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SXSW 2017: the Killing Moon / ReverbNation / Metro showcase (part 2) and BBC Radio 1 / PRS for Music / PPL showcase – 14th March 2017

 
By on Tuesday, 28th March 2017 at 5:00 pm
 

Upon my return to Scratchouse for the second half of the evening, I was pleased to see that Manningtree’s SuperGlu were proving their reception Monday night at the British Music Embassy wasn’t sheer dumb luck. (And if you missed the first half of my Tuesday evening, you can read it back here.) While the room at the indoor stage was certainly smaller than that of Latitude 30, SuperGlu proved they could draw a big, not to mention animated and engaged crowd without the promotional muscle of the BME.

Interestingly and somewhat headscratchingly, Killing Moon, ReverbNation and London newspaper Metro chose to put the quieter acts for their Tuesday night showcase on the backyard stage at Scratchouse. I guess they thought people who would coming out to the backyard would want to sit on the benches? Folk rocker Reuben Bidez is originally from Atlanta, but a relocation to Nashville appears to have done him good, according to American Songwriter. TGTF readers know this kind of music isn’t my bailiwick but rather up Carrie’s alley, so we’ll be sure to keep an eye on Bidez’s progress in his new locale going forward.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F9eFQzHG2tg[/youtube]

As part of our TGTF Guide to SXSW 2017 previewing acts from the South of England, Steven described Guildford’s Annabel Allum as a free spirit, one who “refuses to be pigeonholed or adhering to any kind of fad.” While I was keen on seeing Allum live, as it happens all too often at SXSW, it’s difficult to focus on a single musician when so much stuff is going on around you, in the venues nearby and with the buzz of chatter of punters who aren’t paying attention to who’s on stage. Under the eerie glow of lights on the backyard stage and wearing a flowy blouse, I got the feeling like Mt. Wolf earlier in the evening that a conventional club atmosphere (or even a coffee shop?) would have done Allum more favours.

Annabel Allum, Killing Moon, ReverbNation, Metro UK, Scratchouse, Tuesday 14 March 2017

Turning my attention back to the indoor stage at Scratchouse, it was time for Dine Alone Records act Mantra (stylized Måntra, as I understand it for purely legal reasons) to take the stage. Definitely more my speed. Growing up with the music of Led Zeppelin thanks to an older brother who for a time only listened to music designed pummel your eardrums and annoy parents, there will always be a part of me that wishes I could play guitar like Jimmy Page. Mantra are probably the closest these days I’m going to get to Led Zeppelin and one better, they seem to be taking the best of what England’s grand rock tradition of the last 20 years has had to offer into their sound. Namely Muse, or at least before Matt Bellamy went commercial (I haven’t forgotten you getting into bed with Twilight, Matt), too out there and sometimes just plain annoying.

Mantra, Killing Moon, ReverbNation, Metro UK, Scratchouse, Tuesday 14 March 2017

We’ve gone through an unusual period of seeing duos like Drenge, Royal Blood and Slaves prove you don’t need more than two people in a hard rock band. However, my memory goes back far enough to remember a time when rock trios like The Joy Formidable were questioned for their ability to pack in the firepower. There’s no such question in the case of Ealing’s Mantra. This is hard driving, pulse thumping rock for the headbanger, and this is the band who will renew your faith that good, hard rock can still be found in England. Check out my interview with the band in Austin through here.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pVGqb9gJnSw[/youtube]

SYKES, Killing Moon, ReverbNation, Metro UK, Scratchouse, Tuesday 14 March 2017

Time for a quick dash back to the backyard for my final band at Scratchouse for the night, SYKES. The band is named for frontwoman Julia Sykes, lead singer and keyboardist for the band. They’ve had an interesting ride so far, having recently appeared at the traditionally hard rocking Warped tour, wowing crowds with their self-described alt-electropop. Sykes, in a Chicago-themed hoodie, was the epitome of composure, and it’s not surprising, given that their band showcased last year in Austin and weren’t suffering from SXSW virgin sensory overload. It’s just too bad that there was a bigger crowd for Sykes’ yearning voice and their buzzy, crunchy synth beats, as this is exactly the kind of band I’d expect SiriusXM’s Alt Nation to pick up on.

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

We don’t do a lot of writing about hip hop and grime on TGTF because, as I repeated quite a bit in Austin to friends, I just don’t feel comfortable about us writing about it if it’s a genre we don’t know a lot about. Dave, also known as Santan Dave, which explains his otherwise unusual Twitter handle @santandave1, was longlisted for the BBC Sound of 2017, so it was nice to see the BBC put him on the Tuesday night British Music Embassy showcase sponsored by Radio 1, PRS for Music and PPL.

Dave, Radio 1, PRS for Music, PPL showcase, British Music Embassy, Tuesday 14 March 2017

I’ve still got a lot to learn about how this genre is morphing and expanding its reach in the UK. But even without knowing much about this Streatham native, standing there in Latitude 30 as punters looked on silent and in rapt attention, you knew you were witnessing greatness. It must have been a terrifying moment for Dave to perform on such a stage and at such a young age. But he must also have felt incredible validation by the reception he received in Austin.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u2H0mXC2Wbs[/youtube]

Kent punk duo Slaves are no stranger to Austin and SXSW, or to TGTF for that matter. As rightly noted by drummer and master of ceremonies Isaac Holman from the stage of Latitude 30, they performed previously and on a Radio 1 showcase in 2014. I got on the Slaves bandwagon pretty late, which was probably for the best, as I refused to be swept up by the hype and wanted to decide for myself if they were an act I wanted to follow. Suffice to say, I finally got on, not so much for their musical prowess than for the sheer fun of their music. Let’s face it: Slaves’ specialty is hard, fast, in your face tunes, whilst also being tongue in cheek. Who else would subject one of their crew to crowdsurfing in a manta ray suit for their ‘art’? And really, how smart was it of Holman it to be wearing a coonskin cap, a symbol of American frontiersman Davy Crockett and a symbol of white entitlement, during this period of unprecedented racial prejudice in our country? I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he had no idea.

Slaves, Radio 1, PRS for Music, PPL showcase, British Music Embassy, Tuesday 14 March 2017

But make no mistake, they’re not animals, Slaves realise what they’re doing and while they’re all for their fans having fun during their shows, they’re also not going to be dicks about it either. Guitarist Laurie Vincent, realising that a circle pit was forming down the front at Latitude 30 in response to their aggressive music, acted quickly and helpfully to direct photographers out of the fray and to the side of the stage so their expensive cameras wouldn’t get destroyed in the melee. ‘Spit It Out’, from last year’s ‘Take Control’ out now on Virgin EMI, was a revelation live, and the crowd were completely up for their punishing show. Mission accomplished. It seems strange to think they’re still playing small clubs here in America but on the other hand, it seems fair. Even though they’re signed to a major in the UK and they’re huge in Europe, they’re having to win over new fans in a new territory, just like everyone else who tries to make a go of it over here.

 

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]

 
 
 

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