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10 for 2013: #1 – Brother and Bones

By on Friday, 14th December 2012 at 11:00 am

In the last couple weeks, we asked you to vote for the top 10 artists you thought would be big in 2013. We can now reveal the winning band, whose humble gig at the Great Escape in 2011 we humbly reported on. Without further adieu…congrats to Brother and Bones for taking the top honours in our poll this year. John discusses further on why Brother and Bones aren’t folking around…

Pioneering and genre-bending music really is the new black, with Radio1, A&R representatives globally and every music publication jumping onto the cutting edge of what’s innovative music. There’s a now never ending stream of surf pop indie with a hint of Morrissey’s sombre lyrics.

While it may be the new black, but there’s a feeling that with this torrent of innovative sound that’s being fired at our ears, people want something a little more genuine. A little older fashioned and well, a little bit special. Something that brings you back to earth, amidst the wave of synth driven filth that is polluting the airwaves.

Enter Brother and Bones – a band described as a mix between the folky rhythms of Mumford and Sons and the bluesy rock and roll of Jack White’s The Dead Weather. Brother and Bones as a concept has been a long time coming, but for Richard Thomas, the band’s frontman and pint-sized driving force, it began with everything falling into place, quite nicely. In that way nothing normally seems to: “It was probably just over 2 years ago that the band really started. It all arose from the fact that I had an idea of what I wanted to do musically at last.

“I’d done some stuff with a string quartet and other bands and I’d just come back from travelling and it really just started from there with the boys. I got together with Rob, who I’d known for ages. We’d always played music together back in Cornwall, but in the beginning it really was just a case of getting together and jamming with people I felt musically comfortable with.

“I knew James Willard, our guitarist, from other bands I’d been with; I was sort of racking my brains for people I knew. I wanted a good guitarist who I knew would play hard and was into the same stuff as me, with a real blues background and he was the person who really stood out for me.”

Musical chemistry is an underrated concept in this era of genre-smashing artists, but with James and Richard both shredding their guitars to pieces, you can tell that there’s science happening behind the scenes. These guys rock too hard for it to just be a coincidence, right?

“I got introduced to Si through a friend of ours who toured together and he’s always telling me all these funny tour stories of when they went to places like China. I won’t get into them, not really to PG, a little more R rated. But Si and I kind of just ended jamming through some tunes I knew were going to form part of the Brother and Bones set, and well, it just worked.”

From word one with Richard and the boys in the band though, it’s obvious that music was the priority. The visceral nature of their writing shines through in every song, from the ballads, to the balls out, heart-on-your-sleeve belters. Take the lead track from their EP ‘I See Red’ (video below). Richard let TGTF in on what exactly he was feeling when he put pen to paper: “It was written as a blues just out of frustration. I couldn’t sleep and it was a 2 AM song. When you feel like telling people to fuck off that aren’t necessarily the people you can say that to, the easiest thing to do is write a song about it.


“You know sometimes you feel like it would all be a lot easier to cut your losses, cut your ties and just worry about yourself for a bit. There was a number of people and incidents that it was about, although there was a straw that broke the camel’s back! I suppose that state of mind makes you start to question things and people you shouldn’t, hence the closing statement ‘it’s all in my head, you give me roses and I see red’”.

With the pure visceral emotion of the blues, combined with the old fashioned rhythms the band seem to thrive on, the music this band creates in the live arena is something to be reckoned with. I first got a glance of the south coast rockers at quintessentially southern festival, The Great Escape in Brighton, where bands from all over the UK and even some from farther afield converge.

The atmosphere was that classic mix of A&R pretentiousness mixed with just a hint of nervousness from the Brother and Bones themselves. As the Fenders started to roar, the spectacle began. A sweaty mass of stomping, bass thuds and rock and roll filled the small underground venue and had the audience hypnotised by the pure primal energy the five-piece displayed. The band may be tight on record, but if they were items in a supermarket they’d be slapped with a sticker saying ‘best experienced live’. The band’s high energy performances have seen what was a cult following only a year ago thrive and blossom into the mass of fans who until just recently would have never frequented the band’s Web site and Facebook page.

“Yannis is a half Greek, half Scottish chef, for example. We all bring something completely different to the mix when we jam and live it all just seems to click. We’re pretty fortunate that we get on away from just playing our music as well as being friends in the band and that’s really why it works.

“I think though 2 years down the line; everything has really moved on and changed. I mean, [I feel that way] every time we go into the studio. I think though that in the live arena, that’s where we are really finding our feet at the moment, I mean the recognition we got from the Live Nation Awards, for example, is just awesome and to see some of the names we are beside is just awesome.”

So here’s some advice: you can trawl SoundCloud, MySpace and all the blogs you want. If you want something genuine, primeval and just a little bit mental, check out Brother and Bones live for some absolutely folking great riffs, some folking brutal passion and a folking good time.


Album Review: Brother and Bones – For All We Know EP

By on Friday, 28th September 2012 at 12:00 pm

Brother and Bones are in that unique position for bands where they haven’t hit the mainstream yet. They aren’t being spammed on Radio 1 like sound-alikes Mumford and Sons and Bon Iver. Instead, they are touring like there’s no tomorrow and building up a strong core fan base, a fan base who when they strike it big, if not when, will be at the forefront of the ‘I told you they’d be huge.’

Their summer consisted of travelling around the UK and parts of Europe shaking festival audiences to their core with their primal brand of folk, rock and roll. I had the luck of bumping into the lads at Beach Break Live and catching two of their sets, firstly on the Main Stage, and secondly in a tent on the other side of the site. Anyone familiar with the band would not have been surprised by the energy and form of their set, but it was new track ‘I See Red’ that made everyone’s ears prick up. That one is going to be huge.

Their new EP, ‘For All We Know’ is being released on the 12th of November and is a quick burst/crash course in what this five-piece are all about: acoustic melodies breaking into barnstorming rock and roll belters. The EP starts with ‘I See Red’. A song which starts somewhat differently to the others, with more of a funky Red Hot Chilli Peppers kind of bass roll, then roars into a instantly remember able chorus where lead singer Richard Thomas screams “oh won’t you let me go / oh won’t you leave me be”. Mr. Thomas is obviously one not be disturbed when he wants some alone time! It’s a song borne of intense frustration and ends with the harsh but poignant words of “it’s all in my head / you give me roses and I see red”.

Next up is the title track for the EP, ‘For All We Know’, a complete polar opposite to its predecessor. A slow burning acoustic ballad, with gently pounding drums crashing in the background, building up to a mass chorus that will have audiences nodding, much like I was when I listened to the track. It’s seems like a sad song, but Thomas’ vocal delivery is devastatingly pure and really brings some depth to what as a whole seemed a rather one dimensional song.

‘Follow Me Down’ is by far the highlight of this small selection of tunes. The band stick to what they are good at and why shouldn’t they? If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. The slightness of the opening, backed up by the echoing guitars builds the song up to a climax, and in true Brother and Bones-style, they break out into a stomping, belting chorus as the percussion department blows into overdrive. The crescendo is nothing short of epic as the rest of the band takes their hand to backing singing. Whether it’ll work live, who knows, but on record it sounds just phenomenal as the song drifts into noodling guitar solos.

To finish up you have arguable the weakest track on the EP. That’s not to say it’s poor, the quality of this record is superb, but it doesn’t have that stick-in-your-head likeability that ‘I See Red’, ‘Follow Me Down’ or ‘For All We Know’ have. The guitars and music is great as a whole and it has some seriously good breakdowns, supplemented by some super cool bongos. Everyone likes bongos! Unless it’s Cosmo Jarvis

So what’s left to say, another brilliant outing from the boys which will hopefully give them their big break. They deserve it. My advice is, on record they are a force, but this band are best experienced in the live arena. They make a huge noise and are a force to be reckoned with.


Brother and Bones’ next EP, ‘For All We Know’, will be released on the 12th of November.


Beach Break Live 2012: Day 2 Roundup

By on Wednesday, 27th June 2012 at 2:00 pm

The rain continued into Day 2 of Beach Break Live, but the spirits were still high. Powering through torrid conditions is what us Brits do best. We used to venture into Wales all the time through awful conditions, steal a few of their women, then come straight back and we’d have the best of times. Ok ,maybe the 10th century is a little different, but still, there are similarities.

To start the day of pillaging-free fun off were TGTF favourites Brother and Bones who played the main stage for the 3rd year running, saying that “Beach Break had kind of become a bit of a home away from home”. Opening the set with the somewhat ironically titled ‘Here Comes the Storm’, they were met with a mass of shivering students, none too familiar with their music. Their set mixed in some oldies and some tracks which are being recorded for their new EP. (More on that later on our exclusive interview with the boys.) They closed their short set with heavy as hell ‘Don’t Forget to Pray’, which certainly had the rain-soaked audience headbanging along with the boys from Cornwall. While the reaction may not have been great, they were by far the highlight of the main stage acts early that day.

It was a while until the next notable act hit the stage. But when he did, my wordm it was worth it. Reeling from the success he has seen this year, Labrinth stormed the stage with a huge presence. The audience responded to his brilliant stage show and his array of hits. However, there was only one song which everyone was waiting for, and that was ‘Earthquake.’ Would it be too cheesy to say he caused an ‘Earthquake’? Verdict: he did.

To follow up was another artist who saw his stock rise over 2011, Wretch 32, whose set seemed a little more laboured than Labrinth’s. While it was a good mix of covers and established hits, it lacked something that the earlier act had. Still, in ‘Traktor’ he has a solid festival favourite, which had everybody in the agricultural spirit.

DJ Fresh was up next, with a set which carried on the mediocrity. When you’d watched Nero and Chase and Status the night before, it’s difficult to think how an artist with a repertoire pretty much as long as ‘Hot Right Now’ can stand up to them.

Finally on the Main Stage was the heavyweight of the festival, Dizzee Rascal. Bouncing on stage with masses of energy, he banged out the hits. From his old school ‘Fix Up Look Sharp’ to his newest single ‘The Power’, during which he was joined on stage by DJ Fresh. By then, the atmosphere was jumping and people were going mad for Dizzee, hanging on every word and clawing their way to the front. That’s what Dizzee inspired. Closing the set with ‘Holiday’ and ‘Bonkers’, he left Pembrey as king of the site.


Brother and Bones / October and November 2012 UK Tour

By on Sunday, 3rd June 2012 at 9:00 am

TGTF favourites and personal man crush Brother and Bones have announced their first major UK headline tour in October and November. Tickets are on sale now.

The tour will coincide with a new 5 track EP released at the end of October produced by Rupert Christie (U2, Green Day, and Ian McCulloch.)

Saturday 13th October 2012 – Cambridge Portland Arms (Wish You Were Here Fest)
Tuesday 16th October 2012 – Southampton Soul Cellar
Wednesday 17th October 2012 – Brighton Hope
Thursday 18th October 2012 – Plymouth Ride Café
Friday 19th October 2012 – Bridgwater Arts Centre
Thursday 25 October 2012 – Glasgow Captain’s Rest
Friday 26th October 2012 – Manchester Deaf Institute
Sunday 28th October 2012 – Newcastle Head of Steam (Communion night)
Tuesday 30th October 2012 Birmingham Flapper
Wednesday 31st October 2012 – Cardiff Moon Club
Thursday 1st November 2012 – London Hoxton Bar and Kitchen
Friday 2nd November 2012 – Milton Keynes Crauford Arms
Wednesday 7th November 2012 – Leeds A Nation Of Shopkeepers
Thursday 8th November 2012 – Leicester Soundhouse
Friday 9th November 2012 – Guildford Boileroom


Exclusive: Richard Thomas of Brother and Bones performs three tracks in the studio for TGTF

By on Thursday, 12th April 2012 at 1:00 pm

It’s safe to say that a man who is on a European tour (supporting one of his best friends, no less) is hardly going to have a huge amount of time for a local fanboy. Not for Richard Thomas of Brother and Bones. He took several hours out of his touring schedule to record an exclusive acoustic session for TGTF.

Now, I will make no mistake in saying I think this band are going to be huge. But I will let you be the judge of that. So here he is performing three tracks exclusively for us…Mr. Richard Thomas. (Thanks very much, dear sir.)

‘(Just Another) Man in Need’

‘Gold and Silver’

‘Here Comes the Storm’


Single Review: Brother and Bones – Hold Me Like the Sun

By on Friday, 13th January 2012 at 12:00 pm

‘Hold me Like the Sun’ is my least favourite of Brother and Bones’ recent singles; however, don’t take this as me putting it down as I still love the song. I just REALLY love the other tunes they have been releasing of late.

The song benefits from the same rustic charms as its predecessors: the acoustic guitars are there, the strong baselines are there, but all with an injection of pace and high tempo. Richard Thomas’s vocals are easily the best thing about this single; his writing sublime in perfect harmony with the music. “Fear of falling/fear of emptiness/is that all that remains when we fall. Give me something to hold on to/before I’m walking hand in hand with the dark” – brilliant.

The delivery of his brilliant writing only goes to show the care and thought put into these by the writer. While as I mentioned it may not give me those goosebumps that ‘Don’t Forget to Pray’ and ‘Here Comes the Storm’ do, this single is still a fine example of why these boys are the best thing that you haven’t heard this year…yet.


The ‘Hold Me Like the Sun’ single is out now on Last Step Records.



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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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