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

By on Friday, 11th March 2016 at 12:00 pm

Please note: all information we bring you about SXSW 2016 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.

As in past years, SXSW 2016 will feature a wide array of artists from Ireland and Northern Ireland who are keen to bring their music to American listeners. This year’s lineup revisits several artists who have graced Austin’s stages in recent memory, including veterans BP Fallon and the Bandits, who were featured last year in our TGTF Guide to SXSW 2015, and SXSW 2014 showcasing artists Cian Nugent and September Girls, both of whom have new albums due for release later this spring.


We at TGTF have already covered Belfast singer/songwriter David C Clements in an earlier Bands to Watch article right back here. We also recently highlighted many of the Northern Irish artists on the schedule in editor Mary’s Output Belfast preview, including TGTF alums Girls Names, Portadown’s Jealous of the Birds and her fellow County Armagh act Silences.

Also briefly mentioned in Mary’s Output Belfast preview was alt-folk singer/songwriter Ciaran Lavery, who is shaping up to be one of the most sought-after acts in Austin this year. His back catalogue comprises debut album ‘Not Nearly Dark’ and 2014 EP ‘Kosher’. Having already received support from the PRS for Music Foundation for his upcoming second album ‘Let Bad In’, Lavery hopes to gain a fan base in America ahead of its release in May.


The organizers at SXSW have filed Enemies in the Rock category, but the band describe themselves more accurately as “post-rock meets math-pop”. Their upbeat and slightly jazzy new single ‘Play Fire’ was released last August on Topshelf Records.


Dublin rapper Alex Anyaegbunam is known on stage by the moniker Rejjie Snow. The latest track on his official Soundcloud is ‘Keep Your Head Up’; be warned—it’s smooth and soulful, but its lyrics are not entirely safe for sensitive ears.

Precocious teenaged singer/songwriter Rosie Carney is originally from Hampshire, UK, but now makes her home in County Donegal. She collaborated with SXSW 2014 artist Travis Is a Tourist on his track ‘Little Conversations’, and she’ll appear in Austin as a solo artist this year. The video for her haunting track ‘Better Man’ is just below.


The West Ireland trio Rusangano Family comprises “2 MCs and 1 DJ”, according to their Facebook bio. Their politically-charged single ‘Heathrow’ was featured here in America by NPR back in December, and their album ‘Let the Dead Bury the Dead’ is due for release just after SXSW on the 8th of April.

Saint Sister, the duo project of Gemma Doherty and Morgan MacIntyre, combines electro-dream pop and traditional folk sounds. Their debut EP ‘Madrid’ was released last November, and following SXSW, they are scheduled to appear at The Great Escape festival in May.


The aptly named Irish electronic producer Somadrone specialises in straddling the boundary between popular and classical music. His genre-less, minimalist compositional style is evident in the SXSW-featured single ‘Invitation’.


For more information about the Irish and Northern Irish artists at this year’s SXSW, consult the Music from Ireland official Web site, or simply follow TGTF’s ongoing coverage of the festival. We eagerly anticipate seeing most of these showcasing artists live next week!


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)

By on Thursday, 10th March 2016 at 1:00 pm

Editor’s note: We’ve made some exciting changes to our annual TGTF Guide to SXSW this year! In addition to the music showcase portion of the guide that you are likely already familiar with, we’ll also be bringing you our picks of the best of the conference panel programming for the convention side of SXSW Music. The SXSW Music Conference is divided into 12 general categories of panels, called tracks, and we have divided our panel coverage into four separate articles, each highlighting a different sections of panel content. This is part four of our four-part preview. If you missed the earlier parts of our panel preview series, you can click here to find them.

Music Tech and Format Wars
The music technology track at SXSW 2016 features a wide variety of session topics, ranging from general interest to increasingly specific discussions regarding new modes of music delivery. In the general category, we find Catch the Wave: The Industry’s Transition into Tech on Wednesday 16th March and Music 2020: How We Can Change the Future on Thursday 17th March. The more specialised end of the spectrum includes a Wednesday 16th March panel titled How 3D Printing Can Transform the Music Business.

Monetisation, the topic in the back of everyone’s mind, comes into play with Innovation in Digital Music & Making Streaming Pay on Wednesday 16th March and Music Content Value in a Post-Ownership Age, scheduled for Thursday 17th March. On a related note, the war on leaked and pirated music will be addressed on Friday the 18th of March in Digital Distribution & Security: The End of Piracy, which will center around promotional distribution platforms such as the ones we often use for music reviews here at TGTF.

Thursday the 17th of March will see two niche panels, Preservation Tips for DIY Labels and Indie Bands, and Goodbye to Your Tunes: Tech’s Race to Save Music. These will focus on music recorded in past and current formats (think cassettes, CDs and MP3s) and trying to keep it available as new formats become standard. The beloved vinyl record format will be discussed in its own right on Saturday 19th March, in a forward-looking panel titled Where Will the Vinyl Industry be in 2018?. True audiophiles will rejoice over Listening in High Definition: Future Music Consumption on Wednesday 16th March and Hi-Res Audio in Every Earbud on Thursday 17th March.

PR, Journalism and Media

This track of the Music Conference is loaded with Mentor Sessions for publicists, writers and artists themselves, as well as a Featured Session with guest speaker Jessica Hopper regarding feminism in the music industry. For more information about Jessica Hopper and her panel presentation on that topic, have a look back at our feature on feminism at SXSW 2016 right back here.

How to Get Heard When No One’s Heard of You, scheduled for Wednesday 16th March, and Thursday 17th March workshop DIY Music PR: The Secrets of Pitching Your Band, will talk about pitching music to mid-level blogs and reviewers (like TGTF!). No Basic Pitches: Publicity by the Journalists takes a unique perspective in examining the very fluid relationship between artist PRs and music journalists.

Bob Boilen

Bob Boilen, courtesy of Meg Vogel/NPR

NPR’s Bob Boilen examines music marketing from another unique perspective in The Recording Industry Hates Grownups on Friday the 18th of March. Along with guest panelist Jim Fusilli of the Wall Street Journal, Boilen explores the idea of marketing to the over-40 age demographic, which he suggests is under-represented in the industry.

Royalties and Copyright
Monetisation (again!) is the underlying focus of this conference track, which examines the relationships among the music industry, related private organisations, and government. Hot topics here include Making Streaming Royalties Fair(er) on Wednesday the 16th of March and Fair Music: Transparency in the Music Industry on Friday the 18th. For the artists themselves, two Friday 18th March workshops, The Revenue Stream Roadmap for Songwriters and YouTube: Stop Complaining and Start Monetizing!, offer some guidance on how to make music pay.

Advocacy for artists’ rights will also be a popular topic, with the role of Music Rights Organisations being explored in two panels, Music Rights Organizations (MRO): What Are They? on Wednesday 16th March and One Rights Society To Rule Them All: Meet The GMRO on Friday 18th March. Wednesday 16th March panel The New Artist Rights Grassroots Advocacy will feature guest speaker David Lowery from artist rights blog The Trichordist, and Thursday 17th March session Advocating for Musicians: Why DC Matters will focus on public and governmental advocacy.

As with Music Festival showcasing artists, Music Conference panels are subject to change. For complete information on Music Conference tracks at SXSW 2016, including updated panel listings and scheduling information, you can consult the official SXSW 2016 Web site by clicking here.


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

By on Wednesday, 9th March 2016 at 1:00 pm

SXSW 2016 is set to feature a wide array of musicians from Scotland, ranging from reggae (yes, reggae!) to hard rock, and covering almost everything in between. We’ve already introduced indie pop group The Spook School and punk-grunge duo WOMPS as our Bands to Watch #369 and #370. Read on for what else Scotland plans to bring to Austin this year…

Synth rockers Holy Esque (pictured at top) are on the SXSW lineup again, for what will be their fourth consecutive year. They made their first appearance in 2013 on the strength of their self-titled debut EP. This year, they head across the pond with a full LP, ‘At Hope’s Ravine’. In addition to their SXSW showcases, Holy Esque are planning a full UK tour in support of ‘At Hope’s Ravine’, including a scheduled appearance at The Great Escape festival in Brighton in May. You can find our previous coverage of Holy Esque, including SXSW shows from 2014 and 2015, right here.

Pop singer/songwriter KLOE will make her first appearance at SXSW this spring after signing to Los Angeles record label IAMSOUND, who have hosted the likes of Florence + the Machine and Charli XCX. The slow, sultry dance beat and slick production of KLOE’s current single ‘Touch’ will immediately appeal to Ellie Goulding fans, who might hear a certain similarity in KLOE’s vocal delivery.


Dundee alt-rock five-piece The Mirror Trap are so excited for their trip to Austin this spring that they chose to premiere their track ‘New Trance’ in conjunction with their SXSW Showcasing Artist announcement. Describing themselves as “Unsigned. Majorly.”, the band self-released their album ‘Stay Young’ in February 2014 and an EP called ‘Silent Men’ a year later. If you’re new to The Mirror Trap, you can have a listen to the title track from that EP just below.


Mungo’s Hi Fi are described in their SXSW artist profile as “a reggae soundsystem from Glasgow”. They have been together over 10 years, touring in the UK and throughout Europe, as well as establishing their own dedicated label, Scotch Bonnet Records. They count among their influences both traditional Jamaican music and British dance tracks.

Post-grunge trio Pinact bring their fuzzed-out guitar melodies to Austin ahead of their April headline dates in the UK. They recently premiered the following new video for ‘Up and Down’, taken from their debut LP ‘Stand Still and Rot’, which was released last spring on Kanine Records.


Electro musician and producer Graeme Clark released his own debut album in 2015, under the moniker The Revenge. ‘Love That Will Not Wait’ came out last year on Clark’s label Roar Groove, and he is expected to follow it with not one but two new EPs in 2016. You can sample his SXSW featured track ‘Just One Touch’ just below.


Punk trio Baby Strange, indie rockers Washington Irving and dance pop group WHITE appear to have cancelled their trips to Austin this year. Announced as showcasing artists early in the process, none of the three bands are listed on the official SXSW schedule as of this writing. Filling the gaps are two late additions to the SXSW docket, electronic duo The Blessings and DJ Eclair Fifi. Comprising Dominic Flannigan and Martyn Flyn, The Blessings run their own record label called Lucky Me. Eclair Fifi is the nom de plume of Clair Stirling, who is a visual artist and fashion designer as well as a regular contributor to Lucky Me projects.

Please note: all information we bring you about SXSW 2016 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.


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

By on Tuesday, 8th March 2016 at 1:00 pm

Editor’s note: We’ve made some exciting changes to our annual TGTF Guide to SXSW this year! In addition to the music showcase portion of the guide that you are likely already familiar with, we’ll also be bringing you our picks of the best of the conference panel programming for the convention side of SXSW Music. The SXSW Music Conference is divided into 12 general categories of panels, called tracks, and we have divided our panel coverage into four separate articles, each highlighting a different sections of panel content. This is part three of our four-part preview. If you missed the earlier parts of our panel preview series, you can click here to find them.

Licensing, Syncs, and Publishing
This track is all about the benjamins, exploring practical ways for musicians to monetise their craft. In the digital age, the avenues are practically limitless, and artists, publishers and record labels are all competing for a piece of the pie. The more banal panel topics on this track include such self-explanatory titles as Mailbox Money: Making Money in Music Publishing on Wednesday 16 March and Latest Trends and Tips in YouTube Monetization, scheduled for the following day.

But this track also explores facets of the music business that are not as immediately obvious as recording and touring, specifically composing for film, television and advertising, along with publishing and licensing for those ventures. There is a general panel called Creating Custom Songs for Film, TV, Trailers & Ads, on Thursday 17 March as well as several more specifically focused workshops. I’d Like to Teach the World: Music Supervise an Ad, scheduled for Friday 18 March, promises a hands-on workshop experience in creating music for commercial use. Covers & Remixes & Customs – All You Need to Know, on the docket for Thursday 17 March, discusses the customisation of music for movie trailers, such as the one below for recent film ‘The Finest Hours’, featuring Snow Patrol’s 2009 track ‘The Lightning Strike’.


Live Music, Touring & Festival Experiences
As stated in the panel description for Bringing Out Your Fans in the Digital Age, “touring is now the main income source for many artists, and also an important platform to develop and break artists.” On this Friday 18 March panel, guest speaker Zeeshan Zaidi, General Manager of Artist Services at Ticketmaster, will address the all-important question of how to encourage fans to attend live gigs, perhaps also touching on the rather discouraging but widespread practice of ticket scalping. On a tangential subject, the Wednesday 16 March panel Does Social Media Make Concerts Better? examines the prevalence of social networking while attending gigs and how it relates to the overall live music experience.

In the interest of broadening the scope of live performance beyond the confines of physical locality, there are two panels scheduled to discuss broadcasting live events via television and streaming, Concerts & Festivals: Television vs. Streaming, and Livestreaming Events: Past, Present & Future, both on Thursday 17 March. By contrast, live attendance and personal experience are the focus of two Friday 18 March panels, Music Curation Through Artist Festivals and Global Festivals and Their Locales.

Perhaps most relevant to a city like Austin is Small Live Music Venues: Who Needs Them Anymore?, scheduled for Saturday 19 March. The bustling downtown music scene in the Texas capitol surely makes a strong affirmative case. That workshop might be a good follow-up to one of the Thursday 18 March evening panels, David & Goliath: Thriving as Independent Promoters, where Stephen Chilton of Arizona’s Psyko Steve Presents will be featured as a guest panelist. I can personally vouch for some of the shows Chilton has presented at small venues in my local area, including Frank Turner at The Pressroom in Phoenix last October.

Marketing and Fan Engagement
Tangential to the above Live Music track, this category features panels relating to how artists reach new fans and retain already established ones. Thursday 17 March panel Stream to Ticket: Mapping the Value of Discovery focuses on the live music experience as the basis of music sales and seeks to capitalise on that trend. The Influence of UK Fandoms, scheduled for Wednesday 16 March, is a panel near and dear to our own hearts here at TGTF. It promises to challenge the idea that America is the gold standard for music success, citing The Beatles and One Direction as obvious examples of UK artists who carried their appeal across the pond, as well as American acts like Haim who broke first in the UK before gaining recognition at home.


Panels dealing with Internet and social media marketing strategies abound, including The Art of Impactful Content: Standing Out in 2016 on Friday 18 March, How Major Labels Build Rockstar-Worthy Websites on Thursday 17 March, and Modern SEO for Bands and Brands, with SEO being short for Search Engine Optimisation, also scheduled for Thursday. Not to be left out, another Thursday session titled Radio Re-tuned for the Music Ecosystem features Radio Disney General Manager Phil Guerini discussing how the seemingly archaic radio format is adapting to compete in the ever-evolving multimedia music context.

Stay tuned for the fourth and final installment of our Music Conference panel preview, which posts this Thursday, the 10th of March. New panel discussions are still being added to the schedule and as always, the panel schedule is subject to change. For complete, updated information on Music Conference tracks at SXSW 2016, click here.


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

By on Friday, 4th March 2016 at 1:00 pm

Please note: all information we bring you about SXSW 2016 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.

Wales may feel like a whole ‘nother country away from the rest of the UK. And indeed, beyond the fact that there are still around a quarter of the population who speak Welsh, there are many a Welsh man and woman who will tell you Wales is its own place. This year at SXSW, Horizons Gorwelion, a music scheme by BBC Wales in partnership with Arts Council of Wales to develop new independent contemporary music in Wales, will be bringing two acts over, each with their own fiery independent spirit to match the one of their homeland and the red dragon (Y Ddraig Doch) of the Welsh national flag. (We’re also including both ESTRONS and Gwenno in this roundup here, too. ESTRONS have been given a great slot on the BBC Introducing night to be compered by Steve Lamacq on the Wednesday night, and Gwenno is as she’s the true epitome of Welsh national identity in music right now, as you will read below too. Here’s a taste of each of them, in alphabetical order:

ESTRONS – I introduced you all to this Cardiff-based foursome in the preview of the BBC Introducing / PRS for Music Foundation night scheduled for the 16th of March at Latitude 30, the home of the British Music Embassy. Their name translates to the word ‘aliens’ or ‘foreign’, which makes a sense from where they came from: they met, randomly, on a local beach, deciding to put a band together made up of misfits and outsiders who didn’t feel like they fit anywhere else. Music, as we know, is the great uniting force, and ESTRONS are a great example of this.

Have a listen to their radio-friendly pop track ‘Make a Man’ below. ESTRONS are scheduled to perform at 1 AM Wednesday night, the 16th of March, at British Music Embassy at Latitude 30.

Gwenno – Gwenno Saunders is no stranger to fame. For nearly a decade, she was a member of the hugely popular girl group the Pipettes. Post-Pipettes, Gwenno decided to do something different: start a solo career, writing and recording songs entirely in Welsh. Her second album ‘Y Dydd Olaf’, which was released by Peski Records in October 2014, got an entirely new lease on life when it was re-released by Heavenly Recordings in 2015. She’ll be bringing her kraut-rock inspired funk with her to Austin, on this first visit for her since going solo. Have a listen to track ‘Patriarchaeth’ below.

Gwenno is scheduled to perform Wednesday night, the 16th of March, at Barracuda, and Friday afternoon, the 18th of March, at the British Music Embassy at Latitude 30. For all past coverage of Gwenno on TGTF, including David’s introduction to her solo career that posted last summer here, head this way.

The People The Poet – The South Wales indie rock band are no strangers to SXSW; in fact, they made their debut at the big dance in Texas last year. Their engaging sound caught the eyes and ears of BBC Radio 2’s Dermot O’Leary, who invited them for a live session on his radio programme. They made waves last year the first time around, so I have no doubt they’ll be adding fans handily every time they play in Austin next month.

Have a watch of the promo video for recent single ‘Matchday’ in this previous Video of the Moment. To read more on The People The Poet on TGTF, go here. They’re scheduled to perform Wednesday afternoon, the 16th of March, at the British Music Embassy at Latitude 30, and Saturday night, the 19th of March, at Lucille, among other places.

Violet Skies (pictured at top) – Are you tired of wimpy sounding pop princesses? I sure am. Hailing from the southeast corner of her part of the world, Welsh gal Violet (surname unknown for the moment) goes by the breezy stage name Violet Skies. The moniker doesn’t do her voice justice; more piercingly beautiful than those of who’s considered hot these days (Lorde, Elle King, excuse me while I groan). Have a listen to ‘One Day, Three Autumns’ below.

Violet Skies is scheduled to perform Monday night, the 14th of March, at the British Music Embassy at Latitude 30; Wednesday night, the 16th of March, at Lucky Lounge; and again at Latitude 30 the afternoon of Friday, the 18th of March.



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

By on Friday, 4th March 2016 at 11:00 am

Header photo: Sadie Dupuis of Speedy Ortiz, courtesy of PAHF

Sexism in music is hardly a new phenomenon. Female musicians have literally been fighting it for centuries, going back to the dawn of Western music. In those early times, female performers were often banned from churches or any public musical productions. Women who did perform were unfairly objectified or viewed as sexually promiscuous and morally depraved. By force of centuries-old habit, those attitudes have prevailed into modern times, manifesting themselves in more subtle but equally pervasive ways.

With the outbreak of controversy surrounding #Gamergate, sexism and misogyny in the online gaming community came to the forefront of our awareness in 2015. Along with it came renewed and often heated discussion of sexism and misogyny in the music industry. Artists like Bjork, Speedy Ortiz frontwoman Sadie Dupuis and CHVRCHES’ Lauren Mayberry have jumped into the fray, along with major music publications both in North America and the UK, universally sounding off against the marginalisation of women in music.

Jessica Hopper

Jessica Hopper, courtesy of Featherproof Books

Despite the cancellation of two previously scheduled Interactive Conference sessions addressing misogyny and harassment, the organizers at SXSW have responded resoundingly to the ongoing debate in their Music Festival and Conference programming. Former SXSW showcasing artist Dupuis will appear this year as a panelist on the Wednesday 16th March Conference track Representations of Women in Music Media, which will attempt to analyze present and future portrayals of women in music. And on Thursday 17th March, one of 2016’s most highly anticipated panels will feature an interview with former Pitchfork editor and music critic Jessica Hopper.  Last year, Hopper published her second book The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic, then burst the sexism conversation wide open on Twitter with a call for stories of marginalisation within music and music journalism.

Angelique Kidjo

Angelique Kidjo, courtesy of her Facebook

Recognising that marginalisation in the music industry isn’t limited to sex or gender, Feeling Ourselves? – Black Girl Power in Music (Wednesday 16th March) promises to address issues of both racism and sexism in music. In the same vein, another noteworthy panel choice on Friday the 18th of March is an open interview with world music artist and human rights advocate Angelique Kidjo. Hosted by NPR correspondent and music critic Ann Powers, the discussion will no doubt touch on issues related to feminism, racism, and intersectionality in music. More information on Powers’ scheduled interview with Kidjo can be found here.

Women in the music business are encouraged to pave their own paths in a Thursday 17th March panel titled She Who Goes First Sets the Rules – Women Innovators. By contrast, Business Rules for Women: Entertainment & Media on Friday 18th March seems on first glance to take a slight step backwards, as it implies a separate code of ethics and conduct for those of the feminine persuasion. Nevertheless, both panel discussions make a concerted effort to shift the traditionally male-dominant perspective and invite female participation on the commercial side of the music industry.

Loretta Lynn internal

Loretta Lynn, photo by David McClister

In terms of showcasing artists, the Music Festival has the potential to propel the feminist dialogue even further forward. Legendary country artist Loretta Lynn has been announced as a showcasing performer, which might not seem immediately relevant until you consider that Lynn has been an outspoken feminist in her music dating back to the 1960s. Songs like ‘You Ain’t Woman Enough (To Take My Man)’ and ‘The Pill’, not to mention ‘Coal Miner’s Daughter’, placed Lynn squarely in the center of the feminist conversation, whether she initially intended it or not, and the subject matter of those songs is no less germane in 2016. Lynn’s upcoming new album ‘Full Circle’ will contain both revised versions of past hits and a few newly composed songs, including ‘Everything It Takes’, recorded as a duet with Elvis Costello. The new single continues Lynn’s established predilection for writing songs with empowered female characters, and Lynn herself described the new single in a recent interview with Rolling Stone as a “woman song—something more for a woman.”

Stealing Sheep

Stealing Sheep, courtesy of their Facebook

We here at TGTF already have our eyes and ears on a host of outstanding female artists from the UK who will be heading to SXSW this year. Among them, Liverpool dream pop trio Stealing Sheep, will make their first appearance in Austin with funding from the PRs for Music Foundation on the strength of their album ‘Not Real’ (reviewed here last spring). New TGTF writer Rebecca has already penned a Bands to Watch feature on up-and-coming female acts Abjects and The Big Moon (the latter of whom have unfortunately cancelled their SXSW appearance since publication).  Additionally, our continuing preview coverage of SXSW 2016 showcasing artists will soon feature singer/songwriters Jane Weaver and Holly Macve. Having touched on the issue of feminism several times last year in my own reviews of music by Esmé Patterson, Warpaint’s Jenny Lee Lindberg and the aforementioned CHVRCHES, I am particularly keen to observe and contribute to the discourse at this year’s SXSW.


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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.

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