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Holy Esque / March, April and May 2016 UK Tour

 
By on Wednesday, 20th January 2016 at 9:00 am
 

Scottish rock quartet Holy Esque have planned a list of tour dates in the UK to follow the release of their forthcoming debut LP ‘At Hope’s Ravine’. The album is scheduled for release on the 26th of February via the band’s own record label Beyond the Frequency. Just below the tour date listing, you can have a listen to album track ‘Silences’, which was also part of Holy Esque’s recent double A-sided release.

Holy Esque will play three in-store shows immediately following the album release, including one on Leap Day, the 29th of February. They will head to America for SXSW 2016 in March, with the full UK tour beginning on the 6th of April.  At the end of their UK run, Holy Esque are scheduled to appear at The Great Escape 2016 in May.  Tickets for the following shows are available now.

Monday 29th February 2016 – Nottingham Rough Trade (in-store)
Tuesday 1st March 2016 – London Rough Trade East (in-store)
Wednesday 2nd March 2016 – Bristol Rise (in-store, free entry)
Wednesday 6th April 2016 – Plymouth Underground
Thursday 7th April 2016 – Falmouth Mono
Friday 8th April 2016 – Bude Carriers
Sunday 10th April 2016 – Bath Moles
Wednesday 13th April 2016 – Manchester Soup Kitchen
Thursday 14th April 2016 – Liverpool Arts Club
Friday 15th April 2016 – Stoke-on-Trent Sugarmill
Saturday 16th April 2016 – Birmingham Sunflower Lounge
Wednesday 20th April 2016 – London Lexington
Friday 22nd April 2016 – Bedford Esquires
Saturday 23rd April 2016 – Southampton Lennon’s
Sunday 24th April 2016 – Guildford Boileroom
Monday 25th April 2016 – Cambridge Portland Arms
Wednesday 27th April 2016 – Leicester Cookie
Thursday 28th April 2016 – Nottingham Bodega
Friday 29th April 2016 – Sheffield Picture House Social
Sunday 1st May 2016 – Newcastle Think Tank
Saturday 7th May 2016 – Glasgow Art School

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

 

SXSW 2015: Saturday in Austin with familiar Brits, Scandinavians and Aussies – 21st March 2015

 
By on Thursday, 2nd April 2015 at 2:00 pm
 

Saturday in Austin for SXSW 2015 was another strangely miserable day weather wise. With rain intermittent for most of the day until the evening hours, at least it wasn’t chucking it down like it was on Friday. Still, with a grey sky, I wondered if the bad weather would keep crowds away on the last day of the big dance. When nighttime came, it was became clear from the long queues outside many of the venues – including Latitude 30, where your humble editor found herself stuck in the wristband queue for over 2 hours, including some time spent chatting with Kate Tempest and her band in said queue – that the droves had come out for one last hurrah.

Representing in my very red England jacket, my Saturday began seemingly inauspiciously. Stood in a queue, holding a brolly and trying in vain to look cool while waiting for doors to a venue to open isn’t really my idea of a great time. But this was all to get into the Brooklyn Vegan day party, as the New York culture Web site had a full line-up for both the indoor and outdoor stages at Red 7, including the third and final appearance of Mew. I wasn’t there for the Danes, however.

After the cancellation of an entire electronic showcase at Container Bar due to safety concerns about possible electrocution of the bands during the height of Friday afternoon’s rainstorms, I made it to East India Youth‘s (Will Doyle) last performance in Austin. This performance was certainly different than Huw Stephen’s curated night Tuesday at Latitude 30 for Cerdd Cymru : Music Wales; for one, my guess was the audience had never heard of him, though I was pleased to see his performance quickly won them over. It may have been only noon on a Saturday, but just like Tuesday night at 9 PM, Doyle gave it his all, throwing his whole body into the performance and he alternated between synth, sequencers, Macbook and last but not least, bass guitar. ‘Hinterland’, from his 2014 Mercury Prize-nominated debut album on Stolen Recordings ‘Total Strife Forever’, went down particularly well, punters’ heads bopping and nodding in approval of the huge beats and the sweaty, vigorous way they were delivered to us.

East India Youth at Brooklyn Vegan Saturday SXSW 2015

‘Turn Away’, the second cut to be revealed in February from ‘Culture of Volume’, was recently described by BBC 6music presenter Stuart Maconie as sounding like “an electronic madrigal”, and I fully agree. It’s a very emotional piece that I’ll discuss more in my album review coming soon on TGTF, so I’ll just say for now that the track is solid evidence to silence the naysayers that say electronica is cold and devoid of feeling. It’s also nice to see Doyle comfortable as a singer, nearly front and centre if you forget the table being there, as he emotes on a song like ‘Looking for Someone’, written back in the day when he was more known for being that guy in a suit behind the table being held up by apple juice cartons and gaffa tape.

From East India Youth, I went in search for another Youth – Lust for Youth, the project of Swede Hannes Norrvide, now based in Denmark. The lack of decent lighting in an otherwise very red Mohawk indoor stage made for a impossible photography situation to begin with. Then there was the stifling crowd situation: from what I understand having talked to some punters down the front, people had arrived early and were staking out spots for hardcore Pittsburgh act Code Orange, who would not be on stage for another 3 hours. Lust for Youth is an electropop band, so as can probably imagine, hardcore fans on the whole aren’t exactly their core audience. Couple that with overbearing bass in the mix obscuring Norrvide’s vocals – or at least making his voice sound more robotic than I recalled from their Sacred Bones Records album ‘International’ released last year – led to a less than compelling set. Maybe I just picked the wrong venue to see them at.

The People the Poet at British Music Embassy Saturday SXSW 2015

Sound was much better, as it always is, when I returned to Latitude 30 for the final British Music Embassy afternoon showcase of SXSW 2015, opened by Welsh hopefuls and now buzzed about band The People the Poet. Frontman Leon Stanford was never showing any sign of anxiety about playing for an international crowd on Tuesday night, but now he was entirely in his element, talking to us from the stage like we were old friends, speaking about his band’s experiences in Austin with fondness as if a seasoned SXSW veteran. Having done a live session with Dermot O’Leary for his Radio 2 programme earlier in the week, one hopes that their music will spread far and wide off the back of their two exemplary performances at the British Music Embassy.

Up next and back to back were two Scottish bands, United Fruit and Holy Esque Unfortunately, I couldn’t stay inside Latitude 30 for United Fruit, as I nipped outside for my interview with Tyla Campbell and Pete Mills of The People The Poet that had been delayed for days. Of what I did hear of them, it was loud and the band were lively. When I returned for Holy Esque, they were in the midst of laying down their bombastic, synth laden guitar rock. Oddly, I liked them better on the recordings I’d heard previously than live. It seemed louder and muddier in person. I wondered, since it was Saturday, if the staff at Latitude 30 had just cranked up all the knobs to 11? Would have made sense if it were true.

After Latitude 30 and running around town to conduct two interviews (one with Ryan of Rival Consoles, the other with Niall of Only Real), I treated myself to a taxi ride to take me to the last show I would cover at SXSW 2015. Melbourne’s Demi Louise, who I had become friendly with on Instagram, was playing her last gig in Austin for the week, an acoustic one, at the atrium stage of the Hyatt Regency south of the river. This was a special treat for me, as I have always loved the hotel shows I’ve managed to find and cover during SXSW, and this one was no exception.

Wearing a large-brimmed Stetson, she appeared onstage certainly dressed the part for Texas. Although her set was much too short, she played a nice smattering of tunes that showcased her songwriting ability, from describing the emotional pain of heartbreak that all of us, young and old, experience, to the more personal journey she’s gone on watching both of her grandfathers suffer from dementia in the song ‘Ruins’.

Demi Louise Saturday SXSW 2015

It was lovely to finally see her perform and also chat with her after her set, as it brought everything round full circle to what I feel is the most important part of TGTF’s work at a festival like SXSW: to help spread the music of artists we have come to know and love, especially for those who are just starting out and/or who aren’t well known. Yet. As long as I’ve got the passion within me, I’ll continue doing this for years to come, and I thank you for joining me for the ride, whether it takes us to Austin, Brighton, Sydney, and anywhere in between. SXSW 2015, that’s a wrap!

 

Single Review: Holy Esque – Sovereign

 
By on Wednesday, 6th August 2014 at 12:00 pm
 

Holy Esque from Glasgow were a band I had intended to see at SXSW this year, but you know what they say about the best laid plans… I suppose though had I seen them live, I might have had an entirely different opinion of their new single ‘Sovereign’, which gets a release next week. ‘Silences’, which we featured as part of our Bands to Watch piece on them prior to them going out to the big dance in Austin for a second year in a row, has driving drums and an upbeat tempo ala Franz Ferdinand but with a scratchy, less melodically delivered vocal more like that of Billy McCarthy’s of American group (We Are) Augustines. ‘Sovereign’, however, has a more ominous feel.

The upcoming single takes full advantage of darker post-punk guitars and icy synths to make you feel like you’re inside a dimly lit room with nothing but the shadows for company. Everyone who I waved off before, the ones who were talking about Holy Esque before and kept insisting they were the new Echo and the Bunnymen, okay, yes, I hear echoes of Ian McCulloch and his band. The vocals, however, won’t remind you of anything like ‘The Killing Moon’ or even ‘The Cutter’, so just be prepared, they’re going to be a bit marmite.

Frontman Pat Hynes doesn’t so much sing as much as get the words out like Michael Stipe at his least melodic or Thom Yorke in his usual attempts to be melodic. But he explained to The Skinny in 2012 that he is content with his artistry: “I thought it was fucking weird. I was like, ‘Why can’t I sing?’ But I learned to appreciate it and work with it, and I gained a little bit of control over it. But I can’t stop it. It’s just the way it is.”

If you can get past the lack of melody in Hynes’ voice – or better yet, you actually like the way he sings – you are treated to a song of three acts. The first act of ‘Sovereign’ has Hynes singing almost in a hip hop staccato style, which matches the unfeeling synth notes from Keir Reid. The song does everything to be unobtrusive until shortly after the 3-minute mark, when thunder and lightning have now entered your dimly lit room in act two. Guitars crash messily and Hynes starts shrieking, as if to combat the noise of the guitars. The guitars eventually drone and fade out in the final act, and you’re left wiping your brow, wondering what the hell just happened.

Dramatic? Yes. Is it for everyone? No. Worth a listen? Yes.

7/10

‘Sovereign’, Holy Esque‘s next single, will be released next Monday, the 11th of August, on Beyond the Frequency Records. They tour the UK starting later this month and into September.

 

Holy Esque / August and September 2014 UK Tour

 
By on Thursday, 24th July 2014 at 9:00 am
 

Glaswegian hard rockers Holy Esque are set to begin a 10-date tour of the UK in just under a month’s time. Beginning and ending at home in Scotland, the band will road test the extraordinary vocals and colossal instrumental soundscapes that are expected to feature on their debut studio album, scheduled for release early next year. Tickets to these fast-approaching shows are available now.

Tuesday 19th August 2014 – Edinburgh Sneaky Pete’s
Thursday 21st August 2014 – Manchester Night and Day
Friday 22nd August 2014 – Leicester Cookie Jar
Saturday 23rd August 2014 – Birmingham Sunflower Lounge
Monday 25th August 2014 – Southampton Joiners
Tuesday 26th August 2014 – Brighton Bleach
Wednesday 27th August 2014 – London Waiting Room
Thursday 28th August 2014 – Liverpool Studio 2
Friday 29th August 2014 – York Duchess
Friday 5th September 2014 – Glasgow Stereo

 

TGTF Guide to SXSW 2014: Pop and pop hybrid UK artists showcasing at this year’s SXSW

 
By on Monday, 3rd March 2014 at 1:00 pm
 

Please note: all information we bring you about SXSW 2014 is to the best of our knowledge when it posts, and bands scheduled to appear may be subject to change. To learn when your favourite band is playing in Austin, we recommend you first consult the official SXSW schedule, then stop by the band’s Facebook and official Web site for details of any non-official SXSW appearances.

Starting off the week in our continuing preview coverage SXSW 2014, in this fifth installment of the TGTF Guide to SXSW 2014 are what we call the pop and pop hybrid artists. Pop has become increasingly difficult to put in a box, with many artists incorporating urban, soul, r&b, dance, rock, folk and country into their own brand of pop. So in today’s post, we bring your attention to the bands whose music has a decided pop sensibility in their sound.

In case you missed any of our TGTF Guide to SXSW 2014 so far, including the two-part guide to UK rock acts and the two-part guide to UK electronic acts and DJs appearing at this year’s SXSW, get it all here.

Arthur Beatrice
Carrie writes: “The moniker of elusive London quartet Arthur Beatrice was “formed from the notion of opposites coming together to complete perfect wholes,” according to the press release for their new album, ‘Working Out’, due for release next Monday. The bisexual band name seems singularly appropriate given the band’s juxtaposition of male and female lead vocals, alternated seamlessly between the velvety singing voices of Ella Girardot and Orlando Leopard. The instrumental sound is a cross between smooth jazz and electro dance with moments of uptempo rhythmic pacing provided by brothers Elliott and Hamish Barnes on drums and bass, respectively. Hamish Barnes’ pulsing bass is a major element of Arthur Beatrice’s sound, maintaining a constant groove throughout ‘Working Out’.

Read Carrie’s full review of the band’s debut album ‘Working Out’, released just last month, here.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cpCVIg6h_Zo[/youtube]

Cairn String Quartet
Carrie writes: “The Cairn String Quartet specialises in creating instrumental arrangements of rock and pop songs, spanning across subgenres to cover songs by Aerosmith, Beyoncé, Daft Punk and Mumford and Sons, to name just a few. Their most recent EP release, titled ‘#Quartetquickies’ includes a version of ‘The Mother We Share’ by CHVRCHES, and their last full-length album, ‘One’, features arrangements of Lana Del Rey’s ‘Video Games’ and ‘Everybody’s On The Run’ by Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds.

Read the rest of Carrie’s Bands to Watch on the group here.

Charli XCX
Most of Charlotte Aitchison’s music is what pop on Radio 1 sounds like these days, but it’s the more interesting tracks of hers like ‘Allergic to Love’ that don’t fit into any other box that deserve more attention. A little punk, a little swagger, and less of that purely manufactured pop, please.

Daley
In the post-Justin Timberlake ‘Sexy Back’ world, it’s not a huge surprise to see an artist like blue eyed soul and r&b singer Daley doing well on the back of a couple of EPs, even without a debut album to his name. The young Mancunian has already collaborated with rapper and BBC Sound of and MTV Brand New for 2011 alum Wretch 32, been picked up for play by BBC presenters like MistaJam and Jo Whiley and sports a strong look: ha massive beehive-like hairdo that probably needs its own postal code and faux Buddy Holly spectacles (I say faux, because they’re almost comically 3-D square glasses). What’s not to love…well, if you’re a devoted, young Radio 1 listener?

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/51674258[/vimeo]

Dems
Cheryl writes: “Evocative of the trance-like melodies of The xx, London-based three-piece Dems tantalize us with their new single ‘Canvas World’. Dan Moss, David Gardener and Duncan Mann typically lay Moss’ vocals over complex pieces of artistry, but the latest single adds a guest lead vocal from guest singer Claudie. Strong and clear, she adds a depth to the melancholy Dems sound anchoring it.”

Cheryl’s Bands to Watch feature on Dems is here. You can also read the band’s answers to our Quickfire Questions – including some SXSW flavoured ones too! – here.

Glass Animals
Martin writes: “Glass Animals are experts at downtempo, atmospheric, bass-heavy songs – think Portishead having coffee with Morcheeba – while the coffee’s a tangy roast by James Blake.

Read the rest of Martin’s Bands to Watch feature on Glass Animals here.

Glitches
Sweeping soulful vocals on top of an underlying pop sensibility. It’s unusual to see a trio of guys who have the DIY aesthetic but who aren’t in the indie rock genre (Hot Club de Paris, Little Comets, the Crookes), but this will make them stand out from the pack.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VP8Y_Z-wysA[/youtube]

Gulp
Gulp is a kinda sorta supergroup starring Guto Pryce (Super Furry Animals) and Lindsey Leven, with Gid Goundrey providing guitar and Gwion Llewelyn (Race Horses) on drums. Their sound? Dream pop vocals on top of whimsical, layered instrumentation. Interesting.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2jBMAPx_Pdo[/youtube]

Holy Esque (confirmed on SXSW schedule 23 Feb)
Cheryl writes: “Pat Hynes’ heavy vibrato wrangles above the rapid fire drumming and ringing guitars giving it an otherworldly feel. It tints the tone of all they produce, driving the lyrics to a strange and mysterious place, irrespective of the actual sentiment in the song. This continual quavering is the natural way he sings and not an affectation to add interest, so it permeates every song. That’s fine, but it still sounds quite unusual.”

Cheryl wrote a Bands to Watch on them, and you can read the feature here.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZrB4Sfra8NE[/youtube]

Chloe Howl
In her synth poppier moments such as on ‘No Strings’, Howl seems to be assuming the mantle of La Roux‘s Elly Jackson. Says it all, really. She even has really awesome hair too.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=om7zg-M0rZM[/youtube]

Jetta
Liverpool singer Jetta croons soulfully to a minimalist backdrop the xx would be proud to call their own. Band-wise, we’ll have to see if this turns out to be more Florence and the Machine or No Doubt.

Jungle
Martin writes: “Jungle are purveyors of sun-drenched downtempo electro-soul, a facsimile of which can often be heard playing on the radio of, say, a 1965 Chevy Malibu SS whilst cruising the vice-ridden streets of a simulated Los Angeles.”

Martin’s Bands to Watch on Jungle is here.

London Grammar
We refrained from doing a bands to watch feature on London Grammar because…well, everyone else had already covered them, and judging from their early popularity on the back of their debut album ‘If You Wait’ released in September 2013, it seems like their history has already been written. They sound eerily like the xx, though Hannah Reid’s angelic voice makes their tunes feel like they should be on The Lord of the Rings soundtrack.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6drfp_3823I[/youtube]

The Magic Numbers
Two pairs of brothers and sisters who have somehow soldiered on for over a decade making near twee pop and have sold millions of records. Come now, you’ve heard ‘Forever Lost’, haven’t you?

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R8P40WfRELU[/youtube]

Only Real
Martin writes: At first listen of something like ‘Punks And Potions’, the lead-off track of 2013’s ‘Days In The City’ EP now out on LuvLuvLuv Records, the almost out-of-tune electric guitars overlaid with a heavy dose of lo-fi chorusing are the kind of thing any number of bedroom crooners (and surely this *was* recorded in a bedroom) would put out. The arrangement is in no particular hurry, or of any particular convention for that matter, the second verse lazily arriving at the two-minute mark. But Only Real’s talent is to hide within these inauspicious strictures some impressively ambitious and thoughtful work.… Overall, the combination of a naïf approach to arrangement and production, combined with a decent ear for a melody and lyrics, make Only Real a great prospect. One wonders what he’ll be capable of when he finally emerges from that bedroom…”

Read the rest of Martin’s Bands to Watch on Only Real here.

Prides
Sounding like the love child of early ‘Oracular Spectacular’-era MGMT and bombastic ‘80s power pop, this Glasgow trio will make you yearn for the days when every band didn’t have to have a synthesiser player, just the ones who did pop right.

You can read frontman Stuart Brock’s answers to our Quickfire Questions (the SXSW flavoured ones too!) over here.

Woman’s Hour
In the post-xx world, a woman singing over dreamy, sometimes minimal instrumentation isn’t actually that groundbreaking. Or is it? Fiona Burgess’ vocals sound distant, and maybe that’s the point of this London via Kendal band: don’t think, just get lost in the music.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4x1OzVibsOo[/youtube]

Keep it here, as we roll on with more of the TGTF Guide to SXSW 2014 tomorrow!

 

(SXSW 2014 flavoured!) Video of the Moment #1452: Holy Esque

 
By on Monday, 17th February 2014 at 6:00 pm
 

Glaswegian band Holy Esque have a new video out for their single ‘Silences’, out now Beyond the Frequency. The promo is lo-fi indeed. Watch it below.

They’ll be showcasing at this year’s SXSW, and for more, read Cheryl’s Bands to Watch feature on them here.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MhIXlAMHWP0[/youtube]

 
 
 

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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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