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Video of the Moment #235: The Middle East

By on Thursday, 11th March 2010 at 6:00 pm

If you’re anything like me, the breathtaking song ‘Blood’ from Australian folk-pop band The Middle East will stop you in your tracks. After hearing it on NME Radio as Chris Martin’s Track of the Week, I haven’t been able to take it off repeat. Tailor-made for fans of Bon Iver and Fleet Foxes, it is both delicate and powerful, subdued and joyous. With its gorgeous harmonies, tinkling bells and whistling, it’s impossible to come out of listening to it without a smile on your face. As their official bio says, “after 5 minutes and 27 seconds of Blood you’ll be jumping with joy and brimming with excited energy, dreaming that life is all about smiles and sunshine (and great entertainment).”

The song serves as the centerpiece of their debut EP, ‘The Recordings of the Middle East,’ which is well worth a listen. Originally self-released by the band in 2008, they re-released it last year after a short hiatus, and are generating quite a buzz about themselves. They will be performing at SXSW before touring North America with Mumford & Sons. Check out the amazing hand-crafted video for ‘Blood’ below – it is the perfect accompaniment to an already fantastic song.


The Middle East will be performing at T in the Park 2010. If you were lucky enough to get tickets, make sure you check them out!


Video of the Moment #212: Mumford and Sons

By on Monday, 1st February 2010 at 6:00 pm

I’m not sure what, if anything, the new Mumford and Sons video for their third single, ‘The Cave,’ has to do with the song. In fact, the whole premise behind the video is a bit confusing. Why do they give their instruments to those Indian men? Did they go anywhere on the mopeds, or just drive about aimlessly? But as it’s an excuse to listen to Marcus Mumford’s gorgeous vocals, I’m not complaining.

The video has a very Summer-y feel, with the Mumford men dressed in casual suits, riding around in slow motion on a sunny day, while four random men play their instruments on a cliff by the sea at sunset. It’s a little bit of escapism, which can’t hurt in these cold winter months. As it says on their website, “What we really need is a new view. A scene of unimaginable beauty. Of far afield lands and far away seas. Of four dapper gents of Indian descent dressed in full Toy Town military regalia.” And that is exactly what you get with this video. Check it out below:



9 Great Albums of 2009

By on Tuesday, 22nd December 2009 at 4:00 pm

So, the curtain has near closed on 2009. It’s snowing, Rage Against the Machine are number one and Simon Cowell is left weeping in a corner – alas, all is generally well this December. Now time to look back over the past year and pick out some of our favourite albums of 2009.

Arctic MonkeysHumbug

Arctic Monkeys returned this 2009 with a whole new sound to their name. Produced by the demigod that is Josh Homme, Humbug showcased a darker, more sinister side to the previously happy-chappy Sheffield quartet. Still brimming with Turner’s brilliant lyricism, the music is a whole lot more creepy, a lot more obscure in nature, and alas a lot more challenging to listeners.

Graham Coxon (pictured top)The Spinning Top

Not content with merely reuniting with fellow Blur band mates this 2009, lo fi punk Graham Coxon also released his seventh solo album titled The Spinning Top this year. The 15-tracked record narrates the life and death of a man, all via a dreamy acoustic soundscape. Switching his typical power chords to finger picking folk pleased and amazed certain fans, but undoubtedly scared many others off.

La RouxLa Roux

The Jedward-haired electro pop starlet, complete without a smile, had a fantastic success of a year with her digital 80s beats tainted with heartbreak and pain. She put synths and oversized cameos back on the map, gaining hoards of fans with her gameboy hits such as ‘Bulletproof’ and ‘In for the Kill’. Undoubtedly one of the girls of the year.

The Boxer RebellionUnion

The Boxer Rebellion scored themselves a number one hit over the pond on America’s iTunes alternative chart with second album Union, beating the likes of Kings of Leon and Coldplay while they were at it. Not bad for a band whos drummer used to give me music lessons. The album is truly immense, exploding with beautifully crafted, hypnotically gracious indie tunes.

KasabianWest Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum

An exotic dalliance with 60s inspired psychedelia rightfully earned Kasabian a Mercury Music Prize nomination this 2009. From the stomping hit of ‘Fire’ to the trance-esque ‘Where Did All the Love Go?’, Kasabian at last confirmed themselves to be one of Britain’s biggest guitar bands this year.

The HorrorsPrimary Colours

The Horrors lost the Elnett and gained immense critical acclaim in replace of it this 2009 with their brilliant second album Primary Colours. The Southend goth-punks drove their new record in a whole lot more serious of a direction, dropping the Dracula garage rock and instead reaching out for moody yet mature post-punk come new wave sound.

Mumford and SonsSigh No More

Mumford and Sons recently showed wannabe folk artists how it’s really done this October with their rich, homely bluegrass. Warming banjos, dobros and double basses have thrown this hearty thud of a folk album into best of lists across the board.

The Dead WeatherHorehound

The greatest super group to spawn from 2009 (prior to Them Crooked Vultures), The Dead Weather, as led by Jack White and Alison Mosshart, caused a stomping furore this year. Their debut album, Horehound, is a sticky 45 minutes of dirty fingernail rock and roll at it’s absolute attitude-filled best.

White LiesTo Lose My Life

White Lies are a thrilling little trio who take tips from the throbbing darkness of Echo and the Bunneymen and Talking Heads to name but a few. The epic debut from the London-based band featured immense, stadium-worthy hits ala ‘Death’ and ‘Farewell to the Fareground’ and was certainly one of my personal highlights of 2009.


Review: Radio 1’s Festive Festival

By on Tuesday, 22nd December 2009 at 2:00 pm

It’s Christmas time and that of course means the annual Christmas party. This year as well as the work do we were invited to Radio 1’s Festive Festival at the legendary BBC Maida Vale studios, featuring some of 2009’s hottest stars and some of 2010’s rising luminaries – Marina and the Diamonds, Enter Shikari, Plan B, Simian Mobile Disco (pictured right), The xx, Mumford and Sons and Jamie T were all in attendance as Nick Grimshaw played out an extended version of his radio show.

Opening things up was Marina and the Diamonds, looking rather dapper complete with Christmassy shoulders (not strawberry’s as Grimshaw mistakenly thought). Opening with previous single ‘Mowgli’s Road’ she took a while to get the crowd warmed up, but come second song, the new single ‘Hollywood’, she was in full Florence Welch style arm flowing swing. All too soon she finished with ‘I am Not A Robot’, fragile vocals coming over perfectly. Of course I’ve been hyping Marina here for a while – now that I’ve finally got to catch her, she lives up to everything I thought.

I’ve never been an Enter Shikari fan, preferring to leave their 14 year old teen boy shout alongs to those that actually like them. However, in all honesty they were far better than expected – at times fragile vocals, at time proper stadium mosh pit sized anthems, Lostprophets mixed with Get Cape Wear Cape Fly’s social conscience – far better than I expected, truth be told.

Of course, with the whole show being broadcast live it was incredibly well prepared and things ran surprisingly smoothly – even Plan B‘s pizzas turned up on time. It’s clear that the old days of “turning up and playing a record” are long gone – Grimshaw clearly puts a lot of love into each of his shows, and has a great team behind him.

The standout band for many people was Mumford and Sons (pictured left) – following on from being introduced by Greg James (in a very fetching Christmas sweater, giving a humorous intro on how much he loved the band, he’d left his family just for the session!), they provided the only proper dose of Christmas with their current single, ‘Winter Winds’, before also treating us to amazing versions of ‘Roll Away Your Stone’ and ‘The Cave’. To be honest, I finally see what everyone’s been raving about – energetic, humorous and some great modern day folk.

Cramming ourselves into the (tiny) vocal booth of Studio 4, we caught The xx treat us to ‘Islands’, ‘VCR’ and ‘Basic space’. Their album has been the top of everyone’s “best of 2009” lists, however, live they fall pretty flat, providing carbon copies of their album tracks. Maybe one to save for that Sunday night in and not a band to catch live.

Racing back to the main studio, Jamie T surprised us with a guest appearance, playing three tracks from his new album acoustically, which really showed off his song writing abilities – some great stories in his songs I need to go back and listen to again.

Finally, a bit of a surprise highlight for me – Simian Mobile Disco. I knew that live they were amazing, however didn’t expect that much from them from a 20 minute set, without their usual monster lighting setup. For one, I never realised just how hard it was for them to recreate their tracks live – disconnecting and reconnecting cables, switching switches, mixing faders – it was exhausting just watching them create their magic. The crowd loved them – as Grimshaw mentioned, if the weather continued snowing we might just have to have a lock in rave. Now that really would have been cool.

With that, I made a move out into the suddenly snow-swept capital to make my way home – It’s taken me a while to feel Christmassy, but a music festival is all that it took.

All pictures were taken by Nyree Riding. You can listen to the show again on the iPlayer until 11:02pm next Monday, 28th December 2009.

After the jump: more pictures.

Continue reading Review: Radio 1’s Festive Festival


Mumford and Sons / March 2010 UK Tour

By on Friday, 27th November 2009 at 12:00 pm

Indie Folksters Mumford and Sons have announced a string of UK tour dates for March next year.

Tickets for the UK dates are £12 (£14 London). Irish dates are Dublin €16.50, Belfast £14.50.

Catch the guys at:

Wednesday 3rd March 2010 – Glasgow ABC
Thursday 4th March 2010 – Manchester Academy 2
Saturday 6th March 2010 – Wolverhampton Wulfrun
Sunday 7th March 2010 – Newcastle University
Tuesday 9th March 2010 – Liverpool Academy
Wednesday 10th March 2010 – Cambridge Junction
Friday 12th March 2010 – Brighton Corn Exchange
Saturday 13th March 2010 – London Shepherd’s Bush Empire
Tuesday 16th March 2010 – Edinburgh Queen’s Hall
Thursday 18th March 2010 – Dublin The Academy
Saturday 20th March 2010 – Belfast Spring & Airbrake


Video of the Moment #145: Mumford and Sons

By on Friday, 25th September 2009 at 6:00 pm

Unfortunately, I missed London folkies Mumford and Sons at the Dot to Dot Festival in Nottingham this year (I was otherwise engaged with another band) but heard great things about their set there. Fortunately, they are turning out videos like this one for ‘Little Lion Man’ – a song that’s smart and catchy, it’s country folk-inflected pop with thoughtful lyrics. Watch and enjoy. Is it just me, or does Marcus Mumford‘s look remind you of Elbow‘s Guy Garvey?


The debut album from Mumford and Sons, ‘Sigh No More,’ will be released on 5 October on Island Records.


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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.

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