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MP3 of the Day #886: Gengahr

 
By on Friday, 10th July 2015 at 10:00 am
 

Just in case you’ve been living under a rock, you should know Gengahr released their debut album last month on Transgressive Records. (You can read my review of ‘A Dream Outside’ here.) As a thank you to their fans, Gengahr are giving away the demo version of ‘Fill My Gums With Blood’, a favourite off the debut album. If you’d like to have it, get it here.

Gengahr are on a massive tour of the UK in October; for all the dates, visit this post. For other articles on Gengahr on TGTF including Carrie’s interview with the band at SXSW 2015, head this way.

 

Album Review: Gengahr – A Dream Outside

 
By on Monday, 15th June 2015 at 12:00 pm
 

Gengahr album coverIs introverted psych pop from the late ’80s back? Possibly so, if you have a listen to the debut album from London’s Gengahr. The first couple of months of 2015 started their year off with a bang: among other things that cemented their buzzy status home in the UK, they had a coveted support slot with alt-J for their winter 2015 European tour, and they were one of six acts chosen for the BBC Introducing lineup Wednesday at the British Music Embassy at Latitude 30 at SXSW 2015, compered by BBC 6 Music presenter Steve Lamacq. What very good and quick stepping up from a band who in 2014 was offering up double A-sided single ‘Powder’/’Bathed in Light’, which was snapped up for airplay by Radio 1’s Huw Stephens, 6 Music and XFM and garnering attention from the Guardian. So to say that the industry was keen on seeing what they would do on their first full-length outing for Transgressive Records is a gross understatement.

Most recent single ‘Heroine’, currently making the rounds on radio, is a clear standout of the album. The extremely catchy chorus, memorable guitar hooks and freewheeling instrumental bridge are emphatically obvious, detracting from lead singer Felix Bushe’s falsetto vocals, which tend to run to the whiny side of things throughout this whole album. This isn’t a terrible failing for their style of music: think Temples, but with far poppier songs, and you sense that a sweeter-sounding voice actually makes sense. The album ends with ‘Trampoline’, which musically sounds so sugary sweet, one’s likely to go into insulin shock upon listening to it. But Gengahr has always been a band who have gone for the creepier side of things.

It’s just a question if you can cope with a whole album of this. ‘She’s a Witch’, the title track of their debut EP, sounds like it should be an acerbic description of a woman who’s done a man wrong but instead you get “Maybe she’ll sink / Maybe she’ll fly / I’ve got a witch that cries all the time”. Huh? I’m confused. Is “she’s a witch” a euphemism? Would it make more sense if I was stoned? Hey, this is all beginning to sound a lot like an MGMT album…

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tsXIEt5pG_I[/youtube]

Going back to the aforementioned single ‘Powder’, the rock instrumentation is restrained until the second minute, when the band show off their fine guitar pop songwriting skills. But there’s that falsetto again… You start to wonder how different the band would sound and come across if Bushe had an edgier, growly tone to his voice to match the sound musicianship. I know I did. A similar question comes up with ‘Where I Lie’: with such confident, squealing guitars, the falsetto feels out of place. If they wanted to, they could clearly rock out. But everything is so tightly held back on this album. Is the measured restraint just right, or should the reins have been loosened a little?

Contrast this with the track immediately after – the highly enjoyable, mostly instrumental ‘Dark Star’ – in which the vocals are reduced to faint whispers and the guitars and drums are front and centre. Perhaps this a group who will be most comfortable looking away from festival audiences this summer, off in their own world as they jam away? Hmm…

6/10

‘A Dream Outside’, the debut album from Gengahr, is out today on Transgressive Records.

 

Video of the Moment #1812: Gengahr

 
By on Wednesday, 27th May 2015 at 6:00 pm
 

Ahead of the release of their debut album for Transgressive Records, ‘A Dream Outside’, which sees its release on the 15th of June, Gengahr has released the video for their ‘Heroine’. The promo for the London indie rock band’s latest single is special in that it’s the first one of theirs in which the band actually appear in. Check out the artsy visuals for ‘Heroine’ below. If you preorder the album, you’ll get the single for free and instant download.

Catch Gengahr on tour in the UK in October; all the details of their tour are this way. All past coverage on Gengahr, including their interview with Carrie in Austin at SXSW 2015, is available here.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eiWQsyS5LTs[/youtube]

 

Gengahr / October 2015 UK Tour

 
By on Wednesday, 6th May 2015 at 8:00 am
 

London alt-rock quartet Gengahr have just announced a list of headline dates in the UK for this October, which will follow a full summer festival season and support slots for The Maccabees and The Strokes.  Gengahr’s highly anticipated debut studio album ‘A Dream Outside’ is due for release on the 15th of June on Transgressive Records.  Just below the tour date listing, you can stream their new single from the album, titled ‘Heroine’.

General sale for the following headline dates will begin this Friday, the 8th of May.  A full list of Gengahr’s scheduled live dates can be found here.  Previous TGTF coverage of Gengahr, including an interview at SXSW 2015, is right this way.

Tuesday 6th October 2015 – Brighton Komedia
Wednesday 7th October 2015 – Bristol Exchange
Thursday 8th October 2015 – London Scala
Friday 9th October 2015 – Nottingham Bodega
Saturday 10th October 2015 – Oxford Bullingdon
Monday 12th October 2015 – Birmingham Hare and Hounds
Tuesday 13th October 2015 – Norwich Arts Centre
Wednesday 14th October 2015 – Cambridge Portland Arms
Friday 16th October 2015 – Manchester Deaf Institute
Saturday 17th October 2015 – Leeds Wardrobe
Monday 19th October 2015 – Glasgow King Tut’s
Tuesday 20th October 2015 – Newcastle Think Tank
Wednesday 21st October 2015 – Sheffield Harley

 

SXSW 2015 Interview: Gengahr

 
By on Monday, 30th March 2015 at 1:00 pm
 

Just ahead of the Transgressive Records 10th anniversary showcase at Buffalo Billiards on the 17th of March, I had the chance to sit down with Felix Bushe, Danny Ward and John Victor of London’s up-and-coming guitar rock band Gengahr. Bass player Hugh Schulte was unfortunately unable to make the trip to Austin due to visa issues, but the band had luckily been able to find a replacement bassist for their SXSW shows. We had to keep our interview short after having some difficulty finding each other in the multilevel venue, but the three on-hand members of Gengahr had time to give me a quick overview of their music, including their current releases in America and the UK, as well as their plans for more touring in the UK and Europe after SXSW 2015 and a full album release expected in Britain this summer.

Bushe, Ward and Victor all seemed very much at ease with both the interview and their upcoming set, despite the general chaos of the evening and the challenge of playing with an unfamiliar bassist. Their comfort level might have to do with the fact that they have quite a long history with each other, though only three short years playing together as a band. As it turned out, the band members’ relaxed, soft-spoken demeanor in the interview streaming below was a good indication of the subtle yet edgy songs I would hear in Gengahr’s stage set later in the evening. Their introspective, atmospheric style was a stark contrast to Spring King and Songhoy Blues, who played immediately before and after Gengahr on the night’s line up. If you haven’t already seen it, you can read my full review of the Transgressive Records showcase, including Gengahr’s performance, right here.

Thanks again to Brid for arranging this interview.

 

SXSW 2015: Transgressive Records showcase – 17th March 2015

 
By on Monday, 30th March 2015 at 10:00 am
 

On the first official night of the SXSW 2015 Music festival, I attended the Transgressive Records 10th anniversary showcase at Buffalo Billiards in downtown Austin. I had never been inside Buffalo Billiards before, after a failed attempt to get in for a show during last year’s festival, and I didn’t realize how large the venue was. It has a downstairs bar area, the main stage area upstairs, and a mid-level landing between the two. It was nice not being rammed into a tiny club for what was sure to be a popular show with Spring King, Gengahr, Songhoy Blues and Dry the River on the scheduled lineup.

However, the spaciousness of the venue did present a slight problem for me as I attempted to meet up with members of Gengahr and Dry the River for interviews we had previously scheduled via e-mail and text. As we had never met in person, it proved a bit tricky for us all to actually find one another in the club and then find a quiet place to sit down for a chat. In the end, both interviews were accomplished between stage sets, and I was able to listen to all four bands as well. But the interview meet-ups turned out to be the least of what would be a series of technical difficulties surrounding my experience at the Transgressive Records showcase.

First on the docket for the show was Manchester garage rock quartet Spring King, whose lead singer Tarek Musa is also their drummer, so I’m not sure if it’s entirely appropriate to refer to him as the band’s frontman. I’m even less sure about the phrase “garage rock” after reading on the Transgressive Records Web site that the band’s first EP ‘Demons’ was recorded not in a garage, but in a converted bathroom. While Spring King definitely have a grungy, lo-fi quality to their sound, they also have a strong sense of propulsive momentum and energy.

Even from his position in the center back of the stage, Musa engaged easily with the audience, and Spring King played a tight and enthusiastic set to start the showcase. ‘Better Man’ from the ‘Demons’ EP was particularly well-received, as was recent single ‘City’, which will be released on the band’s new EP ‘They’re Coming After You’, due out in the UK on the 20th of April. (You can watch the live video of Spring King playing ‘City’ at the BBC Introducing night Wednesday on editor Mary’s review of that showcase here.)

Spring King at Transgressive showcase 17 March 2015

Following Spring King were the heavily-hyped indie rock band Gengahr, whom I’d had the opportunity to talk with before the start of the showcase. Their soft-spoken demeanor in the interview turned out to be very much in tune with the vibe of their performance on the night, which came across as quite introverted and understated after Spring King’s lively set. Gengahr’s atmospheric psych pop might not have been the best fit for the mood of this particular room, but their set was politely received by the crowd of people filtering in and out of the stage area. The performance included three songs from ‘She’s a Witch’, Gengahr’s current American EP release (the tracks have been released as singles in the UK), including the title track seen in the video below.

[youtube]https://youtu.be/sHTLykxtwdc[/youtube]

After Gengahr finished their set, I ducked out again to talk with members of Dry the River, who were due to play last on the lineup. I came back just in time to catch Malian breakout band Songhoy Blues, who released their album ‘Music in Exile’ back in February on Transgressive. The stage area, which had seemed fairly spacious up to this point, was positively rammed with punters who were eager to see the hotly-tipped world musicians, and Songhoy Blues didn’t disappoint. They played an exuberant set for their SXSW debut, their songs blending blues rock instrumentation with traditional Malian rhythm and vocals as lead singer Aliou Toure (pictured in the header photo above) entranced the crowd with his genial smile and commanding stage presence. Take a listen to their track ‘Al Hassidi Terei’, streaming just below.

As the audience collectively took a moment to catch its breath after Songhoy Blues’ incredible performance, things began to unravel a bit for London folk-rock band Dry the River. They began their stage set up and soundcheck, only to discover just before they were about to start that something was seriously awry with the sound equipment. I never found out exactly what the problem was, but in the end Dry the River weren’t able to play their full set. They did agree to do a few tunes in unplugged fashion instead, moving from the stage onto the mid-level landing and actually starting to play before being interrupted by a Buffalo Billiards staff member who told them they couldn’t have the audience gathered there due to fire code restrictions.

They moved once again to the back corner of the main venue, their audience obediently trailing behind, and struck a position atop their large gear boxes to begin the impromptu acoustic set. While Dry the River’s folk-tinged rock and three-part vocal harmonies translate beautifully to acoustic performance, their disappointment in not being able to play a full stage set was very much evident as frontman Peter Liddle, guitarist Matthew Taylor and bassist Scott Miller somewhat reluctantly obliged us with four quick songs before heading back to the stage to help drummer Jon Warren pack up their unused gear. Before I left the venue I said a quick good-bye to Miller, whom I’d met earlier in the evening, assuring him that I would catch them later in the week when they were scheduled to play at the British Music Embassy. If you’re interested in Dry the River, be sure to check back here later this week for my Thursday night coverage, which will include that more successful performance.

Despite the evening’s difficulties, the Transgressive showcase left me with an impression of four up-and-coming bands who are clearly headed for success in the near future. We’ll almost certainly be hearing more from them here at TGTF as the summer festival season approaches, so be sure to check back with us for further release information and live dates, as well as our interviews with Gengahr and Dry the River.

 
 
 

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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.

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