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TGTF Guide to SXSW 2013: Pop and pop hybrid UK artists showcasing at this year’s SXSW

By on Tuesday, 8th January 2013 at 11:00 am

It may be hard to believe, but the start of South by Southwest 2013 is a mere 9 weeks away! We’ll be bringing you special features here on TGTF all the way until and through the week of the music portion of SXSW on the 12th to the 17th of March 2013, so keep it here for some great stuff your way. Please note: all information we bring you is to the best of our knowledge when it posts and bands scheduled to appear may be subject to change.

For example, starting this month, on each Tuesday in January, we’ll be bringing you the genre section of the exclusive TGTF Guide to SXSW 2013, profiling all the UK artists that have already been announced to perform at this year’s event as of 5 December 2012. It’s a handy resource if you’re wondering which acts to catch at this year’s marathon week of showcases, parties and secret shows. But I hope it’ll also introduce you to the solo artists and bands you haven’t heard of, because that’s the most exciting thing about SXSW: at any one moment, you could walk into a bar, a club, a hotel, a warehouse, wherever…and you might just discover the next big thing in music.

Today’s genre? Pop and pop hybrid acts. How are we defining pop? That’s often a tough question, since pop can pull elements from other genres of music including urban, dance, rock, folk and country. And it made my work harder, as sometimes I had to question, “is this band pop? Or rock? Or should I put him/her with the singer/songwriters?” I detected a prevailing pop sensibility in all the acts you will read about below.

? (alt-J) – do they really a write-up? Probably not. It’s bothering me more than necessary that they’re playing 9:30 Club in the spring, but if nasal vocals are what DC wants, they will get them…

Read our previous coverage including the 2012 Mercury Prize nomination and win of alt-J, here.

Syd Arthur – not a single singer/songwriter but rather a psychedelic pop band calling Canterbury home. As you might expect, they all have long, unkempt hair but have incredible attention to detail. “Greatly inspired by the sonic pioneers of the late 60s and early 70s, they have patiently learned how to engineer, produce and mix themselves, using an innovative hybrid of analogue and digital techniques.” I’m sold.

Sounds like: exactly how I’d think the Alan Parsons Project would sound in the 21st Century.


Bastille – I’m not going to write a blurb here since Cheryl had done a very nice one here for Dan Smith and co.’s profile as #2 on our 10 for 2013 poll.

Catch all our previous coverage of Bastille here.

Cave Painting – expansive dream pop from Brighton with touches of Friendly Fires-like escapism and occasional xx-like minimalism.

Catch our previous coverage on the band here.

Charli XCX – Hertfordshire-born, cookie cutter electropop princess. Not really what I think of going down well in Austin. Next…

Charlotte Church – To be honest, I was a little confused to see her name on the first SXSW list. But she’s been trying to shed her good girl, classical music-singing, teenage girl image with a proper pop one, though she runs no risk of sounding like any other UK pop starlet. No, her sound is an unusual blend of the operatic with the whimsy of Patrick Wolf? Not sure about this. Very interesting though to see her singing the praises of Lianne La Havas on Twitter. Future mates?

Now trying to sound like: an operatic Kate Bush (see ‘How Not To Be Surprised When You’re a Ghost’ below)


Everything Everything – the Manchester band that defies any description, really, is ready to storm 2013 with a new album ‘Arc’ to be released in a short while, and it’s my hope that their SXSW turn will finally land them an American record deal. Mixing their disparate loves of pop, rock and hip hop to create a sound that can only be described as catchy and earworm-y, missing them at SXSW is not an option.

We’ve been following EE since Gwilym Gold (ex-Golden Silvers) first tipped them in 2009 on Twitter, so for everything (no pun intended) we’ve written on them, go here.


Fear of Men – What a strange name for a band, especially since this group consists of two girls and two boys. (I would have thought it either would have been a girl group, or a bunch of gay men.) Brooklyn record label Kanine Records – aka the American home of Surfer Blood – will be putting out a compilation of the band’s early singles, which means a whole new generation of hipsters will be putting them on their iPods. Really. Hear their latest 7”, called ‘Mosaic’, here; Amazing Radio’s Shell Zenner interviewed the band in 2012 and I’ve embedded a stream of the interview below.

File next to: the Pains of Being Pure at Heart

Gross Magic – Brighton’s Sam McGarrigle makes kinda psychedelic rock, kinda pop. Kinda. Not my thing so I’ll leave it there.

Sounds like: a drugged out Marc Bolan if he discovered a synth (but we didn’t, and that’s why we have T. Rex)


The Heavy – they are a neo-soul band from Bath whose 2009 song ‘How Do You Like Me Now?’ has been popping up in all sorts of popular culture places, on tv shows and video games to…Barack Obama’s election night location in Chicago. (What?) And you know how the line goes, if Barry’s a fan, then…


Islet – noise pop quartet from Cardiff who have been blowing minds in the UK for a while now with their challenging blend of percussion driven, yet undanceable experimental rock.

Read our previous coverage of the band, including a review of their 2012 album ‘Illuminated People’, here.

Jetta – Liverpool singer Jetta croons soulfully to a minimalist backdrop the xx would be proud to call their own. Band-wise, we’ll have to see if this turns out to be more Florence and the Machine or No Doubt.

Sounds like: Diana Ross joined the xx and unilaterally blocked Romy and Oliver from singing


Lianne La Havas – La Havas has already made a huge impression on an L.A. crowd in November at the Roxy; if the L.A. Times are to be believed, her voice can be favourably compared to those of Joni Mitchell, Sade, Alicia Keys, Meshell Ndgeocello, Jill Scott and, based on a cover on her 2012 Mercury Prize-nominated album ‘Is Your Love Big Enough?’, even Leonard Cohen. Picked up by NPR, she will have no problem gathering fans to watch her sets at SXSW, even if they never heard that she won iTunes’ Best of 2012 Album honours or is a BBC Sound of 2012 longlist alum.

Read our previous coverage on La Havas here.

The Real Tuesday Weld – pop meets jazz cabaret style meets electronic. Founded by Stephen Coates, this band has been around since 1999 and have been involved in a number of high profile collaborations, including providing music for art museum installations, film soundtracks and television adverts.

Polly Scattergood – my first exposure to Polly was the quirky ‘Please Don’t Touch’, which exemplified her folk / pop /electronic style. I’m hoping she’ll fill in the void that’s been left since Little Boots and Ladyhawke have vacated in heading in their respective new directions. New material has a


This Many Boyfriends – this Leeds band have already gotten the attention of a local celebrity: Ryan Jarman, who produced one of their recent singles. Pleasant and poppy but not exactly meaty.

Sounds like: they’ve been listening to too many Belle and Sebastian records

Wall. – not to be confused with the articled Wall, a punk band from Tyne, this Wall has an unGoogleable name that isn’t helping, so I’ll stop here.


Stay tuned for next week’s installment of the TGTF Guide to SXSW 2013!


Real-time Tweeting from SXSW 2012

By on Tuesday, 13th March 2012 at 11:00 am

Want to keep up to date with what editor Mary is up to at this year’s SXSW? Bookmark this page and stay in the loop on the latest developments via the special SXSW widget below that searches for “#tgtfatsxsw”. You can also follow her at @theprintedword

Throughout the festival season, we will be bringing you live Tweets whenever and wherever possible. Stay tuned here on TGTF for more details as the festival season marches on.


Preview: SXSW 2012 – 10 Bands New to You

By on Thursday, 1st March 2012 at 9:00 am

Since the various laundry lists of bands that had been accepted for this year’s SXSW had been announced, I bided my time. I wanted to wait for the official venue announcements, carefully poring over what had been released through the 2012 SXSW Web site while also considering smaller, nonofficial events that bands have been posting on their Facebooks or official Web sites. The headliners have been briefly profiled in part 1 of my SXSW 2012 preview.

As you can imagine, there are so many bands playing at SXSW this year than we have written about here at TGTF, so for the sake of brevity, I had to cut down my “I’d love to see them at SXSW” list. This group of 10 bands, listed below in alphabetical order, are bands you likely have not heard of, or if you have, I imagine you don’t know much about them, since they’ve only just gotten tipped recently.

Django Django – They’ve written quite possibly *the* earworm of 2012, ‘Default’. Performing at the Scottish Music Industry Association showcase at Easy Tiger Bar at 12:00 AM on Wednesday 14 March and Huw Stephens / UK Trade Investment showcase at Latitude 30 at 10:00 PM on Saturday 17 March.

Drop the Lime – Luca Venezia is better known by his stage name and all the high-profile remixes he’s done. But he’s an artist in his own right, ready to drop some huge beats in parties across Austin. His ‘Shake Baby Shake’ track is streaming below. Performing at Club Create’s showcase at the Madison on Wednesday 14 March (time TBA) and at the Filter Magazine / Dickie’s party at the Lustre Pearl at 10:00 PM on Thursday 16 March.

Fiction – they opened for Dutch Uncles at their Christmas show in Manchester last December (review here) was impressive but this will be the first taste Americans get of the London band. Watch the video for the infectious as all hell ‘Big Things’ below.


Grimes – Canadian Claire Boucher is making waves on the back of her third album ‘Visions’ released on 4AD. Lovers of electronic and eclectism need look no further for an spellbinding performance. Listen to ‘Genesis’, a free download we offered up previously in this MP3 of the Day post, below. Our previous coverage on her is here, including her support slot of Lykke Li last spring. Performing at Central Presbyterian Church at 11:30 PM on Thursday 15 March and Clive Bar at 11:30 PM on Friday 16 March.

Marit Larsen – I was impressed listening to her set supporting Teitur last Friday (review here), what an incredible voice. Listen to ‘Coming Home’ below. Performing at Beale Street Tavern at 10:00 PM on Wednesday 14 March.

Polarsets – I already knew last year with Little Comets‘ debut that Newcastle was the latest hotbed of activity in the North East, and this Geordie band further cements that region’s place in fantastic new music coming out of Britain. Listen to their appropriately sunny track ‘Morning’ below. Performing at the Karma Lounge at 1:00 AM on Friday 16 March as part of Neon Gold’s showcase.

Reptar – Not to be confused with a green dinosaur in the American children’s animated programme Rugrats, this Athens band mix bits of electronic and bits of tropical into a frenzy, which adds up to a lot of fun. Sound like Friendly Fires? ‘Sebastian’, the opening track to their debut album ‘Body Faucet’ out in May can be streamed below. Performing at the IFC Crossroads House at Vice presented by Paradigm at 8:00 PM on Thursday 15 March and at Buffalo Billiards at 11:00 PM on Friday 16 March.

The Wonder Villains – They sound a bit like General Fiasco (have a listen to ‘Ferrari’ below) so I was taken a bit aback by the fact the two bands share the same management. (Birds of a feather?) Tipped recently as a New Favourite Band of Steve Lamacq’s, the Derry quartet featuring a female lead singer sound Performing at the Tap Room at Six at 8:00 PM on Wednesday 14 March to kick off the Northern Ireland showcase that also features General Fiasco and Cashier No. 9.

Wonfu – The West might be cynical about it, but bubblegum pop is still alive and well in Asia. Enter this Taipei, Taiwan band that may end up being my guilty pleasure from this year’s festival, with cheeky lyrics (admittedly, in Taiwanese) sung in cutesy voices and incredibly catchy melodies. Have a listen to ‘Do-Re-Mi’ below. Performing at the Loft at 8:00 PM on Wednesday 14 March.


Zulu Winter – Despite my famous friends stumping for these chaps, I wasn’t sold until I heard ‘We Should Be Swimming’ (previous Video of the Moment post here, video below). Our previous coverage on Zulu Winter is here. Performing at Antone’s at 9:40 PM on Friday 16 March as part of the Billions Corporation showcase.



Preview: SXSW 2012 – General Ticket Information and the Headliners

By on Wednesday, 29th February 2012 at 9:00 am

So you’re probably wondering why it’s taken me so long to write a preview of this year’s South by Southwest festival (now to be described as SXSW from this point forward), held annually in Austin, Texas. And yes, your faithful editor will be there to catch as much of the action as humanly possible (read: I’m putting my body to the test on this).

For your information, tickets to the music portion of SXSW from Tuesday the 13th all the way to Sunday the 18th of March are still available; music badges are now US$750 (approximately £472 at the time of this writing) and hotel rooms are going fast, so if you are still interested, I recommend you act quickly. Please note TGTF as a music Web site does not support ticket touting of any kind and I have been advised by the SXSW folks that wristbands for the gig portion only, which can only be bought by those with an Austin credit card billing address, are not transferable. So be prudent with your purchases to avoid getting ripped off.

I make it a point for our festival previews to include headlining acts, since these are the big names you will have heard of. It’s not a surprise that Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band will be performing, since the Boss was announced previously as the keynote speaker to the music portion of the SXSW convention. Rather disappointingly if you’re a Boss fan, Bruce and co. are only performing a small show on Thursday 15 March and the only way in is through a ticket drawing open to those with badges and certain wristbands. If you are keen, the details on entering are here.

Far more interesting to me is the return of Keane – as a four-piece including former touring musician Jesse Quin – making their first appearances here in America in over 2 years, albeit in club-sized spaces. (I’m actually sick with worry that I won’t get in to see them.) Fiona Apple, who surely you remember her ‘Criminal’ and for having an the album title so long, everyone was mocking it and she got into the Guinness Book of World Records for it, is making her first live appearance in years at SXSW, at the intimate Central Presbyterian Church on Thursday 15 March (good luck getting into that one). The list of headliners for the massive outdoor Auditorium Shores Stage is a surprise: the Shins perform on Thursday night, ’90s hitmakers Counting Crows are on Friday and the Cult are on Saturday.

Keep it here on TGTF, as I’ll be posting more in-depth previews to SXSW 2012 in the coming days. Ooh, the excitement!


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.

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