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SXSW 2017: Monday night variety, including Americana at the Swan Dive, pop at The Gatsby and rock at the British Music Embassy – 13th March 2017

 
By on Monday, 3rd April 2017 at 5:00 pm
 

After our arrival in Austin on Monday afternoon, Mary and I officially began our music festival adventures at SXSW 2017 on Monday night at the Swan Dive, which played host to a showcase of alt-country and Americana artists. We only stayed long enough to see one band, but it turned out to be a fortuitous choice, as the first act on the evening’s bill was outstanding Finnish duo Tuomo & Markus. (Mary also wrote about them in this previous SXSW 2017 review post.

Tuomo and Markus internal

Tuomo Prättälä and Markus Nordenstreng are each career musicians in their own right, but they came together recently at Wavelab Studio in my own adopted home of Tucson, AZ to record an album of contemporary Americana, with contributions from well-known friends, including members of Wilco, Calexico and The Jayhawks. Though the album, titled ‘Dead Circles’, has yet to be released outside of Scandinavia (its North American and European release is due later this year), I found out later in the week that Rolling Stone contributor David Fricke had already named it to his list of ‘New Albums from the Best of SXSW 2017’.

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Following Tuomo & Markus’ set, Mary and I set out in separate directions (you can read her Monday evening review here). I headed to The Gatsby, which was playing host to the heavily-hyped and well-attended Pandora showcase. After a brief wait in the queue, I got inside just in time to see another duo act, FRENSHIP, whom I’d already encountered in my preview of Los Angeles bands at SXSW 2017. James Sunderland and Brett Hite’s high energy blend of organic songwriting with electronic dance music is immediately captivating, and their anthemic tracks ‘1000 Nights’ and ‘Capsize’ fit perfectly on the large, brightly-lit stage at The Gatsby. You can hear more about FRENSHIP’s Monday night set in my post-performance interview with them right back here.

"chk

The next act on the Pandora stage was Brooklyn-based dance pop band !!! (aka chk chk chk, if you want to say it out loud). They made an entrance worthy of all three exclamation points, and proceeded to shimmy and shake through a set that was equal parts glitz and Jazzercise. Their new album ‘Shake the Shudder’ is due out on the 19th of May, and if you love to dance, you’ll want to catch them on tour this summer: they already have dates scheduled in the UK and at home here in America.

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I’m not sure how I missed L.A. rock band Lo Moon in my aforementioned preview, but I was pleasantly surprised by their intense and atmospheric set on the Pandora stage. The video for their latest single ‘Loveless’ came out just after SXSW, and the drawn out anticipation of its slowly unfolding drama is a fair representation of their music, though they do make a much more powerful impact in live performance.

False Advertising internal

Before the first night of SXSW could officially close, I naturally had to pay a visit to the British Music Embassy at Latitude 30. The last two bands on the DIY + TicketWeb showcase that evening were Manchester-based False Advertising and Exeter trio Muncie Girls. Both bands fall into the rock category, but False Advertisting were more on the fuzzy, grunge end of the continuum, while Muncie Girls have a brighter, cleaner sound. False Advertising do an interesting lead vocal/drums switch between Jen Hingley and Chris Warr, but as I was never able to see Warr’s face beyond his hair when he was singing, I think I’d have to say that I prefer Hingley in the forefront. Fellow frontwoman Lande Hekt of Muncie Girls had a more immediately engaging stage presence, though her pleasant smile was rather ironic, given the subversive lyrics behind her band’s catchy punk sound.

Muncie Girls internal

Monday night at SXSW 2017 was a grab-bag of different bands and different sounds, but it was only the tip of the iceberg. Stay tuned to TGTF for my further accounts from the week in Austin, and if you haven’t been able to keep up with Mary’s fast-paced coverage of events, you can find everything collected right back here.

 

SXSW 2017 Interview: FRENSHIP

 
By on Friday, 24th March 2017 at 11:00 am
 

Electropop duo FRENSHIP first came across my radar very recently as part of TGTF’s SXSW 2017 preview of showcasing artists from Los Angeles. But the pair, comprising James Sunderland and Brett Hite, have been collaborating as FRENSHIP for over 4 years now, and their combination of electronic dance music and pop songwriting is beginning to pick up momentum with listeners here in America and around the world. Their 2016 single ‘Capsize’, featuring singer Emily Warren, has garnered over 300 million Spotify streams to date, and their January 2017 single ‘1000 Nights’ has already racked up over 10 million streams. Both ‘Capsize’ and ‘1000 Nights’ appear on FRENSHIP’s debut EP ‘Truce’, released in September 2016 on Columbia Records.

FRENSHIP at Pandora, Gatsby, Monday 13 March 2017

FRENSHIP kicked off their SXSW 2017 with an opening slot on the Monday night lineup at The Gatsby, which was hosted by Internet radio service Pandora. Their set on the Pandora stage was a lively, high energy affair that set the tone for the evening’s later acts, !!! (chk, chk, chk) and Lo Moon. They played both singles mentioned above as well as a brand new, as yet unreleased song titled ‘Keep You Close’. I was fortunate enough to catch James and Brett fresh off the stage for the interview below, where we talked about their synthesis of discrete sonic influences and the events leading to FRENSHIP’s signing with Columbia.

[youtube]https://youtu.be/kOyBhtPF5aw[/youtube]

 

TGTF Guide to SXSW 2017: Los Angeles artists showcasing at this year’s SXSW

 
By on Monday, 6th March 2017 at 3:00 pm
 

If you followed TGTF’s coverage of SXSW 2016, you might have noticed that we branched out a bit last year to include more American and international bands in both our previews and our live coverage of the music festival. To continue in that vein this year, we’re offering preview coverage of showcasing bands and artists from selected cities in America, starting with the City of Angels. Home to the glitz and glam of the Hollywood film industry, Los Angeles is also a major mecca for music industry types and a perpetual source of inspiration for musicians themselves.

As you can imagine, the list of SXSW showcasing artists from the Los Angeles area is quite lengthy, given the large number of musicians in the city and the city’s relative proximity to Austin. The Los Angeles contingent to SXSW 2017 comprises artists from across the span of categorized genres, including pop, rock, electronic, Americana, hip-hop, metal and reggae. This part of our guide will, by necessity, be only a very brief overview of some of the L.A.-based bands and artists who have grabbed our attention in the lead-up to SXSW.

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Starting with the Americana category, one familiar name immediately caught my eye, that of Allison Pierce. Formerly part of sister duo The Pierces, Allison Pierce has recently ventured out on her own to record a solo album, due for release on the 5th of May this year. Very little information about the album was available at press time, except for the title, ‘Year of the Rabbit’. Following SXSW, Pierce is scheduled to go on tour with The Wind and the Wave, which might give some indication of her intended sound.

The avant/experimental category is represented by multi-disciplinary artist SORNE, who is an accomplished actor, visual artist and filmmaker aside from his musical oeuvre. Though his SXSW bio lists Los Angeles as his current base, his official Web site alludes to some history with the city of Austin as well. You watch his performance video of ‘House of Stone (Rubble Women)’ just below.

[youtube]https://youtu.be/fFRhi3Lzzs4[/youtube]

Newport Beach DJ Shaded brings his production talents to Austin on the heels of his November EP release ‘Yoyo’ and with a new EP already in the works for 2017. On the electronic side, South New Jersey native electrosoul artist Mndsgn has released two full albums since relocating to the surf and sunshine of Southern California. His latest, 2016’s ‘Body Wash’, features a mix of chill synths and kaleidoscopic funk in ‘Cosmic Perspective’.

[youtube]https://youtu.be/BGgaZ66-hPA[/youtube]

Jazz drummer Karriem Riggins has an extensive background in session work, as well as production for artists like Common, Talib Kweli and The Roots. His 2012 solo debut ‘Alone Together’ features a mind-boggling 34 tracks, which cross-reference and intertwine hip-hop and jazz rhythms. On the edgier side of the Hip-Hop/Rap category, West Coast rapper G Perico is riding high on the acclaim of his 2016 LP ‘Shit Don’t Stop’. (Take a listen to the title track right here —warning, explicit lyrics.)

Surprisingly (or maybe not, for those more in-the-know about the genre) the metal category features two L.A. bands fronted by female lead singers. Writer and social activist Otep Shemaya describes her band Otep as “artcore” and “heavy mental”; their current album ‘Generation Doom’ is out now. The World Over, led by Tiaday Ball, are scheduled to tour with Otep in mid-March around their stop in Austin for SXSW.

[youtube]https://youtu.be/rTx_aSn-ckw[/youtube]

The pop genre is also heavy on female artists this year, starting with the quirky, edgy alt-pop of BeLL. She’s got a haunting cover of REM’s ‘Losing My Religion’ posted on her Soundcloud, along with her own current single ‘Bang Bang’. On the more mainstream side of things, Bridgit Mendler’s new single ‘Temperamental Love’ has a chill r&b vibe, while non-female band Frenship takes a radio-friendly anthem-pop tack with ‘1000 Nights’.

[youtube]https://youtu.be/2HnaFtTV1wA[/youtube]

Rock is the most heavily populated category among Los Angeles artists, and the variety of rock artists runs the subgenre gamut from Grunge (Deap Vally) to New Wave (Kolars) to Soul (Chicano Batman). Editor Mary has already introduced us to up-and-coming sibling act The Fontaines. Other notable mentions in the category go to Mondo Cozmo (pictured at top), who’s already been all over SiriusXM radio here in the States, Weezer guitarist Brian Bell’s side project The Relationship, and irrepressible garage rockers Cherry Glazerr. (Their video for ‘Nuclear Bomb’ might be considered NSFW.)

[youtube]https://youtu.be/l3Pnr3S10yA[/youtube]

The singer/songwriter genre, predictably, has a few interesting vagabond stories among its ranks. San Francisco native Mark Eitzel has relocated to Los Angeles for the release of his tenth solo album ‘Hey Mr Ferryman’, which was recorded in London with former Suede guitarist Bernard Butler. Relative newcomer Corey Harper transplanted himself from Portland to Venice, CA, where his raw, soulful sound seems to have bloomed in the ‘California Sun’ (see below). And folk duo Jim and Sam have resolved to become proper troubadours, playing a live show every day for a year on what they call their ‘Anywhere Everyday’ tour.

[youtube]https://youtu.be/4upL8hZSvZg[/youtube]

All roads will lead from Los Angeles to Austin in only a week’s time. Stay tuned to TGTF for more coverage of L.A. artists live from SXSW 2017. 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.

 
 
 

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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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