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TGTF Guide to SXSW 2017: best bets of Australian artists showcasing at this year’s SXSW

By on Monday, 27th February 2017 at 11:00 am

Australia and her neighbour New Zealand will be sending over 30 acts to SXSW 2017. The list includes artists we covered at previous SXSWs, including Demi Louise, Hamish Anderson and Mansionair. In this post, I introduce you to the Australian acts I think are the cream of the crop from down under, representing the various genres of pop, rock, electronic and folk. Please note: all information we bring you about SXSW 2017 is to the best of our knowledge when it posts and artists and bands scheduled to appear may be subject to change. To learn when your favourite artist is playing in Austin, we recommend you first consult the official SXSW schedule, then stop by the artist’s Facebook and official Web site for details of any non-official SXSW appearances.

Alex Lahey – pop / rock / Melbourne
Alex Lahey would be my pick for the next big Australian global superstar. The world is ready for another strong young woman to follow in the footsteps of Avril Lavigne, Kelly Clarkson and Gaga, and with this kick in the arse, upbeat pop/rock sound, Lahey owns it. On this side of the Pacific with her own American tour to follow SXSW, plus even earlier this month, when Lahey supported Tegan and Sara on their UK winter tour, the interest in this young Aussie singer/songwriter is clear. There’s nowhere to go but up, up, up for her.


All Our Exes Live in Texas – Sydney / folk
The band with the name most appropriate for coming to Austin to perform, All Our Exes Live in Texas (pictured at top) take their cues from the greats of country and folk. The incredible melding of the talents of four individually brilliant musicians is the true success of this folk group, who take full advantage of the beautiful four-part harmonies they can achieve and their charismatic live shows, which have already left Sydneysiders breathless. They might still be some ways off from the Grand Ole Opry when they showcase at SXSW 2017, but something tells me they’ll get an invite soon.


Cameron Avery – rock / Perth
Are we allowed to call a 28-year old a Renaissance man? Sod it, we are when it comes to Cameron “Cam” Avery. From the capital of Western Australia, Perth, the singer/songwriter is probably best known outside of Oz for being a member of indie favourites Pond and Tame Impala, the latter of which he plays bass for. But this time in Austin, Avery will be playing for and promoting himself and his debut album ‘Ripe Dreams, Pipe Dreams’, which will be out on the 10th of March on Anti- Records and Spinning Top. As a solo artist, Cameron Avery’s music is as far as you can get from the psychedelia of Tame Impala: his is straightforward songwriting with a rich voice evocative of his Anti- labelmate Cass McCombs.


Castlecomer – pop/rock / Sydney
Remember when Two Door Cinema Club’s music felt like a guilty pleasure, in the ‘Tourist History’ era well before their meltdowns? That’s what Castlecomer’s new single ‘If I Could Be Like You’: high energy, infectious guitar pop with a driving rhythm that can get tail feathers shaking at a music festival. While it’s a formula overused in the last few years because of the success of bands just like Two Door, Castlecomer’s success in the form of 2 million streams on Spotify for their 2016 EP ‘All of the Noise’ bodes well for their future. Hey Glassnote Records, are you looking for an Australian Two Door?


Food Court – garage punk / Sydney
I’ll never understand why bands choose a name that will always produce unhelpful Google results. But it hasn’t prevented Food Court, from the neighbourhood of Glebe in Sydney, from already becoming a bit of an internet sensation. It’s kind a no-brainer: their scuzzy, fuzzy, garage punk style follows in the style of the Ramones and the Clash and has plenty of admirers. We hear their debut album will be out in March, which seems more than simply fortuitous serendipity, given their SXSW 2017 shout.


The Heart Collectors – folk / Murwillumbah
The kind of band the Cambridge Folk Festival would give their right arm to book? The Heart Collectors, originally from the rural village of Tyalgum in New South Wales. I’m going to venture that this is like bluegrass country in America or the remote regions of Western Ireland, where a healthy reliance on harmonies conveying emotional themes, guitars and simple percussion is de rigueur. And sometimes simple is best.


Middle Kids – alt-rock / Sydney
Fronted by Hannah Joy, alt-rock group Middle Kids fill the place that was never really adequately filled after Melissa Etheridge: guitar pop with a slight country twang still palatable to the masses, yet able to show female vulnerability through the lyrics. Already introduced 2 weeks ago to the American public by getting the chance to perform on Conan O’Brien’s late night show – on Valentine’s Day no less – and with a brand new, eponymous EP to show off, Austin is for Middle Kids’ taking.


Oscar Key Sung – r&b / electronic / Melbourne
Some people are surprised to see the marriage of r&b and electronic music, but ultimately both are rooted in the beat being the driving force of a song. Oscar Key Sung embraces both r&b and hip-hop in the electronic music he creates, intended for clubs and with a focus on fluidity and movement. The Australian’s approach is likely more brainier than the average dance producer (there’s a longer exposition here on his methodology and what makes him tick) but one does wonder if Oscar Key Sung could get SOHN out of his hoodie and on the dance floor. I’d say yes.


Throttle – DJ / Melbourne
Already a big deal in the dance world, Australian DJ Throttle is a self-described ‘dirty disco music’ maker. He’s remixed AlunaGeorge and taken on Michael Buble’s vocals (I’m assuming without his permission). He’s a badass. Don’t fight it.

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Woodes – pop / electronic / Melbourne
Elle Graham aka Woodes is a triple threat: she’s a young singer, songwriter and producer. The young Australian talent previously collaborated with fellow Aussies Atticus Beats, Golden Vessel and Ellkle. from her early solo singles ‘The Thaw’ and ‘Knives and Daggers’, she’s ready for her close-up. With an expansive vocal laying on top of a dancey, yet minimalist electronic beat reminiscent of the xx, her sound is reminiscent of a more pop Lykke Li. She wowed me at CMW 2016 last May in Toronto, and I’m sure she’ll slay in Austin.

To read more of our coverage on Woodes here on TGTF, go here.


CMW 2016: a little bit of everything Friday in Toronto – 6th May 2016

By on Wednesday, 25th May 2016 at 2:00 pm

For at least 1 day during a multi-day festival, you owe it to yourself the benefit of a doubt to have a relaxed day. Or you do what I did on Friday at Canadian Music Week 2016, taking it easy and succumbing to the throes of a bad cold Friday night.

It started promisingly enough. Demi Louise, the lovely yet inexplicably unsigned Australian singer/songwriter who I befriended at SXSW 2016, played a blistering series of shows out in Toronto. One of the more relaxed shows she did was at Drake One Fifty Friday afternoon. Despite a chilly wind that pervaded the city all week, the young Demi brought the sunniness from her hometown of Melbourne to the afternoon’s festivities. Her beautiful voice shone on her current single ‘Taxi Driver’, while she sparkled in her stage patter, so honoured in winning a songwriting award now displayed proudly in her family’s home.

Demi Louise CMW 2016 Drake One Fifty

I had every intention to make it in time for Vancouver duo Fine Times at the Cave, the dance venue above the famous Lee’s Palace. Unfortunately, I made it just as they were packing up. No matter. I hung out for who I was really waiting for, electropop artist NINA. The German-born, London-based musician was dressed to the nines in a white suit jacket with black accents. And as might be expected for someone from her genre, the beats of her music were massive, and the feeling of girl power – or maybe better phrased as independent woman power! – came through in her uplifting, empowering tunes. She has an EP out this Friday, which should be a great introduction of her music to new fans and a cementing of her talent to her already devoted fan base.

NINA CMW 2016 Cave Friday

Due to a terrible miscalculation in distance and location, I missed both Northern Ireland’s PORTS and The Magnettes from Sweden playing at the Nightowl. I’ll have to visit the venue next year. When I realised the error of my ways, I decided to cut my losses and head on to the Smiling Buddha, where I had planned to finish out my evening. The College Street venue’s line-up for the night was not one of enlightenment, unless you’re the kind of person who finds hard rock a pathway to such a higher plane.

Double Date with Death CMW 2016 Smiling Buddha Friday

Double Date with Death are a Montreal lo-fi trio who play loud, hard and fast. If I were to say I could distinguish between their songs, I’d be lying, as I didn’t have time to investigate their music properly prior to the festival. In a way, I’m sure the band themselves had no idea how well the venue’s lack of variation in stage lighting reflect the name of their band perfectly. That said, I did enjoy their slapdash, unforgiving delivery and there were plenty of headbanging punters who clearly agreed.

Broken Hands were up next. Compared to the bare stage setup of Double Date with Death, the Kent band used up nearly every single centimeter of space at the Smiling Buddha. I’d had a taste of their debut album ‘Turbulence’, having the opportunity to watch them do an in-store at Rough Trade East last October shortly after the LP’s release. However, I was sure after touring around the album in the UK, their confidence would be sky high out here in Toronto.

Broken Hands CMW 2016 Smiling Buddha Friday

Happily, they exceeded my expectations, the conjunction of sound ringing in my ears. Although frontman Dale Norton was dressed in a white lab coat and looked more appropriate for a biology lab, once the music started, he was more like an angry beast having finally been let out of his cage. More in your face than I had ever experienced before, Norton’s stage presence has definitely increased multifold, spitting out the lyrics to ‘Who Sent You?’ and ‘Meteor’ with strength and a sneer. The only fault to their set, which is a minor quibble, is that the moments of mellowness and balladry on ‘Turbulence’ didn’t get an airing. However, given the tone for the evening and it being their last show in Toronto for the week, I don’t blame them for leaving it all onstage in a blistering show of power.

Right, so on to the last act of the night, Overhead, the Albatross. Being courted on social media by family members of a band performing isn’t something I am used to, but it did increase my curiosity about them. They had even more band members and stuff than Broken Hands did, so they didn’t bother staying all onstage, with two of their group joining us on the floor.

A friend described them as “a cross between Arcade Fire and Godspeed You! Black Emperor”, which doesn’t help me much as I’m not a follower of either band. There’s definitely a rebellious prog edge to Overhead, the Albatross, which makes total sense, given that they’ve christened themselves with a name that while not indicating dangerous subversiveness, it’s sufficient to note the brazen headstrongness of doing their own thing and exactly what they want. Curious? Have a watch and listen to their song ‘Big River Man’ below.


SXSW 2015: Saturday in Austin with familiar Brits, Scandinavians and Aussies – 21st March 2015

By on Thursday, 2nd April 2015 at 2:00 pm

Saturday in Austin for SXSW 2015 was another strangely miserable day weather wise. With rain intermittent for most of the day until the evening hours, at least it wasn’t chucking it down like it was on Friday. Still, with a grey sky, I wondered if the bad weather would keep crowds away on the last day of the big dance. When nighttime came, it was became clear from the long queues outside many of the venues – including Latitude 30, where your humble editor found herself stuck in the wristband queue for over 2 hours, including some time spent chatting with Kate Tempest and her band in said queue – that the droves had come out for one last hurrah.

Representing in my very red England jacket, my Saturday began seemingly inauspiciously. Stood in a queue, holding a brolly and trying in vain to look cool while waiting for doors to a venue to open isn’t really my idea of a great time. But this was all to get into the Brooklyn Vegan day party, as the New York culture Web site had a full line-up for both the indoor and outdoor stages at Red 7, including the third and final appearance of Mew. I wasn’t there for the Danes, however.

After the cancellation of an entire electronic showcase at Container Bar due to safety concerns about possible electrocution of the bands during the height of Friday afternoon’s rainstorms, I made it to East India Youth‘s (Will Doyle) last performance in Austin. This performance was certainly different than Huw Stephen’s curated night Tuesday at Latitude 30 for Cerdd Cymru : Music Wales; for one, my guess was the audience had never heard of him, though I was pleased to see his performance quickly won them over. It may have been only noon on a Saturday, but just like Tuesday night at 9 PM, Doyle gave it his all, throwing his whole body into the performance and he alternated between synth, sequencers, Macbook and last but not least, bass guitar. ‘Hinterland’, from his 2014 Mercury Prize-nominated debut album on Stolen Recordings ‘Total Strife Forever’, went down particularly well, punters’ heads bopping and nodding in approval of the huge beats and the sweaty, vigorous way they were delivered to us.

East India Youth at Brooklyn Vegan Saturday SXSW 2015

‘Turn Away’, the second cut to be revealed in February from ‘Culture of Volume’, was recently described by BBC 6music presenter Stuart Maconie as sounding like “an electronic madrigal”, and I fully agree. It’s a very emotional piece that I’ll discuss more in my album review coming soon on TGTF, so I’ll just say for now that the track is solid evidence to silence the naysayers that say electronica is cold and devoid of feeling. It’s also nice to see Doyle comfortable as a singer, nearly front and centre if you forget the table being there, as he emotes on a song like ‘Looking for Someone’, written back in the day when he was more known for being that guy in a suit behind the table being held up by apple juice cartons and gaffa tape.

From East India Youth, I went in search for another Youth – Lust for Youth, the project of Swede Hannes Norrvide, now based in Denmark. The lack of decent lighting in an otherwise very red Mohawk indoor stage made for a impossible photography situation to begin with. Then there was the stifling crowd situation: from what I understand having talked to some punters down the front, people had arrived early and were staking out spots for hardcore Pittsburgh act Code Orange, who would not be on stage for another 3 hours. Lust for Youth is an electropop band, so as can probably imagine, hardcore fans on the whole aren’t exactly their core audience. Couple that with overbearing bass in the mix obscuring Norrvide’s vocals – or at least making his voice sound more robotic than I recalled from their Sacred Bones Records album ‘International’ released last year – led to a less than compelling set. Maybe I just picked the wrong venue to see them at.

The People the Poet at British Music Embassy Saturday SXSW 2015

Sound was much better, as it always is, when I returned to Latitude 30 for the final British Music Embassy afternoon showcase of SXSW 2015, opened by Welsh hopefuls and now buzzed about band The People the Poet. Frontman Leon Stanford was never showing any sign of anxiety about playing for an international crowd on Tuesday night, but now he was entirely in his element, talking to us from the stage like we were old friends, speaking about his band’s experiences in Austin with fondness as if a seasoned SXSW veteran. Having done a live session with Dermot O’Leary for his Radio 2 programme earlier in the week, one hopes that their music will spread far and wide off the back of their two exemplary performances at the British Music Embassy.

Up next and back to back were two Scottish bands, United Fruit and Holy Esque Unfortunately, I couldn’t stay inside Latitude 30 for United Fruit, as I nipped outside for my interview with Tyla Campbell and Pete Mills of The People The Poet that had been delayed for days. Of what I did hear of them, it was loud and the band were lively. When I returned for Holy Esque, they were in the midst of laying down their bombastic, synth laden guitar rock. Oddly, I liked them better on the recordings I’d heard previously than live. It seemed louder and muddier in person. I wondered, since it was Saturday, if the staff at Latitude 30 had just cranked up all the knobs to 11? Would have made sense if it were true.

After Latitude 30 and running around town to conduct two interviews (one with Ryan of Rival Consoles, the other with Niall of Only Real), I treated myself to a taxi ride to take me to the last show I would cover at SXSW 2015. Melbourne’s Demi Louise, who I had become friendly with on Instagram, was playing her last gig in Austin for the week, an acoustic one, at the atrium stage of the Hyatt Regency south of the river. This was a special treat for me, as I have always loved the hotel shows I’ve managed to find and cover during SXSW, and this one was no exception.

Wearing a large-brimmed Stetson, she appeared onstage certainly dressed the part for Texas. Although her set was much too short, she played a nice smattering of tunes that showcased her songwriting ability, from describing the emotional pain of heartbreak that all of us, young and old, experience, to the more personal journey she’s gone on watching both of her grandfathers suffer from dementia in the song ‘Ruins’.

Demi Louise Saturday SXSW 2015

It was lovely to finally see her perform and also chat with her after her set, as it brought everything round full circle to what I feel is the most important part of TGTF’s work at a festival like SXSW: to help spread the music of artists we have come to know and love, especially for those who are just starting out and/or who aren’t well known. Yet. As long as I’ve got the passion within me, I’ll continue doing this for years to come, and I thank you for joining me for the ride, whether it takes us to Austin, Brighton, Sydney, and anywhere in between. SXSW 2015, that’s a wrap!


SXSW 2015 Interview: Demi Louise

By on Thursday, 2nd April 2015 at 1:00 pm

There are some things about the music business that I still struggle with in my mind. Consider, for instance, the circumstances surrounding my last interviewee during the crazy week in Austin that was SXSW 2015. Twenty-something Demi Louise is a singer/songwriter from Melbourne, Australia who has gone and already showcased at one of the most important emerging music festivals to TGTF, Liverpool Sound City in 2014. Yet despite all the travel and performances she has already clocked up at such a tender age, this talented young lady is still not signed yet. What, why, how is that even possible?

Demi had a packed week of performances in Austin, with her last two taking place in front of a packed house at B.D. Riley’s as part of Sounds Australia’s Saturday daytime acoustic showcase called Sound Gallery. Due to a schedule conflict, I was unable to make that earlier show but thankfully, Demi was scheduled to perform one last acoustic set at the Hyatt Regency Austin just south of the river, the same hotel with a dock from where Carrie and I got on the St. Patrick’s Day Brunch on a Boat with the folks from Creative Belfast and Invest Northern Ireland on Tuesday morning. New fans of hers from several different countries came to see her play this last show, including the very young daughters of some festival-goers, who Demi talked to after her set by kneeling down next to and taking photos with them. Awww. She’s a real woman of the people.

In my interview with Demi, she tells me her hometown of Melbourne and how sad she is that it’s the end of her SXSW adventure, as it’s one of many music showcasing events she’s done in the last year and a half. We also chat about her song ‘Ruins’, which was inspired by medical diagnoses within her own family, and her winning a major pop songwriting award back in Oz. (Again, how is this woman not signed yet???) Listen to the whole interview below.

Read all our past coverage on Demi Louise on TGTF here.


(SXSW 2015 flavoured!) Quickfire Questions #94: Demi Louise

By on Tuesday, 17th March 2015 at 1:00 pm

It’s here, it’s here! The music portion of SXSW 2015 starts today! Just as we did for SXSW 2014 last year, we’ll be running a special version of the TGTF Quickfire Questions, served up SXSW style with an extra couple of questions to get inside bands’ and artists’ heads so they’ll tell us what they really think of the event. This will likely be the fifteenth and last one of the these this year and that’s okay, because we’re ending the campaign on a high note.

Sometimes you just get a good feeling about someone, even before you met them. And that’s exactly how I feel about Demi Louise after talking to her on social media and now even more so, now that I learn that there’s only one degree of friend separation between us now! Have a read about the surprising degree she has and why we’ll be likely be ringing her to make us some healthy snacks this week. If her name sounds familiar, she has showcased previously at last year’s Liverpool Sound City.

What are you most looking forward to doing while you’re in Austin?
To be honest whenever I travel I tend to stay away from the mega touristy things. A lot of the time I just wander around and try and spend time there as though I live there. Walk into places that seem energetic and walk down streets and just get lost (as long as I have my phone, hahah) I think that’s why I like Uber so much. I can just call it when I’m done and I don’t need to know where I am haha.
But obviously music is the reason im going to SXSW and for me just the lineup of people I’m involved with is phenomenal so I can’t wait to just explore.

Of the bands who have already been announced, do you have any that are must-sees on your schedule? If yes, who are they and why?
Oh yess I do. One of my good friends Josh Savage is playing and I can’t wait to catch up with him. Orla Gartland is also playing and can’t wait to see her.

J.P. Cooper has been one of my favorite acts for probably the past year since I discovered him online and I haven’t yet seen him live so that will just be lush.

Laura Marling (for obvious reasons that she’s amazing).

Name something you’re packing in your suitcase that we might find unusual. (You are welcome to elaborate.)
Haha uhmmm, I always take a powerboard with me so that I only need to buy one travel plug converter.
and I take my George Foreman Mix and Go because its hard to find healthy food quickly, so I can just buy loads of fruit when I get there and make smoothies for breakfast everyday before running to the conference (is that weird?) [No, you’re just extremely healthy! I hope you’re not veggie because you’re going to be seeing BBQ everywhere in Austin… – Ed.]

If we happen to run into you in a bar, we’d like to buy you a drink. What is your tipple of choice?
Merlot. It kind of makes me seem sophisticated but I don’t care haha.

What have you heard about the festival? Are you excited / anxious / scared / etc. and why?
I have heard that you should not go into it with any expectations EXCEPT that it will probably be the most insane and busy week of your life, haha, I’m so, so excited, this is my 6th music conference in the past year and I’ve also been told to not expect it to be anything like the others haha. So I guess that is a little scary and there’s always anxiety in a new place that you wont get to a show on time but I try and run 2 hours early to most things so then I can just exhale and relax haha, so I’m not too worried.

Now, let’s get into our usual list of Quickfire Questions…

What song is your earliest musical memory?
‘Boom Boom’ by the Outhere Brothers, and ‘Song 2’ by Blur.

What was your favourite song as a child?
‘Boom Boom’ by the Outhere Brothers, haha, I used to sing it for HOURS and make up snazzy dance routines. We have me on video doing it over.. and over.. and over.. again. I was all of 3 years old.


What song makes you laugh?
There’s a song by John Williamson called ‘Big Bad Bush Ranger’ ‘and for some reason I can never sing it without laughing. We travelled around Australia and lived in a caravan when I was younger and that was one of our roadtrip songs and it always made me laugh for some reason.

What song makes you cry?
I cry when I sing ‘All I Want’ by Kodaline sometimes. ‘Fix You’ by Coldplay. And ‘The Pieces Don’t Fit Anymore’ by James Morrison was my crying song when I was younger, it’s such a fist-clenching belter. Haha.

What song reminds you of the first time you fell in love? (It’s up to you if you want this to be sweet, naughty, etc.)
‘Turn Your Lights Down Low’ – Bob Marley and Lauryn Hill. That was my first love and is my lay in bed all day song. The Colbie Caillat version is good as well.


What song makes you think of being upset / angry? (Example: maybe you heard it when you were angry with someone and it’s still with you, and/or something that calms you down when you’re upset, etc.)
‘Ordinary People’ by John Legend – haha I hate that it makes me angry because I actually love the song. But an ex used to sing it to me all the time, especially the first verse, and he actually sounded really good haha and now it just annoys me.

Which song (any song written in the last century / 100 years or so) do you wish you’d written yourself?
‘Make You Feel My Love’ by Bob Dylan. I love every cover of the song and I think its just a timeless sentiment and will be a song that never fades. Geez I wish I wrote it. Haha.

Who is your favourite writer? (This can be a songwriter or ANY kind of writer.)
I can’t narrow it down to one. My favorite writers are from a few different eras, but I love Oscar Wilde as a writer, I love Bob Dylan, but then I love modern people like Eminem for his story telling, and people like Ed Sheeran for his relaxed relatable writing style. I love Tom Odell too as a songwriter.

If you hadn’t become a singer/musician/songwriter/etc., what job do you think you’d be doing right now?
I actually have a degree in Clinical Exercise Science that I finished in 2013, so I can go on to become an exercise physiologist – so I would say something in that area, haha. I love nutrition and health science. [The smoothies make sense now! – Ed.] If I was dedicated enough to study I would love to be a surgeon or a doctor. Or a wedding planner. Haha.

If God said you were allowed to bring only one album with you to Heaven, which would it be and why? (Sorry, but double albums do not count.)
I’m really bad at this one answer thing, haha. Maybe The Fault in Our Stars soundtrack? That movie had amazing music in it. Such a great balance of dance and soft and everything in between. And some of my favourite songs, haha.

Many thanks to the lovely Demi for answering our questions!


TGTF Guide to SXSW 2015: Australian artists showcasing at this year’s SXSW (A – G)

By on Wednesday, 4th March 2015 at 11:00 am

Please note: all information we bring you about SXSW 2015 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.

Sounds Australia brings a veritable cornucopia, by genre, of acts to many major music festivals around the world during the year, including TGTF May UK festival favourites The Great Escape and Liverpool Sound City. Their Australian contingent always has a massive presence at SXSW, and this year is no exception. In addition to the annual, all-day Aussie BBQ advertised as the biggest Australian band showcase outside of Oz, it’s sure to be a good time with 25 of the hottest Australian acts performing at Brush Square Park on the Friday of this year’s festival. With much assistance from our Aussie friend NickiGirlStar, today and tomorrow we’ll be introducing you to many of the bands coming from down under. Whether you’re lucky enough to head out to Austin in 2 weeks or not, we hope you’re find a new act (or three) to fall in love with.

Ball Park Music (Brisbane)
These five twenty somethings from Brisbane, Australia play sunny, upbeat indie pop rock tunes since 2008. Lead singer Sam Cromack has a charismatic presence on stage not unlike Jarvis Cocker of Pulp. Very much a party and dance sound.

I’ve seen them inspire thousands at Australia’s major festival Splendour in the Grass to sing and dance to their pop anthem ‘It’s Nice to Be Alive’. Their popularity keeps growing, and it is not unusual for even the larger Sydney venues to sell out when they come to town.

‘Puddinghead’ is their second and current album and was released in April 2014. It includes the disco track ‘She Only Loves Me When I’m There’, which made #19 on the triple j Hottest 100 listing in 2014; they also successfully nabbed spot #58 with “Everything is Shit Except My Friendship With You”. Go check them out if you want to brighten up your day and have a bit of a groove.

Bloods (Sydney)
This three piece punk group – two girls doing the guitar/bass thing and a token male playing drums – like to yell, jump around and belt out their punchy tunes at a rapid rate. Their debut album “Work It Out” was released in 2014.

They have been on the scene since 2011. They’re a popular act at indie festivals and also score quite a few support spots for visiting overseas bands when they come to Oz. A highlight of theirs in 2014 was supporting ‘90s American punk outfit Veruca Salt, which I thought was a pretty good match musically. Another notable support slot was for the Dum Dum Girls. Lead singer Sweetie oozes swag and keeps the other two in line. I always enjoy seeing Bloods and taking in their infectious girl punk sound, and I hope you do too.

Carmada (Sydney)
You know how Pendulum changed the game a couple years ago, being an Australian band and bringing their fresh take on drum ‘n’ bass? Pendulum may be no more but Carmada, the musical marriage of solo musician/producers L D R U and Yahtzel, are about to melt your face off with a refreshing blend of electro, soul and hip hop. (Mary Chang)

The Church (Sydney)
Where do I start with The Church? They have been in my portfolio of sounds to love since I can remember. It was 1980 when The Church launched their goth rock at a gig in Sydney. Thirty years later, they have been inducted into the Australian Recording Artists Association (ARIA) Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame and have taken the wondrous 30-year anniversary tour “Future Past Perfect” around Australia and then to America in 2011.

In 2014 part of the band’s backbone, Marty Wilson-Piper, departed, with ex-lead guitarist and singer for Powderfinger Ian Hague coming onboard to fill the void. They also released their 25th studio album ‘Further/Deeper’ and were invited as the keynote speakers for Australia’s version of SXSW, BIGSOUND in Brisbane. In addition to SXSW, they’ll be touring America again this year.

The music of The Church is a mystical brand of goth rock that transports your mind to another plane. The emotion runs deep within the songs. Some of Australia’s classic rock songs have been penned by The Church, most notably ‘Under the Milky Way’, ‘The Unguarded Moment’, ‘Almost With You’ and ‘Metropolis’. Definitely go see The Church.

Courtney Barnett (Melbourne); read past TGTF coverage on her here
Courtney Barnett has toured around the U.S. a bit and from what I hear, she’s had a good reception. I actually picked up her 2013 double EP ‘A Sea of Split Peas’ while on a mid-2014 California holiday; there it was all pride of place at Lou’s Records in Encinitas. There are so many great tracks on the double EP to get excited about: ‘Avant Gardener’, ‘Lance Jr’, ‘Scotty Says’ and ‘Out of the Woodwork’ that will have you singing and swaying and thinking why you haven’t already heard of Courtney Barnett. In addition, one of Courtney’s singles from 2014, ‘Pickles From the Jar’, won the #51 spot on the triple j Hottest 100.

I really enjoy Courtney’s work, her music and lyrics have a distinctive Australian flavour to them and she always comes across as she would be your bestie if you just happened to live next door to her. Courtney’s style is a mixture of shoegaze and jangly rock on the recordings, but she gets more worked up at a live show and really gets into the performance and rocks down with her band members Bones and Dave. I recommend you checking out her showcase at this year’s SXSW.

The Delta Riggs (Melbourne)
These psych-rockers playfully known as ‘Le Riggs’ are no strangers to the USA, having played at Culture Collide and CMJ festivals in 2014. Their current persona is playful, especially witnessed in the filmclips for ‘The Record’s Flawed’ (think Sergeant Pepper-style pop art) and ‘Supersonic Casualties’ off their 2014 album ‘Dipz Zebazios’, which has been stirring up the punters and promoters alike. In early 2015 they will be supporting Foo Fighters across Australia and in the past have also supported Kasabian and Primal Scream.

Absolutely drop by The Delta Riggs’ set if you want to have a groove to some good rock beats and see a damn fine all star performance from the band and their superstar frontman Elliott Hammond, who has all the moves and energy and then some. I’ve been saying for years that Elliott is one of the best performers around, and it is most certainly time for him and his bandmates to shine.

Demi Louise (Melbourne)
Let’s face it, the young female indie folk singer/songwriter genre is pretty crowded in the UK already, with Lucy Rose leading the pack. But Demi Louise might give all these ladies a run for their money this year at SXSW 2015. Check out the haunting ‘Ruins’ with its dextrous guitar work for further evidence.

Despite still being unsigned, the 21-year old Melbournian already has plenty of international experience under her belt. In 2014, she ditched the chance to perform on Aussie X Factor – although she had already passed the necessary auditions – to play at Liverpool Sound City, so she already has huge points in my book for wanting to spread her music the old fashioned way. She’s also opened for Gabrielle Aplin in England, as well as TGTF favourites Kodaline in their hometown of Dublin. (Mary Chang)

Falls (Sydney); read our past coverage on Falls here
Acoustic folk duo Melinda and Simon hail from Sydney via Darwin (a far northwest tropical monsoonal city in Australia’s Northern Territory) who now live in Los Angeles after being signed to Universal in 2013. In Sydney they were the drawcard and brains behind Folk Club, where they performed every week for 5 years or more and also embraced other artists to perform on the bill to an appreciative audience that continued to build each week.

Folk Club helped the Sydney folk scene flourish. It was a magical time for all involved and we owe Falls a lot for being instrumental in this renaissance of Aussie folk music. Melinda and Simon were able to do achieve all of this because they were drop dead lyrically and musically good. It was always a joy to see them perform, the songs never lost their potency and continued to draw you week after week. It was not unusual for me to have tears in my eyes each Wednesday night as they performed their evocative songs such as ‘Home’, ‘Into the Fire’ and ‘Hollywood’.

Melinda has a lovely true full voice that will grab you by the heart and reminds me of another Australian folk singer, Judith Durham, who made such worldwide hits such as ‘Georgie Girl’ in the 1960s with her band The Seekers. I always felt that Melinda’s voice should also gain worldwide notice and am hoping this will turn out to be the case. Don’t miss seeing Falls, as they are a top-notch act worthy of attention and will appeal to all regardless of age and genre preference that some people may have.

George Maple
Pop might be a bad word in some circles. But George Maple is trying to change that with minimalist electronic backdrops and her soulful voice singing about the not so pop topics of melancholy and sadness. With famous friends like Flume (on whose ‘Bring You Down’ she guested on) and Kwes, she’s already got incredible street cred. Oh, and by the way, George is a woman… (Mary Chang)

The Gooch Palms (Newcastle)
Take a listen to ‘We Get By’ for proof that this girl drummer and boy guitarist like to shock as much as play a catchy punk rock tune. Energetic, raunchy, sometimes gross and in your face performances can be expected from this pair. Expect to get caught up in the moment by shaking your booty to their jaunty tunes. I would not be surprised if they have in mind some tricks of shock value level to dazzle their audiences at SXSW. Some of the international bands they have graced the stage with are the Thee Oh Sees, 5,6,7,8’s, Nobunny, Hunx and His Punx, Shannon and the Clams, and The King Khan and BBQ Show. I am sure you will find The Gooch Palms very likeable and the antidote to boring showcase performances.

Stay tuned for part 2 of our coverage of Australian artists showcasing at SXSW 2015, which concludes tomorrow.


About Us

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.

All MP3s are posted with the permission of the artists or their representatives and are for sampling only. Like the music? Buy it.

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