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Beat-Herder 2015 Preview: editor Mary’s best band bets

 
By on Tuesday, 14th July 2015 at 11:00 am
 

Please note: Beat-Herder Festival 2015 is completely sold out, so beware of dodgy resellers. Information provided in this post is current at the time of posting but we encourage you to visit the official Beat-Herder Web site and keep up to date on their Twitter for news on the event as it happens.

Beat-Herder Festival 2015 starts up this Friday, the 17th of July, in Sawley, Lancashire. We ran a contest for a pair of weekend tickets earlier this month, and now I’ve been asked to provide my best bets for the 3-day event. And without further adieu…

The Lancashire Hotpots
It’s not really a Lancs event with The Lancashire Hotpots. The Merseyside comedy man will be sure to raise a smile with their Northern wit and catchy tunes.

The Lancashire Hotpots will be performing Sunday on the main Beat-Herder stage.

Leftfield
Some have argued that Leftfield isn’t really Leftfield anymore with the absence of founding member Paul Daley. What cannot be denied is ‘Alternative Light Source’, the act’s first album in 16 years that was released in June, has already made a huge impression on the record-buying public, handily cracking the top 10 of the UK albums chart despite such a long absence. From Neil Barnes, you should expect nothing but bangers.

Leftfield will be headlining the main Beat-Herder stage Sunday night.

Mr. Scruff
He’s a very funny, tea-drinking guy from Manchester who stumbled into his own eclectic style DJaying from what else, his own eclectic influences ranging from “(in order of appearance) Blues, 2 Tone, Ska, Nasty pop music, Electro, Hip Hop, Soul, House, Funk, Jazz, Reggae”. I think it goes without saying that his will be a very enjoyable set to experience.

Mr. Scruff will be performing at Toil Trees on Sunday.

Only Real (pictured at top)
Continuing on with the theme of artists not taking themselves too seriously, Niall Galvin aka Only Real will be bringing his sunny ‘Jerk at the End of the Line’ tunes to Beat-Herder. Hopefully the vibes will get the natives to dance as they did at SXSW 2015.

Only Real will be performing at the Jagerhaus (date / time TBA).

Stealing Sheep
Having released their synth-heavy second album ‘Not Real’ in April, the all-girl trio from Liverpool are no doubt raring to unleash their newest tunes on a sympathetically Northern crowd. Let’s hope they bring along their coloured nylons!

Stealing Sheep will be performing at the Jagerhaus (date / time TBA).

 

SXSW 2015: Blackjack London and Association of Independent Music showcase at Latitude 30 (Friday night part 2) – 20th March 2015

 
By on Wednesday, 1st April 2015 at 4:00 pm
 

The first half of my Friday evening at SXSW 2015 is here.

That somewhere else was back at Latitude 30 for the British Music Embassy’s Friday night sponsored by Blackjack London and the Association of Independent Music (AIM). I arrived just in time to see the second half of Only Real‘s set, which was clearly already causing havoc. Good havoc, I’m quick to point out. It was still raining outside, but as soon as I’d put down my brolly to take my camera out, an Only Real reveler grabbed it and was sashaying down the front like out of a scene from Singing in the Rain, before he grabbed my hand, twirling me around a couple times. I burst out laughing. This turned out to be one of the most surprisingly fun sets I watched all week. Listen to ‘Yesterdays’ off his new debut album ‘Jerk at the End of the Line’ released this week, and just go with it. You’ll thank me later.

Only Real at Blackjack London AIM showcase at SXSW 2015

After the set, I asked one of the photographers, “is everyone in here drunk or stoned?” She said quite possibly both. Either way, it doesn’t matter: what came across was how well Niall Galvin’s unique hybrid of hip hop style lyrics about more carefree days and the washy, psychedelic guitars and accompanying instrumentation was going over with the Embassy crowd. I had been extremely sceptical when Martin first wrote about him in 2013, figuring this guy from South London couldn’t be really this weird and this happy-go-lucky. It must be an act…

Turns out I couldn’t have been more wrong. After he kindly paused for photos and chats with a whole slew of new fans he gained this night, I chatted with him briefly to set up a full interview on Saturday afternoon, and he is just about one of the loveliest musicians I’ve ever met: genuine, kind-hearted, positive and yes, real. We need more positive people like him not just in this business, but the whole world. Keep doing what you do, man.

East London grime artist Ghetts had to sadly cancel his appearance on this night, replaced by Stockport’s Blossoms, who played here Wednesday night as part of the BBC Introducing / PRS Foundation showcase. They explained to me after that they’d be asked to stand in for Ghetts and were more than happy to get another SXSW gig under their belts. Watching the young band from greater Manchester a second time was nice, as I got to introduce their music as brand new to a girl who became a new fan. Always happy to facilitate!

Blossoms at Blackjack London AIM showcase at SXSW 2015

As the notes of the scorching ‘Blow’, the band’s first-ever single that was released in 2014, fed into my mind a second time, I sensed something very special. Whiffs of brilliance reminiscent of great ’60s psychedelic bands, along with the pop sensibility of their local legends Oasis in the choruses, are what make this band great. If they can keep this level of melody and songwriting up, their debut album is sure to be a hit.

Following Blossoms were Boxed In, an electro rock/pop band led by keyboardist / synth-playing Oli Bayston. I missed seeing him open for fellow Moshi Moshi labelmates Teleman on their UK tour in October. As his set unfolded, I was getting a distinct, eerie feeling of deja vu, like I’d known this music in another life. But I’d never seen them play before. How could this be possible? Hmm…

Boxed In at Blackjack London AIM showcase at SXSW 2015

When they trotted out ‘Mystery’, everything clicked and I had a eureka moment: the single has been played on 6music a lot as of late, so I knew all the words. Since I was a singer in my former life, I have the tendency to sing along – loudly – when I know the lyrics to a song, and when Bayston noticed this, he broke out a wide grin. I imagine he was thinking, “wow, an American knows my music!” The dancey vibe afforded by Only Real continued on into the Boxed In set, with Bayston’s band soundtracking an all out dance party to usher in the small hours of Saturday morning in Austin in British disco style with the driving rhythms of tracks like ‘Foot of the Hill’.

The electronic aspect of Boxed In served as a nice segue into the more intellectual style of electronic musician/producer Rival Consoles, who I’d seen play in the much smaller Plush Thursday night. The most intriguing difference in Ryan L. West’s show Friday night at Latitude 30 compared to the one at Plush: the backdrop was a dynamically generated visual show determined entirely by the user he set the task to, West explained to me in our chat Saturday. That means every single night, you’re going to get a completely different visual experience. How’s that for unexpected art?

Rival Consoles at Blackjack London AIM showcase at SXSW 2015

There is probably no greatest place for a British musical artist to play at during SXSW than Latitude 30, and West was completely caught up in the moment as he crafted his music for the evening. That’s one thing about electronic music I love: it can, conceivably, go on forever, morphing and evolving, with different pieces of equipment being called in play or put aside, depending the maker’s mood. With a stagehand telling West he only had a minute left to play, he ended his set on a buzzy high note.

 

SXSW 2015 Interview: Only Real

 
By on Tuesday, 31st March 2015 at 11:00 am
 

You know that chestnut of supposed wisdom, “youth is wasted on the young”? The casual observer might think that’s exactly the kind of life 20-something Niall Galvin, aka Only Real, is living if that person was watching him down a sugar free Red Bull while I was interviewing him on the Saturday afternoon of SXSW 2015. But you’d be mistaken. Yes, Galvin’s music seems lightweight on the outside – and certainly, his modus operandi since the early days when ‘Cadillac Girl’ first made the kids swoon was to provide some light-hearted escapist fare, which he fully admits to – there is a quite talented fellow underneath that seemingly overly carefree exterior who seems surprised a bit by his success about “making people feel good if I can” through his music and grateful for the reception his music has received.

First off, name me a real live slacker who’s signed a record deal with a major label like Virgin / EMI? (Check. See my review of his debum album ‘Jerk at the End of the Line’, which was released just yesterday.) As an editor, Niall’s modesty Friday night with his fans was so nice to see; after he played as part of the Blackjack London / Association for Independent Music (AIM) showcase, he happily greeted new fans as they asked for autographs from and photos with their new musical hero. Secondly, name me someone who actually has big aspirations beyond said record deal and essentially could take over the world with all his talents, but he’d only do it under his own terms and while keeping things real and on the level?

Although he’s young, the extra year he allowed to ready himself for his first appearance SXSW and the release of his debut seems to have been all worth it, and he’s ready for the next stage of fame. Listen to the whole interview below.

 

Album Review: Only Real – Jerk at the End of the Line

 
By on Monday, 30th March 2015 at 12:00 pm
 

Only Real Jerk at the End of the Line coverIt was November 2013 when Only Real flew smack dab onto TGTF’s radar. But South Londoner Niall Galvin gave the big dance in Austin a pass last year. Delaying his appearance at the world’s biggest music festival by one year was the right choice: he showcased at a well attended evening at Latitude 30, the home of the British Music Embassy for the week, sponsored by Blackjack London and the Association of Independent Music in the UK (AIM), where punters totally fell in love with his sunny, slacker style of music right at home on a lazy Friday night fuelled by too much booze and the inevitable exhaustion that comes with the week that is SXSW Music. His appearances in Austin were timed perfectly to show off tunes from his debut album for Virgin / EMI, ‘Jerk on the End of the Line’.

For the debut, Galvin halved his time between Atlanta and London, working with producer Ben Allen (behind the most recent Kaiser Chiefs album ‘Education, Education, Education and War’) and Speedy Wunderground label boss Dan Carey in Streatham, South London, to create an enjoyable listen and certainly an album that come true summer will be spun on open-top convertible CD decks. Fans familiar with his past releases -2013 EP ‘Days in the City’, monster hit ‘Cadillac Girl’, singles ‘Backseat Kissers’ and ‘Blood Carpet’, more recent single ‘Pass the Pain’ – will recognise and appreciate his past bangers, but there are also some excellent new entries on the LP as well.

After listening to ‘Jerk…’ closely, something fascinating to me came out about Galvin’s music: despite that sunny, beachy exterior and the psych-ey, slightly out of tune guitars driving the pop melodies forward, there is lyrical depth available to the listener, if one so chooses to seek it out. He also manages the feat of effortlessly blending the happy-go-lucky style of surf rock with what usually comes across far less bright, lyrics delivered in a hip hop style. Yet the overall effect is as pop and feels as wholesome as sucking on an iced cherry lolly in the middle of Latitude.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d5i_uAh4YTs[/youtube]

A single in early 2015, ‘Yesterdays’ is pure pop goodness for sure, but its chorus- “it’s in the way we were made, yesterdays” – exhibits a wistfulness, even if abstract, in the way things are. He’s not wanting them to change, he observes them as “it is what it is” and can be positive about it. I view this as Galvin’s quirky attempt to express “don’t sweat the small stuff”. Considering how down people are about life, the government, economy, etc., we could all use an injection of positivity, and what a friendly nudge in the right direction this is. With its strident guitar notes and electro beats and shuffles, another album standout ‘Daisychained’ takes a look back at happier times and our desire to hold onto those moments.

While Galvin is clearly someone who doesn’t take life too seriously, jumping into a bathtub full of Froot Loops for our benefit in last year’s ‘Pass the Pain’ promo, he shows his emotional side in some songs here, wearing his heart on his sleeve when it comes to failed relationships. He asks forlornly, “do you think of me at all? / ‘Cause it feels like we were already strong” in recently unveiled ‘Can’t Get Happy’. This is quickly followed up on the album with ‘Blood Carpet’, in which Galvin insists, in a Beach Boys-esque harmony, “oooh, I can’t forget you…at all.” The oddly mesmerising, repeated minor key guitar line in ‘Break It Off’ appropriately conveys the sorrow of being broadsided by the end of a relationship (“I thought that it would be me / to break it off / look at me now”) and the subsequent attempts to shake it off (“enough about love, it’s back to the lust”). Yes, even laid-back skaters can get their hearts broken. Sadface. Even with the heartstrings being tugged, Galvin does a good job of it, pulling off a catchy beat and unforgettable melodies.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uxfSpaVdE-c[/youtube]

Only two songs on the album deviate from the formula. ‘Petals’ sees Galvin go into a darker, moodier direction, channeling Dre, Snoop and the ’90s hip hop he explained in my interview with him in Austin that he loves. Closing track ‘When This Begins’ also exhibits dramatic shade, as Galvin sings, “I don’t want to wait no more / I never used to / guess I’m all grown up”. There comes a point in time that all young people realise they must accept responsibilities that come with being an adult. I don’t think he will completely leave the fun Only Real persona behind because having met him, I know that’s him. He’s a happy guy and his business is helping others escape into his sunny world. But if my chat with him in Austin is anything to go by, he’s choosing to and ready to take on even bigger things in the very near future. I’m looking forward to see what he does next.

7.5/10

‘Jerk at the End of the Line’, Only Real’s debut album for Virgin / EMI, is out today.

 

Video of the Moment #1624: Only Real

 
By on Thursday, 11th September 2014 at 6:00 pm
 

Niall Galvin, better known by his stage name Only Real, has a new promo for his single ‘Pass the Pain’. The man “waxes poetic from a bathtub of Fruit Loops, builds a small tower of Big Macs and cruises with the top down in his red convertible.” All in one video. Trippy, yeah?

If you dig his sound, you’re in luck; he’s been working with producers Ben Allen and Dan Carey on his debut album, which is due out in early 2015. Watch the video for ‘Pass the Pain’ below.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tDhQ9JCHqCk[/youtube]

 

TGTF Guide to SXSW 2014: Pop and pop hybrid UK artists showcasing at this year’s SXSW

 
By on Monday, 3rd March 2014 at 1:00 pm
 

Please note: all information we bring you about SXSW 2014 is to the best of our knowledge when it posts, and bands scheduled to appear may be subject to change. To learn when your favourite band is playing in Austin, we recommend you first consult the official SXSW schedule, then stop by the band’s Facebook and official Web site for details of any non-official SXSW appearances.

Starting off the week in our continuing preview coverage SXSW 2014, in this fifth installment of the TGTF Guide to SXSW 2014 are what we call the pop and pop hybrid artists. Pop has become increasingly difficult to put in a box, with many artists incorporating urban, soul, r&b, dance, rock, folk and country into their own brand of pop. So in today’s post, we bring your attention to the bands whose music has a decided pop sensibility in their sound.

In case you missed any of our TGTF Guide to SXSW 2014 so far, including the two-part guide to UK rock acts and the two-part guide to UK electronic acts and DJs appearing at this year’s SXSW, get it all here.

Arthur Beatrice
Carrie writes: “The moniker of elusive London quartet Arthur Beatrice was “formed from the notion of opposites coming together to complete perfect wholes,” according to the press release for their new album, ‘Working Out’, due for release next Monday. The bisexual band name seems singularly appropriate given the band’s juxtaposition of male and female lead vocals, alternated seamlessly between the velvety singing voices of Ella Girardot and Orlando Leopard. The instrumental sound is a cross between smooth jazz and electro dance with moments of uptempo rhythmic pacing provided by brothers Elliott and Hamish Barnes on drums and bass, respectively. Hamish Barnes’ pulsing bass is a major element of Arthur Beatrice’s sound, maintaining a constant groove throughout ‘Working Out’.

Read Carrie’s full review of the band’s debut album ‘Working Out’, released just last month, here.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cpCVIg6h_Zo[/youtube]

Cairn String Quartet
Carrie writes: “The Cairn String Quartet specialises in creating instrumental arrangements of rock and pop songs, spanning across subgenres to cover songs by Aerosmith, Beyoncé, Daft Punk and Mumford and Sons, to name just a few. Their most recent EP release, titled ‘#Quartetquickies’ includes a version of ‘The Mother We Share’ by CHVRCHES, and their last full-length album, ‘One’, features arrangements of Lana Del Rey’s ‘Video Games’ and ‘Everybody’s On The Run’ by Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds.

Read the rest of Carrie’s Bands to Watch on the group here.

Charli XCX
Most of Charlotte Aitchison’s music is what pop on Radio 1 sounds like these days, but it’s the more interesting tracks of hers like ‘Allergic to Love’ that don’t fit into any other box that deserve more attention. A little punk, a little swagger, and less of that purely manufactured pop, please.

Daley
In the post-Justin Timberlake ‘Sexy Back’ world, it’s not a huge surprise to see an artist like blue eyed soul and r&b singer Daley doing well on the back of a couple of EPs, even without a debut album to his name. The young Mancunian has already collaborated with rapper and BBC Sound of and MTV Brand New for 2011 alum Wretch 32, been picked up for play by BBC presenters like MistaJam and Jo Whiley and sports a strong look: ha massive beehive-like hairdo that probably needs its own postal code and faux Buddy Holly spectacles (I say faux, because they’re almost comically 3-D square glasses). What’s not to love…well, if you’re a devoted, young Radio 1 listener?

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/51674258[/vimeo]

Dems
Cheryl writes: “Evocative of the trance-like melodies of The xx, London-based three-piece Dems tantalize us with their new single ‘Canvas World’. Dan Moss, David Gardener and Duncan Mann typically lay Moss’ vocals over complex pieces of artistry, but the latest single adds a guest lead vocal from guest singer Claudie. Strong and clear, she adds a depth to the melancholy Dems sound anchoring it.”

Cheryl’s Bands to Watch feature on Dems is here. You can also read the band’s answers to our Quickfire Questions – including some SXSW flavoured ones too! – here.

Glass Animals
Martin writes: “Glass Animals are experts at downtempo, atmospheric, bass-heavy songs – think Portishead having coffee with Morcheeba – while the coffee’s a tangy roast by James Blake.

Read the rest of Martin’s Bands to Watch feature on Glass Animals here.

Glitches
Sweeping soulful vocals on top of an underlying pop sensibility. It’s unusual to see a trio of guys who have the DIY aesthetic but who aren’t in the indie rock genre (Hot Club de Paris, Little Comets, the Crookes), but this will make them stand out from the pack.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VP8Y_Z-wysA[/youtube]

Gulp
Gulp is a kinda sorta supergroup starring Guto Pryce (Super Furry Animals) and Lindsey Leven, with Gid Goundrey providing guitar and Gwion Llewelyn (Race Horses) on drums. Their sound? Dream pop vocals on top of whimsical, layered instrumentation. Interesting.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2jBMAPx_Pdo[/youtube]

Holy Esque (confirmed on SXSW schedule 23 Feb)
Cheryl writes: “Pat Hynes’ heavy vibrato wrangles above the rapid fire drumming and ringing guitars giving it an otherworldly feel. It tints the tone of all they produce, driving the lyrics to a strange and mysterious place, irrespective of the actual sentiment in the song. This continual quavering is the natural way he sings and not an affectation to add interest, so it permeates every song. That’s fine, but it still sounds quite unusual.”

Cheryl wrote a Bands to Watch on them, and you can read the feature here.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZrB4Sfra8NE[/youtube]

Chloe Howl
In her synth poppier moments such as on ‘No Strings’, Howl seems to be assuming the mantle of La Roux‘s Elly Jackson. Says it all, really. She even has really awesome hair too.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=om7zg-M0rZM[/youtube]

Jetta
Liverpool singer Jetta croons soulfully to a minimalist backdrop the xx would be proud to call their own. Band-wise, we’ll have to see if this turns out to be more Florence and the Machine or No Doubt.

Jungle
Martin writes: “Jungle are purveyors of sun-drenched downtempo electro-soul, a facsimile of which can often be heard playing on the radio of, say, a 1965 Chevy Malibu SS whilst cruising the vice-ridden streets of a simulated Los Angeles.”

Martin’s Bands to Watch on Jungle is here.

London Grammar
We refrained from doing a bands to watch feature on London Grammar because…well, everyone else had already covered them, and judging from their early popularity on the back of their debut album ‘If You Wait’ released in September 2013, it seems like their history has already been written. They sound eerily like the xx, though Hannah Reid’s angelic voice makes their tunes feel like they should be on The Lord of the Rings soundtrack.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6drfp_3823I[/youtube]

The Magic Numbers
Two pairs of brothers and sisters who have somehow soldiered on for over a decade making near twee pop and have sold millions of records. Come now, you’ve heard ‘Forever Lost’, haven’t you?

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R8P40WfRELU[/youtube]

Only Real
Martin writes: At first listen of something like ‘Punks And Potions’, the lead-off track of 2013’s ‘Days In The City’ EP now out on LuvLuvLuv Records, the almost out-of-tune electric guitars overlaid with a heavy dose of lo-fi chorusing are the kind of thing any number of bedroom crooners (and surely this *was* recorded in a bedroom) would put out. The arrangement is in no particular hurry, or of any particular convention for that matter, the second verse lazily arriving at the two-minute mark. But Only Real’s talent is to hide within these inauspicious strictures some impressively ambitious and thoughtful work.… Overall, the combination of a naïf approach to arrangement and production, combined with a decent ear for a melody and lyrics, make Only Real a great prospect. One wonders what he’ll be capable of when he finally emerges from that bedroom…”

Read the rest of Martin’s Bands to Watch on Only Real here.

Prides
Sounding like the love child of early ‘Oracular Spectacular’-era MGMT and bombastic ‘80s power pop, this Glasgow trio will make you yearn for the days when every band didn’t have to have a synthesiser player, just the ones who did pop right.

You can read frontman Stuart Brock’s answers to our Quickfire Questions (the SXSW flavoured ones too!) over here.

Woman’s Hour
In the post-xx world, a woman singing over dreamy, sometimes minimal instrumentation isn’t actually that groundbreaking. Or is it? Fiona Burgess’ vocals sound distant, and maybe that’s the point of this London via Kendal band: don’t think, just get lost in the music.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4x1OzVibsOo[/youtube]

Keep it here, as we roll on with more of the TGTF Guide to SXSW 2014 tomorrow!

 
 
 

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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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