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Single Review: Public Service Broadcasting – White Star Liner

 
By on Tuesday, 23rd October 2018 at 12:00 pm
 

Oh, yeah! Our favourite bespectacled history boffins Public Service Broadcasting are back with a new release this week. The ‘White Star Liner’ EP premieres this Friday and this time, as its name suggests, the eclectic rockers in tweed have turned their focus on the shipping company founded in Liverpool responsible for building history’s most famous doomed vessel, the Titanic. The EP is a sonic chronicle of its construction and feteing to the demise of the ship and its many passengers.

As in past efforts, the band’s songwriting to retell a story is a respectful treatment of a tale that has been dramatised and along the way lost important details beyond that fateful day in 1912 that deserve to be told. On the title track single in particular, we’re reminded of the grandeur of the ship that was built and what an accomplishment this massive boat was for the times. We take it for granted here in the 21st century what humans were capable of now, but as on 2015 album ‘The Race for Space’, we are gently nudged towards the wonderment and magnitude of the achievement.

In typical Public Service Broadcasting style, the video for ‘White Star Liner’ includes historical footage, in this case playing on a screen behind the band. The location of the filmed performance is particularly poignant: the band appear here at BBC’s Biggest Weekend in Belfast, the Irish port where the Titanic was built. One of the text slides in the video reads, “Happiness is the keynote of travel and its sweetest expression is a smile.” It’s immediately preceded by an image of a grinning woman with a veil, presumably waving to her loved ones back on shore.

The optimistic guitar lines of ‘White Star Liner’ further remind us that the launching of the Titanic was a time of celebration and a look forward towards a new age in maritime travel. Many of those onboard the ship were taking the transatlantic trip to a new land and a new life. While it will be impossible to separate the ship from its eventual disastrous end, I can appreciate the band’s effort to bring a sense of optimism about this story back into the public consciousness and indeed, during a period of human history during which we could all use the feeling of unity. That’s worth supporting 100%.

8/10

New EP ‘White Star Liner’ from Public Service Broadcasting is out this Friday, the 26th of October, on PIAS. For all of our past coverage on the band here on TGTF, come through.

 

Live Gig Video: watch Luke Sital-Singh’s talk and performance from TED2018

 
By on Wednesday, 17th October 2018 at 4:00 pm
 

Back in April, singer/songwriter Luke Sital-Singh was invited to speak and perform at the TEDtalk conference TED2018. From an explanation by Sital-Singh himself, I understand that the husband of celebrated American writer Amy Krouse Rosenthal found incredible solace in Sital-Singh’s song ‘Killing Me’. In case you need a refresher, the inspiration for the English singer/songwriter when writing the song was his grandmother’s deep and enduring love for her late husband. Carrie goes into much more depth on the single; read what she had to say through here.

In the video from the conference in Vancouver back in April below, you can watch Sital-Singh performing ‘Afterneath’ and ‘Killing Me’ with only his own piano notes to accompany his beautiful voice. He also speaks in between the tunes, eliciting laughs when he admits he enjoys a depressing song. Watch, listen and enjoy the stirring performance below. The artist’s second album ‘Time is a Riddle’ is out now on Raygun Music; you can read my review of the long player . For all of our past coverage on Luke Sital-Singh on TGTF, go here.

 

Live Review: Teleman with C.A.R. at Bristol Thekla – 27th September 2018

 
By on Monday, 8th October 2018 at 2:00 pm
 

It took nearly a decade, but I finally made it to arguably the most unusual venue in the UK. It’s not a 19th century Scottish church turned venue, that’s Oran Mor in Glasgow, or a treatment centre for the hearing impaired turned venue, that’s Manchester’s Deaf Institute. No, last Thursday night, I found myself on a decommissioned cargo ship moored in Bristol Harbour to see one of my favourite live bands. The show at Thekla marked the start of a 2-and-a-half week UK tour in support of their latest album ‘Family of Aliens’, released in early September. (Read my review of the album through here.) In a previous interview with Lauren Laverne on BBC 6Music, Teleman mentioned Bristol was always a good place to gig. The city didn’t disappoint them, being the first date on the tour to sell out.

C.A.R. Bristol 1

Chloé Raunet is the one-woman show C.A.R. She’s a French-Canadian based in London and a singer and synth and keyboard player. While she was likely unknown to the majority of the crowd – I know I didn’t know anything about her – her mix of driving beats and oft yelping voice was just the right amount of subversiveness in sound just above the headliners’ own. Her 2014 debut ‘My Friend’ was described by Dummy magazine as “an electro pop album that’s quite self-consciously weird.” Her follow-up, this year’s ‘Pinned’, stars oddly catchy tunes like ‘Growing Pains’ and the live standout of her set ‘This City’, rich with metallic clanks and her disaffected vocals. Keen on grabbing a free remix of ‘This City’ done by Teleman drummer Hiro? Right through here.

As one might expect, the set list for Teleman’s inaugural night for the ‘Family of Aliens’ tour was heavy on tunes from the new LP. Of the three singles that previewed the official release of the album, early calls for ‘Song for a Seagull’ from the audience proved it’s clearly the fan favourite. Bemused but seemingly prepared for this response, frontman Thomas Sanders was quick to quip that we’d get it soon enough. When the moment finally arrived in the set, time seemed to pause: the song has become quite personal to me, and not just because I’m named early on in its promo video. I have been on both sides, having been the untouchable seagull and having been in love with one. There are equal parts of wonderment and bewilderment when you fall in love with someone you can’t fully connect with on an emotional level. I suppose you could argue the song sounds way too happy, but I look at it as an acknowledgement of the essence of love: it’s beguiling and frustrating but ultimately wonderful.

Teleman Bristol 1

The delightful synth bounce in their tunes comes across even better in a live setting. A song like ‘Fun Destruction’ – an examination on the struggle between having a fun, messy night out and then confronting your hungover self in the morning – is ideal for a gig, the ordered and anarchic bits of the song at odds but in a way that works flawlessly. Sanders admitted anxiously before ‘Twisted Heart’ that we were the first people to ever hear it live. While it’s definitely chaotic, it was all too easy and wonderfully so to give in to the chaos and revelry of the night that continued into now perennial live favourite ‘Dusseldorf’. Older beloved tracks ‘Tangerine’, ‘Cristina’ and one-off Speedy Wunderground single ‘Strange Combination’ joined the party, too. When the band finally had to sadly say goodbye, they ended with ‘Not in Control’, its motorik beat and droney nature acting as perfect sendoff. Until next time, Teleman, thank you.

Teleman Bristol 5


After the cut: Teleman’s set list from the night.

Continue reading Live Review: Teleman with C.A.R. at Bristol Thekla – 27th September 2018

 

In the Post #163: Ben Howard follows his ‘Noonday Dream’ with three new tracks, including a surprise collaboration with alt-pop duo Sylvan Esso

 
By on Tuesday, 25th September 2018 at 12:00 pm
 

Summer may be drawing to a close, but reminiscences of warm and sunny days are still fresh in our collective memory. With this in mind, singer/songwriter Ben Howard has just released a handful of new singles hot on the heels of his summer LP ‘Noonday Dream’, which was released back in June. As often happens, the recording sessions for the album were overly prolific, but in a fortunate sort of way. Howard himself says, “The recording sessions for ‘Noonday Dream’ were so varied and over quite a period of time. There were little gems that we didn’t know what to do with, but it felt right to put these three together, both separate and a part of the album, so to speak.”

One of those so-called gems is a surprise collaboration between Howard and American electro-pop duo Sylvan Esso. Called ‘Hot Heavy Summer’, the track does indeed feel tangentially related to the ephemeral vignettes on ‘Noonday Dream’. The addition of Amelia Meath’s backing vocals keeps the soundscape brighter and more buoyant than the title might imply, while the rounded hollow of the percussion beat lends a very definite substance to Howard’s otherwise evanescent arrangement. Apropos to the song’s title, ‘Hot Heavy Summer’ was featured as Annie Mac’s Hottest Record in the World last Thursday, 13th September. Speaking on BBC Radio 1, Howard related that Meath’s lilting voice came immediately to mind for this song: “Amelia is just incredible, fortune prevailed, and we managed to get in the studio. I had it in the back of my mind as soon as we initially recorded ‘Hot Heavy Summer’ that the track just felt right for her.” If you’re interested in the full radio clip, you can listen back to it for a limited time on the BBC Radio 1 iPlayer.

‘Hot Heavy Summer’ is accompanied by two other tracks leftover from the ‘Noonday Dream’ sessions, a dark narrative called ‘Another Friday Night’ and the electronically experimental ‘Sister’. While these tracks don’t quite fit into the artistically cinematic nature of ‘Noonday Dream’, Howard is right in saying that they’re too good to go unheard. You can take a listen to all three tracks via Spotify, just below.

8.5/10

Ben Howard has a run of live dates in the UK planned for this winter, including two nights at the Manchester Apollo in December and three nights at London’s Brixton Academy after the start of the new year. Tickets for the following shows are available now.

Friday 7th December – Glasgow Hydro Arena
Saturday 8th December – Cardiff Motorpoint Arena
Monday 10th December – Manchester Apollo
Tuesday 11th December – Manchester Apollo
Wednesday 16th January 2019 – London Brixton Academy
Thursday 17th January 2019 – London Brixton Academy
Friday 18th January 2019 – London Brixton Academy

You can read TGTF’s past coverage of Ben Howard right back here, and our coverage of Sylvan Esso is collected through here.

 

Live Review: Saint Sister with Marian McLaughlin at DC9, Washington, DC – 21st September 2018

 
By on Monday, 24th September 2018 at 2:00 pm
 

Header photo of Saint Sister by Rich Gilligan

If you can manage to schedule it, do yourself a favour and go see a favourite band on either the first night or the last night of a tour. On the last night, you can cheer for them for a job well done for finishing what usually is a long, exhausting campaign to support a new album. On the flipside, on the first night of a tour, it’s nice to champion the people you respect as artists as they begin the process. I’m lucky enough to catch the start of two tours within 1 week this month, the first being Saint Sister’s first-ever visit to Washington Friday night. Ahead of the self-release of the Northern Irish girl duo’s debut album on the 5th of October, Gemma Doherty and Morgan MacIntyre, joined by a touring bassist/keyboardist and drummer.

The show began with a feeling of déjà vu for me. The previous time I saw singer/songwriter Marian McLaughlin, she was supporting another pair of talented ladies, England’s Smoke Fairies, at the very same venue. The NPR-feted McLaughlin is a stalwart to the Baltimore / DC area scene, having steadily self-released music since 2014. The themes of her upcoming album ‘Lake Accotink’ are how humans interact with the environment and resolving for herself the impact of progress on Earth.

Marian McLaughlin DC9 September 2018

Like the last time I saw her, she performed solo Friday night, though she will be performing with a backing band this week at album release shows this week in Baltimore Wednesday night, the 26th, at Holy Underground and Friday night, the 28th, at DC’s Songbyrd Music House. Swapping between nylon-stringed acoustic guitar, a standing keyboard and one placed at her feet, this was a performance that was anything run-of-the-mill. McLaughlin pays tribute to the beauty of local parks in her new LP: ‘Grayson Highlands’ recalls a hiking trip McLaughlin took there. It’s named after a Virginian state park near the state’s southern border with North Carolina.

From one unique artist to two of them. Saint Sister have showcased twice in the last 3 years of SXSW, which is an impressive feat considering how many hopefuls appear at the Irish version of SXSW, Hard Working Class Heroes, every autumn in Dublin. Incorporating electronic, rock and soul into folk, their self-described “atmosfolk” sets them apart from not just all the singer/songwriters in Ireland but those around the world. For example, how often do you see an accordion and a harp (Gemma Doherty’s primary instrument) at a rock show? Also, I witnessed another specifically Irish phenomenon that Daithi clued me in on 2 years ago: Irish people always show up and support their country(wo)men, wherever they are playing. So the audience was oddly disproportionally full of Irish music fans from university age to way up, and more Guinness was being poured than usual at DC9, though the nectar of the gods were from *gasp, horror* cans.

Saint Sister DC9 September 2018

Saint Sister will be making the grandest of artistic gestures at the end of next week with the release of debut ‘Shape of Silence’, which I have listened to in full and can say is excellent. The album includes songs that have been kicking around in their live sets for a while that proved arresting performed Friday night. On a much simpler, back to basics approach, ‘Corpses’ (previously released through Communion’s Singles Club) featured only Doherty and MacIntyre’s ethereal voices and very gentle instrumentation. ‘Madrid’, on the other hand, is a full band affair, and with its glitchy, syncopated beats, the song feels more modern and miles away from more traditional folk.

‘Causing Trouble’ bridges this seemingly insurmountable divide with soulful, perfectly duetting vocals from the ladies and a sultry beat that’s caused the pair’s music to be compared to that of Massive Attack and Portishead. This ain’t your momma’s folk, that’s for sure. But with Doherty and MacIntyre’s brilliantly complementary vocals underpinning everything, they have the latitude to continue to experiment and create music that is totally their own. With the release of ‘Shape of Silence’, they’re sure to win many new fans.

After the cut: Saint Sister’s set list.
Continue reading Live Review: Saint Sister with Marian McLaughlin at DC9, Washington, DC – 21st September 2018

 

Live Gig Video: Fenne Lily shares 2018 Green Man performance of ‘Car Park’

 
By on Monday, 17th September 2018 at 4:00 pm
 

Bristol-based singer/songwriter Fenne Lily will be busy this autumn out on tour. Following a headline show on the 12th of October at London Borderline with SXSW 2018 showcasing band Wyldest, she’ll be supporting two great acts in the UK and America. In October, she’ll be the opening act for American singer/songwriter Lucy Dacus. Then, following Thanksgiving here in the States, she’ll be supporting Canadian Andy Shauf on a short tour hitting Washington, DC, Philadelphia and two nights in Brooklyn.

Before all of that, and actually last month, Fenne Lily and her band were at Green Man Festival in Wales, where they recorded this gem of a performance. It’s of ‘Car Park’, from her self-released debut album ‘On Hold’, out now. Some fans have noted that this live version is a little faster than the version on record. But hey, aren’t live shows supposed to be spontaneous and deliciously different? Watch the performance below. You can read our review of Fenne Lily’s single ‘What’s Good’ through here.

 
 
 

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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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