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Bands to Watch #183: Dinosaur Pile Up

 
By on Tuesday, 6th July 2010 at 12:00 pm
 

I have been pretty psyched about Dinosaur Pile Up ever since I reviewed their awesomely titled ‘The Most Powerful EP In The Universe!!’, last July. The five track record was a ridiculously awesome shot of vintage grunge that sat curiously apart from the tiring indie and synth movement of the time.

TGTF were super excited to hear that the Dino dudes have since spent the last few months recording their debut album, ‘Growing Pains’, to be released later this year. Buzz is already getting round about the forthcoming record. Radio One are particularly revelling in the Pile Up, with Zane Lowe even having proclaimed that the trio “will change the face of rock as we know it”. Yup, epic proportion of a quote alert.

Nirvana, Foo Fighters, Weezer, Pavement – nostalgic America alt-rock – that’s what Dinosaur Pile Up are about. And while I bet that makes most of you more artistically inclined music lovers wince, fear not, since these Seattle sounding guys are genuinely maestros at making top tunes. The Dinosaurs effortlessly head back into the split jeans and dirty sneakers of the 90s and pull forth those chunky riffs and poppy rhythms into the now, all the while adding their own distinctive, sunny spin on matters. Judging by the previews of upcoming material on their MySpace, too, Dinosaur Pile Up aren’t going to become extinct anytime soon…(cheesiest closing line ever).

Listen to ‘Summer Hit Single’ from ‘The Most Powerful EP In The Universe!!’ below, to get a taste of Dinosaur Pile Up.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N9NF5PKyB8s[/youtube]

 

Album Review: The Drums – The Drums

 
By on Thursday, 24th June 2010 at 12:00 pm
 

The Drums are undoubtedly one of the hottest acts to spring from 2010. Hailing from Brooklyn, New York, the four piece have spent the last few months making waves with their aptly beachy sounds, dropping hit after hit onto the nation’s ears. This month finally brought about the release of the band’s self-titled debut album, but the question on everyone’s whistling lips is whether the quartet’s sugary surf managed to hold up amid the big LP?

If this album was to manifest itself into physical emotion – it would be an explosion of lovesickness, experienced on a sticky, sunny afternoon. In a way, The Drums remind me of The Ramones with their ability to make frivolous pop with guitars – yet beneath the pointy riffs and clapping drums, are clean cut lyrics fit for ‘Jacqui’ pins up ala Bay City Rollers.

Let’s name check the singles – we’ve all heard them. And they’re bloomin’ brilliant, with their spiralling licks, speedy drums and Beach Boy falsetto. From album opener – the smashing track of longing that is ‘Best Friend’, to the whistling pop scotch, ‘Wipeout’ riffs of ‘Let’s Go Surfing’, to the tumbling guitar of commitment anthem that is ‘Forever and Ever Amen’ – The Drums are maestros at making sunny slices of sounds which are made for hot afternoons when the sky is blue – and so are our hearts.

Certainly, The Drums’ music has an undoubted air of vintage to it. ‘Book of Stories’ is Pet Sounds-esque with it’s twisty surf riff and floaty harmonies of “I don’t wanna dance anymore, I don’t wanna sing anymore”. Further highlights include the sparkly, Animal Collective-stylin ‘The Future’, and the wonderfully weary psychedelic ballad ‘Down by the Water’. Compromising of thudding bass lines and echoing Smiths drums – the hazy vocals are mushy love candy – “If you fall asleep, down by the water, baby I’ll carry you all the way home”.

One clear influence on The Drums are those favourite Mancs of ours, Joy Division. ‘It Will All End in Tears’ sees The Drums giving this influence a pretty successful airing, with it’s pounding, Hooky-styling bass line, and reverb drums. The buzzing ‘Me and the Moon’ protrudes with a similarly Factory Record vibe with it’s raw, buzzing underbelly.

Regrettably, though, front man Jonathon Pierce’s sighs of woe and skippy “ooohs” do begin to run out of steam after a while. Take the intriguingly Cure-esque, ‘I Need Fun in my Life’. This is all The Drums trademark playful hooks regurgitated beyond enjoyment. Additionally, ‘Skippin’ Town’ pretty much sounds like ‘Let’s Go Surfing’ remodelled.

Not to end on a downer, though. The Drums are a bundle of fun and so is their debut album. They have themselves a formula, and they stick to it strongly. The album’s sound doesn’t waver all that much and there isn’t any spectacular twists or turns waiting to be discovered here. But it doesn’t really matter, as there is something incredibly endearing about the quartet’s super cute guitar pop – which is not completely free of sinister post-punk backbones! Indeed, The Drums certainly know how to make a tune, but I wouldn’t go as far as to say this album is completely free of fillers. But hey so what – it’s hot and it’s sunny, so go buy this album, head to the beach, stick it on and let this soundtrack your Summer – as that’s exactly what this band will be for a lot of us this 2010.

You can order The Drums’ album from Amazon for £7.99 now.

 

Album Review: Stars – The Five Ghosts

 
By on Thursday, 17th June 2010 at 12:00 pm
 

Stars are an aptly glittery indie troupe hailing from the depths of Canada. This month sees the release of the band’s fifth album, ‘The Five Ghosts’ – follow up to 2007’s ‘In Our Bedroom After the War’. The record, according to front lady Amy Millan, is “quintessential Stars” – so, perhaps the perfect album for a newcomer like myself to venture into. And venture in I did!

Track one, ‘Dead Hearts’, pretty much sets the standard for the whole album – exceedingly adorable electro, with lashings of surprises. This initial number is synth dalliance with completely cute girl-boy vocals plus a Delphic-esque uprising chorus. Track two, ‘Wasted Delight’ is evidence Stars have themselves a slightly sinister edge, too. The misplaced, jagged drumbeat and hopscotch harmonies sound intriguingly dark, perfectly complimenting the contrastingly sugary vocals of Amy Millan (of which particularly remind me of Ellie Goulding).

‘I Died So I Could Haunt You’s’ crescendo of smashing drums and thumping bass lean it towards a more heartfelt indie number Owl City would be proud of, while ‘Fixed’ got me up and dancing. Speedy cymbals, electric riffs, retro synths and yet more darling vocals from Millan – this feel-good track truly makes you feel like your reaching for the sun as you listen.

An album highlight is most certainly the beautifully titled ‘He Dreams He’s Awake’. This electronic number verges on psychedelic with it’s stormy opening led along by Torquil Campbell’s brooding whispers of “Sunrise, oh the sunrise, when will you ever come?”. Ultimately these hypnotic vocals fall into a black hole of breezy, ambient synths and 80s stylin’ echoed drums, resulting in a truly trippy track.

Further honourable mentions include the delicate strings and reverb vocals of ‘Changes’, the Brian Eno-esque ‘Winter Bones’, and finally the awesome ‘The Passenger’, which is laden with La Roux-ready gameboy synths and some notably Joy Division sounding percussion wacking away beneath.

My thoughts throughout this album were, “boy those canuks certainly seems bent on bringing us some awesome slices of electro pop this summer”. From the dainty synths of Metric to the crystallised electro of Stars, Canada is producing some awesome sounds right now. If you enjoy your music on the sweet side, check out ‘The Five Ghosts’. The album is truly endearing with it’s doll-like vocals and gliding, glittering synths. However, a complete sugar overdose is avoided thanks to those little unexpected touches placed amid the record, such as some hard hitting percussion, an off beat rhythm, or a psychedelic twist and turn. Stars’ ‘The Five Ghosts’ is truly sparkling album.

MP3: Stars – We Don’t Want Your Body
[audio:http://theregoesthefear.com/media/201006/stars-wedontwantyourbody.mp3]

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=17jdZdVmEuk[/youtube]

 

Album Review: Kele – The Boxer

 
By on Wednesday, 9th June 2010 at 12:00 pm
 

Hats off to Kele Okereke. He’s not for one for sitting still, is he? Despite the considerable success Bloc Party achieved from the spiky guitar of 2006’s ‘Silent Alarm’, Kele and co weren’t up for sticking to this tried and tested indie formula. The next two albums swiftly saw the band evolve into a mass of experimentation, particularly shooting for a more electronic take on their music – to the pleasure of some fans, but to the upset of a fair few others. Still, seemingly not content with the ultimate synth smash of ‘Intimacy’, Bloc Party’s third album released in 2008, frontman Kele has taken his electronic tirade all the more further with his debut solo album ‘The Boxer’, released June 21st.

From the opening dubstep playground chants of ‘Walk Tall’, ‘The Boxer’ leads us to the poppy vocal line of ‘On the Lam’, which sees Kele’s voice pitched to feminine heights. Laid down on some Ministry of Sound beats, podiums and strobe light imagery fills the brain as I listen to this more Bump & Flex than Bloc Party track.

This isn’t a criticism, however, but more to highlight the fact that if you’ve come to ‘The Boxer’ seeking ‘Helicopters’ and ‘Banquets’ well, tread carefully as you’re in for a surprise.

The awesome ‘Tenderoni’, track three of ‘The Boxer’, takes a tip or two from Bodyrox’s 2006 hit, ‘Yeah Yeah’. The brooding synths of the verses continue on until the chorus finally explodes into a crescendo of electronica emotion – robotic, crunchy and with a banging beat that will swim amid the ceilings of clubs for the coming months.
Carry on reading Jess’ review here…

 

Album Review: Johnny Flynn – Been Listening

 
By on Thursday, 3rd June 2010 at 12:00 pm
 

When I reviewed Johnny Flynn’s EP ‘Sweet William’ last November, I pondered the fact the London folkster’s dainty tunes lacked a significant audio wallop, regrettably risking getting lost amongst the in-your-face folk of Mumford and Sons or Noah and the Whale. So – I was interested to hear Johnny’s latest LP, ‘Been Listening’, to discover whether the pretty young fellow (does anyone else think he looks like a blonde Rpattz?) had stuck to his fragile folk roots.

Well, one of the initial things I noticed about ‘Been Listening’ is the fact Johnny seems to have embraced a bigger, more complex sound. More instrumentation swells amid the tracks. Opener, ‘Kentucky Pill’, kicks off with an unexpected groovy drum beat, which goes forth throughout the track, backing Johnny along with some hearty brass and a fairy-like mandolin. The intriguing ‘Churlish May’ continues to showcase brass, while the primitive percussion provides a tribal like layer to the song.

Track five, ‘Been Listening’ is when I truly began to realise this was turning into a great little record. Flynn officially plugs in at this point – does a Dylan, era 1965 Newport Folk Festival – and makes use of an electric guitar. This element is surprisingly beautiful, adding an almost psychedelic edge to ‘Been Listening’, a track which notably reminds me of something off Graham Coxon’s 2009 experimental folk album, ‘Spinning Top’. The electricity gets all the more interesting, however, with the incredible ‘Howl’, which kicks off with a super sexy blues riff, before proceeding to reveal an intriguingly sinister number, which sees Flynn get quite animated with his vocals.

The great thing, though, is that Johnny hasn’t completely evacuated from his previous sound, especially when the slower tracks – such as ‘Lost and Found’ and the piano led ‘Amazon Love’ – maintain that slighter, more delicate soundscape Flynn has built such a successful fan base on. ‘The Water’ is a particularly sweet highlight protruding vintage folk. An exquisite collaboration with lady of the moment, Laura Marling – the duo’s voices awash over one another beautifully, resulting in an almost perfect traditional tale.

Energy is successfully kept up between the ballads, especially with the plethora of finger picking and metallic strumming as heard in the excitable ‘Agnes’ and the waltzing ‘Sweet William Part 2’. This to me is evidence Flynn has grown, musically, since his last EP, which I particularly pointed out lacked any “lingering tenacity”, potentially inciting boredom in it’s audience. ‘Been Listening’, on the contrary, is a fantastic record. It remains both original and exciting from start to finish, running in all sorts of unexpected sweet and seedy directions – but all the while, still standing firm upon the base that is Johnny’s trademark sound of bygone era.

Been Listening is out on Monday (7th June 2010). You can pre-order it from Amazon, and download the opening track of the album below.

MP3: Johnny Flynn – Kentucky Pill
[audio:http://theregoesthefear.com/media/201006/johnnyflynn-kentuckypill.mp3]

 

Single Review: Bear Driver – Wolves/Long Lost Giants

 
By on Tuesday, 25th May 2010 at 12:00 pm
 

Bear Driver are a sextet hailing from London come Leeds, who claim to cook up a riveting folk psychedelic recipe. Sounds like my kinda thing. I’m excited.

So let’s listen to the A side. ‘Wolves’ is a sunshine slice of sound (alliteration attack) bubbling over with golden indie riffs which are backed by unrelenting fizzy pop drums. The question-answer vocals amid the verse – “There are wolves in the underground calling!” “SAY WHAT!?” – add an injection of youth while the floaty harmonies provide a backing of forest-like majesty, complimenting the animalistic title. Hey, while this track is not exactly living up to what I was hoping for in terms of Animal Collective insanity, it’s still super, Operation Please-ish fun.

B-Side (yay – bring back the B-Side!) ‘Long Lost Giants’ finally confirms the fact this band do, after all, deserve to be bestowed the genre of ‘psychedelic’. This number sees the trackings sound intriguingly out of sync, but this only adds to the brilliance of this surrealistic hit. It’s a dawning of swimming and swirling sounds provided by lush harmonies, folky ukuleles and even some Revolver Beatle-esque reversal. I actually prefer the B side to the contrastingly commercial, radio-darn catchy-ready A side that is ‘Wolves’.

So, an interesting double-sided single we have here, which I have ultimately, come out very impressed with. The A side is an energetic indie number which would please Bombay Bicyclers across the country, while the B side will satisy the rest of you psych-seekers.

Enjoy another Bear Driver track below:

MP3: Bear Driver – A Thousand Samurais
[audio:http://theregoesthefear.com/media/201005/AThousandSamurais.mp3]

 
 
 

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

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