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Little Comets / February and March 2015 UK Tour

 
By on Friday, 21st November 2014 at 9:00 am
 

Little Comets have announced a tour of the UK to follow the upcoming release of their 3rd album ‘Hope is Just a State of Mind’, due out on the 16th of February 2015 on their own The Smallest Label. The band are currently running a PledgeMusic campaign for album pre-orders, which is available exclusively to listeners in the UK. Tickets for the following live shows are on sale now.

Our quite large archive on Little Comets is this way.

Monday 23rd February 2015 – Nottingham Rescue Rooms
Tuesday 24th February 2015 – Cambridge Junction
Wednesday 25th February 2015 – Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms
Thursday 26th February 2015 – Bristol Fleece
Sunday 1st March 2015 – Belfast Limelight 2
Monday 2nd March 2015 – Glasgow King Tut’s
Tuesday 3rd March 2015 – Aberdeen Tunnels
Friday 6th March 2015 – York Fibbers
Saturday 7th March 2015 – Birmingham Institute
Thursday 12th March 2015 – London Koko
Friday 13th March 2015 – Manchester Academy
Saturday 14th March 2015 – Newcastle Academy

 

Album Review: Little Comets – The Sanguine EP

 
By on Friday, 31st October 2014 at 12:00 pm
 

Arguably, the most famous thing that late Factory Records boss and journalist Tony Wilson ever said was, “but this is Manchester. We do things differently here”. The same can be said for bands in the North: far away from the reach, influence and trappings of London, the majority of them choose not to leave their home for the big smoke, instead making their name under their own terms, many thriving thanks to old-fashioned determination and incredibly hard graft.

Little Comets are one of the bright stars from Newcastle, though the brothers Coles and their growing families now call the Midlands (Birmingham to be more exact) home. The trio – singer/guitarist Rob Coles, his brother Mickey on guitar and Matt Hall on bass, supplemented by live drummer David “Greenie” Green – decided earlier this year to go it alone and leave Dirty Hit Records to strike out on their own The Smallest Label for all future releases. One of their great ongoing marketing plans in 2014 has been to release a series of EPs in lieu of a full album. (This will come later, in February 2015, when ‘Hope is a State of Mind’ will be released.) Monday sees the release of the third and final EP in the trilogy, ‘The Sanguine EP’, which follows ‘The Gentle EP’ (starring the brilliant ‘Little Italy’) released in February and ‘Salt’ in June. As seen with those previous records, Rob Coles’ lyrical content continues to be weighty and reflective, while the music is intelligent.

The foot-stompingly good ‘Ex-Cathedra’ begins this EP. As described by Coles himself on this entry on the band’s blog, the title comes from a Latin phrase “from the seat” that is used to describe the infallibility of the Pope’s thoughts and decisions. But ultimately, Coles wrote the lyrics to it in remembrance of his son William’s birth: the word ‘sanguine’ (frankly not used enough these days) that appears in the EP title also makes an appearance here as a sign of optimism, and the words “never let the winsome die” further this upbeat feeling.

The moniker of ‘Creeping Up Appearances’ is no doubt a pun on the BBC’s farcical tv series starring Patricia Routledge, but in some ways it’s a perfectly appropriate title if you consider Hyacinth Bucket’s primary goal throughout the series: to keep up her and her husband Richard’s appearance, things are business as usual as she continues her reign of snobbery while totally unaware of how she really appears to be to other people. While the guitars are suitably jaunty for Little Comets’ fare, the actual topic Coles is talking about is how the status quo is being maintained in Parliament while no-one is being held accountable. The overall instrumentation is restrained, allowing for the Comets’ trademark harmonies to shine bright.

With cheerful guitar noodle-y bits that sound like country western crossed with Jimmy Page’s parts in ‘Over the Hills and Far Away’, ‘Cover Your Rain’ (shown acoustically live above) is the most instrumentally interesting track of the EP. Though the two songs sound different and have entirely different purposes, I can’t explain why this song reminds me of ‘A Little Opus’, the title track of their second studio album ‘Life is Elsewhere and it’s really bothering me. Maybe it’s time for me to sit down for another chat with the lads and pick their brains again to get to the bottom of this irksome feeling in my psyche.

And while I had their attention, I’d also thank them for ‘The Assisted’. It is in stark contrast with the rest of the EP, as it is presented as simply as humanly possible, with just Rob Coles’ voice and him playing piano. He’s explained it’s about assisted suicide and not wanting to live any longer with a terminal illness. As you can probably imagine, this is quite loaded subject matter; in the wrong hands and without true consideration of the gravity of such a situation, a song like this could easily come across completely insincere and out of touch, the song equivalent of the most terrible of train wrecks.

Instead, Coles has written a truly beautiful, moving piece, showing an astonishing gentleness and cognisance of a difficult decision, and a final one at that. It’s a real tearjerker. For those of us who have had to contemplate for ourselves or for others such a fate, it’s not something that can or should be taken lightly. Even if the song doesn’t resonate with you personally, you can use it as one of many examples of the Little Comets back catalogue of their great artistry. If you haven’t figured this out already while following their story, Little Comets are a band who aren’t afraid to defy convention, to touch hot button topics like this and deal with them head on, and we should thank our lucky stars every day for this.

8.5/10

‘The Sanguine EP’ will be released on Monday, the 3rd of November, on the band’s own The Smallest Label. Their third album ‘Hope is a State of Mind’ can now be pre-ordered on their PledgeMusic Web site, along with the opportunity to purchase a whole series of unique and limited edition items. The album will be released on the 16th of February 2015. You can stream EP track ‘The Assisted’ below.

 

WIN / Tix to Little Comets’ October 2014 UK Tour

 
By on Wednesday, 1st October 2014 at 11:00 am
 

Having followed them for quite a while, we’re very excited for our mates Little Comets. The North East band has two massive upcoming releases: ‘The Sanguine EP’, which will be released on the 3rd of November, and their third album ‘Hope is Just a State of Mind’, which comes out on the 16th of February bright and early in 2015 (preorder the album on their PledgeMusic page here). Ahead of both releases is a UK tour later this month (all dates listed here), and being the nice lads they are, they’ve given us a pair of tickets to this tour to give away to a deserving TGTF reader. Now that you’ve read all of that, you clearly want to enter our contest, yes? Good.

Please fill out the form below completely, including your full name, your email address and which show you want to win tickets to. Then to make sure you really want to see Little Comets (and really, who wouldn’t? Don’t answer that, it was a rhetorical question), please tell us why you think we should award you with the tickets. We’ll read them all and whoever wrote the best entry as deemed by us will be the winner.

Get your entries in by noon British time this Friday, the 3rd of October. We’ll contact the winner by email. Good luck! Please note: this contest is open to UK residents only who can get him/herself to the show of his/her choosing, and the winner and guest must meet whatever age requirement there is for that venue (TGTF won’t be held responsible if you’re turned away at the door for being underage). All duplicate entries will be discarded.

This contest is now closed and the winner has been contacted by email.

 

Little Comets / October 2014 UK Tour

 
By on Friday, 4th July 2014 at 9:00 am
 

Forget the ‘One Night in October’ jokes, please. Those lovable Geordies Little Comets have announced a UK tour that very month this year, October 2014. Tickets are on sale next Tuesday, the 8th of July.

If you’re wondering where the London date is (it definitely threw me), at the bottom of the tour poster is the note, “A special little London gig will be announced soon.” So stay tuned. In the meantime, you might want to see our past coverage on Little Comets here.

Tuesday 21st October 2014 – Wolverhampton Slade Rooms
Wednesday 22nd October 2014 – Sheffield Leadmill
Thursday 23rd October 2014 – Edinburgh Liquid Rooms
Friday 24th October 2014 – Leeds Uni Stylus
Saturday 25th October 2014 – Middlesbrough Empire
Monday 27th October 2014 – Preston 53 Degrees
Tuesday 28th October 2014 – Liverpool Academy 2
Wednesday 29th October 2014 – Stoke Sugarmill
Thursday 30th October 2014 – Norwich Waterfront
Friday 31st October 2014 – Brighton Concorde 2

 

Video of the Moment #1553: Little Comets

 
By on Wednesday, 18th June 2014 at 6:00 pm
 

Little Comets‘ newest promo is for ‘Grow’, which is a track off their new ‘Salt and Its Gentle Corollary’ EP, just released on Monday on the band’s own Smallest Label in America and Canada and its UK sister ‘Salt’ EP, also now available in the UK. In the video, we’re treated to a whole selection of shirts from the lads’ wardrobes and what appears to be a wall in bassist Matt’s flat. I think. It’s definitely cheeky as the band themselves describe it.

You can now purchase the ‘Salt’ EP here on iTunes if you’re in North America; if you’re in the UK, the UK version is here. The guys will be performing this coming Sunday afternoon in Dover, Delaware, at the Firefly Music Festival, so if you happen to be at the event, they’re a must-see. Our extensive archive of articles on Little Comets can be found here, including their recent appearances in Philadephia at a Sofar Sounds house party and an evening show at North Star Bar.

 

Live Review: Little Comets at North Star Bar, Philadelphia – 8th June 2014

 
By on Wednesday, 11th June 2014 at 2:00 pm
 

Little Comets embarked on a short tour of the Northeast United States last week, culminating in a final show at the North Star Bar, in the northern Fairmount neighbourhood of Philadelphia. Seeing them making a surprise appearance at an acoustic Sofar Sounds show that afternoon in the west side of town more than whet my appetite for their full show. (You can read that review here.) I was wowed by my first Little Comets show at the Hamilton in DC last summer; it ended up being my favourite show of 2013. How would this gig compare? And in another city?

Since their appearance in Washington last year, the lads have been keeping themselves busy, writing and recording new songs and even filming their own music videos too. They’ve come a long way since their debut, 2011’s ‘In Search of Elusive Little Comets’. Just this year, they’ve released the two EPs ‘The Gentle EP’ and ‘Salt’ on their own record label, humbly called The Smallest Label.

While lead singer and guitarist Rob Coles has said that the lyrics of their songs have changed, becoming more mature as he and his brother got married and became fathers, what hasn’t changed for this Northeast-bred band (both of the Coles brothers are now based in the Midlands with their families) is the sheer inventiveness of their sound, which comes across loud and clear in all their recordings and also winningly live. It’s also served up with a good dose of whimsy. At least on the songs that Rob doesn’t preface with something like “this is a sad song” when played live, that is.

In contrast to the well-mannered, well-behaved and generally seated, immobile listeners at the Sofar show earlier that day, the North Star Bar show seemed to be, as appropriately dictated by the immortal words in late set song ‘Dancing Song’, “this one’s for dancing!” While simply fun tunes like ‘One Night in October’ and ‘Joanna’ are from the earliest era of this band’s output, I think it’s very telling of their talent – and also to some extent, their humility – that when they perform live, they play a wonderful mix of new and old, serious and fanciful, emotional and footloose and fancy free. Nothing is off limits.

It was very appropriate for the band to include in their set ‘Bridge Burn’, which is for them one of the more simply arranged songs in their catalogue, but more importantly it was a song that they specially included on the American version of their second album ‘Life is Elsewhere’, which was released on Dualtone Records in August 2013.

But in terms of lyrical strength and power, look no further than one of their newest songs ‘The Blur, the Line and the Thickest of Onions’. One of the main reasons I started my other Web site Music in Notes was to bring attention to the wealth, beauty and strength of words in popular song. This Little Comets song challenges the status quo, the rest of the world that is sat idly by while terrible things (misogyny, violence) are happening that should be a call to action but no-one does anything. Another new song, ‘Coalition of One’, is the band’s take on a protest song, taking aim at those who seek to destroy the British welfare state. This is no lightweight pop band. These are guys who set out to write thought-provoking songs with interesting arrangements that won’t leave your head. And succeed.

Sonically, the hallmarks of a Little Comets show are Rob Coles’ sometimes tongue-tied, sometimes acrobatic vocal delivery; his younger brother Mickey’s frenetic guitar playing; bassist Matt Hall’s thumping lines; and their pal Greenie on drums joining in on the fun. On the catchier end of the spectrum are the three Ws – ‘Worry’, W-O-E’ and ‘The Western Boy’ – but then the band lets hit on your ears something borne out of love and you’re just left speechless, verklempt.

‘Waiting in the Shadows of the Dead of Night’ was written by Rob about the inevitability of death and how in every relationship, one will leave this plane before the other, who is then left alone. Everything about this song is memorable: the backing rhythm, the intricate guitar lines, the apparently cheerful melody. And those words: “So hold me and sway me?/ remember?me daily?/ for all that will?remain of us?is photographs?/ no metaphor for this?that I can understand…” Just thinking about the song and about the show Sunday night while I write this is making me cry: there are few bands / songwriters who can move me like this. They are the uncompromising, the brilliant, the genuine. All three words perfectly describe Little Comets.

After the cut: Little Comets’ set list.
Continue reading Live Review: Little Comets at North Star Bar, Philadelphia – 8th June 2014

 
 
 

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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