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SXSW 2018 Interview: Buck Meek

 
By on Tuesday, 3rd July 2018 at 11:00 am
 

Header photo: Buck Meek, far right, with his band at Luck Reunion during SXSW 2018

If you’re a regular TGTF reader, you might already be familiar with the name of singer/songwriter Buck Meek. We’ve covered Meek before in his role as part of alt-rock band Big Thief, both in live review and previous SXSW coverage. Back in March, during SXSW 2018, Meek came to Austin as a solo artist, to preview his now-released debut LP, which is simply titled ‘Buck Meek.’ I caught a very quick moment with Meek after his set at Willie Nelson’s Luck Reunion to ask him about the new album.

‘Buck Meek’ technically isn’t Meek’s solo debut, following on his previous EP release ‘Heart Was Beat’ from back in 2015. That EP includes the memorable track ‘Sam Bridges’, which he played in a slightly different form in the Revival Tent at Luck than what I remembered from a live performance in Phoenix with Big Thief several years ago. Discussing his set on the day, Meek agreed. “That [song] had a more country feel. I mean, we’re playing it with a slide guitar player today, who kind of mimics the [pedal] steel, and with a country drum beat and everything.”

Having only seen Meek before in the context of Big Thief’s edgy folk rock, I was curious about the more obvious country influence I heard on display in his solo work. “I think there’s influence there”, Meek says. “I grew up in Wimberly, Texas, south of Austin. I grew up listening to, surrounded by country music. So it’s always been, I think, an influence. And to be honest, this set, I catered more towards that feel.”

But many of the songs on ‘Buck Meek’, the album, defy easy classification as straighforward country songs. Musically, the record’s foundational country tone is obfuscated by elements of what Meek describes as “grunge, and punk rock, and more esoteric stuff.” Early single ‘Cannonball!’ has a distinct twang to it, most prominently in Meek’s vocal lines, but its laid-back rhythm section is unmistakabely jazz-tinged, and its electric guitar riff is pure blues rock. ‘Ruby’ is a charmingly elusive, rhythmically complex track which Meek explained to Uproxx as “the suspension in love, when time folds in on itself, when the first instant of meeting cycles through the idiosyncratic friction and ancient affection of years together, which again cycles into infancy and eager fascination — all contained within a sideways glance.”

Thematically, ‘Buck Meek’ touches on a wide array of subject matter, from platonic male friendship (‘Joe By the Book’) to a plane crash in the French Alps (‘Flight 9525’), and an intriguing cast of characters, including a widow named ‘Sue’ and a devoted canine ‘Best Friend.’ In the end, the heart of the album is revealed in final track ‘Fool Me’, a late night country bar classic, with a plaintive piano melody and Meek’s self-deprecating vocal evoking the mild yet persistent yearning of one last slow dance on an otherwise deserted dance floor.

‘Buck Meek’ was released on the 18th of May on Austin record label Keeled Scales. Buck Meek will spend the remainder of the summer on tour supporting the release of the album, including the following run of dates in the UK in August. In addition to the shows listed below, Meek will support fellow country artist Courtney Marie Andrews at the Norwich Arts Centre on the 21st of August and at Southampton’s Talking Heads on the 22nd of August. You can find a full listing of Meek’s upcoming live dates on his official Facebook. TGTF’s previous coverage of Buck Meek is collected through here.

Monday 20th August 2018 – Brighton Komedia
Thursday 23rd August 2018 – London Islington
Friday 24th August 2018 – Manchester Gullivers
Sunday 26th August 2018 – Dublin Grand Social
Monday 27th August 2018 – Leeds Brudenell Social Club
Tuesday 28th August 2018 – Glasgow Hug and Pint

 

Villagers / October 2018 UK Tour

 
By on Tuesday, 19th June 2018 at 9:00 am
 

Irishman Conor J. O’Brien, better known under his recording name Villagers, will be going on tour in the UK in the autumn. In the midst of the UK dates, he will also perform at Dublin’s Metropolis Festival on the 27th of October. A massive tour filling up most of his November will follow it. The UK tour will commence just a few weeks after the release of his fourth studio album ‘The Art of Pretending to Swim’, which is scheduled for release on the 21st of September on Domino Records. Enjoy album track ‘A Trick of the Light’ in its promo video form at the end of this post.

Presale tickets and album go on sale tomorrow, Wednesday, the 20th of June, at 9 AM. The general sale begins on Friday, the 22nd, at 9 AM. Given the immense destruction from the fire that took place at the Glasgow School of Art last Friday, it’s unlikely the originally scheduled gig on the 18th of October will take place there. Stay tuned to Villagers’ official channels for more information.

Wednesday 17th October 2018 – Nottingham Rescue Rooms
Thursday 18th October – Glasgow Art School
Friday 19th October – Manchester Gorilla
Sunday 21st October – Leeds Wardrobe
Monday 22nd October – Oxford Academy 2
Tuesday 23rd October – London Hackney Arts Centre
Thursday 25th October – Liverpool Arts Club
Saturday 27th October – Dublin Metropolis Festival
Tuesday 30th October – Bristol Trinity
Wednesday 31st October 2018 – Brighton Old Market

 

Will Varley / October and November 2018 UK Tour

 
By on Friday, 27th April 2018 at 8:00 am
 

Kent singer/songwriter Will Varley has announced a lengthy UK tour for this autumn, on the strength of his recent LP release ‘Spirit of Minnie’, which is out now on Xtra Mile Recordings. Varley only just wrapped up his last UK tour in February, ahead of North American dates with Skinny Lister and his stop in Austin, Texas for SXSW 2018. Just below, check out a pair of photos from Varley’s opening set at Phoenix’s Valley Bar on the 23rd of February.

Will Varley internal 1

Will Varley internal 2

Tickets for the following shows go on sale today, Friday, the 27th of April at 10 AM. Below the tour date listing, you can take a listen to ‘Spirit of Minnie’ album track ‘All Those Stars’. TGTF’s collected past coverage of Will Varley is right back here.

Wednesday 10th October 2018 – Norwich Epic Studios
Thursday 11th October 2018 – Cambridge Junction 2
Friday 12th October 2018 – Derby Venue
Saturday 13th October 2018 – Plymouth Red House Theatre
Tuesday 16th October 2018 – York NCEM
Wednesday 17th October 2018 – Newcastle Cluny
Thursday 18th October 2018 – Manchester Ritz
Friday 19th October 2018 – Glasgow Stereo
Saturday 20th October 2018 – Sheffield Leadmill
Sunday 21st October 2018 – Deal Astor Theatre
Tuesday 23rd October 2018 – Bath Komedia
Wednesday 24th October 2018 – Brighton Haunt
Thursday 25th October 2018 – Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms
Friday 26th October 2018 – Stroud Brunel Goods Shed
Saturday 27th October 2018 – Llandrindod Wells Pavilion Mid Wales
Saturday 3rd November 2018 – London Round Chapel

 

In the Post #160: Ben Howard announces his new album ‘Noonday Dream’ with first single ‘A Boat to an Island on the Wall’

 
By on Monday, 9th April 2018 at 12:00 pm
 

If you follow Ben Howard‘s social media, you might have noticed a quiet but mysterious breeze blowing around his internet persona recently. That soft breeze became a full blown wind last Wednesday, as Howard announced the impending release of ‘Noonday Dream’, his first solo album in 4 years, which follows his breathtaking 2014 album ‘I Forget Where We Were’. Howard hasn’t been entirely idle in the interim, releasing an EP and a full long player last year with his side project A Blaze of Feather.

Howard has previewed ‘Noonday Dream’ with lead single ‘A Boat to an Island on the Wall’, which received its first radio play last Wednesday on BBC Radio 1 with Annie Mac. In the accompanying interview with the DJ legend, Howard himself described the song as “a bit of a patchwork quilt”. He went on to briefly explain the song’s birth and evolution over time: “It went through a lot of different lives, this one, and I think you can sort of tell.”

Indeed, the song’s soundscape moves through palpable stages over the course of its 7-minute duration, starting with an a harsh, synthetic intro and progressing to a lighter acoustic backdrop under Howard’s softly intoned vocals. The entire recording has a broad, airy quality, in contrast to some of the heavier tones he’s taken in the past, and distant voices in the background suggest a vast sense of open space. About halfway through the track, layers of percussion and keyboards add light and color to the sonic palette, and the texture thickens dramatically with the introduction of a dark guitar melody near the end.

Produced by Howard himself and recorded at various locations in England and France, ‘A Boat to an Island on the Wall’ sounds like not only a continuation of what Howard did on ‘I Forget Where We Were’, but an even further extension of that atmospheric neo-folk sound. Lyrically the new song is as evocative and elusive as Howard has ever been in his writing, but musically he extends well beyond his acoustic folk rock beginnings. Take a listen to ‘A Boat to an Island off the Wall’ via Spotify at the bottom of this post.

8.5/10

‘Noonday Dream’ is due out on the 1st of June on Island Records. Just after the album’s release, Howard will play the below list of live dates in the UK. Listen back to Ben Howard’s interview with Annie Mac on BBC Radio 1 and the song’s first play through here; the stream will be available for the next 24 days. find TGTF’s past coverage of Ben Howard back through here.

Wednesday 13th June 2018 – London Hammersmith Apollo
Thursday 14th June 2018 – London Hammersmith Apollo
Thursday 28th June 2018 – Edinburgh Playhouse
Friday 29th June 2018 – Manchester Albert Hall
Saturday 30th June 2018 – Cornwall Eden Sessions

 

Editors / October 2018 UK Tour

 
By on Thursday, 8th March 2018 at 9:00 am
 

Long soldiering English alt-rock band Editors will be releasing their sixth studio album tomorrow. The incendiary-titled ‘Violence’ will be available on PIAS in hours. For those of you interested in special editions of the LP, there’s good news. A limited edition deluxe CD will feature two bonus tracks housed inside a rigid box that will also contain 2 fridge magnets, 12 inserts and a fold-out poster. For vinyl fans, a limited edition deluxe LP will be pressed on 180 g red vinyl and will be accompanied with a download code for the album plus the two bonus tracks. The vinyl will sits inside a triple gatefold sleeve with the 12 inserts. For those interested in seeing Tom Smith and co. live, more good news. The band have also announced a UK tour for October, which will also be on sale starting tomorrow at 9 AM through the band’s official Web site. For more on Editors here on TGTF, go here.

Sunday 7th October 2018 – Southampton Guildhall
Monday 8th October 2018 – Bristol St. Phillips Gate
Tuesday 9th October 2018 – Nottingham Rock City
Thursday 11th October 2018 – Newcastle Northumbria University
Monday 15th October 2018 – Belfast Ulster Hall
Tuesday 16th October 2018 – Dublin Vicar Street
Thursday 18th October 2018 – Manchester Apollo
Friday 19th October 2018 – Birmingham Academy
Saturday 20th October 2018 – Leeds Academy
Monday 22nd October 2018 – Norwich UEA
Tuesday 23th October 2018 – Brighton Dome
Wednesday 24th October 2018 – London Brixton Academy

 

Blossoms / May 2018 English Tour

 
By on Wednesday, 7th March 2018 at 9:00 am
 

Stockport’s Blossoms have announced their second album will be out in April. ‘Cool Like You’, the follow-up to their enjoyable debut ‘Blossoms’ from summer 2016, will be released on Virgin EMI on the 27th of April. Shortly following the release of their new long player, the psych pop group will tour England on a short string of dates. The tour kicks off at home at Stockport Plaza on the 4th of May and concludes in Norwich on the 12th of May. Something tells me there will be more dates announced soon, perhaps in the autumn following music festivals? Just a thought. For more on Blossoms here on TGTF, use this link.

Friday 4th May 2018 – Stockport Plaza
Monday 7th May 2018 – Leeds Academy
Tuesday 8th May 2018 – Newcastle Academy
Thursday 10th May 2018 – London Kentish Town Forum
Friday 11th May 2018 – Manchester Apollo
Saturday 12th May 2018 – Norwich Nick Rayns LCR at the UEA

 
 
 

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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.

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