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In the Post #142: Jamie xx reveals ‘Loud Places’ single featuring Romy Madley-Croft, a cut from upcoming debut album ‘In Colour’

 
By on Friday, 3rd April 2015 at 3:00 pm
 

It’s hard to tell whether Jamie xx likes being extremely busy, or in fact, extremely quiet. His 2015 is looking pretty busy now, mind, having this week announced his debut solo album ‘In Colour’, due out through Beggars imprint Young Turks in June. It’s a chance for Smith to finally showcase his producer credentials on a full-length, and who better to feature on a new track to go with the album announcement…..Romy Madley-Croft. The very same one Smith collaborates with when he’s working the day job with the xx. Are we sure there’s not been some horrible mix-up at the label with these two albums….?

On the surface of Madley-Croft’s defenceless vocals, this could indeed be the latest rework of the xx. Read too much into those breathy vocals and you might even come to the conclusion that the pair are parting ways: “Didn’t I take you / to higher places you can’t reach without me?” she softly patters before the chorus. Smith more than makes his mark in those choruses; having softly built up the atmosphere with tropical guitars and Risset drums, he drops a two-step burst of electropop, punctuated by crisp keys and subtle handclap blows. It’s lush, subtle and sparse all at the same time, a far cry from his highly regarded remix of Florence and the Machine’s ‘You Got the Love’, but still reaching similar euphoric peaks.

This latest arrangement flows with an ease and grace that feels like it’s been harder to bring to the fore in Smith’s previous works. Working on his own material from scratch like this, has once again freed even more electronic ingenuity in his hands. A full album of these refreshing delights isn’t due until June, but gives him the perfect opportunity to astound with his solo work before the cloak and dagger return of his more introvert other projects.

7/10

‘In Colour’, the debut album from Jamie xx, is released through Young Turks on the 1st of June.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TP9luRtEqjc[/youtube]

 

Live at Leeds 2015 Preview: Chris’ best band bets

 
By on Thursday, 2nd April 2015 at 12:00 pm
 

Please note: as with all of festival previews, the information we post here on TGTF on Live at Leeds is current at the time of posting, but we encourage you to check in at the Live at Leeds 2015 official Web site closer to the start of the event to confirm venues and set times. Wristbands for the festivities in Leeds on Saturday the 2nd of May are still available at the bargain price of £27.50. More information on where you can purchase your tickets in person or online is available here.

Under top secret cover earlier this week, TGTF were given the Live at Leeds 2015 band schedule before its official release this morning. We’ve had a read through of the massive schedule, and in this post, our newest contributor Chris Donnelly offers in this Live at Leeds 2015 preview his best band bets for the festival.

Ady Suleiman
Nottingham’s soulful songwriter Ady Suleiman has finally put out his first studio recordings in recent weeks, taken from his debut EP ‘This Is My EP’. His debut single ‘So Lost’ is a fusion of spoken word poeticisms and smooth R&B tempos, as the half English, half Tanzanian youngster delivers a sophisticated jazz swagger. A live appearance will showcase his impeccable harmonies and on stage charisma, as he looks ahead to a year where his song writing looks to finally gain the recognition it deserves.

Ady Suleiman performs at Holy Trinity Church at 3 PM.

Port Isla
Producing catchy folk-rock comes easier to Port Isla than most, with their recent EP ‘In The Long Run’ turning heads (and ears) across the UK. Vocalist Will Bloomfield and his bandmates have taken some Coldplay inspiration in writing electrifying songs with catchy choruses and expansive instrumentals. A tour with George Ezra has increased support for them, and their recent signing to Parlophone signals even greater things are to come since their debut ‘Sinking Ship’.

Port Isla perform at Leeds Met Stage 2 at 4 PM.

Twin Wild
This indie rock four-piece have already supported You Me At Six, and hit the road with Nothing But Thieves earlier in the year. Their first year at Live At Leeds comes off the back of immense success with their breakthrough track ‘Fears’, which even AlunaGeorge reposted on their Soundcloud. It’s full of soaring, anthemic rock climaxes, whilst latest single ‘Another Stranger’ has an even sharper set of riffs at it’s core, both of which are set to make a frenzied set at The Key Club.

Twin Wild perform at The Key Club at 4 PM.

Osca
Not to be confused with any other Oscars at this year’s festival, these Londoners spurn ambient guitar-pop, with a wistful touch. Their debut EP ‘Blood’ is the perfect introduction to the four piece, as they introduce their prowess at mixing folky, Kodaline-style harmonies with brooding stadium rock, and well-crafted electronic production too.

Osca perform at Leeds College of Music at 4:30 PM.

The Mispers
This five-piece know how to put on a good show, having started their own ‘Missing Til Monday’ parties in the capital during their formation. Frontman Jack Balfour Scott and his bandmates have a riotous presence, backed with a set of killer folky, alt-rock inspired songs, such as ‘Brother’, ‘Dark Bits’ and ‘The Weekend’. Somewhere amongst their passionate live performance you’ll even discover them finding room for violin arrangements…..

The Mispers perform at Wardrobe at 5 PM.

The Amazons
Hailing from Reading, this band are keeping their cards close to their chests, keeping a mysterious presence despite an intense industry furore to manage them. On ‘Something In The Water’ it all fits into place; “If I close my eyes, and I fall asleep, will I think about you?” come the gravely lyrics from their frontman, with some gripping Alt-J and Maccabees influences in the indie guitars and tropical synths that drive through their eddying choruses.

The Amazons perform at The Faversham at 6:30 PM.

Lauren Aquilina
Three EPs into her journey as a songwriter, Lauren Aquilina continues to astound at just 19. Currently working on her debut album, each release so far has shown a marked maturity and progression in her work, from the chart ready heartbreaker ‘Fools’, to the dramatic cinematic sound of ‘Lovers or Liars’. She’s capable of some spine tingling piano balladry, and coupled with impressive vocals, her legion of young fans isn’t going to stop growing anytime soon, from the UK’s teens to Taylor Swift….

Lauren Aquilina performs at Leeds College of Music at 9:45 PM.

Lucy Rose
Having seen Lucy Rose and her work their magic in a church setting 2 years ago, I simply can’t recommend this set enough. It’s a chance to catch her fresh from her first UK headline tour in over a year, and with some new material from her follow up to her 2012 debut ‘Like I Used To’. Expect an evening of spine-tingling acoustic numbers, with the perfect blend warming folk-pop feist too.

Lucy Rose performs at Holy Trinity Church at 10:15 PM.

 

Album Review: Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit

 
By on Tuesday, 31st March 2015 at 12:00 pm
 

Courtney Barnett Sometimes I Sit and Think, Sometimes I Just Sit‘Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit’. For a change, it’s an album title that actually has some substance and explanation as you work your way through Aussie slacker Courtney Barnett‘s full-length debut. A year ago she’d never set foot with her music outside Australia, yet a year on she’s playing a stream of shows across the UK, followed by American dates and European festivals too. On her debut album you discover just why she’s found her feet so quickly. Put simply, Barnett’s style is straightforward, everyday even.

Opener ‘Elevator Operator’ has a sharp, psychedelic rhythm, and even before you delve into her lyrics, you realise she might not mean to be witty, but these everyday tales of hers are entirely relatable. On ‘Aqua Profunda!’ she recalls a flirtatious encounter at a swimming pool (“I was getting dizzy, my hair was wet and frizzy”) against a backdrop of burning bass, and then there’s her tales of house hunting on the folky ‘Depreston’, previously featured as a Video of the Moment on TGTF. She might be adding narrative to everyday occurrences, but as a lyricist, she turns mundane stories into attention grabbing cliffhangers.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o-nr1nNC3ds[/youtube]

‘Pedestrian at Best’ is the closest she comes to producing a single, brimming with a bolshy confidence that Barnett delights in toying with. She maintains her wit, but beneath the grungy ’90s rock and fizzing riffs her anxieties are still apparent, chanting “put me on a pedestal and I’ll only disappoint you”, and adding “my internal monologue is a saturated analogue”.

This debut album offers just that, an expose into the chaotic mindset of a modern songwriter. There are times when billowing riffs appear on ‘Dead Fox’, or wild abandon sets in on ‘Nobody Cares if You Don’t Go to the Party’. It has fluid choruses and an Aussie drawl to die for, as the garage rock slowly concentrates itself into an overwhelming bridge. But, how the ideas for these songs have developed sometimes feels a little muddied; case in point, ‘Debbie Drowner’ and its wishy-washy melody. ‘Small Poppies’ also feels lacking in sophistication: there’s stylistic touches with blues riffs, but nothing to really get excited about, and the same holds true for ‘Boxing Day Blues’. She thrashes out a few select, punky and single-worthy songs at light-speed, only to follow up with several songs that feel overthought and hard to stomach.

‘Sometimes I Sit…’ results in an intense listen, and whilst the album has its turbulent moments, it’s about as true as you’ll come in 2015 to finding an album that truly wears its heart on its sleeve. It’s fascinating, likeable and relevant, but crucially leaves you at a crossroad. Do you want to follow this Melbourne native down the road of a rebellious garage rock to soundtrack wild summer parties; or would you rather have a slow-burning, heavier affair of late night smoking and wistful memories?

7.5/10

‘Sometimes I Sit and Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit’, the debut album from Courtney Barnett, is out now on Mom + Pop Records. For past TGTF coverage on Courtney Barnett, go here.

 

Live Review: Little Comets with Lisbon and Model Aeroplanes at London Koko – 12th March 2015

 
By on Tuesday, 24th March 2015 at 2:00 pm
 

In an era when indie rock bands strive to play international arena shows, Little Comets have instead spent the last 7 years capturing adolescent spirits across the UK’s smallest venues. The Tyneside trio have subsequently inspired a dedicated legion of fans and last Thursday night, following on from the release of ‘Hope is Just a State of Mind’ (reviewed by editor Mary here), they brought these fans together at London’s Koko.

Move aside, Kanye: this might have been your patch for a secret show a week ago, but this near sell out crowd was always going to prove very different. Little Comets added fellow Geordies Lisbon to open up, with a short but sweet taster of spritely indie pop. A tight sound and crowd pleasing set offered great variety; from the slow jam catchiness of ‘Blue Love’ that makes these guys a big tip for the future to the other end of the spectrum where the electro-pop grit of big drums and chanting lyrics on ‘I Don’t Know’ and ‘Native’, also sparked appreciation.

Already hotly tipped, Dundee’s Model Aeroplanes were also supporting and showed exactly why they’re commanding so much buzz lately. In short, this lively four-piece are the band to tell all your friends about, with driving rock melodies and an outstanding stage presence. Vocalist Rory Fleming-Stewart delivers youthful lyrics superbly on all occasions, even during the drunken sentiments of ‘Club Low’. “So much regret stuck in your teeth and you’re too proud to pick it out…”, he brims confidently, before changing tact on an upbeat chorus that the entire crowd can chant, “let’s face it we’re wasted, nowhere else to go…”.

This is a band who clearly enjoy their live sets, as Grant Irvine (guitar) and Ben Buist (bass) slid across the stage to add intricate riffs, whilst Kieran Smith gave a flawless performance behind the drums. There is an ever-present air of The Holloways in their jubilant indie refrains, and a tight set that included the likes of ‘Whatever Dress Suits You Better’ and ‘Rollercoaster’, showcased the potential for every track to be a worthy single. Don’t be mistaken by their playful charm, because this band have the showmanship and quality to hit even bigger stages in the next 12 months.

But it was when the headliners arrived that this crowd really started to get interesting. ‘Gift of Sound’ from Little Comets’ latest, independently released album – the first of their three to enter the top 40 album charts at number 31 – begins their set, followed by the timeless Brit-rock swagger of early, first album track ‘Isles’. By this point there are already fans climbing on one another’s shoulders, surging mosh pits and crowd surfing. It’s yet more evidence of how this band have channelled a youthful energy and angst, that other bands find impossible to replicate.

It would be naive however, to think their song writing has remained unchanged, and solely epitomised by these youth-cult classics. For all the excitement and wild scenes provoked by ‘Joanna’ and ‘Dancing Song’, Little Comets have also touched on as many profound and philosophical problems. ‘Woman Woman’ and ‘Violence Out Tonight’ create a chilling atmosphere, and amidst the enthused audience, still command a respectful peace. A respect that is held for just how diverse and thought-provoking this band’s songwriting can be.

They race through nearly 20 songs in all tonight, spanning across all their albums. There’s no encore here, and aside from there simply not being enough time, it would remain impossible to pick a select few to close on. Rob Coles, his brother Mickey and Matthew Hall, have been overcome by the scenes judging by their patter between songs, and it’s easy to see why: tonight undoubtedly highlights why this band are so special. This is a crowd that’s grown up with Little Comets over several years, and every time the band have reinvented themselves and their influences. It makes ‘In Blue Music We Trust’ all the more fitting to close their set, with lofty harmonies and a tale of positivity, and poignancy. Little Comets won’t be burning out anytime soon.

 

(SXSW 2015 flavoured!) Bands to Watch #347: Jack Garratt

 
By on Friday, 13th March 2015 at 12:00 pm
 

Header photo from the BBC’s Jack Garratt archive at Reading and Leeds 2014

Amongst the British Music Embassy SXSW 2015 showcases in Austin, BBC Introducing and the PRS Foundation will be hosting a 22-year old already creating some serious waves.

In a previous life, Jack Garratt might have been considered a ‘one-man band’. The term following him around at the moment tends to be ‘multi-instrumentalist’ or ‘bedroom producer’ however; both terms which go far beyond underselling him. With James Blake and The xx comparisons already being drawn, his electronic influences have gathered many new fans since he served up an impressive debut EP, ‘Remnants’, and a breathtaking Reading and Leeds set, during 2014.

The bearded songsmith has been hitting all the aural sweet spots on this rise. Take the soft backbeats of his early track ‘Worry’; 9 months on since its Soundcloud debut and the slick beats, bluesy vocals and angular synths have been streamed over 1 million times. On his other early material (try ‘Water’), his ambitious use of sound and texture is also evident, the shimmering electro-bass hooks justifiably seizing your attention, along with the sharp chimes of jazz keys.

Garratt has already spent his time refining and developing this sound mind you, and is just as capable at experimenting away from these catchier, radio-friendly moments. He meshes his soulfulness with a chilling atmosphere on ‘The Love You’re Given’, as warm r&b influences and his mesmerising vocals come together with refreshing ease on the slow-burning ballad. For all the heartfelt beauty this produces, his production skills come to the fore with the howling energy that the closing chorus hits you with, as a colourful and contrasting blur of synths dramatically engulfing you.

On what will be one of his first trips to America, Garratt is likely be humbled by any crowd who turn out for him at SXSW. The truth is that really, if you miss him and his talented live expose in building up songs from single beats to the potent waves of energy that his music culminates in, you’ll be missing a truly game-changing young artist who’s headed for stages in front of thousands in the very near future.

Jack Garratt appears as part of the BBC Introducing and PRS Showcase on Wednesday the 18th of March at the British Music Embassy at Latitude 30; read more about the night in Mary’s preview here. Catch him at the following appearances:

Wednesday 18/3 – British Music Embassy / BBC Introducing and PRS for Music Foundation @ Latitude 30, 11 PM
Thursday 19/3 – New Shapes @ Red Eyed Fly, 4:45 PM
Friday 20/3 – Communion @ St. David’s Historic Sanctuary, 12:45 AM

 

Album Review: Darlia – Petals

 
By on Thursday, 5th March 2015 at 12:00 pm
 

Blackpool has yet to be labelled with a reputation for cultivating firecracker, grunge rock. With their mini-album ‘Petals’ however, the town’s native rock ‘n’ roll trio Darlia could be in a position to complete that transformation.

That transformation will have to come after you piece your way through their previous singles, mind. Darlia’s attempt at a so-called ‘mini-album’ sees them strike at your ears with what is essentially, an extended EP: a half way house between their ballsy breakthrough singles and a debut full length, which is anticipated for release at the end of 2015.

‘Stars Are Aligned’ has been a defining track in their steady rise, with a fug of heavy, thrashing riffs that kicks open the eight-track collection, as 20-year old frontman Nathan Day’s adds woozy Brit-drawl with the lyrics, “Let’s not make peace again, I’m tired of hearing amends”. Darlia are committed to casting a sound far bigger than their three-piece, pulling it off with catchy appeal and memorable choruses, both here and on ‘Never Been to Ohio’. The band’s notoriety first came with their breakout track ‘Queen of Hearts’, which has been supercharged with a new recording for ‘Petals’. The swift 2 minutes and 47 seconds are now even more intense, as they navigate dramatic and charging shifts in momentum, from steady indie rock verses that are laced with a volley of riffs, before surging into euphoric choruses.

‘Candyman’ is where the band really hit the sweet spot of their anthemic indie rock and live up to the expectations as one of the UK’s most promising new bands, however. They remain grungy and fierce, rushing with overpowering choruses, but the driving bass, lofty drums and bolshy vocals (“choose which doomsday suits you most, while I set the scene…”) keep them sounding more controlled and mature as they ebb into the grunge-pop of ‘Dear Diary’. On ‘Say Your Prayers’, Darlia come as close to a ballad as they may ever come, and it’s a cracking effort. Slow burning, at this tempo they accomplish their most nostalgic moments, including with their acoustic closing cuts of ‘Pandemonium’ and ‘Candyman’.

Just as they needed to prove their worth as more than flat-out rock and rollers, Day and his bandmates have proven themselves to be songwriters who are equally adept at channelling a more passive and composed sound. Reverbing riffs are still their backbone, but Darlia have finally highlighted that there’s far more to them than raucous energy alone. Now it’s just a question of which direction they’ll take their album in – they can only coast along on their standout singles for so long.

7/10

‘Petals’ is out now on B-Unique Records. You can stream it in full below. Tickets to their just announced April/May UK headline tour are on sale now.

 
 
 

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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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