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Album Stream: Husky – Ruckers Hill

 
By on Wednesday, 3rd June 2015 at 11:00 am
 

It’s been a few years since Melbourne folkies Husky put out their debut album ‘Forever So’ on Sub Pop Records. They’ve now released the followup, ‘Ruckers Hill’, this week via Nevdo Music, and until early next week, you have a listen to the entire collection of songs by Husky Gawenda and his cousin Gideon Preiss. Produced by the cousins themselves with help from storied Sydney producer Wayne Connolly, check out the full album below in all its glory (including the very awesome ‘I’m Not Coming Back’) for a limited time. You’re welcome.

 

Live Gig Video: Husky play single ‘I’m Not Coming Back’ at Establishment Studios in Melbourne

 
By on Wednesday, 18th February 2015 at 4:00 pm
 

Australian alt-rock folkies Husky have announced they’ll be releasing their long-awaited second album and follow-up to ‘Forever So’ in April. ‘Ruckers Hill’ will no doubt feature the single ‘I’m Not Coming Back’, which the band released to the wild last summer (read my single review here). They recently took to the Melbourne suburb of Prahran, Victoria, to film this live performance of the single. It’s lovely. Watch it below.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=12-T4w0XA5c[/youtube]

 

Single Review: Husky – I’m Not Coming Back

 
By on Tuesday, 8th July 2014 at 12:00 pm
 

It’s been some time since we’ve heard from Melbourne folk rockers Husky. It’s been 2 years since their fab debut ‘Forever So’ on Seattle’s famed Sub Pop Records; I worry when it’s been some time since I’ve heard from a band, I always assume the worst (band break-up). So it was with some relief that hearing just last week that the Aussie group, comprised of frontman/songwriter Husky Gawenda, cousin Gideon Preiss and Evan Tweedie, have returned to us, revealing a taster from their so far untitled sophomore album.

‘I’m Not Coming Back’ is the lead single from the second outing. Despite its rather negative sounding title, tempo-wise it’s an upbeat song (handclaps at the ready, anyone?) and not anything I expected from its name. The guitar work is masterful, as are the harmonies that made fans fall in love with them on previous ‘Forever So’ tracks such as ‘The Woods’. As for its meaning, I assumed, most probably incorrectly, that the song was about a man with who split town with fury after being jilted by his lover. Maybe that exists as a subtext, but the tune is more of a farewell letter that feels scathing to the whole place: “my hometown has cursed me lately / I’m not coming back!”

However, in the bridge, there seems to be some doubt in his mind, as if his conscience is answering him: “I woke with fright, with the moon outside / Sleep won’t come (You don’t really need it) / You just can’t tell (You never can, son) / I hope I’ll breath. (Hope so too)”. Maybe, then, this running away is not just from his hometown but from the ties that bind us to our old ways, and the fear we have in ourselves when we leave the things that have become familiar. Rich is its lyrical content while also being spellbinding in the richness of its instrumentation and harmonies, if this single is anything to go by, the second LP from Husky will be a good’un indeed.

8.5/10

‘I’m Not Coming Back’, the first single from Husky‘s yet to be named second album, is out now on Sub Pop.

 

Top Gigs of 2012: Editor’s Picks

 
By on Friday, 21st December 2012 at 11:00 am
 

Another year, and another top 5 gigs by bands that should not be missed live. How odd that three of them came one after another, but that’s the cool thing about Washington DC. Except for December through the beginning of February (the dead of winter) and June through August (festival season), there is always a reasonably good selection of bands coming through here. But that hasn’t always been the case.

I am often asked on my travels why I became a music blogger, and the simple answer has always been this: when I started covering shows in March 2009, I was getting increasingly upset about how many bands (American or international) would skip Washington entirely, either in favour of going to Philadelphia instead or would only consider New York, or maybe Boston, as the only cities worthy on the East Coast for a tour stop. I have had the opportunity to meet so many bands in the last 3+ years that Washington DC has now become considered on the list of cities bands sincerely wish to play in – or on the list that bands say they will definitely pass through on their next headline tours of North America. To know that I have been involved in making this paradigm shift a reality means so much. It means that I have done something for the city I’ve called home all these years and more importantly, have exposed thousands of music fans from varying walks of life who either work, go to school, or pass through our fine city to incredible music.

All five bands whose gigs landed them in my top 5 gigs of 2012 are worth every red cent you can put forward to go see them, either in their own gig or at a festival in 2013. Here’s the list…

5. Ash‘s 20th anniversary tour at DC9 (Thursday 15th November 2012) – what a surreal experience, finally seeing Ash live, in one of the smallest places to see bands in Washington. Even more surreal was after, when I actually got to talk to all of them and Tim Wheeler said I was a more appropriate panelist for Steve Lamacq’s Roundtable than he was. (This made me smile.) The set itself was brilliantly hard rocky, much more so than I ever would have imagined.

4. TGTF’s stage at Liverpool Sound City 2012, starring the Temper Trap, Clock Opera and Dear Prudence Liverpool Academy of Arts (Friday 18th May 2012) – maybe this is cheating, choosing our own stage at Liverpool. But this night couldn’t have been any better, starring our friends since I took over as Editor of this Web site, the Temper Trap, our new friends from SXSW, Clock Opera, and a band from Brighton destined to bigger things, Dear Prudence. All we can say is THANK YOU to all the bands for making it such a memorable night and THANK YOU Sound City for letting us host this amazing stage.

3. Husky at Red Palace (Friday 17th November 2012) – it’s a sad day in Washington, as Red Palace, similar in intimate size to DC9, will be closing its doors at the end of 2012. But before then, I managed to catch the Melbourne band we befriended at this year’s Great Escape. Just check out this video from the show of the band performing an a capella version of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Lover Lover Lover’ and you’ll understand why they’re so good live.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RqF6k9afzeM[/youtube]

2. the Joy Formidable at St. Stephen’s Church (Saturday 10th November 2012) – the Welsh band have consistently placed in my top 5 gigs of the last 2 years; last year they were at #4 and in 2010, they were at #2. What made the difference and put them higher up this year? Seriously, how often do you see such a power house band in a space as small as a church’s rec room? (Well, it was a little bigger than that…but still.) Absolutely fabulous. And their new album ‘Wolf’s Law’ will be huge next year; just check out this live version of first single ‘Cholla’.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rjwp3jV2PvM[/youtube]

1. Two Door Cinema Club at 9:30 Club (Tuesday 2nd October 2012) – I was having serious reservations about Two Door’s live show, or rather some of their less than nice fans, after seeing them in Baltimore in June and getting shoved – hard – out of our positions down the front. I almost swore I’d never see them again. But I’m glad I changed my mind.

What was the first date on the autumn 2012 North American tour to sell out? Washington DC, of course. There is still some confusion on whether or not Barack Obama is a fan, but one thing is clear: of all the bands that I’ve known and loved, I did right by Two Door Cinema Club – and helped them become the superstars that they’ve dreamt of being since they started as kids in grammar school. I used to be able to see them after shows and hang out with them, but even as those days are over, they’ve never forgotten me. They are true gents.

Honourable mentions:

St. Etienne at U Street Music Hall (Thursday 25th October 2012) – there’s something to be said for Sarah Cracknall, who may be over 40 but still rocks it out every night as if she was in her 20s.

Divine Fits at 9:30 Club (Thursday 18th October 2012) – it always feels incredibly validating when you see a ‘new’ band who hasn’t been touring much…and they turn out to be absolutely fantastic.

Keane with Mystery Jets at Strathmore Hall (Thursday 14th June 2012) – it’s effin’ Keane, for god’s sakes. And with Mystery Jets, who never tour in America! Win-win, really.

Paula and Karol at 93 Feet East in London (Tuesday 15th May 2012) – what do you do between music festivals? Go to a gig, of course. And at this one, I felt welcomed by the entire Polish population of London. What atmosphere.

First Aid Kit at Black Cat (Friday 30th March 2012) – this show was so spirited, the elder Soderberg lost her top right before the encore. Hardcore.

After the cut: the full list of all the gigs, in reverse chronological order, that I’ve been to in 2012 so you can have some idea how difficult my job was to choose favourites for the top 5 list. The runner-up gigs are also marked.
Continue reading Top Gigs of 2012: Editor’s Picks

 

Top Albums of 2012: Editor’s Picks

 
By on Tuesday, 18th December 2012 at 11:00 am
 

Wowsers, has this year flown by or what? I can scarcely believe we’re ready to celebrate Christmas in a week’s time, but you know what that means, boys and girls. It’s time for the editor’s top picks of 2012. Unlike most lists that have already published either in print or online, there will be no mentions of Frank Ocean, Kendrick Lamar or DIIV. Sorry. No, and this year, I tried to get away from dance as I could, which seems really odd considering where I found myself 2 years ago; this is probably good commentary on the music scene at large, where beats – either urban or poppy – have invaded nearly every facet of radio and except for the odd album or two, I found these to be completely devoid of heart. Or character. (But there were 3 in my top 10 that were arguably dance albums, so maybe there’s still hope…) Without further delay, here are my picks for 2012.

The-Crookes-Hold-Fast-cover1. The Crookes – ‘Hold Fast’ (Fierce Panda) – In the shadow of love – in its electric (2010’s #1, Delphic’s ‘Acolyte’) and nostalgic, life affirming (2011’s #1, Noah and the Whale’s ‘Last Night on Earth’) forms – my #1 this year goes as far back to basics with the good ol’ pop-tinged rock ‘n’ roll of Sheffield’s Crookes. I’ve always thought that the smartest songwriters are those that can write catchy tunes while also offering up thought-provoking, intelligent lyric; guitarist Daniel Hopewell fits this description to a T.

This album would feel equally at home in the 1960s as it does in 2012. There is no studio trickery or fancy production here, just heartfelt (and heartbroken in ‘Maybe in the Dark’) feelings being sung to memorable melodies that can help to remind you of simpler times. Or simply remind you of the important people who have coloured your life. Do yourself a favour and get this album. If you’re not sold yet, read my review of ‘Hold Fast’ here.

Keston-Cobblers-Club-cover2. Keston Cobblers’ Club – ‘One, for Words’ (Beatnik Geek) – It has been shown to us time and time again that family members who sing together make some incredible music. (For one, the Beach Boys.) In Julia and Matthew Lowe, we have familial alchemy at work again, this time on some incredible folk pop. When one album can make you laugh, make you cry, make you wistful for a former lover, make you remember through happy tears your life experiences, that is truly special indeed, and that’s what I’ve gotten out of ‘One, for Words’. I expect to be playing this album again and again until my final days. You can read my review of their debut album here.

Grimes-Visions-cover3. Grimes – ‘Visions’ (4AD) – Claire Boucher is now one of the hottest commodities in the music business these days, and surely the biggest game changer from Canada since Arcade Fire. Every time I tried to catch the baby-voiced master of synths and sequencers in 2012, I never actually managed to get in. Thankfully though, I have this album to keep me company whenever things have gone boring in my life. Variety is the key word of this album, with ambient, industrial, pop and minimalist genres all touched on for one eclectic group of songs. Every time you pick up this album, you’ll hear something exciting you missed the last time around, and I don’t think it’s possible for ‘Visions’ to get old. Read my review here.

Casiokids-Aabenbaringen-over-aaskammen-cover4. Casiokids – ‘Aabenbaringen over aaskammen’ (Moshi Moshi) – There’s no way I could have forgotten the craziness of Casiokids’ third album. Even in the middle of winter, thoughts of a pineapple-shaped maraca, the sheer wonkiness of ‘Det Haster!’ and ‘Dresinen’, and disco and jungle beats working in harmony on the same album easily warmed my heart. This is controlled chaos, in a way that only Nordics manage to do it. And even if you go into this album thinking, “no way is this album going to lift my mood”, trust me, it will. You’ll even leave it with a knowing yet silly grin on your face.Read more here.

Husky cover5. Husky – ‘Forever So’ (Sub Pop) – The Husky debut album was an example of when you keep hearing the name of a band so many times, you’re wondering what the fuss is all about. Well, wonder no more. If you’re the first-ever signing to a indie label as storied as Sub Pop, then you better bring the goods, and Husky Gawenda and co. do just that in a Fleet Foxes meets the sadness of Nick Drake vehicle. If you’ve ever been slayed by gorgeous harmonies, this album’s for you. Read my review of it here.

After the cut: some albums that just missed the top 5 cut, and others that disappointed.

Continue reading Top Albums of 2012: Editor’s Picks

 

Live Review: Husky at Red Palace, Washington DC – 16th November 2012

 
By on Tuesday, 20th November 2012 at 2:00 pm
 

Normally, especially when it comes to folk bands, I usually ask Cheryl to cover these types of shows, as she’s more into the singer/songwriter genre than I am and therefore she usually discovers those types of artists way before I do (like Of Monsters and Men). However, I am pleased to say in the case of Husky, I’m the one who found them first, having reviewed their album for DIY in the spring and then having seen them at the Great Escape in Brighton (even interviewing them!) as well as London back in May.

When I found out they were coming to Washington’s Red Palace in November, there was no way I was going to miss this, even if I had to figure out of a way of getting there myself. I am a suburban girl and very rarely need to drive downtown, or at least I avoid it whenever possible. In an attempt to parallel park my car on 12th Street NE that bordered on farce as hecklers looked on and other drivers gave me the finger, I eventually succeeded in situating my car safely in its spot and got to the venue shortly after 10 PM.

Thank goodness I planned to arrive early anyhow, as their tour support, American singer/songwriter Amy Cook, cancelled last minute and Husky ended up starting at the tour support time of 10:30 PM. I’m not entirely sure if this affected the turnout, as most headliners of shows on Friday and Saturday nights in DC usually go on at 11 or later, but it appeared that everyone who had showed up early at Red Palace was eager and ready to hear the Sub Pop signing live, as they were already cheering and showing their appreciation as the band took the stage.

Frontman Husky Gawenda, looking comfortable behind his acoustic guitar but sounding slightly nervous as it was the band’s first-ever appearance in DC, said to us, “we just released our album here in America. We didn’t think that would ever happen”. But there was nothing to be nervous about; the band played through tracks of their wonderful debut album ‘Forever So’ as if they had known the songs their whole lives. ‘Animals and Freaks’, which is one of my favourites of theirs, showcases Gawenda’s voice that effortlessly slides up and down the melody.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cilqpP6sQOg[/youtube]

Three special treats arrived that night; the first came in the form of a piano solo by keyboardist Gideon Preiss, who with much emotion played an extended introductory passage to my favourite track ‘The Woods’ on their debut album. Beautiful. The second? This performance of new song ‘For the Years Gone By’. And the third? An almost a cappella of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Lover Lover Lover’, which saw Gawenda, Preiss and bass player Evan Tweedie take turns in the lead vocal spotlight as drummer Luke Collins played acoustic guitar.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RqF6k9afzeM[/youtube]

I suppose when you’re an up and coming band like Husky, playing to handfuls of audiences in small clubs far, far away from home, you don’t expect an encore to be demanded of you. I was almost sure the band wouldn’t reappear, but I guess all the hooting, hollering and foot stomping encourage the four of them to reappear. First to come back out was Gawenda and Preiss for the first half of album track ‘Don’t Tell Your Mother’, then Tweedie and Collins of the rhythm section. For the second to last night of their North American campaign, I was so pleased that a receptive and appreciative Washington crowd was there to applaud them. I only expect bigger and better things for them in the months to come.

After the cut: the set list.
Continue reading Live Review: Husky at Red Palace, Washington DC – 16th November 2012

 
 
 

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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.

TGTF was edited by Mary Chang, based in Washington, DC.

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