SONG OF THE DAY: “Southern Sun” by Boy & Bear

Boy & Bear are an Australian indie rock-folk music band formed in 2009, consisting of David Hosking (vocals and guitar), Killian Gavin (vocals and guitar), Timothy Hart (drums and vocals), Jonathan Hart (vocals, banjo, mandolin and keyboards) and David Symes (bass). The band have released two albums, Moonfire (August 2011) and Harlequin Dream, (August 2013) both reaching the top ten of the Australian album chart.

Boy & Bear was formed in 2009 in Sydney, beginning as a solo project for singer-songwriter Dave Hosking. In February 2009, Hosking uploaded a track, “The Storm”, to the Unearthed program on radio station Triple J, and it became a featured song at the station. Hosking met Killian Gavin, who was a singer-songwriter and guitarist in Ovell, and the pair started jamming together. Tim Hart, from another university band, Wintersound, joined as a drummer and singer-songwriter. Then they expanded with Hart’s brother Jon (ex-Wintersound) on keyboard, vocals, mandolin and banjo and Jake Tarasenko (ex-Tripartisan Approach) on bass guitar. All five had fronted their own groups and became friends after regularly sharing the stage at gigs. Their songwriting usually has Hosking strumming chords on a guitar, Gavin writing the hooks, and the Hart brothers providing backing vocal lyrics, keyboard parts and drum lines. On 21 October they issued an independent single, “Mexican Mavis”, which was a featured song for the “Next Crop ’09” segment on Triple J. In November 2009, the band described its style as “a combination of drivey indie folk and choral harmonies”.

Aside from Triple J, the band received national airplay on NovaFM. The group signed with Island Records Australia and in 2013 they signed internationally with Nettwerk. After winning the 2009 Unearthed competition, they gained a performance spot at Homebake in December. They later toured Australia backing Angus and Julia Stone and Hungry Kids of Hungary. In 2010, they toured the UK supporting Laura Marling and Alessi’s Ark, and later supported Mumford & Sons on their Australian tour. In May Boy & Bear released their debut extended play, With Emperor Antarctica, which peaked at No. 63 on the ARIA Singles Chart. In 2010 they recorded the song “Fall at Your Feet” for He Will Have His Way, a tribute album to singer-songwriter brothers, Tim and Neil Finn. Boy & Bear’s version of “Fall at Your Feet” was listed at No. 5 on the Triple J Hottest 100, 2010. Another of their tracks, “Rabbit Song” was placed at No. 45. In November 2010 their cover of “Fall at Your Feet” peaked at No. 34 on the ARIA Singles Chart. In April 2011, their early single, “Mexican Mavis”, was featured on US TV series, 90210, season three episode, “Nerdy Little Secrets”.

On 5 August 2011, Boy & Bear released their debut album Moonfire. It was recorded in Nashville, Tennessee with producer, Joe Chiccarelli and reached No. 2 on the ARIA Albums Chart. During that year, single “Feeding Line” debuted at No. 49. In December, Moonfire finished third in the Triple J album poll of 2011. It also reached platinum sales. On the Triple J Hottest 100, 2011 Boy & Bear were listed three times, with “Part Time Believer” and “Milk & Sticks” at No. 50 and No. 49, respectively, while “Feeding Line” reached No. 4. At the ARIA Music Awards of 2011 Boy & Bear won in five categories: Breakthrough Artist – Single for “Feeding Line”; and Album of the Year, Best Group, Breakthrough Artist – Album and Best Adult Alternative Release for Moonfire. The following year, the band received an ARIA nomination for Best Group.

In October 2012, it was announced that the original bass-guitarist Jake Tarasenko had left the band ‘to pursue other interests’. The group also announced that they had started work on a follow-up album.

Boy & Bear released their second album on 16 August 2013, titled Harlequin Dream. It debuted at #1 on the ARIA charts and is currently on Gold sales. Its release was preceded by the lead single “Southern Sun”, a song which paid homage to Richard Clapton’s relaxed 1970s steel guitar sound. In 2013 Boy & Bear were nominated for three ARIA awards including, Best Group, Best Rock Album and Producer of the Year with Wayne Connolly. The album was also nominated for a J Award and was ranked #7 in triple j’s Top 10 Albums of 2013 poll in the same year. Boy & Bear have since toured twice nationally (capital cities and regional tour), as well as internationally in the UK, EU, US and Canada, with additional national and international tours scheduled for the rest of 2014.