Fear of Men #13 - Island

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The majestic Fear of Men return with "Island", the lead single to their forthcoming second LP Fall Forever, released June 3rd via Kanine Records (limited pre-order here).

It sees the band continue to play at melodic melancholy and fragile emotions as atmospheric electronics swarm around machine-gun percussion and Jessica's perfectly placed vocal full of typical swooning acrobatics and beautifully toned words amongst a defiantly dark undercurrent.

The band have a whole host of shows in the UK/US planned. Including a date at London's Victoria on April 8th - full dates.

Albums of 2014 #5 - Fear of Men - Loom

Fear of Men
Loom
Kanine Records. Released April 21st.

Fear of Men have been a band I've followed for a long time now, it was way back in early 2011 that I discovered the Brighton based quartet, some three years later their debut full-length Loom arrived fulfilling all my hopes and wishes and then some.

The slow brooding "Alta" starts the album with a mist of eerie atmosphere built around elongated organ chords and plaintive vocals before launching straight into "Waterfall", a track more in-keeping with the dreamy jangle-pop which we've become accustomed to from the band, here Jess Weiss' impeccable voice serenades around beautifully upbeat guitar shimmers,chugging bass-riffs and machine gun percussion before the track closes with the re-introduction of experimental soundscapes.

"Green Sea" is Fear of Men at their most exquisite and beautiful. A rich and somewhat wistful melody chugs at your heart-strings complimented by shimmering textures and Jess' sweet (not sugary) vocals whilst "Tephra" has waves of guitars and punchy beats with a defiant dark and claustrophobic undercurrent.

Highlight "Luna" instantly introduces itself as a stronger, illuminating beauty that combines effortlessly melodic voice with soaring, kaleidoscopic guitars, surging drums and throbbing bass patterns. The result bedazzles, although after more than a couple of tries deciphering the lyrics I'm still unsure whether I should be swooning "I want you more than this" or running away "I tried my best to destroy you" / "you are unbearable memories"...

Similarly, on the surface "Descent" seems to a beautifully sweet, surging pop nugget with blossoming string instrumentation and Jess' honey-toned vocals, however, a darker tone is never too far away and the intimate lyrics hint at troubles from the result of over-reliance on one person.

Throughout Loom unravels to become a multi-textured gem brings together the bands charm, fragile emotions and engulfing beauty through guitar led melodic bliss. An absolute success. 

Fear of Men #12 - Sleeper

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I'd be lying if I said I knew the original in this case but a new track from Fear of Men is always welcomed in these parts and their take of Ty Segall's "Sleeper" fits so well with the aesthetic of the Brighton bands debut full length Loom (whose place in my end of year lists is a guarantee) that you'd be forgive for passing it off as their own.

With jangly guitars throughout languid, softening, always melodic rhythms and Jess' exquisite vocal the track's title becomes quite apt, a lovely, somewhat dreamy moment of calm for your day awaits below

Fear of Men's extensive tour of the UK / Europe kicks off tomorrow - full dates.

Fear of Men #11 - Decent / America

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I'm so slow on the uptake / behind on my emails (I'm still working from the backlog that comes with year-end at work and going on a mini-holiday) that one new track from Fear of Men has become two. With their debut full-length Loom almost with us (due next week via Kanine Records), I was already pretty excited for its release after following the band for about three years and hearing its opening tracks "Alta / Waterfall" and first single "Loom", now these new tracks confirm it's guaranteed placing amongst the years finest LP's so far.

On the surface "Descent" seems to a beautifully sweet, surging pop nugget with blossoming string instrumentation and Jess' honey-toned vocals, however, a darker tone is never too far away and the intimate lyrics hint at troubles from the result of over-reliance on one person. The other new one "America" is perhaps the biggest indication of the bands transformation, from an a cappella introduction to a flawless multi-textured gem which brings together the bands infinite charm, fragile emotions and engulfing beauty. I'm off to see the band tonight at Birthdays - it should be a belter.


Fear of Men #10 - Outrun Me

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Fear of Men continue to spoil us with the latest in a line of new tracks, "Outrun Me" is the flip side to the forthcoming single "Luna" (due April 7th released as a limited flexi disc and zine via Art is Hard Records) and comes a week before the release of the bands debut full-length Loom on Kanine Records.

The track combines a lingering melancholy with the sweetness of Jessica's vocals, where deliciously plaintive guitar chimes and languid machine gun drums combine throughout to create a melody as longing and devastating as the repeated use of the words "the past does not come easily".

I've somehow managed to miss seeing the band at each and every one of a recent series of London shows, something I'll be trying to put right when the band play an album release show on Wednesday April 16th at Birthdays.

Fear of Men #9 - Luna

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I was already pretty excited about the forthcoming debut from Brighton's wonderful Fear of Men  (entitled Loom and due for release on April 21st via Kanine Records) but latest taster "Luna" is here to increase that even further....

Following swiftly from the streams of the releases opening tracks "Alta/Waterfall", "Luna" instantly introduces itself as a stronger, illuminating beauty that combines Jessica Weiss' effortlessly melodic voice with soaring, kaleidoscopic guitars, surging drums and throbbing bass patterns. The result, as ever with this band, bedazzles, although after more than a couple of tries deciphering the lyrics I'm still unsure whether I should be swooning "I want you more than this" or running away "I tried my best to destroy you" / "you are unbearable memories"...

"Luna" will also be available via a special edition flexi-zine, that's a flexi disc and 20 page 'zine, release by the ever tasty Art is Hard records on April 7th - pre-order.

Fear of Men #8 - Alta / Waterfall

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Fear of Men are a band I'be adorned with superlatives here since way back in March 2011 when I discovered their debut demo tape and track "Phantom Limb", it's hard to believe three years have passed since. 2014 starts with news of the Brighton quartet's debut full length (after last years Early Fragments, a collection of earlier 7" releases) entitled Loom and due for release on April 21st via Kanine Records. To make the news even better we've been treated to the first five minutes of the record in the form of "Alta / Waterfall".

The slow brooding "Alta" starts with a mist of eerie atmosphere built around elongated organ chords and plaintive vocals before launching straight into "Waterfall", a track more in-keeping with the dreamy jangle-pop which we've become accustomed to, here Jess Weiss' impeccable voice serenades around beautifully upbeat guitar shimmers,chugging bass-riffs and driving percussion before the track closes with the re-introduction of experimental soundscapes which hint towards a wholly immersive album to follow.

Loom is available to pre-order now via fearofmen.co.uk, a limited Record Store Day vinyl is also promised.

The Great Escape 2013 - Thursday Review

Here we are again, home from The Great Escape, it sure has come around quickly! Three days of treating our bodies with the littlest respect (copious amounts of concentrated orange juice at breakfast aside) living, eating and breathing live music in Brighton's many venues and bars seems to have taken their toll on the many muso's and punters littering Brighton's streets and my Sunday Twitter feed was an almost universal story of suffering and hangover, back to the beginning of the weekend for this post though....

I arrive in town at around midday to find sky blue skies, it's a lovely day (and as so happens is the rest of the weekend with the weather forecasters well and truly proving their ineptitude) and I head straight to drop off my bag at the my hotel - a seafront location is perfect for dipping in and out of your room if you need to and cheap too as I booked in advance - preparation - it's one of the weekends key words. I'm lucky enough to know Brighton pretty well too so I don't suffer with any navigational problems all weekend (after working out where the renamed / new locations are).

Music, yes, that's what we were here for. After a quick pizza I start Downstairs at Komedia for Jenny Hval, a show which deserved more attendance - well some attendance - there were about a dozen people there at the outset of her show (the set was a last minute addition and didn't feature in the festival programme - seemingly the word didn't get out although the attendance improved as the set progressed). I'd not encountered Jenny before and wasn't really sure what to expect - I took her Norwegian roots and anticipated an ethereal, beautiful sound, I was wrong. Jenny is possessed with a stunning, haunting voice for sure and her half-monologue, half left-field experimental sounds take some adjusting to but once I had, I find myself enchanted by an unusual, inventive talent with an eerie half-folk, half electronic sound that commands your full attention. Time keeping at Komedia is like clock work and the set is swiftly brought to a close, a start to the weekend that should have been enjoyed by more.

I move on to the Breaking More Waves endorsed Laura St Jude at Dome Studio, the unnamed craft ale is expensive (£4.40) but sure tastes good as the young, Scottish singer plays to an attentive audience and another pitch black room. Laura reminds me slightly of a rawer, stripped-down Caitlin Rose, armed with a big, powerful voice and songs of stark desolation and alluring atmosphere Laura is clearly a name to watch out for and once she makes the natural progression and adds a backing band her sound will grow even more flawless.

I grab another beer - something which was bound to come back and haunt me later - and wait for Honeyblood, starting perhaps even a little early they bash quickly through a delightful selection of garage pop classics, a combo of fuzzy guitar and precise drum beats soon gets a wave of nodding heads and appreciative applause between songs. Holy Esque are next and I stick around, their shimmering soundscapes are impressive enough but I find the vocals a little to grating for my tastes and decide to reacquaint myself with the sunshine.

I was unsure where to head next and knowing some friends were sitting in a nearby pub I soon find myself quickly sinking a few too many ales and feeling a little sorry for myself. I decide a little power nap is the order of the day and disappear back to my room for half an hour before heading back out again for the evening session to see the first of my pre-festival 'tips' Curxes.

The pub setting with hastily assembled PA and a few pre-gig technical hiccups brings back nightmares of last years show, thankfully those don't happen and the sound is actually okay. Starting with their most recent track "Further Still" and with a Strangers member on electronic drum duty they soon rip and soar their way through their typically dark, ghostly set. Roberta's vocals showing little sign of the cold she's suffering with and the number of photographers in attendance are a sure sign of a band doing something right.

I head quickly to Latest Music Bar as Mt. Wolf are due to play soon, I find the previous band are still playing so I take shelter outside for a while and return to find the band having a few technical problems with their setup which delays things for a good while. When they start the room is busy and we are treated to a beautifully radiant set of subtle electronic pulses and stunning vocals, another band suffering with ailments that show little sign of such during their performance. The setting of their forthcoming Union Chapel gig will definitely suit them better but this dimly lit basement acts as a fine introduction to their live set.

I'm not sure who the band in between Mt. Wolf and Fear of Men are but they give me time to grab some food and head back to a prime position in time to watch Fear of Men at The Great Escape for the third consecutive year. It's easily the best set too, after being together for a few years (a couple of bass player changes aside) they've perfected their sound and tracks like "Seer" and "Mosaic" are delivered with an always sweet sheen. Their cover of "Pink Frost" and new track "Waterfall" equally compliment an exquisite half hour set. The absolute highlight of the day.

Now at this point I was meant to head to The Corn Exchange to see Melody's Echo Chamber, I'd no idea if there was a heaving queue or not and I found myself walking past my hotel where I am sorry to say at the age of 30, the sound of my bed was too much to resist after I'd been up since six am. So the first night of The Great Escape comes to an early conclusion, it's a marathon not a sprint after-all...