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MP3(s) of the Day #340: White Lies

 
By on Monday, 23rd May 2011 at 10:00 am
 

A review of White Lies‘ blinding show in Washington will be posted tomorrow afternoon. But before you that goes live, why not download these two live versions of ‘Bigger Than Us’ and ‘The Power and the Glory’ from the band’s album released in January, ‘Ritual’? They come courtesy of Los Angeles radio station KCRW, who has played host to many of TGTF’s favourite bands. (Read Mary’s review of the album here.)

 

Album Review: White Lies – Ritual

 
By on Monday, 17th January 2011 at 12:00 pm
 

Let’s go back to the end of 2008. Long time ago, wasn’t it? Who on the music scene was everyone buzzing about? I remember five acts in particular. There was the La Roux vs. Little Boots argument, which has pretty much ended with La Roux proving victorious on both sides of the Atlantic despite Little Boots winning the BBC Sound of 2009 (she’s become a nonplayer at this point pretty much). Then there were Friendly Fires, Glasvegas and White Lies, all of whom appeared on an NME tour of the UK together and interestingly, they all at one point pretty much disappeared after their initial success, leaving us to wonder where they’d gone. Yet all three have releases this year: XL has reported Friendly Fires is finishing on their second album and Glasvegas is currently previewing new material while legging it around Scotland, but it is White Lies who has the earliest release with ‘Ritual’, being released today.

Because of the way music has become digitalised and the album format is not as emphasised or revered as it once was, it’s the singles that get the most attention (and probably dictate album sales), for better or for worse. In the case of ‘Bigger Than Us’, the first single from ‘Ritual’ (reviewed previously on TGTF), White Lies (probably unintentionally) set their own bar too high. It’s as gorgeously grand and massive sounding as ‘To Lose My Life’ was in late 2008. I could feel shivers down my spine the first time I heard it. But like the other songs when compared to the beauty that was ‘To Lose My Life’ on their debut album, the rest of ‘Ritual’ never maintains that height of grandeur.

‘Turn the Bells’ has driving drums but isn’t a standout otherwise. ‘Bad Love’ sounds like an attempt to return to ‘To Lose My Life’ but doesn’t quite get there. ‘Come Down’ has programmed beats; why is this necessary? They have a drummer. ‘Is Love’ begins unearthly but thankfully turns into a more upbeat number – go go crashing guitars, go go synths! Speaking of synths, they shine on ‘Ritual’, bringing much needed levity to what is a pretty dark affair – see ‘Peace and Quiet’, one of two tracks the band played live at Maida Vale for Steve Lamacq (you have until Wednesday 19 January to catch this session and a short interview with the band on iPlayer – fast forward to the third hour). This is definitely one of the best tracks on the album after ‘Bigger Than Us’. It starts off innocuously like the theme to ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ but becomes something much more: a highly atmospheric piece of music with an impressive chorus.

Make no mistake, there are some really lovely moments. ‘Holy Ghost’ has a killer groove, but really, it’s a song about a prostitute. But in the same way I thought some tracks on ‘To Lose My Life…’ were unnecessarily depressing, I was disappointed in much of the mire that the band delivered this time around. I’m not saying I was expecting White Lies to morph into happy, peppy popsters. Not at all. I like that they’re willing to put it all on the line, their hearts on their sleeves. ‘Bigger Than Us’ proves that they know how to write a sweeping, emotional anthem. I just wish there were more songs like it on ‘Ritual’. This is more of a grower type album – it may not be immediately great on first impression. Give a couple good listens before making an opinion on this one.

7.5/10

Ritual is available now from Fiction Records.

 

Video of the Moment #372: White Lies

 
By on Tuesday, 21st December 2010 at 6:00 pm
 

I saw the promo video for White Lies‘ ‘Bigger Than Us’ last month, around the time I reviewed the single for TGTF. But at the time, it was an NME exclusive. Now it’s up on White Lies’ VEVO and if you haven’t seen it yet, you can watch it below. It’s kind of apocalyptic in the SARS / ebola sense and involves a gigantic chocolate bar (called, naturally, ‘Bigger Than Us’) getting defibrillated (???) and basketballs floating in mid-air, and bassist/songwriter Charles Cave is playing his bass unemotionally in the midst of this crisis situation.

WHAT. I am sufficiently confused. Was there some kind of candy bar factory accident?

But…I love the song.

Comments / theories / etc. on this video welcomed.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JW0yynlDmqQ[/youtube]

‘Bigger Than Us’, the first single from White Lies’s second album, will be available digitally from iTunes next week (22 November) and physically on 03 January 2010 from Fiction Records. ‘Ritual’ the album follows on 17 January 2010. You can catch the trio on tour in February – tour details here.

 

This Week’s Gonzo – series closes with visits from Mark Ronson and the Drums

 
By on Thursday, 2nd December 2010 at 1:00 pm
 

This Friday marks the last episode of this series of MTV Gonzo, but don’t be sad: some special guest appearances are planned for the show. DJ and producer Mark Ronson, who released the album ‘Record Collection’ with his Business Intl. in September and recently worked with Duran Duran on their new album, stops by to talk with Alexa and shows her his drum pads. (No, that’s not innuendo for something else.) Now sporting shocking platinum blonde hair ala Simon Neil of Biffy Clyro, he comments, “I’m worried my hair might fall out from the bleach”. But rock ‘n’ roll is all about taking risks, isn’t it?

The Drums from New York also make an appearance, no doubt to talk about their amazing success this year. Everyone’s favourite American jokers (and rockers) We Are Scientists phone in for what is sure to be a comical video chat. Mat Horne, who guested on last week’s Gonzo, suggests a new band to watch: you’ll have to watch the show to find out who he’s tipping. On the video front, Gonzo queues up Paramore‘s ‘Playing God’ as well as the new promo video of White Lies‘s ‘Bigger Than Us’, and the London post-punk band is in the studio to talk about what went on behind the scenes of its filming.

Watch this series’s final episode of MTV Gonzo tomorrow night, Friday, at 7 pm on MTV Rocks, with a repeat at 9 pm on MTV.

 

NME Awards Shows / February 2011

 
By on Tuesday, 23rd November 2010 at 9:30 am
 

This year, the NME Awards will take place 23 February 2011 at 02 Academy Brixton. In the lead up to the awards show, NME puts on live performances in London’s best gigging venues during the month of February. And yesterday, the music magazine announced the line-ups for the February 2011 shows. Tickets for these shows go on sale tomorrow, Wednesday, 24 November, at 9 AM.

Tuesday 1st February 2011 – Metronomy at London Heaven
Wednesday 2nd February 2011 – Los Campesinos! and Summer Camp at London O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire
Thursday 3rd February 2011 – The Duke Spirit at London Heaven
Wednesday 9th February 2011 – Mystery Jets (pictured above) at London O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire
Friday 11th February 2011 – White Lies and Crocodiles at London O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire
Tuesday 15th February 2011 – The Naked and Famous at London Heaven
Tuesday 15th February 2011 – Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan and Cherry Ghost at London O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire
Wednesday 16th February 2011 – Edwyn Collins at London O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire
Thursday 17th February 2011 – Miles Kane at London Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen
Thursday 17th February 2011 – Noah and the Whale at London Koko
Friday 18th February 2011 – Yuck and Cults at London Bush Hall
Sunday 20th February 2011 – Carl Barat, the Heartbreaks and Foreign Office at London O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire
Monday 21st February 2011 – Alex Winston at London New Players Theatre
Monday 21st February 2011 – Mona and Neon Trees at London Garage
Monday 21st February 2011 – Warpaint and Twin Shadow at London O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire
Monday 21st February 2011 – Frankie and the Heartstrings and Veronica Falls at London Heaven
Tuesday 22nd February 2011 – Caribou, Factory Floor and Walls at London O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire
Tuesday 22nd February 2011 – Les Savy Fav at London Heaven

 

Single Review: White Lies – Bigger Than Us

 
By on Friday, 19th November 2010 at 2:00 pm
 

London’s White Lies have finally come out of the shadows, having announced that their sophomore album – finally! – entitled ‘Ritual’ will be released on 17 January 2010. Before that however, they have announced that the forthcoming single from the album, ‘Bigger Than Us’, will be available on iTunes on 22 November, in advance of the physical single release on the 3rd of January.

There was a feeling of grandeur with ‘To Lose My Life…’ (the album), and the new single should stir up similar emotions, if you were moved the first time guitarist Harry McVeigh opened his mouth to sing bassist Charles Cave’s words (I still think this is a weird writing/singing arrangement). The chorus is the best part of ‘Bigger Than Me’, with the lyrics of ”and I feel like I’m breaking up / but I wanted to stay / and the lights on the hillside / don’t take me this way / and I don’t want you to hold me / and I want you to pray / this is bigger than us”. The White Lies blokes still know how to do morbid rock right. (Take a look at the cover – it features a bottle of lithium carbonate, medication to treat bipolar disorder and mania. Presumably that massive crystal on the left is one of the solid components of the pharmaceutical on the right.) This track feels as sweeping as some of the songs on their debut. But will this garner the same kind of attention as their first album? Time will tell. I really like this tune.

8/10

‘Bigger Than Us’, the first single from White Lies’s second album, will be available digitally from iTunes next week (22 November) and physically on 03 January 2010 from Fiction Records. ‘Ritual’ the album follows on 17 January 2010. You can catch the trio on tour in February – tour details 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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