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Video of the Moment #1322: White Lies

 
By on Saturday, 21st September 2013 at 10:00 am
 

I was so sure the plot for White Lies‘ new video for ‘First Time Caller’ would be about an escort service (read my review of their third album ‘Big TV’ here). Instead, it seems to be based around the idea of an abnormally fit cult. Watch it below.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GJ0XNDaFXg8[/youtube]

 

Reading 2013: Day 2 Roundup

 
By on Thursday, 5th September 2013 at 2:00 pm
 

The second day of Reading 2013 was marked by a sudden influx of a creature I like to call the bellend. A bellend is normally attracted by loud drum n’ bass, Chase and Status and Eminem. The bellend’s natural habitat over the August Bank Holiday weekend is normally the area outside of Liverpool that hosts Creamfields. Tucked nicely into a steamy tent with a gentle supply off ketamine being drip fed into the bloodstream, they fist pump and gurn their weekend away.

With Reading and Leeds Festival looking to cater for a more varied audience than the heavy metallers/indie rockers of the past, these days the line-up choice was entirely justified and while it did lead to a far more diverse crowd, it also heightened the risk that in a mosh pit someone would, and I quote a rather lovely gentlemen in the crowd for Eminem, “twat me in the back of the ‘ead with a pen”.

As I navigated the mire of bellends, I actually managed to see some bands. The first of these, Night Works, were on the sparsely populated BBC Radio 1 Dance Stage. I’d been recommended these guys by a tweet before the festival, saying that as a hometown show for one of the band they would be pulling all the stops. If by pulling all the stops the band meant singing like a cat that was being wrung out like a sopping wet sponge, then it seemed I was in for a treat. Their lead singer wailed and moaned for about two songs before I really could take no more. The dancey beats were good fun, but that’s where any sense of joviality ended. Beer tent, please. (3/10)

After the mental trauma of Night Works, a pop-punky injection was required. Stat.

That medical procedure came courtesy of welsh sextet The Blackout, who were a booster shot of energy in a morning of lethargy. Sean Smith, with his utterly ghastly flock of reddish pink hair, started with some technical problems, which was probably caused by his insistence on flinging the microphone round. The brutal incisiveness of ‘STFUppercut’ was a great way to start a set, and the dual vocals of Sean Smith and Gavin Butler ensured that you always had something to affix your gaze to onstage. (7/10)

Speaking of looking at something on stage, the next band I caught on the BBC Radio 1/NME Stage were Deaf Havana. Frontman James Veck-Gilodi seemed intent that he didn’t want anybody to look at him on stage, sporting a eye-gougingly bright tye-died t-shirt. Their stage show has definitely evolved from the post-hardcore, grungey shows of 5 years previously, when they were touring ‘It’s Called the Easy Life’. They’ve got a backing singer who reminded me, in her sass alone of Beyoncé’s character in Austin Powers: Goldmember, Foxy Cleopatra.

They’ve grown into a really competent, soul-ish feeling band. Veck-Gilodi even managed a brooding smile throughout the set, and the roaring singlong that accompanied ‘Boston Square’ thoroughly put them in the same category as We Are The Ocean and The Gaslight Anthem. Real chest-pounding anthems for a group of twenty-something year olds to scream out while swilling cider. (8/10)

From heart-wrenching tunes, meant to uplift and inspire to a doom laden set on the Main Stage, it could only mean one thing: White Lies were back, touring their new record just released a few short weeks ago, ‘Big TV’. Harry McVeigh, Charles Cave and Jack Lawrence-Brown brought their misery-laden set to the Main Stage with ease and even the new material, namely lead single ‘There Goes Our Love Again’, were received with welcoming arms by the now extremely pissed-up Reading audience.

The sound wasn’t all it could have been to fully encapsulate Harry McVeigh’s booming vocals, but that can’t be put down to the band, who were obviously putting their all into this set. As a band who I’ve seen dominate Wembley Stadium when warming up for Muse, it did appear apparent, that with only the three of them on stage the set lacks energy and movement. But that can’t detract from the sheer booming power of the vocals on show. (7/10)

Bands growing in prowess and live ability were the theme of the weekend it seemed, and no band has come further in the last 5 years than Foals (pictured at tip). From that annoying indie band with that catchy-as-balls song ‘Cassius’ with a frontman lacking the stones to look the crowd in the eyes, flash forward a good few years from ‘Antidotes’ and we’ve got a man in Yannis Philippakis, who in his slinking hips and screeching yelps has become a complete frontman. Leading the line a la Didier Drogba in his pomp (it’s transfer deadline day and I’m all footballed up), commanding the crowd and showing the movement of a seasoned pro.

Their triumphant set at Glastonbury was a high benchmark for UK festivals this year, and in comparison, they seemed a little flat. They erred on the side of the newer material when this varied crowd craved for the poppy stylings of ‘Cassius’ and ‘Balloons’. That’s not to say that ‘Inhaler’ didn’t go down a storm, in a set which saw them sound more like a grunge band than the indie band they began as. Post-punkers, indie rockers or whatever you call them, after their set there was no doubting their credentials. Higher billing awaits. (7.5/10)

Now, the entire music journalist inside me said that I should stay for Chase and Status. Sadly, the pessimist inside me had the inside track and whisked me back to camp for a pre-Eminem beer. For the best it seemed as Festival Republic head-honcho, Melvin Benn, had to instruct the crowd to step back.

Closing the Saturday night was Eminem, a man who is best known for live shows of chainsaw hackery and well foul-mouthed outbursts galore. Luckily, if you had your young ones watching (unlikely, but it’s Reading), The Real Slim Shady’s microphone was extremely low. Whether that was a sign of Eminem’s inability to perform live or dodgy sound work, is a case to debate. My opinion is it was a 60-40 kind of mix.

Oh and he brought on DIDO. FUCKING DIDO. Remember how fucking good ‘Life For Rent’ was/is? Remember how good ‘Stan’ is? WHY DID NOBODY UNCONTROLLABLY LOSE THEIR SHIT LIKE ME. I FELT LIKE AN OCTOGENARIAN REMEMBERING THE GOOD OLD DAYS. IT’S DIDO! DIDO!

I was definitely the only one going apeshit for that, I would have gone apeshit for a rendition of ‘Purple Hills’ with D12, however Slim-Shady decided to air a set of 50% new songs, with a sprinkling of the old hits. It was satisfying, and exactly what the vast majority of the crowd wanted, appeasing their teenage dreams that they concocted when they first ‘Lost Themselves’ to Eminem. But for the world’s most successful rapper alive at the moment, you expected perhaps a bit more theatrics, maybe something more inventive. But instead we got a bog standard Eminem set. Enough to appease the dickheads I suppose. (6/10) (DIDO GETS 10/10, FOR BEING DIDO.)

 

Album Review: White Lies – Big TV

 
By on Monday, 12th August 2013 at 12:00 pm
 

White Lies Big TV album coverFrom the chart success of their first two albums, it’s clear White Lies are the kings of the post-punk anthem. With their new album ‘Big TV’, Harry McVeigh, Charles Cave and Jack Lawrence-Brown again proffer up their signature doom and gloom lyrics accompanied with feel good guitars and synths, with mostly positive results. The main problem ‘Big TV’ suffers from is the same problem that plagued both ‘To Lose My Life…’ and ‘Ritual’: while there are some huge songs on here that are obviously going to be released as singles and will bring crowds to their feet, the rest of the songs don’t reach such lofty heights, and there are two interludes included in this set of 12 tracks that don’t really serve much purpose.

‘Big TV’ was produced by Ed Buller, whose other most recent and high-profile production work was on Suede’s amazing comeback album ‘Bloodsports’ released in March. Whether it is a compliment on Buller’s expertise specifically or not, there is no denying that lead singer Harry McVeigh’s voice has never sounded better, confident and clearly able to fill stadiums with its strength. The album begins with the title track, hitting you with typical White Lies’ bombast. The introduction of the song conjures up of great ‘80s New Wave tunes, before a driving rhythm by drummer Jack Lawrence-Brown and lonesome guitar chords are banged. The synths continue the New Wave theme, as McVeigh intones desperation, insisting, “bring me to the hand of fate / the river or the new arcade”. The hopelessness of fighting against the march of progress, the existence of trash and garbage in our lives and what we make of it all, wondering where real life begins and the fantasy inside one’s mind ends: these are larger than life themes that seem to fit well with the painting of the astronaut on the album’s cover.

Early giveaway track ‘Getting Even’ (“wrestling with conscience”) and single ‘There Goes Our Love Again’ sound quintessentially White Lies, with the aforementioned shimmery synths, crashing guitars, and punishing beats. They’re just tailor made for the Radio1 audience, shiny with pop sensibility that will assure their mainstream success. (You can grab ‘Getting Even’ for free from this previous mp3 of the day post, and watch the promo video for ‘There Goes Our Love Again’ here.) Lyrically though, they’re not bassist Charles Cave’s best.

For that, you need to venture to ‘Change’, at the lucky number 7 position. Now this song is likely to stand the test of time the same way as Kelly Clarkson’s ‘Already Gone’ does. To be honest, it’s the breathy, nonconfrontational version of ‘Already Gone’: when you’re listening to it, it’s not hard to imagine you’re floating on a soft, fluffy cloud, or even in heaven, even while the sadness of a man who is telling his love to be brave even though it’s time for them to part is tearing your own heart apart. This is a track I certainly was not expecting from White Lies and I don’t know how this will fare among fans, but it’s absolutely beautiful. If they don’t release ‘Change’ as a single in the next couple of weeks, they’ve missed a trick.

So it’s all the more jarring for ‘Change’ to follow up with ‘Be Your Man’, which is upbeat but somehow it’s missing heart. (This is also the fate of ‘Tricky to Love’, as well as album closer ‘Goldmine’.) I get the message: the voice in the song doesn’t want harm or trouble to befall his lover and he wants to be her man when an emergency happens. Err…ok. The music that goes with it doesn’t seem to match the sentiment either. At least the instrumentation that goes with ‘First Time Caller’ is suitably epic for the song’s plot, which I’m gathering is either about phone sex or a call girl service. The wishes for “a little hope out of nothing” and for someone to be patient and truly to listen to them are something wanted by both people on the line. The lyrics from the chorus of “I want you to love me / more than I love you / tell me is there something you can do?” sung in a sweeping style by McVeigh couple nicely with an equally sweeping, gorgeous instrumentation.

After such beauty, you have to wonder what they were thinking with the confounding existence and placement of the two interludes, named unimaginatively ‘Space i’ and ‘Space ii’. While I can appreciate the desire to do some short instrumental pieces, these two do nothing for the album and act as strange, out of place bookmarks that you’re likely to skip if you buy the entire LP. For the proper way to insert interludes into an album, see Cave Painting’s ‘Votive Life’. Then there are some lyrics like the opening of ‘Tricky to Love’ – “My love, changes with the weather / my heart, red imitation leather” – that are truly cringe-worthy and make you wonder how it was possible these songs were conceived by the same people who wrote ‘Change’. With the highest of highs and lowest of lows, ‘Big TV’ brings you moment to savour, but also moments of confusion.

6.5/10

‘Big TV’, the third album from London trio White Lies, is out today on Fiction Records.

 

Video of the Moment #1243: White Lies

 
By on Monday, 1st July 2013 at 6:00 pm
 

White Lies‘ new video for ‘There Goes Our Love Again’ looks like a lot of videos, reminding me mostly of Macca’s ‘Ballroom Dancing’. What’s even stranger is that everyone’s got Zorro style masks on and all the female spectators are Oriental, as is the lead dancer. Unless I’ve missed something, it doesn’t seem to have anything to do with what the song is about. Or maybe you can find something. Watch it below.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Cn4huIqY8o[/youtube]

 

Single Review: White Lies – There Goes Our Love Again

 
By on Thursday, 20th June 2013 at 12:00 pm
 

This past Tuesday night on his evening programme, Radio1 presenter Zane Lowe premiered White Lies’ teaser ‘There Goes Our Love Again’, the second single to come from their forthcoming album ‘Big TV’ as his Hottest Record in the World. (First single ‘Getting Even’ was offered up as a free download and you can grab it from this previous MP3 of the Day post from earlier this month.) Singer/guitarist Harry McVeigh phoned in from the group’s promotional stop in Berlin to chat with Zane and expressed his utmost excitement about finally unleashing new material to the public, entirely keen on hearing what people think of it. Of course, the first thing your TGTF editor noticed was the closeness of the title to our own name. But sadly, that’s where the similarities between the two end.

Us White Lies fans have come to recognise (and rightly expect) drummer Jack Lawrence-Brown’s searing percussive beats and McVeigh’s often unemotional vocal delivery. So probably the first thing that will catch your attention after listening to ‘There Goes Our Love Again’ the first time all the way through is the shimmery synths. It distracts the listener from the repetitive, irritating chorus: “I didn’t go far, I didn’t go far, I didn’t go far and I came home”. It’s not dark per se, which is unusual for this band; we’re used to hearing about people dying, blood dripping from bodies, etc. The darkness here is portrayed through the loss of love. Or is it? Maybe it’s not understanding what love is and trying for the wrong things, for what you think you need from love.

Lest you have forgotten – and you would be forgiven for doing so, seeing that the band’s second album ‘Ritual’ was released in January 2011, nearly 2 and a half years ago – the White Lies’ modus operandi approach to lyrics is to have bassist Charles Cave write the words and guitarist Harry McVeigh sing them. Some of the most confounding lyrics in the song are as follows: “Home is a desperate end / cocoon my heart, cocoon my heart / and carry me to love again / cocoon my heart and bring me calm / hushing out the fear and the love / I know you’re opening now / just trying to pick my feelings undone”. If home is such a terrible place, then why is the subject of the song say he’s come home after not having been that far away?

The song title ‘There Goes Our Love Again’ seems to suggest the image of a relationship going past you, like you’re in a bus or car and it’s physically getting away from you. Surely that’s a painful thing to watch? So it’s odd that this image seems to be in direct contradiction to the lines quoted above, which indicate the person wants to be ‘carried’ to love like it’s this magical thing that life can take him to and he needs not to intervene. I also find the cocoon imagery very strange; maybe this person has been hurt so badly by this relationship, he’s hoping there’s another chance for reconciliation but he needs to heal first, his love organ swaddled? Further oddness.

This single isn’t bad; if you like the combination of grand guitar and synth. I can see this being a huge number on the festival circuit for the sheer sonic epicness on those two parts of the song alone. However, it’s missing the quality narrative style and we’ve come to expect after early monster singles ‘Death’ and ‘Unfinished Business’ and leaves you wanting more meat on the bones lyrically.

6/10

Single ‘There Goes Our Love Again’ will be released on Fiction Records on the 5th of August. ‘Big TV’, the third album by White Lies, will be released a week later, on the 12th of August. To hear Zane Lowe’s interview with Harry McVeigh, listen in on the iPlayer here; you have until next Tuesday 25 June before the programme disappears into the ether. You can also stream the song below. The band are playing a 3-night residency at London Hoxton Square Bar and Kitchen in July; tickets can only be bought through a lottery, which is now closed.

 

White Lies / July 2013 London Residency

 
By on Wednesday, 12th June 2013 at 9:00 am
 

White Lies will be releasing their third album ‘Big TV’ on the 12th of August on Fiction Records. But ahead of that, they’ve announced something quite delicious: they will be playing three shows, on back to back nights, at London Hoxton Square Bar and Kitchen. (If you were wondering, the venue looms large in the band’s history; they played their first gig ever at the very place over 5 years ago.)

Because the extremely high demand for tickets for these three highly intimate shows, they’ve decided on a lottery scheme to determine who will be allowed to buy tickets. Enter for the chance on the band’s official Web site. Please note that you must be a resident of England, Scotland or Wales in order to be eligible to enter the lucky draw. If you are chosen as one of the lucky few, you will then be allowed to purchase a pair of tickets at £18 per ticket. Be sure to get your entries in to their Web site by this Friday the 14th of June at 10 AM London time. DO NOT ENTER YOUR DETAILS HERE AT TGTF.

Tuesday 23rd July 2013 – London Hoxton Square Bar and Kitchen
Wednesday 24th July 2013 – London Hoxton Square Bar and Kitchen
Thursday 25th July 2013 – London Hoxton Square Bar and Kitchen

You can listen to and download for free first ‘Big TV’ taster ‘Getting Even’ from this previous MP3 of the Day post.

 
 
 

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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.

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