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Video of the Moment #1250: Noah and the Whale

 
By on Tuesday, 9th July 2013 at 6:00 pm
 

Noah and the Whale‘s new video for ‘Lifetime’ seems like a load of random video shots thrown together. But after the third watch all the way through, I think that’s the point. The visual was created in partnership with by Fourteen-Nineteen, a project which aims to celebrate and critically engage with the work of young photographers through publishing, exhibitions, online galleries and more. Also remind yourself the lyrics, “and there’ll be nothing, nothing but time”. Watch the video and contemplate the meaning of existence below.

The band will be supporting Vampire Weekend in November; all the details are here.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vFNKTE5PTAY[/youtube]

 

Vampire Weekend / November 2013 UK Tour

 
By on Monday, 8th July 2013 at 9:00 am
 

Those chirpy Afropoppers Vampire Weekend will be coming to the UK in November for a short arena tour. Tickets go on sale on Friday 12 July at 9 AM. Support on all dates will be Noah and the Whale.

The band’s third album ‘Modern Vampires of the City’ is out now on XL.

Tuesday 12th November 2013 – Birmingham NIA
Wednesday 13th November 2013 – London O2
Friday 15th November 2013 – Glasgow Hydro
Saturday 16th November2013 – Leeds First Direct Arena
Sunday 17th November 2013 – Manchester Arena

 

Liverpool Sound City 2013: John’s Day 1 Roundup

 
By on Monday, 13th May 2013 at 3:00 pm
 

Header photo by TGTF Head Photographer Martin Sharman

The weekend of sun, and brand spanking new music in Liverpool for Sound City was kicked off for me with somewhat of a whimper. The first band I stumbled upon were in the Academy of Arts, a local Liverpudlian band of rogues called Broken Men, who wouldn’t have looked amiss in their attire on the set of Pirates of the Caribbean. The tunes are solid, if a bit unspectacular and the band are not helped by the sound problems which dog the short set.

Their bearded frontman could do a little more to try and egg the crowd on instead of standing lazily affixed to his microphone, affixing his gaze firmly on the back of the venue. The raw materials of a good zest were there though, as musically they were tight and the tunes managed to attract some veneer of a crowd. A little more heart though, from these Broken Men, is needed next time. (6/10)

A stark change of scenery followed, as attention turned to the Cathedral, where Noah and the Whale were playing their headline set. Mary will give you her take on that portion of the night here.

To close the evening it was the turn of TGTF’s good friend Jon McClure, aka The Reverend, of Reverend and the Makers (pictured at top). Standing at a formidable 6’7” he strikes an imposing figure as he struts with ‘swag’ (bleugh, sorry I said that) across the Arts Academy stage with the venue swelling o capacity with music fans and local revellers all mixed in with each other.

Gone is the usual decorum of these gigs at festivals like Sound City and the pure lad rock excitement that a Reverend and the Makers gig brings comes over everyone who beholds it. As the reverend conducts his sermon from the alter every hit is busted out to a raucous reception, with the best saved for ballad-come rip-roarer ‘No Soap in a Dirty War’. Standout single Heavyweight Champion is, as expected, brilliant with McClure seeing the audience worked up into a frenzy of bouncing, bobbing bodies.

As the band leave the stage there is a genuine yearning for more from the crowd, they don’t want the man whose every word they’ve hung on for the last 90 minutes to leave the stage in front of them, and who can blame them. He may be abrasive and a bit rough on the edges, but the man emits charm in absolute swathes and as a live performer, he never disappoints. (9/10)

 

Liverpool Sound City 2013: Mary’s Day 1 Roundup

 
By on Monday, 13th May 2013 at 1:00 pm
 

As it happens on the Tuesday at SXSW, Thursday at Sound City could be said to be the ‘ease-in’ day of the 3-day festival, with less mental scheduling across Liverpool. Admittedly, I took the easy route compared to John and Martin, as you will read below. Howeveer, before we tried to do anything, we had TGTF tapas and drinks powwow, which ended up being pretty cool, as Reverend and the Makers were assembled at the next table over, and Jon McClure, having recognised me from SXSW, came over to say hello and give me a hug, after which I introduced him to John and Martin, John being a bit starstruck having seen the Rev and co. play at Guernsey Live years ago. I often say that SXSW is one of the best places I go to where I am bound to run into people I know, but when I’m in Britain for things like this, the probability quotient goes way up!

By the Sea Liverpool Sound City 2013

The TGTF crew then separated for the start of the festival evening. My first port of call was the Anglican Cathedral, a venue I’d not been able to visit last year for Sound City 2012. My first band of this year’s festival was the Wirral’s By the Sea. I was sort of expecting another MGMT retread with a band with a synthesiser, but what I got instead was more of a softer Bombay Bicycle Club with not so obvious keyboards. As a local band, it was great to see they had lads of local support. Maybe all they need is a little more oomph, more stage presence? Watch live video of the band performing fab single ‘Eveline’ below.

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

Noah and the Whale do not come over to America very often, or DC for that matter. So while to many of you it may seem odd that with TGTF’s indie-centric roots, we would pay attention to a band like theirs, who have already made great strides here in Britain, being part of the ‘folk pop is more mainstream’ movement. But they’re such a live rarity to me, I couldn’t not go. I’ve given some reviews of the festival a cursory glance, and several seem to make great pains to emphasise that they all expected this show in a church to be an acoustic one. Why would you ever think that? Have you ever seen this band live? Or recently? While the requisite Oriental rugs were wheeled and rolled out ontage, this was like any other Noah and the Whale gig I’ve been to. (All of two. I know. Depressing, isn’t it?) Rocking and full of life. (Granted, they did have a four piece, all-female string section that made a couple appearances in their set. But still. Come on!)

Liverpool Anglican Cathedral vicar

This portion of the show was prefaced by the cathedral’s own very jolly vicar coming out and saying a few words to the audience, starting with the mere fact that we should have expected a sermon, having come into a place of worship. He was quick to point out Noah and the whale pictured in the church’s stained glass windows (no surprise there, obviously), stating that it was as if the cathedral had been built and had been waiting for this moment for a long time. The vicar also didn’t miss a beat when a punter shouted, “religion sucks!”, to which he responded with a smile, “thank you!” (Snort.) Then the show was underway. As a nearby punter astutely pointed out, primary songwriter Charlie Fink seems to have a continuing preoccupation with the passage of time (see new song titles ‘Lifetime’ and ‘Now is Exactly the Time’, plus new single ‘There Will Come a Time’) and I’ve wondered if he’s still carrying a torch for former famous flame Laura Marling, as there are definitely wistful, nostalgic moments in their just released new album ‘Heart of Nowhere’ (reviewed here by Carrie).

Noah and the Whale Liverpool Sound City 2013

It’s tough selling a new album that most everyone hasn’t heard (well, I guess, unless you’re a cheeky / cheap pirate), so it’s no surprise songs from ‘Last Night on Earth’ (my favourite album of 2011) like ‘L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N’ and ‘Give It All Back’ along with perpetual crowd pleaser ‘5 Years’ Time'(turning into the evening’s loudest singalong) went over the best of all. Still, Noah and the Whale proved that they’re a fun band live and they can bring in loads of people to a venue, it’s just that fans will have to heard ‘Heart of Nowhere’ a couple times properly before they’ll get the right kind of crowd reaction they deserve. Watch ‘Blue Skies’ from ‘First Days of Spring’ and ‘Waiting for My Chance to Come’ from ‘Last Day on Earth’ below.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rhH1bS3IKTU[/youtube]

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

Noah and the Whale Set List:
Give a Little Love
Tonight’s the Kind of Night
Blue Skies
Heart of Nowhere
Waiting for My Chance to Come
Give It All Back
There Will Come a Time
All Through the Night
Love of an Orchestra
Old Joy
Now is Exactly the Time
Lifetime
5 Years’ Time
L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N.
//
First Days of Spring

From the Anglican Cathedral, John and I left and moved swiftly eastward, following what looked like a mass exodus towards…the Zanzibar. In hindsight, we shouldn’t have bothered, but I thought, when in Liverpool, what the heck. Let’s see if we can blag our way in with our press passes. Who were we trying to see? The 1975, of course. Unfortunately, and as I had rightly predicted earlier in the day, the place was way too small for the crush of people who were trying to get in and as a result, well before we arrived, the Zanzibar was entirely rammed. There was a massive queue outside and even Martin couldn’t get in to see the band prior, Swim Deep. It was now one in, one out, and there was no chance in hell we were getting in. Luckily though, I had a contingency plan, and John and I headed to Wolstenholme Square.

As we approached the Arts Academy, I could have sworn it was a very loud PA system blaring a song that I recalled hearing on Lammo’s drivetime show on 6music. As we stood outside on the cobblestones, I noted it was so loud and distinct, I was sure it was a recording. Hmm, that’s sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? Haha. It turned out we had arrived just in time for the end of Manchester’s Findlay wrapping up her set with the soulful words of ‘Your Sister’.

No, I wasn’t there for her. I had purposely brought John over to sell him further on the Reverend and the Makers’ live set. Having seen them at this year’s SXSW and been absolutely bowled over by the performance, I was positive this would be the set that would make us forget that we ever considered trying to get into the 1975 gig. And funnily enough, Jon McClure hilariously alluded to that other show happening at the same time, with comments that can’t be reprinted in a family newspaper. No matter. Everyone who was in the Arts Academy for the Rev was in good spirits, most probably hopped up on too much alcohol and was in the mood to party. Those of you who have met me know I’m small and that’s why I always queue early for gigs because I actually want to see the stage! So we started out down the front but an overexcited Liverpudlian bloke in a military jacket pushed me from the barrier and proceeded to slam his arm into my head so many times, I backed off from the barrier. Moshing was the order of the night and I was so thankful John, who towers over most other men and can puff himself up to tell others to back off, had my back. Thanks, John!

I was struck by how different this show in the UK was to the ones I saw at SXSW; totally mental, with the punters eating up every quip of McClure’s, such as how if he ever left Sheffield, he’d move to Liverpool in an instant. And would they have him? Did he even need to ask? ‘Heavyweight Champion of the World’ fit perfectly alongside newer ‘The Wrestler’, and Also very funny was when McClure tried to do a tender version of ‘Sex with the Ex’, with just guitarist Ed Cosens accompanying him, were all the girls and boys yelling at him. The boys just wanted to egg him on; the girls wanted desperately for him to follow them on Twitter. (Oh, social media…) It capped off a nearly perfect evening, and the first in a 3-week holiday for me.

 

Album Review: Noah and the Whale – Heart of Nowhere

 
By on Monday, 6th May 2013 at 12:00 pm
 

Noah and the Whale Heart of Nowhere coverNoah and the Whale broke through their own folk pop barriers with last album ‘Last Night on Earth’, which editor Mary named her #1 album of 2011. The songs on that album were pensive and often philosophical yet musically upbeat, especially lead single ‘L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N’. The band continue that trend with their new release ‘Heart of Nowhere’, out today on Mercury. A cursory glance through the tracklist hints at a particular concern with passage of time, which is fully realised upon hearing the album.

Thematically and lyrically, ‘Heart of Nowhere’ bears more than a passing resemblance to ‘80s era-Bruce Springsteen. In ‘Lifetime’, frontman Charlie Fink sings, “we got high a thousand times / in your brother’s room / talked about how we’d break free / guess it came too soon”), which drew an immediate comparison in my mind to Springsteen’s ‘Bobby Jean’. In another nod to the band’s folk roots, ‘Silver and Gold’ opens with a reference to Neil Young (“well, I was looking for ‘Harvest’ but only found ‘Silver and Gold’”). Fink’s voice often reminds me of Tom Petty with its nasal drag and languid delivery, but Fink is deeper and less strident, much easier on the ears. His voice was well-suited to the band’s earlier folk sound, but it works equally well in this more recent pop sound, allowing for contrast and depth that could easily have been lost in the shift.

‘Heart of Nowhere’ begins with a decidedly pop-sounding instrumental piece titled simply titled ‘Introduction’. Its light percussion and floating strings flow almost seamlessly into the first full track, which shares its title with the album and includes a smouldering vocal contribution by Anna Calvi. ‘Heart of Nowhere’ the song features a distinctive string melody, and a heavy, pulsing rhythm section, both of which are characteristic of the album as a whole. Its narrative reference to a presumably fictional female character, in this case called Sarah, is another repeating motif on the album.

‘One More Night’ once again evokes the ‘80s with a softly seductive, deliberately synthetic sound, cool and crisp, but with a deep, moving bass. The wistful lyrics, about a love that might have been, are sung suggestively to ‘Jennifer’, beginning with the intensely provocative lines, “are you lying in your bed alone tonight / while he watches TV? / can you hear it coming through the floorboards / while you’re thinking of me?”

‘Still After All These Years’ is also addressed to a specific woman, this time named Lisa, who is described in the lyric as “dark and brooding, fickle and demure”. Musically, though, it is jaunty and upbeat, with a mellow rhythmic groove and some nice guitar work in the solos.

Final track ‘Not Too Late’ leans ever-so-slightly back toward folk in sound, with predominant acoustic guitar and softer percussion, especially in the introduction. That earthy feeling extends through the lyrics, about “find(ing) my own way to be a man”, and into the legato strings behind the closing melody.

At 10 tracks, including the brief ‘Introduction’, ‘Heart of Nowhere’ feels short in length, but the individual songs are earnest and strong. Unusual instrumental arrangements give the album a mild twist, saving the vibe from being overly derivative. The lyrics are emotionally evocative and often witty, easily rhythmic without becoming trite. While there isn’t a wide variety among the songs, there is a certain consistency. If you love the first track you hear, you’ll probably love them all.

8/10

Noah and the Whale’s fourth studio album, ‘Heart of Nowhere’, is out in the UK today via Mercury Records. The first video released from the album, for ‘There Will Come a Time’, was featured in this previous Video of the Moment post. There are two Sundays left in the band’s London residency; all details here.

 

Video of the Moment #1157: Noah and the Whale

 
By on Friday, 22nd March 2013 at 6:00 pm
 

Charlie Fink of Noah and the Whale has directed his band’s new video for ‘There Will Come a Time’ in association with Parkville Pictures. And as you can rightly expect, it’s a very cool-looking visual set to the band’s first single off their upcoming album ‘Heart of Nowhere’ out on the 6th of May. I’m dedicating this song and its motto “there will come a time / when you will need your friends tonight” to a group of friends from Sheffield who took me out in Austin after their SXSW show last week and were there for me when I needed them. You are princes.

Catch the band on their London residency in April and May and at their headlining turn at Liverpool Sound City on the Thursday (the 2nd of May).

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T08EafkXARo[/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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