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SXSW 2017: Sound Gallery I, presented by Sounds Australia at B.D. Riley’s – 14th March 2017

By on Monday, 27th March 2017 at 5:00 pm

In my sixth SXSW, I had little trouble managing my expectations while also pacing myself during the week. However, Tuesday morning, I found my intentions to find milk for tea for the week difficult (I’m assuming the English in town bought it all in the closest grocery store? Thanks, everyone), which delayed my morning. Sadly, I arrived at part I of Sounds Australia’s annual Sound Gallery at 6th Street Irish pub B.D. Riley’s too late to catch first band The Heart Collectors. (More on the folk band later.) As mentioned in the introduction yesterday, it was chilly at the start of the week in Austin. This necessitated a homey (and probably excessively large for yours truly) plate of bangers and mash, accompanied by what else by Guinness at B.D. Riley’s, hunkering down for four more of the acts on the docket.

I’m sure for every person it’s different, but something I hear all the time is the Aussie’s desire to leave Oz for America and weirdly and specifically, for Los Angeles. Singer/songwriter Tim Wheatley did exactly this, telling us during this set this afternoon that he got out of Australia as soon as he could and never looked back. When I did research on Wheatley prior to SXSW, I was confused by his supposed image as a folk / country performer and his video ’78 Benz’, in which he sported long bleached blonde hair. Think ‘80s hair bands.

Tim Wheatley,
Sound Gallery I, Sounds Australia, B.D. Riley's, Tuesday 14 March 2017

So imagine my surprise when I finally see Wheatley in the flesh with short hair and boots. If he was wearing a 10-gallon hat, he’d have completed the perfect cowboy image. The Mercedes he sings of is about a vintage car he procured shortly after arriving in L.A. Without the long hair, I think it’s much easier to take Tim Wheatley seriously as a musician. It wouldn’t be hard to imagine him setting up shop one day soon in Nashville.


Juanita Stein, Sound Gallery I, Sounds Australia, B.D. Riley's, Tuesday 14 March 2017

Next up was Juanita Stein, probably more famous to the SXSW hordes as the sexy lead singer and rhythm guitarist of Sydney’s Howling Bells. She’s decamped to Brighton to work on her solo album, which is expected later this year. Now as a solo artist, or at least while she was in Austin, she’s chosen the sole focus to be on her music, as she was dressed understatedly in black. I wondered if she felt weird performing at the small stage at B.D. Riley’s, as she’s used to much larger (and louder) crowds and venues. Her track ‘Stargazer’ showcases her talent at balladry, though I questioned her inclusion of a cover of Roy Orbison’s ‘Blue Bayou’, which has been covered by so many people in the past and suggested Stein wasn’t entirely comfortable performing her own material yet.


The Elliotts,
Sound Gallery I, Sounds Australia, B.D. Riley's, Tuesday 14 March 2017

After two folky acts, pop/rock act The Elliotts from Melbourne were a nice breath of fresh air. If you have a song called ‘Instagram’ that was previously titled ‘Pink Toilet Seat’, the chances are pretty high you don’t take yourself too seriously. Whether this will positively or negatively affect their career remains to be seen. (After their set, two of their three band members were out of there, choosing to run, skip and jump down to the convention center instead of staying at B.D. Riley’s for an interview with me; you can listen to my chat with James “Wally” Howlett through here, which includes a discussion on their social media-themed tune.) Their actual performance was upbeat and fun, bringing injecting life into the previously mellow vibe in the pub. They’ve got an EP out now, ‘Aeroplane’, which includes ‘Instagram’ and set standout ‘Seeing Stars’.


As you might imagine, I get a lot of emails from PRs and management before SXSW begging me to come see their bands in Austin. I’d have to clone myself tens of times over in order to see everyone, and I do my own research ahead of time to figure who to see and when. Joel Sarakula was a weird case in that we previewed him in the London portion of the TGTF Guide to SXSW 2017 because artists appear in the SXSW schedule based on the location they use on their applications. Sarakula has lived in London for over 10 years, admitting to the punters at B.D. Riley’s that his accent is a weird mélange of Aussie and Londoner sounds.

Joel Sarakula,
Sound Gallery I, Sounds Australia, B.D. Riley's, Tuesday 14 March 2017

If anything, Sarakula’s mutt accent added to the spectacle of his performance, which felt like it was taken out of a ‘70s lounge of leisure and possibly out an adult film of that era. Seriously, I wondered why he wasn’t swearing a crushed velvet suit and sporting a giant medallion around his neck. Behind rose-tinted sunglasses and a keyboard that he insisted was TSA-approved, he struck a good balance between odd yet appealing. Taking elements of psych, soul and putting them through a throwback filter might not sound like it works on paper, but toes were tapping at B.D. Riley’s to tunes like the driving ‘They Can’t Catch Me’.


TGTF Guide to SXSW 2017: London pop artists showcasing at this year’s SXSW

By on Wednesday, 22nd February 2017 at 12:00 pm

As you might imagine, London leads the charge with the largest number of artists one city in the UK is sending to SXSW 2017. In this post, we introduce you to the acts from London Town in the genre of pop who received a shout for SXSW this year. The summaries of acts below were written by Rebecca Clayton, Steven Loftin and David Wriglesworth; where noted, some acts have dropped out. 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.

Zimbabwean-born ESKA is best described as an amalgamation of the psyche soul of Minnie Riperton, with the whimsical melodic twists of Kate Bush, arranged into an intoxicating meld for the post-digital age.

Throughout the 2000s, ESKA gained vocal credits on many independent releases, before releasing the ‘Gatekeeper’ EP on her own Earthling Recordings label in 2013. The EP attracted worldwide critical acclaim, with BBC Radio 6’s Giles Peterson describing ESKA as “one of the most important singers in the UK”. ESKA released her self-titled debut album in 2015, which received a nomination for the 2015 Mercury Music Prize. Fast forward 2 years, and ESKA is set to unveil new music from her hugely anticipated follow-up album. (David Wriglesworth) [As of 21/2, ESKA is no longer listed on the SXSW Music Festival schedule.]


Megan Markwick and Lily Somerville are better known as IDER. Since moving in together, the duo worked tirelessly on their project and emerged in April 2016 with their debut track, ‘Sorry’. Within minutes of the track going live on Soundcloud, Sorry received huge support from BBC Radio 1’s Phil Taggart, who labeled IDER as one of his “Future Firsts” on his weekly show. Two months later, IDER released their follow-up track, the vulnerable, yet beautifully balanced ‘Pulse’, which has since received over 1,000,000 streams on Spotify. This was followed by the release of ‘King Ruby’ and ‘Million’.

With only a few live shows under their belt, supporting Conner Youngblood, Tegan and Sara and Samaris in London, IDER have laid low, writing and recording their debut album, which is expected to be released later this year. (David Wriglesworth) [As of 21/2, IDER are no longer listed on the SXSW Music Festival schedule.]


The Japanese House
Do you need some melancholic synth pop in your life? Of course you do, it gives life that edge. The Japanese House manages to own this as well as have you begging for me. The fact it’s produced by The 1975‘s Matt Healy should give you a hint as to exactly how good we’re talking here. You can check out the ‘Swim Against The Tide’ EP available now. (Steven Loftin)

Joel Sarakula
Joel Sarakula is an Australian-born, UK-based soulful pop producer and singer-songwriter, who has travelled the world in search of his muse, gazing through his vintage glasses at his ‘70s tinged world.

In 2013, Joel Sarakula released his debut album ‘The Golden Age’. Singles ‘Bohemian’ and ‘I Will Deliver’ received numerous plays across BBC 6 Music, BBC London, XFM, Q Radio and Absolute Radio. Fans didn’t have to wait long for his follow-up, ‘The Imposter’, which hit store shelves in November 2015. This latest album took him to London, Berlin and Sydney, with a host of his musical comrades appearing on the record.

Joel Sarakula is a regular fixture on the festival and club circuit in the UK, Europe and Australia, having made appearances at Latitude, Glastonbury, The Great Escape, V-ROX Vladivostok and Reeperbahn Festival Hamburg, among others. (David Wriglesworth)


Kate Nash
Kate Nash is the Harrow-born indie pop singer/songwriter who rocketed to fame in 2007 with her punchy hit ‘Foundations’. Nash went on to release a bunch of other singles from the album ‘Made of Bricks’, including ‘Pumpkin Soup’ and ‘Mouthwash’, that cemented her as a cornerstone of quirky, bright indie pop. In 2013, she shared her third studio album ‘Girl Talk’, which she released independently, saw her head for a punkier direction. Always being outspoken about politics and women’s rights and issues, Nash also worked to prevent the Dakota Access Pipeline last year. She’ll be appearing at SXSW this March, with the follow-up intention of releasing a new album this summer, which she is recording in Los Angeles. Stay tuned… (Rebecca Clayton)


Mt. Wolf
In 2011, an inexperienced Kate Sproule turned down her first-post college job to pursue a music career to form Mt. Wolf (pictured at top), alongside her childhood friend Stevie McMinn and his college mates. The risk paid off as, after only two EPs into their career, Mt. Wolf became established as a signature sound. However, the band announced their decision to split 2 years later, due to creative differences in the band.

After a year’s hiatus, Mt. Wolf reunited with a new line-up as pictured at top, consisting of Sebastian Fox (vocals/guitar), Stevie McMinn (guitar) and Alex Mitchell (drums). The band’s electronic and acoustic elements have earned them comparisons to the likes of London Grammar, Mogwai and Sigur Ros.

The future is looking promising for the band, having received funding from the BPI’s Music Exports Growth Scheme (MEGS), as well as a separate grant from the PRS Foundation. (David Wriglesworth)


Hannah Rodgers, better known as Pixx, is a young singer/songwriter from Chipstead on the outskirts of London. Born to a music-loving family, Pixx’s creative side was nurtured and encouraged from a young age, with her talent earning her a place at The BRIT School, which also counts Adele, Ella Eyre and the late Amy Winehouse among its alumni.

Inspired by the likes of Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell and Aphex Twin, Pixx – whose name is adopted from her grandmother’s nickname – released her recording debut ‘Fall In’ in August 2015. This was quickly followed by dreamy, synth-pop tracks ‘Baboo’ and ‘Grip’.

2016 was a busy year for Pixx, as she joined Daughter and Glass Animals on tour as a support act, played at a host of festivals including Latitude and performed at a 4AD showcase in the UK and the U.S. Pixx is currently in the process of finishing her debut album, which is due for release in early 2017. (David Wriglesworth) [As of 21/2, Pixx is no longer listed on the SXSW Music Festival schedule.]


Roses Gabor
Once upon a time, Roses Gabor was working at a bank while working on her music career on evenings and weekends. In 2005 she sang on the Gorillaz track ‘Dare’, and since then she has appeared at a number of the band’s shows and tours to provide vocals, and featured on a number of other artists’ tracks, including SBTRKT’s ‘Pharoahs’ released back in 2011. More recently she’s featured on Basstrack’s funk-inspired ‘Get Your Way’.

In 2012, she released the single ‘Stars’, before releasing a follow-up single ‘Rush’ 2 years later. Gabor’s music is tranquil electro-dance, and features shimmering synth rhythms that show off her svelte vocals. (Rebecca Clayton) [As of 21/2, Roses Gabor is no longer listed on the SXSW Music Festival schedule.]


Sykes are a sparkly, electro alt-pop outfit from London, made up of lead singer Julia Sykes, lead guitar/ bass player Kristian Taylor and Will Grid Brown on drums. Unsigned, the band is yet to release an album but they have shared a bunch of singles/EPs since they started writing together. The band has been featured on Radio 1, and they have supported the likes of Bleachers and Charli XCX live, as well as appearing at a number of festivals including Glastonbury.

The band released the popular ‘Gold Dust’ in 2014, garnering attention for the trio. Title track ‘Gold Dust’ is joyful, with a glittering childhood sentimentality to it, and echoes the dreamy alt-pop quality of the band’s music. They also released an EP in 2016, ‘Younger Mind’. (Rebecca Clayton)



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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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