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Video(s) of the Moment #287: Band of Horses

 
By on Thursday, 24th June 2010 at 6:00 pm
 

Editor Phil caught American band Band of Horses 2 weeks ago in Oxford. If you haven’t had a chance to see them live yet, check out this fragile, emotional performance of ‘Infinite Arms’ they did for Canadian telly recently. It’s gorgeous. Directly below that, I’ve included a Black Cab Sessions performance of ‘Ode to LRC’ filmed on 10th June that shows Band of Horses is equally good in the cramped confines of a taxi.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4aZoZL4KE1Y[/youtube]

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/12594263[/vimeo]

 

Live Review: Band of Horses at Oxford O2 Academy

 
By on Tuesday, 15th June 2010 at 2:00 pm
 

One of the first wave of Blog-Buzz bands to go supersonic (along with The Shins and The National), Band of Horses took their third offering, Infinate Arms, to Oxford’s O2 Academy on Friday night. I wasn’t in the best frame of mind, coming down with quite a severe migraine afterwards (not due to Band of Horses I hasten to add), thus the slower time it’s taken for this review to appear.

From their opening “Ode to LRC”, frontman Ben Bridwell made it clear that they were there for a good time, promising to “mix it up a bit for those of you who saw us down the road…” (meaning their sold out show at the Roundhouse two days previously). Loud, and in a jubilant mood they were in high spirits and a lot more talkative than the NME review of their London show had had me believe. Mixing up songs from all three albums, they seemed to get stronger as the set progressed, building on the anthemic “Is there a Ghost” early on, which had everyone singing along beautifully.

Their backdrop for the evening was a range of photos from the bands’ travels mixed in with a few stunning animations and wildlife snaps which complemented the music perfectly.

Band of Horses are playing the Reading and Leeds festivals in August, and if you’re down that way you should definitely catch them.
Continue reading Live Review: Band of Horses at Oxford O2 Academy

 

Album Review: Various Artists – The Twilight Saga: Eclipse Soundtrack

 
By on Tuesday, 15th June 2010 at 12:00 pm
 

Against my better judgement and as hard as I tried to resist, I have to admit that I am a Twilight fan. What drew me in to the books was the first movie, and one of the reasons I liked it so much was the fantastic soundtrack. The Twilight series always manages to get some amazing bands on their soundtracks, many of whom write original songs, and they integrate them seamlessly into the films. And while I can’t speak for how well it will fit with the tone of the film (it isn’t released in America until 30th June and in England until 9th July), the soundtrack for ‘Eclipse’ is certainly as good as the last two.

You can’t review a Twilight soundtrack without mentioning Muse. They have contributed a song to each of the three Twilight soundtracks, which is not surprising, as they’re author Stephenie Meyer’s favorite band, but of the three, this is probably my least favorite. In general, I agree with US Editor Mary’s review of it: that it’s good, but it’s a bit cheesy – it’s definitely a grower.

TGTF favorites Metric open the album with their track ‘Eclipse (All Yours),’ and it’s a great way to begin. Vocalist Emily Haines hits gorgeous high notes in the chorus — “Now I’m all yours / I’m not afraid, I’m yours” — channeling the voice of protagonist Bella Swan. Working with film composer Howard Shore, they created a great song, but it’s missing a bit of the intensity and attitude that I’m used to from the Canadian indie-rockers. Another standout track comes from Florence and the Machine, with the track ‘Heavy in Your Arms’. As usual, it’s the stunning vocals that really make this dark, intense song, with Flo going from more reserved singing in the verses to really belting it out in the chorus: “I’m so heavy, heavy, heavy in your arms.” Florence and her machine may be better-known, but soulful Australian popstress Sia gives her a run for her money with her gorgeous, haunting vocals on ‘My Love.’

One band set to gain a lot of popularity from their inclusion on the soundtrack is Fanfarlo, who TGTF interviewed back in December. They contributed the folksy ‘Atlas,’ which you can see a stripped-down acoustic version of below. The song has a much lighter, more carefree feel than the majority of the album and the vocals are flawless. Adding to the slew of great female vocalists is Bat for Lashes‘s Natasha Khan, who collaborated with Beck on the hypnotic and haunting ‘Let’s Get Lost,’ with Khan taking the lead vocals and Beck providing the backing vocals and synth.

Not to be outdone, the male-led bands also contribute a dizzying array of fantastic music. While Muse held the rock mantle on the first soundtrack with ‘Supermassive Black Hole’ and shared it with Band of Horses on the ‘New Moon’ soundtrack, this time the honor goes to blues-rock duo The Black Keys with their song ‘Chop and Change.’ It’s raw and gritty with a great guitar riff, and everything you’d expect from the Akron, Ohio band. Indie darlings Vampire Weekend are perhaps the most appropriately named of all the bands on the soundtrack, and their song, ‘Jonathan Low,’ is unsurprisingly one of the most upbeat. Recorded towards the end of last year, it’s a bit different from what you might expect from Vampire Weekend’s recent material and is richly orchestrated, with a 12-string guitar part played by Rostam Batmanglij.

A somewhat surprising inclusion is British electro duo UNKLE, whose song ‘With You in My Head’ featuring The Black Angels is at once catchy and mysterious, dance-able and ethereal. Providing a bit of Americana is Band of Horses, who admittedly “don’t know crap about [Twilight]” but think “they put really really cool soundtracks together”. An outtake from the band’s most recent album, ‘Infinite Arms,’  ‘Life on Earth’ is slow and relaxing and has absolutely gorgeous vocal harmonies. And rounding out the album in spectacular fashion is Cee Lo Green of Gnarls Barkley with the upbeat and soulful ‘What Part of Forever.’

Even if you can’t stand the Twilight Saga, do me a favour and go buy this album. If you like the bands we cover on TGTF, chances are you’ll love it – hell, half of them are on the soundtrack!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pb2c-eBuKOI[/youtube]

View Full Track Listing After the Cut

Continue reading Album Review: Various Artists – The Twilight Saga: Eclipse Soundtrack

 

Video of the Moment #261: Band of Horses

 
By on Friday, 4th June 2010 at 6:00 pm
 

Beardy Carolinan group Band of Horses recently stopped by Scottish ex-pat Craig Ferguson’s late night programme in America to perform a song. MGMT have their ‘Congratulations’ but Band of Horses send their ‘Compliments’ – watch and enjoy below.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rca5nyuENLY[/youtube]

You can read Jess’s review of the new album by Band of Horses, ‘Infinite Arms’, here on TGTF.

 

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

 

Preview: Reading and Leeds Festival August 2010

 
By on Monday, 29th March 2010 at 7:15 pm
 

After Glastonbury, Reading and Leeds Festivals are the granddaddy of all music festivals. Some of the best bands, the biggest exclusives and best lineups all come together for three massive days over the August Bank Holiday weekend. Last year they “played it safe” with a lineup of Kings of Leon, Arctic Monkeys and Radiohead, but this year they’ve gone for a bit more interesting selection, returning to their rock roots.

This year, The Libertines are going to be the big news of the festival, with Pete Doherty and Carl Barat putting their differences behind them to play the festival, supporting Reading’s Saturday night’s headliners, Arcade Fire. Meanwhile, Blink 182 and Guns ‘n’ Roses also headline the main stage.

If we were going this year, the NME stage looks pretty good, with LCD Soundsystem, Klaxons and Band of Horses all set to play what is our pick of the stages so far. Kele from Bloc Party is also playing, intriguingly billed already higher than The Drums and he hasn’t even released a track yet.

The Festival takes place on the August Bank Holiday weekend – Friday 27th to Sunday 29th August 2010. Tickets are on sale now at See Tickets. Tickets are £180.00 for the weekend, or £75 per day ticket.

Catch the full lineup (so far) below…

Continue reading Preview: Reading and Leeds Festival August 2010

 
 
 

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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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