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SXSW 2015 Interview: Elliott Hammond, Monte Tramonte and Simon McConnell of The Delta Riggs

By on Tuesday, 24th March 2015 at 11:00 am

Following on from the nice chat I had with The Lonely Wild at one of the earliest afternoon showcases of the week last Tuesday, the first day of the StubHub Experience put on by Culture Collide at Clive Bar in the Rainey Street area of downtown Austin, my next interviewees were much more difficult to pin down. The one good thing about SXSW is that in and around the smaller venues, it’s much more easier to accidentally run into indie bands if you need to find them as we do for professional reasons of interviewing.

Melbourne’s The Delta Riggs were on after The Lonely Wild, and boy, did they make an impression! While The Lonely Wild have an energetic set, there is an edgy, kick to the arse kind of bent to The Delta Riggs’ music that made me feel like this was the second coming of The Black Crowes via Australia. I had trouble locating the band’s tour manager and was about to give up on interviewing them that afternoon until I noticed a van being loaded up on the street outside the venue and recognised bassist Michael “Monte” Tramonte and drummer Simon McConnell carrying band gear.

The two of them were more than happy to stop what they were doing to have this chinwag with me. Naturally, they were horribly jetlagged from their long-haul travels from Oz – humourously described during their set at Clive Bar by their frontman Elliott Hammond as taking 3 months by trans-Pacific freighter, during which they lost an entire horn section – and it was Elliott who gatecrashed and joined our interview one-third of the way in. We also chat about the Australian contingent and they recommend some Aussie acts for us to check out, including one with which their band are doing a collaboration with but I think TGTF were the first to get wind of.


TGTF Guide to SXSW 2015: Australian artists showcasing at this year’s SXSW (A – G)

By on Wednesday, 4th March 2015 at 11:00 am

Please note: all information we bring you about SXSW 2015 is to the best of our knowledge when it posts and bands scheduled to appear may be subject to change. To learn when your favourite band is playing in Austin, we recommend you first consult the official SXSW schedule, then stop by the band’s Facebook and official Web site for details of any non-official SXSW appearances.

Sounds Australia brings a veritable cornucopia, by genre, of acts to many major music festivals around the world during the year, including TGTF May UK festival favourites The Great Escape and Liverpool Sound City. Their Australian contingent always has a massive presence at SXSW, and this year is no exception. In addition to the annual, all-day Aussie BBQ advertised as the biggest Australian band showcase outside of Oz, it’s sure to be a good time with 25 of the hottest Australian acts performing at Brush Square Park on the Friday of this year’s festival. With much assistance from our Aussie friend NickiGirlStar, today and tomorrow we’ll be introducing you to many of the bands coming from down under. Whether you’re lucky enough to head out to Austin in 2 weeks or not, we hope you’re find a new act (or three) to fall in love with.

Ball Park Music (Brisbane)
These five twenty somethings from Brisbane, Australia play sunny, upbeat indie pop rock tunes since 2008. Lead singer Sam Cromack has a charismatic presence on stage not unlike Jarvis Cocker of Pulp. Very much a party and dance sound.

I’ve seen them inspire thousands at Australia’s major festival Splendour in the Grass to sing and dance to their pop anthem ‘It’s Nice to Be Alive’. Their popularity keeps growing, and it is not unusual for even the larger Sydney venues to sell out when they come to town.

‘Puddinghead’ is their second and current album and was released in April 2014. It includes the disco track ‘She Only Loves Me When I’m There’, which made #19 on the triple j Hottest 100 listing in 2014; they also successfully nabbed spot #58 with “Everything is Shit Except My Friendship With You”. Go check them out if you want to brighten up your day and have a bit of a groove.

Bloods (Sydney)
This three piece punk group – two girls doing the guitar/bass thing and a token male playing drums – like to yell, jump around and belt out their punchy tunes at a rapid rate. Their debut album “Work It Out” was released in 2014.

They have been on the scene since 2011. They’re a popular act at indie festivals and also score quite a few support spots for visiting overseas bands when they come to Oz. A highlight of theirs in 2014 was supporting ‘90s American punk outfit Veruca Salt, which I thought was a pretty good match musically. Another notable support slot was for the Dum Dum Girls. Lead singer Sweetie oozes swag and keeps the other two in line. I always enjoy seeing Bloods and taking in their infectious girl punk sound, and I hope you do too.

Carmada (Sydney)
You know how Pendulum changed the game a couple years ago, being an Australian band and bringing their fresh take on drum ‘n’ bass? Pendulum may be no more but Carmada, the musical marriage of solo musician/producers L D R U and Yahtzel, are about to melt your face off with a refreshing blend of electro, soul and hip hop. (Mary Chang)

The Church (Sydney)
Where do I start with The Church? They have been in my portfolio of sounds to love since I can remember. It was 1980 when The Church launched their goth rock at a gig in Sydney. Thirty years later, they have been inducted into the Australian Recording Artists Association (ARIA) Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame and have taken the wondrous 30-year anniversary tour “Future Past Perfect” around Australia and then to America in 2011.

In 2014 part of the band’s backbone, Marty Wilson-Piper, departed, with ex-lead guitarist and singer for Powderfinger Ian Hague coming onboard to fill the void. They also released their 25th studio album ‘Further/Deeper’ and were invited as the keynote speakers for Australia’s version of SXSW, BIGSOUND in Brisbane. In addition to SXSW, they’ll be touring America again this year.

The music of The Church is a mystical brand of goth rock that transports your mind to another plane. The emotion runs deep within the songs. Some of Australia’s classic rock songs have been penned by The Church, most notably ‘Under the Milky Way’, ‘The Unguarded Moment’, ‘Almost With You’ and ‘Metropolis’. Definitely go see The Church.

Courtney Barnett (Melbourne); read past TGTF coverage on her here
Courtney Barnett has toured around the U.S. a bit and from what I hear, she’s had a good reception. I actually picked up her 2013 double EP ‘A Sea of Split Peas’ while on a mid-2014 California holiday; there it was all pride of place at Lou’s Records in Encinitas. There are so many great tracks on the double EP to get excited about: ‘Avant Gardener’, ‘Lance Jr’, ‘Scotty Says’ and ‘Out of the Woodwork’ that will have you singing and swaying and thinking why you haven’t already heard of Courtney Barnett. In addition, one of Courtney’s singles from 2014, ‘Pickles From the Jar’, won the #51 spot on the triple j Hottest 100.

I really enjoy Courtney’s work, her music and lyrics have a distinctive Australian flavour to them and she always comes across as she would be your bestie if you just happened to live next door to her. Courtney’s style is a mixture of shoegaze and jangly rock on the recordings, but she gets more worked up at a live show and really gets into the performance and rocks down with her band members Bones and Dave. I recommend you checking out her showcase at this year’s SXSW.

The Delta Riggs (Melbourne)
These psych-rockers playfully known as ‘Le Riggs’ are no strangers to the USA, having played at Culture Collide and CMJ festivals in 2014. Their current persona is playful, especially witnessed in the filmclips for ‘The Record’s Flawed’ (think Sergeant Pepper-style pop art) and ‘Supersonic Casualties’ off their 2014 album ‘Dipz Zebazios’, which has been stirring up the punters and promoters alike. In early 2015 they will be supporting Foo Fighters across Australia and in the past have also supported Kasabian and Primal Scream.

Absolutely drop by The Delta Riggs’ set if you want to have a groove to some good rock beats and see a damn fine all star performance from the band and their superstar frontman Elliott Hammond, who has all the moves and energy and then some. I’ve been saying for years that Elliott is one of the best performers around, and it is most certainly time for him and his bandmates to shine.

Demi Louise (Melbourne)
Let’s face it, the young female indie folk singer/songwriter genre is pretty crowded in the UK already, with Lucy Rose leading the pack. But Demi Louise might give all these ladies a run for their money this year at SXSW 2015. Check out the haunting ‘Ruins’ with its dextrous guitar work for further evidence.

Despite still being unsigned, the 21-year old Melbournian already has plenty of international experience under her belt. In 2014, she ditched the chance to perform on Aussie X Factor – although she had already passed the necessary auditions – to play at Liverpool Sound City, so she already has huge points in my book for wanting to spread her music the old fashioned way. She’s also opened for Gabrielle Aplin in England, as well as TGTF favourites Kodaline in their hometown of Dublin. (Mary Chang)

Falls (Sydney); read our past coverage on Falls here
Acoustic folk duo Melinda and Simon hail from Sydney via Darwin (a far northwest tropical monsoonal city in Australia’s Northern Territory) who now live in Los Angeles after being signed to Universal in 2013. In Sydney they were the drawcard and brains behind Folk Club, where they performed every week for 5 years or more and also embraced other artists to perform on the bill to an appreciative audience that continued to build each week.

Folk Club helped the Sydney folk scene flourish. It was a magical time for all involved and we owe Falls a lot for being instrumental in this renaissance of Aussie folk music. Melinda and Simon were able to do achieve all of this because they were drop dead lyrically and musically good. It was always a joy to see them perform, the songs never lost their potency and continued to draw you week after week. It was not unusual for me to have tears in my eyes each Wednesday night as they performed their evocative songs such as ‘Home’, ‘Into the Fire’ and ‘Hollywood’.

Melinda has a lovely true full voice that will grab you by the heart and reminds me of another Australian folk singer, Judith Durham, who made such worldwide hits such as ‘Georgie Girl’ in the 1960s with her band The Seekers. I always felt that Melinda’s voice should also gain worldwide notice and am hoping this will turn out to be the case. Don’t miss seeing Falls, as they are a top-notch act worthy of attention and will appeal to all regardless of age and genre preference that some people may have.

George Maple
Pop might be a bad word in some circles. But George Maple is trying to change that with minimalist electronic backdrops and her soulful voice singing about the not so pop topics of melancholy and sadness. With famous friends like Flume (on whose ‘Bring You Down’ she guested on) and Kwes, she’s already got incredible street cred. Oh, and by the way, George is a woman… (Mary Chang)

The Gooch Palms (Newcastle)
Take a listen to ‘We Get By’ for proof that this girl drummer and boy guitarist like to shock as much as play a catchy punk rock tune. Energetic, raunchy, sometimes gross and in your face performances can be expected from this pair. Expect to get caught up in the moment by shaking your booty to their jaunty tunes. I would not be surprised if they have in mind some tricks of shock value level to dazzle their audiences at SXSW. Some of the international bands they have graced the stage with are the Thee Oh Sees, 5,6,7,8’s, Nobunny, Hunx and His Punx, Shannon and the Clams, and The King Khan and BBQ Show. I am sure you will find The Gooch Palms very likeable and the antidote to boring showcase performances.

Stay tuned for part 2 of our coverage of Australian artists showcasing at SXSW 2015, which concludes tomorrow.


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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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