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Hard Working Class Heroes 2016: Day 1 evening roundup (part 1)

By on Monday, 17th October 2016 at 1:00 pm

With my first afternoon at Hard Working Class Heroes out of the way – feel free to catch up with part 1 and part 2 – it was time for my first evening at the emerging Irish artist music festival. The Chocolate Factory was a good shout for all 3 days, as it was pretty much one-stop shopping: two stages of music, with acts taking turns to grab the crowd’s attention.

Yonen (Dublin) @ Chocolate Factory Stage 2

Yonen HWCH 2016

Interested in an instrumental rock onslaught reminiscent of Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Mogwai? Then locals Yonen will be your poison. They say on their Bandcamp “we want to tell you a story by making noise.” If we are to take them on their word, a book written by Yonen would be filled with both epic tales and considered, softer, slower numbers. I appreciated the latter, as it was proof that they’re not entirely about beating your brain into a bloody pulp. Thinkers are they.

aYIA (Reykjavik, Iceland) @ Chocolate Factory Stage 1

aYia HWCH 2016 2

2016 is the first year of a 3-year project Hard Working Class Heroes is working on to bridge the big physical distance between Ireland and Iceland by helping build audiences each other’s acts. aYia was one of two acts from the volcano-laden country to play at the Dublin festival, raring to go following the exit of Yonen. The stage was weirdly well above our heads, requiring punters to crane their necks upwards to watch.

This strange position of the stage caused their female leader singer to crouch down and as close to the ground of the stage as possible. In a breathy singing style like her famous countrywoman Bjork, she was the focal point of their performance. With a sinister electro edge full of buzzing and darkness, it’s a foreboding sound, especially considering the long evenings only lit by twilight from where this music was made. There’s a lot of competition in this genre, so only time will tell whether they’ll be able to break out of the pack.

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Search Party Animal (Dublin) @ Workman’s Club

Search Party Animal HWCH 2016 2

Formerly known under the name Bagels, Search Party Animal have rechristened themselves after a song by Belfast band And So I Watch You From Afar to prevent any confusion with the New York food specialty. A band name with the word ‘animal’ in it is appropriate for this group: crazy, loud, raucous – all members banging on drums at one point – and a whole lot of fun. At home, they sounded tighter than I witnessed at CMW 2016, which suggests they’ll be a force to be reckoned with as they go forward and the day comes that they break out of Ireland.

Hawk (London via Ireland) @ Workman’s Club

Hawk HWCH 2016

Post punks Hawk have already made a name for themselves in their base of London, as well as in Dublin, if the fans assembled for their appearance at Hard Working Class Heroes Thursday night was any indication. Frontwoman Julie Hawk has a deceptively sweet voice than can turn into a wailing scream at a moment’s notice. Premiered recently on The Line of Best Fit, who describes them as a “gothic pop” group, she describes their newest single ‘Mirror Maze’ as their attempt to bring attention to female body image issues and destructive societal pressures.

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Video Blue (London via Dublin and Dundalk) @ Tengu Upstairs

Coming to Ireland, I think I had an entirely reasonable expectation that many of the acts I’d be faced with at Hard Working Class Heroes would be a single man or woman playing a guitar. Irish born and raised but now London transplant Jim O’Donoghue Martin went beyond that conventional mould. He played early at Tengu Yamamori, just north of the river, where the upstairs stage was used to host to a host of interesting electronic acts and Martin was no exception.

I feel like his music isn’t compelling enough to grab your attention in a dark club but you can hear it soundtracking a tv advert or film. Maybe it has to do with him having to be so busy on his various controllers while also singing and playing guitar, so maybe this would work better if he had a band behind him?

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Album Review: Hockey Dad – Boronia

By on Monday, 17th October 2016 at 12:00 pm

Hockey Dad Boronia album coverAustralian pop-punk duo Hockey Dad has created the perfect soundtrack for the endless summer you’ve always dreamed about with their debut album. It follows their first EP ‘Dreamin’, which received tremendous success in 2014. With a strong following in their homeland, ‘Boronia’ should prepare them for equal successes in the UK.

The album title ‘Boronia’ takes its name from the street that singer Zach Stephenson and drummer Billy Fleming spent infinite days just a few houses apart. Friends for over 15 years, the duo have taken many of the life experiences that drew them together and put them all on the one album. With an Australian invasion going on at the moment with acts such as Tame Impala, Sia and Iggy Azaelia making waves in the UK, it seems to be the right time for Hockey Dad’s moment in the spotlight.

The album begins with the track ‘Can’t Have Them ‘and instantly impresses with its distorted guitars and grabs your attention from the get-go. A build-up of teenage hormones, the song is effortless in reminding us of the longing and angst of first love, while retaining its irreverent vibe and attitude. As we go through the album, there are many recurring themes that seem to epitomise the teenage experience such staying out late, partying and falling in love.

Hockey Dad are a band that exudes youthful enthusiasm, especially on tracks such as ‘Jump the Gun’ with its pop punk vibe. Catchy lyrics such as “I don’t want to go home, I’m having too much fun” reiterate the carefree nature of the duo. With its dynamic drums and lively guitars, the song blends together to create the perfect summer sound. Even the music video pays homage to the duo’s favourite pastime with the pair seen catching some waves and hanging by the beach.

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Although throughout the album there isn’t many moments of lyrical triumph, “Two Forever” hears Stephenson deliver a heartfelt message with dreamy and poignant vocals. There’s no mistaking the duo’s relationship as the ultimate bromance, and Stephenson’s honest admission of this affection to Fleming is warm and sincere. Dismissing all other women for his friend with the words “I don’t need love, I don’t need no woman, I don’t need that shit, because I got you, man“ is a lovely ode and one of the album highlights. Other tracks on the album revel in the feeling of summer love and are just as irresistible and infectious as your first summer fling. The seductive bassline of ‘Hunny Bunny’ will have this song in your head long after it has finished playing.

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While generally a good album throughout, there is a distinct lack of experimentation with the duo sticking rigidly to what they know. With little progression since their EP ‘Dreamin’’ there is a monotonous feel to the album. Lacking originality, there is a possibility that the album may just be thrown to the side with many other bands coming through with a similar sound. However, Hockey Dad have never pretended to be anything other than what they are. With their enticing dose of summer nostalgia could very well see the band exceed expectations.


Australian duo Hockey Dad’s album ‘Boronia’ is out now on Kanine Records.


Band of Skulls / October and November 2016 English Tour

By on Monday, 17th October 2016 at 9:00 am

Following a sojourn of touring in America, Southampton band Band of Skulls will start a new tour of England this Thursday, the 20th of October, in Leeds. They’ll also be playing a hometown show on the 17th of November at Southampton Engine Rooms. ‘By Default’, their fourth album, was released back in May. You can read Rebecca’s review of early single ‘So Good’ through this link. Check out the hard rocking band at any of the dates below. Below the tour date listing, you can watch the band’s recent promo video for ‘Black Magic’, also taken from ‘By Default’. For more Band of Skulls coverage on TGTF, go here.

Thursday 20th October 2016 – Leeds University Stylus
Friday Oct 21st October 2016 – Manchester Albert Hall
Saturday Oct 22th October 2016 – Newcastle Northumbria Uni
Monday Oct 24th October 2016 – Bristol SWX
Tuesday Oct 25th October 2016 – Nottingham Rock City
Wednesday Oct 26th October 2016 – London Roundhouse
Thursday 17th November 2016 – Southampton Engine Rooms

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Video of the Moment #2201: Lust for Youth

By on Friday, 14th October 2016 at 6:00 pm

Scandinavian electro group Lust for Youth released their latest album ‘Compassion’ earlier this year. This week, they’ve got a new video for a track from the LP. The promo for ‘Tokyo’ was appropriately recorded in Japan. And oddly, like San Cisco‘s VOTM for ‘B Side’ we featured on Wednesday, it’s video footage filmed handily by someone else, this time by residents of the Japanese capital. Take a trip to ol’ Nippon with Lust for Youth and bask in the glittering synths of ‘Tokyo’ by watching the video below. For more of TGTF’s coverage of the band, follow this link.

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Live Gig Video: Augustines share last-ever promo video for single ‘This is Your Life’

By on Friday, 14th October 2016 at 4:00 pm

Just in case you’ve been living under a rock, we received word last month that Brooklyn band Augustines were calling it a day. It seems appropriate, then, for them to release as their last-ever music video for their song ‘This is Your Life’, from their album released this year of the same name. Composed of clips from recent live shows and showing off their devoted following, it’s a fitting tribute and thank you to their many fans who have stood by them all this time. Watch it below. To read our Steven’s review of single ‘When Things Falls Apart’ through here. For more of our coverage here on TGTF of Augustines, go here.

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Hard Working Class Heroes 2016: Day 1 afternoon roundup (part 2)

By on Friday, 14th October 2016 at 2:00 pm

For the first half of my coverage of Thursday afternoon at Hard Working Heroes 2016’s In the City, go here.

Orchid Collective (all over Ireland) @ Accents Café Lounge

Orchid Collective HWCH 2016

Are you ready for my first big tip? Orchid Collective, made up of Irish musicians north and south of the border, appear to be vying for the harmony-filled folk pop slot vacated by Fleet Foxes (or at least as long as Robin Pecknold holds off on releasing album #3). There is probably nothing greater than a collectively massive harmony from multiple voices coming at you, and these four guys know exactly what they’re doing. They’re not brothers but they might as well be (I think it’s an Irish thing?) because their harmonies are on point, which makes sense for a band who idolise Crosby, Stills and Nash. Check out their newest video for ‘Courage’, premiering last week on Hot Press, which exhibits the reverb not possible when playing a stripped-back set in a coffee shop. ‘Courage’ is the lead single from their upcoming EP out next Friday.

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Black Wing Bird (Dublin) @ Pitt Bros

Black Wing Bird HWCH 2016

I guess it’s because I grew up with it and it seems normal and boring, but I don’t really understand the appeal of all these burger and barbecue joints popping up all over Dublin and London. Situated on Georges Street, Pitt Bros mentally threw me for a loop, especially since Black Wing Bird (real name James Walmsley) was sat on a chair with his guitar directly adjacent to the restaurant’s pass, where wait staff would pick up orders. It was further awkward when staff tried to get me to order food, and I had to gesture to my camera that I was only there for the music and not for the barbecue.

Walmsley’s voice has that gravelly edge that Bruce Springsteen has made his name with, and he looks like he could be Jon Bon Jovi’s twin. His was one of the stronger single male voices I heard during the festival. I was going to grab him for a chat after his brief performance, but one wonders if he had to run off to the dentist…

New Pope (Galway) @ Gutter Bookshop

New Pope HWCH 2016

David Boland, aka New Pope, arrived to the Gutter bookshop out of breath and just in time for his set following what I’m guessing is the 3-hour coach ride from Galway to Dublin. His observations on life through song are cynical (“I don’t care about refugees, I don’t care about China”) but like any good Irishman, he’s quick on the mark with self-deprecating humour. One of the highlights was ‘Amsterdam’, a sweet number appearing on his 2015 ‘Youth’ LP about a real trip he took with his mum (I think?) to the Dutch capital city. After his set, he was quick to point out to me that he’s not related to Kodaline’s Jason Boland, though I think it’s safe to say no one would mistake one act’s music for the other!

BARQ (Dublin) @ Dublin Ink

BARQ HWCH 2016 2

This is the kind of loud, raucous band that you would never imagine would work in an acoustic (or almost acoustic) setting. Even less so in the front portico of a tattoo shop with curious music fans peering over a wall to see the band. Not exactly ideal. Even under these challenging conditions where she said it felt uncomfortable for her to be sitting and not standing to perform, frontwoman Jess Kav showed off her admirable, soulful vocal chops, so even if you weren’t getting the whole band experience, you still could definitely feel their vibe.

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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.

The blog is edited by Mary Chang, who is based in Washington, DC. She is joined by writers in England, America and Ireland. It was started up by Phil Singer in Bristol, UK.

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