TGTF will be on a break from 1-11 October while editor Mary is at HWCH 2016 in Dublin.
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By Mary Chang
on Friday, 30th September 2016 at 6:00 pm
Liverpool slackers Hooton Tennis Club are gearing up to release their sophomore album next month. The follow-up to 2015’s ‘Highest Point in Cliff Town’, ‘Big Box of Chocolates’ will see the light of day on the 21st of October on Heavenly Recordings. ‘Kate-Anne Bellis’, a track taken from the upcoming album, is an ode to real-life ex-flatmate of frontman / guitarist Ryan Murphy. Of the track, he says, “She’d lived in the house for 1 year and 3 months. It’s just a mushy song about moving house and staying in touch”. The actual video that accompanies the track is a throwback to the Flower Power days, with loads of flowers, bright colours and a relaxed guitar vibe. To read more of our coverage on Hooton Tennis Club, including my review of their 2015 debut album that is available now, go here.
By Mary Chang
on Friday, 30th September 2016 at 11:00 am
Please note: as we recommend with all of our festival previews, the information we post here on TGTF on Hard Working Class Heroes 2016, including my past preview of the event, is current at the time of posting. But we encourage you to check in at the event’s official Web site closer to the start of the event to confirm venues and set times. Weekend tickets are still on sale for €45, with nightly and individual venue tickets priced at €20 and €10, respectively. Weekend student tickets will be available for purchase for €25 upon proof of photo ID on Thursday 6th October from the box office at Film Base, Curved Street. To purchase your tickets, visit this page on the official HWCH Web site.
2016 North American emerging music festival alums: We’d be missing a trick not to give a shoutout to the artists we’ve already covered and enjoyed at this year’s SXSW 2016 in Austin (March) and CMW 2016 in Toronto (May):
Comrade Hat (Derry; 10:10 PM Thursday, Tengu Upstairs)
Elm (Dublin; 9:40 PM Saturday, Workman’s Club)
Fangclub (Dublin; 9:30 PM Thursday, Hub)
Jealous of the Birds (Portadown; 9:00 PM Friday, Tengu Downstairs)
Rosie Carney (Downings via Portsmouth; 10:00 PM Saturday, City Hall)
Rusangano Family (Limerick; 9:30 PM Saturday, Chocolate Factory Stage 2)
Search Party Animal (Dublin; 8:30 PM Thursday, Workman’s Club)
Let me introduce you to a lucky seven acts that caught my eyes and ears upon my research of the 100+ strong bill for Hard Working Class Heroes this year:
Orchid Collective (folk / Dublin; 1:30 PM Thursday, Accents Café Lounge [free show]; 10:30 PM Thursday, Wigwam)
The incredible success of Fleet Foxes in the late Noughties opened the door for the march of the alt-folk genre, paving the way for artists like Bon Iver, Family of the Year and Of Monsters and Men to garner global popularity. From one of the traditional bosoms of folk music of the world, Ireland, and with new EP ‘Courage’ out in late October, Orchid Collective look to be the next stars of indie folk.
New Pope (folk / Galway; 3:30 PM Thursday, Gutter Bookshop [free show]; 9:40 PM Thursday, Tengu Downstairs)
It’s easy to suffer from electronic overload and overproduction. So let’s take a step back and strip back to the basics of folk. New Pope is West Country singer/songwriter David Boland, proving that as long as you keep things simple during a thoughtful writing process, it’s possible to write a compelling song. Close your eyes for a fuller sense of the power of ‘Love’ below.
Exiles (electronic / Carlow/Kilkenny; 10:50 PM Thursday, Tengu Upstairs)
Anyone who knows me knows I’m a sucker for synthpop, so Exiles are a no-brainer on my Hard Working Class Heroes schedule. This month, they released a new EP ‘Red Lights’, already receiving loads of attention from domestic radio. Given the current music climate for everything synthy, I can see this band going far beyond the ‘80s influences that have been so important to them.
Slow Riot (post-punk / Limerick; 8:10 PM Friday, Hub)
Naming themselves after a Godspeed You! Black Emperor EP, Slow Riot takes the best of those who have come before and puts a unique Irish stamp on it. Having already played a sold-out show in the Capital, they will return to gig in London on the 10th of November at the Sebright Arms after this appearance at Hard Working Class Heroes.
Callum Stewart (pop / Belfast; 12:30 PM Friday, Nine Crows [free show]; 8:40 PM Friday, City Hall)
You know that feeling you get when you listen to a new artist and the chills run down your spine? Like I felt with Liverpool’s BANNERS in my SXSW 2016 research, I got that same kind of moment upon hearing Callum Stewart’s pop single ‘Parachute’. Despite being only 19, Stewart has already managed to achieve a poignancy in his songs that much older songwriters have difficulty with. Expect a major label snap-up in the coming months.
Hiva Oa (electronic/rock / Belfast; 8:20 PM Saturday, Tengu Downstairs)
Stephen Houlihan and Christine Tubridy have returned to Ireland after a spell in Edinburgh, and they’ve just released a new EP. ‘mk2 (part 1)’ illustrates well their sound described on a press release as “marrying primal, dizzying electronica and a swelling bass hum, with minimal guitar patterns to create a tightly wound, suffocating and intense atmosphere”. Intrigued? Check them out on Saturday night.
Kid Karate (punk / Dublin; 8:30 PM Saturday, Chocolate Factory Stage 2; our past coverage on them on TGTF here)
Kid Karate are veterans of past SXSW events and this year, the noiseniks really have something to shout about. Their newest and also self-titled album was released in April. Single ‘Louder’, with its unrelenting, thudding backbeat and punky swagger, should give you a good clue what you’re in for if you pop into the Chocolate Factory’s Stage 2 Saturday night.
By Mary Chang
on Thursday, 29th September 2016 at 6:00 pm
Brighton trio Fear of Men released their second album ‘Fall Forever’ this summer. It’s available now from Kanine Records; read Steven’s review of their long player here. They’ve now unveiled the video for album cut ‘Sane’. The visuals star front woman Jessica Weiss exploring what looks like a beautiful and wondrous world. Except that it soon reveals itself to have a very different secret side. Watch the video below. For all of TGTF’s past coverage of Fear of Men, follow this link.
Capitalising upon the successes of an album that garners you worldwide popularity is always a tough trick for bands to pull off. With Dan Smith and Bastille, they’ve slowly built upon the release of 2013’s ‘Bad Blood’ through EPs and various mixtapes in the intervening time. Now they’ve finally released a fully-formed second full length album.
Bastille waste no time in ensuring you’re completely immersed in the proceedings by using cinematic samples to create somewhat of a flowing narrative throughout. This follows the design of their album covers, which feature film poster typography and styling. ‘Good Grief’ features 1987’s ‘Weird Science’ Lisa character, who ties into the song’s lyrical contentthat is focused upon the loss of someone from your life who brought such strong feelings to the surface they are essentially “perfect”, which is Lisa’s character purpose within the film. The lyrics “What’s gonna be left of the world if you’re not in it?” during the pre-chorus alludes to more serious consequences than just heartbreak, perhaps even death. This suggests the song’s ultimate meaning is much darker than the relatively upbeat musical accompaniment.
‘The Currents’ focuses upon negativity that is spread so easily through the many platforms we have in the modern age. Once again, this is reinforced by an intermezzo of spoken word, though this time popular culture is left behind and this sample is taken from a cold-war era propaganda video. From the beginning, there are three separate movements throughout the first three tracks, the last of which is more melodramatic and dark with ‘An Act of Kindness’. Starting with a slow piano hook, it boils into a thunderous, yet still slightly withdrawn chorus. It also continues the trend of Bastille painting dichotomy with their music, the song concerns actual positivity in this often pessimistic and self-absorbed world.
Musically, the album’s strengths lie in this band’s ability to create choruses that carry major pop weight, making them not only memorable but unforgettable. Almost. Bastille are aware of what they do well and make no mistakes in focusing upon it. It’s not quite pop-by-numbers but it’s certainly not groundbreaking. While ‘Two Evils’ breaks away from this previous statement, resulting in one of the weaker moments on the album, it’s granted that albums should have a break point, where the majority of the album’s flow is separated in order to fully enjoy and appreciate what happens around it. However it breaks away too severely, almost stopping the momentum gained by the prior tracks. Fortunately ‘Send Them Off!’ brings it back in with style. As a grand, classic Bastille offering, it does all it can to pick the pace up again, and succeeds.
‘Wild World’ can feel mildly repetitive, where the formula utilised again and again begins to feel stale. There’s no real development, which over 14 tracks can feel like quite an unnecessarily prolonged journey. Considering the album started with such promise, it’s disappointing it soon descends into boredom. The last third has no real talking points, and any real feeling is soon lost after ‘Send Them Off!’. Finale ‘Winter of Our Youth’ continues the trend of tapping into the more vulnerable parts of the mind, in particular focusing upon the past and glorifying it rather than realising it may not have been as perfect as we remembered. The slow and progressive nature of the track mirrors the lyrical content, particularly with the lyric “I’m peddling backwards”.
Bastille certainly have a penchant for choruses and pop hooks, but for a band who are able to delve into the darker moments of humanity, including death and retrospective (see ‘Pompeii’), they don’t allow the music to fully represent this. Some might argue that music with a pop bent like Bastille is only as strong as its hook. But Bastille are a band who are capable of so much more and could easily juggle both depth and pop to a new extent. They skirt the darker side of life, but need to soon pair it with a fresh formula and not recycle the one that saw their fast ascension.
‘Wild World’, the second album from Bastille, is out now on Virgin EMI in the UK and Capitol Records in the States. To read more coverage of Bastille on TGTF, click here.
By Mary Chang
on Thursday, 29th September 2016 at 9:00 am
North East DIY group and firm TGTF favourites Little Comets have announced their fourth album ‘WORHEAD’ will be released at the beginning of February 2017 on their own Smallest Label. Naturally, they have announced live dates in the UK to support the new release. Both the album will be on presale (including some promised very special versions – ooh!) and tour tickets will be on sale starting tomorrow, Friday, the 30th of September at 10 AM. We’ve written quite a bit about the Geordie band since their humblest beginning in the late Noughties, so there’s a bit of a treasure trove of TGTF coverage on them this way.
Thursday 9th February 2017 – Oxford Academy
Friday 10th February 2017 – Bath Komedia
Saturday 11th February 2017 – Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms
Sunday 12th February 2017 – Brighton Concorde 2
Tuesday 14th February 2017 – Cambridge Junction
Wednesday 15th February 2017 – Birmingham Institute
Thursday 16th February 2017 – Glasgow St Luke’s
Friday 17th February 2017 – Liverpool Academy 2
Saturday 18th February 2017 – Sheffield Leadmill
Thursday 16th March 2017 – London Koko
Friday 17th March 2017 – Leeds University Union
Saturday 18th March 2017 – Newcastle University
By Mary Chang
on Wednesday, 28th September 2016 at 6:00 pm
New wave and electronic dance legends New Order returned last year with ‘Music Complete’, their first album in a decade. It’s spawned a series of irrepressibly upbeat singles like ‘Restless’ and ‘Tutti Frutti’.
‘People on the High Line’ is a collaboration the band had with Elly Jackson of La Roux. The latest music video to be revealed from the album for the tune is a great example of just how powerful music can be, no matter where you are. At the East Ham Working Men’s Club in London, music – and the breakdancing that is done to the beats – is a welcome escape to the environment outside. Watch the video for ‘People on the High Line’ below. ‘Music Complete’ is now available from Mute Records. For more on New Order on TGTF, head here.
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