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TGTF Guide to SXSW 2017: London jazz, world music and singer/songwriter artists showcasing at this year’s SXSW

 
By on Thursday, 23rd February 2017 at 11:00 am
 

As you might have guessed, London wins the prize for sending to SXSW 2017 the largest number of artists of all cities in the UK. In this post, we introduce you to acts from London that don’t exactly fit in the ‘usual’ genres SXSW is famous for. Today, we’ve got for you artists who are experts in the field of jazz (yes, really), world music, plus singer/songwriters, because we couldn’t fit them into the London portion of the TGTF Guide to SXSW 2017 anywhere else. Except where noted, the summaries below were written by Steven Loftin. 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.

Flamingods – psychedelic world music
When Flamingods describe themselves as “exotic psychedelia”, they are definitely not wrong. Founded in 2009 by frontman Kamal Rasool in Bahrain, the band now reside in the UK, but have brought all that exotic Middle Eastern goodness with them. A unique take on western pop mixed with their grand and explosive live performances has gained them a reputation noticed by the likes of Dazed, i-D magazine and The Guardian and secured them slots at Glastonbury, Latitude, Fusion Festival in Germany and Milhoes de Festa in Portugal. With a total of six albums under their belt including their most recent in 2016 ‘Majesty’, they’ll have plenty of material to draw from when they appear in Austin. (Adam McCourt)

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=31f04cdKtY8[/youtube]

GoGo Penguin – jazz
Having signed to the legendary jazz label Blue Note records this year, GoGo Penguin are well on their way to success already. On their third album, the Mancunians’ mixture of jazz, acoustic and electronica is a fresh sound that ensures they don’t get lost within the indie mire. Their 2014 album ‘V2.0’ was shortlisted for the Mercury Music Prize, just in case you needed more of a nudge (and a reminder). (Steven Loftin)

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HfD3ht6HVA4[/youtube]

Jacob Collier – world (? he defies description)
We can guarantee you’ve heard nothing quite like Jacob Collier, pictured at top. The youngster fuses more genres than the iTunes drop-down selector and is only 22. After gaining his momentum the way most new artists do, via YouTube, his ascension has been one for the ages. You should definitely check him out if only to see what composition he’s bringing to Texas. (Steven Loftin)

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4v3zyPEy-Po[/youtube]

Jade Bird – folk / singer/songwriter
You can’t swing a cat around London without hitting a young, aspiring female singer/songwriter. Jade Bird, however, has already gotten plenty of attention, so you should take the time to get to know this new talent. She accompanied Tom Odell on his European tour this month, and she’s following this up in London with a BBC Introducing show at the Lexington on the 6th of April and already announced appearances at Live at Leeds and Bushstock. Of course, those of us who are lucky enough to get out to Austin get a first crack on this side of the Atlantic. Yes, be jealous. (Mary Chang)

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X0YA3snXeo8[/youtube]

Johnny Flynn – folk / singer/songwriter
Johnny Flynn (usually with his band The Sussex Wit in tow) is no stranger to America, having already come over a few times for tours including one with friend and sometimes collaborator Laura Marling back in 2015. He’ll be releasing his newest album ‘Sillion’ on Transgressive Records in late March after SXSW 2017, so this visit is really the perfect opportunity for Flynn to give his newest tunes a live airing. (Mary Chang)

For past coverage of Johnny Flynn on TGTF, go here.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o5wYXnkLbD0[/youtube]

L.A. Salami – blues / singer/songwriter
Since 2014, Lookman Adekunle Salami, aka L.A. Salami, has been garnering a fair amount of interest, and for good reason. Perfectly succinct acoustic and ethereal songs that feature nothing but his bare soul, Salami even has a savage side as shown in ‘I Wear This Because Life is War’. Deserving of much more attention, let’s hope SXSW brings Salami more spotlight action. (Steven Loftin)

Laucan – folk / singer/songwriter
Twenty-seven old Laurence Galpin used to be in a band. But by taking a chance in singing alone with his falsetto in his bedroom, he’s going by the name Laucan now. Rob da Bank must have approved of this move: Galpin is signed to his Sunday Best label, who have just released his single ‘Up Tomorrow’, the title track of an EP that will be unveiled in March. Atmospheric music with Galpin’s falsetto flitting across it is clealy no longer of the “folk music of increasing obscurity” he himself had feared: it’s ready for the masses next month in Austin. (Mary Chang)

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BY1k-Tk5IFk[/youtube]

Maleek Berry – Afropop and r&b
Maleek Berry (born Maleek Shoyebi) grew up in South London, listening to the biggest names in r&b and pop music. At the age of 14, Berry was introduced to music, mainly through his church, but it was only after gaining his degree in Computer Science, whilst learning piano by ear that he realised his calling was in music. Since then, he has contributed hugely to the Nigerian music scene, working with artists such as Wizkid, Naeto C and Wande Coal, with whom he established with a connection with whilst on a family holiday. (Adam McCourt)

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=047xGplGP4o[/youtube]

Manu Delago Handmade – experimental / electronic
With pleasing and melodic experimentation, Manu Delago entrances with instrumentation that is far from your run of the mill guitar / bass / drums setup. Having discovered the ‘Hang’, an instrument that looks like two beat-up woks attached to each other, Delago formed one of his numerous projects, Manu Delago Handmade with the help of Isa Kurz and Chris Norz. Prolific and enlightening, Delago (with his crew) is a beauty amongst the beast. (Steven Loftin)

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DKiUzLTJJ80[/youtube]

Martin Creed – folk / singer/songwriter
One not to miss, Martin Creed has been creating and experimenting almost his whole life. Not content with being a prominent figure in the art world, he’s also a dab hand at music, even finding massive fans in Franz Ferdinand. You never know what he could bring to the table. (Steven Loftin)

Moelogo – Afropop and r&b
Since his debut single ‘Pangolo’ and his 2013 debut EP ‘Moe is My Name, Music is My Logo’, Moelogo has been making strides within the r&b and Afrobeat scene. Whilst collaborating with artists such as DRB LasGidi and Fuse ODG, Moelogo has gathered lots of interest from BBC 1xtra, Beat FM and Capital Xtra for his latest single ‘Do You Love Me?’ Coming off the back of his 2015 NEA award for Diaspora Artist of the Year, Moelogo was nominated for the 2016 MOBO Award for Best African Act, up against the likes of Wizkid, Davido, Yemi Alade, Patoranking. Not a bad track record at all. (Adam McCourt)

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-wq1LbcCT8s[/youtube]

Moses Boyd Exodus – jazz
As smooth as silk, Moses Boyd creates dark atmospheric tracks that are lined with a plethora of inspirations from jazz, blues, funk and soul. The drummer is a force not to be reckoned with, carving his way through jam after jam, only taking centre stage when he needs to. Boyd perfectly encapsulates what it means to be a musician. (Steven Loftin)

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NbF3StGHMUk[/youtube]

Native Dancer – jazz / electronic
Jazz is making waves in a big way once again with Native Dancer. Not quite your atypical jazz band that you’d find in a smoky club. Instead, they’re covered in soul and experimentation, with modern flourishes that are interesting and fresh. They released ‘EP Vol. II’, which in case you hadn’t of guessed was the second installment after ‘EP Vol. I’. (Steven Loftin)


facebook.com/nativedancerofficial

Robyn Hitchcock – folk / singer/songwriter
Managing to be described as the closest thing the UK has to Bob Dylan, Robin Hitchcock is one of the country’s most beloved singer/songwriters, as well as being a poet and author. Self-describing his songs as “paintings you can listen too”: no-one can sum it up better than that. You’d be silly to miss out on his blending of psychedelic sounds with folk. He’s even got a new album coming out in April, how handy is that? (Steven Loftin)

Sarathy Korwar – Indian jazz
Jazz with an Indian twist, something that you never knew you needed until now. Sarathy Korwar is not only good at what he does, but he’s been honoured by numerous Indian and Western bodies of music for his work. Truly genre-breaking stuff, Korwar is a unique mind and to see what he does next will be something special. (Steven Loftin)

Silvastone – Afropop
Originally starting out as a producer and songwriter, Silvastone has gone out as his own force, releasing his debut EP ‘Transitions’ in late 2014. With the follow up due in early 2017, the African-drenched dance music that 2014 brought us will in no doubt come back with a stronger and even more beat-filled songs. (Steven Loftin)

United Vibrations – jazz
More modern jazz comes in the form of United Vibrations, with a name as smooth as their sound. It’s jazz that remains intact, no falling apart at the seams as jazz is want to do, instead they’re fully constructed and fleshed out tracks that wouldn’t be out of place on the deeper side of a Foals album, just less math rock. (Steven Loftin)

Yussef Kamaal – jazz
London-based jazz fusion duo Yussef Kamaal – Yussef Dayes and Kamaal Williams – is essentially the brainchild of Kamaal Williams’ solo material that Yussef Dayes contributed to for a live set at Boiler Room. The duo bring the idea of jazz to a whole new means of consumption by taking the idea of jazz standards and improvisation to extremes. From their first set on at Boiler Room, the duo began performing live, where little more than a chord progression would be planned before taking the stage. The duo released their debut LP ‘Black Focus’ last November. (Adam McCourt)

@yussefkamaal

 

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]

 

TGTF Guide to SXSW 2017: London electronic artists and DJs showcasing at this year’s SXSW

 
By on Tuesday, 21st February 2017 at 11:00 am
 

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 11 acts from London Town specialising in electronic music and DJaying. The summaries of acts below were written by Mary Chang, Rebecca Clayton, Steven Loftin and David Wriglesworth. 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.

Anna Meredith
Composing isn’t usually the most orthodox starting point for someone wanting to venture into a career in pop, but that’s exactly where Anna Meredith started her foray into music, and to great success. Before releasing her debut album, Meredith spent time as composer in residence with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, composed for the Proms, and gained a Masters at the Royal College of Music, amongst many other accolades.

In 2016, Meredith released her debut album ‘Varmints’. Her music draws on her classical history, combing grand electronic sounds with synth strings. Meredith’s LP is as unusual as it is impressive, and creates an immersive musical experience for the listener. ‘Nautilus’ is a must listen. (Rebecca Clayton)

Aquilo
Deeply emotional and airy synthpop, fit for a darkened, heartbroken night: that’s Aquilo (pictured at top). They don’t just have their heart on their sleeve, they’re grabbing it and shoving it in your face. Starting off with a couple of Soundcloud singles in 2013 that were picked up by various outlets, they then went on to play only their fourth show ever at Glastonbury 2014. Not a bad start for the duo, not bad at all. 2017 sees them finally releasing their debut album ‘Silhouettes’ and an opportunity to make waves at SXSW. (Steven Loftin)

DJ Yoda
Duncan Beiny, better known as DJ Yoda, is a multi-award-winning hip-hop DJ and producer, who has worked with pretty much everyone, from classical composers to neuroscientists. In recent years, DJ Yoda was asked by Dr Dre to record a guest mix on his inaugural Beats 1 show for Apple Music, and he was one of the artists to perform at Banksy’s pop-up bemusement park Dismaland.

DJ Yoda pioneers new forms of audiovisual entertainment, chopping and splicing classic movies with the hands-in-the-air clubbing vibe. In 2014, DJ Yoda was commissioned to rescore classic films as part of BFI’s sonic cinema event, and he produced a mash-up of BBC Radio 4’s entire station, remixing The Archers, the shipping forecast, John Humphries and more.

In 2017, DJ Yoda is taking his ever-evolving DJ sets, which take in a diverse array of styles, genres, decades and continents, all over the world, with shows at SXSW, Snowbombing (Austria) and Hideout Festival (Croatia). (David Wriglesworth)

Draper
Producer James Draper has been around a while: he’s already released a whole host of EPs, including his eighth, ‘Luminous’ (out now on M:UK), which Steven reviewed for us on TGTF last month. Lest you think Draper is a one-trick pony, think again. Not only is the Kent professional highly sought out producer, he has collaborated with and written pop bangers for big names like Ellie Goulding, Twin Atlantic and Rita Ora. It won’t be his first rodeo – Draper has been to SXSW before – so perhaps past experience will make his performances stand out from all the newbies? (Mary Chang)

Fifi Rong
Fifi Rong is London-based, but lived in China until she was 16 when she was enrolled in a boarding school in Bristol. She self-released her debut album ‘Wrong’ in 2013, and since then has worked with the likes of Skepta, featuring on his 2016 album ‘Konnichiwa’. In 2016, she released an EP, ‘Forbidden Desire’, which she funded through Pledgemusic.

Fifi Rong’s voice is husky and distinctive, and her tracks involve beautiful and unearthly electronic sounds, which focus on love and relationships. (Rebecca Clayton)

Jamie Isaac
Croydon-born and bred, Jamie Isaac released his debut album ‘Couch Baby’ last year, a following two EPs released back in 2013 and 2014. Isaac attended BRIT School along with contemporary and sometime collaborator King Krule, but rather than following in the footsteps of the likes of Adele and Jessie J, Isaac is carving out a much different path.

Isaac focuses on pared-back, dreamy electronic rhythms and a gentle tempo that is both captivating and seriously chilled. ‘Couch Baby’ is an album that can only be described as easy listening, the type of album that you can put on in the background and relax to. (Rebecca Clayton)

Reeps One
Of the many young artists coming out to SXSW 2017, few can say they’ve already been nominated for an award, let alone won one. Harry Yeff, better known under his stage name Reeps One, is thus special because he’s a prize-winning beatboxer.

Even though the only instrument he uses is his own voice box, I’ve put him under the electronic category because SXSW has and I would venture to say they consider his voice as peerless an instrument like a synthesiser. Lest you think that his musical style is reminiscent of those spitting dudes in the ‘hood back in the ‘80s, I’ve included a more melodic example of his beatboxing below. (Mary Chang)

Rude Kid
London-based producer and DJ Rude Kid is heavily entrenched in the grime scene, being able to cite the likes of Skepta, Wiley and Shy FX amongst his collaborators. Passionate about music, Rude Kid, who at one time was signed to Sony Music, released and experimental EP ‘One Week’ in 2012 which he created in just a week, before sharing as a free download.

He’s released a fair bit of music in his career so far, and spent much of 2016 showing his prowess as a DJ, and even started hosting his own grime radio show on Kiss FM. Rude Kid’s music features darker elements of grime, when compared to AJ Tracey mentioned in our review of the pop acts from London headed to SXSW. His 2015 EP ‘653’ in collaboration with Ghetts features the popular ‘One Take’, which has racked up millions of listens on Spotify. (Rebecca Clayton)

SOHN
Christopher Taylor is the enigmatic producer and electronic singer/songwriter, who I suspected could be a hooded, yet groovy polar bear live in concert 3 years ago in DC. A lot had changed for Taylor following his well-received debut album ‘Tremors’ in 2014, and the extensive touring to promote the LP took its toll on him as well. Decamping temporarily to a house in sleepy Northern California to write and record follow-up ‘Rennen’ did him good: read my album review from last month for more details. How will a producer who favours dark clubs fare in sunny Austin? We’ll have to wait to find out. (Mary Chang)

SWEAT
Electronic in all the right places and all the right ways, SWEAT are one of the brightest stars in the upcoming UK music scene right now. Filled with crisp beats and youthful romantic tales, they’re onto a real winner. ‘Stay’, for example, features a beautiful composition that trundles along, disappears and then returns with even more grace and melody. (Steven Loftin)

Tender
Life-long friends Dan Cobb and James Cullen comprise electronic duo Tender. From the basement of their North London home, they’ve produced three EPs, ‘Armour’, ‘Tender EP II’ and ‘Tender EP III’. To coincide with the duo signing with Brooklyn-based label Partisan Records in July 2016, Tender released ‘Outside’, the first single to be taken from their third EP. Since its release, the single has been streamed over 4,000,000 times on Spotify.

For the year ahead, Tender look set to embark on a number of live dates, including shows at SXSW and a headline show at Oslo Hackney in London, before finishing off and releasing their debut album. (David Wriglesworth) [As of 21/2, Tender are no longer listed on the SXSW Music Festival schedule.]

Youngr
Dario Darnell is no stranger to the electronic scene, having previously been in Picture Book with his brother Lorne Ashley. While Picture Book appears to be on hiatus at the moment, Darnell has struck out on his own as a one man multi-instrumentalist under the moniker Youngr. You could say that his career in music was pretty much assured: his father is none other than August Darnell, aka Kid Creole of Kid Creole and the Coconuts’ fame.

Darnell has taken a page from his father in writing and performing catchy pop tunes with a soulful r&b vocal, though in his case, he also takes advantage of a full synth setup and plenty of electronics in the absence of a backing band. He’s in the middle of a European tour at the moment and will be touring North America around his week in Austin. (Mary Chang)

 

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

 
By on Monday, 20th February 2017 at 11:00 am
 

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 17 acts from the capital who are experts in bashing it out on the guitar and drums and hitting you with a powerful voice. Yes, that’s right. Today’s edition of the TGTF Guide to SXSW 2017 is all about the rock bands of London. The summaries below were written by Steven Loftin except where noted. 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.

Artificial Pleasure
If the current The 1975 movement is your thing, then you’re welcome: Artificial Pleasure are sure to be a hit for you with their funkadelic, modern and sleazy in all the right ways sound, if you don’t want to dance during recent single ‘I’ll Make It Worth Your While’, then I’m sorry, there’s no hope for you. Although they only formed last year, it’s clear the future is certainly going to be bright for this band and their shows, filled with dancing feet.

The Big Moon
At the forefront of the UK’s new indie wave, The Big Moon have heads rockin’ and rollin’ with a beautiful blending of retro sounds with a modern edge. Their debut album ‘Love in the 4th Dimension’ scheduled for release in April is up for pre-order now, and this is definitely a band you will not want to miss out on, especially at SXSW. You can read Rebecca’s review of their single ‘Formidable’ back here.

Blueprint Blue
A wonderful ‘60s vibe emanates from South London trio Blueprint Blue. With a hesitating innocence in their sound, all the way down to the wandering notes that fall out of place, it’s fun and light-hearted with no real offence.

Chelou
With a bluesy acoustic sound that builds itself around the use of atmospheric electronica, Chelou has a fresh noise that is filled with mood and melody. Think Chet Faker, with a bit more reserve and accompanied by some pretty sweet animation style videos. To also help you gauge him, consider the word ‘chelou’ is actually a French term for shady or suspicious. Talk about being on brand.

Desert Mountain Tribe
London by way of Cologne, Desert Mountain Tribe are bringing that classic ‘60s garage, psychedelic sound to the modern age. Not messing with the formula too much, they’re raucous and do what they do well. Well worth checking out if you’re a fan of the swinging throwback garage sound.

Doe
London trio Doe’s ‘wonky alt-pop’ seems to draw directly from ‘90s Britpop, characterised by forceful, yet melodic guitars and a certain level of whimsy. Four years old (pretty long for an indie band these days) and having a whole load of releases under their belt already, their wry humour should set them apart from the rest of the pack in Austin. (Mary Chang)

Feeder
A band who really need no introduction, Feeder have been around for decades. If you’ve somehow managed to miss out on their mammoth single ‘Buck Rogers’, then you have our pity and should check it out right now before you do anything else. Roaring back into life this year with new album ‘All Bright Electric’, Feeder are proving there’s life in the old dog yet.

Jennings Couch
The oddly named Jennings Couch comprises three graduates of BIMM from Bristol, Brighton and London. There’s not a whole lot for us to go on about this new band; we can’t even share a full song with you, because their Soundcloud are private. What’s not up for disagreement is frontman Lei Jennings’s strong look, somewhere in between Meat Loaf, Fabio and Captain Jack Sparrow. We doubt they’ll be bringing a sofa with them, but we’ll report in from Austin about their live show if we can. (Mary Chang)

Joey Fourr
Joey Prendergast used to be part of Tubelord, but since 2012 he’s been associated with London trio Joey Fourr. Lo-fi seems to be the word in rock these days, especially in America, so it’s not hard to imagine their tunes going over well in Austin, even if the group insist that their style of music is “WONK-POP 4 QUEER KIDS”. (Mary Chang)

Mantra
Pretty furious in sound and attitude, Mantra (pictured at top) are another one of those upcoming bands with a chip on their shoulder and representing their generation. Songs about being outcasts in the world at large, they match this with good, old-fashioned solid rock ‘n’ roll with a bit of spit.

Modern English
Formed in the late Seventies, Modern English are perhaps best known for their 1982 single ‘I Melt With You’, a song that soundtracked countless romantic moments as well as a Burger King commercial in the States. Releasing their eighth studio album ‘Take Me To The Trees’ in 2016, that was crowdfunded via PledgeMusic, they’ve proven that even with their 30+ years they still have that indie darling pull.

Saint Leonard’s Horses
Reimagining himself and taking a band with him under the guise of Saint Leonard’s Horses, London songwriter Kieran Leonard has all the tales and all the talent. Having supported everyone from Ryan Adams to The Libertines, Leonard and his Horses know how to take you on a journey and give one hell of a ride.

Shame
Shame, five teenage friends from Brixton, relish taking their shirts off onstage in the moment (hmm, Red Hot Chili Peppers much?). There isn’t much online on the band, but that’s because they’re just getting started. There’s another reason behind this: they’re being very careful about their image and making sure their sound is exactly what they want to unveil to the world. Their approach has paid off: they’ve already caught the eyes and ears of BBC Radio 6 Music’s Steve Lamacq, playing live for him in January as part of 6 Music Live. And they won’t be lying down after their close-up at SXSW 2017: they will be returning triumphantly to the UK for their support slot for California rockers Warpaint’s live dates in late March. No shame here. (Mary Chang)

Skinny Girl Diet
It feels like 2017 could be the year Skinny Girl Diet thrive. Part of the Riot Grrrl movement, Skinny Girl Diet are as DIY and hardcore you can get and won’t take any of your crap. Young and riotous with an actual message, they sure haven’t forgotten the important platform provides for social protest. [The Fader in America have already picked up wind of these gals, so don’t drag your feet. –Ed.]

Splashh
Gearing up to release their second album ‘Waiting A Lifetime’ in April, Londoner’s Splashh are heading to Texas to make a…well…a splash. Indie rock at its finest, none too offensive and easily listened to.

This Be the Verse
Time for something a little bit heavier and constructed. This Be the Verse is a new project fronted by one man that somehow has unrestrained power, yet twists it into cleverly constructed and sinister tracks. His self-titled debut album is an industrial horrorscape of brilliance and savagery.

Ultimate Painting
More English indie rock, as only we can do it. Heartbreaking, yearning and like a rainy night in Manchester, Ultimate Painting also use influences such as Velvet Underground to attack with a more reserved chagrin. Being tipped by many UK outlets, they’re one band that 2017 is looking to be a real good time for.

 

SXSW 2016: highlights from this year’s Music Conference programming – The Obamas, Tony Visconti, Richie Hawtin and the latest in song syncs

 
By on Monday, 28th March 2016 at 4:00 pm
 

2016 marked the 30th anniversary of SXSW and with reaching such a milestone, it just wouldn’t be right to not celebrate with appearances by some heavy hitters, right? And the Austin festival managed a one-two punch in his music conference programming by securing not only First Lady Michelle Obama but the President of the United States Barack Obama as well. The President delivered the keynote address during SXSW Interactive on Friday. Watch below as he discusses the importance of civic engagement and his support for new technologies.

SXSW Music Conference attendees did not miss out at all, as the First Lady graced the conference with her presence Wednesday, bringing along fellow influential ladies Missy Elliott and Queen Latifah, known as female pioneers of hip hop, and Diane Warren, famed for penning some of pop’s greatest hits in the history of popular music. The three of them were in Austin to promote the Let Girls Learn initiative, which will no doubt be one of Mrs. Obama’s enduring legacies long after she and her husband have left the White House. In the short clip below, she speaks on how she finds young people inspirational and disappoints a good many present in the room with her announcement that she won’t be running for public office in favour of taking care of her and Barack’s two young daughters.

The Obamas’ separate appearances to speak at SXSW 2016 caused considerable headache to both event staff and conference attendees alike. The understandable security around the First Lady created additional problems, delaying sessions and bringing frustration to people like me who like to keep to a schedule. Not aware that legendary producer Tony Visconti‘s keynote had been moved from Wednesday to Thursday was just another thing to throw a spanner in the works.

One wonders what was going in Visconti’s mind when he received the news that his speech would be delayed by a day due to a more famous, more important VIP. I also had to wonder if his selection was coincidental or done on purpose as a memoriam of sorts for the late David Bowie, with whom Visconti collaborated on and off with for nearly 5 decades. Knowing his audience well, he quipped early on that he’d be speaking about how he met Bowie soon enough, and he did. (Similarly witty stories were shared by Mark Mothersbaugh of Devo in another session Thursday afternoon, telling stories about Bowie and Iggy Pop that can’t be reprinted in a family-friendly publication. Mothersbaugh was in town during an exhibition of his art at the Contemporary.) Biographies in print are great of course, but for me, nothing can replace personal, first-hand anecdotes from the people that were there. That’s what makes interviews great for me, to truly be let into another creative’s world, to be let into the little secrets, and part of the fun is doing the research and trying to fit together someone’s pieces before you actually get to the interview and then let your interviewee go off in whatever director he or she wishes.

Hearing Visconti speak, in such a humourous, personable way, it makes total sense how he’s become such a famous producer and been confided in by not just Bowie (being one of the few dear people in his circle aware of his impending departure) but the late glam rock star Marc Bolan and someone as crotchety as Morrissey. Visconti is the kind of guy you wish you could knock a few beers back with because he’d make you feel at ease, but is ever so talented at what he can do in a recording studio, to be able to pull out the best from whoever he works with. And if that wasn’t enough, he is also a writer, sharing with the audience bits from his upcoming book The Universe, that paints a bleak picture of what music will be like in the future.

We can laugh but there’s also a sense of sad acceptance that the signs, the klaxons of warning in our industry have already rung out. “Your product is culture”, Visconti said in a matter-of-fact way, and he believes that boutique labels and self-releasing is a good but not great solution to the lack of support for true visionary artists. He, like us here at TGTF, want to see more quality in music and he gave a great example of going to the grocery store and having variety the kind of ketchup or bacon you want to buy. There isn’t one choice and there shouldn’t one choice in music in all the manufactured top 40 we’re hearing these days, either. Watch Visconti’s keynote in full below.

At a session for Convergence late Tuesday night, Canadian DJ vanguard Richie Hawtin spoke with Resident Advisor‘s North American editor Andrew Ryce (pictured at top) about his new performance mixer Play Differently, which has been a project he’s worked on for 2 years with Allen & Heath and Audiotonix. What I found most interesting about Hawtin’s responses – in additional to his clearly unwavering passion for DJaying and electronics – is that he’s not all about chasing the next big thing in electronic music.

You’d expect someone like him who’s into making the best sounds possible onstage to embrace every digital technology known to man, and indeed, he made everyone laugh when he air-manipulated an imaginary device he noted as “this is my girlfriend”. So it surprised me when said that he didn’t necessarily agree with digital DJaying as being the be all and end all, saying, “there shouldn’t be a formula to make music and play it…Follow who you are, and make the music *you* want to make.” In that respect, I felt this view of Hawtin’s echoed Tony Visconti said about tapping into culture and talent and going beyond just mere technology. It gives me great hope personally that these titans of the industry still believe that even in spite to everything distracting and potentially detrimental to our business, the cream should and will always rise to the top. Have a watch of Hawtin’s Q&A with Ryce below.

A topic that has been of interest to me for a long time is the business of song syncs and how one goes from a composer who writes specifically for or has already written a song for a particular commercial use to that composer and any deserving middleman earning money off of the song’s use. As record sales have dwindled in the face of music piracy, song syncing is no longer looked upon as the selling out it once did. And in many cases these days, such syncs have enabled artists to continue working where they might have otherwise run out of money.

Among the many panels on the subject of syncs in this year’s music conference programming, there were two in particular that caught my eye. In the session Creating Custom Songs for Film, TV, Trailers & Ads on Thursday, the emphasis was on the composer side, with the panelists making suggestions to the prospective songwriters in the audience on how to market and indeed, possibly direct their writing to get the best chance for a sync. It was intriguing to me that Josh Collum of Sorted Noise recommended writers to focus on songs about home and coming home, as they’re perennially needed and used across film and TV. Who knew? Meanwhile, Phillip Phillips with his 43 million YouTube views is laughing all the way to the bank…

On the other side and in more specific, the placement of songs in TV was explored Friday in the session entitled TV Promos: Sync’s New Best Friend. Going on from a similar session at Norwich Sound and Vision 2015 last October, it is mind-bogglingly amazing to me that one of the biggest recommendations to fledging artists these days to land a sync is to record good quality, unique cover versions of popular songs. The idea is that because the original song by the original artist will be too expensive and therefore out of reach or too complicated a permission for most copyright clearance offices to negotiate, a music supervisor will instead go for a cover that costs less money, and as a win for the little indie musician, the musician gets paid. Score! A specific example from Joe Berman of MediaHorse brought even more hope: a cover of an Elvis Presley song was deemed too risky, as Presley’s estate had to agree to its use even as a cover, but in a shock turn of events, Priscilla Presley herself liked the cover Berman’s client was putting forward, and it’s now being used in an advert for The Bachelor and for Trojan condoms. So you see, dreams can and do come true…

I look forward to seeing what keynotes and panels are in store for us in the 31st year of SXSW Music. I wish to thank Elizabeth and her team at SXSW Music Press for granting me a badge for the purposes of covering both the conference and music showcases this year in 2016.

 

TGTF Guide to SXSW 2016: a further roundup of our conference and festival coverage to date

 
By on Monday, 14th March 2016 at 12:00 pm
 

Whilst being stuck on a plane (not moving, then moving) for way too many hours on Saturday, I had a lot of time to think. And I thought, hmm, maybe some of you out there might be true procrastinators, not having paid attention to any of the programming on top for SXSW 2016, whether it be the conference panels, the music showcases, or both. For those of you waiting until the last possible minute to firm up your schedules or maybe you’re the type who likes to fly by the seat of your pants (trousers?), this post summarises everything SXSW 2016 we’ve posted since my last roundup of articles on the 22nd of February, which you can view here.

Follow us on Twitter at @tgtf and individually on @theprintedword (me, Mary) and @VocalicPage (Carrie) for more live updates from Austin as they happen. Use this link to access all of our SXSW 2016 content, including post-event coverage.

longhorn in our back garden, SXSW 2016

TGTF Guide to SXSW 2016 overview posts on the conference (an additional 5):

TGTF Guide to SXSW 2016: how-tos for the artists, and how to deal with brands and data (Music Conference panel overview, part 1 of 4)

TGTF Guide to SXSW 2016: music discovery and delivery, genres and eras, and international issues (Music Conference panel overview, part 2 of 4)

TGTF Guide to SXSW 2016: Feminism at this year’s festival’s forefront

TGTF Guide to SXSW 2016: syncing and publishing, experiencing music live, and fan engagement (Music Conference panel overview, part 3 of 4)

TGTF Guide to SXSW 2016: new tech and the war on format, journalism and PR, and royalties and copyright (Music Conference panel overview, part 4 of 4)

TGTF Guide to SXSW 2016 overview posts on the British Music Embassy showcases and a focus on regional acts (an additional 5):

TGTF Guide to SXSW 2016: Huw Stephens with PRS for Music and British Music @ SXSW at the British Music Embassy – 15th-16th March 2016

TGTF Guide to SXSW 2016: Output Belfast, and PIAS in association with AIM at the British Music Embassy – 17th March 2016

TGTF Guide to SXSW 2016: Welsh artists showcasing at this year’s SXSW

TGTF Guide to SXSW 2016: Scottish artists showcasing at this year’s SXSW

TGTF Guide to SXSW 2016: Artists from Ireland and Northern Ireland showcasing at this year’s SXSW

Bands to Watch previews of SXSW 2016 showcasing artists (an additional 5 acts profiled):

(SXSW 2016 flavoured!) Bands to Watch #382: The Sherlocks

(SXSW 2016 flavoured!) Bands to Watch #383: Autobahn

(SXSW 2016 flavoured!) Bands to Watch #384 and #385: Jane Weaver and Holly Macve

(SXSW 2016 flavoured!) Bands to Watch #386: Frances

Album Reviews Featuring SXSW 2016 Artists (an additional 4):

(SXSW 2016 flavoured!) Album Review: Brian Fallon – Painkillers

(SXSW 2016 flavoured!) Album Review: Lissie – My Wild West

(SXSW 2016 flavoured!) Album Review: The Dunwells – Light Up the Sky (Update: The Dunwells have since announced they won’t be showcasing at this year’s SXSW.)

(SXSW 2016 flavoured!) Album Review: Roo Panes – Paperweights

(SXSW 2016 flavoured!) Quickfire Questions (10)

Quickfire Questions #97: Pat Hynes of Holy Esque

Quickfire Questions #98: Tommy O’Dell of DMA’s

Quickfire Questions #99: Banners

Quickfire Questions #100: Noemi of Abjects

Quickfire Questions #101: Violet Skies

Quickfire Questions #102: Tyla Campbell of The People The Poet

Quickfire Questions #103: Gwenno

Quickfire Questions #104: Avec Sans

Quickfire Questions #105: Oscar

Quickfire Questions #106: Oli Burslem of YAK

Miscellaneous Features Starring SXSW 2016 Artists (an additional 3):

(SXSW 2016 flavoured!) Video of the Moment #2024: Oscar

(SXSW 2016 flavoured!) Video of the Moment #2025: Holy Esque

(Charity and SXSW 2016 flavoured!) Video of the Moment #2032: Lissie

 
 
 

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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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