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Preview: Lovebox 2010

 
By on Thursday, 13th May 2010 at 12:00 pm
 

Lovebox Festival, serving Londoners tasty musical goodness since 2002. A TGTF favourite, the epic city event was started a whopping seven years back by Groove Armada and has grown in size, and well, awesomeness ever since.

Held in Victoria Park, and taking place across Friday 16th to Sunday 18th of July, the jam packed three day event is showcasing yet another almighty selection of bands to follow on from last years Duran Duran, Doves, N.E.R.D and the Armada themselves.

Headlining the Main Stage on Friday is crowd pleaser Dizzee Rascal. Saturday, meanwhile, boasts the legendary Roxy Music and finally Sunday offers us the goddess that is Grace Jones.

Featuring alongside Dizzee on the 16th include Chase & Status, Noisettes, Ellie Goulding, The Maccabees, Mystery Jets and Chew Lips. Saturday will see Mark Ronson, Paloma Faith, Wild Beasts, Codeine Velvet Club, I Blame Coco, Empire of the Sun, Yeosayer and These New Puritans making an appearance alongside the ‘Love is the Drug’ legends. Meanwhile taking to the stages pre Ms. Jones include Hot Chip, Peaches, Hurts, New Young Pony Club and Silver Columns.

Lovebox also has a number of stages dedicated to dance and DJ acts, ala the ‘Relentless’ arena, where you can catch the likes of Crookers, Booka Shade and DJ Oliver M.

Tickets for the event are pretty darn cheap (£45/£80/£99) and you can choose whether you want a day, two day or three day pass. Learn more about this eclectic bundle of music fun over on their website now.

 

Album Review: Band of Horses – Infinite Arms

 
By on Wednesday, 5th May 2010 at 12:00 pm
 

I love beards – so it’s natural I love Band of Horses. Their past two albums are must-haves, in my opinion. So, it would make absolute sense you are expecting me to bring you an overwhelmingly positive review of the band’s latest album, ‘Infinite Arms’, today. However, it would appear – and rightly so – amid the past 3 years the band have spent writing and recording this record (losing/gaining a couple of members along the way), they have altered their sound really quite considerably.

A lot of hardcore fans are already up in arms about this, and while I don’t wish to jump on the dissin’ band wagon, I can’t help but feel I have been left a little hollow by the Seattle band’s latest musical serving.

Don’t worry, it’s not like they’ve gone rap funk or something (I mean woah that would have been awesome had they), but, ‘Infinite Arms’ is, shall we say, a matured product – filled with perfectly preened, easy on the ear hooks which would fit quite comfortably on Radio 2. It’s lighter, airy – less sorrowful, less edgy. But I really am trying to avoid those two words…’sold out’…as I don’t think they quite have.

The album kicks off with the lush strings of ‘Factory’. Ben Bridwell’s vocals continue to be perfectly angelic, floating with ease above the wispy acoustic. However this gentle number is almost a little too snoozy, the melody verging on unspectacular. Track two, ‘Compliments’ wakes things up a little with some harsher guitar riffs, as does ‘Loredo’, showcasing some pointed licks, once seen on the band’s indier debut album, ‘Everything all the Time’. However, while the stomping goodness is pleasing to the ear, and oh my, damn freekin’ catchy too, I can’t help but notice an undoubted mediocrity floating from these tracks. They fail to go down your throat, grab and pull tight at your heart strings like more vintage rocking Horses did ala ‘The Great Salt Lake’. It’s more foot stomping, radio ready rock, than emotionally outstanding electrics.

Similarly more slower paced tracks ala ‘Way Back Home’ and ‘Infinite Arms’ may be touching with Bridwell’s Neil Young stylin’ voice, the reverb and the fragile acoustics – but the apocalyptic, emotion explosion, expressed so powerfully among older albums, fails to occur throughout these super pleasing but not exactly mind blowing numbers.

‘Evening Kitchen’ and ‘Older’ are two tracks to look out for. Absolute highlights. They bring the toasty, southern roots eternally swimming beneath the band’s music to the foreground. The latter track has a particularly country slick to it, while ‘Evening Kitchen’s’ folk delicacy is subtle yet endearingly sweet. Lovely.

‘Dilly’ and ‘Northwest Apartment’ are two tracks with notably faster BPMs. While the former track may have beautifully summery riffs, all in all it’s unmemorable, while ‘Northwest Apartment’ is, well, pretty much exactly that – with Bridwell repeating the title over and over among the racy indie chorus. Track 10, ‘Trudy’, showcases a bit of retro Band of Horses with some awesome falsetto from Bridwell, and album closer ‘Bartles + James’ is a harmonious explosion to rival Fleet Foxes, but aside from these two numbers, those seeking that older sound from this record should be prepared for a let down.

Still, this review was written in the context of the two previous albums we all know and have grown to love. In a way, I suppose you could say it was by a Band of Horses fan, for a Band of Horses fan. Yet, as a stand alone object, the talent of this band is still, absolutely incredible. However, I can’t help but feel the music of the new record is leaning towards the audience of average rockers ala, say, Athlete (oh God..). So, yes, I do think this album risks losing a lot of older fans, but at the same time, will see the band prolly make up that loss with a hoard of new ones.

To conclude – I can‘t help but sense this will be the album that finally makes them big. Underground kids – kiss them goodbye while you can.

Infinate Arms is out now. After the jump is a video of previously-unseen in-studio and live footage of the band and interviews with all the members.

Continue reading Album Review: Band of Horses – Infinite Arms

 

Album Review: Kate Nash – My Best Friend is You

 
By on Thursday, 29th April 2010 at 12:00 pm
 

Ah, Kate Nash, Kate Nash, Kate Nash. She has suddenly got all serious, hasn’t she? You know – cut her hair all edgy, got a super hip boyfriend in the form of Ryan Jarman of The Cribs, and spent the last few months spouting words about how she has “changed direction”, claiming to have gone 60s, punk, and Riot Grrrl all at once. Not bad for that lass who used to sit at her piano with a cup of tea and sing about lemons being bitter and such. So. Does her second album, ‘My Best Friend is You’ (hey thanks Kate), actually live up to all this gossip? Well…

Good news. Miss. Nash has, surprisingly, grown up quite a bit with her latest musical serving. The album propels off the ground with ‘Paris’. A mass of chirpy strings introduce a notably Chocolate Rain stylee piano riff (YouTube this if you have no idea what I’m talking about), before revealing the sunny harmonies of the chorus which are missing that awful LDN kick accent (yay!). Track two, ‘Kiss that Grrrl’, the ultimate jealousy anthem (“I don’t like it how she makes you laugh so much. How when you talk, that you touch. She is instantly more pretty and more interesting than me”), is similarly pleasing. It kicks off with some Ronettes stylee instrumental before leading into fun, hop scotch vocals. Sadly, the cringe worth lyrics remain – “I bet she doesn‘t like to eat. I bet her feet don‘t even stink”.

There are some bad moments. ‘I Just Love You More’, for example, is an embarrassing attempt by Nash to be experimental. It’s an epic fail, with Kate just repeating the title over and over again to the backing of grungy riffs. She is no Yoko Ono, and this ‘avant-garde’ number ends up sounding more comedic than artistic. Similarly, ‘Mansion Song’ begins with a spoken word recital – something along the lines of poetry you hear at an Open Mic Night, and try to not laugh at. The repeated curses only make Nash sound like she is trying (and failing) to be shocking, and perhaps even hoping via such words, she’ll shed those younger indie fans that clung onto her a few years back. Luckily, however, her attempts to be ‘weird’ are pulled off a little better when it comes to ‘I’ve Got a Secret’. This track follows the same structure as ‘I Just Love You More’- repeating the title over and over and all that lark – but the lack of screams and moans, instead replaced with a floaty vox, make this a lot more enjoyable.

Another highlight is ‘Doo Wah Do’. With it’s Spector stylin’ harmonies and surf riffs, this is an awesome slice of pop which I am sure you have heard acquainting the radio waves of late. While we’re here, for those who enjoy vintage Nash – never fear – you can still find her older, silly, sweet pop in the form of ‘Later On’ and ‘Pickpocket’, with their skipping piano riffs and childish-come-endearing vocals. The juvenility reaches a peak, however, with ‘I Hate Seagulls’. Undoubtedly one of the worst tracks on the album, it sees Nash merely reciting a list of her pet-hates over an acoustic. “I hate burning my finger on the toaster and I hate nits. I hate falling over, I hate grazing my knee. I hate picking off the scab a little bit too early.”. Yes, Kate, and so does most of the planet. However, we do not write songs about it, have the audacity to release it and finally, earn mega bucks from it. But each to their own.

Still, not to end on a negative note. I genuinely have come out impressed with this album (yes, I admit, I pre judged this record). It’s filled with a fireball of energy from start to finish – that is undeniable. Similarly, Kate has definitely embraced the whole direction change stuff with heart. Perhaps, a bit too much. She has ended up taking about 1000 musical routes, to the point this album ends up being a genre pick-a-mix. She does some well (the whole retro doo wop stuff), yet others prove a shambles (the whole avante-garde end of things). Still, credit to her, I guess, and at least there are no ‘Foundations’ on here that should kill all our ears for the coming years.

 

Preview: Wireless Festival 2010

 
By on Thursday, 22nd April 2010 at 12:00 pm
 

Be sure to head down to London Friday 2nd to Sunday 4th of July if you feel like catching three days of eclectic live music amid those green green grasses of Hyde Park. Yes, Wireless Festival (which I should add is sponsored by Barclaycard) is back for it’s sixth year and is serving fans with yet another intriguing line up – to say the least.

If Hop Farm, End of the Road or Green Man is your kinda festival, please, stop reading now. As, dear readers, Wireless is undoubtedly one of the most commercial events of the summer and certainly not for those who prefer the bearded end of sounds. After all, headlining the event across the sunny weekend include Pink (or P!nk, as she prefers to be called), LCD Soundsystem and Beyonce’s hubby, Jay-Z.

Acts featuring alongside Pink on the Friday include The Tings Tings (pictured right), Plan B, Gossip, Daisy Dares You, The Temper Trap, Hockey, Alphabeat, and Bowling for Soup (YES I did just say Bowling for Soup!).

Joining LCD Soundsystem on Saturday include Snoop Dog, 2manydjs, DJ Shadow, Missy Elliot, and erm, The Big Pink and Phenomenal Hand Clap (is it me or do those final two just not fit in with the rest of the bill?).

The final day, as headlined by Jay to the Zee, sees Lily Allen, Friendly Fires, Slash, Chase & Status, Chipmunk, Mr Hudson, dan le sac VS Scroobius Pip, D12 (if Eminem will show we aren’t sure) and Wiley take to the stage.

So, what to make of that selection, we aren’t all that sure. Most tickets for Wireless have now sold out, however, yet a pass to Friday and Saturday can still be purchased. Alas, yes, it’s quite an odd recipe, but if you’re looking for a nice day out, grab a rug, a picnic basket, and get your ticket now.

 

Single Review: The Drums – Forever and Ever Amen

 
By on Thursday, 15th April 2010 at 12:00 pm
 

Ah, The Drums, that so called ‘Band of 2010’, are really doing quite well for themselves, with their sugary indie-surf which effortlessly springs images of sunshine lit beaches, and guys on boards upon the brain. Taking DJs and dance floors by storm, the band are to release their next single, ‘Forever and Ever Amen’ next month – the follow up to the hugely successful pop sensation that was ‘Best Friend’.

Kicking off with some sticky drums and a fuzzy surf bass, a gentle, twisting riff soon spirals in, sitting comfortably beneath front man Jonathon Pierce’s sweet American wisps which are full of longing, and totally love struck. The track is undoubtedly another musical recipe of everything The Drums do well, swelling with that sunny Cali pop sound. However, ‘Forever and Ever Amen’ does lack those instant summertime hooks of previous singles ala ‘Best Friend’ and ‘I Felt Stupid’.

The track is missing a distinct fun, is more chilled back, and protrudes with a Delphic vibe. What I love about The Drums, and this track, however, is the fact their lyrics are fit for a soppy 70s Osmonds’ number – “And all the stars in the sky, and all the flowers in the field…..could never take you from my heart…and it’s forever, baby, it’s forever!”. Brilliant, just, genius (in this case I dig lack of pretentious crypticism).

The latter few seconds of the track take tips from the uber popular ‘Best Friend’ and resurrects those beautifully harmonious sighs, but aside from this glimmer or hope, the rest of the track certainly doesn’t topple previous material.

‘Forever and Ever Amen’ is released May 31st. Pre-order the 7″ now over at Banquet Records

 

Preview: Underage Festival 2010

 
By on Thursday, 8th April 2010 at 12:00 pm
 

Remember when you were sixteen, and the super coolest indie troupe were playing at the super coolest local venue, but hey, you weren’t allowed in, no Sirey, as you, little one, were under the age of 18. Argh, the mass of frustration which followed. Why must tiny digits disallow someone from seeing brilliant music live? Well that’s exactly what Underage Festival thought. And alas, they have flicked their finger to the whole ‘Over 18 only’ cliché, and started an event which is for young ones, and young ones only!

Yes, you are only permitted through the gate of Underage Festival, which takes place in Victoria Park, London, if you are 18 and under. The festival aims to provide an awesome event for those who might not have access to the general gig laden with age restrictions. No alcohol is permitted on the site, and the website even has a section devoted to parents, but despite it’s clean cut ways, each year proves to be a completely and utterly rad party with a fantastic line up to boot.

2010 is no different. Already confirmed to be playing the gig on Sunday 1st August include M.I.A, Ellie Goulding (pcitured right), Daisy Dares You, Chapel Club, Egyptian Hip Hop, New Young Pony Club, Los Campesinos!, Lightspeed Champion, Hadouken!, General Fiasco, Stornoway and Tinchy Stryder.

Kinda cooler than the er, school concert huh?

Tickets for the event are a mere £29.50, so if you’re 18 and under and dig the sound of Underage, why not grab one now? I won’t deny it, I am quite jealous. Damn youngsters!

 
 
 

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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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