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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.

ESKA
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.]

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qdObPNAWANw[/youtube]

IDER
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.]

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kM3MNMrjhFM[/youtube]

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)

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PK7_5hJukT8[/youtube]

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)

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yq6Xa6VYWFI[/youtube]

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)

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EyoFMIhcOkg[/youtube]

PIXX
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.]

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M4kONnKvqG0[/youtube]

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.]

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d5mNrUEKil4[/youtube]

Sykes
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)

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UVHOAZ6UIAA[/youtube]

 

Guernsey Festival 2012: Day 2 Roundup

 
By on Friday, 6th July 2012 at 2:00 pm
 

Words by Hannah Saul

I woke up on the second day of Guernsey Festival to the soul-destroying sound of rain. My heart sank at the thought of spending my Sunday standing in a muddy, cold field. Nonetheless, I battled on in the thought of seeing the Kaiser Chiefs later on in the day.

I arrived at an empty festival site. It looked as though everyone had the same thought as I had. Forward and onward, I decided. How bad could it be? Everyone else couldn’t have been more wrong. Sunday’s acts had some of the best performances that I had seen the whole weekend.

My day began by watching Remedysounds whilst waiting for local heroes Courage Have Courage to come on the Main Stage. Remedy Sounds drew up a crowd of around 30 or so. So okay, maybe not the largest audience ever, but they were in for a treat. He played a mix of originals and covers, including a medley of different songs from artists such as Jamie T and Ed Sheeran. Using a guitar and a loop for his beat boxing, he managed to create distinctive copies of songs. By the time his set had finished he had successfully managed to draw up an acceptably large crowd.

Courage Have Courage came on with gusto, but sadly, the sound wasn’t up to scratch. I couldn’t help sorry for them as the sound of feedback nearly ruined it for them. But they pulled it back for themselves. Their poppy tunes they began to bring out the sun. ‘Lioness’ is their newest single and was also their finale. The guitar and keyboard complemented each other nicely and paired up with beautiful harmonies; the song seemed to make up for the awkward start.

As soon as they had finished, quickly I made it over to the Centre Circle Stage to go and see Mt. Wolf from London. The dream folk band played songs such as ‘Life Size Ghosts’. Their truly mesmerizing performance took hold of the audience, bringing the summer feel to the festival. Stevie McMinn (guitarist) and Kate Sproule (vocals) are from Guernsey, and the other members are also from seaside towns, and this meant that the ‘beachy’ vibe was definitely there.

The sun was finally shining; all I wanted to do was dance. All I needed now was music. It came in the form of Wrongtom Meets Deemas J, the ultra-cool reggae trio. Freestyling, their frontman greeted the audience by getting off the stage to dance with them. Their enthusiastic performance rang out across the field. Looking around I could not see a single person without a smile on their face or tapping their toes. It was the perfect opportunity to sit on the muddy ground and soak up the rays.

After an incredibly unfortunate drink spillage, I rushed home to change and back in time for Kassidy. The bluesy rock band, comprising of four singers, each of them playing guitar, was electric. Their presence was out of this world. I nearly had a heart attack when they began throwing their guitars to the roadies mid-performance. There was definitely a buzz in the air, and the crowd looked as if they couldn’t hold in their enjoyment. Playing some of their older songs such as ‘Stray Cat’ and their newer tracks such as ‘Waking up Sideways’, I would unquestionably say that Kassidy is a definite band to look out for. Energy and tunes, exactly what any festival needs.

Sadly, for a few hours after Kassidy had finished, it seemed as though the festival had been hit by a male apocalypse, as all of the menfolk seemed to have left their girlfriends, wives, daughters and friends to go and watch the football. The Fusion Dance Tent played host to many of these refugees; there were two projectors for the beer-soaked footy lads. It was lovely to see the very large amount of topless and painted me joining in harmony to watch the game originally rumoured not to be shown anywhere on the grounds.

Despite England’s loss, spirits were not dampened. There was quite literally a stampede to the Main Stage to witness the Kaiser Chiefs’ excellent performance. The Main Stage Tent was the most packed I had seen it all weekend and Ricky Wilson gave them what they wanted, putting his all into his performance. With a mix of old and new, everyone sang along to their favourites. All their greatest hits – ‘Ruby’, ‘I Predict A Riot’ and ‘Oh My God’ – were played, including songs off their new album ‘Souvenir’.

Overall, Guernsey Festival weekend is a great day out or festival break for families, couples and groups of friends. There is loads to do and see, and what better place to do it in warm Guernsey. I have a feeling that we will be hearing more and more about Guernsey Festival in the future. Hopefully this will also mean that it will be back again next year. A few tickets go on sale early every year, so make sure you get yours.

 
 
 

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