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: Years & Years – Palo Santo

 
By on Monday, 6th August 2018 at 12:00 pm
 

Years & Years Palo Santo album coverWe all hoped the cheesy ‘NSYNC, Backstreet Boys-ey boy bands were a thing of the past, right? The band genre made a comeback a few years back in the form of JLS and One Direction, but again we left these behind, and music had progressed since then, had it not? Years & Years appear keen to rekindle this dying flame in their newest album ‘Palo Santo’. Although their 2015 debut album ‘Communion’ seems miles away now, there is an unmistakable Nineties’ / Noughties’ boy band vibe running through the 14 tracks of ‘Palo Santo’. The use of layered vocals, Nineties’ style synthesisers and manufactured drum beats reminscent of those dance-pop tunes from yesteryear we all know and secretly love.

The final track of ‘Palo Santo’, ‘Up In Flames’, takes this comparison the furthest as it really feels as though it has been plucked out of 2000. The song opens with a familiar sounding drum machine beat, embellished with what sounds like shakers and perhaps most surprisingly, a bell. After the first verse, in comes a clunky synth riff and backing vocals, that couldn’t get more Backstreet Boys if it tried. Oh, but it does. At the end of the chorus, ‘Up In Flames’ there is a bright synth stab that, although subtle, is undeniably a direct take from ‘Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)’ and that song’s defining feature of the 1997 song, and now here it is in a Years & Years track. Although the nostalgia is pretty enticing, the foundations of the song are well past their best by date.

Not only do many of the tracks of ‘Palo Santo’ recall songs that have come before, they are also hard to define within the album itself. Very few of the tracks have any elements that really stand out and demand your attention. Despite the fact that there are songs that are upbeat and dancey – for example ‘All For You’ or ‘Rendezvous’ – the album feels beige. Take the songs ‘Hypnotised’ and ‘Here’, two tracks that should sound completely different on paper. ‘Hypnotised’ is a capella but ‘Here’ is not, and yet they still manage to blur together. Yes, they are in different keys, use different instrumentation and are at dramatically different lengths to each other, but the essence is the same. These are two tracks that should sound a world apart but without any hooks or memorable lyrics, they become the two slow songs on the album.

The two tunes that actually stand out from the beige are the catchiest songs from the album, ‘Sanctify’ and ‘If You’re Over Me’. ‘Sanctify’ is a throwback to 2015 album ‘Communion’, having the same energy and memorability as tracks like ‘Shine’ and ‘King’. The song begins with a simple drum machine accompaniment to Olly Alexander’s distinct vocals which then explode into a powerful and catchy chorus. ‘If You’re Over Me’ goes down the more generic upbeat pop route, the percussive claps giving it a Jason Mraz-esque ’Have It All’ / ‘Unlonely’ quality. Its lyrics are sassy yet relatable, and although they’re not particularly imaginative, it doesn’t really matter in this setting as they succeed in being easy to remember and sing along to. However, imagination is not in short supply when it comes to the music videos accompanying these two tracks. Both videos have been produced in a sci-fi style with a narrative that runs from one to another, and although unusual they are fun and perhaps the most interesting offshoots of the entire album.

As only the second studio album from the band Years & Years, ‘Palo Santo’ is a disappointment. The tracks lack freshness; instead, they reminisce on music from irrelevant times. Although ‘Sanctify’ and ‘If You’re Over Me’ have become big hits, it’s just a shame for the rest of the album to be so weak.

5/10

‘Palo Santo’ is out now on Polydor Records. Years & Years began their world tour this month and will be stopping in the UK from the 11th of August. For more information on their live dates, visit the band’s official Web site.

 

Video of the Moment #2127: Years and Years

 
By on Thursday, 30th June 2016 at 6:00 pm
 

London electronica pop darlings Years and Years are headed towards the release of a new single ‘Worship’ in mid-August. Incredibly, this will the eighth (man, this thing’s got legs!) and final single to be released from ‘Communion’, their debut album that was released to the wild last summer. (You can read my thoughts on what I considered a pretty hohum platter back here.)

The single’s accompanying video seems to be timed just right, as the trio just performed at Glastonbury last weekend during Pride weekend. In it, singer Olly Alexander uses it as his platform for his latest stand in support of LGBT and sexuality rights. Of the video and what he sees as his most important role right now, he says:

“When we get the chance to make a video I start by asking myself a bunch of questions – what should it look like? How can we portray the songs meaning in the video? Is there a “statement” I want to express? What am I trying to say and what if it’s misconstrued? I go round and round like this and recently I’ve been questioning nearly everything, asking myself I’m doing enough, if I’m helping at all and what use, if any, do I have as a singer in a band? Honestly, I don’t know the answers to these questions. I can’t pretend I haven’t felt, at times, profoundly discouraged and disheartened. I feel like I won’t ever be able to do enough. So, reality check, I make pop music. This is a video for a pop song. However, the visibility of queer people feels more important to me now than ever.

“I couldn’t have been more excited and grateful to work with two artists I massively respect, Matt Lambert and Ryan Heffington. Their super charged magical queer creative energy was a real privilege to be a part of. This video is a collaboration between us and I am very proud of it.

I want to stare down fear and intolerance with the queer eyes in my queer face. I want to try to not be afraid. I know I’ll make mistakes, but I want to keep going. I’ve seen the incredible amount of support and love from our fans and I’ve learnt a lot from them. I can only hope that the dialogue continues and we trust each other enough to carry on. To keep making people sit up and think, to start the conversations that tackle identity, gender, gayness, queerness and the inter-sections between them all. I know that I’m not going to be quiet about it.”

Catch the video below. ‘Worship’ drops on Polydor on the 12th of August; ‘Communion’ is available now from all good music retailers.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A3TflASAFJI[/youtube]

 

Album Review: Years & Years – Communion

 
By on Wednesday, 8th July 2015 at 12:00 pm
 

Years & Years - Communion album coverYears and Years are the kind of band I should like (read: electronic-based and associated with Kitsune) but don’t. I didn’t rate their monster, chart-topping hit ‘King’. However, love them or hate them, Years & Years are the kind of slick pop act who find themselves super popular with the Radio 1 listening crowd and the BBC themselves (they gave them the BBC Sound of 2015 for pete’s sake), and judging from Polydor backing them for their debut album ‘Communion’, they are here to stay. For now at least. If Gigwise’s report from Glastonbury 2015 is anything to go by, they smashed their first-ever appearance at Worthy Farm by taking the opportunity to support gay rights and equality at the Other Stage Saturday afternoon after America’s historic Supreme Court decision on gay marriage a day before. But can they put together a cohesive, enjoyable full-length LP?

Listening to ‘King’ and several of Years & Years’ singles, I can understand the popular appeal. Singer Olly Alexander, a child actor and the last member to join the band after he was discovered by guitarist Mikey Goldsworthy while he was singing in the shower, sounds very much like Michael Jackson in his prime. If you imagine any of the King of Pop’s biggest hits in the ’80s and put a dancey synth beat in the background, you get a good rough approximation of what Years & Years sound like. The album is top-loaded with their 2014 triumphs ‘Real’ and ‘Take Shelter’, both with bouncy yet darker rhythm lurking throughout. The upbeat ‘Desire’ shows up further down the tracklisting. There is just enough urban tinge to make it edgy but make no mistake, this is top 40 after all, so it’s all within safe, predictable, populist confines.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hXTAn4ELEwM[/youtube]

Giving credit where credit’s due, their upcoming single ‘Shine’ to be released on the 5th of July initially deviates from any obvious synthpop formula, the synths muted and understated as Alexander’s vocals bounce. Until the chorus comes in and he sounds like Jacko again. I don’t know if it’s because I’m a child of the ’80s, but it’s distracting me from anything else in their music. ‘Eyes Shut’ deserves a mention too, as Alexander pulls out the blue-eyed soul similar to what has made Sam Smith as a household name and the group smartly chooses a mostly modest instrumental framework that includes piano to accompany his vocals. A similar approach is taken but in an even quieter way with album closer ‘Memo’.

There’s nothing objectionable on ‘Communion’, and the album certainly has its toe-tapping moments that will keep fans dancing and festival punters happy. You’re just left spinning, as there’s nothing substantial here to cling to…

6/10

Years & Years’ debut album ‘Communion’ is out this Friday, the 10th of July, on Polydor Records. Catch the band on their recently announced autumn UK tour scheduled for October and November 2015.

 

Years & Years / October and November 2015 UK Tour

 
By on Thursday, 25th June 2015 at 8:00 am
 

Electropop trio Years & Years have announced a lengthy autumn tour of the UK to follow the release of their debut studio album ‘Communion’, which is due out on the 10th of July via Polydor.  Of the 15 shows on the upcoming tour, the band have already sold out scheduled dates in Manchester and Bristol.  Just below the list of tour dates, you can view the rather eerie new video for album track ‘Foundation’.

A complete list of live dates for Years and Years, including planned festival appearances at Glastonbury and Latitude, can be found here.  Tickets for the following UK headline dates are on sale now.

Previous TGTF coverage of Years & Years is right this way.

Friday 9th October 2015 – Birmingham Academy
Saturday 10th October 2015 – Norwich UEA
Sunday 11th October 2015 – Nottingham Rock City
Tuesday 13th October 2015 – Sheffield Academy
Wednesday 14th October 2015 – Leeds Academy
Friday 16th October 2015 – Newcastle Academy
Saturday 17th October 2015 – Glasgow ABC
Sunday 18th October 2015 – Manchester Albert Hall (sold out)
Tuesday 20th October 2015 – Liverpool Academy
Wednesday 21st October 2015 – Bristol Academy (sold out)
Thursday 22nd October 2015 – Cardiff Great Hall
Saturday 24th October 2015 – Brighton Centre
Monday 26th October 2015 – Southend Cliffs Pavilion
Wednesday 28th October 2015 – London Brixton Academy
Wednesday 4th November 2015 – Belfast Mandela Hall

[youtube]https://youtu.be/tJSDWkO7Lb4[/youtube]

 

TGTF Guide to SXSW 2015: FLOODfest’s inaugural event in Austin

 
By on Thursday, 12th March 2015 at 11:00 am
 

This year marks the premiere of FLOODfest at SXSW, sponsored by Flood Magazine and personal media startup Lyve. The FLOODfest bill encompasses four daytime showcases and three action-packed night shows at the Cedar Street Courtyard, beginning on Wednesday the 18th of March and running through Saturday the 21st. Daytime showcases are open to the public with advance RSVP, but admission will be first come, first served based on venue capacity. Each day show will open with a smaller preliminary showcase from 11 AM to 1 PM before the main events begin. Evening shows will require official SXSW badges and wristbands for entry and promise to extend late into the night with big name crowd draws Spoon, Courtney Barnett and Run the Jewels.

The Wednesday daytime showcase in particular is scheduled to include several acts of interest to TGTF fans. The lineup involves folk punk collective Skinny Lister (read our SXSW preview on them here), rock veteran Carl Barât and his new band the Jackals and populist troubadour Frank Turner, who is in Austin not only to perform his music, but also to serve as a Music Convention panelist and to promote his new memoir ‘The Road Beneath My Feet’ (after SXSW he will return to the UK to promote it on a book tour). The Wednesday night showcase will feature Massachusetts quartet Speedy Ortiz as well as Arcade Fire’s Win Butler, performing in his solo side project guise as DJ Windows 98.

Thursday’s highlights include Years & Years and the Ting Tings (read our SXSW preview on them here) during the day, with the Vaccines opening the activities for the nighttime show. The Friday afternoon showcase will wrap up with Best Coast, and the Friday evening show will feature a set by TGTF favourite and SXSW 2014 alumnus Until the Ribbon Breaks. The festivities will wind down on Saturday afternoon with a showcase of Warner Brothers Records artists including current American radio stars Big Data and Priory.

The full lineup for FLOODfest at SXSW is listed below. However, as always, we recommend that you keep an eye on the FLOODfest Web site for updated information, as acts are subject to change.

Wednesday 18th March

11 AM – 1 PM Dutch Impact Showcase: Taymir, Sevdaliza, Jacco Gardner
1 PM – 6 PM INgrooves/XtraMile Showcase: Avid Dancer, Skinny Lister, Geographer, Carl Barât and the Jackals, Frank Turner
8 PM – 2 AM Taymir, Dotan, Basecamp, Speedy Ortiz, DJ Windows 98, Spoon

Thursday 19th March

11 AM – 1 PM Norway Showcase: Marit Larsen, Haust, Hanne Kolstø
1 PM – 6 PM Paradigm/ASCAP Showcase: Hippo Campus, Swimm, Tove Stryke, Years & Years, The Ting Tings
8 PM – 2 AM The Vaccines, Viet Cong, Metz, King Tuff, Courtney Barnett

Friday 20th March

11 AM – 1 PM Sweden Showcase: Amason, Indevotion, Good Harvest
1 PM – 6 PM Capitol Records Group Showcase: Son Real, BJ the Chicago Kid, James Davis, Seinabo Sey, Halsey, Best Coast
8 PM – 2 AM Mick Jenkins, Nosaj Thing, Until the Ribbon Breaks, Run the Jewels

Saturday 21st March

11 AM – 1 PM Volumen Showcase: The Brevet, Ejambre, Apolo
1 PM – 6 PM Warner Brothers Records Showcase: Dylan Gardner, Mystery Skulls, Priory, Greg Holden, Big Data, Twin Shadow

 

Video of the Moment #1698: Tourist feat. Years and Years

 
By on Friday, 5th December 2014 at 6:00 pm
 

It’s Friday, and I’m really pleased to be posting the new promo video from Will Phillips, aka Tourist. ‘Illuminate’ features Radio 1 favourites Years and Years, and the hypnotic animated video is courtesy of director and graphic artist Nicholas Ménard from London-based animation studio and production company Nexus. Of the video, he says:

It’s been a real blast to direct Tourist’s ‘Illuminate’ music video. Not only because it’s such a playful, awesome sounding track, but also because Will was keen to jump straight into the weird abstract universe I’d suggested. It’s also been really fun to play with the idea of translating a poem into Korean; a little metaphor for miscommunication in a relationship. I’m looking forward to seeing whether people dig out those cryptic messages..! Everything was animated frame by frame in Photoshop, with some slight compositing in After Effects, and the editing in Premiere.

The monochromatic presentation seems to suit the relatively (for an electronic artist) simple song construction. Watch it below. ‘Illuminate’ will appear on Tourist‘s debut album, expected in 2015. (Yay!)

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lzzl8aRvjFQ[/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.