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Video of the Moment #2237: The Magic Gang

By on Wednesday, 7th December 2016 at 6:00 pm

Never been to Brighton? No problem! The Magic Gang, who call the Southern seaside town their home, decided to feature the place in their latest promo video for ‘Only Waiting’. I’ve been to Brighton a handful of times for The Great Escape, but apparently I have somehow missed the pink bodysuit-clad being known colloquially as the Disco Bunny. Trust me, he has to be seen in this video to be believed. Blissfully unaware of his outfit’s brightness, or perhaps finding power in his, shall we say, unconventional dancing costume, his joyful prancing and true desire to make passersby happy with his antics seem to work well with this track from The Magic Gang, which appears on their ‘The Second EP From’ (get it?) out now. For more on The Magic Gang on TGTF, including my coverage of them at Canadian Music Week 2016, check out this link.


Video of the Moment #2179: The Magic Gang

By on Wednesday, 7th September 2016 at 6:00 pm

Brighton DIY band The Magic Gang have unveiled a new video this week, for their track ‘All This Way’. In it, the band tries their best to practise, but their domestic digs aren’t making things easy on them. In true DIY fashion, there are appearances by friends and housemates, playing who else but fellow lodgers, exasperated by their friends’ annoying music habit? (Because, you know, they actually exist, outside of us music lovers.) ‘All This Way’ is out now on Telharmonium Records. The band will be headlining a show at London Scala on the 28th of September. For more on The Magic Gang, including my coverage of them at CMW 2016, go here.


CMW 2016: Wednesday night with stops at Mar on Music at The 300 Club and The Central – 4th of May 2016

By on Wednesday, 18th May 2016 at 4:00 pm

Wednesday night was still ahead of Canadian Music Week (CMW) 2016 conference proper, but there was plenty on music-wise in the good city of Toronto to nosh on before things officially kicked off at the Sheraton Centre Toronto. My first stop was to see several bands on the pretty awesome line-up at recently redone and rebranded 300 Club on College Street. It was put on by our Canadian radio friend Mar on Music, who has a Friday afternoon programme on University of Toronto radio station CIUT. Most of the line-up was locally sourced, which was what I was looking for.

The Magic Gang CMW 2016 at the 300 Club Mar on Music Wednesday

However, the first band was English and making their North American live debut. We saw The Magic Gang at Live at Leeds 2015, and the Brighton band has been going from strength to strength since then. They’re truly a band who have embraced the DIY ethic and managed to come out on the other side with grass roots-earned success. The Brighton band were raring to go with their slot at this evening showcase, and they didn’t disappoint. They brought their brand of sunny indie pop and the feeling of the seaside to the 300 Club, bringing smiles to everyone in the place.

The Seams CMW 2016 at the 300 Club Mar on Music Wednesday

The next band up at the 300 were The Seams, who I understand to be kind of a local indie supergroup of talented musicians all wanting a side project. The trio comprises of band members from WISH, Elsa and Fake Palms, and the resultant noise recalls great ‘90s Britpop. If you’re so inclined to go back that way to revisit all those subgenres back in the day like shoegaze and its more jangly brother, you’re likely to enjoy The Seams.

Sahara CMW 2016 at the 300 Club Mar on Music Wednesday

Of all the Torontonian bands I had on my CMW 2016 schedule, I was most keen on catching Sahara. They recently released a new EP that is described on SoundCloud as psych-tinged post-punk, but I actually think it’s more dream pop than that. In fact, I considered them Toronto’s answer to High Highs. The same description on SoundCloud says of their sound: “a shimmering, summery sound that belies some of their darker leanings”, which is interesting because when they actually played, they played virtually in the dark, as if they didn’t want us the audience to see them. Not that I was expecting a full, strobe-y light show to accompany their set, but I was surprised and a little bit disappointed in the darkness, as I think their song ‘Mirage’ is gorgeous.

Comrade Hat CMW 2016 Central Wednesday

Like SXSW, many bands were playing most multiple times at CMW, which afforded me some good options for scheduling in the week. After I’d gotten my fill of Sahara, I decided to head way west to a little place nestled among a residential neighbourhood. When I arrived, I noted that The Central is an adorable venue that looks perfect for intimate, acoustic sets by singer/songwriters. Oddly enough, who I came to see was not a single man or woman onstage but instead, the six-member strong Comrade Hat.

Or maybe they are better described as Comrade Hat the man – Donegal via Derry composer and performer Neil Burns on a Korg keyboard – plus his fellow Irish friends Great White Lies. Like The Seams earlier in the evening, they’re a throwback, but a throwback much further back in time. I imagined being transported in time to a smoky jazz lounge in the ‘70s with a guy on piano, singing about his observations on life, kind of like a jazzed up Mister Rogers. I can see why it makes more sense to have a full band at an international event like CMW because it adds more pomp to the occasion, but they barely had any room to move with all the equipment onstage with them. But if you visit Burns’ own SoundCloud and listen to his ambient burblings such as ‘High in the Rockies’, that’s the kind of stuff I prefer to geek out on.


CMW 2016 Interview: Jack Kaye and Angus Taylor of The Magic Gang

By on Monday, 9th May 2016 at 11:00 am

The Magic Gang have steadily been increasing their profile – not to mention their UK fan base – since we caught them live at Live at Leeds 2015. They self-released an EP in December 2015 (appropriately titled ‘EP’) and have been most recently selling out venues on a recent UK tour in support of the new available material.

The Brighton band’s relative success has come as a bit of a shock to bespectacled co-frontman Jack Kaye, who related a story to me about selling out a venue in Newcastle and having all the young kids singing along to every word of their songs. (Kaye kindly answered our back here.) After their first North American live show ever at The 300 Club in Toronto last Wednesday, I was pleased to be joined by Kaye and bassist Angus Young (second from the far right and far right, respectively) for a nice chat. Being from Brighton, it seemed natural to ask The Magic Gang for hints on how to survive – and win! – The Great Escape 2016 (it’s next weekend, folks, so step lively!) and we chat about pop songwriting. Have a listen below.


(CMW 2016 flavoured!) Quickfire Questions #110: Jack Kaye of The Magic Gang

By on Thursday, 28th April 2016 at 1:00 pm

Not long to go now to Canadian Music Week (CMW) 2016, taking place in Toronto next week! We’re in the midst of our latest TGTF Quickfire Questions campaign, flavoured with what else but questions about artists coming on over to Canada for the event. Today, we’ve got Jack of The Magic Gang, an indie pop band originally from The New Forest who now call Brighton home, answering our list of queries. If you’re coming out to Toronto for CMW, you can catch The Magic Gang Wednesday the 4th of May at the 300 Club at 10 PM; Thursday the 5th of May at Handlebar at 1 AM; and and Friday the 6th of May again at the 300 Club at 11 PM. And now, I’m leaving you in the highly capable hands of Jack…

Describe your music in 3 words (We know, tricky…)
Very special pop.

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the word ‘Canada’?

What are you most looking forward to doing while you’re in Toronto? Have you been before?
First time for all of us! Collectively, we’re pretty excited about eating pancakes and going to thrift stores as well as rocking out of course.

Of the bands who have already been announced (, do you have any that are must-sees on your schedule? If yes, who are they and why?
Even though he’s from the UK, we really want to see Skepta. As far as bands we’ve never seen, we’re excited to hopefully catch The Black Lips.

You are receiving funding from PRS for Music Foundation to make the trip over to the pond to showcase at CMW. Tell us about how you got involved with PRS Foundation and what their funding means to your trip / your career.
We have a few friends who have had some amazing opportunities like being able to go and play SXSW because of PRS funding. So it’s clear that they are a foundation who know and care about new music. For us it means we have the opportunity to open a door to a whole new audience who we wouldn’t be able to play in front of otherwise. It’s pretty exciting.

After CMW, what’s up next for you? Writing and recording? TGE / summer festivals / etc.? Do tell!
We’ll be finishing a new EP for the summer as well as playing some UK festivals. The Great Escape will be incredible, as it’s (Brighton) our hometown. Also super excited for Reading & Leeds.

Now, on to our usual list of Quickfire Questions…

What song is your earliest musical memory?
Probably hearing my dad rinse T. Rex hits in our house. ‘Children of the Revolution’ still gets stuck my head occasionally.

What was your favourite song as a child?
I went through the inevitable pop punk phase and ‘Perfect Day’ by the Offspring was a big one for me.

What song makes you laugh?
‘Vicar in a Tutu’ by the Smiths.

What song makes you cry?
We had ‘Right Down the Line’ by Gerry Rafferty on in the van last night. That nearly did the trick.

What song reminds you of the first time you fell in love? (It’s up to you if you want this to be sweet, naughty, etc.)
Canada’s very own Travis Bretzer released a song called ‘Billy and I’ a few summers ago around the time I met my wife. I used to listen to it on repeat and I still love it.

Which song (any song written in the last century / 100 years or so) do you wish you’d written yourself?
So many! The obvious one has to be ‘God Only Knows’ because its perfect. There’s so much in there, and it’s only around 3 minutes long.

Who is your favourite writer? (This can be a songwriter or ANY kind of writer.)
Hands down, a guy named George Saunders. He’s an author from Syracuse in America. He writes short stories and every single one is incredibly funny and moving.

If you hadn’t become a singer/musician/songwriter/etc., what job do you think you’d be doing right now?
I’m not sure if I’d be successfully doing it, but I’d love to write and produce short films or documentaries.

If God said you were allowed to bring only one album with you to Heaven, which would it be and why? (Sorry, but double albums do not count.)
Oasis – ‘(What’s the Story) Morning Glory?’

Many thanks to Jack for answering these, and thanks also to Mike for sorting this out for us.


Handmade Festival 2016: writer Steven’s best band bets

By on Tuesday, 26th April 2016 at 11:00 am

Header photo of The Magic Gang by Dan Kendall

If you didn’t already heed our warning that Handmade Festival this weekend in Leicester is the festival to be at this season then perhaps, just maybe, the below list of acts that you’re going to be missing out on will change your mind. And for those who will be joining us in during the weekend, take the below list as a starting point for your own weekend musical adventure, there’s plenty to not miss out on so let us give you a bit of guidance. (To read Steven’s earlier preview of Handmade, go here.)

Lacura – Academy 3, Friday 29th April, 17:00

Drops of psychedelia amongst massive indie sounds, Lacura are your perfect opener to the weekend. It’s a toss-up between Lacura or ESTRONS, and Lacura just pip it with their dreamscapes and ethereal feel.

The Magic Gang – Scholar Bar, Friday 29th April, 18:45

To continue your ease into the festival, The Magic Gang (pictured at top) will use their harmonious, ‘60s psych-pop style to command your elation and help you forget about that outside world. Friday afternoon’s never sounded so good. (For past coverage on The Magic Gang on TGTF, go here.)

Black Honey – Scholar Bar, Friday 29th April, 19:45

Black Honey are gaining a lot of momentum with their dreamy, shoe-gaze-esque rock and vocals that call to mind Lana Del Rey if she actually gave us what we wanted rather than slow tempoed ballads. (For past coverage on Black Honey on TGTF, go here.)

We Are Scientists – Academy 2, Friday 29th April, 22:00

As mentioned in our preview piece, the indie duo who are affable beyond belief are gracing our shores again in support of their fifth studio album. With a guaranteed good time to close out the first day of Handmade, to miss out on We Are Scientists would mean depriving yourself of laughs and such major tunes as ‘Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt’, ‘After Hours’ and new single ‘Buckle’ from brand new album ‘Helter Seltzer’. (For loads more coverage on We Are Scientists on TGTF, go here.)

Jurassic Pop – Scholar Bar, Saturday 30th April, 15:00

In case Jurassic Pop have slid under your radar, they are a band who write songs solely based around the Jurassic Park film series. Debut EP ‘Jurassic Park 4 1/2: The Erotic Adventures of Jeff Goldblum’ is filled with punk, indie and spoken word. If this alone isn’t enough to get you to see the band then nothing will.

OhBoy! – Scholar Bar, Saturday 31st April, 17:45.

This will be around the half way point of the festival, so chances are you’ll be a pleasant state of jubilation and will want to continue this. OhBoy! are you best bet here, with songs that are both ferocious and charming, they’ll certainly kick your Saturday evening off.

The Xcerts – Scholar Bar, Saturday 31st April, 21:15

Powerful pop songs that call to mind fellow Scotsmen Biffy Clyro at their lightest. The Xcerts have been around for 10+ years and over this time you’re guaranteed they’ve worked out a killer live set that will match the brawn of their sound. (For past coverage on The Xcerts on TGTF, go here.)

Johnny Lloyd – Academy 2, Sunday 1st May, 17:15

If you haven’t heard ‘Hello Death’, the debut single from ex-Tribes frontman Johnny Lloyd then you are missing out something extremely special. Heartfelt and solemn, it’s a thunderous track that is surely going to be a wonder to behold live.

USA Nails – Scholar Bar, Sunday 1st May, 19:45.

Harsh, abusive sounding punk that calls to mind Black Flag and Minor Threat, USA Nails are a safe bet to ensure you leave the festival with ringing ears and to get that final bit of energy out of your system.

Beans on Toast – Academy 2, Sunday 1st May, 22:00

Of course, the hardest question of any festival is who to see to on the closing night. With a couple of fine choices, Beans on Toast is potentially the perfect physical representation of that festival ideology, be it a metropolitan one like Handmade or Glastonbury. With songs filled with observation and thought that appeal to every straight minded one of us, when this is matched with the sing-a-long stylings, you have a guaranteed memorable closer and one that will stick with you on that tired, hungover train journey home. (For past coverage on Beans on Toast on TGTF, go here.)


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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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