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Bands to Watch #78: Thee Vicars

 
By on Monday, 2nd February 2009 at 4:06 pm
 

Thee Vicars (side)Thee Vicars are a super-cool quartet from Bury St Edmonds who look back lovingly to garage of the 60s when creating their raw and freakbeat sounds. While attending the gig of a run of the mill indie band, Thee Vicars decided they were “sick of everyone sounding the same”. From there onwards, the band set out upon a mission to bring bona fide rock and roll to the masses.

Thee Vicars state Billy Childish, early Stones and The Mummies as just some of their influences. They can sound like everyone from The Sonics to the more harmonious Beach Boys – all the while maintaining an excitingly authentic sound that’s completely different to everything out there right now. If I had to, rather unwillingly, draw parallels between Thee Vicars and a contemporary band however, I’d probably point you in the direction of The Horrors. If you liked ‘Strange House’, check out this similarly dark band.

The groovy retro riffs of tracks such as ‘You Lie’, or ‘Out of My Mind’ combined with the punky fuzz of tunes such as ‘Back on the Street’ and ‘Why Have You Changed’, have certainly gained these reverends an unsurprising trendy cult following. They are proving a hit at vintage underground clubs around the capital and are signed to nostalgia loving Dirty Water Records. They’ve played with everyone from the Buzzcocks to Ipso Facto and you can catch their energetic selves throughout February in London before they embark on a tour of Europe March-onwards.

 

Bands to Watch #76: The Filthy Youth

 
By on Wednesday, 28th January 2009 at 3:13 pm
 

The Filthy Youth (side)You would not be alone in thinking you’d accidentally clicked onto The Libertines’ MySpace when checking out the band I am going to tell you about today, readers. The Filthy Youth are a London-based indie quintet who cite The Rolling Stones, Paul Weller and The Strokes as just some of their influences. Unsuprisingly, the band’s MySpace avoids any mention of Pete Doherty’s former group, however. Still, you only have to listen to The Filthy Youth’s tunes to hear the impact The Libertines have had on their musical output – to write Doherty in the ‘Influences’ section would just be stating the stupidly obvious. The sunny guitar riffs, witty shouts and stumbling, dry vocals on tracks like ‘Orange’ and ‘Pirate’, surely wouldn’t be out of place on Up the Bracket.

Although the Doherty imitation can get a bit cliché after a while, The Filthy Youth still bang out undeniably decent tunes and there certainly is a gap in the market right now for an indie-punk band such as this trendy five. What makes the currently unsigned group all the more attractive to potential record labels, however, is stylish frontman, Ed Westwick. The band have gained a large, particularly female following thanks to Ed’s intriguing day-job – his role as socialite Chuck Bass in hit American teen drama, Gossip Girl. Although this may partially help to explain the (over a) million hits on the band’s MySpace, regardless of Ed’s fame, The Filthy Youth are still an undeniably good band in their own right.

So while The Filthy Youth may be set to become the future pin-up group of teenagers around, their indie tunes with a punked up edge are still up to scratch for the more mature music-fan, too.

 

The Brit Awards 2009 – The Nominations

 
By on Monday, 26th January 2009 at 4:42 pm
 

Coldplay's new album cover

Ahh…The Brits. Perhaps more famous for Jarvis Cocker’s stage invasion, or Arctic Monkey‘s drunken speeches rather than for it’s showcasing of the best of British music. Either way, every year it certainly proves an interesting watch and this 2009, the controversial show will be presented by disco diva, Kylie Minogue and Gavin and Stacey stars, Mathew Horne and James Corden. There will be performances from Kings of Leon, U2 and Take That to name but a few. You can catch all the action live on ITV1 on February 18th, but if you can’t wait till then, There Goes The Fear is here to tell you about the successful nominees that were announced earlier this week.

The artists leading the way with the highest amount of nominations this year are Welsh songstress, Duffy and Coldplay – both tallying up a total of four nods. Both artists had number 1 albums last year – Duffy with ‘Rockferry‘ and Coldplay with ‘Viva la Vida‘ (pictured right) – so are unsurprisingly up for Mastercard’s Best British Album alongside Elbow, Radiohead and The Ting Tings. Duffy’s ‘Mercy’ and Coldplay’s ‘Viva la Vida’ will also be going head to head in Best British Single category alongside the likes of Estelle‘s ‘American Boy’, Adele with ‘Chasing Pavements’ and the X Factor Finalists’ ‘Hero’.

Duffy also features in the Best British Female Solo Artist category alongside Adele, Beth Rowley, Estelle and MIA, while the nominees in male counterpart include Ian Brown, James Morrison, Paul Weller, Streets and Will Young. Best British Group has seen the nomination of the ever-popular Coldplay, Elbow, Radiohead, Take That and Girls Aloud.

New music recieving nods in this year’s Best British Breakthrough Act include Last Shadow Puppets and Scouting For Girls, while 2009’s Best British Live Act showcases everyone from Iron Maiden and The Verve, to Elbow.

Singer-songwriter, Florence and the Machine (who we featured here), is tracing the footsteps of 2008 winner Adele through gaining the coveted Critics Choice Award which recognises upcoming music talent. Meanwhile, Pet Shop Boys have been intriguingly awarded the Outstanding Contribution Award, following on from Beatle Sir Paul McCartney’s win last year.

Band’s receiving nods in the international categories including Best International Group and Best International Album are Kings of Leon, The Killers, AC/DC, MGMT and Fleet Foxes. Solo artists featuring in the categories honouring oversea talent include Katy Perry, Gabriella Cilmi, Seasick Steve, Beck and Kanye West.

To see the nominations in full, check out the official Brits website.

 

Bands to Watch #70: Defend Moscow

 
By on Monday, 19th January 2009 at 2:22 pm
 

Defend Moscow (side)Defend Moscow‘s perfectly preened pop, colourfully tainted with a quirky electro edge is set to soar the airwaves this year. Like so many artists out there right now – such as Little Boots and Frankmusik – Defend Moscow are passionate about nostalgic 80s electro-pop. They cite everyone from Human League, Kylie and Frankie Goes to Hollywood as just some of their vintage influences. Looking for a more contemporary take on the band? Think chart-frequenters Alphabeat, only with a little more spice.

You only have to read the band’s MySpace blog to realise that Defend Moscow aren’t just your run of the mill, chart-friendly electro-pop group making hits about love and heartache. Lying behind hit track ‘Manifesto’ sits a much more deeper meaning. The song, set to be released next month, is infact about the Bolshevik revolutionary, Leon Trotsky and his downfall in the Soviet Union. Pretty intellectual, huh?

The band, who’s routes lay scattered across Europe (vocalist, Sofie Storaas is from Norway, while other band members call everywhere from London to Paris home), have bagged support slots with Sam Sparro, Sneaky Sound System, Team Waterpolo (who we caught them supporting last October) and The Wombats. This year, Defend Moscow are preparing to embark on their own major tour, but until then, you can currently check them out at a few scattered club dates through January and February. See their MySpace for more details, and while you’re there, check out four super awesome tracks the band have uploaded, including single ‘Manifesto’ I told you about earlier.

The band have recently expressed their hopes to lead an electro-pop revolution. Listening to them – it sounds very much possible that they could achieve just that this 2009.

 

Weekly Roundup: 18th January 2009

 
By on Sunday, 18th January 2009 at 11:13 pm
 

This week has certainly been jam packed with music news – here’s a roundup of the hot headlines hitting the press this week!

Russell Brand (side)Pete Doherty has announced his forthcoming solo album will be released on March 16th and will be titled ‘Grace/Wastelands’. A debut single from the twelve-track album will be released March 9th, called ‘Last of the English Roses’. Blur guitarist, Graham Coxon, and singer-songwriter, Dot Allison, are just some of the names Doherty has collaborated with on the new album.

Boy George was sentenced to 15 months in prison on Friday after being charged with false imprisonment. The former Culture Club singer is said to have handcuffed and beaten a male escort at his East London flat in April of 2007. Boy George, real name George O’Dowd, denies all charges.

Katy Perry (pictured top) and her smash hit ‘I Kissed A Girl’ were incorrectly awarded the gong for Best International Song at the NRJ Awards in Cannes. The trophy was actually intended for Rihanna and her hit song ‘Disturbia’, but Perry was mistakely announced as the winner at the famous French award show.

Famous London music venue, The Astoria, closed it’s doors for good this Friday to make way for the new Crossrail transportation project. The famous venue, which will be completely demolished, has hosted a range of iconic gigs from The Rolling Stones, to Nirvana, to Radiohead.

Lady GaGaRussell Brand (pictured top right) is rumoured to be releasing a novelty one-off single with the help of music mogul, Simon Cowell. The song, titled ‘The Chugga Chugga Song’, even comes complete with a supposed dance routine. Syco Records were apparently made aware of the song after Russell played the track on his now defunct Radio 2 show.

Damon Albarn has expressed concern over the upcoming Blur reunion gigs at Hyde Park this July. Following his playing of a 1997 live Blur session on Radio 1 this week, Damon said “I’m going to have to work hard to get back to that standard.”.

Lady GaGa (pictured left) is number one for the second week in a row this Sunday with hit track, ‘Just Dance’. The New York songstress is proving a big hit with music fans – her album, ‘The Fame’ is also notching at an impressive number three in this week’s album charts.

And finally, check out the new music video for the week – ‘Fonz’, by the brilliant Eugene McGuinness. The track, which is taken from his acclaimed self-titled album, is set to be released next month (February 23rd).

[youtube:http://ww.youtube.com/watch?v=Q_NOLBv0OlU]

Russell Brand photo is taken from The Street Circus’ flickr stream under the Creative Commons license.

 

Orange unsignedAct with Sony Ericsson – The Finalists

 
By on Monday, 12th January 2009 at 6:33 pm
 

Orange unsignedAct with Sony Ericsson - JudgesThe search for the U.K’s best unsigned artist is nearing its end this January as Channel 4’s hit show, Orange unsignedAct with Sony Ericsson, ever approaches the anticipated live final in a couple of weeks time. Later this week Phil will be bringing you lucky readers interviews with the finalists of the show, but before that, let me give you a little background on the competition labelled ‘the indie X Factor’.

The show, which airs every Sunday at 12:30pm on Channel 4, is presented by tousle-haired XFMer Alex Zane and fittingly comes complete with a star-studded judging panel consisting of Blur bassist come cheese enthusiast, Alex James, DJ slash TV presenter, Lauren Laverne and record-label maestro Simon Gavin. Travelling the nation, the judges encountered tonnes of unsigned artists hoping to gain the Universal Records deal that is tastefully up for grabs – along with a nice £60,000 to boot. They saw the good, the bad and down right evil – but with a little help from the public they managed to nail it down to four artists – Bo Bruce, Hip Parade, Tommy Reilly and Toby Sebastian. The quartet will battle it out over the next couple of weeks alongside a lucky fifth act, Scarlet Harlots, who were revoted back into the show Sunday by us viewers (keeping up?).

So, to help you decide who you’ll be voting to put through to the grand finale on January 25th, let me give you a little background on the five artists left in the competition.

Bo Bruce (side)Bo Bruce

Don’t be fooled by Bo’s feisty front (she’s famously had a spat with judge Lauren Laverne on the show). The Wiltshire singer-songwriter contrastingly possesses an angelic voice, who’s folky pop has seen her gain a coveted place in the semi-final.

Hip ParadeHip Parade

Indie Glaswegian lads Hip Parade have already gained support slots with Revered and the Makers and Zane Lowe in their active 4 year career – but the band have yet to bag a record deal. They’ll be hoping to get just that, though, this January if you pick up the phone and vote for them this week!

Tommy Reilly (side)Tommy Reilly

Hip Parade aren’t the only Glasgow-based artist in the show this year – acoustic singer-songwriter Tommy Reilly also calls the Scottish city home. Reilly’s Bob Dylan influenced pop has certainly been a hit with the judges on the show – but what about you?

Toby SebastianToby Sebastian

Toby Sebastian could potentially win the prize for the youngest contender to ever have entered the competition at just 16 – but his acoustic soul has certainly got him far – to the semi-finals, infact. Certainly a brooding talent, Toby’s cites Damien Rice and Otis Redding as just two of his influences.

Scarlot HarlotsScarlet Harlots

Despite Lauren Laverne’s protests, Scarlet Harlots were eventually voted out of the competition by the judges a few weeks back. Sunday’s show, however, saw the experimental punk-pop troupe voted back in by a seemingly adoring public. Can Scarlet Harlots recreate last year’s wild card Envy and Other Sins’ win, and come back triumphant to take the title?

 
 
 

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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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