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2009: The Highlights

 
By on Sunday, 3rd January 2010 at 4:43 pm
 

2009 has been and gone, and it seems just about every half-way decent site has been giving us their run down of 2009. There Goes The Fear, liking to be a bit different, has done things a bit backwards – we gave you our “10 of 2010”, the hottest 10 bands to watch out for in 2010, in early December. Now that we’re actually in 2010, why not look back at the year that was 2009….

Albums wise, it was a pretty impressive year full of quality talent both new and old. Below are my favourite 10 albums of 2009, or you can catch Jess’ 9 albums of 2009. Unfortunately we haven’t had time to write a review for all of them, however

1) Mew (pictured top)No more stories
Without a doubt my album of the year – a strong collection of creative masterpieces, quiet and chilled in places and a euphoric celebration in other places. A gem in this small Danish band’s crown that everyone should listen to at least once. Jess reviewed it here
2) Temper TrapConditions
Okay, nobody could miss the ubiquity of “Sweet Disposition” in the second half of 2009. However, many people missed the aceness of the whole album, packed full of pop hooks.
3) IdlewildPost Electric Blues
Their seventh studio album, and the Scottish band return to form after two albums in the doldrums. Not quite as good as “The Remote Part”, but nonetheless a fantastic collection that they should be proud of.

… and the best of the rest:
4) Boxer RebellionUnion (read review or read the interview)
5) Marmaduke DukeDuke Pandemonium (read review)
6) Tegan and SaraSainthood
7) Silversun PickupsSwoon
8 ) Noah and the WhaleThe First Days of Spring (read the review)
9) Frank TurnerPoetry of the Deed
10) MetricFantasies

Gigs wise, I’ve popped my top 10 of 2009 below. Mary reviewed her best gigs of the year here. It’s been a mixed year, with plenty of quality live music (below), as well as a few that I later think “errrr, what was I thinking???” (see: The Enemy, Official Secrets Act etc)

Top 10 gigs of the year:
1) Mew at London’s ICA – Thursday 16th July
The first time I caught the fantastic Mew live, and took me from a casual fan to a
2) Silversun Pickups at Oxford’s O2 Academy 2 – Monday 6th July
I went in expecting not much, I left very much impressed. Professional, amusing, fun, but above all great tunes from an unassuming American band.
3) Radio 1 Big Weekend at Swindon’s Lidiard Park – Saturday 9th May
Okay, so the sets were a bit on the shorter side of things, but nowhere else could we catch Doves, Friendly Fires, Basement Jaxx, Florence and the Machine (pictured right), Temper Trap and more in one place. Plus, it introduced us to Stornoway, one of 2010’s brightest hopes.

… and the best of the rest:
4) The Temper Trap at Bristol’s Thekla – Tuesday 22nd September
5) Bloc Party at Reading Rivermead – Friday 30th October and Bloc Party at Wolverhampton’s Civic Hall – Sunday 1st February
6) Muse at Teignmouth’s Den – Saturday 5th September
7) Keane at London’s O2 Arena – Thursday 12th February
8 ) Joshua Radin at Oxford’s O2 Academy 2 – Wednesday 22nd July
9) Delphic and Two Door Cinema Club at Southampton Joiners – Tuesday 27th October
10) Idlewild at Oxford Academy Sunday 18th October

We’ll be back in full from Tomorrow, Monday 4th January, with next to no more looking back at 2009 now. Thanks for reading us in 2009, and we look forward to spending 2010 with you.

 

Thom’s Top Albums of 2008

 
By on Wednesday, 31st December 2008 at 11:07 am
 

I did intend to do a full top ten, but seeing as I ran out of time I’m gonna list (in no particular order) the top albums of 2008.. I didn’t get time to cut down my shortlist either..

MGMT – Oracular Spectacular – This is the only album I ranked and I did so at Number One. A little cliched? Probably.. Predictable? Yes.. They’re topping loads of lists for this accolade (including the NME) and so perhaps this wasn’t the most shocking, but the truth is that I was praying for a 2008 release on this album (though strictly it was first released in 2007 the retail and UK versions fell in 2008). These physc-rockers have created the best album in a long while. It falls under no specific genre or style, yet is instantly listenable.

Highlights – Time To Pretend, Kids, The Youth

[youtube:http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=bIEOZCcaXzE]

MGMT – Kids

The Metros – More Money, Less Grief – The most under rated debut of the year. If you could bottle London, muggings, sexual riots, ASBOs, depression, topshop and all, then press it on to a CD, it would sound like this. The South London based garage indie rockers have produced one of the best albums of the year, every track is brilliant and the signles released have been on par with the quality of the album as a whole. This definately deserves a listen.

Highlights – Talk About It, Last Of The Lookers, Education Pt.2, Sexual Riot

[youtube:http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=zw55Dr324dY]

The Metros –  Education Pt. 2 (Live)

Bloc Party – Intimacy – The unexpected third album from Bloc Party was a pleasant surprise, and anyone lucky enough to see them live this year were lucky as they maintained top form through festivals and tours. The album was a digital adventure in to varying sounds, lead single ‘Mercury’ was a stark contrast to some of the other more mellow singles. It wasn’t low on energy either, ‘Trojan Horse’ amongst others going down a treat at live shows.

Highlights – Signs (whilst there are a load on this album, this track is a must listen

[youtube:http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=FWH3WAe6a_0]

Bloc Party – Talons

Continue reading Thom’s Top Albums of 2008

 

Best Of 2008: Albums

 
By on Sunday, 28th December 2008 at 1:30 pm
 

It’s been a pretty amazing year for music around the UK, and following on from my top 10 of 2007, here is my top 10 of 2008.

Viva Stereo (roar lion roar album cover)10 – Viva Stereo – Roar Lion Roar
You’ve probably not heard much about this Scottish collective. However, their third album was a surprise favourite for me – anthemic, accessible, slightly My Bloody Valentine and yet still so gorgeous.

Read more about Viva Stereo here.

Favourite: Knee High Boots.

9 – Sigur RósMeð suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust
As ever, an amazing collection from the Icelandic group. More pop than previous albums, their songs sound all the more amazing. I caught them live at Hydro Connect Festival in Scotland, where they preceded Franz Ferdinand and blew them out of the water. As the sun went down, they soundtracked the festival for us, showing their sense of humour and making beautiful music that had more than a few grown men in tears.

Favourite: Inní mér syngur vitleysingur

8 – Ra Ra RiotThe Rhumb Line
Dark in places, Ra Ra Riot come from the same school of musical geekiness as Vampire Weekend, but with a bit more serious and a bit less money. Dark in places, the group are still recovering from the death of their drummer in summer 2007, which shows on tracks like “Winter ’05”.

Favourite: Dying is Fine

Continue reading Best Of 2008: Albums

 

My Top 10 Albums of 2007

 
By on Tuesday, 1st January 2008 at 7:29 pm
 

This is the time of year it seems just about every credible publication is doing a “best of 2007” albums, so I thought I’d join them and do a quick top 10 of my favourite albums this past year. I’ve chosen the top 10 from the 74 albums I’ve “acquired” (either downloaded / bought the CD of / been given the CD of). Disagree? Just say in the comments below.

  • Memorable-ness – Does it have you humming it for days after? Can you remember snippets of lyrics?
  • “Car factor” – Can you put it on play and leave it going without skipping any tracks / few tracks?
  • Irritability – Can you have tracks on repeat without wanting to throw the CD out of the window?
  • Musical quality – Is it likely to be a classic / seen as a highlight of the artist’s career?
  • Enjoy-ability – Is it fun? Get you going?
  • Innovation – How innovative is it?

10. Jack Peñate – Matinee
Jack Penate - MatineeHe may just be one man with a funny swirl over his name, but his album turned out to be one of the most consistent of the year. Many of the tracks are single-worthy, fun, danceable and just the sort of thing that goes down a storm at many end-of term parties.

Tales of bitterness, nights out, missed opportunities, and images of guys in smart suits akin to West Side Story make this album the first in my 2007 top ten.

Buy the CD on Amazon

9. Mika – Life in Cartoon Motion
Mika - Life In Cartoon MotionWho couldn’t have heard Mika’s first single, Grace Kelly, which bothered the top 10 for a few months at the start of the year. Fun, simple pop tunes that live are just quality party tunes.

Many people claimed Mika was trying to capture Freddie Mercury, and yes, he does sound a tiny bit like him, but is completely different: the tunes are quite possibly more girly than anything Freddie did, and his shows are far more like an acid trip than Queen could ever pull off.

His come down tunes, “Relax, Take it Easy,” “Any Other World” and “Happy Ending” are quality tunes in their own right, comedowns for the end of the party. All in all a quality mixture of pop, rock, and pure fun.

My Live Review | Buy the CD on Amazon

8.The Wombats – A Guide To Love, Loss and Desperation
Wombats - A Guide To Love, Loss and DesperationI only really got into this a couple of weeks ago after the release of “Let’s Dance To Joy Division”, but it was on repeat all the way home from the US, with their amusing tales of urban English life. Songs like “Let’s Dance to Joy Division” celebrate English irony brilliantly, tunes that just have everyone dancing for the hills.

They’re knowledgeable, and the whole album is very tongue-in-cheek, which is just what modern indie-pop should be.

Buy the CD on Amazon

7. I’m From Barcelona – Let me Introduce My Friends
I'm From Barcelona - Let Me Introduce My FriendsI’ll admit it, I didn’t think I’d like this album. 29 people on a record sounds like a recipe for destruction if you ask me, but somehow they pull it off without sounding as chaotic as the Polyphonic Spree do at times.

Songs like “We’re From Barcelona” are fun, simple tunes which has all the vibe of a secondary-school band gone pro. EP song “Britney” unfortunately doesn’t make an appearance on this album, but if it did, the album would be even higher up my list.

Buy the CD on Amazon

6. Band of Horses – Cease To Begin
Band of Horses - Cease To BeginOpening song, “Is there a Ghost” is enough for Band of Horses to deserve their 6th place position on this list. A quality, haunting tune that just captures the whole vibe of the album – musically capable, listener – accessible.

The entire collection sounds far more polished and consistent than their debut, “Everything, All the Time”, which whilst had moments of brilliance, failed to capture the consistency of this collection.

Buy the CD on Amazon

5. Radiohead – In Rainbows
Radiohead - In RainbowsA suprise release, Radiohead seemed to garner more headlines for their “Music Industry ruining” way of release and letting people choose the price they wanted to pay for the download of the tracks as an MP3 file.

However, the album wa, in my opinion, one of their strongest yet. A distinctly electronic feel, they combined their solo efforts into a collection that was strong, consistent, and interesting. I wouldn’t be suprised if it turns out to be one of their strongest of their career.

My Review of In Rainbows | Buy the CD on Amazon

4. Stars – In our Bedroom After the War
Stars - In Our Bedroom After The WarI bought this one on a whim – I didn’t know much about Stars, but quickly grew to love them. Songs like the haunting “Barricade”, the danceable “The Night Starts Here” and the yearning “Bitches in Tokyo” make for a collection that builds on their previous albums (which I’ve since acquired), and makes a strong and consistent collection that I’ll be listening to for months to come no doubt.

Buy the CD on Amazon

3. Tegan and Sara – The Con
Tegan and Sara - The Con

They may be two lesbian identical twin sisters, but don’t let you think they’re a novelty act – far from it. They’re a quality duo, who make amazing short stories for the 00’s generation.

Produced by Death Cab For Cutie’s Chris Walla, The Con is their most accomplished yet, full of drama like their previous records, but a bit more believable, and a bit more stable now that they’re settled down with partners. They seem happier, if that’s possible, which is always good.

Buy the CD on Amazon

2. The National – Boxer
The National - BoxerThe National’s fourth album, Boxer is a very consistent record, though unfortunately not quite as good as their break-through “Alligator”.

They seem to be more at home with themselves, not quite as angry as standout songs on Alligator “Mr. November” or “Lit Up”. Instead, all of the songs are accomplished, but not as much emotion, which is a shame

The National @ The Astoria Live Review | The National – Boxer – My Review | Buy the CD on Amazon

1. Bloc Party – A Weekend in The City
Bloc Party - A Weekend In The CityI’ll admit it here. I wasn’t a big fan of their debut, Silent Alarm. I thought it was crap. However, once I listened to A Weekend in the City I “got” Bloc Party, and fell in love with both albums at once.

Songs such as “I Still Remember” and “Sunday” are the standouts for me, both quality songs that deserve the huge audience Bloc Party have garnered. I’ve possibly listened to this album more times than any other album, and will continue to do so for 2008 no doubt.
My Album Review | Buy the CD on Amazon

Continue reading My Top 10 Albums of 2007

 
 
 

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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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