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(Holiday!) MP3 of the Day #718: Various Cruelties

 
By on Friday, 21st December 2012 at 10:00 am
 

In a bit of brilliant marketing, the Various Cruelties‘ track ‘If It Wasn’t for You’ has been chosen to sell Christmas jewelry here in the States. So while it’s on everyone’s minds, Liam O’Donnell thought it would be nice for you to have this acoustic version for your very own this holiday season. Listen to and download the mp3 below.

 

WIN / Tickets to see Various Cruelties on their April UK tour

 
By on Thursday, 12th April 2012 at 11:00 am
 

As a way of thanking all their fans, Various Cruelties is giving you all a chance to win a pair of tickets to a show of your choice on their April tour starting next Tuesday (17 April) in Portsmouth. Here are the rules, from the band themselves:

To say thanks for an amazing year, we are giving away 2 pairs of tickets for every date on our upcoming tour next week! All you have to do is email vctourcomp@gmail.com with your name and in the subject put the town of choice. The competition closes on Monday 16th @ 12 pm and we will notify you that day by email if you have won. Good luck!

Important: do not leave your email address in the comments of this post, email email vctourcomp@gmail.com as directed above. In case you need a refresher, here are all the tour dates:

Tuesday 17th April 2012 – Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms
Wednesday 18th April 2012- Nottingham Bodega
Thursday 19th April 2012 – London ULU
Friday 20th April 2012 – Leeds Cockpit
Sunday 22nd April 2012 – Newcastle Cluny
Monday 23rd April 2012 – Glasgow ABC 2
Wednesday 25th April 2012 – Manchester Ruby Lounge
Thursday 26th April 2012 – Bristol Thekla

 

Various Cruelties / April 2012 UK Tour

 
By on Friday, 10th February 2012 at 9:00 am
 

Various Cruelties are doing a UK tour as a follow up to their recent single release back in January this year, ‘Great Unknown’ (reviewed here). The tour dates are below. Tickets for the shows are priced at £8 (£10 in London) and are available now.

Tuesday 17th April 2012 – Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms
Wednesday 18th April 2012- Nottingham Bodega
Thursday 19th April 2012 – London ULU
Friday 20th April 2012 – Leeds Cockpit
Sunday 22nd April 2012 – Newcastle Cluny
Monday 23rd April 2012 – Glasgow ABC 2
Wednesday 25th April 2012 – Manchester Ruby Lounge
Thursday 26th April 2012 – Bristol Thekla

 

Single Review: Various Cruelties – The Great Unknown

 
By on Tuesday, 10th January 2012 at 12:00 pm
 

Various Cruelties‘ latest single ‘Great Unknown’ has a fitting title, given the band is currently treading on the cusp of their debut album. The London-based band formed in 2010, and since then have honed their formula, crafting a series of indie pop hits to build up tension before their highly-anticipated release.

‘Great Unknown’ progresses naturally, building upon a catchy riff that carries the tune through an explosive, almost anthemic ending. Lead singer Liam O’Donnell, whose voice almost echos the style of Band of Horses‘ Ben Bridwell, is missing a bit of edge towards the end. But in this case, it is much appreciated, and allows instrumentation to kindly meet the vocals half way. It’s both refreshing and rare when rock bands don’t over-do the frontman ego, and in this case, it’s one of Various Cruelties’ strong points.

All in all, Various Cruelties are a promising young bunch, and have already played shows with the likes of Noah and the Whale, Tribes and Funeral Party. And with their feet hanging over the edge of a pretty major leap, Various Cruelties are throwing down a little cushioning with this single, a listen that is easy without being simple, catchy without kitschy, and big without being overambitious.

8/10

Various Cruelties’ new single ‘The Great Unknown’ is out now.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xh4j8HNTzLE[/youtube]

 

Video of the Moment #655: Various Cruelties

 
By on Tuesday, 13th December 2011 at 6:00 pm
 

Various Cruelties have a new single coming out on New Year’s Day on Hideout Recordings. (Yes, can you believe in a few short weeks we’ll be in 2012?!? I can’t.) Called ‘Great Unknown’, watch the promo video for the single below.

We’ve also included their January 2012 tour dates below, if you’re so inclined to see them live. (I would, if I could.)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xh4j8HNTzLE[/youtube]

Monday 16th January 2012 – Manchester Deaf Institute
Tuesday 17th January 2012 – London 100 Club
Wednesday 18th January 2012 – Birmingham Rainbow
Friday 20th January 2012 – Glasgow King Tuts
Saturday 21st January 2012 – Leeds Cockpit

 

Interview: Liam O’Donnell of Various Cruelties

 
By on Thursday, 15th September 2011 at 12:00 pm
 

In this interview with Liam O’Donnell, the man behind the fabulous new band Various Cruelties, we chat about his music influences, his possible connection to the late Amy Winehouse and how his debut song to the world, ‘If It Wasn’t For You’, came about. Read on…

Hello Liam. What are you up to today? And where are you?
I’m at home. Waiting to be reconnected to the Internet.

Your band’s press bio says that the name ‘Various Cruelties’ is taken from a painting by American pop artist Ed Ruscha of the same name. (View it here.) How did you decide on this name? What drew you to Ruscha’s artwork?
I came across his artwork pretty much by chance. I knew very little about him. As soon as I saw his artwork I thought it was brilliant. There’s several pieces that I thought were pretty special. However, after seeing the ‘Various Cruelties’ painting I couldn’t get it out of my head. It seemed to resonate with my character and the music I was trying to make. It seemed to fit perfectly.

The New York City-based indie band the Drums have indicated film has influenced them and their music greatly. Considering you named your band after someone else’s painting, is the visual (painted) medium where you draw an important influence for your music?
I draw influences from lots of different things. Not only paintings, but also written words or tv or film can figure in my mind when I’m creating something. I think whatever it is, it normally finds me rather than the other way around.

People have described the Various Cruelties sound as being tinged with Motown and soul. How would you respond to that? Or rather how do you explain that a kid from Leeds got into that kind of music and decided to make music from that vein?
I guess I was intrigued by the sound of those old records and also their longevity. I also had a couple of friends who ran Northern Soul nights in Leeds and who used to dress like mods. It was something that I was drawn towards and I used to like hanging out with my pals. It’s not just soul and Motown, I’m a fan of everything, so long as it’s good. I’ve been lucky in that I’ve been able to listen to pretty much anything I wanted. Its as easy to listen to the Kinks as it is to the Arctic Monkeys on YouTube. In terms of making music, I generally just make music that I like.

I also feel like you might have had a kindred spirit in the late Amy Winehouse. Agree or disagree, and why?
It’s hard to say if Amy Winehouse is a kindred spirit. But I remember I was in Los Angeles when I heard she had passed. The video for ‘Tears Dry on Their Own’ is shot along the Hollywood Boulevard Walk of Fame. One of the things that struck me walking around there was the thought of that video and of Amy singing that song at her peak. I couldn’t claim to have met her but am undoubtedly a massive fan. Everyone knows that sentiment poured out of her songs. They seemed totally real. There’s not many singers I would pick to listen to over her to tell the truth either. She was an utter genius in my mind.

Who do you consider your biggest musical heroes? Who helped you / how did you discover them? What effect have they had on your musical direction?
My mother was a singer. So growing up, it was just one of those things that was taken for granted in our house. I didn’t particularly love it all the time, but it was always something I reckoned I could do. When I was about 16 I was shown how to play ‘Honky Tonk Woman’ by the Rolling Stones on guitar. That was it. From there I found out about loads more music from that era including soul, Motown, Dylan, that sort of thing. I was a big fan of hip-hop too. Found lots of soul music through that.

Who do you aspire to be like and why?
I aspire to be successful, but apart from that probably myself.

Let’s examine the first Various Cruelties song that people probably came across, ‘If It Wasn’t For You’. The twangy guitar intro reminded me of Dusty Springfield’s songs for some reason, or maybe great ’60s guitar instrumentals. Am I in the right ballpark? Talk me through this song and how it came about?
Yes you are, actually. This song actually started as very sparse piano demo. Literally just piano and vocal. It was quite a dear song to me and I knew that it had a soulful edge to it. I’d spent hours listening to Etta James and other stuff like that. So I had an idea that I’d try it out in the studio a bit more like that. It came together really quickly and the version your familiar with took about an hour to complete. It was quite spontaneous and I think that’s evident in the recording.

I first heard about Various Cruelties thanks to a New Favourite Band feature you did with Steve Lamacq on his 6music show a while ago. Describe what it was like to be interviewed by Lammo at the 6music studios.
Beanie took a picture of me on my phone that day at the BBC. I can’t really describe the look on my face. I think it’s bewilderment. I tried to sound cool but not sure I was. It was the first time we’d ever done anything like that. It’s great that Steve Lamacq is a fan of Various Cruelties. He’s a very well respected guy. We also got to play his stage at Camden Crawl, which was tremendous.

I believe this headlining tour of the UK for September and October (dates here) are your first big set of live dates, is that right? How have you and your band prepared for it? Are you elated? Nervous?
Well, we’ve done about a week of rehearsals for it. (We’re) also coming off the back of a set at Bestival, which we thoroughly enjoyed. We’re excited to be having the opportunity to play to as many people as possible. One of the dates is in my hometown (of) Leeds, so I will be a bit nervous about going back there.

Finally, what’s next in the pipeline for Various Cruelties?
Besides our new single ‘Chemicals’ coming out on the 3rd of October [see video below – Ed.], there will be a couple of shows towards the end of year. All being well, our debut record should hopefully be out early next year as well.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KYseDEizrF0[/youtube]

Many thanks to Kat for sorting this interview for us at TGTF.

 
 
 

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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