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Update: Liverpool Sound City 2013

 
By on Friday, 1st March 2013 at 9:00 am
 

The city of Liverpool brought us The Beatles, it’s brought us Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher, and they’ve been European Capital of Culture in 2008. It’s a city that just keeps on giving!

Now, what could they have next to give? Well, how does an incredible array of exciting new names for the UK’s first big festival of the year, Liverpool Sound City resonate within? Last year saw those 2012 Mercury Prize-winning scamps alt-J grace one of the festival’s many stages, alongside teenage sensation (who isn’t One Direction) Jake Bugg and Scottish indie rockers Django Django before each act went on to critical success, leaving punters in their wake drooling in earnest. Florence and the Machine, The Maccabees and Ed Sheeran performing at the festival early in their careers has simply added to the fact that Liverpool Sound City is a snapshot of everything that is vital in music right now.

So what stellar acts are set to grace the stages that so many of the UK’s top artists have begun their career on? Before the release their fourth album ‘Heart of Nowhere’ later in May, London folkies Noah and the Whale will be performing a special show in Liverpool’s spectacular Anglican Cathedral on the Thursday 2nd of May.

It is important also to remember that one of the things Sound City does best is showcase the best of the North. This year is no exception, with a trio of high-profile Manchester-based bands having been announced. Joining Noah and the Whale on the bill are Everything Everything, who are riding on the crest of a wave following the release of second album ‘Arc’. Their synth-driven indie pop will go delectably with the left-field math rock/pop of Dutch Uncles‘ new ‘Out of Touch in the Wild’. With their latest adventurous album ‘Collections’ failing to impress critics, Delphic will be hoping that some serious live shows can get them back in the public eye.

One band who are worth keeping an eye on in 2013 and who will coincidentally also be appearing at Sound City are Drenge. Their eclectic mix of punky blues, rock ‘n’ roll are sure to at least give you something to think about. Alongside the names I have mentioned, you’ve got Alessi’s Ark, Jetta, Bipolar Sunshine, Loom, Deep Sea Arcade, Blackeye, Skaters, Melody’s Echo Chamber, Wolf People, Splashh, Charlie Boyer and the Voyeurs, Lulu James, Arcane Roots, Still Corners, Luls, Hands, Wild Smiles, Ian Prowse and Amsterdam, Mikill Pane, Bebe Black, Jacob Banks, Bo Ningen, Big Deal, Night Engine, Mind Enterprises, Golden Fable and Likely Lads.

Yep, I barely breathed there too. It’s a very literal orgy of British music talent and that’s not even mentioning that heavy hitters like Dexys, The Walkmen, Enter Shikari, Reverend and the Makers, AlunaGeorge, Thee Oh Sees, Mount Kimbie, Future of the Left, King Krule, Unknown Mortal Orchestra and Darkstar and Toy, were already announced weeks ago.

So stop kidding yourself. If you want to be ahead of the times, don’t sit in your bedroom with your snapback on listening to bands on SoundCloud. Head down to Sound City! With a limited amount of £40 3-day wristbands available until the 2nd of March (THAT’S TOMORROW GUYS!) it’s best to get in early!

 

Noah and the Whale / A Month of Sundays London residency / April and May 2013

 
By on Monday, 11th February 2013 at 9:00 am
 

Noah and the Whale will be playing a series of four gig dates as part of what they’re calling their ‘Month of Sundays’ residency at London’s Palace Theatre. This series will take place the 28th of April, the 5th of May, the 12th of May and the 19th of May. Tickets are on sale now and are available at two pricing levels, £31.50 and £38.75 (both of these already include booking fees).

The band’s fourth album ‘Heart of Nowhere’ will be out on Mercury on the 6th of May. This month the band is filming a short film, with principal songwriter Charlie Fink as director, to go along with the album’s release.

Sunday 28th April 2013 – London Palace Theatre
Sunday 5th May 2013 – London Palace Theatre
Sunday 12th May 2013 – London Palace Theatre
Sunday 19th May 2013 – London Palace Theatre

 

TGTF Top 10: Songs with Science-y Titles

 
By on Friday, 12th October 2012 at 11:00 am
 

With the 2012 Nobel Prize winners in Medicine and Physiology, Physics and Chemistry announced this week, us here at TGTF thought it would be fitting for some discussion of the best songs that have managed to sneak science into their titles. This year’s Literature and Peace Prize winners have also been announced, but let’s face it. There are way too many tunes that would be appropriate and it’s a lot easier to get peace and love into a song, and music is just another art like literature, innit? So without further adieu…

10. Freelance Whales – ‘Enzymes’ (chemistry)
I’m not sure what this song means. “Turn into the tide / spill out your enzymes”: is that a sexual reference? Or maybe a cleansing of your soul? Not sure. Either way, they start the list with a obviously geeky song title.

9. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart – ‘Twins’ (medicine / physiology)
While it would have been cool to have a song that was literally about the making of twins, this song instead is talking about how people can be perceived as twins as being peas in a pod. Which is the closest you’re going to get outside of genetics. And sheer luck.

8. Everything Everything – ‘Tin (the Manhole)’ (chemistry)
A song with a chemistry title but really about mortality (so could fit in the medicine / physiology group too).

7. Muse – ‘The Resistance’ (physics)
While it’s a stretch with “love is our resistance”, the next line “they keep us apart and they won’t stop breaking us down” actually, rather hilariously, sounds like how in biology, a receptor grabs onto its substrate: made for each other.

6. Maximo Park – ‘Our Velocity’ (physics)
“Never, never try to gauge temperature / when you tend to travel / at such speed / it’s our velocity” – it’s like a physics nerd’s love poem!

5. Tom Williams and the Boat – ‘My Bones’ (medicine / physiology)
Tom Williams effectively harnesses the feelings deep down in one’s bones, the only kind that love lost can engender.

4. The Wombats – ‘Anti-D’ (medicine / physiology)
This is the true story of lead singer Murph’s experience with anti-depressants that didn’t work. It even names citalopram, an actual anti-depressant that physically makes it impossible to cry (“the only tears come from our heads when we concentrate”).

3. Noah and the Whale – ‘Two Atoms in a Molecule’ (chemistry)
Love compared to what happens when two atoms come together to make a molecule? Yes, Charlie Fink *did* go there.

2. Mystery Jets – ‘Serotonin’ (medicine / physiology)
Named after the ‘happy’ neurotransmitter, it’s used effectively here as a way to call out a girl’s name (“Sarah…serotonin…”) and describe the way you feel like when you’re in love. Perfect, really.

1. OMD – ‘Electricity’ (physics)
The song is literally about power, or rather the wasting of it by mankind. Who knew the current flowing through Thomas Edison’s lightbulbs had it going on? And it was the ’80s, so here is a catchy as hell synth melody.

Honourable mention: Thomas Dolby – ‘She Blinded Me with Science’
It’s set in a wacky (no pun intended) mental institution. And come on, there’s an actual scientist – Magnus Pyke – in the video and adding strange interjections into the song. It doesn’t fall into any category but we’d be remiss not mentioning it on this list.

 

Evolution Weekender 2012: Day 2 Roundup

 
By on Monday, 18th June 2012 at 1:00 pm
 

Even before reaching the site, day two of Evolution feels like a more relaxed, comfortable affair. The crowds of youngsters hanging around the Sage, pre-loading on Frosty Jack before they enter the main arena where alcohol is unavailable to them on age grounds, seem pretty chilled-out. Casually ambling past the caravan that supplies comfortable seats and buckets for 14-year-olds to vomit into, the sun is sparkling off the waters of the Tyne, and one can forgive the odd pre-majority punter being escorted from the premises flanked by two burly men, being unable to walk themselves.

So – to the music. Delayed by bank holiday public transport, your correspondent is late for Spector, who are sorely missed. Nevertheless, a chance presents itself to catch up with the UMT stage: Newcastle music development service Generator’s Urban Music Training department get their own stage at Evo, and who should be up next but the winsome Amy Holford, who TGTF spoke to at Evo Emerging just a few nights before. What an excellent opportunity to work out whether she should be upgraded from a “maybe” to a “HIT!” The answer is… not yet. She is in possession of a stunningly powerful soul voice, burnished and brassy, but sadly accompanied by a somewhat less impressive clangy acoustic guitar, and material which undoubtedly means a great deal to her personally, but is unlikely to really light the blue touchpaper when it comes to making the step to a higher division, comprising as it does moans about inadequate ex-boyfriends. Given some decent backing and material, Amy will be a winner, no doubt about it.

Jessie Ware is up next on the main stage. I hope Amy saw her performance, as it proves how a decent, yet still minimalist band can showcase a lovely soulful vocal so much more effectively than a naked acoustic guitar. Ware’s electronic-urban-with-touches-of-dubstep material, such as the sumptuous ‘Running’, does suffer from unfamiliarity, but she is an endearing stage presence, and finishing off with recent single ‘110%’ is a wise if inevitable move. With impeccable credentials (collaborating with SBTRKT is never going to hurt anyone’s career), Ware is going to keep punting for the big time.

Oh, Band Of Skulls, thou heavy saviour of the day. Instead of a fanfare to announce the Queen’s longevity, BoS have brought a brace of beautiful Gretches, both of which are put to powerful use during the set of the weekend for this correspondent; ‘Sweet Sour’ catches the mood of the newly-revealed June sun, glinting off guitar hardware and polishing the dirty harmonies and unashamedly gritty riffs. Their talent is to take just the right elements of contemporary rock – power trio, female bassist, no perms – and match it with decent – nay, pop – songwriting. There’s hints of Stones, Cream, Stripes… and they’re all the better for it. Having displayed an intriguingly contemporary career path – digital-only releases, greater success as TV and advert soundtracks than as a formal chart act – BoS deserve close attention.

From the sublime to the… well, Evolution’s lineup is nothing if not eclectic. Rizzle Kicks, an urban duo from Brighton, come across as a likeable, non-sweary Odd Future, but with only two MCs. Or maybe that’s just because of the shorts. With song titles like ‘Mama Do The Hump’ they’re never going to be taken seriously, but it’s good, juvenile fun.

Onto the serious business – Noah and the Whale’s records seem to mature like fine wines with age. Tiny subtleties in lyrical content and musical delivery appear like little jewels on close inspection, and to their credit a similar level of attention to detail is paid in tonight’s performance. Clearly a deeply professional band, they go through their very deliberate motions with utmost sincerity. And the material genuinely unites the disparate crowd – there are so many well-known NatW songs it would be churlish to list them here – but after such an awkward weekend, everyone can relax and join in the simple pleasure of spelling out three short words for chorus after chorus.

Some people bought tickets for the whole weekend just to see deadmau5. His techno-wizardry is a sight to behold, his monolithic transformation of the stage as otherworldly as the permanent mouse head he wears, intermittently lit up into a disturbing rictus grin; as if Mickey were lain on a morgue slab. It’s impossible to sum up the set in terms of songs; this is effectively a live club set, and the churning crowd love it. Thankfully, there is little point in crushing to the front of the stage – Mau5’s podium is so high that a deeper viewpoint gives a better view of both him and his light show. Powerful stuff, and everyone lets off whatever steam they have left, before staggering in the vain direction of the taxi queue.

And thus with a sparkling rodent’s siren call Evolution Festival 2012 draws to a close. It’s a difficult event to strongly recommend to anyone on its merits – if you’re young enough to want to go, you’re too young to properly enjoy the music, and if you want to see the music you’re too old to enjoy the festival. A challenging sell, then, but the concept of a decent annual music event on the banks of the Tyne is such a strong one that I get the feeling that it will be around for some time to come.

Grumpy postscript, for adults only: In all seriousness, the question is – do kids get up to this sort of thing (drinking heavily, staggering around, vomiting, crying, passing out) because they are at Evolution Festival, or would they be doing it anyway on a bank holiday weekend? I don’t care what anyone of the age of 18 or over does; it’s their choice, they’re old enough to suffer the consequences of their actions. But below that age, in theory parental consent is required for this sort of thing. Do parents know what their kids are getting up to? If not, this review should enlighten them. If they do, and consent anyway… I wouldn’t say we’re lost as a society as a consequence, but it’s a pretty worrying sign nonetheless. Personally, I love to drink beer in the pub of an evening with all and sundry, and if it happens as frequently as once a week then that’s just fine by me. But even with a drinking history as long as your arm, I wouldn’t for 1 minute consider downing spirits or chugging strong cider in great quantities at lunchtime as these youngsters seem determined to do. It’s not good for one’s health, and it’s certainly not good for enjoying a bit of music. And in the end, Evolution have to apply for a licence again next year, and a bit more consideration of that fact by their customers, and the parents of their customers, would go a long way to seeing Evolution 2013 being more than just a glint in a promoter’s imagination.

 

Preview: Evolution Festival 2012

 
By on Friday, 2nd March 2012 at 9:30 am
 

Evolution Festival, held between Newcastle upon Tyne and Gateshead, has, appropriately enough, evolved considerably since it was first held as a free, 1-day event in 2005. Now in its eighth year, the event boasts a 2-day, two-stage line-up, held in the stunning location of the Newcastle and Gateshead quaysides. The event is no longer free, but at a mere £35 for the weekend, it represents fantastic, inflation-busting value. This year the event is held over the Sunday and Monday of the June Bank Holiday weekend 3-4 June: there surely can be no finer way to celebrate the 60th year of a monarch’s reign than going out and hearing some fantastic music with one’s fellow mankind. Here we break down the acts on the Spiller’s Wharf stage, just to prove what a delicious prospect awaits:

Sunday 3rd June
Kicking things off are the Lake Poets, the slightly confusingly-named solo project of Martin Longstaff of local favourites B>E>A>K. Amazing Radio favourites Theme Park offer intriguing ‘80s-style tunes with shades of Talking Heads. The local influence continues with Lulu James, a freshly-minted South Shields soul-step diva with huge potential; if her material stands the test she could go far. Melodic Nottingham indie five-piece Dog is Dead bring bits of summery Beach Boys vying with Arcade Fire-style bombast, which should go down well if the sun shines.

Next up are two chalk-and-cheese acts: Benjamin Francis Leftwich, limp-wristed posh-boy singer-songwriter who needs plenty of balls to win over the fickle Newcastle crowd, followed by Devlin – fresh from the streets of Dagenham, grime hits the big time with superstar MC Devlin and his hard-hitting flow. The real, undiluted deal. Good mate and collaborator with Alex Turner, Miles Kane brings his Mod-influenced solo material to Evolution. Take two measures Arctic Monkeys, add a twist of Paul Weller, and dilute to taste with the Coral. Can Kane carve a niche for himself at Evo?

Local lads and “very special guests” Maximo Park make their long-awaited comeback with new material and a new look. This set should give us a sneak preview of their new songs for 2012. And to wrap up the Sunday evening we have the one and only Dizzee Rascal: in between his own headline tour and masterminding the careers of several new urban artists via his own Dirtee Stank label, lovable urban pop scamp Dizzee is somehow finding the time to support the Red Hot Chili Peppers and play countless UK and international festivals this year, including several headline slots. This will be his third appearance at Evolution, making him the most popular act ever to grace the Evo stage. Let’s hope this festival holds as fond a place in his heart as it does for him, and that in return the audience are treated to new material from the forthcoming album on Island records. Given the Bank Holiday scheduling, chance of trance-pop anthem Holiday making an appearance? 97.6%.

Monday 4th June
Sore heads from the night before will be soothed by Mausi, Newcastle newcomers whose recent sunny single ‘Sol’ is brightening days across the land; and the Milk – party like it’s 1967 with their brand of big band soul and funk… Craig Charles, eat your heart out. Jessie Ware, urban vocalist and SBTRKT collaborator gets her own set; but with only two singles to her name, and SBTRKT with his own headline DJ set later on, what chance is there for him turning up to run some backing tracks for Ware?

In the middle of the undercard, we have widescreen synth-led bombast from hotly-tipped London quintet Spector; Luke Temple updates ’60s American pastoral psychedelia for the new millennium like a mini-Flaming Lips with Here We Go Magic, and Band Of Skulls bring some heft to a Bank Holiday Monday – sweat ‘n’ beer ‘n’ rock ‘n’ roll trio BoS will leave no ears unbled. Fans of De La Soul, Arrested Development and Madness will love cheeky Brighton hip-pop chappies Rizzle Kicks… who bring us to Noah and the Whale. After an astonishingly successful 2011, NatW richly deserve to be the last band on at Evolution 2012. Their album ‘Last Night On Earth’ (#1 on editor Mary’s Top Albums of 2011) is chock full of classic songs, surely most of which will make an appearance here. Expect crowd singalongs and lighter-in-the-air moments galore.

As a finale, there’s nobody better than deadmau5 (pictured at top). His atmospheric, dubstep-influenced dance music and enormous mouse head will surely wrap up Evolution 2012 in fine style. I’m anticipating a wild light show, deep, deep bass, and a massive crowd, paying tribute to the fine music which has passed over the previous 2 days – by dancing like mad into the small hours.

Phew. Not only that, but a full, separate dedicated dance music stage with a strong drum ‘n’ bass and dubstep influence (notably DJ Fresh, Jack Beats, Shy Fx, Toddla T, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, SBTRKT), an as-yet-unreleased but undoubtedly superb Americana strand from local promoters Jumpin’ Hot Club, and not to mention the chance to see the big names of tomorrow at the Evolution Emerging shows on the preceding Friday. This is an event that any city would be proud to hold, and it stands as the jewel in the crown of the North East’s popular music diary. Get your ticket now (from the official Evolution Web site)!

 

Preview: Parklife Weekender 2012

 
By on Friday, 2nd March 2012 at 9:00 am
 

All the people…so many people and they all go hand in hand, hand in hand to their Parklife Weekender this 9th and 10th June. Well, at least they will be after a fantastic line-up for this year’s festival in Manchester, taking place again this year at Platt Fields Park. Main stage headliners the Flaming Lips will bring with them their fantastic live show, which always includes frontman Wayne Coyne’s zorbing over the crowd. It’s also been at least 2 years since we have been lucky enough to have Dizzee Rascal’s presence at a festival, so a return this summer at Parklife is sure to be a fantastic way to end your weekend of partying in the northern musical capital.

Joining these festival big hitters on the main stage are folk rockers Noah and the Whale (pictured above). And with the folk/rock genre picking up, with Ben Howard on the scene it won’t be a surprise if these guys draw a considerable crowd while warming up for the Flaming Lips. But if the main stage isn’t where you feel it’s going to be happening over the weekend, then have no fear as Nero will be headlining the Metroplex stage with a live set that is sure to get people moving at the end of the day. They’re joined by Pendulum (DJ Set), Justice and Radio1’s weeknight evening presenter Zane Lowe, so anyone with a love of electronic beats and dubstep will be sure to have it to their hearts at Parklife.

Full weekend tickets, for both Saturday and Sunday, are £64.50 including booking fee. Saturday or Sunday only tickets are £38.50 each including booking fee. For more information on tickets and more acts as they’re announced, visit the official Parklife Web site.

 
 
 

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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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