video purgatory’. Somehow, I get the feeling the band doesn’t really like filming things like this. The first time I saw this, I thought, okay, the video equivalent of motion sickness. But if you watch this closely a couple times, you might catch on to the subtle changes and symbolism going on behind Romy, Jamie and Oliver.

This promo has been around on the internet for a couple weeks now, but I’m posting it now in celebration as I just saw the video on MTV America this week. Finally!



Live Review: Hot Chip with the xx at 9:30 Club, Washington DC – 24 April 2010

By on Monday, 26th April 2010 at 2:00 pm

Washington D.C. natives were “Ready for the Floor” (insert chuckle here) for Hot Chip‘s third ever appearance at the 9:30 Club Saturday night. The sold-out gig also featured support from the xx, who have steadily built a solid reputation here in America over the last 8 months through a near relentless touring schedule. Thankfully, both London acts were already in our country before the Icelandic volcano eruption, grounding the Coachella dreams of many acts including Bad Lieutenant, the Cribs, and Delphic.

Hordes of underage kids were raring to go for the xx’s set. Why? This was the third time the band was due to play in town, and the largest yet, and I had a feeling these were the kids that had missed out on the previous smaller headlining gigs at DC9 (November 2009) and Sixth and I Synagogue (March 2010). Little was said between songs (likely due to the band’s exhaustion from being in our country touring for 6 weeks) but based on the wild reaction of the audience, it didn’t matter. They were there for the music, and the tunes were spot on as the band forged through a set of most of the songs off their debut album ‘xx’. Their performance ended on an exciting note when the band finished ‘Infinity’ with an energetic instrumental outro featuring bassist Oliver Sim beating on a drum kit high-hat vigourously.

Despite two previous stops in D.C. in support of earlier albums, I’d never seen Hot Chip before. I like a good dance number and was eager to see if the clunkers on ‘One Life Stand’ would stand up to live performance (read my review here). While I’m still not wild about some tracks off the new album, the overall exhilaration generated by these relative elders of the electropop / dance scene was amazing. Perennial favourites ‘Over and Over’ and ‘Ready for the Floor’ didn’t disappoint, and the reception to ‘One Life Stand’ and other numbers from the new album like ‘We Have Love’ and set opener ‘Hand Me Down My Love” indicate that the band have new crowd pleasers to add to future shows. So if you ever get a chance to jump on this soul train, climb aboard to dance and enjoy the ride.

America’s National Public Radio (or NPR for short) were at the show broadcasting the gig live. Thanks to their benevolence, you can listen to the streams of both bands’ sets on their Web site now.

After the cut: setlists and more photos.

Continue reading Live Review: Hot Chip with the xx at 9:30 Club, Washington DC – 24 April 2010


Preview: Glastonbury 2010

By on Friday, 23rd April 2010 at 12:00 pm

Surely I don’t need to explain to you what Glastonbury is – it’s simply LEGENDARY. Even as an American (though, admittedly, an Anglophile), every year I drool over the lineup, despair at not being able to attend and then scour the internet for pictures and videos when it’s over. Each summer, the enormous site at Worthy Farm (about a mile and a half in diameter) turns into a mini-city for the  largest greenfield festival in the world. Since the first Glasto was held 40 years ago in 1970, the festival has come to be known for its truly amazing lineup, and this year is no different.

One of the perks of being the biggest festival around is that you can get the biggest artists around. This year, the Pyramid Stage will be graced by some of the most recognizable names in music. On Friday night, Irish rockers U2 are headlining, with support from Dizzee Rascal, Vampire Weekend, Snoop Dogg, Willie Nelson, and Corinne Bailey Rae. Saturday night sees headliner MUSE share the stage with the likes of Scissor Sisters, Shakira and Jackson Browne. And on the final night, legend Stevie Wonder tops the bill, closing out the festival after performances from Paloma Faith, Norah Jones, Jack Johnson and guitar legend Slash.

But it’s not only the main stage that’s worth visiting. Punters will get quite a workout running between that and the other 12 stages, of which the Other Stage, the John Peel Stage and the Park Stage look the most promising. Over the course of the weekend, the Other Stage lineup reads like the index page of NME: The Flaming Lips, Florence and the Machine, La Roux, Hot Chip, Phoenix, the Courteeners, the Cribs, Kate Nash, Editors, Two Door Cinema Club, LCD Soundsystem, MGMT, We Are Scientists, Temper Trap, the Hold Steady and more.

Originally called the “New Bands Tent,” the John Peel Stage features a mix of old and new favourites. Friday night sees Groove Armada share the stage with the likes of Mumford & Sons, Ellie Goulding and Bombay Bicycle Club. Saturday night is jam-packed with bands we’ve featured here on TGTF, like the xx, Foals, Marina and the Diamonds, Delphic, Wild Beasts and Field Music. And Sunday night remains epic with sets by Ash, Julian Casablancas and the Drums.

All the way across the site, the Park Stage will play host to buzz bands like the xx, Broken Bells, the Big Pink, Midlake, Laura Marling, Stornoway, Beach House, Frankie & the Heartstrings and Dirty Projectors, ending with a headlining set by Australian electronic duo Empire of the Sun on Sunday night. And at the risk of making your heads explode by listing even more bands, at the other stages festival-goers will be treated to performances by Mos Def, Phenomenal Handclap Band, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Turin Brakes, Imelda May, DJ Fatboy Slim, Crystal Castles, Good Shoes, Fanfarlo and Dan le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip.

If you’re not already overwhelmed by the sheer massiveness of the festival, then you can click here to view the complete lineup. But if you don’t already have tickets for the sold out spectacular, then be warned, it will turn you green with envy.

Glastonbury 2010 is completely SOLD OUT. It will be held from Wednesday, 23rd June to Sunday, 27th June 2010 at Worthy Farm, Pilton.


Review: Radio 1’s Festive Festival

By on Tuesday, 22nd December 2009 at 2:00 pm

It’s Christmas time and that of course means the annual Christmas party. This year as well as the work do we were invited to Radio 1’s Festive Festival at the legendary BBC Maida Vale studios, featuring some of 2009’s hottest stars and some of 2010’s rising luminaries – Marina and the Diamonds, Enter Shikari, Plan B, Simian Mobile Disco (pictured right), The xx, Mumford and Sons and Jamie T were all in attendance as Nick Grimshaw played out an extended version of his radio show.

Opening things up was Marina and the Diamonds, looking rather dapper complete with Christmassy shoulders (not strawberry’s as Grimshaw mistakenly thought). Opening with previous single ‘Mowgli’s Road’ she took a while to get the crowd warmed up, but come second song, the new single ‘Hollywood’, she was in full Florence Welch style arm flowing swing. All too soon she finished with ‘I am Not A Robot’, fragile vocals coming over perfectly. Of course I’ve been hyping Marina here for a while – now that I’ve finally got to catch her, she lives up to everything I thought.

I’ve never been an Enter Shikari fan, preferring to leave their 14 year old teen boy shout alongs to those that actually like them. However, in all honesty they were far better than expected – at times fragile vocals, at time proper stadium mosh pit sized anthems, Lostprophets mixed with Get Cape Wear Cape Fly’s social conscience – far better than I expected, truth be told.

Of course, with the whole show being broadcast live it was incredibly well prepared and things ran surprisingly smoothly – even Plan B‘s pizzas turned up on time. It’s clear that the old days of “turning up and playing a record” are long gone – Grimshaw clearly puts a lot of love into each of his shows, and has a great team behind him.

The standout band for many people was Mumford and Sons (pictured left) – following on from being introduced by Greg James (in a very fetching Christmas sweater, giving a humorous intro on how much he loved the band, he’d left his family just for the session!), they provided the only proper dose of Christmas with their current single, ‘Winter Winds’, before also treating us to amazing versions of ‘Roll Away Your Stone’ and ‘The Cave’. To be honest, I finally see what everyone’s been raving about – energetic, humorous and some great modern day folk.

Cramming ourselves into the (tiny) vocal booth of Studio 4, we caught The xx treat us to ‘Islands’, ‘VCR’ and ‘Basic space’. Their album has been the top of everyone’s “best of 2009” lists, however, live they fall pretty flat, providing carbon copies of their album tracks. Maybe one to save for that Sunday night in and not a band to catch live.

Racing back to the main studio, Jamie T surprised us with a guest appearance, playing three tracks from his new album acoustically, which really showed off his song writing abilities – some great stories in his songs I need to go back and listen to again.

Finally, a bit of a surprise highlight for me – Simian Mobile Disco. I knew that live they were amazing, however didn’t expect that much from them from a 20 minute set, without their usual monster lighting setup. For one, I never realised just how hard it was for them to recreate their tracks live – disconnecting and reconnecting cables, switching switches, mixing faders – it was exhausting just watching them create their magic. The crowd loved them – as Grimshaw mentioned, if the weather continued snowing we might just have to have a lock in rave. Now that really would have been cool.

With that, I made a move out into the suddenly snow-swept capital to make my way home – It’s taken me a while to feel Christmassy, but a music festival is all that it took.

All pictures were taken by Nyree Riding. You can listen to the show again on the iPlayer until 11:02pm next Monday, 28th December 2009.

After the jump: more pictures.

Continue reading Review: Radio 1’s Festive Festival


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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