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Video of the Moment #1618: Glass Animals

 
By on Wednesday, 3rd September 2014 at 6:00 pm
 

Glass Animals have been legging it all over the UK and Europe to perform at festivals all summer, culminating in three music festivals – Bestival on the Isle of Wight on Thursday, First We Take Berlin in Germany on Friday and Loufest in St. Louis, Missouri on Sunday – before they embark on a major tour of North America in September and October. In the midst of their next UK tour in mid-October (all the details here), they’ll be releasing their next single off their debut album ‘Zaba’.

‘Hazey’, to be released on the 13th of October on Wolf Tone / Caroline International, has an air of cool that sets it apart from the rest of ‘Zaba’, so it makes sense that its accompanying video would be just as cool. This one stars London-based dance collective The Solitary Crew showing off their unique style of street dancing and represents a departure from the surreal weirdness of ‘Gooey’ and the forest and sea claymation whimsy of ‘Pools’. I have my own theory about what the song is about (and I’m still thinking I might still be in the right ball park), but I’ll leave it to the band’s primary singer/songwriter Dave Bayley to explain the premise of the video and how it fits in with the meaning of the song, which he sings in different voices to delineate the difference between the characters he presents:

“Every day these dancers put themselves through torturous stretches and contortion exercises using ropes and towels to make themselves more flexible and their movements more fluid. They isolate themselves and focus on slowly building their craft, with a long term goal of being able to add another dance-move to their catalogue, and a longer term goal of stitching those moves together into something cool and beautiful. It all requires a huge amount of dedication and discipline.

To me, ‘Hazey’ is about a parental character who has abandoned those values and eventually becomes wracked by regret. That character speaks in the choruses in the falsetto voice. The verses are spoken by that character’s child in full voice. This boy has matured quickly to pick up the pieces dropped by his parent. It was his attitude that I thought was summed up by the bone breakers.”

Our archive on Glass Animals is this way.

 

Live Gig Video: Glass Animals perform ‘Black Mambo’ at London Meltdown Festival

 
By on Wednesday, 6th August 2014 at 4:00 pm
 

Glass Animals were one of the bands chosen to perform at this year’s Meltdown Festival, curated in 2014 by UNKLE‘s James Lavelle. The annual event in London takes place at the Southbank Centre and back in June, the Oxford band’s appearance had the distinction of having the most jungle-y backdrop of their career so far, with indoor lush vegetation to set the mood, along with the usual requisite fog and strobes seen at their shows.

Although they had to cut their set short due to parts of the ceiling coming down in the middle of their set (personally, I suspect the vibrations from the bass line of ‘Toes’ from their debut album ‘Zaba’ to have been the culprit), their performance of ‘Black Mambo’ from the night of 18 June has been committed to video, as shared by American entertainment magazine Entertainment Weekly yesterday. (They’re doing pretty well stateside.) Watch the letterbox-y presentation, filmed by Georgio Testi, below.

Catch Glass Animals on tour in the UK in October.

 

MP3 of the Day #846: Glass Animals

 
By on Monday, 28th July 2014 at 10:00 am
 

Glass Animals have quickly become a favourite among the staff here at our site, with their debut album ‘Zaba’ rarely leaving the turntable at TGTF Towers this summer. (Read my review of the album here.) The Oxford band just released a new EP last week on Wolf Tone Records.

Based around ‘Zaba’ track and single ‘Pools’ (promo video here), the five-track release includes the original version of the song, a studio version (finally) of the band’s untouchable cover of Kanye West’s ‘Love Lockdown’, and three very different remixes by German producer Marius Lauber (aka Roosevelt), Jackson and His Computer Band (say hello to your favourite new heart-pumping gym remix via Parisian producer Jackson Fourgeaud) and London’s Kwes (wonky beats ahoy).

You can listen to all the songs from the EP on their Spotify Emerge page. To celebrate the release of the EP, the band are giving away for free the Roosevelt remix ‘Pools’, which somehow manages to take the already cheerful and perfect for summer song and make it even brighter and bouncier. To get the remix for free, visit Glass Animals’ official Web site, hit the Free Download button and sign up for their mailing list to get a link to your free download.

 

Live Review: Glass Animals with Vedas and Tei Shi at U Street Music Hall, Washington DC – 8th July 2014

 
By on Thursday, 10th July 2014 at 2:00 pm
 

Electro psych and soul outfit Glass Animals are on their first headline tour of America. It’s the dead of summer here in Washington – the mercury hit 35 C before it started raining on unfortunate punters queued outside of the U Street Music Hall before doors opened – and yet somehow, on their first visit to DC, the Oxford band managed to crank the heat way up inside the cavernous basement venue during their sweltering, groovy set Tuesday night in the Nation’s Capital. No mean feat, considering earlier in the same place when it was empty, I had wrapped my Union Jack scarf around my icy shoulders to try and warm up in the air-conditioning. No such warmth needed once the place was rammed, with the show selling out just minutes before the first band was due on.

Electronic duo Vedas – singer Alex Lee on electronics and synths and Andrew Monbourne on drums – are local to DC; we posted their EP ‘Exhume’ back in April when it was released. The duo were a last-minute addition to the line-up and served as a nice, light aperitif to the evening’s proceeding. In hindsight, the choice made perfect sense, as Lee’s dream poppy vocals are delivered in a falsetto, not entirely unlike those of Glass Animals’ frontman Dave Bayley, who also favours a falsetto on certain tracks. Also, their style was in some ways similar to the second opener, Tei Shi.

The stage was crowded with setups and instruments from all three bands on the line-up and for Vedas’ set, this included electronic tea lights and a distinctive old-fashioned looking lamp that happened to be sat right in front of us. I have to give props to both musicians, as while they initially looked a bit daunted by the size of the crowd they had to play to, they took it in their stride, with Lee confidently announcing that they had never played to so many people and this was an amazing moment for them; this almost elicited a tear from me. Bless. This kind of music dictates confidence and there’s no room for weakness in ethereal music: ‘Cairo’, their closing number, was breathy and dreamy as it is on record.

Tei Shi, aka Valerie Teicher, is originally from Bogota, Colombia and was raised in Vancouver, Canada, but like so many indie artists, she now calls Brooklyn home. The Glass Animals – Tei Shi connection was obvious to fans of both bands: they are already friends, with Tei Shi having recently collaborated with the Oxfordians on their track ‘Holiest’, which appeared on their ‘Gooey’ EP released earlier this year. In June, Teicher appeared at Toronto’s NXNE festival, and she performed at both of Glass Animals’ All Things Go gigs in New York City and DC this week.

She’s an interesting character, coming on stage in a filmy lacy blouse and bright green trousers. Hmm, ok, sort of a boho vibe? Besides her guest vocals on ‘Holiest’, I didn’t know anything about her, so I was going into her set cold. Like Vedas before her, the songs earlier in her set had a dreamy quality to them, as she emoted while pressing buttons on sequencers on a table in front of her, backed by a synth-playing guitarist (wielding a six-string axe) and a drummer.

However, when her music’s mood dictated it – when things got more soulful, the sound louder and more beat-heavy, and admittedly, more to my liking – the blouse was shorn, revealing a tight-fitting top that would have made Beyonce proud. I’m mentioning this, because while she covered Mrs. Carter’s ‘No Angel’, she insisted directly after that when she saw Sasha Fierce live in concert in New York this week, she would not feel worthy of having covered it. Why? Own it, girlfriend, because the DC audience clearly has your back on this one. Irrefutable evidence of the heat inside of U Hall was the sudden disappearance of her drummer’s glasses near the end of her set; his lenses must have fogged up! He later revealed post-show that he’s near-sighted but could still drum without them on. Thank goodness for us.

There is something about the sound of Glass Animals that, depending on the vibe of a song, will make me want to break out certain arm gestures or move my hips in a certain way. It’s almost involuntary now. (I must be quite amusing to other motorists as I’m listening to ‘Zaba’ on the commute home on the motorway each evening. Children point at me and laugh. I am okay with this.) There were so many people there Tuesday night, I felt like a packed-in sardine. The girl who suddenly appeared next to me mid-set with her boyfriend and their bumping and grinding to the music, um… I want to make it clear that while I’m an appreciator of sensual music, well, there are some things that cannot be unseen. Eep. I mentioned this couple to Dave after the show and he replied with a laugh, “yeah, strange things happen at our shows…” So maybe this is just par for the course for a Glass Animals gig these days. It was our Carrie who first said at the band’s debut at SXSW this year that theirs was baby-making music. Whatever floats your boat. Or increases the world’s population, I suppose…

At the same time though, I can’t help but feel really happy for their sudden seemingly overnight popularity here in the States. As an American who happens to be the editor of a music Web site, I’ve often been surprised by what kind of music starts selling like hotcakes and what doesn’t. However, when it comes to Glass Animals, I’m not surprised, given what songs are always on the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100: urban, soul and/or hip hop tracks. It’s only a matter of time before the Oxford band’s music takes its rightful place on mainstream radio here.

In the meantime though, it’s great to be able to see this band in such a relatively small place perform their thrilling live show, which ends up being quite different to the experience you get listening to the album. The melodies are the same of course, but everything’s turned up to 11, making everything feel more muscular, more kinetic. If you haven’t seen their BBC Introducing performance of ‘Hazey’ at Glastonbury yet, you really should: with less dreamy sassiness compared to and an acute absence of the finger snaps present on the recorded version, it’s a tambourine dream, with frontman Dave Bayley starting with a frantic shaking of the instrument in front of guitarist / synth player Drew MacFarlane before bounding forward, teetering and bopping around on stage like an over wound-up toy. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

The headline set began with what was a deceptively gentle haze of sonic power, easing us in with older number ‘Psylla’ and fan favourite ‘Black Mambo’. While we didn’t have palm trees like their Southbank Centre Meltdown show in London last month, the strobe-y lighting that wasn’t great for photography did add a party atmosphere that was second to none. While us here at TGTF were in the know about the Kanye West ‘Love Lockdown’ cover ages ago when the four-piece were in Australia, it appears many people weren’t until the BBC recorded the band playing it at Glastonbury, including Clash Magazine. Let me just tell you, everyone down the front lost it when the song appeared in the set. Absolutely mental. I don’t think most people were ready for it. As should be expected, worldwide internet sensation ‘Gooey’ was another crowd favourite, the peanut butter vibes oozing all over the entire place while bodies inevitably bumped (mostly not accidentally, I reckon) in the crowd. Current single and upcoming EP title track ‘Pools’, with its joyful beats and Bayley’s charming lyrics, left quite the impression on punters to close out the night on a high note. (No pun intended.)

I thought about the time we were stood in front of them on the last day of SXSW this year at the British Music Embassy and everyone was relatively civilised when they broke out this song. Well, ladies and gentlemen, say goodbye, because those days are over. Glass Animals and their sultry blend of electronics and r&b are here to stay. You’re either getting on this train, or you’ll be left behind.

After the cut: Glass Animals’ set list.
Continue reading Live Review: Glass Animals with Vedas and Tei Shi at U Street Music Hall, Washington DC – 8th July 2014

 

The BBC at Glastonbury 2014 (Sunday): Glass Animals performing at the BBC Introducing Stage

 
By on Monday, 30th June 2014 at 12:00 am
 

Wherever you will be hanging your hat this weekend, whether you’re joining the sheep at Worthy Farm or you’ve got your feet up in front of the telly, us here at TGTF will have you covered when it comes to Glastonbury 2014. The dedicated people they are, the folks at the BBC will be working all hours during the festival and feeding us live coverage as it becomes available. What does this mean for you? We’ll be passing along all the best bits to you, our faithful readers.

Oxford band Glass Animals released their debut album ‘Zaba’ earlier this month, the first LP under producer Paul Epworth’s new Wolftone label. BBC Introducing filmed not one but two videos of the band performing at their stage Sunday afternoon at Glastonbury 2014 and we’ve got them here for your delectation. First is one of the groovier cuts from the album, ‘Hazey’. But if you’re familiar at all with ‘Zaba’, you’ll be surprised with this live treatment, as it’s quite different.

Regular TGTF readers will recall our posting back in April of Glass Animals’ superb cover of Kanye West’s ‘Love Lockdown’ after they’d laid it down in Oz superbly for national radio station there triple j. Just as it had done to presenters Matt and Alex down under, us here at TGTF were basically rendered speechless by it. The cover made a welcome appearance at Glasto to close out the band’s set, delighting the BBC Introducing punters. (I particularly enjoyed the grooving of the folks down the front, as well as the dancing of the chap in the back with the hat, who was definitely getting into it!) One has to wonder what Mr. West has to say about the cover, considering the original triple j video now has over 200,000 views (holy cow).

For more of the BBC’s Glastonbury coverage online, head this way. Stay tuned for more videos from Glasto 2014 right here on TGTF.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jl78Qoz6Or0[/youtube]

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

 

MP3 of the Day #836: BANKS

 
By on Wednesday, 25th June 2014 at 10:00 am
 

BANKS isn’t usually my thing, but this time I took a magnifying glass to one of her remixes and turned the volume up.

The profile of Glass Animals, who were one of Martin’s SXSW 2014 Bands to Watch, has grown by leaps and bounds since I caught their live show at Liverpool Sound City 2014 in May and the release of debut album ‘Zaba’ earlier this month. With a wealth of staccatoed percussive beats and wicked flute interludes, Glass Animals‘ frontman Dave Bayley adds an unexpected groove to the otherwise breathy and pretty minimal original of new song ‘Drowning’. Listen to both BANKS’ original and the remix below and if you like the remix, it’s yours free in exchange for your email address.

 
 
 

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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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