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Alvvays / August and September 2015 UK Tour

By on Tuesday, 31st March 2015 at 9:00 am

Canadian alt-pop band and SXSW 2015 alums Alvvays have just announced a late summer tour of the UK around their already scheduled festival appearances at this year’s Reading and Leeds, Ireland’s Electric Picnic and the End of the Road festival. The tour will culminate with the band’s previously announced live dates in Manchester and London.

Tickets for the following shows go on sale tomorrow, Wednesday the 1st of April, except for the Manchester and London shows, which are available now. Previous Alvvays coverage on TGTF is this way.

Sunday 30th August 2015 – York Duchess
Monday 31st August 2015 – Sheffield Leadmill
Tuesday 1st September 2015 – Cardiff Globe
Wednesday 2nd September 2015 – Bristol Fleece
Thursday 3rd September 2015 – Nottingham Rescue Rooms
Monday 7th September 2015 – Brighton Concorde 2
Wednesday 9th September 2015 – Glasgow Oran Mor
Thursday 10th September 2015 – Manchester Academy 2
Friday 11th September 2015 – London Shepherd’s Bush Empire


(SXSW 2015 flavoured!) Live Review: Alvvays with Moon King at Newcastle Think Tank – 23rd January 2015

By on Tuesday, 27th January 2015 at 2:00 pm

Tonight, Alvvays return to Newcastle after a triumphant first gig in the city in 2014 supporting Real Estate, where they impressed as much, if not more, as the headliners. But can they handle the pressure of drawing a crowd under their own steam? That most of the tour sold well in advance, the evidence suggests yes. This is how they did it.

First up are Moon King, a Toronto spacey-pop four-piece, based around the complimentary boy-girl vocals of Maddy Wilde and Daniel Benjamin, who, due to Benjamin’s boyish voice, both sing in the same register. He acknowledges that as a reasonably obscure Canadian outfit, the crowd are unlikely to know any of their tunes, which is largely true, but the songs themselves have enough drive and melody to warm up the crowd. Their approach is casual, ramshackle at times – everyone knows the guitar is going out of tune, but they don’t care to tweak it, presumably thinking that it adds to the ‘ambient’ nature of the sound.

Which, to be fair, it does. Benjamin is clad in baggy black pants and t-shirt, teamed with black work boots that are literally falling apart at the seams. Even though at times he seems directionless, moping about the stage, at others he throws some genuine frontman shapes with the mic stand. An intriguing combination of attributes. Moon King trade in slackerism then, with the obligatory climax of hectic guitar and synth sweeps, and it all works nicely as an introduction to the headliners.

Where Moon King are relaxed, Alvvays are (up)tight. Their foundation is Phil MacIsaac’s Ringo Starr-esque drumming: tik-tik-tiki-tik goes his hi-hat, as precise as a metronome, and, on first hearing, as imaginative as a stone. But as one listens deeper, there comes a realisation that, even though Alvvays’ sound is made up of modest contributions – for instance, lead singer Molly Rankin’s guitar is just a thin, fuzzed noise throughout – all the pieces fit into a neat whole that is rather impressive indeed. The only part that isn’t modest is Rankin’s voice; her slight frame and blonde bob are the visual focal point, and her voice similarly dominates the sound.

The crowd liven up considerably when ‘Archie, Marry Me’ unveils its modestly strummed intro chords. And rightly so, for it’s a clever observational ditty, accurately describing the confused interregnum between college and commitment. Blessed with a killer chorus, which alvvays helps. They play the whole album, plus the hazy, surrealist ‘Archie’ B-side ‘Underneath Us’, and a freshly-minted number that continues in the same vein (‘Your Type’). Mention should go to Alec O’Hanley’s guitar work: he treads a clever line between playing in deference to the song, and really breaking out the distortion and feedback that every lead guitarist secretly yearns to show off. By the time the set climaxes with the melancholia of ‘Party Police’, both band and audience are warmed up sufficiently to treat its yearning vocal line with the rapture it deserves.

The surname of each member of Alvvays is, at least superficially, Celtic – Rankin, MacLellan, O’Hanley, Murphy, MacIsaac – which makes more sense of O’Hanley’s comment that on this night on their tour they’re closer to home than they’ve been for a while, which puts their ostensibly Canadian sound into some sort of context. Is there, instinctively buried inside their DNA, the code to generate some Scots arch-pop? They certainly share more familial attributes with Camera Obscura than Bryan Adams. And in their combining their Celtic-pop influences with heavily-reverbed, shoegazy guitar and lo-fi synth washes, they’ve come up with something rather lovely indeed.

Alvvays will be appearing at SXSW 2015, and you can read Carrie’s preview of their showcasing in Austin here. Their current tour in the UK finishes up in Bristol this Saturday; details of this tour are this way.


(SXSW 2015 flavoured!) Bands to Watch #323: Alvvays

By on Friday, 9th January 2015 at 12:00 pm

Toronto alt-pop quintet Alvvays are beginning 2015 as they ended 2014, with a flurry of activity. Their self-titled debut album was released last July and has been lauded as one of the best releases of the year by the likes of NME, the Evening Standard and Drowned in Sound.

The band spent the early part of last autumn touring in Canada and America, then hopped the pond to play in the UK and Europe with Real Estate and Foxygen before wrapping up 2014 with another round of headline dates in North America. Picking up precisely where they left off, Alvvays will open the new year with a full UK tour later this month, followed by European live dates in February and an appearance at SXSW 2015 in March before a spring tour of North America with Colin Meloy and The Decemberists.

Fans of indie pop bands like Belle and Sebastian or Teenage Fanclub will find sonic kindred spirits in Alvvays. The band’s lightly trippy, mildly ironic musicality consists of mid-tempo rhythms and melodic instrumental lines deftly woven into vocal lines that are slightly aloof and removed from the proceedings, both in their lyrics and their restrained dynamic affect. Hints of synthesized keyboards flitter about, keeping a sense of lightness over the full warmth of the bass. Lead singer Molly Rankin’s voice isn’t particularly distinctive except for its consistently pleasant tone, which never falls prey to the strange affectations that many female singers succumb to. Her vocal temperament and the muted production of the vocal effects are a perfect match to the deliberate emotional detachment in her lyrics; for example, the lines “so honey take me by the hand and we can sign some papers / forget the invitations floral arrangements and bread makers” in ‘Archie, Marry Me’.

While Alvvays’ sound seems almost suffocatingly homogenous at first, closer listening reveals subtle degrees of variety. ‘Adult Diversion’, the opening track on the ‘Alvvays’ LP, opens with punchy percussion and a blatantly hooky guitar intro that melts into a muted, understated vocal line. The aforementioned ‘Archie, Marry Me’ and current single ‘Next of Kin’ are upbeat and optimistic, while mid-album tracks ‘Party Police’, ‘The Agency Group’ and ‘Dives’ display a darker, hazier mood. The oddly titled ‘Atop a Cake’ is purely catchy twee pop, sharply constrasted by the starry hypnoticism of final track ‘Red Planet’.

Alvvays’ appearance at SXSW 2014 was a promising introduction for the Canadian quintet, and it proved to be the beginning of wildly successful year for a band whose star is clearly on the rise. The bar of expectation will undoubtedly be raised for their showing in Austin later this year, perhaps giving them an opportunity to expand upon the current limits of their style.


Alvvays / January and September 2015 UK Tour

By on Monday, 22nd December 2014 at 9:00 am

Canadian alt-pop quintet Alvvays have had an impressive year in 2014, with their self-titled debut album listed among NME’s Albums of the Year and their singles ‘Archie, Marry Me’ and ‘Next of Kin’ making the A-list on BBC 6music. You can watch the video for ‘Next of Kin’ at the bottom of the page; the full album is out now via Transgressive Records.

Alvvays are set to begin 2015 with a tour of the UK and have already sold out their January shows in Manchester and London. But if you missed out, have no fear, as the band have just announced a second show in each of those cities for next September. Tickets for the following dates are available now.

Wednesday 21st January 2015 – Manchester Deaf Institute (sold out)
Thursday 22nd January 2015 – Leeds Brudenell Social Club
Friday 23rd January 2015 – Newcastle Think Tank
Saturday 24th January 2015 – Glasgow King Tut’s
Monday 26th January 2015 – Nottingham Bodega
Tuesday 27th January 2015 – Birmingham Hare and Hounds
Wednesday 28th January 2015 – London Scala (sold out)
Friday 30th January 2015 – Oxford Academy 2
Saturday 31st January 2015 – Bristol Thekla
Thursday 10th September 2015 – Manchester Academy 2
Friday 11th September 2015 – London Shepherd’s Bush Empire



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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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