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Single Review: Lana Del Rey – Born to Die

By on Friday, 23rd December 2011 at 12:00 pm

So, this is the new video for Lana Del Ray’s single, ‘Born to Die’, the title track off of her forthcoming album, due next month. Yawn. Am I the only one who is completely bored by Lana Del Ray? Sometimes I think I’m the only one. Bored, and vaguely offended. I honestly did try my best to get why she is currently being offered so much critical praise.

Other than her looks, I’m not seeing anything to be excited about. [Editor’s note: to not detract from this review, I’ve chosen the least salacious photo I could find of her on the internet for the header photo on this post. And trust me, it took a while.] She’s gorgeous, sings remarkably unclever lyrics about sex and sounds like she just rolled out of bed. There’s something just vaguely anti-feminist about the whole thing: it seems rather intentionally submissive and is embracing of the notion of being a weak, fragile woman who easily gives in to her man. There seems to be this burgeoning movement wherein ‘retro-sexism’ has somehow become fashionable. I’m not sure if it’s a factor of the world’s current state of affairs and a desire to move back to simpler times, or something else entirely. Or, possibly, at least with Lana Del Ray, perhaps it’s just a matter of the clever engineering behind the scenes: make no mistake, she’s a very well-contrived product.


Lana Del Rey’s next single, ‘Born to Die’, will be released on 23 January on Interscope. Confusingly, the album of the same title will be released a week later, on the 30th of January.



Quickfire Questions #16: Writer Shari Fedak

By on Wednesday, 31st August 2011 at 12:00 pm

For the last day of August, we bring you the Quickfire Question answers from our Baltimore via Canada writer…

1. What song is your earliest musical memory?
Lionel Ritchie – ‘Dancing on the Ceiling’. When I was very small I used to demand that I watch a show on CTV called “Video Hits” – it was the 80s, so music videos were being shown even on mainstream television. I very clearly remember the video, it made an impression on me, I suppose. I remember trying to walk on the walls afterwards. It didn’t work out.

2. What was your favourite song as a child?

Either Blondie’s ‘Rapture’ or anything from Billy Joel’s ‘Glass Houses’. When I was, again, very small, my younger sister and I used to divide up my mother’s record collection – I got Blondie, Billy Joel and Bruce Springsteen, she got Dire Straits and Bryan Adams. I also really liked Corey Hart, had a poster of him that came with his record on my wall when I was 2 or 3. Think it was the first record that I owned wholly by myself. Requested it for Christmas.

3. What song makes you laugh?

The Replacements – ‘Kids Don’t Follow’. The beginning part, particularly. I do an excellent impression of it. I’ve been threatening to do it on stage with my band so many times it’s become a bit of an inside joke, which makes it funnier to me. Then the guitar part starts and I pretend I’m Bobby Stinson minus the drinking in my head even though I can’t play guitar. What a song.

4. What song makes you cry?
‘Married to a Lazy Lover’ by the Auteurs. It’s probably not supposed to make you cry, but there’s this part of the song when it crescendos and the organ comes in and I get weepy. I’m probably repressed. Anything by Journey. Not because I’m actually sad, but because I just would really like you to turn it off.

5. What song reminds you of the first time you fell in love? (It’s up to you if you want this to be sweet, naughty, etc.)
Well, the song that I’ll always attach to my first real boyfriend is the Sneaker Pimps’ ‘6underground’. No special occasion, it’s just the sort of thing I was listening to at the time. As an addendum, Death From Above 1979’s ‘Sexy Results’ is the dirtiest song I know. But that ain’t got nothin’ to do with love.

6. What song makes you think of being upset / angry? (Example: maybe you heard it when you were angry with someone and it’s still with you, and/or something that calms you down when you’re upset, etc.)
Now, my anger is actually a fairly rare thing, but I think !!! (pictured at top) – ‘Pardon My Freedom’ sums it up fairly nicely. Or perhaps Luke Haines’ ever-simmering disdain would be more along the lines of my anger. I hardly ever get to ‘Pardon My Freedom’ levels.

7. Which song (any song written in the last century) do you wish you’d written yourself?
Absolutely too many to count. Rebecca Black’s ‘Friday’? That’s about my songwriting level. I’d be bathing in cash right now. Although I secretly suspect most pop songs are written by computers nowadays anyway.

8. Who is your favourite writer? (This can be a songwriter or ANY kind of writer.)
Neil Gaiman or Robert Jordan! I’m a nerd. I mean, I really do read perfectly scholarly real literature, as I love reading, but sometimes you just want a story. Actually, Neil Gaiman really should be considered real literature (in comic and written form) if he is not. Just brilliant.

9. If you weren’t writing for this blog right now, what job do you think you’d be doing right now?
Well, currently I’m a legal secretary now. I’d rather a) like to quit my job and do music full time, b) be the next Martin Hannett minus the drugs and the weight problem, or c) be a synthesiser technician. I cleaned up the insides of a Hammond Condor RSM unit (it’s a frequency to voltage converter, basically, with various footages and vibrato/tremolo control) and tweaked the trim pots and made it sing again the other day. It gave me so much joy. See above comment in re: nerd. I make no apologies.

10. If God said you were allowed to bring only one album with you to Heaven, which would it be and why?
I swear this changes ever month. Right now it’s Wire’s ‘Pink Flag’; maybe next month it’ll be the Modern Lovers; perhaps Richard Hell or Talking Heads. Maybe something by the Replacements or New Order. Perhaps I’ll discover a brand new band with a brilliant new album next week. I suppose it would be a bit egotistical to take recordings of my own band to Heaven with me, right? I’m pretty sure I’d miss my band a lot.


Album Review: Keith Top of the Pops and His Minor UK Celebrity All-Star Backing Band – F*ck You, I’m Keith Top of the Pops

By on Monday, 15th August 2011 at 12:00 pm

A long time in the making, Keith Top of the Pops is releasing his debut album, ‘F*ck You, I’m Keith Top of the Pops’, on the 16th of August via the very excellent Corporate Records. I had my trepidations about this album at first: known to confuse and generally upset any soundman, Keith TOTP and His Minor UK Celebrity All-Star Backing Band are known to take the stage with a vast, eclectic array of instruments (4 to 6 guitars, flutes, musical saw, kitchen sinks, etc.) and I wasn’t sure if the album was going to be able to represent the generally wondrous cacophony of theirlive show.

I was wrong to ever have doubts. If anything, it’s a bit easier to appreciate the songs on the album. Keith TOTP’s songwriting style is simple, catchy, honest, occasionally acerbic but always clever, and the accompaniment of seemingly millions of instruments suits it well. I think my husband put it best, when I asked his opinion: “It sounds like someone took your record collection and played it all at once.” It really is, and in the absolute best way. It certainly helps that the album also features some of my favourite people in music. The haunting duet ‘What’s On Your Mind’ with Sarah Nixey (of Black Box Recorder, also a solo artist) is especially lovely.

I think ‘I Hate Your Band’ epitomizes the reason I love this album so much. More than the song itself (which is a great song nonetheless), but the very spirit of the song itself. After a seemingly constant barrage of buzzband after buzzband and conga-drums-are-the-new-Casio-Bossanova and just general overhyped stupidity, it’s just nice to hear a good, honest record without any pretentions. It’s been a while, honestly. You can watch an excerpt of the band’s performance at 2009’s Camden Crawl below to get a feel for what they are like live.



You can buy the various versions of the album (the special edition on CD or vinyl or digital download) from Corporate Records here but the press release we received said the release date is tomorrow.


Album Review: Art Brut – Brilliant! Tragic!

By on Friday, 20th May 2011 at 2:00 pm

Album is esoteric/Basic smile route*

Art Brut is set to release their shiny new 4th album next Monday, the 23rd of May. Not to be a completely dull reviewer person, but the album is brilliant, tragic. Starting off the album in good form is ‘Clever Clever Jazz’ (a reference to Eddie Argos’ former band, the Art Goblins), a sincerely relatable song about being in a young band – playing incredibly small gigs, the nerves of it all, the disaster that those first shows always tend to be. That said, the exhilaration of it hasn’t been omitted, either.

‘Lost Weekend’ is next: by now, I’m sure you’ve all heard this single. I’ve been noticing that a few of the songs on the album almost seem like replies or sequels to earlier songs – ‘Lost Weekend’ seems an apologetic, darker take on ‘Good Weekend’ (from their 2006 debut ‘Bang Bang Rock ‘n’ Roll’. There’s a bit of growing up on this album, overall. Eddie’s voice here is raspier, less heavy handed with the exclamation points. Not to go way off topic, but you know that episode of Friends when Lisa Kudrow’s character gets a cold and finds her “sexy voice”? Now, Eddie Argos is a much better vocalist than that, certainly, but that’s what entered my mind when I heard it at first. It’s nice to see him use more parts of his voice.

‘Bad Comedian’ is delightful – a dialog outlining that eventual realization that the person you’ve once dated is seeing someone who isn’t that great and does not come up to your standard. I won’t ruin it for you entirely, but it also includes the cleverest use of a typeface as a lyric. Following that, and echoing that previous sentiment, oddly, is ‘Sexy’ – which is slower, cosmopolitan sounding, almost – Eddie’s voice here is raspy again, and the chorus here is half sung. He seems a bit unsure of himself, though – there’s a bit of vulnerability shown here.

Other reviewers have described ‘Is Dog Eared’ as the weakest track on the album. I disagree with that. Now, the lyrics are obscure at best, but there’s something that strikes me as incredibly honest about it. If you haven’t figured it out yet, ‘Is Dog Eared’ is an anagram for Eddie Argos. I’ve been rearranging all the letters in the lyrics – especially the ones that seem a bit out of place, like “I still hear”- probably an absolutely wrong thing to do and not at all what Eddie meant. It’s a puzzling one, but still very good. I’ll be analyzing, like the nosy person I am, using the Dan Didio secret message formula next. After the fairly intense middle of the album come two more lighthearted songs – ‘Martin Kemp’ and ‘Axl Rose’. I think fans of the previous Art Brut albums will like these most: they’re straightforward, anthemic and likely brilliant live. I don’t even know why I’m writing this review, as Eddie apparently already knows what I’m thinking (and all of us, apparently), according to ‘I Am the Psychic’, an Elastica-short rocker which is slowly elbowing itself up to be my favourite off the album. ‘Ice Hockey’ (titled as such because Eddie said he would like to be able to say he’d like ‘Ice Hockey’ played at his funeral – read our interview with the man here) is an oddly reassuring song about death, a topic I wouldn’t really normally associate with Art Brut.

In some ways, this album is weightier than the ones that came before. I don’t see that as a detriment. It should also be noted that Eddie sings quite well on this one. I don’t have any confirmation that is Eddie singing here, but if that’s him, he should certainly sing more often, the intonation is quite lovely actually. The acoustic guitar is nice here too, which is a bit of an Art Brut rarity; if I’m not mistaken I believe the only other track with acoustic previously was the ‘Bang Bang Rock ‘n’ Roll’ era B-side ‘Home Altars of Mexico’. Lastly and finishing off the album quite well is ‘Sealand’; it’s incredibly sweet, and features Frederica Feedback on the backing vocals. Why wasn’t she on backing vocals before? She does a fantastic job. There’s a bit of a self-reference to 2007’s ‘It’s a Bit Complicated’s ‘People in Love’ here, too…a bit of an updating of a previous sentiment.

As a whole, I found ‘Brilliant! Tragic!’ to be very good. I’m not certain where I would personally rank it with the rest of the Art Brut albums, though; in some ways, it’s very different. They really offer something with a certain depth this time around, and hopefully that will be fully appreciated by the masses.


‘Brilliant! Tragic!’ is released on Monday (23 May) on Cooking Vinyl.

(* Another anagram is ‘miserable coitus’ but I think that was fully covered on the first album.)


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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