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SXSW 2014: Wednesday evening at Maggie Mae’s, Esther’s Follies and Parish Underground – 12th March 2014

 
By on Monday, 24th March 2014 at 1:00 pm
 

My Wednesday evening at SXSW 2014 started at Maggie Mae’s, where the Force Field PR showcase was being held. The lineup for the showcase included Withered Hand, Yellow Ostrich, Tony Molina, Painted Palms, CYMBALS, and The Pains of Being Pure at Heart. I regretted not being able to stay to hear all of them play, but for the moment, I was focused on my pre-show interview with Scottish singer/songwriter Withered Hand.

Withered Hand at Maggie Mae's 12 March 2014

I arrived at the venue rather early and was graciously invited to listen in on Withered Hand’s soundcheck before we sat down to chat. Sitting in on soundcheck is always a nice preview to a gig, and this particular soundcheck was incredibly laid-back, almost serene in its calm. Despite the relaxed atmosphere of the soundcheck and interview, Withered Hand delivered a set that was both energetic and introspective, consistent with the mood of his latest album of songs, ‘New Gods’. The room filled slowly during the performance, and the gathering crowd seemed delightfully appreciative of Dan Willson’s acerbic and darkly humourous lyrics.

After Withered Hand’s set, I stepped outside to check my phone messages and my watch. I had an hour before I was due for my next interview appointment, which was just enough time to peek in at the Gibson Room, the upstairs part of Maggie Mae’s, where the Music From Ireland showcase was being held. I should have known better than to even walk in to the Irish showcase on such a tight schedule, because once I was there, I wouldn’t want to leave. In the end, I couldn’t resist a quick peek, especially after I was invited inside by a lovely Irishman who turned out to be the manager of one of the bands featured on the showcase, The Young Folk. (I couldn’t stay to hear The Young Folk play on this particular evening, but watch this space for more on them from later in the week.)

The atmosphere in the Gibson Room was amazing, with guitars and music memorabilia in evidence everywhere (natch!). I had heard that the venue was plagued with technical and sound issues in past years, but none of that was in evidence during my brief stop. I only had time to listen to one Irish band, but fortunately for me, it turned out to be Dublin twin sister duo Heathers. I was hooked almost immediately on their edgy rock melodies, especially ‘Forget Me Knots’, to the point that I completely forgot to take any photos (is anyone sensing a theme here?).

The lineup for the evening at the Gibson Room included an amazing list of Irish bands: Dott, Heathers, Hozier, The Young Folk, Wounds and Kid Karate (all of whom we featured here before SXSW 2014 began). It absolutely broke my heart to have to leave after Heathers’ set, especially as I’d been dying to see Hozier and I was now intrigued by The Young Folk, but I consoled myself with the fact that I’d be seeing all of these acts on the upcoming Friday.

I dashed out of the Gibson Room with only a few minutes to spare before I was due at Esther’s Follies to interview Kentish alt-folk collective Cocos Lovers. As it turned out, Cocos Lovers were running a bit late themselves, but I did manage a nice sit down chat with band members Will Greenham and Phil Self, who were gracious enough to talk with me while they grabbed a bite to eat before their set. (Keep an eye out for the audio of that interview, coming soon.)

Gabby Young at Esther's Follies 12 March 2014

The stage at Esther’s Follies on that night hosted two acts featured here at TGTF, the aforementioned Cocos Lovers and “circus swing” practitioners Gabby Young and Other Animals. Young’s band for the night was partially composed of a mix of local musicians, some of whom she’d just met the day before, but their lively enthusiasm completely overcame any difficulties they might have had. Young and her troupe were in fine form, and the audience at Esther’s Follies absolutely adored her unique and vivacious combination of jazz, flamenco, Vaudeville, and classical bel canto singing. Her glorious high notes drew special applause, and by the end of her set, everyone in the seated venue was dancing in the narrow aisles.

Cocos Lovers at Esther's Follies 12 March 2014

Cocos Lovers played a slightly more mellow but equally charming set, which was unfortunately not as well received by the crowd at Esther’s Follies, who by now were in the mood for a party. Particular highlights of the set for me included the bluesy harmonies of ‘Emily’ and the lightly tripping ‘Under the Hawthorn Tree’, which I listened to with delighted new ears after our interview.

After Cocos Lovers, I made yet another mad dash, this time to meet up with editor Mary for the end of Modern Outsider showcase at the Parish Underground. By this point in the evening, I was ready to put my notebook away and get my groove on, and the last act on that bill, The Crookes, were the perfect fix. Read Mary’s coverage of the showcase here.

Special thanks to Daniel, Jim and Jay for their assistance on this night.

 

TGTF Guide to SXSW 2014: Singer/songwriter and folk UK artists showcasing at this year’s SXSW

 
By on Tuesday, 4th 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.

Just 1 week off now from the official start of SXSW 2014 and we’ve arrived at the sixth part of the TGTF Guide to SXSW 2014: the genre of singer/songwriters and folk artists. Whether they are single person artists with just a microphone and/or a guitar, or they’re a multi-person strong team of musicians, singer/songwriters have the ability to evoke feelings and emotions in us sometimes we didn’t even know we had. Read on…

Juliette Ashby
Carrie writes: “Fans of the late Amy Winehouse will be interested to hear up-and-coming pop diva Juliette Ashby. Though Ashby was reportedly close friends with Winehouse, her music bears only the slightest tinge of Winehouse’s gritty soul flavor, instead leaning more toward the sparkly dance pop of stars like Ellie Goulding or Lily Allen. Ashby’s debut album ‘Bittersweet’ will be available for preorder on the 3rd of March.

Liam Bailey
Self-described as “acoustic soul”, Nottingham-born Bailey brings a soulful, almost jazzy edge and a welcome difference to the singer/songwriter category.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mCB6tg_6ntY[/youtube]

Cocos Lovers
Alt-folk collective Cocos Lovers formed in Kent in 2008 when its members decided to quit their day jobs and travel through Europe, busking and making music however and wherever they possibly could. Predictably, the influences on their style are widely varied, including English folk and choral music, American Southern gospel and Spanish flamenco, as well as the complex rhythms and tonalities of African and Eastern traditional music.

Read Carrie’s Bands to Watch feature on Cocos Lovers here; two of their members also answered our SXSW 2014 flavoured Quickfire Questions, which you can read here.

Cousin Marnie
Carrie writes: Hackney native Cousin Marnie has the unique distinctions of claiming an Alfred Hitchcock heroine as the inspiration for her stage name and counting both Loretta Lynn and Kanye West among her main musical influences. Her single ‘Cain’ is an eerie combination of biblical text, stark instrumental texture, and delicate vocal timbres in the verses, juxtaposed with heavy bass and savage rhythm in the chorus. Watch the lyric video for ‘Cain’ below, and try not to think too much about what might have become of the little white bunny.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/KDIShBsd7HI[/youtube]

Honeyblood
Carrie writes: “Honeyblood’s twee grunge pop has drawn fully warranted comparisons to California groups Best Coast and Haim, not only for the female lead vocals, but for the laid-back vibe, fuzzy garage band tone and mildly rebellious lyrics.”

Carrie’s Bands to Watch feature on Honeyblood is here.

Kieran Leonard
Carrie writes: “The hipster literati in Austin next spring will no doubt flock to see British singer-songwriter Kieran Leonard, whose esoteric and often politically-charged folk rock challenges both emotion and intellect. His intensity may be off-putting at first, especially to a casual listener, but his entrancing singing voice and cynically provocative lyrics are worth a bit of extra attention.”

Read Carrie’s Bands to Watch piece on Leonard here.

The Melodic
Carrie writes: “South London band The Melodic have just finished touring America with Johnny Flynn and The Sussex Wit in support of their debut full length album, ‘Effra Parade’. ‘Effra Parade’ is a light and jaunty mix of carefree melodic lines, casual vocal harmonies and diverse instrumental textures. While musically whimsical, the songs’ thoughtful lyrics often deal with larger intellectual topics, such as the Pinochet-era political turmoil in Chile in ‘Ode to Victor Jara’”.

Carrie’s Bands to Watch feature on the band is here; frontman Huw Williams also answered our SXSW 2014 flavoured Quickfire Questions set here.

Nick Mulvey
Carrie writes: “Blurring the lines between jazz, classical, world music, and folk genres, this set of four songs reveals a wide array of musical influences, as well as a broad set of lyrical and compositional ideas. The songs hinge on minimalist grooves and the repetitive plucked rhythms of Mulvey’s acoustic guitar, but the unique harmonies and eclectic instrumentation generate surprising sonic variety.”

Rhodes
This Hitchin guitar-toting singer/songwriter with a penchant for sweeping, ethereal vocals has already been compared to the likes of Jeff Buckley and Antony and the Johnsons. Check out ‘Raise Your Love’, which showcases his expansive voice.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rzcx0Oa7s2s[/youtube]

Sweet Baboo
Welsh singer/songwriter Stephen Black might have named himself after Linus Van Pelt’s (Peanuts) too cute nickname, but he does a good job bridging the heartfelt with the occasional squealing guitar jam.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zMQ8h42HOJU[/youtube]

Tom the Lion
Cheryl writes: Tom Visser, performing under the moniker Tom the Lion, is splashing back onto the scene after a 3-year absence. Debut album ‘Sleep’ is poised to give this Londoner a career jolt. Blending low-fi, chamber pop and modified symphonics, ‘Sleep’ is a mysterious, masterful work. Previous release ‘The Adventures of Tom the Lion’ brought him under the radar commercial success even though it was an amalgam of live performance and limited edition vinyl-only EPs. Despite the difficulty in finding his music – currently available only via Rough Trade or his Web site, it is worth the hunt (hint: try Soundcloud). Both works hold gems that identify this singer as an endearing entry into the male singer/songwriter milieu.”

Cheryl’s full Bands to Watch feature on Tom the Lion can be found here.

Alex Vargas
Though he’s based in London, singer/songwriter was born in Denmark and is of English and Uruguayan ancestry. Looking for a bit of 21st century blue-eyed soul in Austin? You’ve found him.

Wildflowers
Carrie writes: “Brighton-based four-piece Wildflowers center their folk rock sound around the vocal harmonies of sisters Siddy and Kit Bennett. Siblings almost always have a unique ability to perfectly match their vocal diction for seamless harmonies, but the sisters also share a love of rebellious female songs, citing Alanis Morrisette as an early musical influence. Hints of Morrisette certainly appear in Wildflowers’ lyrics and Siddy Bennett’s vocal delivery, but the overall sound leans more toward the bluesy country of Patsy Cline. The Bennett sisters cite their nomadic, bohemian upbringing as an influence on their music as well, with American bands like The Eagles and Fleetwood Mac informing the full-scale vocal harmonies they share with band members James Ashbury and Kendal Sant.”

Want to read Carrie’s Bands to Watch feature on Wildflowers? Right this way.

Withered Hand
Carrie writes: “Withered Hand is the stage name of Scottish folk singer/songwriter Dan Willson, whose second full length album, ‘New Gods’, is due for release in mid-March (the 10th of March, just in time for SXSW!) by Fortuna Pop! Records. According to the label’s press release for ‘New Gods’, Willson took up songwriting around age 30 when a series of life events sparked “a period of reflection” that led to the creation of his deeply introspective first album ‘Good News’. ‘New Gods’ is a variation on that theme of self-examination, equally perceptive and evocative, but with a mellow touch of wry humor to soften its blunt honesty.”

To read Carrie’s review of Withered Hand’s upcoming album ‘New Gods’, go here.

Gabby Young and Other Animals
Carrie writes: Gabby Young is a classically trained opera singer turned ‘Circus Swing’ songwriter whose globally-influenced brand of folk music has been grouped into an eccentric genre all its own. Her singing voice is indeed glorious, but even more spectacular are the energetically jazzy rhythms provided by her 8-piece backing band, Other Animals. This lively showcase is sure to inspire dancing and debauchery in Austin. For a quick teaser, watch the video for ‘I’ve Improved’, from the group’s Kickstarter-funded third album ‘One Foot in Front of the Other’.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/3TEon8cQI_g [/youtube]

More of the TGTF Guide to SXSW 2014 to come this week. Stay tuned!

 
 
 

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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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