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SXSW 2016: most of the Clash and PPL showcase at the British Music Embassy (Friday night, part 2) – 18th March 2016

 
By on Friday, 8th April 2016 at 5:30 pm
 

Clash Magazine and UK music rights and licensing agency PPL‘s evening showcase Friday at the British Music Embassy at Latitude 30 was arguably the strongest night all week at SXSW 2016. Punters responded by packing the place full nearly every set on the night. To catch up on my earlier movements Friday evening, including some words on Throwing Shade’s performance to start this showcase, click here. For better photos of this showcase by my new friend Thomas Jackson, please visit Clash Magazine’s article on the night here.

After being at the Empire Garage and Control Room for three acts and heading back to Latitude 30, I caught the tail-end of Haelos’ set there, keen on finally figuring out the secret to their success during their week in Austin after seeing them in the sun at FLOODfest Wednesday. As I mentioned in my Friday afternoon review regarding Fickle Friends, there are way too many synth-led bands in Britain at the moment, which makes it all the more important to distinguish your band from the rest of the pack. I suppose here in a Passion Pit-less vacuum, British synthpop is all the more enticing. It also helps that Haelos has already received the backing of KEXP, recording a session with the forward-looking Seattle alternative radio station in January.

Haelos at the Clash and PPL showcase at British Music Embassy, Friday at SXSW 2016

Watching them play to a packed-in British Music Embassy evening crowd – one of the very few times I witnessed this all week, which I thought was very strange – I think I may have cracked it. They do bring something different to the table, in that they’re not doing straight electropop, or electropop with a tinge of soul, for the kids. Mixing both options with a trip-hop element that formerly was the domain of acts like Massive Attack – generally only accepted by the dance kids – plus mixing male and female vocals, all these parts give their music product an undisputed edge. After giving the crowd 100%, the cheering at the end of their set was well deserved.

The next act, then, were presented with the major and dubious challenge of following such a triumphant set. I guess it’s a good thing they were YAK, as their psych / punk ethos don’t really give a monkey’s, and I think they would have completely went for it as they did, regardless of what band preceded them. Frontman Oli Burslem proved this by launching himself, guitar too, stage left into the crowd and entirely unexpectedly. This led to drink glasses falling and breaking and audience members falling down in a pile with him. Instead of being upset about it, punters ate it up, with those not involved in the pileup furiously snapping shots of the incident with their phones and high-fiving their friends that they were present for such an anarchic performance. Latitude 30 staff, quickly mopping and sweeping up glass in the aftermath, were likely not as impressed.

YAK at Clash and PPL showcase at British Music Embassy, Friday at SXSW 2016

The Revenge, Scottish producer Graeme Clark, was up next to ring in midnight at the Embassy. I never know what to expect when there’s an electronic producer set to perform at Latitude 30 because in general, turnout isn’t great. I guess that has to do with most fans of this kind of music having a certain (dare I say overly intelligent) mindset and a profound love for not just beats but all electronic machinations, including how they work and sound. Clark is one-half of 6th Borough Project with Edinburgh Craig Smith, and I hadn’t realised until the week of SXSW of Clark’s connection. Thank you muchly, Ed Macfarlane, for my entry into this world.

As The Revenge, he released debut album ‘Love That Will Not Die’ in 2015, full of bangers of varying intensity and tempo. Under the cover of darkness, he and live compadre Paul McGlashan huddled over a dizzying array of synths, sequencers, mixers and other things I don’t know the proper names for, but that doesn’t matter. Thudding vs. frenetic beats and the dance lover’s friend of bass wub wub wubs filled the room with a kind of sonic mastery I so infrequently get to enjoy. I could have been there, happily dancing for hours and not known where the time had gone.

But after a spine-tinglingly good set and a changeover, it was time for London’s Honne, who the Telegraph have dubbed “futuristic soul” and “destined to re-invent babymaking music”. Um, okay. Let’s just stick to the facts: singer Andy Clutterbuck is the unlikely English (and white) heir to the throne of Barry White, and his long-time mate James Hatcher on keys and guitar, along with their live band, provide the appropriately mystifyingly soulful soundtrack. ‘Warm on a Cold Night’, featured in my Bands to Watch feature on them in the summer of 2014, was sufficient proof early on that this project had plenty of potential.

Honne at Clash and PPL showcase at British Music Embassy, Friday at SXSW 2016

This potential was fully realised in front of a new and American crowd Friday night, as men and women alike yelled and wailed in their appreciation for the band, never letting up for the entirety of their set. I was pretty sure some ladies were going to faint when Andy announced they would playing their ode to the fairer sex in ‘Woman’. (Thanks to another crazy fan, I nearly lost my hearing the next night at Stubb’s watching them again, but I’ll tell you about that later.) They even got their friend JONES, who herself had performed on the Embassy the night before, to join in with them on the track ‘No Place Like Home’. When it came time for them to say goodbye with ‘All in the Value’, the crowd’s disappointment was loud and unanimous. Everyone wanted to meet the band after, irking the usually laissez-faire staff at Latitude 30, who had to kick us out of the place. Break America? Check.

 

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.

[youtube]https://youtu.be/DbUZ2hhnBkk[/youtube]

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.

[youtube]https://youtu.be/MXmAaSBY8dM[/youtube]

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.

[youtube]https://youtu.be/aSfC_9HrhxQ[/youtube]

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.

[youtube]https://youtu.be/4snQj4qKJvg[/youtube]

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: Clash in association with PPL, and NME in association with UK Trade and Investment at the British Music Embassy – 18th-19th March 2016

 
By on Friday, 4th March 2016 at 2:00 pm
 

The British Music Embassy will return to Latitude 30 at 512 San Jacinto Boulevard, right by the heart of the action off 6th Street during SXSW 2016. On Monday and Wednesday, our editor Mary previewed the talent on show on Tuesday night (Huw Stephens with PRS for Music showcase) and Wednesday, then Thursday (Output Belfast and PIAS in association with AIM), respectively. This year’s showcases on Friday the 18th of March are set to include a host of artists from around the UK, including hotly-tipped acts from Wales and Scotland. The Welsh artists will be highlighted during the daytime show, presented by British Music @ SXSW in association with Cerdd Cymru: Music Wales. A pair of Scottish acts will feature on the evening showcase, presented by UK pop culture magazine Clash in association with music rights and licensing agency PPL.

The Friday afternoon show will feature a delightfully rich lineup of female artists, beginning with alt-folk singer/songwriter Rozi Plain and continuing with two Welsh acts, pop singer/songwriter Violet Skies and electronic musician Gwenno. Both Welsh women will be introduced in more detail in editor Mary’s upcoming preview of Welsh artists at SXSW 2016 later today.

[youtube]https://youtu.be/H4S0ME8Xyc0[/youtube]

Closing out the afternoon are two alliterative acts, our recent Band to Watch #372 Fickle Friends, followed by fellow TGTF alumnae Stealing Sheep. Fickle Friends vaulted to popularity in the UK with their debut single ‘Swim’ back in 2014 and have been on an upward trajectory ever since. Liverpool trio Stealing Sheep are sailing strong on their April 2015 release ‘Not Real’, but I wouldn’t be surprised to hear a hint of something new from them in Austin as well.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AqVYDRM842s[/youtube]

The Friday evening Clash showcase is set to begin with DJ/producer/all-around-Renaissance-woman Throwing Shade, whose soon-to-be released EP ‘House of Silk’ features the above reflection on pop culture and social media called ‘hashtag IRL’. Scottish pop songstress KLOE and avant/experimental trio Hælos will fill in the middle part of the evening lineup, ahead of a rather intriguing To Be Confirmed notation at 11 PM; bets are open as to who might fill that coveted slot.

[youtube]https://youtu.be/vKakNhz2ToA[/youtube]

Playing at midnight will be Glasgow electro musician The Revenge, followed by London-based soul pop duo Honne (read more of our coverage on Honne here). The Revenge will feature in our upcoming preview of Scottish artists at SXSW 2016, along with the aforementioned KLOE.

On Saturday, the 19th of March, the afternoon show at Latitude 30 will start with Sheffield slacker punk pair Nai Harvest (read more about them on TGTF here) and Leeds goth-punk band Autobahn. Falling square in the middle of the docket, Liverpool indie rockers Sugarmen are sure to win fans with their psychedelic recent single ‘Plastic Ocean’, while grunge rockers Fizzy Blood and Demob Happy finish off the daytime slate.

[youtube]https://youtu.be/qVkdCG_tfvk[/youtube]

Latitude 30 will be taken over by recently retooled and relaunched pop culture magazine NME in association with UK Trade and Investment on Saturday night, the final event at the British Music Embassy for SXSW 2016. Leicester brothers Andy and James Stone, known onstage as synth-rock duo Lusts will open the show (Rebecca’s introduction to them is here), to be followed by rap collective Section Boyz. London five-piece Pumarosa have already announced an autumn 2016 support slot for SXSW 2015 hit act Gengahr and will feature in the middle of this final night lineup.

[youtube]https://youtu.be/XA97m6L2-Dc[/youtube]

Deep-voiced Americana singer/songwriter Barns Courtney could easily follow in the successful SXSW footsteps of Hozier and James Bay before him. He’ll round out his trip to Austin with an appearance at the British Music Embassy, ahead of dance duo Formation (Rebecca’s introduction to them is here) and another tantalising to-be-announced special guest for the evening’s final set.

[youtube]https://youtu.be/ckNWtmkA2_g[/youtube]

 
 
 

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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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