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Live Gig Video: Beach House perform new song ‘Myth’ on Jools Holland

 
By on Tuesday, 29th May 2012 at 4:00 pm
 

Beach House from Maryland appeared last week on Jools Holland and played their song ‘Myth’. Watch the performance below.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y-kGrIN3Pb4[/youtube]

 

Live Review: Paula and Karol at London 93 Feet East – 15th May 2012

 
By on Tuesday, 29th May 2012 at 2:00 pm
 

There’s a great optimism to Paula and Karol‘s material. These days, we have enough problems in the world, with world economies tanking, more people going homeless and hungry…the list goes on. I remember Ed Macfarlane of Friendly Fires one time saying he wanted his band to provide escapist music to people, to take them out of the daily grind. In that respect, Paula and Karol excel, for their sunny pop/folk melodies will make you forget your cares and leave you with a huge smile on your face. I don’t think you own a heart if ‘Whole Again’, which I heard in its lower tones through the walls of a Pizza Express in Brighton, doesn’t make you insides melt. It’s not cloyingly sweet either, which I think is a big problem with pop/folk hybrids.

No, this duo – and their great support band of friends – is doing everything right. Some people may question, why aren’t they singing in Polish? I have to say, a major stumbling block to me understanding Sigur Ros is that I have no idea what Jonsi is singing about. By singing in English, this girl/boy duo has managed to bridge friendships across the world, including when I first discovered them at the Burning Ear showcase at this year’s SXSW.

I don’t speak a word of Polish, so I felt a little out of place on a Tuesday night this month at 93 Feet East. First though, I needed to find the front door; I got terribly lost from Old Street tube (never think someone’s who has been to London five times knows her way around a neighbourhood she’s ever been) and then when I finally found the 93 Feet East sign and was on the property, I became confused as to where the actual entrance of the venue was.

Luckily, a Polish girl happened to arrive at the same time as me led the way. Once inside, I found the design of 93 Feet East’s stage to be a bit warehouse-ish, but the headline band of the night, Warsaw’s ‘superheroes’ Paula and Karol, made it their own and warmed the hearts of what I’m guessing was the better portion of the Polish population of London. Most bands who haven’t ‘made it’ yet can only dream of having an encore in this town. Paula and Karol had two. The first was ‘House into a Home’, prefaced by Paula thanking everyone who has supported them along the way, and indeed, even their London friends who had put up the band in three separate locations to allow them to play 2 shows in the capital.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0n_IVKwSWBs[/youtube]

This was just one of several dates of a special English mini-tour the band embarked on surrounding their appearances at ‘Don’t Panic, We’re from Poland’ showcases at both the Great Escape and Liverpool Sound City. But the big surprise was yet to come. Years ago it seems now, I saw Lykke Li break out A Tribe Called Quest’s ‘Can I Kick It’ at Washington’s Black Cat. But this version by Paula and Karol, full of beatboxing and handclap glory, can be watched below.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GC39UsVgYxo[/youtube]

Was it worth getting lost in the middle of East London to see this band? You bet!

 

Great Escape 2012: Day 2 Evening Roundup – 11th May 2012

 
By on Tuesday, 29th May 2012 at 1:00 pm
 

I was back at LIFE, ready to roll to have an audience with another band we’ve written about, Hannah Clark and FOE. Maybe it was the great sunny weather, but by the time I made it back upstairs to the loft performance space of LIFE, the room was rammed. There’s this weird red glowing light in the place as well, so I felt like I was in one of the panic scenes in the film The Hunt for Red October. Since there was no way I’d get to the front for photos, I took advantage of my small size and anchored myself to the staircase, hoping for the best just to hear, since I couldn’t see.

I really like the way ‘A Handsome Stranger Called Death’ sounds on Lammo’s 6music programme, so it was disappointing to hear the loud buzzing sound of feedback coming out through the speakers, pretty much obliterating any chance of hearing the vocals clearly. I felt like leaving and then I felt a presence behind me. Something you learn in Brighton during the Great Escape: you will probably run into everyone you know from London, Manchester, etc. in the music business. I turned around to leave and head back down the stairs, and who do I see but Andy Clutterbuck, the singer of Films of Colour?

Something else I learned in Brighton: expect to be sidetracked if the weather’s nice. There’s really nothing like hanging out on the seaside with your friends, soaking up the last rays of daylight, watching the sun set. You see, in Washington, the latest the sun sets is about half past 7. In England though, it can still be daylight past 9. I had a full night of bands planned and insisted to them I needed food, so I had my first Pizza Express experience (I know, shocking) with them. We’re sitting there, waiting for the food to arrive. The Pizza Express in Brighton looks out directly onto Jubilee Square, and there were bans schedule to play all night. This is where things get a little weird.

James, Films of Colour’s drummer, squints to look in the distance, says, “that looks like the guy that’s in our music video.” Andy dismisses this: “no way, that’s impossible.” James, not to be outdone, insists it is and says he’s going to go out and say hi. It wasn’t until days later when I was at 93 Feet East on Brick Lane in London that I figured everything out. James came back and announced it really was the guy they saw in New York City who had starred in their video. We all agreed this was serendipity. Then I could hear the thudding of a bass guitar and sense the melody. Wait a minute, I said to myself. That sounds like ‘Whole Again’ by Paula and Karol, the Polish band I discovered at SXSW. Independent of me, the two bands had seen each other in New York in the days before SXSW. Six degrees of separation? Nah. Just one degree of separation: TGTF.

I hated to dash, as having a sit-down dinner was a welcome and relaxing way to spend an evening, even at Pizza Express. But I bid adieu to the Films of Colour chaps, as I had a date with the Fly. Not literally, but the magazine was putting on a show at Blind Tiger starring the untypeable alt-J and the band that is probably going to be the toast of this festival season, Django Django. After getting shut out of their Pavilion Theatre show the night before, I requested guestlist for this show and swanned in without queueing. Which was a very good idea, judging from the massive queue outside.

alt-J are not going to need my endorsement, and I have been having a hard time getting down ‘Breezeblocks’. (Sorry, the nasal vocals really get on my nerves.) There’s something about the vibe of this band that makes me unsettled. Before you start getting sore with me and think I took advantage of the system, the Fly showcase was the only place all weekend I requested guestlist for, and it was specifically to see what the fuss about alt-J was all about. Unfortunately, my experience was tainted by the fact that the entirety of Blind Tiger felt like an oven and there were far too many people inside. Where was the Brighton fire department to lodge a complaint on the exceeded occupancy?

Many of these people were very pissed and unaware they were seeing a potentially future famous band. I decided to hang out on the side, instead of trying to cram in down the front for photos, determining this was a far safer vantage point. It was, except I felt like I was getting stood on by loud, annoying people shouting at each other who really didn’t care about listening at all. For goodness sakes, if all you’re here for is drinking, leave and go somewhere else to have your conversations, so you can let some people in the queue in!

So I heard alt-J – sort of – but was handicapped by the shouty discussions around me. What I did hear confirmed my previous opinion of the band. There’s something vaguely Everlast in Joe Newman’s delivery: he’s trying to be hip hop slick, in a disaffected way, which I guess is where the Radiohead comparison comes in? Not really sure. Sorry, not impressed. But if the crazy moshers down the front are any indication, no-one’s going to be listening to my opinion anyway.

Beyond the cancelled shows and showcases and bad luck of losing my camera bag earlier that day, I wasn’t expecting something else. Oh dear, somehow I managed to stand right where Django Django’s guitar tech needed to be. (You don’t want to see my photos. They’re horrible.) Granted, I give him a lot of credit for wedging himself into a small space closer to the stage, in front of the aforementioned obnoxious drunks, but the guy was taller than me, so I couldn’t see much of the soon-to-be-celebrated quartet who met at Edinburgh art college. Singer Vincent Neff had similar issues with the heat as I did, at one point complaining to the audience, “it’s like a pizza oven in here, does my hair look okay?” I laughed. I couldn’t even begin to imagine what it must have been like to perform under those conditions, if I was so uncomfortable just standing there, watching.

Not like anyone cared. I don’t know what the crowd was like at the Pavilion Theatre but oh my, people really went for the Djangos. It was like everyone was under the liquid spell of their special ‘Firewater’. I’d not heard ‘Default’ live yet, after being denied it at another tiger-themed venue at SXSW, Easy Tiger Patio in Austin. Tonight, it was peerless. Blind Tiger may have been a hot, sweaty mess, but no-one cared. It was an all-out dance party.

That was the end of the Fly Magazine’s programming, as well as the venue’s for the night, so after the most of the punters had departed, I came outside for air. Fresh air had never felt so good in my lungs. I felt like I’d been in a war. No more bands for tonight. Even though it wasn’t even midnight, I went back to my hotel to make myself a cup of tea. Yeah, not very rock ‘n’ roll at all, right? But I had a very important gig and interview in the morning.

 

Luke’s Alphabet Tour – J: The James Cleaver Quintet at London Koko – 6th May 2012

 
By on Monday, 28th May 2012 at 2:00 pm
 

In the early-afternoon May-time drizzle, the numerous Camden Crawlers are seeking shelter at various pubs and clubs. Some choose a pub to watch the footy, some dive into Burger King but 100-or-so people stroll into Koko for a much-needed dose of angst and adrenaline.

Although Camden Crawl isn’t known for its heavy side, XFM is doing its bit to educate the masses with the skinny jeans wearing noiseniks the James Cleaver Quintet. Merging the anthemic punk rock sounds of Fucked Up with the metalcore stylings of The Devil Wears Prada, it’s enough to ignite the fires inside the bellies of the beasts in attendance, who await their feast with baited breath.

Since releasing their debut album ‘That Was Then, This is Now’ on Hassle Records last year, the Eastbourne hardcore mob have been on a trajectory to rock ‘n’ roll glory. Mixing the savage with the serene, frontman Jack Saunders blends larynx-ripping screams with cleaner, pop-punkier vocals whilst JCQ hurtle around the stage like someone sprinkled ecstasy on their corn flakes.

The high octane performance is boosted with a full-scale light show laden with strobes to please the wide-eyed crowd. Despite Koko not being full, the devotees on the barrier are lapping up every metalcore morsel thrown their way. Blasting out hits including ‘Snakes’ and ‘Think or Swim’, the delightfully deafened audience are treated to Saunders towering over them on the barrier for the big finish.

Yes, the bodies on the floor are primarily static throughout the performance but not every gig is about throwing elbows and kicking imaginary faces. Appreciation is still in the heart of Koko who will no doubt be joining JCQ on their festival travels this summer.

 

Great Escape 2012: Day 2 Afternoon Roundup – 11th May 2012

 
By on Monday, 28th May 2012 at 1:00 pm
 

On paper, my Friday had the most challenging schedule for the entire weekend, with 2 panel sessions (and a performance in between, all the way down on the seafront – eep!), and lots of and lots of band clashes. It had the potential to be the most frustrating day of all, but to be honest, it actually worked out fine, thanks to my planning and some accidental run-ins with some TGTF favourites. First, I’ll explain what happened in the afternoon…

After getting shut out of a morning session because “it’s full up” (I’d been to sessions the day before and people could stand on the sides if they’d arrived late; I can only guess I was refused entry b/c I was a mere 10 minutes tardy), I spent some time walking and window shopping round the North Laines area of Brighton, where there are lots of cutesy little independent shops. Forget cute shoes, there are cobblestones, my friends. Brighton, like DC, has colourful murals on the sides of buildings, except in Brighton, they’re on the sides of pubs. Take for example this unusual one of legendary soul singer James Brown:

I met up with my local PR friend Ed and we went to a charming little café. I’ve never seen mozzarella on a burger before but I ordered it and it really hit the spot. I should have photographed it, the chef lady put a massive slice on top of my beef. Totally epic. But good thing I was all sorted out with food, since we would be soaking up some drinks later on in the day. We headed down the hill and to the sea…but not for the sea. For bands, of course!

Like SXSW, the Great Escape has pretty good daytime programming, including a pretty active scene thanks to the Alternative Escape. At the seafront club LIFE, Euphonios, Killing Moon, the Recommender and Strongroom Alive were putting on a great showcase all afternoon. This was great, as the weather had finally turned the corner, the sun was shining, and I was able to check out Savoir Adore (who took the spot of an absent Saint Saviour) and I Dream in Colour in this unique performance space, akin to an attic or loft with a window.

Speaking of the word ‘later’ and time, I wish I had known about Savoir Adore so much earlier. I’m happy to say, though, that unlike most Americans who have stumbled onto them in the last couple weeks, I did not come to know them by the Tide laundry detergent telly advert featuring their song ‘Pop Goes the World’. (I think it’s highly possible to be their ‘5 Years’ Time’-style breakout, so if it gets them more fans, all the better.) The band from New York City had to do a stripped set in the cramped LIFE upstairs stage, but they sounded amazing. I’m rather glad they don’t live far from me; I’m hoping that means they’ll tour in DC again soon enough. Watch a clip of their song ‘Loveliest Creature’ below.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dxt9sKLr2UY[/youtube]

I had promised Shell Zenner I’d swing by the Queens Hotel to say hello while she did her on-site broadcast for Amazing Radio. When I arrived, I was kind of surprised their set up was literally in the middle of the lobby. What was to stop any streaking bands? Oh wait… I did however go downstairs to catch half of Sissy and the Blisters’ set on the Amazing Radio stage. Loud and balls to the wall, exactly what hung over festival goers needed to start day 2 at the Great Escape. Me? I headed up and back out to return to LIFE, wanting to save my ears for later.

I Dream in Colour’s fan base keeps growing by leaps and bounds, and the London via Essex band stuck this date at the Alternative Escape in before the following weekend’s ‘London’ single launch in, where else, London. (Read John’s review of their latest single here.) Singer Richard Judge looked particularly smart and respectable in a blindingly white dress shirt, which was deliciously at odds when he picked up his guitar and became Mr. Rock Star. And if you were wondering, yes, I love it when he’s on his guitar. Personally, I think it suits him more than when he’s behind the keys. But that’s just me…

Then it was back up the hill with Ed to attend Record of the Day’s discussion entitled, “What’s the point of music reviews in the digital age?” Obviously, this is something of interest to all music bloggers worth their salt, because we all want to be professional writers someday. Former Q editor-in-chief Paul Rees said something I truly applauded: he said labels shouldn’t penalise reviewers with annoying stream versions of albums and that more often than not, it’s someone inside the label that’s leaking albums, not the journalists. Well said.

Then I personally caused a moment of silence when I asked if the reason why most publications and even music Web sites now run 100-word album reviews (obviously not long enough to fully explain any part of an album) and if this was a symptom of the lack of attention span for most internet users. You could hear the crickets. I wasn’t sure if they wanted to punch me for being insolent, or they just refused to admit that what I’d described was exactly what was happening on the Internet.

Feeling like I needed to explain myself, I chatted with freelancer Will Hodgkinson of the Times and Mojo writing fame after the session to agree with what he’d replied with, that we should be giving our readers credit and not dumb content down for them. With that, I felt proud of what we do here at TGTF: there’s a reason why there are more words for all of our reviews you will see on this Web site: I’d rather you have a more complete picture of an album rather than the soundbite-y types that have become far too commonplace on the Web. If you can’t commit to read one of our reviews, you must not care enough about music, because we love what we do. And if our reviews aren’t what you want, then I’d rather you go somewhere else.

I huffed and wheezed my way back down to the Queens Hotel with every intention of seeing Mammal Club there. Unfortunately, I got conflicting reports about whether the band from Newcastle was performing by people I saw in the lobby. To be sure, I went downstairs to check out who was performing and whoever was on sounded nothing like Mammal Club, so either the times had changed or I didn’t recognise them. Either way, I missed them. I also missed them at Liverpool Sound City, because they were playing the same night and time as our stage. Boo.

Instead, I headed back to LIFE in the hopes of running into more bloggers at the Blog Up event that had started earlier in the afternoon. It was getting close to finished, and Shell Zenner was back at it, spinning tunes from her beloved iPad. Who should I run into but Breaking More Waves’ Robin? What an exceedingly nice and sweet chap! Seeing I’d never met him before, it was great to finally see him. To me as a blogger, this was what was so great about both the Great Escape and Sound City: being American, I rarely go to events where there are huge groupings of bloggers.

Besides Robin, I had also met Ollie of Memphis Industries (who always ReTweets our Dutch Uncles and Field Music-related Tweets – cheers Ollie!) and Matthew of Song, by Toad the day before as well, which was also very cool. My heart warmed every time I heard someone say to me, “oh yeah! I read There Goes the Fear all the time!” and “so it’s you who runs it! So wonderful you could come over to America for this, nice to meet you!” When I am at home, I am reminded by the personal difficulty to set up interviews and press passes in America that TGTF isn’t a household name in America…yet. We’re no Pitchfork or Stereogum; we don’t try to be either and I don’t want us to be like either too. We’re doing what we want to do, the way we want to…and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

Live Gig Video: Cymbals Eat Guitars preview new song ‘Plainclothes’ in Philadelphia for Love Drunk Studio

 
By on Friday, 25th May 2012 at 4:00 pm
 

New York band Cymbals Eat Guitars took their sonicness to a studio in Philadelphia for Love Drunk Studio and this was the result: a great recording of new song ‘Plainclothes’. Enjoy it below.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-mpCwtyNN1Y[/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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