(SXSW 2018 flavoured!) Bands to Watch #397: Allman Brown

By on Monday, 5th February 2018 at 12:00 pm

Header photo by Jodie Canwell

London singer/songwriter Allman Brown excels at at the age-old craft of writing and performing unabashedly romantic love songs. Categorised by SXSW as folk/indie pop, his songs range from acoustic ballads to atmospheric neo-folk, but the thematic material remains constant. ‘Sweetest Thing’, the track highlighted in Brown’s SXSW 2018 bio, falls into the former category and has already garnered over 17 million plays on Spotify.

‘Sweetest Thing’ features prominently on Brown’s debut album ‘1000 Years’, which was released last year. Several collaborative tracks appear on that LP, not the least of which is the striking duet ‘Sons and Daughters’. Here, Brown is joined by Liz Lawrence, who aside from her own solo work has also worked with Ed Nash of Bombay Bicycle Club. ‘Sons and Daughters’ was originally the title track to Brown’s debut 2013 EP, but it’s certainly strong enough to warrant inclusion on the long player, even 4 years after its original release.

Brown also experiments with rock and electro-flavoured instrumentation, leaning more toward the pop end of the folk/indie pop continuum. ‘Last Dance’ takes a decidedly rock-oriented turn, with heavy drums and electric guitars behind hazy vocals in its verses and a visceral chorus that opens with the evocative lyric “when we dance, dance, dance / with your arms around my shoulders / it’s all I ever wanted, now I know.” His latest stand-alone single ‘Bury My Heart’ layers his light, evenly modulated vocals over a subtly electronic backing. The song is set to appear on a new EP due out on the 16th of March, conveniently coinciding with his appearance at SXSW.

Brown reminds me a bit of a very young Ed Sheeran before Sheeran abandoned this kind of authentic, soulful pop-tinged balladry for the bland production-by-committee approach he now favours. Coincidentally, one of the songs on Brown’s ‘1000 Years’ is called ‘Shape of You’, though it’s a very different creature to Sheeran’s radio hit of the same name. That being said, Brown could easily become a star of Ed Sheeran proportions, depending on the path he chooses to take. Allman Brown is one to watch in Austin certainly, and for the remainder of 2018.

As with all of the SXSW 2018 showcasing artists we feature here at TGTF, this act’s appearance in Austin is subject to change. We recommend that you consult the official SXSW Music Festival schedule for the latest information and updates.

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