Because of COVID-19 travel restrictions and show and festival cancellations,
no new content has been added here since February 2020.
Read more about this here. | April 2019 update
To connect with us, visit us on Facebook and Twitter.
SXSW 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | Live at Leeds 2016 | 2015 | 2014
Sound City 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | Great Escape 2018 | 2015 | 2013 | 2012

Album Review: Tom the Lion – Sleep

 
By on Thursday, 28th August 2014 at 12:00 pm
 

Tom the Lion 'Sleep' CoverLondon singer-songwriter Tom the Lion, aka Tom Visser, officially released his debut album ‘Sleep’ on the 11th of August on Wrasse Records. Initially an independent effort pursued by Visser and his manager, the album was picked up by Rough Trade earlier this year and garnered enough support on its own merits for a full release. We here at TGTF have already featured one of its tracks, ‘Silent Partner’, as well as the non-album track ‘Wasting Sunlight’.

Visser is a multi-faceted musician who writes, plays, and produces all of his own material. His early musical influences started at home, where his mother exposed him to classic singer/songwriters like Rickie Lee Jones and Bob Dylan and his jazz musician father introduced the likes of Miles Davis and Chet Baker. It does seem that having a background in jazz produces a particular willingness to experiment with sound, and Visser is no exception in that regard. On ‘Sleep’, he balances a strong sense of poetic lyricism and melody with a variety of instrumental textures and harmonic choices to shade the album’s fundamental melancholy tone with subtle degrees of emotion.

‘Sleep’ feels like a break-up album, though it hasn’t been specifically billed as such. The obliquely evocative lyrics mingle sadness and regret with hope and optimism, beginning with the opening title track. Its anthemic chorus “you could wait a lifetime for this / strike my name off the list” is one of the album’s most uplifting moments, despite the later lyric, “you’re on your own with one last wish.” ‘Every Single Moment’ is a similarly straightforward track with an appealing chorus, “as if this is your last phone call / may I just hear your voice / as if this is your last power chord / can I just let you talk”, that builds to the climactic repeated ending line “I love every single moment.”

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rl4X174YbQs[/youtube]

In contrast, tracks like ‘Oil Man’ and ‘November’s Beach’ are stark and edgy. ‘Oil Man’ has a thin, synthetic sound that emphasizes its strange, unsettling harmonies and eerie vocal tone. The machine-produced drums on ‘November’s Beach’ create a crisp chill under the diffuse shimmer of keyboards and guitars. ‘Winter’s Wool’ features a groovy bass line and guitar melody under its smooth instrumental sheen.

The album ends with a especially nice sequence of memorable tracks. The delicate texture and uneven rhythm of ‘Ragdoll’ adorn some of Visser’s most poignant lyrics, “you lost without a fight / just to be polite…you’re a ragdoll in my arms / with no charms / I’m a tyrant in this land / blood on my hands”. The persistent rhythm and and guitar line in ‘Heal’ lead into another inspiring chorus with the determined lyric “I choose now to heal”. ‘Come to Life’ ends the album with another tinge of sadness in the haunting lyric “The note you left behind / on the pillowcase I’ll find / I’m nothing but disguise / dressed as your lover might”. Its deliberately unresolved emotion is representative of the album as a whole, which is a series of vignettes left to speak for themselves rather than being painstakingly expanded or meticulously explored.

In that way, Tom the Lion distinguishes himself from artists to whom he is likely to be compared to, including inevitably Bon Iver. Visser’s songs are similarly impressionistic, with the same falsetto vocal that Justin Vernon and Thom Yorke fans adore, but their brevity gives them a greater sense of emotional urgency and allows the unique experimental aspects of the music to make a more powerful impression.

7.5/10

Tom the Lion’s debut album ‘Sleep’ is available now on Wrasse Records.

 

Video of the Moment #1602: Tom the Lion

 
By on Saturday, 16th August 2014 at 10:00 am
 

Enigmatic singer/songwriter Tom the Lion has released the promo video for ‘Silent Partner’ off his debut album ‘Sleep’, out now on Wrasse Records. In it, the title of the tune is taken literally, as a woman signs her way through the lyrics. Watch the promo and its hand interpretations below.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YJJJeLcY2_E[/youtube]

 

Video of the Moment #1567: Tom the Lion

 
By on Tuesday, 8th July 2014 at 6:00 pm
 

London singer/songwriter Tom the Lion (Tom Visser to his mum) will be releasing a new album on the 11th of August, called ‘Sleep’, on Wrasse Records. He’s released this video for ‘Wasting Sunlight’ as a taster for the kind of sound you can expect on the new album, because inexplicably, the new LP does not feature this song. Either way, watch the video below. It might just intrigue you enough to want to buy his new album next month?

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f1AQJW8zIdI[/youtube]

 

TGTF Guide to SXSW 2014: Singer/songwriter and folk UK artists showcasing at this year’s SXSW

 
By on Tuesday, 4th 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.

Just 1 week off now from the official start of SXSW 2014 and we’ve arrived at the sixth part of the TGTF Guide to SXSW 2014: the genre of singer/songwriters and folk artists. Whether they are single person artists with just a microphone and/or a guitar, or they’re a multi-person strong team of musicians, singer/songwriters have the ability to evoke feelings and emotions in us sometimes we didn’t even know we had. Read on…

Juliette Ashby
Carrie writes: “Fans of the late Amy Winehouse will be interested to hear up-and-coming pop diva Juliette Ashby. Though Ashby was reportedly close friends with Winehouse, her music bears only the slightest tinge of Winehouse’s gritty soul flavor, instead leaning more toward the sparkly dance pop of stars like Ellie Goulding or Lily Allen. Ashby’s debut album ‘Bittersweet’ will be available for preorder on the 3rd of March.

Liam Bailey
Self-described as “acoustic soul”, Nottingham-born Bailey brings a soulful, almost jazzy edge and a welcome difference to the singer/songwriter category.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mCB6tg_6ntY[/youtube]

Cocos Lovers
Alt-folk collective Cocos Lovers formed in Kent in 2008 when its members decided to quit their day jobs and travel through Europe, busking and making music however and wherever they possibly could. Predictably, the influences on their style are widely varied, including English folk and choral music, American Southern gospel and Spanish flamenco, as well as the complex rhythms and tonalities of African and Eastern traditional music.

Read Carrie’s Bands to Watch feature on Cocos Lovers here; two of their members also answered our SXSW 2014 flavoured Quickfire Questions, which you can read here.

Cousin Marnie
Carrie writes: Hackney native Cousin Marnie has the unique distinctions of claiming an Alfred Hitchcock heroine as the inspiration for her stage name and counting both Loretta Lynn and Kanye West among her main musical influences. Her single ‘Cain’ is an eerie combination of biblical text, stark instrumental texture, and delicate vocal timbres in the verses, juxtaposed with heavy bass and savage rhythm in the chorus. Watch the lyric video for ‘Cain’ below, and try not to think too much about what might have become of the little white bunny.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/KDIShBsd7HI[/youtube]

Honeyblood
Carrie writes: “Honeyblood’s twee grunge pop has drawn fully warranted comparisons to California groups Best Coast and Haim, not only for the female lead vocals, but for the laid-back vibe, fuzzy garage band tone and mildly rebellious lyrics.”

Carrie’s Bands to Watch feature on Honeyblood is here.

Kieran Leonard
Carrie writes: “The hipster literati in Austin next spring will no doubt flock to see British singer-songwriter Kieran Leonard, whose esoteric and often politically-charged folk rock challenges both emotion and intellect. His intensity may be off-putting at first, especially to a casual listener, but his entrancing singing voice and cynically provocative lyrics are worth a bit of extra attention.”

Read Carrie’s Bands to Watch piece on Leonard here.

The Melodic
Carrie writes: “South London band The Melodic have just finished touring America with Johnny Flynn and The Sussex Wit in support of their debut full length album, ‘Effra Parade’. ‘Effra Parade’ is a light and jaunty mix of carefree melodic lines, casual vocal harmonies and diverse instrumental textures. While musically whimsical, the songs’ thoughtful lyrics often deal with larger intellectual topics, such as the Pinochet-era political turmoil in Chile in ‘Ode to Victor Jara’”.

Carrie’s Bands to Watch feature on the band is here; frontman Huw Williams also answered our SXSW 2014 flavoured Quickfire Questions set here.

Nick Mulvey
Carrie writes: “Blurring the lines between jazz, classical, world music, and folk genres, this set of four songs reveals a wide array of musical influences, as well as a broad set of lyrical and compositional ideas. The songs hinge on minimalist grooves and the repetitive plucked rhythms of Mulvey’s acoustic guitar, but the unique harmonies and eclectic instrumentation generate surprising sonic variety.”

Rhodes
This Hitchin guitar-toting singer/songwriter with a penchant for sweeping, ethereal vocals has already been compared to the likes of Jeff Buckley and Antony and the Johnsons. Check out ‘Raise Your Love’, which showcases his expansive voice.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rzcx0Oa7s2s[/youtube]

Sweet Baboo
Welsh singer/songwriter Stephen Black might have named himself after Linus Van Pelt’s (Peanuts) too cute nickname, but he does a good job bridging the heartfelt with the occasional squealing guitar jam.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zMQ8h42HOJU[/youtube]

Tom the Lion
Cheryl writes: Tom Visser, performing under the moniker Tom the Lion, is splashing back onto the scene after a 3-year absence. Debut album ‘Sleep’ is poised to give this Londoner a career jolt. Blending low-fi, chamber pop and modified symphonics, ‘Sleep’ is a mysterious, masterful work. Previous release ‘The Adventures of Tom the Lion’ brought him under the radar commercial success even though it was an amalgam of live performance and limited edition vinyl-only EPs. Despite the difficulty in finding his music – currently available only via Rough Trade or his Web site, it is worth the hunt (hint: try Soundcloud). Both works hold gems that identify this singer as an endearing entry into the male singer/songwriter milieu.”

Cheryl’s full Bands to Watch feature on Tom the Lion can be found here.

Alex Vargas
Though he’s based in London, singer/songwriter was born in Denmark and is of English and Uruguayan ancestry. Looking for a bit of 21st century blue-eyed soul in Austin? You’ve found him.

Wildflowers
Carrie writes: “Brighton-based four-piece Wildflowers center their folk rock sound around the vocal harmonies of sisters Siddy and Kit Bennett. Siblings almost always have a unique ability to perfectly match their vocal diction for seamless harmonies, but the sisters also share a love of rebellious female songs, citing Alanis Morrisette as an early musical influence. Hints of Morrisette certainly appear in Wildflowers’ lyrics and Siddy Bennett’s vocal delivery, but the overall sound leans more toward the bluesy country of Patsy Cline. The Bennett sisters cite their nomadic, bohemian upbringing as an influence on their music as well, with American bands like The Eagles and Fleetwood Mac informing the full-scale vocal harmonies they share with band members James Ashbury and Kendal Sant.”

Want to read Carrie’s Bands to Watch feature on Wildflowers? Right this way.

Withered Hand
Carrie writes: “Withered Hand is the stage name of Scottish folk singer/songwriter Dan Willson, whose second full length album, ‘New Gods’, is due for release in mid-March (the 10th of March, just in time for SXSW!) by Fortuna Pop! Records. According to the label’s press release for ‘New Gods’, Willson took up songwriting around age 30 when a series of life events sparked “a period of reflection” that led to the creation of his deeply introspective first album ‘Good News’. ‘New Gods’ is a variation on that theme of self-examination, equally perceptive and evocative, but with a mellow touch of wry humor to soften its blunt honesty.”

To read Carrie’s review of Withered Hand’s upcoming album ‘New Gods’, go here.

Gabby Young and Other Animals
Carrie writes: Gabby Young is a classically trained opera singer turned ‘Circus Swing’ songwriter whose globally-influenced brand of folk music has been grouped into an eccentric genre all its own. Her singing voice is indeed glorious, but even more spectacular are the energetically jazzy rhythms provided by her 8-piece backing band, Other Animals. This lively showcase is sure to inspire dancing and debauchery in Austin. For a quick teaser, watch the video for ‘I’ve Improved’, from the group’s Kickstarter-funded third album ‘One Foot in Front of the Other’.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/3TEon8cQI_g [/youtube]

More of the TGTF Guide to SXSW 2014 to come this week. Stay tuned!

 

(SXSW 2014 flavoured!) Bands to Watch #296: Tom the Lion

 
By on Friday, 21st February 2014 at 1:00 pm
 

Note: Tom the Lion informed us on Twitter this week that he’s not 100% confirmed to appear at SXSW 2014. Keep an eye on the official SXSW schedule for further updates.

Tom Visser, performing under the moniker Tom the Lion, is splashing back onto the scene after a 3-year absence. Debut album ‘Sleep’ is poised to give this Londoner a career jolt. Blending low-fi, chamber pop and modified symphonics, ‘Sleep’ is a mysterious, masterful work. Previous release ‘The Adventures of Tom the Lion’ brought him under the radar commercial success even though it was an amalgam of live performance and limited edition vinyl-only EPs. Despite the difficulty in finding his music – currently available only via Rough Trade or his Web site, it is worth the hunt (hint: try Soundcloud). Both works hold gems that identify this singer as an endearing entry into the male singer/songwriter milieu.

The title track on ‘Sleep’ possesses Bon Iver-esque vocals, but Visser has much more power in his voice than Mr. Vernon typically displays. The majority of the tracks have much more weight, with lyrics that get to the guts of the matter and an interesting quality to his voice that makes you want to hear what he has to say. The comparison to Villagers is also warranted with the punctuated delivery of ‘Oilman’, another tune on ‘Sleep’.

The definitive musical Renaissance man, Visser plays every instrument, every sound on his albums, proving to be the ultimate musician’s musician. I am very curious as to how this plays out live. Does he pre-record parts, vastly simplify his sound or bring additional musicians with him? The texture of what he produces is so finely wrought, that despite my preference against it, I would like to see him pre-record parts to retain their original flavour. Visser’s style wanders over several genres, weaving stories of love and distance using everything from simple folk to crashing electronics. His ability to weave a story into a beautiful sonic landscape is a strong point he capitalizes on with deep folds and nuances to both the soundscape and the words.

Tom the Lion’s debut album ‘Sleep’ is out now on Rough Trade. It’s sure to make a splash, as he certainly will do once he gets to Austin to showcase his talents at SXSW 2014.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rl4X174YbQs[/youtube]

 
 
 

About Us

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.

All MP3s are posted with the permission of the artists or their representatives and are for sampling only. Like the music? Buy it.

RSS Feed   RSS Feed  

Learn More About Us

Privacy Policy

Keep TGTF online for years to come!
Donate here.