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2018 – Still Want to Be Here

By on Monday, 24th December 2018 at 11:00 am

How have you been getting on? From our stats, most of our readers are either from America, somewhere in the UK or the Continent. That means you’ve probably been paying close attention to the shenanigans of our President and the wrangling between Parliament and the EU. This time of year 2 years ago, I wrote about the Brexit vote; so I won’t write further on the subject now. It seems since I switched over from the ‘best of’ year-end post, there’s only been more and more uncertainty. As I discussed with a friend a few days ago, as the earth enters its time to regenerate, it’s a time for reflection and introspection. 2019 will also be a year of change here at TGTF. More on that in the coming weeks.

2018 was another year of difficult losses in the music world. Troubled Swedish musician and DJ Avicii lost his battle with substance abuse. Irish vocal heroine Dolores O’Riordan, famed as the lead singer of the Cranberries, passed away after a long battle with mental illness. Another strong woman with superhuman singing talent, the Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin, passed away in the summer. The loss of Roy Clark, an American icon of country music, was mourned across America. Like bookends, two influential Lancastrian legends of rock, Mark E. Smith and Pete Shelley, left us in January and December, respectively.

As I understand from more friends than I can count, the most difficult passing of this year was Frightened Rabbit leader Scott Hutchison. Having gone missing one evening in May, we all hoped he would be found safe and sound. Some friends have told me that we should have done more, that we should have known that Scott would have tried to take his life, that ‘Floating in the Forth’ was a hint, a blueprint we should have heeded. As I’ve written before in this piece about the late Chester Bennington of Linkin Park and in other posts, mental illness is insidious and the pain from it that drives people to end their lives can’t be for nothing.

Since Scott’s passing, I had the opportunity to visit Glasgow twice. Just days after his death, I paid my respects to Michael Corr’s stirring mural made in his honour. In all the conversations I’ve had with friends about Scott’s legacy, the one thing we all soundly agreed on was that it’s becoming easier for musicians to talk about their mental health struggles. That can only be a good thing.

I want to leave you with a holiday video from Gurr and Eddie Argos (Art Brut) I wish you regular readers, musicians, bands, management and PR a happy Christmas, wonderful holidays, and a successful and prosperous new year. See you in 2019!


Single Review / Essay: William Doyle – Millersdale

By on Monday, 9th July 2018 at 12:00 pm

Back in 2015, William Doyle released his second album under the nom de plume East India Youth. The emotional, electronic bliss of ‘Culture of Volume’, which dropped on XL Recordings a short time after his showcasing at SXSW 2015, was one of my top 5 albums of the year. North American, European and UK tours to support the album followed, but then Doyle announced in March 2016 that he was ditching the East India Youth project altogether. He disappeared for a time, re-emerging later that year to release ‘the dream derealised’, a collection of nine mostly instrumental, self-described “abstract and lo-fi pieces”, with all of the album’s profits going to mental health charity Mind.

In an article with The Line of Best Fit, Doyle explained, “I’m releasing them now as a cathartic measure, and as a message for others who may be going through difficult times themselves…What I told myself at the time, what I can tell you now: You are not in danger. You are not going insane. You are not alone.” The detachment from reality that results from derealisation, also known as depersonalization disorder, often occurs with or is triggered by other mental health problems such as anxiety and depression. Read more about it here at Psychology Today. As brave as this public acknowledgment and support of mental health was, it wasn’t a one-off. Doyle has spoken at a number of events since with his first-hand knowledge of the hard slog artists go through while living out their dream vocation and the mental health problems that come as a consequence of participating in an all too often unforgiving industry. He is also working with the NHS to develop a “a mental healthcare ‘package’ that can be bought by labels and written into record deals.” Things may be moving slowly towards healthier musicians’ lives, sure, but there is reason to be optimistic, if cautiously.

Following the death of his father, he was uprooted to a Southern residential development called South Millers Dale in Hampshire. The overly ordered, cookie-cutter style of the neighbourhood was in direct opposition from the traumatic incident that led him to the new environment. As he wrote a few days ago on his Facebook page, “It was a stark change of scenery, and a strange environment for a 13 year old to process loss and experience grief. Something about the modern suburb’s artificiality, with its planned and plotted nature and its winding, serpentine roads, seemed to jar when overlaid with something so human as grief.” Doyle has since relocated several times but had the opportunity to revisit the house 2 years ago, helping him to evoke “the untethered spirit of creativity” that led him to first begin making music in his suburban bedroom as a teenager and dream of a musical career.

New single and 5-minute opus ‘Millersdale’ is the next chapter of Doyle’s mental health journey. The euphoric feel of past tracks on the 2014 Mercury Prize-nominated ‘Total Strife Forever’ and ‘Culture of Volume’ is here, along with the unfettered release of free jazz in the intro and at the bridge. His vocals recall the jaw-dropping beauty of those on ‘Carousel’ but this time, they’ve got more oomph, evidence of hope and confidence. The accompanying promo video for the single starring Doyle is a perfect foil to the song. Directed by Sapphire Goss, contrasts are smartly utilised to address the light and the dark, familiarity and disorientation, the seeming humdrum of suburbia and fireworks.

In the new promo photos to go along with the release of ‘Millersdale’, Doyle is no longer dressed in a suit like in the East India Youth days. Instead, he’s in tailored khaki from head to toe, looking like he’s about to go on safari. The suburban David Attenborough, perhaps? Maybe, maybe not. The most important things to William Doyle these days is having control over his art and not chasing anyone else’s schedule or measures of success. And like for all my friends in this pressure cooker of a business, above all, I hope he’s happy.


William Doyle’s new single ‘Millersdale’ is out now. Stream and/or buy the song and read the lyrics at his Bandcamp. To read our past articles on his previous project East India Youth, go here.


Pay It Forward: A New Phase of TGTF in 2018

By on Monday, 8th January 2018 at 11:00 am

When I first started blogging in 2009, joining up at the Philadelphia-based PopWreckoning (this one, not the one currently at, I couldn’t have predicted what was to come. I was their first contributor in Washington, DC, and I also quickly identified as their British music expert, tasked to juggle all the British releases sent my way. Music blogging on the internet was alive and well, and advertising revenue was fantastic. Positions as the USA Editor of TGTF and contributor at ClickMusic, This is Fake DIY and The CALMzine followed. In the beginning, I considered the quality and quantity of my posts of equal importance. The number of reviews I wrote across 4 music reviewing Web sites over a period of 2 years, in 2010 to the start of 2012, still blows my mind.

And then the landscape of the music blogosphere changed. In case you haven’t noticed, many music blogs have come and gone. It’s been sad to see blogs owned by friends close, and for a variety of reasons, personal and professional. Music listeners, eager for instant gratification and sometimes desiring direction from their favourite artists, turn to Spotify and other streaming services now more than ever more to find new music rather than music blogs.

So then it falls on the shoulders of smaller blogs like TGTF to provide a boutique experience for those who want more than playlists. What we do here is a labour of love. It has never been my desire to follow the big boys and play their game. We take a deeper dive into releases that might only get a brief look in the culture section of the broadsheets, if they even get a look at all. It can take us longer to deliver a review of a release because my motto has always been to do what you do well, or don’t bother to do it at all. Our interviews with artists we see the potential for greatness in are longer than those of other outlets because we want to give you more insight into their art and who they are as people. We share tour dates and videos by artists whose music we support and while we will never comprehensive, what do we post is always of quality. Taken together, these are the things that are important to me, the things that have always been in important to me in running TGTF. I sincerely hope we’ve helped you find new artists to love and support. If we have, we’ve succeeded.

If you’ve followed us over the years, you will have noticed that we have helped promote charity concerts and reviewed charity releases over the years, including the Killers’ annual charity singles to raise money for RED, benefitting The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; Maximo Park’s support of Migrant Offshore Aid Station; and Tristen’s recent Christmas single benefitting Doctors Without Borders. Into this year and beyond, we’ll be increasing our focus to raise awareness on such charitable efforts and hope you will donate what you can to those less fortunate. Are you a musician or a band currently working with a charity? Contact us through the TGTF Twitter and we’ll talk further on how we might be able to help you and your charity.

We are now living in a world where darkness has seeped into most every part of life. Music, for so many of us, has provided joy, hope, solace and comfort when we needed it most. The best way for us to pay this forward is to give our support to others in need. I hope you’ll embrace this new phase of TGTF with us.


These Wounds, They Will Not Heal: Chester Bennington and the Spectre of Depression and Suicide in Music

By on Monday, 24th July 2017 at 11:00 am

“Crawling in my skin
These wounds they will not heal
Fear is how I fall
Confusing what is real

There’s something inside me
That pulls beneath the surface
Consuming, confusing
This lack of self control I fear
Is never ending, controlling
I can’t seem to find myself again
My walls are closing in…”

– ‘Crawling’, Linkin Park, released March 2001

Life was very different in America in March 2001. This was pre-9/11, too, remember. Having grown up pretty much on what my parents listened to (unoffensive ‘60s and classical) and my brother (what’s now classic rock and ‘80s bands), then having been sucked into the boyband craze, the last thing I wanted to listen to were a rap rock/metal hybrid band called Linkin Park. I felt no connection to the growing popularity of emo and punk and the continuing rise of hip-hop. Seeing Linkin Park on Total Request Live on MTV, covered in tattoos and piercings, wearing all black and looking pretty aggro, a band like them were just about the furthest you could get from my conservative upbringing.

Although I couldn’t relate with their look and fashion aesthetic – I suspect I’d have had a different opinion of them from the start if I hadn’t seen them on MTV and in their music videos – Chester Bennington’s vocals impressed me in the depth of their emotions, the pained wailings of a man in crisis, through. You just didn’t expect a voice like that to come out of a gangly white dude with glasses. The lyrics of Linkin Park managed a good balance between measured tones to tell a story in the verses and confrontational screaming matches in the choruses. In hindsight and in the wake of Bennington’s suicide last week, this combination probably mirrored what he experienced in his own life: an existence of two extremes.

Something important we should all take to heart in his death, and also in the death of his friend Chris Cornell 2 months prior, is just how deceptive and insidious mental illness can be. Most people who are struggling with depression aren’t trying to kill themselves every waking moment of the day. By hiding how they feel from everyone else, they look okay to you and me from the outside, while struggling under the surface. Bennington had everything to live for: Linkin Park had released their seventh album, ‘One More Light’, in the spring, had completed the South American and European legs of the LP’s promotional tour and were to begin their North American campaign less than a week later in Boston. Bennington hung himself on what would have been Cornell’s 53rd birthday. While we’ll never know for sure, it’s hard to imagine Cornell’s own suicide not contributing to Bennington’s own mental state.

If you are reading this and have never contemplated taking your life, the best image I can give you to get close to the feeling is one of utter hopelessness. Imagine arriving at the lowest feeling you’ve ever felt, that you feel the future is so bleak that there’s no point in going on and seeing tomorrow. Bennington admitted in an interview with SPIN in 2009 that his battles with drug and drink had a positive side for him creatively: “I have been able to tap into all the negative things that can happen to me throughout my life by numbing myself to the pain so to speak and kind of being able to vent it through my music.” In Linkin Park’s massive 2001 hit ‘Crawling’, he explained the song was written “…about feeling like I had no control over myself in terms of drugs and alcohol.” Still, in the interview he went on to say that he was proud to be sober, so we had every reason to hope that his demons had been laid to rest. Unknown to me until doing the research for this essay, Bennington was a survivor of sexual abuse as a child, and he was bullied in school for looking different. He told The Guardian in 2011, “When I was young, getting beaten up and pretty much raped was no fun…No one wants that to happen to you and honestly, I don’t remember when it started.” There’s no doubt that his angst-filled lyrics came from the dark places his mind had gone to, and it’s likely he entertained the idea of suicide before the end.

On another megahit from ‘Hybrid Theory’ and also their highest charting single in America, ‘In the End’, the lyrics speak of trying so hard but in failing to reach success, the only option left is to give up. One of the things Bennington did better than anyone else through his vocal delivery was his way of connecting with their fans on an emotional level. You felt his pain when he sang. To the misfit, the outsider, the marginalised, the comfort they felt that someone finally understood what they’d been through was priceless. The inescapable melancholy in Bennington’s voice, calm and measured, simmers in the prechorus, before he fixes his gaze on the heightening rage into the chorus:

“I’ve put my trust in you
Pushed as far as I can go
For all this
There’s only one thing you should know
I’ve put my trust in you
Pushed as far as I can go
For all this
There’s only one thing you should know

I tried so hard
And got so far
But in the end
It doesn’t even matter
I had to fall
To lose it all
But in the end
It doesn’t even matter”

Chester Bennington’s story isn’t unique in the music business, or in the rest of society. After I heard the news, I read through the comments on Stereogum’s Facebook post on his death. What a mistake. I was appalled by the people making jokes about Linkin Park’s music or even saying they weren’t surprised to hear of his suicide in the context of the dark material he and bandmate Mike Shinoda dared to broach in their lyrics. Some of you may say that that’s life, that there’s always going to be losers who want to be insensitive, no matter what the situation is.

But I want to believe in the best of humanity and choose to be positive. This is neither the time nor place to talk about them, but I’ve dealt with my own struggles and can say from personal experience that it’s a hard road back from the brink. And it’s also hard as hell when you’re living in a world where you’re surrounded by societal stigma for trying to get help and people telling you should buck up and quit complaining. It’s like trying to stand up straight while facing a tidal wave. It must be infinitely more difficult and frightening to cope with when you’re a celebrity and the pressures are exponentially higher and from so many different directions.

I think the worst part of this, for me, is thinking about Chester’s last moments on this earth. He was a man who gave so much of himself, laying out all his suffering for the world to hear in his lyrics. And at the end, he was alone. As TWLOHA founder Jamie Tworkowski wrote on his passing, Bennington was surely “knowing death came in a truly hopeless moment, knowing that single second steals the hope of every moment more, the words take on a different weight.” While we have lost a legend, we have the opportunity to come away from this tragedy and make a difference to not let this happen again. Let’s pledge to listen more, to be more understanding, to provide more support to our loved ones. Let Chester Bennington’s death not be in vain.


Single Review/Essay: Kodaline – Brother

By on Tuesday, 27th June 2017 at 12:00 pm

It’s been 2 years since Kodaline’s sophomore album ‘Coming Up for Air’. Now they’re ready to hit us with the first taste to their upcoming third record. Working with past producer Steve Harris plus new collaborator Two Inch Punch (Rag ‘n’ Bone Man, Sam Smith), ‘Brother’ is another slow-burning, sensitive track from the Dublin foursome. Heightening the overall emotional effect of the single is its accompanying promo video, directed by longtime video collaborator Stevie Russell, who was also at the helm of the ‘All I Want’, ‘High Hopes’ and ‘Honest’ videos.

The ‘Brother’ video takes the title and theme of the song quite literally, as a young Irish boy (ginger, natch) tearfully says goodbye to his older brother. Tearfully and heartwarmingly, he is awoken in the night and reminded that, just like the Gerry and the Pacemakers’ song maintains, “you’ll never walk alone”. From the melodic verses, the tune goes into a classic Kodaline anthemic chorus, rich with the band members’ combined voices and wholly memorable. It’s unclear if the smoky warbling of lead vocalist Steve Garrigan’s repeated line of “I’ve got you brother” was done with or without effects, and if the feel of this line adds will continue throughout the new album. There’s also a gospel feel to the bridge, where they all join in on the words, “and if we hit troubled water / I’ll be the one to keep you warm and safe / and we’ll be carrying each other / until we say goodbye on our dying day”.

In this life, we make positive connections with people, those that can last for years, across thousands of miles and even beyond death. But this only happens with certain people, and effortlessly, like we’ve known them for years even before we first actually meet. We can trust them with our secrets and even our lives (“if I was dying on my knees / you would be the one to rescue me / and if you were drowned at sea / I’d give you my lungs so you could breathe”). Even if we’re not related by blood, this happens. But why? Even if you don’t believe in fate and that there’s a bigger meaning to your life than, well, being alive, it’s impossible to discount the profound effect other important, caring individuals have on our existence and in turn, how we can positively affect and inspire others who are close to us.

Having been together as a unit for quite a few years, recording, writing, travelling and touring as Kodaline, the bond created between Garrigan, Mark Prendergast, Jay Boland and Vinny May, Jr. must be as strong, if not stronger than the bonds they have with their own siblings and families. In understanding that, ‘Brother’ comes across as a touching tribute to their own very special, unbreakable connection. It also serves as a timely, relatable parable to all in the wake of the terrible tragedies we as a modern society have faced in the last few weeks: the Ariana Grande suicide bombing, the multiple terror attacks in London, the Grenfell Tower fire disaster. While ‘Brother’ feels like it also has a distinct religious bent, it’s important in these difficult times to remember that all religions are rooted in love and the caring of others, and what the world needs now is love.


Kodaline’s brand new single ‘Brother’ is out now on RCA Records. We’re expecting more information on their third album in due course. Stay tuned. In the meantime, you can enjoy all of TGTF’s past coverage on Kodaline through this link.


Single Review/Essay: Loyle Carner – Ain’t Nothing Changed

By on Tuesday, 2nd May 2017 at 12:00 pm

Benjamin Gerard Coyle-Larner, better known by his stage name Loyle Carner, has had quite a year so far. The South London-born hip-hop musician released his debut album ‘Yesterday’s Gone’ in January 2017 to critical acclaim, as well as embarking on a sold out UK and European tour. Musically, Loyle Carner brings an organic, lyrically conscious form of hip-hop we haven’t heard too much of coming out the UK for some time, and often associated with seminal American artists such as Mos Def, De La Soul and Tribe Called Quest.

This is not to say Loyle Carner doesn’t sound intrinsically British, because he does. As soon as the vocal kicks in there is no mistaking that London accent, part of the newfound pride and prominence we have seen in the recent years of UK MCs rapping in their own accents and moving away from adopting a American twang. There is raw emotion and family grief laid bare in his lyrics as he raps over laid-back, often jazz-infused beats provided by DJ, producer and fellow wordsmith Rebel Kleff. There are no 140 bpm beats that the current grime resurgence has flooded the streets with, but mellow head- nodding beats that bring a relaxed, ‘feet up and put the kettle on’ vibe. Loyle Carner tells stories that conjure up inner city images of desperation, personal loss, love and tales of friends whose destiny seems written for them.

Previous single ‘Ain’t Nothing Changed’, originally released in 2015, is getting another airing, as is so often the case with artists who are received well beyond initial expectation. The track was re-released last Friday with its original video of an imagined Loyle Carner in his old age muttering the words ‘Ain’t Nothing Changed’ as he sips he tea, cooks and watches football. The stand out part of this composition is the mellow, jazz-tinged saxophone that runs though out the track, providing a melancholy that perfectly fits the lyrics of the repetitive circle life appears to move in around him. “I feel it but can’t conceal it see, this inner city responsibility’s killing me”. On this track, Loyle observes his environment, takes it in and spits it out through his sleepy, yet anything but tired bars. The track manages to breathe new life into UK hip-hop, while talking about a gloomy sense of life feeling stagnant: not an easy feat, but it works beautifully.


On this track, and indeed on album ‘Yesterday’s Gone’ as a whole, we hear a style free of any overly started masculine bravado that so many in the rap community seem to have built into the their fibre. Instead, when listening to Carner, we hear a vulnerability almost impossible for the listener to ignore. You get the sense that putting words to music is nothing but vital to Carner, an indispensable outlet that carries him though life. When we hear him rap on 2015 single release ‘BFG’; “Everyone says I’m fucking sad, of course I’m fucking sad I miss my fucking dad”, we get a sense of a young man who needs to air his emotions and is able to do so in a pure and honest way that attracts the sort of fanbase that Loyle has, ‘Loyal’ being the keyword. His last single release ‘The Isle of Arran’ exemplifies this personal tone in the powerful opening lines, “Know that I’ve been grieving, know that I’ve been holding out hoping to receive him, I’ve been holding out for G and he was nowhere to be seen when I was bleeding”. These are the words of a man who is willing to bear all and more, in this tale of young fatherhood, masculinity and personal memories of his granddad, moving the absent father stereotype around and showing a side of young fatherhood not so often portrayed.

With a string of new UK tour dates just announced throughout September and October, 2017 looks set to be an active year for the young hip-hop maestro. In an exciting time for UK urban music, Loyle Carner brings something unique and lyrically brave while drawing inspiration from the established traditions within hip-hop. And I, for one, feel better off for it.


‘Ain’t Nothing Changed’ is available now from AMF Records.


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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