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Preview: Deer Shed Festival 2013 (Part 2)

 
By on Thursday, 27th June 2013 at 9:00 am
 

We’ve already previewed the extensive small- and big-kid friendly activities available at Deer Shed Festival 2013, but what of the music? Featuring full 2 days of music (Friday evening, Saturday all day, and Sunday afternoon), and a smattering of stages, this isn’t your run-of-the-mill enormo-fest, and is all the better for it. The entire card is quality, but here we run down some of the highlights of Deer Shed 2013’s music offering…

Friday night sees a clash-tastic triumvirate of triumphant talent. Edinburgh festival favourites Tubular Bells For Two take over the In The Dock stage all night – for those who haven’t heard, TBFT are Aussies Daniel Holdsworth and Aidan Roberts, who have taken it upon themselves to recreate Mike Oldfield’s multi-layered masterpiece Tubular Bells in its entirety, complete with a home-made set of the eponymous melodic percussion. An inspired booking, and a rare opportunity to catch TBFT in the fresh air.

Gaz Coombes proved with his diverse work with Supergrass that he’s one of the finest songwriters of his generation; his solo album ‘Here Come The Bombs’ superbly reinforced that reputation. He’s just put out a new double-A single: ‘One of These Days’ is a typically bittersweet string-enhanced 4 minutes of slow-burning goodness, marking an intriguing move into gentle electronica stylings; ‘Break the Silence’ is a more upbeat synth-led stomper with hints of Supergrass’ superb 2004 orphan release ‘Kiss Of Life’. Which all bodes well for the second album which is rumoured for imminent release.

In a fairer world, Gaz Coombes would be the highlight of the evening. But if Coombes’ star is still developing, Edwyn Collins’ is a full-on supernova. There’s no need to go over the old ground of his medical history (if you need the details, see here), suffice to say that Collins’ personal story is as remarkable as his music. His 2010 LP ‘Losing Sleep’ gathered my Writer’s Choice for a Mercury nomination that year; this year’s release ‘Understated’ continues his output of smart pop-soul, hinting obliquely at his trials, but mostly simply affirming the human condition in matchless, witty style. A true legend, revered warmly by industry and fans alike, and a great way to wrap up Friday night at Deer Shed.

Saturday afternoon is folky and soulful. Tynesiders and Craig Charles favourites Smoove and Turrell (John Turrell is the male voice of Charles’ Fantasy Funk Band) are perfectly timed to get the crowd into a groove; Zervas and Pepper soundtrack dreams of shimmering open plains and dusty roadhouses; To Kill a King purvey that keening, yearning folk-rock sound that has such broad appeal these days that will surely make them a highlight of the day for many.

Elsewhere, Spring Offensive bring their suave Oxonianisms to the In The Dock Stage. If you like atmospheric, emotive guitar music, and wish you had seen Radiohead live before they released ‘The Bends’, the Spring Offensive are not to be missed. Neither are The Phantom Band, whose sound genuinely defies classification. There’s detailed multi-movemented arrangements, pepperings of atonality, a touch of ‘Green’-era R.E.M., and even the hint of properly heavy guitars on occasion. Very difficult to describe, which means that they’re very clever indeed. Worth being acquainted with beforehand, but will reward the effort live.

Darwin Deez has a lot to live up to – the punditry casually bandy around names like Beck, Prince, and Hendrix whenever he’s mentioned. Yes, Deez displays a loose, carefree obscurantism that Beck would be familiar with, but there’s little evidence of the epic sweep of Prince, or indeed of Hendrix’s Stratocaster majesty. Perhaps his live show will answer the doubters. But most excitingly of all, Saturday night finds The House of Love on the main stage. Surely the most underrated band of the pre-Britpop era, The House of Love’s self-titled meisterwerk contains future echoes of The Stone Roses, James, and both Oasis and Blur, and without whose influence British pop music would surely have taken a different, and undoubtedly inferior, path. Despite such achievements, in comparison with their peers they remain relative unknowns, with founding member Guy Chadwick carving a second career fitting sash windows. The story of the band is no less remarkable than their music, featuring personal acrimony, heavy drug use, mental problems, countless spin-off side projects, and the inevitable ritual burning of banknotes – enough to fill a decent book, one would imagine. Will The House of Love find their final redemption in their reformation and release of new material? Will Deer Shed be where it all finally comes together? One waits with bated breath.

After the excitement of Saturday night, Sunday is wind-down day. The Unthanks bring to life the North-East’s history of heavy industry and hard living with ‘Songs From The Shipyards’, and band-of-the-moment Public Service Broadcasting (who we caught last month in Newcastle) offer a similarly historical yet rather more lighthearted take on this island’s history with their audiovisual tour-de-force. On the main stage, we have chilled-out ambience from AlascA, knowing ensemble wittiness from Moulettes, and the acoustic finale belongs to the avuncular King Creosote, who has a challenge on his hands to match the vertical, punch- and love-drunk ambience of last year’s Cherry Ghost set.

If it had escaped your notice, this is just part of what’s on offer at Deer Shed Festival this year. Take a look at my Part 1 for a roundup of the crazy catalogue of activities to lose yourself in. Tier three tickets are still available from from the official Web site – but probably not for much longer!

 

Video of the Moment (and more!) #1156: To Kill a King

 
By on Thursday, 21st March 2013 at 6:00 pm
 

Two exciting new bits from To Kill a King. First, here is the new video for ‘Funeral’, featuring on the band’s current album ‘Cannibals with Cutlery’ out now. Second, they’ve done a cover of UK chart-topping and current To Kill a King tourmates Bastille‘s ‘Oblivion’, which you can listen to below too.

Be sure to catch the band you named at #8 on the 10 for 2013 TGTF readers’ poll on tour in April; we’ve listed the dates below all the embeds, so scroll down for the details.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QKWoWbbcdz0[/youtube]

Tuesday 9th April 2013 – Birmingham Institute @ Temple (with Spring Offensive)
Wednesday 10th April 2013 – London Scala (with Shields)
Thursday 11th April 2013 – Leeds Brudenell Social Club
Friday 12th April 2013 – Manchester Ruby Lounge
Saturday 13th April 2013 – Glasgow Nice ‘n’ Sleazy

 

Video of the Moment #967: Spring Offensive

 
By on Tuesday, 11th September 2012 at 6:00 pm
 

Here is the beautifully shot new video from Spring Offensive for new single ‘Not Drowning but Waving’. The single is available digitally now but a very limited edition 7” vinyl with download code in bespoke packaging assembled by the band themselves will be available exclusively on a major European tour starting next week. Don’t worry, we’ve been told that UK dates will follow in November. Stay tuned.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z4b0HYxOSvI[/youtube]

 

(Liverpool Sound City 2012 flavoured!) Live Review: Spring Offensive at Newcastle Head of Steam – 3rd April 2012

 
By on Thursday, 26th April 2012 at 2:00 pm
 

Oxford has form when it comes to birthing important bands: from influential noisegaze pioneers Ride, through the sadly defunct Supergrass, always in the kitchen at the Britpop party, to Radiohead, who not content with redefining the scope of modern rock several times, have seen fit to bless the world with a number of excellent solo works. Recently, revivalist dance-pop BBC Introducing favourites Fixers and math-rock futurists Foals have been upholding the reputation of the city of the dreaming spires.

Tonight sees the latest in this distinguished bloodline of musicians hit Newcastle. Spring Offensive have released but a handful of tracks; they are still at the beginning of their career, so any claims of belonging to the pantheon of Oxfordian greatness must be tempered with the chance that they might split up, get bored, or fall pregnant before anything of any particular note happens. But…let’s hope not.

In town to promote their second single, ‘Worry Fill My Heart’ (live video below), TGTF caught up with them over a coke in the incongruous environs of Newcastle’s only American-style burger joint, on a mission to find out a thing or two about Spring Offensive.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pZyMKy095-M[/youtube]

We learn that the drummer is called Pelham. That they met at school and live together in Oxford. That they count appropriately underground acts Menomena and Silver Mt. Zion in their influences, along with Cumbrian darlings Wild Beasts. Some of their songs deal with being dissatisfied with you’re doing with your life. They’re nervous people, easily frightened. They’re named after the Wilfred Owen war poem, which they were asked to recite live on German radio. They dress as they do (part war evacuee, part ’70s dad, fashion by charity shop consent) so people can’t judge them on their appearance. Or, heaven forfend, accuse them of being Foals fanboys.

They are a superb live band. The Oxford sound is present and correct – there’s a bit of white-boy funk, edgy mathy bits, anthemic choruses – but thankfully all filtered through a clear personality of their own. They have a talent for arrangements, and not just of the quiet-loud-quiet version, either – the songs ebb and flow with the oily fluidity of a calm midnight sea. This is the genuine soundtrack to how the Titanic really sank – gently, undemonstratively, imperceptibly sinking into inky black, all the while a quiet, unspoken unease hanging in the air. There’s lashings of deckhand vocal harmonies; in one memorable moment, the band leave the stage and play with acoustic guitar and voices only. It’s a brave insight into their capabilities; shorn of amplification the effect is if anything even more emotionally powerful.

They haven’t always dressed as they do now – somewhere in the last twelve months the band ditched the checked shirts, stripy t-shirts and skinny jeans for frayed cardigans, woollen tank tops, and beige slacks. Whether this is a genuinely spontaneous rejection of fashion, or a cleverly-worked decision, their sartoriality suits both demeanour and sound perfectly. The very epitome of Dave Gilmour’s famous ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ lyric, “Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way”, the whole package evokes a post-war shabbiness, of desolate Anglian marshes interspersed with the skeletons of abandoned hangars: an atmosphere of bleakness punctuated by the hope of regeneration. Simultaneously, they speak to the contemporary retail park mole, the burger flipper, the call centre operative: is this all life has to offer? Could things have been better sixty years ago? Is modern life indeed rubbish? These are the most important questions a band can ask; it falls to Spring Offensive to ask them.

Spring Offensive will appear on the Friday (18 May) of Liverpool Sound City, time and place TBA.

 

Video of the Moment #748: Spring Offensive

 
By on Wednesday, 28th March 2012 at 6:00 pm
 

So sorry to be late posting this Spring Offensive video; SXSW is my excuse! It’s for the band’s single ‘Worry Fill My Heart’; we previously featured the video for its b-side, ‘Carrier’, as a Video of the Moment last month. Catch Spring Offensive on tour starting Thursday in London; all the tour details are below.

This video features a cameo from another TGTF favourite; hint: it’s the bass player from a band that named themselves after a town in the BBC shipping forecast reports.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bt-zNr538_g[/youtube]

Thursday 29th March 2012 – London Electricity Showrooms
Friday 30th March 2012 – Brighton Green Door Store
Saturday 31st March 2012 – Oxford (secret location TBA)
Sunday 1st April 2012 – Manchester Castle Hotel
Monday 2nd April 2012 – Sheffield SOYO
Tuesday 3rd April 2012 – Newcastle Head of Steam
Wednesday 4th April 2012 – Liverpool Shipping Forecast

 

Video of the Moment #719: Spring Offensive

 
By on Friday, 24th February 2012 at 6:00 pm
 

The promise of a primrose in the woods is just one thing in Spring Offensive‘s new video for ‘Carrier’ that will make the heart grow fonder. Oh, if only a bonfire could bring back your lost love.

‘Carrier’ will be the B-side to their forthcoming single ‘Worry Fill My Heart’, to be released in March. Catch the band on tour next month and in April; details of their English tour are here.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HFyjSi3Oqms[/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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