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Video of the Moment #2148: Glass Animals

 
By on Wednesday, 27th July 2016 at 6:00 pm
 

Oxford dudes Glass Animals have unveiled another cut from their upcoming album ‘How To Be a Human Being’, their second album due out at the end of August. ‘Youth’ follows the first taster revealed back in May, ‘Life Itself’, which I reviewed back then. Frontman and primary songwriter Dave Bayley says the song was based on an anecdote told to him that particularly resonated with him:

Someone told me a story about her son once that was one of the saddest things I’ve ever heard. What she said was completely heartbreaking, but she told it with such optimism and such a sense of calm. She was on the verge of crying, but she was also smiling and something in her face said that she had found a way to be happy again. This song is trying to get at that sentiment.

The video for the new single follows the waitress first introduced in June in the ‘Life Itself’ promo and what appears to be her son, now lost to her. As you listen to the track, it may sound familiar to you as it does to me. There appears to be an effect used on here identical to one also utilised on Bayley’s remix of BANKS’ ‘Drowning’ 2 years ago. Watch the video for ‘Youth’ below. Glass Animals’ sophomore LP ‘How To Be a Human Being’ will see the light of day on the 26th of August on Caroline International / Wolftone. For more on the Oxford quartet on TGTF, head here.

 

Glass Animals / October 2016 UK/Irish Tour

 
By on Thursday, 9th June 2016 at 8:00 am
 

Oxford’s Glass Animals have announced a tour of the UK and Ireland for this autumn, following the highly anticipated release of their second album ‘How To Be a Human Being’, due out on the 26th of August via Caroline International / Wolftone. The tour will begin with a hometown show in Oxford on the 21st of October and wrap up on the 29th of October in Dublin.  Additionally, Glass Animals are scheduled to play an exclusive show at the ICA in London on the 15th of June, as well as festival slots at Wilderness Festival, Electric Picnic and Bestival.

The band have also revealed a vaguely sinister and nefarious new video for album track ‘Life Itself’, which you can view just below the tour date listing. Our own editor Mary has already reviewed the single, but Glass Animals’ lead singer Dave Bayley elaborates on his inspiration in the video’s press release: “I try to sneakily record people, and I have hours and hours of these amazing rants from taxi drivers, strange people we met outside of shows, people at parties. People say the strangest shit when they don’t think they’re ever gonna see you again.” It’s hard to imagine what might have prompted the storyline for this song or its video, but perhaps it will look familiar to someone among Glass Animals’ growing legion of fans.

Tickets for the following live dates will be available starting today, Thursday the 9th of June, at 9 AM. A full listing of Glass Animals’ upcoming worldwide tour dates can be found here. TGTF’s previous coverage of Glass Animals is back this way.

Friday 21st October 2016 – Oxford Academy 1
Saturday 22nd October 2016 – Brighton Dome
Tuesday 25th October 2016 – London Roundhouse
Wednesday 26th October 2016 – Manchester Academy 2
Thursday 27th October 2016 – Glasgow Art School
Friday 28th October 2016 – Liverpool Academy 2
Saturday 29th October 2016 – Dublin Olympia

 

Single Review: Glass Animals – Life Itself

 
By on Wednesday, 18th May 2016 at 11:00 am
 

Growing up is hard to do. And it’s painful as hell if you’re going through emotional abandonment and excessive parental pressure. (So can random track or album drops with no warning to music editors, for that matter.) Oxford’s Glass Animals became more massive in Australia and America than the UK on the strength of their 2014 debut album ‘Zaba’, released on Paul Epworth’s Wolftone label. It was one of those curious phenomenons that I had predicted but when it actually happened, I still had trouble believing it.

With their nods to hip hop and urban music and frontman Dave Bayley’s self-professed love of Kanye West, I figured it would be a given they’d be embraced in my home country. Monday, after a long wait, they released new material in the form of single ‘Life Itself’, purported to be on the second Glass Animals long player. If Bayley’s comments “I still feel very odd listening to these strangely personal songs” are to be believed, the band’s trajectory, the highs and lows of being in a band, and the eventual confidence that rises from it appear to be chronicled on this first taster.

The first thing sonically you’ll notice is that overall, the music definitely takes a louder, centre stage role. While on 2014’s ‘Zaba’, singles like ‘Black Mambo’ and ‘Gooey’ were about setting a chill vibe, there is no mistaking on ‘Life Itself’ that it is forcing you to focus all your attention on it and nowhere else. The single begins almost like the start of a film, with harp chords, an Oriental melody on koto and instrumental clicks, but that doesn’t last too long. From there, there’s rhythmically a nice undercurrent of bouncy beats similar to that heard on ‘Zaba’ and engaging shakes of a jingle stick, but they sadly kind of get lost in the otherwise forward nature of the track, which includes borderline cacophonous synth lines.

Bayley explained the song to American indie music magazine Under the Radar this way: “It’s a guy who was born a bit strange, and struggles to become part of society. Because of that he spends more time alone in his own head, getting stranger, and it becomes an awful cycle of doom.” Looking closer at the lyrics, the first verse chronicles this character Bayley plays, a bloke whose father had a certain, probably macho life planned out for him that directly flies into the face of his son’s “gentle human” nature. In verse two, the bloke’s mum is introduced (using “mom” in American parlance), who notes her son’s inability to get and hold down a job and criticises his physical appearance.

The protagonist grows up and not into the image expected by his father. His own mother considers him a bum and his “grandmama” says he looks wasted. But in his own head, the son thinks he’s grown up just fine and he looks “fantastic”. Who’s wrong, and who’s right? Where’s the line between keeping up with the Joneses and being yourself? While there’s never been great finesse with word choice in Glass Animals songs, there is a strange and intriguing poignancy to the lyrics of ‘Life Itself’ hiding behind its over-the-top instrumentation. It’s like a massive pair of neon-coloured Dior sunglasses are sat in front of the eyes whose heart you want to discover.

6.5/10

Glass Animals’ second album is named ‘How to Be a Human Being’, but we don’t have a release date yet and it’s expected sometime in late summer on Caroline International / Wolftone. Based on the reveal of ‘Life Itself’ this week, we’re assuming we’ll be getting all the nitty-gritty details in due course. They have one UK show – at London ICA on the 15th of June – planned for this year and no others; they’re also scheduled to perform on the 20th of June at Berlin Kantine Am Berghain. For TGTF’s archive on Glass Animals, including our coverage of them at SXSW 2014 and Liverpool Sound City 2014 when it seemed barely anyone in the world knew who they were, go here.

 

Live Gig Video: Glass Animals perform mega hit ‘Gooey’ on David Letterman

 
By on Friday, 27th February 2015 at 4:00 pm
 

The speed of Glass Animals‘ train doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. After sufficiently creeping us out last week with the new promo for ‘Black Mambo’ and the Oxford band’s most recent UK live appearance last Sunday at the 6Music Festival 2015 in Newcastle, they jetted back to the States.

In New York City, they played a one-off intimate show for fans on Tuesday night at the Box in the Lower East Side, which they then followed with this performance of their mega hit ‘Gooey’ on the venerated Ed Sullivan Theater stage for Late Night with David Letterman Wednesday. They brought their full jungle kit, which naturally host Dave couldn’t help but joke with the band’s Dave about needing some ferns for his digs. Watch it below.

Glass Animals‘ next UK tour begins Monday in Cambridge.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z1cycNRMS2o

 

Video of the Moment #1746: Glass Animals

 
By on Wednesday, 18th February 2015 at 6:00 pm
 

Glass Animals clearly haven’t had enough of weirding us out. In the last year and a half they’ve given us the creepy videos for ‘Psylla’ (2013) and ‘Gooey’ (2014), but the Oxford band upped the ante this week with a new promo for ‘Black Mambo’, released in 2013 as a single backed by ‘Exxus’.

Set in Mexico in what the band describes as an opium den, the lead character eats something that looks like snakeskin, though between you and me, the stuff looks like bonito flakes, which are quite tasty. As you probably guessed, the snakeskin stuff has mental effects. If the title of the song isn’t obvious, this video is probably best avoided by those afflicted by herpetophobia, though I have to say the little scaly fella at the beginning is kind of cute! Watch the video below.

Past coverage on Glass Animals, including a live performance of ‘Black Mambo’ at London’s Meltdown Festival last June filmed by Georgio Testi, is this way. Glass Animals are on tour in the UK and Ireland in March; their biggest date in London thusfar at Shepherd’s Bush Empire on the 10th of March is already sold out.

 

Top Gigs of 2014: Editor’s Picks

 
By on Tuesday, 23rd December 2014 at 11:00 am
 

2014, 2014, tsk tsk tsk. When it came to live shows, you put in some tense situations where I couldn’t understand the lead singer in his normal speaking voice (Glasvegas at DC’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Hotel in February), feared for my life because the heat was proving a bit too much (Slow Club at Sheffield Great Gatsby in May), got grossed out by other punters’ grinding (Glass Animals at DC’s U Street Music Hall in July), and needed to take a train to another town and back, all in one evening (Fatherson at Edinburgh Potterow in October). But it was in good fun, as you were always entertaining. Here are my top 5 live experiences this year:

5. The Dig at Black Cat Backstage (4th December 2014) – watching a band you’ve come to know and love evolve over time, and who just keep getting better and better, is probably one of the greatest blessings given to a music editor. The Dig, who I saw support Editors 4 years ago, are one of those bands. December gigs are hard to pull off in Washington – people are lazy to come out once the weather turns cold – but they came out in droves for this show Thursday night the first week in December for the New Yorkers. They’re ready for their close-up, folks.

Reminisce through TGTF’s back catalogue on the Dig through this link.

4. Glass Animals at Glasgow CCA (17th October 2014) – after you’ve seen a band many times, the gigs all start to blur together, especially you’re seeing them when they’ve only got their one debut album to promote. Glass Animals shows are always interesting, if only to view the wildlife on display in the audience, but the Oxford band were in fine form even on the last UK date on their tour in October. I was expecting them to be completely beat, after returning the week before from a whirlwind North American campaign and subsisting on far too little sleep. Perhaps it was the party atmosphere in Glasgow on a Friday night, the CCA stuffed to the gills with punters, that turned this gig up to 11? Vibes, man. Vibes.

Glass Animals have been a favourite at TGTF since last year, and you can read all of our coverage on them here.

Glass Animals at Glasgow CCA

3. Fenech-Soler at Brooklyn Glasslands (5th April 2014) – good things come to those who wait. Or so the saying goes. Even though I had to trek up to New York for this one, Fenech-Soler was definitely worth it for me to finally hear songs from both their debut album in 2010 and 2013’s ‘Rituals’. I haven’t danced that hard in ages. (Meeting Ben and Ross Duffy and getting to chat with them for this interview was definitely a personal highlight of 2014 as well.) I waited 4 long years to see electro-pop band Fenech-Soler to do a proper show in the States, and since I saw them at this show (at a venue that sadly will no longer exist in 2015, sob), they’ve done a couple tours in our country, and I couldn’t be happier for them.

Our pretty comprehensive archive on Fenech-Soler here at TGTF is this way.

2. Maximo Park at Rock ‘n’ Roll Hotel (20th May 2014) – like Fenech-Soler, Maximo Park was a band I had missed seeing, and for even longer (beyond 6 years). It had nothing to do with them never coming to DC; I was either not here when they’d come or the show I’d had tickets to see them at had been cancelled. If you’ve never seen Paul Smith and co. perform, wow, you need to do yourself a favour and rectify that ASAP. I came to appreciate their latest album ‘Too Much Information’ much more after seeing it performed. Also, you always know the band you’ve come to see play is pulling out all the stops when the set list spills out over 2 pages. I’m looking forward to the next time they return to Washington. And to those asking, yes, Paul Smith really does give those reinforced trousers a workout.

Check out our writings on TGTF on the Geordie band here.

1. Royal Blood at DC9 (20th July 2014) – this gig can be best summed up with one word: PHWOAR. Perhaps my only prior experience with Mike Thatcher and Ben Kerr – Thursday at SXSW 2014, playing Lammo’s BBC Introducing night – didn’t sit well in my head because there is always too much background noise from other acts in Austin to really concentrate and appreciate on just one. At their first, and I might add rammed, headline show in DC, eyes and ears all glued on them with good reason. As those who waited for them to play at the John Peel stage at Glasto this year know, this duo from Brighton pack a massive punch in their successful effort to bring hard rock back. Best new British guitar band? Forget it. Best new British guitar duo’s where it’s at.

All of TGTF’s coverage on Royal Blood is right this way.

After the cut: the full list of all the gigs, in reverse chronological order, that I’ve been to in 2014. The runner-up gigs are also marked.
Continue reading Top Gigs of 2014: Editor’s Picks

 
 
 

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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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