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Video of the Moment #2896: Miles Kane

 
By on Tuesday, 9th October 2018 at 6:00 pm
 

Singer/songwriter Miles Kane, whose stint with The Last Shadow Puppets by now feels like ancient history, has put out new promo video for the latest track from his recent solo album ‘Coup de Grace’. The LP was released back in August on Virgin EMI, following its early teaser single ‘Cry On My Guitar’. Kane’s new track, titled ‘Killing the Joke’, is mildly psychedelic in its sound and perhaps a more than a bit ironic in its lyrics.

The video treatment for ‘Killing the Joke’ was created by Daniele Cavalli and Manfredi Lucibello and set against the scenic backdrop of Florence. Its action sequences feature Kane alternately driving a sports car, wandering through empty yet architecturally striking corridors and drinking scotch in a deserted bar decorated with an assortment of crystal decanters. The black and white videography emphasises the kaleidoscopic reflection of light from the various gleaming surfaces and the sharp relief provided by the interplay of the resulting shadows.

You can watch the promo for ‘Killing the Joke’ just below, and if you’re a Miles Kane fan, check out his November and December UK tour dates, listed at the bottom of the page. A full listing of Kane’s upcoming live dates can be found on his official Facebook. TGTF’s previous coverage of Miles Kane is back through here.

Thursday 22nd November 2018 – Glasgow Barrowland
Friday 23rd November 2018 – Manchester Academy 1
Saturday 24th November 2018 – Manchester Academy 1
Monday 26th November 2018 – Norwich UEA
Tuesday 27th November 2018 – Birmingham Institute
Thursday 29th November 2018 – Leeds Academy
Friday 30th November 2018 – Hull University
Saturday 1st December 2018 – Newcastle Academy
Monday 3rd December 2018 – Bristol Academy
Tuesday 4th December 2018 – Leicester Academy
Thursday 6th December 2018 – London Brixton Academy
Friday 7th December 2018 – Nottingham Rock City
Saturday 8th December 2018 – Liverpool University

 

Video of the Moment #2893: Warbly Jets

 
By on Wednesday, 3rd October 2018 at 6:00 pm
 

Header photo by Allister Ann

Just shy of a year past the release of their debut self-titled LP, Los Angeles alt-rock band Warbly Jets have released a new single from that album, and a shiny new promo video to go along with it. ‘Shapeshifter’ has strong elements of punk and psych rock that combine to produce a deliberately nebulous overall musical effect, both compelling and conveniently apropos to its title.

The visual treatment for ‘Shapeshifter’, directed by Laura Lynn Petrick, is equally and suitably dichotomous, and its two visual loci are presented simultaneously and in combination with one another. On one hand, we see lo-fi black and white images in the rough style of analog film, softened and slightly out of focus. These are juxtaposed with a mix of brightly hallucinogenic colors and highly sharpened digital effects that might inspire you to reach for your sunnies as you watch.

As it turns out, the timing of the ‘Shapeshifter’ release might not be entirely accidental. It coincides with Warbly Jets’ return to the studio to record the follow up to last year’s debut, and true to their own previous form, the band are setting out to defy any preconceived notions of what they should sound like. Lead singer Samuel Shea explains in the press release for ‘Shapeshifter’: “As an artist, I believe it’s extremely important to make drastic differences as you transition through phases. That was something that Julien [O’Neill] and I talked about from the conception of this band. I hope you always hear what you’re not expecting when you listen to a new release from us.” Though it’s very early days for the new recording project, ‘Shapeshifter’ effectively serves a dual purpose, as a bold reminder of Warbly Jets’ sonic milieu and as a departure point for their upcoming flight of rock ‘n’ roll fancy.

Keep an eye on TGTF for further news about Warbly Jets as their new project progresses. Our previous coverage of Warbly Jets, including a review of early single ‘4th Coming Bomb’, is collected right through here.

 

In the Post #163: Ben Howard follows his ‘Noonday Dream’ with three new tracks, including a surprise collaboration with alt-pop duo Sylvan Esso

 
By on Tuesday, 25th September 2018 at 12:00 pm
 

Summer may be drawing to a close, but reminiscences of warm and sunny days are still fresh in our collective memory. With this in mind, singer/songwriter Ben Howard has just released a handful of new singles hot on the heels of his summer LP ‘Noonday Dream’, which was released back in June. As often happens, the recording sessions for the album were overly prolific, but in a fortunate sort of way. Howard himself says, “The recording sessions for ‘Noonday Dream’ were so varied and over quite a period of time. There were little gems that we didn’t know what to do with, but it felt right to put these three together, both separate and a part of the album, so to speak.”

One of those so-called gems is a surprise collaboration between Howard and American electro-pop duo Sylvan Esso. Called ‘Hot Heavy Summer’, the track does indeed feel tangentially related to the ephemeral vignettes on ‘Noonday Dream’. The addition of Amelia Meath’s backing vocals keeps the soundscape brighter and more buoyant than the title might imply, while the rounded hollow of the percussion beat lends a very definite substance to Howard’s otherwise evanescent arrangement. Apropos to the song’s title, ‘Hot Heavy Summer’ was featured as Annie Mac’s Hottest Record in the World last Thursday, 13th September. Speaking on BBC Radio 1, Howard related that Meath’s lilting voice came immediately to mind for this song: “Amelia is just incredible, fortune prevailed, and we managed to get in the studio. I had it in the back of my mind as soon as we initially recorded ‘Hot Heavy Summer’ that the track just felt right for her.” If you’re interested in the full radio clip, you can listen back to it for a limited time on the BBC Radio 1 iPlayer.

‘Hot Heavy Summer’ is accompanied by two other tracks leftover from the ‘Noonday Dream’ sessions, a dark narrative called ‘Another Friday Night’ and the electronically experimental ‘Sister’. While these tracks don’t quite fit into the artistically cinematic nature of ‘Noonday Dream’, Howard is right in saying that they’re too good to go unheard. You can take a listen to all three tracks via Spotify, just below.

8.5/10

Ben Howard has a run of live dates in the UK planned for this winter, including two nights at the Manchester Apollo in December and three nights at London’s Brixton Academy after the start of the new year. Tickets for the following shows are available now.

Friday 7th December – Glasgow Hydro Arena
Saturday 8th December – Cardiff Motorpoint Arena
Monday 10th December – Manchester Apollo
Tuesday 11th December – Manchester Apollo
Wednesday 16th January 2019 – London Brixton Academy
Thursday 17th January 2019 – London Brixton Academy
Friday 18th January 2019 – London Brixton Academy

You can read TGTF’s past coverage of Ben Howard right back here, and our coverage of Sylvan Esso is collected through here.

 

In the Post #162: American singer/songwriter Gill Landry begins work on his follow-up to ‘Love Rides a Dark Horse’ with a unique PledgeMusic campaign

 
By on Monday, 24th September 2018 at 12:00 pm
 

If you’re a regular TGTF visitor, you might have read last year about alt-country singer/songwriter Gill Landry and his brilliant fourth studio album ‘Love Rides a Dark Horse’.  Almost a year on from its release, that album is still in regular rotation in my own music library, but not one to rest on his laurels, Landry has already begun work on his next recording project. According to a post on his Instagram, this as-yet-unnamed fifth album will be comprised of songs written over the summer in France, in a period of just 4 weeks’ time. With the film noir vibe of ‘Love Rides a Dark Horse’ still firmly in mind, a set of new Gill Landry songs steeped in French je ne sais quoi seems a very promising proposition indeed.

With the songwriting swiftly completed, Landry now sets to work on the recording of the album. To this end, he has started a PledgeMusic campaign, which he says he hopes will allow him “to afford the time to take on this task with the care and attention I feel it deserves.” Pledged funds will be used to independently finance the studio time, guest musicians, and mixing expenses for the album, and Landry has an interesting selection of merchandise on offer in return for fan pledges. Aside from his artful and evocative songwriting, Landry is also a skilled photographer and visual artist, and his PledgeMusic store includes handmade block-printed tarot cards, prints of his own original photography, and a handful of other unique items.

You can explore the complete merchandise listing and make a donation to the project on Landry’s PledgeMusic page by clicking this link. But before you do, take a listen to Landry’s personal message from about the new project in the video just below. ICYMI, our two-part interview with Gill Landry from last autumn can be found by clicking here and here. Our complete previous coverage of Landry is collected back this way.

 

Album Review: The Last Bison – SÜDA

 
By on Wednesday, 19th September 2018 at 12:00 pm
 

Header photo by Matthew Simmons

LB_Suda-album-artAmerican folk rock band The Last Bison have undertaken some significant changes since we last heard from them back in 2015. Perhaps most obviously, the band’s lineup has slimmed down from five members to three, with the departures of founding members Dan Hardesty and Annah Housworth following the band’s third album ‘VA’ (pronounced as “Virginia”, the state the band hails from). Now comprised of Ben Hardesty (vocals, guitar, percussion), Amos Housworth (cello, bass), and Andrew Benfante (keys, organ, guitar), The Last Bison have been forced to rethink their musical palette, but rather than streamlining, the resulting transformation feels more like a complete and deliberate redefinition of the band’s signature sound.

From the opening track of new album ‘SÜDA’, it’s clear that The Last Bison is no longer the organic alt-folk collective we once knew. ‘By My Side’ is a slow prelude to the album proper, but its cool synthetic haze, whispered vocals, and distorted guitars are already a major change from the band’s previously warm, folk-flavoured acoustic rock. Synths, bass, and percussion continue to dominate the musical arrangements throughout the album, beginning with ‘Cold Night’, where frontman Hardesty sings, perhaps ironically and perhaps not, of a past warmth (“comfort like a mother’s hold / the words she spoke set all our hearts aglow”) contrasting with a colder, harsher present reality.

Early single ‘Gold’ is immediately rhythmic, with novel percussion and a prominent bass riff among its distinctive characteristics. Its opening lines, “I used to run with the Navajo / now I cut trees with the Inca, though / I traded my horses in for gold / I won’t be forgetting you”, refer to frontman Hardesty’s childhood days in South America, when his parents served as missionaries to Bolivia. The album’s press release describes that time as central to this record: “The songs of ‘SÜDA’ reflect on that period of gained knowledge and experience, with themes of longing, times remembered, times to come, and the desire for spiritual fulfillment.”

However, from this point forward, the thematic references become more obscure and the lyrics more heavily dependent on well-worn metaphors. ‘Blood’ is dark and dramatic, with cello and piano ornamentation adding a touch of light behind the shadowy synth backdrop. In fact, these instrumental moments are more memorable than the song’s awkward refrain: “there you were like a thief in the night / unexpectedly arriving to steal / with my heart on the line / blood was pumping to a wound that had healed / I was yours for a time / for a moment there, you taught me to feel”. The album’s title track, an bright yet introspective ballad, comes midway through the track sequence, but doesn’t do much to clarify the album’s musical intent with its mild ’80s rock sound and its head-scratcher of a refrain: “splitting apart my head / sewing it up with Dixieland”.

In the second half of the tracklisting, a variety of rhythmic devices saves ‘SÜDA’ from capitulating to the increasing banality of its lyrics. ‘Anywhere You Go’ has an almost jazzy, r&b kind of feel to its smooth synth melodies and elastic bassline, while ‘The Glow’ and ‘Echo of Eden’ rely on prominent percussion and tribal rhythms to make their emotional mark. One of the strongest tracks on the album, ‘The Glow’ is slow and seductive, its serpentine motion punctuated by a strongly rhythmic backing chorus. ‘Echo of Eden’ is slightly less effective in its overarching social statement, with lyrics ultimately too vague to be very meaningful.

Though the rhythmic and instrumental variety on ‘SÜDA’ is interesting, the album overall feels a bit indecisive in its lyrics and its stylistic leanings. The Last Bison’s recent lineup changes have had a tangible impact on the band’s musical choices, some of which were undoubtedly made out of necessity. The synth heavy musical arrangements here are experimental and occasionally inspired, but not enough so to cover for the lyrical weaknesses, especially late in the tracklisting. However, ‘SÜDA’ is nonetheless a brave and earnest attempt to forge a new musical style from an admittedly more limited toolbox of sounds. Venturing away from their former folk rock comfort zone, Ben Hardesty and his colleagues may seem a bit aimless at the moment, but ‘SÜDA’ provides them with several promising departure points for a possible next attempt.

6/10

The Last Bison’s fourth studio album ‘SÜDA’ is due for release on this Friday, the 21st of September, on AntiFragile Records. You can read through TGTF’s past coverage of The Last Bison by clicking here.

 

Jealous of the Birds / September, October, and November 2018 English/Irish Tour

 
By on Monday, 3rd September 2018 at 9:00 am
 

Northern Irish singer/songwriter Jealous of the Birds, aka Naomi Hamilton, will play a run of shows this autumn in England and Ireland, following the recent release of her EP ‘The Moths of What I Want Will Eat Me in My Sleep’. The EP includes reworkings of several tracks from Jealous of the Birds’ debut full length album ‘Parma Violets’, including one particularly charming song called ‘Tonight I Feel Like Kafka’. You can watch Hamilton and her band play an acoustic version of the song just below the tour date listing.

Late September and October will find Hamilton and company playing shows in Dublin, and the English leg of the tour will take place in mid-November. Tickets for the following shows are available now. You can find TGTF’s past coverage of Jealous of the Birds right through here.

Thursday 27th September 2018 – Dublin Workman’s Club
Sunday 14th October 2018 – Dublin Bord Gáis Energy Theatre
Monday 12th November 2018 – Birmingham Sunflower Lounge
Tuesday 13th November 2018 – Nottingham Chameleon Arts Cafe
Wednesday 14th November 2018 – Manchester Yes Pink Room
Thursday 15th November 2018 – London Islington

 
 
 

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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 was edited by Mary Chang, based in Washington, DC.

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