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Bands to Watch #153: Owl City

 
By on Tuesday, 5th January 2010 at 12:00 pm
 

Adam Young is a 23 year old American who took on the plurally-suggestive pseudonym that is Owl City, and proceeded to hit the music industry back in 2007 with his starry-eyed synth pop. Adam’s already blagged himself a surprising number one over in America with hit track, Fireflies, so perhaps it’s time we started paying a little more attention to this thriving talent over here in Blighty.

Young claims his musical talents spawned from the bouts of insomnia he experienced while living in the basement of his parents’ home in Minnesota. When not working at his local Coca Cola factory, Owl City would rush home to pass those darkened hours creating DIY beats upon his computer. The result of these sleepless, yet productive nights? A cutesy-voiced young man effortlessly spinning a web of glittery digital-pop equal to that of audio cotton candy, which, at times, yes, can perhaps be a little too sweet, but in small amounts, is simply delightful. Think the sugary synths of hellogoodbye mixed with the poppy emo of Metro Station and you’re on track, readers.

Young recently gained himself a nomination in BBC’s Sound of 2010 poll, an extraordinary hint at his coming success. So, if you’d like to hear more from Adam, hit Owl City’s MySpace page now. While you’re here, why not also check out the official video to ‘Fireflies’, below.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zr9EKJatJvA[/youtube]

 

Bands to Watch #152: Betty Steeles

 
By on Monday, 4th January 2010 at 12:00 pm
 

From the crazed synth-pop of La Roux, to the operatic vocal-explosion that is Florence and the Machine and finally, the general annoyance that is Paloma Faith, does anyone else long for the day when a nice, quiet young lady will come on to the music scene and genuinely place a smile upon the face?

Well, long no more readers, as today, we’d like to introduce Betty Steeles, a 28 year old Londoner who makes endearingly dainty pop which is certainly set to send feet-a-skipping. Now, one my favourite things about singer-songwriter Miss. Steeles is this adorable little voice which she possesses – one which flowers near-effortlessly above her fragile, fairytale-esque music. Think the quaint acoustic sounds of Ingrid Michealson mixed with the sparkly delicacy that is Mascott, and you’re nearly there with the beautiful Betty.

Her music, which, according to the lady herself, is about “people’s shy, awkward and quirky traits, having crushes, love, annoying people and being frightened”, is super chilled and mellow – just perfect to kick back and dream the day away to. It is fun, it is kooky, and finally, it is very, very cute – so why not check out Betty Steeles performing the lovely ‘Gun’ live, below?

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OXBcpMQQ_4U[/youtube]

 

Bands to Watch #151: Frankie and the Heartstrings

 
By on Wednesday, 23rd December 2009 at 12:00 pm
 

Today we’d like to introduce Frankie and the Heartstrings, a swinging quintet hailing from Sunderland. The stylish five piece have already supported lady-of-the-moment, Florence and the Machine, on tour, as well as fellow local lads, Futureheads. Will this quiff-driven band be the next big thing to spawn from the Tyne and Wear borough?

From the beautiful doo wop ballad of ‘Fragile’ (which, intriguingly, takes on a Joy Division ‘Atmosphere’ esque aura), to the galloping fun pop that is ‘Hunger’, Frankie and the Heartstrings are absolutely equipped with the musical skills to become one of Britain’s new favourite indie bands. They make you want to get up dance, but they similarly make you want to break down and cry – surely the greatest combination of effects a band could have upon a listener?

While many, including me, are placing the Heartstrings into the generally hazy category that is indie, this quintet’s soulful music encompasses everything from Clash stylee punk, to Dexy’s Midnight Runner ska, to Little Red swing. It’s really quite a treat of a recipe, vintage yet contemporary, so why not check out the official video to the amazing ‘Fragile’, below, to hear more.

[vimeo]http://www.vimeo.com/8016967[/vimeo]

 

9 Great Albums of 2009

 
By on Tuesday, 22nd December 2009 at 4:00 pm
 

So, the curtain has near closed on 2009. It’s snowing, Rage Against the Machine are number one and Simon Cowell is left weeping in a corner – alas, all is generally well this December. Now time to look back over the past year and pick out some of our favourite albums of 2009.

Arctic MonkeysHumbug

Arctic Monkeys returned this 2009 with a whole new sound to their name. Produced by the demigod that is Josh Homme, Humbug showcased a darker, more sinister side to the previously happy-chappy Sheffield quartet. Still brimming with Turner’s brilliant lyricism, the music is a whole lot more creepy, a lot more obscure in nature, and alas a lot more challenging to listeners.

Graham Coxon (pictured top)The Spinning Top

Not content with merely reuniting with fellow Blur band mates this 2009, lo fi punk Graham Coxon also released his seventh solo album titled The Spinning Top this year. The 15-tracked record narrates the life and death of a man, all via a dreamy acoustic soundscape. Switching his typical power chords to finger picking folk pleased and amazed certain fans, but undoubtedly scared many others off.

La RouxLa Roux

The Jedward-haired electro pop starlet, complete without a smile, had a fantastic success of a year with her digital 80s beats tainted with heartbreak and pain. She put synths and oversized cameos back on the map, gaining hoards of fans with her gameboy hits such as ‘Bulletproof’ and ‘In for the Kill’. Undoubtedly one of the girls of the year.

The Boxer RebellionUnion

The Boxer Rebellion scored themselves a number one hit over the pond on America’s iTunes alternative chart with second album Union, beating the likes of Kings of Leon and Coldplay while they were at it. Not bad for a band whos drummer used to give me music lessons. The album is truly immense, exploding with beautifully crafted, hypnotically gracious indie tunes.

KasabianWest Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum

An exotic dalliance with 60s inspired psychedelia rightfully earned Kasabian a Mercury Music Prize nomination this 2009. From the stomping hit of ‘Fire’ to the trance-esque ‘Where Did All the Love Go?’, Kasabian at last confirmed themselves to be one of Britain’s biggest guitar bands this year.

The HorrorsPrimary Colours

The Horrors lost the Elnett and gained immense critical acclaim in replace of it this 2009 with their brilliant second album Primary Colours. The Southend goth-punks drove their new record in a whole lot more serious of a direction, dropping the Dracula garage rock and instead reaching out for moody yet mature post-punk come new wave sound.

Mumford and SonsSigh No More

Mumford and Sons recently showed wannabe folk artists how it’s really done this October with their rich, homely bluegrass. Warming banjos, dobros and double basses have thrown this hearty thud of a folk album into best of lists across the board.

The Dead WeatherHorehound

The greatest super group to spawn from 2009 (prior to Them Crooked Vultures), The Dead Weather, as led by Jack White and Alison Mosshart, caused a stomping furore this year. Their debut album, Horehound, is a sticky 45 minutes of dirty fingernail rock and roll at it’s absolute attitude-filled best.

White LiesTo Lose My Life

White Lies are a thrilling little trio who take tips from the throbbing darkness of Echo and the Bunneymen and Talking Heads to name but a few. The epic debut from the London-based band featured immense, stadium-worthy hits ala ‘Death’ and ‘Farewell to the Fareground’ and was certainly one of my personal highlights of 2009.

 

Bands to Watch #150: Hurts

 
By on Monday, 21st December 2009 at 12:00 pm
 

Ok, ok, so I’ve written plenty of Band to Watch pieces here at There Goes The Fear over the last few months. But I think, I think, this may be the toughest I’ve had to do yet. Why? Well, because, the duo which I plan on telling you about today have given me a mere 4 minutes 10 seconds to go on.

Yes, yes I have only heard one song from Hurts. But, it was such a fantastical 4 minutes, that I have proceeded to gather a plethora of information on this film noir-like pair, in the hope I can alas assemble some sort of scope for you on the band which are, apparently readers, ‘the next big thing’. Oh, and hey, guess where they’re from? Yes! Manchester! Along with Delphic, Everything Everything and Dutch Uncles, Hurts are yet another upcoming band hailing from this magical Northern City.

With their Neil Tennant-esque, monotone façade and similarly 80s synths, Hurts allow you to step back over 20 years to the era of pretentiously depressive digital pop, which was always formed with an intentionally cheeky under bubbling of dance-inducing hooks.

Now, we all know this era has been milked to death of late. However, Hurts appear to take on their 80s influences so painstakingly, employing the look, sound and atmosphere with near ridiculous accuracy, that they’re that little bit different. That little more, ‘edgy’. Indeed, they were recently tipped for big things next year after gaining themselves a coveted nomination in BBC’s Sound of 2010 poll. And really, it’s not a wild assumption to make. This duo are razor sharp enough to gain decent credentials from music fans, while remaining catchy enough to please Radio 1. So yes, yes I can tell from this four minutes which sits on a loop before me, Hurts certainly do look as if they’ll be having themselves a jolly good 2010.

Hit the band’s MySpace page and check out the video to ‘Wonderful Life’ below.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kuwdw7KmGwA[/youtube]

 

Love and Disaster 1: New tracks from new Manchester artists

 
By on Wednesday, 16th December 2009 at 2:00 pm
 

Love & Disaster (side)If you’re a regular reader of the There Goes The Fear, you’ll be down with how exciting Manchester is for us right now. It’s a hub of musical amazement, knocking out soon-to-be-huge bands like tasty hot cakes. So, I guess you’ll understand how thrilled we were this week when we got an e-mail telling us about an E.P which is set to showcase this mass of awesomeness upon an upcoming sparkly 10″ vinyl next January.

Titled Love and Disaster 1, the E.P, which shall also be released digitally, is said to be a “collaborative effort by the people and artists that are going to make Manchester a focal point for new music in 2010”. Featuring Airship, Dutch Uncles, Jo Rose, Delphic and Everything Everything, this is one HELL of compilation – in fact this shiny treasure of a record is practically here to shed light on Britain’s undoubtedly Mancunian-led musical future.

From the tender, Grizzly Bear-esque ballads of Jo Rose, to the jerked-up indie of Dutch Uncles (‘OCDUC’, the band’s song which is featured on the E.P, showcases a piano riff which I swear is ripped from Tay Zonday’s Chocolate Rain), to the epic summer riffs of Airship and finally, the digitally suave hit that is Delphic remixed by Everything Everything (I know I know what a combination), this E.P is pretty set on blowing your ears off with it’s brilliance. MINT!

You can pre-order the ‘Love and Disaster 1’ 10″ vinyl now. The E.P is released January 11th.

 
 
 

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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.

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