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By Mary Chang
on Friday, 28th October 2016 at 4:00 pm
Warpaint graced Seattle radio station KEXP’s presence last month, performing a series of songs off their new album. ‘Heads Up’, the girl group’s third studio album, was released in mid-September on Rough Trade Records. You can catch up on Adam’s review of the long player through here. In their radio session with KEXP, Warpaint performed ‘Whiteout’, ‘No Way Out’, ‘New Song’ and ‘Disco/Very’ from the new album. You can watch the session in full technicolour glory below. To have a read through the entire Warpaint archive on TGTF, use this link.
By Mary Chang
on Thursday, 27th October 2016 at 4:00 pm
Lucy Rose has spent the past year doing something that I reckon would be great character building for any musician who has taken his her art and vocation for granted. She chose to tour the UK, Europe and even Latin America with an acoustic set, going back to a grass roots level, living with fans when she toured abroad when she probably could have afforded a hotel room. This was good experience for the singer/songwriter, who upon returning decided she wanted to release an album made up of acoustic performances.
‘Live at Urchin Studios’, which is scheduled for release on the 9th of December 2016 on Rose Records via Red Essential, was recorded in somewhat extraordinary circumstances. Performing only with one band member, cellist Alex Eichenberger, and over a 1-hour period live in front of an audience, the LP includes fan favourites from Lucy Rose’s debut album ‘Like I Used To’ and 2015’s ‘Work It Out’. As a taster to the release, Lucy has shared with us the live performance of ‘Our Eyes’ from the 2015 album, an emotional number that sees her on piano. Watch it below. For more TGTF’s coverage on Lucy Rose, follow this link.
By Mary Chang
on Wednesday, 26th October 2016 at 4:00 pm
London dance duo Formation, twins Matt and Will Ritson, performed at the Scandinavian Church in Liverpool 2 Saturdays ago. The show ushered in this autumn’s edition of the Dr. Martens‘ #STANDFORSOMETHING tour with a bang. And for those of us who weren’t lucky enough to be present for the show, the brothers are sharing a live performance with their backing band from the night with us. ‘Ring’ is a brand-new track from the act, so this is a Pretty Big Deal. Watch the energetic performance from the North West city below.
For more information on the #STANDFORSOMETHING tour, check out this previous tour date post. And for more on Formation on TGTF, go here.
By Mary Chang
on Friday, 21st October 2016 at 4:00 pm
Glaswegian legends Teenage Fanclub released their tenth album ‘Here’ back in September on their own record label PeMa. For the music video for album cut ‘Thin Air’, they went back to their roots. Specifically, they headed for the basement of The 13th Note, a legendary venue on King Street in their hometown of Glasgow, to film this live performance video in brilliant technicolour. Watch it in its splendour below. Teenage Fanclub have a UK and Irish tour scheduled to begin in mid-November; they’ve also announced a show at London Shepherds Bush Empire in February 2017. To read more of our coverage of the Scottish band on TGTF, go here.
By Mary Chang
on Thursday, 20th October 2016 at 3:00 pm
To read the first half of my Saturday evening at Hard Working Class Heroes, follow this link. To have at your fingertips the entire HWCH 2016 archive here on TGTF, go here.
Tiz McNamara (Dublin via Cork) @ Tengu Downstairs
Joined by his bandmates from his hometown of Cork, Tiz McNamara built on the strength of his relaxed afternoon show at Urban Picnic with his evening performance. Dressed in a flowy white shirt (channeling Jesus, a higher power or Sting, perhaps?), he looked like he could have been performing in the Caribbean. But the subject matter of his songs are on a more everyman level. Admittedly, some of his songs were of the more melancholic, sad variety. But they’re a joy to hear in McNamara’s voice, in the way that sometimes you want to hear a song that will break your heart, because your heart’s been broken before and yet somehow, you’ve survived.
Despite the two being probably around the same age, McNamara strikes me as a more grown-up version of Lewis Watson: clearly lovely, lovable and writing songs that are entirely relatable. ‘I Hope You Know’ was a standout of both his acoustic afternoon and with band evening sets and showed great potential as a breakout singer/songwriter.
Elm (Dublin) @ Workman’s Club
Following their stripped-back performance at the HWCH box office at Filmbase Saturday afternoon, I was excited to see the contrast to Elm’s full five-piece band show that night at the Workman’s Club. They didn’t disappoint me, or anyone else at the club for that matter. They have a loud and large following already built up in Dublin; I felt squished like a sardine down the front for the band to start. Cat-calling for specific members of the band even before they took the stage and then while they were actually on the stage indicated without a doubt that their fans already have strongly associated each of their band members’ individual personalities, as if they were the Beatles or One Direction. I was floored. It feels like Elm have already outgrown an emerging music festival like this and whenever they’re ready to release a debut album, they’ve got legions of fans in Ireland chomping at the bit to buy it.
As for their performance, the band were tight, feeding off the energy of their excited fans. Their self-described “alternative baroque pop”, the instrumentation full of pomp, yet not overwhelming to frontman Dylan Walsh’s powerful vocal delivery, is a winner. Their unique sound is definitely something different to offer the often boring mainstream and I can see both UK and U.S. audiences warming up to their tunes.
Participant (Dublin) @ Tengu Downstairs
Steven Tiernan and his ambient project Participant ended my Hard Working Class Heroes 2016 on a rather unusual note. Tiernan himself commented after the festival that no live set he’s done as Participant is ever repeated, as he likes to experiment with what he’s playing with onstage, the songs he’ll play, the loops and samples used, even the song arrangements. He was creating his live sound with a friend performing with him, and to go with a voiceover of a mindfulness seminar. Not exactly what you might expect or want at a Saturday night show, but it seems rather appropriate for my state of mind and what I took from this music festival as a whole.
You’re never going to be able to predict what gems you’ll uncover at Hard Working Class Heroes, but there’s so much to discover here over the 3 days, whether you want to dance, to be touched emotionally, to be challenged, to feel blissfully chill. Open your ears, heart and mind, and you’re sure to find an act (or three) to fall in love with.
By Mary Chang
on Thursday, 20th October 2016 at 1:00 pm
One more evening left to go in my Hard Working Class Heroes 2016 experience, and I was going to grab this opportunity with both hands. With a mix of pop, electronic and even some avant-garde on the docket for the first half of the night, I was ready to take in the artists on my schedule. Catch up on all my HWCH 2016 coverage through this link.
Saramai (County Meath) @ Wigwam
The trio Saramai from County Meath are named after their frontwoman and keyboardist Saramai Leech, who also happens to be the sister of the ginger-headed Oisin of The Lost Brothers. Regardless of origin, family connections in music enthrall me. I really should not be so surprised about talent running through families, especially Irish ones: consider Mary Black, her daughter Róisín O and her son Danny in The Coronas.
However, I was pleasantly surprised that Saramai and her band have a more pop, less folk, yet as polished a presence compared to her brother’s act, effortlessly moving between ballads and more upbeat numbers. It is something special when siblings have their own talents, and at Hard Working Class Heroes, Saramai the band has made clear that their chosen way forward is one expressed through sweeping emotion. They just celebrated the release of a new EP at a launch party last night at Dublin Whelan’s. Check out their new track and new accompanying animated video for ‘Trees’ below.
Swords (Dublin) @ Wigwam
From a less widely known band, we go on to a band who have been around the block. One wonders if like the Crookes, Swords named themselves after a part of the city most important to them: Swords is a commuter town north of Dublin most famous these days for having spawned Kodaline. Having formed 6 years ago makes them one of the granddaddy bands of this year’s Hard Working Class Heroes, they released their debut EP in 2012 and their debut album ‘Lions & Gold’ in 2013.
Despite only having three band members, it took awhile for them to set up, because they had a lot of gear, including wow, a full xylophone. Sadly, I only got to hear two songs, both sans xylophone, but enough to fully comprehend Diane Anglim’s voice, full of yearning ala Paula Cole, before I had to leave for another venue. Their newest album ‘Tidal Waves’ is scheduled to be out next Friday, the 28th of October.
Le Boom (Dublin / Brooklyn) @ Tengu Upstairs
Interestingly, drummer Aimie of Saramai’s band is one-half of Le Boom. They are a Dublin electronic duo who have also spent some time in the creative musical hub that is Brooklyn. Already garnering loads of attention and hype on both sides of the Atlantic, Le Boom are a no-brainer: clap your hands, move your body to the beat, and give yourself over to the music. Happily, the upstairs at Tengu wasn’t as gross and sweaty as it had been the night before, which meant you could actually enjoy and dance to their infectious beats.
Hiva Oa (Belfast) @ Tengu Downstairs
It was then a quick run downstairs to catch the last few precious minutes of Northern Irish band Hiva Oa. I had listened to them on YouTube and been impressed with their confrontational sound that isn’t simply punk. Live, they were loud, drum beats and guitar chords loud. Like Swords’ show earlier, I didn’t a big taste of Hiva Oa, but it was plenty enough to demonstrate to me that this is a band that follows their own (loud) drummer and no-one else. Check out their ‘Mk 2, Pt. 1’ EP released last week.