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TGTF Guide to SXSW 2013: Pop and pop hybrid UK artists showcasing at this year’s SXSW

 
By on Tuesday, 8th January 2013 at 11:00 am
 

It may be hard to believe, but the start of South by Southwest 2013 is a mere 9 weeks away! We’ll be bringing you special features here on TGTF all the way until and through the week of the music portion of SXSW on the 12th to the 17th of March 2013, so keep it here for some great stuff your way. Please note: all information we bring you is to the best of our knowledge when it posts and bands scheduled to appear may be subject to change.

For example, starting this month, on each Tuesday in January, we’ll be bringing you the genre section of the exclusive TGTF Guide to SXSW 2013, profiling all the UK artists that have already been announced to perform at this year’s event as of 5 December 2012. It’s a handy resource if you’re wondering which acts to catch at this year’s marathon week of showcases, parties and secret shows. But I hope it’ll also introduce you to the solo artists and bands you haven’t heard of, because that’s the most exciting thing about SXSW: at any one moment, you could walk into a bar, a club, a hotel, a warehouse, wherever…and you might just discover the next big thing in music.

Today’s genre? Pop and pop hybrid acts. How are we defining pop? That’s often a tough question, since pop can pull elements from other genres of music including urban, dance, rock, folk and country. And it made my work harder, as sometimes I had to question, “is this band pop? Or rock? Or should I put him/her with the singer/songwriters?” I detected a prevailing pop sensibility in all the acts you will read about below.

? (alt-J) – do they really a write-up? Probably not. It’s bothering me more than necessary that they’re playing 9:30 Club in the spring, but if nasal vocals are what DC wants, they will get them…

Read our previous coverage including the 2012 Mercury Prize nomination and win of alt-J, here.

Syd Arthur – not a single singer/songwriter but rather a psychedelic pop band calling Canterbury home. As you might expect, they all have long, unkempt hair but have incredible attention to detail. “Greatly inspired by the sonic pioneers of the late 60s and early 70s, they have patiently learned how to engineer, produce and mix themselves, using an innovative hybrid of analogue and digital techniques.” I’m sold.

Sounds like: exactly how I’d think the Alan Parsons Project would sound in the 21st Century.

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/51432880[/vimeo]

Bastille – I’m not going to write a blurb here since Cheryl had done a very nice one here for Dan Smith and co.’s profile as #2 on our 10 for 2013 poll.

Catch all our previous coverage of Bastille here.

Cave Painting – expansive dream pop from Brighton with touches of Friendly Fires-like escapism and occasional xx-like minimalism.

Catch our previous coverage on the band here.

Charli XCX – Hertfordshire-born, cookie cutter electropop princess. Not really what I think of going down well in Austin. Next…

Charlotte Church – To be honest, I was a little confused to see her name on the first SXSW list. But she’s been trying to shed her good girl, classical music-singing, teenage girl image with a proper pop one, though she runs no risk of sounding like any other UK pop starlet. No, her sound is an unusual blend of the operatic with the whimsy of Patrick Wolf? Not sure about this. Very interesting though to see her singing the praises of Lianne La Havas on Twitter. Future mates?

Now trying to sound like: an operatic Kate Bush (see ‘How Not To Be Surprised When You’re a Ghost’ below)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i4IT3aJ90aA[/youtube]

Everything Everything – the Manchester band that defies any description, really, is ready to storm 2013 with a new album ‘Arc’ to be released in a short while, and it’s my hope that their SXSW turn will finally land them an American record deal. Mixing their disparate loves of pop, rock and hip hop to create a sound that can only be described as catchy and earworm-y, missing them at SXSW is not an option.

We’ve been following EE since Gwilym Gold (ex-Golden Silvers) first tipped them in 2009 on Twitter, so for everything (no pun intended) we’ve written on them, go here.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TKKMfJ8cZoQ[/youtube]

Fear of Men – What a strange name for a band, especially since this group consists of two girls and two boys. (I would have thought it either would have been a girl group, or a bunch of gay men.) Brooklyn record label Kanine Records – aka the American home of Surfer Blood – will be putting out a compilation of the band’s early singles, which means a whole new generation of hipsters will be putting them on their iPods. Really. Hear their latest 7”, called ‘Mosaic’, here; Amazing Radio’s Shell Zenner interviewed the band in 2012 and I’ve embedded a stream of the interview below.

File next to: the Pains of Being Pure at Heart

Gross Magic – Brighton’s Sam McGarrigle makes kinda psychedelic rock, kinda pop. Kinda. Not my thing so I’ll leave it there.

Sounds like: a drugged out Marc Bolan if he discovered a synth (but we didn’t, and that’s why we have T. Rex)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ay-rsScKOmQ[/youtube]

The Heavy – they are a neo-soul band from Bath whose 2009 song ‘How Do You Like Me Now?’ has been popping up in all sorts of popular culture places, on tv shows and video games to…Barack Obama’s election night location in Chicago. (What?) And you know how the line goes, if Barry’s a fan, then…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sVzvRsl4rEM[/youtube]

Islet – noise pop quartet from Cardiff who have been blowing minds in the UK for a while now with their challenging blend of percussion driven, yet undanceable experimental rock.

Read our previous coverage of the band, including a review of their 2012 album ‘Illuminated People’, here.

Jetta – Liverpool singer Jetta croons soulfully to a minimalist backdrop the xx would be proud to call their own. Band-wise, we’ll have to see if this turns out to be more Florence and the Machine or No Doubt.

Sounds like: Diana Ross joined the xx and unilaterally blocked Romy and Oliver from singing

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xt1keKvhycY[/youtube]

Lianne La Havas – La Havas has already made a huge impression on an L.A. crowd in November at the Roxy; if the L.A. Times are to be believed, her voice can be favourably compared to those of Joni Mitchell, Sade, Alicia Keys, Meshell Ndgeocello, Jill Scott and, based on a cover on her 2012 Mercury Prize-nominated album ‘Is Your Love Big Enough?’, even Leonard Cohen. Picked up by NPR, she will have no problem gathering fans to watch her sets at SXSW, even if they never heard that she won iTunes’ Best of 2012 Album honours or is a BBC Sound of 2012 longlist alum.

Read our previous coverage on La Havas here.

The Real Tuesday Weld – pop meets jazz cabaret style meets electronic. Founded by Stephen Coates, this band has been around since 1999 and have been involved in a number of high profile collaborations, including providing music for art museum installations, film soundtracks and television adverts.

Polly Scattergood – my first exposure to Polly was the quirky ‘Please Don’t Touch’, which exemplified her folk / pop /electronic style. I’m hoping she’ll fill in the void that’s been left since Little Boots and Ladyhawke have vacated in heading in their respective new directions. New material has a

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iNUt3q8joAg[/youtube]

This Many Boyfriends – this Leeds band have already gotten the attention of a local celebrity: Ryan Jarman, who produced one of their recent singles. Pleasant and poppy but not exactly meaty.

Sounds like: they’ve been listening to too many Belle and Sebastian records

Wall. – not to be confused with the articled Wall, a punk band from Tyne, this Wall has an unGoogleable name that isn’t helping, so I’ll stop here.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M2xO4hC3dGk[/youtube]

Stay tuned for next week’s installment of the TGTF Guide to SXSW 2013!

 

Tramlines 2012: Day 2 Roundup

 
By on Monday, 20th August 2012 at 2:00 pm
 

As Saturday rises over Sheffield, the city is bustling as Tramlines becomes hotter than an extra hot peri-peri chicken; conveniently, placed within the heart of the city is the Nando’s New Music Stage and when TGTF arrives its none other than Mazes cooking up a storm. Well, I say storm, it’s a hot day and everyone’s sitting down in the square, but Mazes are enjoyable enough to set up the afternoon.

After this comes the pop vibes of Frankie Rose.  She’s got an almost Rose Elinor Dougall quality about her in that it’s bordering the indie line but her sound is still very much endearingly pop. Again, her unfamiliarity with many here washes over the crowd but she’ll have made some new friends this afternoon.

Alarm Bells come on next.  A band lost somewhere between their ex-Dananananaykroyd members and a sound similar to that of the likes of Young Legionnaire, they start well but are struck by an odd power cut mid-set. They try to play it off as drama but the communication of “we are Alarm Bells and this is called a public nightmare” says it all for the band. They need work, but once they’ve pinned the sound down, there’s definitely a future for the new band.

Before this has finished. TGTF pops up to the university arms to catch a few minutes of exciting new act Tip Yr Bartender but clashing set times means only a song or two are enjoyed before dashing back down the Sheffield grid once more to the Bowery. This Many Boyfriends are playing and they’re playing to a relatively crowded room, but when isn’t the Bowery crowded? It’s fuzzy, its fun and it’s fast, and the Leeds band have certainly done the right thing continuing after the tragic loss of their guitarist Peter Sykes last September. Of course due to running around only the latter part of their set is seen but you take what you can at a city festival; especially when it’s free.

Blessa follow but don’t quite have the same energy as just seen. I start to wonder if my plan of winging it this festival is proving to be the right choice and wander the city for a while before returning to the crowded room for Best Friends (above) and Peace (pictured at top). Best Friends continue to make me doubt even if they are a bit energetic with a moderate dollop of shoegaze whilst Peace rightfully fill the room with tracks from their as of yet limited catalogue and forthcoming EP.

And so, to end the night it’s across the streets of Sheffield to see local boys done good The Crookes. Fresh from the release of their second record, the band fill the upstairs room of the Shakespeare to an almost dangerous level. It’s hotter and sweatier than the most crowded of saunas and there appears to be no way of opening windows but as the band come on, for a while it stops mattering. They’ve got the same kind of buzz around them as Razorlight did around the ‘Up All Night’ era and quite frankly, with a performance like this, they deserve it.   It’s enjoyable to the point that even though it’s far too hot to move, many in the 100-sized room are doing so; someone’s even got a blow-up toy!

So it had been yet another mixed day of strange set times in a diverse set of rooms but on the most tiring set of the weekend so far it’s a positive home time tonight. The party continues through the night across the city but after that Crookes set, it seems fitting to stop there. Let’s see what Sunday brings.

 
 
 

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