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Live Gig Video: Hozier performs an acoustic version of ‘To Be Alone’ in Kilkenny

 
By on Thursday, 10th April 2014 at 4:00 pm
 

County Wicklow born singer/songwriter Hozier wowed the audience, including Carrie, at the Communion night at St. David’s church at SXSW 2014 last month. But this seems an even more appropriate venue for him to perform in: the Langton House Ballroom, where he filmed this acoustic performance of ‘To Be Alone’. Watch it below.

‘To Be Alone’ features on Hozier’s upcoming EP ‘From Eden’, out on the 28th of April on Rubyworks.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bH9mRs3sW7A[/youtube]

 

SXSW 2014: Friday night at Communion showcase, British Music Embassy, and back to B.D. Riley’s – 14th March 2014

 
By on Tuesday, 1st April 2014 at 1:00 pm
 

After spending the entirety of my SXSW 2014 Friday afternoon at B.D. Riley’s on 6th Street for the Full Irish Breakfast, I had just enough time to dash up the hill to 8th Street to St. David’s Episcopal Church for a quick interview before the Communion Music Showcase. I had heard rave reviews of the acoustics inside the sanctuary at St. David’s, as well as the consistently amazing lineups sponsored by Communion Music, so of course I was fairly bubbling over with excitement by the time I reached the church.

Evening activity was just beginning to pick up in downtown Austin, and the outside of the church was still mostly quiet when I arrived. By the time I finished my interview with the lovely and laid back Nick Mulvey in the Holy Grounds coffee shop, music fans were beginning to queue for showcases in both St. David’s venues, the main sanctuary and the smaller Bethel Hall. I chatted cordially with a few other music fans in the queue, and the wait to get into the sanctuary seemed very short indeed.

Unfortunately, I was far enough back in the queue that I didn’t get a fabulous seat inside the sanctuary. To be clear, as far as the acoustics are concerned, there aren’t any bad seats. But I was hoping to snap a few photos, so I chose to sit along the center aisle, and even though I was several pews back, I think I managed to capture the ambience of the evening.

The first band on the showcase was London folk trio Bear’s Den, who stopped in Austin as part of a full North American tour. They had evidently become used to more raucous American audiences than the polite crowd at St. David’s Sanctuary, as lead singer Andrew Davie paused more than once to tell us that our stillness made him a bit nervous. His mild admonitions did lighten up the somewhat stiff atmosphere, and by the time Bear’s Den reached the last song in their set, which included singles ‘Agape’ and ‘Writing on the Wall’, they were comfortable enough to step forward and do it “unplugged”. I was so delighted by their echoing vocal harmonies, and the rest of the congregation were as jovial as they could possibly be while seated on wooden pews.

Bear's Den at St. David's 14 March 2014

The showcase was perfectly organized and running on a tight schedule, so there wasn’t much time for audience members to shift in and out of the church between Bear’s Den and the aforementioned Nick Mulvey. Luckily, not many people chose to leave, as we were treated to a set that spanned Mulvey’s short but impressive solo career. I smiled to myself at the sound of familiar tunes ‘Fever to the Form’ and ‘Nitrous’, but it was the new (or new-to-me) tunes that proved most captivating. This was my first time hearing ‘The Trellis’, from Mulvey’s November 2012 EP of the same name, and a pin drop would have echoed mightily in the sanctuary when he finished it. Also well received was the newer and more upbeat track ‘Meet Me There’, which is due for release in May along with his full length album ‘First Mind’.

Nick Mulvey at St. David's 14 March 2014

As Mulvey closed his mellow set, the sanctuary began buzzing with anticipation for Irish singer/songwriter Hozier. Having already gained radio play in America with his religiously analogous single ‘Take Me to Church’, Hozier was ready to preach his gospel to those in attendance St. David’s Church, and he certainly made a believer out of me. I was stunned by the power in every song on his set list, from the earthy, deceptively sweet folk of ‘In A Week’ to the visceral blues and overt sexuality of ‘Angel of Small Death and the Codeine Scene’. And while the gospel tinge of ‘Take Me to Church’ might have been appropriate for the setting, Hozier’s performance of it on the night was enough to steam up every single one of the stained glass windows.

Hozier at St. David's 14 March 2014

I needed some fresh air after the breathtaking sublimity of Hozier, so I stepped outside to gather my thoughts and check in with Mary via text. Once outside the venue, I quickly realized that I would have some difficulty getting back in, as the queue was growing for the final acts on the Communion roster, Tennis, Sam Smith and Vance Joy. I would later regret missing out on those artists, especially after seeing this video of Smith’s recent single ‘Stay With Me’.

In the end, I hedged my bets and headed to the British Music Embassy to meet Mary for another band I’d recently written about, Scottish duo Honeyblood. The queue outside Latitude 30 wasn’t much shorter than the one at St. David’s, but I did eventually make it inside. Mary was, naturally, down the front, but I wasn’t able to squeeze in through the enthusiastic crowd, and I had to settle for a spot in back near the bar. My photos of Honeyblood weren’t fabulous but for my money, neither was the band’s performance. Their single ‘Bud’ was the only song that stood out among their muddled, distorted grunge pop set. The sound at the venue had been fine all week, so I have to assume that this less than stellar show was a just a small blip on Honeyblood’s radar.

Honeyblood at British Music Embassy 14 March 2014

Disappointed, I met up with Mary for a brief conference in what had become a customary spot for us in the alley outside Latitude 30. Our energy was waning by this point, but I convinced her (read: begged and pleaded with her) to make the short walk back to B.D. Riley’s, where we’d taken in the Irish Breakfast earlier in the day, to have another listen to Rams’ Pocket Radio.

It seems silly, at a festival like SXSW, to see the same bands over and over again when there are so many options so close at hand. We’d already seen Rams’ Pocket Radio twice, but both times I’d been a bit distracted, and I felt that I hadn’t given the songs their proper due, at least in my own mind. This late night show suffered from a few technical glitches and the wandering attention of the audience, which slightly marred the emotional connection of the music. Despite those frustrations, I was increasingly fascinated by his juxtaposition of beautiful, rich musical textures and curious, often strange lyrics. Maybe this is why the ever present ‘Dieter Rams Has Got the Pocket Radios’ appeals so much to me, but I did find myself missing the more straightforward ‘Love is a Bitter Thing’ when he left it off the set list. I didn’t walk away from this show feeling any more enlightened about Rams’ Pocket Radio, but my interest is most definitely piqued to see what he does next.

For the moment, I had to put my bewildered thoughts aside in preparation for the following day, which would be our last at SXSW 2014. But even weeks later, I find myself amazed as I mentally revisit the spectrum of mixed emotions and musical styles from that exhilarating Friday.

 

TGTF Guide to SXSW 2014: Artists from Ireland and Northern Ireland showcasing at this year’s SXSW

 
By on Wednesday, 5th March 2014 at 1:00 pm
 

Please note: all information we bring you about SXSW 2014 is to the best of our knowledge when it posts and bands scheduled to appear may be subject to change. To learn when your favourite band is playing in Austin, we recommend you first consult the official SXSW schedule, then stop by the band’s Facebook and official Web site for details of any non-official SXSW appearances.

This installment of the TGTF Guide to SXSW 2014 explores the contingent of SXSW 2014 showcasing bands from Ireland and Northern Ireland. These acts range from traditional folk to pure electronic, with a healthy dose of plain old pop and rock falling somewhere in between.

Cian Nugent is listed on the SXSW 2014 schedule as being in the “avant/experimental” category. His expansive, virtuosic solo electric guitar compositions are backed by traditional rock instruments, including electric bass and drums, as well as more orchestral bowed strings, woodwinds, and brass. His latest LP ‘Born With the Caul’, released in November 2013, is his first recording with a fully dedicated band. Cian Nugent and The Cosmos are currently touring in America leading up to SXSW.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/ITuigRBWhlM[/youtube]

Dott are a “shiney, harmony-driven guitar pop” band hailing from Galway. Their laid back, low-fi debut album ‘Swoon’ was released on Graveface Records in December 2013; stream it here. For a quick sampling of their sound, take a listen to ‘Love You Too’.

Heathers are Dublin twin sisters Ellie and Louise Macnamara. Their mainstream guitar pop second album, ‘Kingdom’, was released in the UK in September 2012 and nominated for that year’s Meteor Choice Music Prize for Best Irish Album. It is due for release in America on the 8th of April via SonyRED, just after the band’s appearance at SXSW. The album’s first single ‘Forget Me Knots’ has already scored over 250,000 YouTube hits.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/BTLbR80pIqY[/youtube]

Hozier is the stage name of County Wicklow’s Andrew Hozier-Byrne, a soulful singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist whose poignant single ‘Take Me To Church’ turns romantic love into a religious experience. Already receiving radio play in America, the track was nominated for the Meteor Choice Prize Song of the Year. March looks to be a busy month for Hozier, with the release of his EP, ‘From Eden,’ and his appearance at SXSW, along with his St. Patrick’s Day birthday.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MYSVMgRr6pw[/youtube]

Dublin rock duo Kid Karate have been compared to the likes of Jack White and The Black Keys. Their brash, bluesy brand of rock seems more sonically suited to stadiums than the small venues of SXSW, but they are sure to make their boisterous presence known in Austin next month. They have just finished recording their debut long player ‘Night Terrors’, to be released later this year. Be sure to adjust your volume settings before streaming their first single, ‘Two Times’.

Rams’ Pocket Radio is the stage moniker for Northern Irish solo artist Peter McCauley. He is categorized by SXSW organizers as pop, but based on his opening performance for Foy Vance last year (reviewed here), I’d say his keyboard-based rock is more experimental or progressive than most pop artists. Think Ben Folds without the flippancy. Despite its unwieldy title, Rams’ Pocket Radio’s eponymous tune ‘Dieter Rams Has Got The Pocket Radios’ is a surprisingly infectious earworm.

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

Female garage pop band September Girls are aptly named for a Big Star song once covered by The Bangles. The fuzzy guitars and vocal harmonies on ‘Heartbeats’ are a slightly scuzzier version of The Bangles’ signature sound. The single features on September Girls’ debut album,‘Cursing the Sea,’ which was released in January on Fortuna Pop! Records.

The Strypes’ official Web site describes the band as “a 4-piece rhythm and blues band hailing from Cavan, Ireland,” and their single ‘Blue Collar Jane’ clearly pinpoints their style as reminiscent of the early Beatles R&B sound. Their first EP release ‘Young, Gifted & Blue’ is a set of four homemade recordings of classic blues songs, including a cheeky version of Bo Diddley’s ‘You Can’t Judge a Book by the Cover’. ‘Blue Collar Jane’ appears on the band’s debut LP ‘Snapshot’, released in September 2013. Their latest EP release ‘4 Track Mind’ coincided with their February tour dates in the UK, which included several sold out shows.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gZb8nEemK2k[/youtube]

Unknown is the professional name of Belfast music producer Chris Hanna, who began his career attempting to create his music anonymously and without hype. He started producing music in 2012 with a series of tracks titled simply ‘#001’ – ‘#010’. He currently performs with vocalist Gemma Dunleavy under the stage name of UNKNWN, but the official SXSW schedule lists him as “Unknown,” which might imply that he will be performing solo at the festival. Check out the groove of ‘#008’ below.

Indie pop wunderkinds the Wonder Villains hail from Derry, Northern Ireland and have already become major players on the Northern Irish music scene. They released two singles on No Dancing Records, ‘Ferrari’ and ‘Zola’, the latter of which was playlisted on BBC Radio 1 in February 2012. Their spunky forthcoming single ‘Marshall’ is due out on the 24th of March. After SXSW, the Wonder Villains are expected to return to the studio to finish their debut album, ‘Rocky’, which is scheduled for release in June.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/A-OP2FxCB6c[/youtube]

Dublin punk outfit WOUNDS released their first EP ‘Dead Dead Fucking Dead’ and began work on their debut LP before guitarist James Coogan fell from a four-story balcony and spent 3 months on life support. After Coogan’s painful recovery, Wounds licked their wounds and moved forward, releasing the LP ‘Die Young’,in January 2013. Listen to the merciless thrashing of ‘Dead Dead Fucking Dead’ below.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2lKnGvlYetU[/youtube]

The Young Folk, as you might have already guessed, are a folk quartet of a “certain youthful age”, according to the bio on the band’s Web site. Their brand of folk pop includes subtle and eclectic instrumentation, introspective lyrics, and lightly lilting vocals along with a relentlessly energetic performing style. Having recently signed with ARC Music UK, The Young Folk are set to release their debut album in the early part of 2014.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rm8gYScu2Xw[/youtube]

 
 
 

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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.

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