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Best Of 2008: Albums

By on Sunday, 28th December 2008 at 1:30 pm

It’s been a pretty amazing year for music around the UK, and following on from my top 10 of 2007, here is my top 10 of 2008.

Viva Stereo (roar lion roar album cover)10 – Viva Stereo – Roar Lion Roar
You’ve probably not heard much about this Scottish collective. However, their third album was a surprise favourite for me – anthemic, accessible, slightly My Bloody Valentine and yet still so gorgeous.

Read more about Viva Stereo here.

Favourite: Knee High Boots.

9 – Sigur RósMeð suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust
As ever, an amazing collection from the Icelandic group. More pop than previous albums, their songs sound all the more amazing. I caught them live at Hydro Connect Festival in Scotland, where they preceded Franz Ferdinand and blew them out of the water. As the sun went down, they soundtracked the festival for us, showing their sense of humour and making beautiful music that had more than a few grown men in tears.

Favourite: Inní mér syngur vitleysingur

8 – Ra Ra RiotThe Rhumb Line
Dark in places, Ra Ra Riot come from the same school of musical geekiness as Vampire Weekend, but with a bit more serious and a bit less money. Dark in places, the group are still recovering from the death of their drummer in summer 2007, which shows on tracks like “Winter ’05”.

Favourite: Dying is Fine

Continue reading Best Of 2008: Albums


Bands to Watch #32: Viva Stereo

By on Tuesday, 30th September 2008 at 8:43 pm

Quite honestly, I’m not sure how to categorise Viva Stereo. Their new album, “Roar Lion Roar” manages to mix old and new influences and sounds, and ultimately ends up being one of the best album that the mainstream (probably) won’t hear this year.

The four guys in Viva Stereo have been around for a while – this is the third and final album in the trilogy of self-released albums that started in 2004, and whilst they haven’t received a tonne of press they really should have done going by this collection and the number of stars of the Scottish music scene who have collaborated to create “Roar Lion Roar”.

When the album starts up with “Another Night Out” it sounds like “Play”-era Moby demo, with vocals buried deep down in the mix, thumping drums a gentle groove that just yearns to be played over the “incredibly drunk late night collage” of some (rather good) indie film.

“Knee High Boots” (the free MP3 below) sounds like Glasvegas a year or so down the line… anthemic, accessible, slightly My Bloody Valentine and yet still so gorgeous.

Interestingly, whilst researching this piece I came across a piece from last April on the amazing Song, by Toad about Viva Stereo’s live performance, and was intrigued to see them described as a “deranged party mayhem bunch”, which certainly makes me want to go and see them (if only because of the juxtaposition of this description next to many of the tracks of the album) – if only I wasn’t so far down south and about 200 miles from their nearest show!

Their album is anything but a paint-by-numbers affair, with a myriad of influences, a vibrant range of instruments and sounds and quite honestly, one of the best this year of the “bands to watch series” – download the MP3 (now unavailable), and then go and buy their album if you can. You won’t regret it.

After the jump: we chat to Viva Stereo about their release.

Viva Stereo’s latest release, Roar Lion Roar is out on 10th November from the below record shops:
Aberdeen: One Up Records / Glasgow: Mono Records, Avalanche Records / Edinburgh: Avalanche Records / Leicester: Rockaboom Records / London: Rough Trade Records / Manchester: Piccadilly Records

Continue reading Bands to Watch #32: Viva Stereo


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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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