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(SXSW 2014 flavoured!) Quickfire Questions #72: Wildflowers

 
By on Wednesday, 5th March 2014 at 11:00 am
 

Not much time to go now! In what time is left in leading up to SXSW 2014 (hello, it all kicks off next Tuesday, the 11th of March!), we’ll be running a special version of the TGTF Quickfire Questions, served up SXSW style with an extra couple of questions to get inside bands’ heads so they’ll tell us what they really think of the event. In the ninth installment of this series ahead of the activities in Austin next month, we’ve got Brighton-based folk rockers Wildflowers tag-teaming on our questions, with sisters Siddy and Kit Bennett letting us in on some musical history in their family. Read on…

SXSW-related questions:

What are you most looking forward to doing while you’re in Austin?
Siddy: I just wanna drink beer in a dark bar and watch some hot bands.
Kit: Buying a cowboy hat.
James: Listening to lots of live music!

Are there any bands that you have as must-sees on your schedule? If yes, who are they and why?
Siddy: Willie Nelson, because he is a living legend and The Pig Pen Theatre Company because I like what they get up to and their music is very atmospheric.
Kit: Willie Nelson and Royal Blood.
James: Royal Blood, they’re a rock band from Brighton. Amazing band!
Kendal: The Wood Brothers, their album is amazing!

Name something you’re packing in your suitcase that we might find unusual. (You are welcome to elaborate.)

Siddy: Space. I want to buy as many souvenirs as I can when I’m out there, so I’m leaving it as empty as possible.
Kit: An accordion pick-up.

If we happen to run into you in a bar, we’d like to buy you a drink. What is your tipple of choice?
[It was not lost on me that this was one of only three questions answered by all four band members, ha! – Ed.]
Siddy: Ahhhh we have to do a tequila if we bump into each other in a bar!
Kit: A Cosmo.
James: Guinness with a shot of port.
Kendal: I really like craft lagers!

(For bands who are SXSW newbies) What have you heard about the festival? Are you excited / anxious / scared / etc. and why?
Siddy: Ive just heard that the streets are lined with bands and it’s one of the best festivals in the world. SO yeah, pretty high expectations. Definitely not nervous or scared, just really really excited.
Kit: I’ve heard that it can be a springboard for bands, which is an exciting thought. I’m not scared, I’m just really looking forward to it.

Let’s move on to the usual TGTF Quickfire Questions:

What song is your earliest musical memory?
Siddy: Dancing to our dad’s jazz band, we used to travel round to his gigs and dance all night. We took it very seriously and thought we were part of the show!
Kit: Our mum singing “Oh Susanna, don’t you cry for me, ‘coz I come from Alabama with a banjo on me knee” – she used to actually play that to me on the banjo when we lived on the boat. That and ‘Goodnight, Irene’ by Leadbelly.
James: Watching Slash play with Velvet Revolver and playing lots of incredible solos and changing his guitar every song.

What was your favourite song as a child?
James: Dodgy – ‘Good Enough’
Siddy: ‘Honky Tonky Merry Go Round’ – Patsy Cline. It was the first country song I ever heard.
Kit: Chuck Berry, ‘Roll Over Beethoven’. It’s still in my top 5.

What song makes you laugh?
Siddy: Weird Al Yankovic – ‘Amish Paradise’.
Kit: Eminem – ‘Puke’
James: Bloodhound Gang – ‘The Bad Touch’.

What song makes you cry?
Siddy: Bob Dylan And The Band – ‘I Shall Be Released’.
Kit: ‘Me and Bobby McGee’, Janis Joplin.
James: Never really cried to a song, but this song is very sad, The Cinematic Orchestra – ‘To Build a Home’.

What song reminds you of the first time you fell in love? (It’s up to you if you want this to be sweet, naughty, etc.)
Siddy: Chris Isaak – ‘Wicked Game’.
James: Lou Reed – ‘Perfect Day’
Kit: Cracker – ‘Low’.

What song makes you think of being upset / angry? (Example: maybe you heard it when you were angry with someone and it’s still with you, and/or something that calms you down when you’re upset, etc.)
Siddy: None of us can think of one at the moment!

Which song (any song written in the last century / 100 years or so) do you wish you’d written yourself?
Siddy: Bob Dylan – ‘Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright’.
James: Ray Charles – ‘Unchain My Heart’.
Kit: Joan Armatrading – ‘Willow’.

Who is your favourite writer? (This can be a songwriter or ANY kind of writer.)
James: Ray Charles.
Siddy: Bob Dylan.
Kit: Joan Armatrading

If you hadn’t become a singer/musician/songwriter/etc., what job do you think you’d be doing right now?
James: Professional skateboarder.
Siddy: Actress.
Kit Bennett: A detective.
Kendal: I’d own a bar in somewhere hot!

If God said you were allowed to bring only one album with you to Heaven, which would it be and why? (Sorry, but double albums do not count.)
James: Van Morrison – ‘Astral Weeks’.
Siddy: Muddy “Mississippi” Waters’ live album, because it makes me feel like I’m at an amazing party.
Kit Bennett: Cracker – ‘Kerosene Hat’. Because it’s very soothing.

Thanks very much to Wildflowers for being so kind and answering our questions!

 

TGTF Guide to SXSW 2014: Singer/songwriter and folk UK artists showcasing at this year’s SXSW

 
By on Tuesday, 4th March 2014 at 1:00 pm
 

Please note: all information we bring you about SXSW 2014 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.

Just 1 week off now from the official start of SXSW 2014 and we’ve arrived at the sixth part of the TGTF Guide to SXSW 2014: the genre of singer/songwriters and folk artists. Whether they are single person artists with just a microphone and/or a guitar, or they’re a multi-person strong team of musicians, singer/songwriters have the ability to evoke feelings and emotions in us sometimes we didn’t even know we had. Read on…

Juliette Ashby
Carrie writes: “Fans of the late Amy Winehouse will be interested to hear up-and-coming pop diva Juliette Ashby. Though Ashby was reportedly close friends with Winehouse, her music bears only the slightest tinge of Winehouse’s gritty soul flavor, instead leaning more toward the sparkly dance pop of stars like Ellie Goulding or Lily Allen. Ashby’s debut album ‘Bittersweet’ will be available for preorder on the 3rd of March.

Liam Bailey
Self-described as “acoustic soul”, Nottingham-born Bailey brings a soulful, almost jazzy edge and a welcome difference to the singer/songwriter category.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mCB6tg_6ntY[/youtube]

Cocos Lovers
Alt-folk collective Cocos Lovers formed in Kent in 2008 when its members decided to quit their day jobs and travel through Europe, busking and making music however and wherever they possibly could. Predictably, the influences on their style are widely varied, including English folk and choral music, American Southern gospel and Spanish flamenco, as well as the complex rhythms and tonalities of African and Eastern traditional music.

Read Carrie’s Bands to Watch feature on Cocos Lovers here; two of their members also answered our SXSW 2014 flavoured Quickfire Questions, which you can read here.

Cousin Marnie
Carrie writes: Hackney native Cousin Marnie has the unique distinctions of claiming an Alfred Hitchcock heroine as the inspiration for her stage name and counting both Loretta Lynn and Kanye West among her main musical influences. Her single ‘Cain’ is an eerie combination of biblical text, stark instrumental texture, and delicate vocal timbres in the verses, juxtaposed with heavy bass and savage rhythm in the chorus. Watch the lyric video for ‘Cain’ below, and try not to think too much about what might have become of the little white bunny.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/KDIShBsd7HI[/youtube]

Honeyblood
Carrie writes: “Honeyblood’s twee grunge pop has drawn fully warranted comparisons to California groups Best Coast and Haim, not only for the female lead vocals, but for the laid-back vibe, fuzzy garage band tone and mildly rebellious lyrics.”

Carrie’s Bands to Watch feature on Honeyblood is here.

Kieran Leonard
Carrie writes: “The hipster literati in Austin next spring will no doubt flock to see British singer-songwriter Kieran Leonard, whose esoteric and often politically-charged folk rock challenges both emotion and intellect. His intensity may be off-putting at first, especially to a casual listener, but his entrancing singing voice and cynically provocative lyrics are worth a bit of extra attention.”

Read Carrie’s Bands to Watch piece on Leonard here.

The Melodic
Carrie writes: “South London band The Melodic have just finished touring America with Johnny Flynn and The Sussex Wit in support of their debut full length album, ‘Effra Parade’. ‘Effra Parade’ is a light and jaunty mix of carefree melodic lines, casual vocal harmonies and diverse instrumental textures. While musically whimsical, the songs’ thoughtful lyrics often deal with larger intellectual topics, such as the Pinochet-era political turmoil in Chile in ‘Ode to Victor Jara’”.

Carrie’s Bands to Watch feature on the band is here; frontman Huw Williams also answered our SXSW 2014 flavoured Quickfire Questions set here.

Nick Mulvey
Carrie writes: “Blurring the lines between jazz, classical, world music, and folk genres, this set of four songs reveals a wide array of musical influences, as well as a broad set of lyrical and compositional ideas. The songs hinge on minimalist grooves and the repetitive plucked rhythms of Mulvey’s acoustic guitar, but the unique harmonies and eclectic instrumentation generate surprising sonic variety.”

Rhodes
This Hitchin guitar-toting singer/songwriter with a penchant for sweeping, ethereal vocals has already been compared to the likes of Jeff Buckley and Antony and the Johnsons. Check out ‘Raise Your Love’, which showcases his expansive voice.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rzcx0Oa7s2s[/youtube]

Sweet Baboo
Welsh singer/songwriter Stephen Black might have named himself after Linus Van Pelt’s (Peanuts) too cute nickname, but he does a good job bridging the heartfelt with the occasional squealing guitar jam.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zMQ8h42HOJU[/youtube]

Tom the Lion
Cheryl writes: Tom Visser, performing under the moniker Tom the Lion, is splashing back onto the scene after a 3-year absence. Debut album ‘Sleep’ is poised to give this Londoner a career jolt. Blending low-fi, chamber pop and modified symphonics, ‘Sleep’ is a mysterious, masterful work. Previous release ‘The Adventures of Tom the Lion’ brought him under the radar commercial success even though it was an amalgam of live performance and limited edition vinyl-only EPs. Despite the difficulty in finding his music – currently available only via Rough Trade or his Web site, it is worth the hunt (hint: try Soundcloud). Both works hold gems that identify this singer as an endearing entry into the male singer/songwriter milieu.”

Cheryl’s full Bands to Watch feature on Tom the Lion can be found here.

Alex Vargas
Though he’s based in London, singer/songwriter was born in Denmark and is of English and Uruguayan ancestry. Looking for a bit of 21st century blue-eyed soul in Austin? You’ve found him.

Wildflowers
Carrie writes: “Brighton-based four-piece Wildflowers center their folk rock sound around the vocal harmonies of sisters Siddy and Kit Bennett. Siblings almost always have a unique ability to perfectly match their vocal diction for seamless harmonies, but the sisters also share a love of rebellious female songs, citing Alanis Morrisette as an early musical influence. Hints of Morrisette certainly appear in Wildflowers’ lyrics and Siddy Bennett’s vocal delivery, but the overall sound leans more toward the bluesy country of Patsy Cline. The Bennett sisters cite their nomadic, bohemian upbringing as an influence on their music as well, with American bands like The Eagles and Fleetwood Mac informing the full-scale vocal harmonies they share with band members James Ashbury and Kendal Sant.”

Want to read Carrie’s Bands to Watch feature on Wildflowers? Right this way.

Withered Hand
Carrie writes: “Withered Hand is the stage name of Scottish folk singer/songwriter Dan Willson, whose second full length album, ‘New Gods’, is due for release in mid-March (the 10th of March, just in time for SXSW!) by Fortuna Pop! Records. According to the label’s press release for ‘New Gods’, Willson took up songwriting around age 30 when a series of life events sparked “a period of reflection” that led to the creation of his deeply introspective first album ‘Good News’. ‘New Gods’ is a variation on that theme of self-examination, equally perceptive and evocative, but with a mellow touch of wry humor to soften its blunt honesty.”

To read Carrie’s review of Withered Hand’s upcoming album ‘New Gods’, go here.

Gabby Young and Other Animals
Carrie writes: Gabby Young is a classically trained opera singer turned ‘Circus Swing’ songwriter whose globally-influenced brand of folk music has been grouped into an eccentric genre all its own. Her singing voice is indeed glorious, but even more spectacular are the energetically jazzy rhythms provided by her 8-piece backing band, Other Animals. This lively showcase is sure to inspire dancing and debauchery in Austin. For a quick teaser, watch the video for ‘I’ve Improved’, from the group’s Kickstarter-funded third album ‘One Foot in Front of the Other’.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/3TEon8cQI_g [/youtube]

More of the TGTF Guide to SXSW 2014 to come this week. Stay tuned!

 

(SXSW 2014 flavoured!) Bands to Watch #293: Wildflowers

 
By on Wednesday, 12th February 2014 at 1:00 pm
 

Brighton-based four-piece Wildflowers center their folk rock sound around the vocal harmonies of sisters Siddy and Kit Bennett. Siblings almost always have a unique ability to perfectly match their vocal diction for seamless harmonies, but the sisters also share a love of rebellious female songs, citing Alanis Morrisette as an early musical influence. Hints of Morrisette certainly appear in Wildflowers’ lyrics and Siddy Bennett’s vocal delivery, but the overall sound leans more toward the bluesy country of Patsy Cline. The Bennett sisters cite their nomadic, bohemian upbringing as an influence on their music as well, with American bands like The Eagles and Fleetwood Mac informing the full-scale vocal harmonies they share with band members James Ashbury and Kendal Sant.

On listening to the tracks available on the band’s Soundcloud page, I was struck by the variety in their songs. The live version of ‘Let It Go’ from BBC Introducing in September 2013 is catchy, upbeat and a little gritty, but nicely balanced by the sweet vocals. ‘Tell Them I’m Your Woman’ makes the Patsy Cline influence abundantly clear, and while Siddy Bennett’s voice doesn’t quite hit that mark, her throaty vocals and the sexy percussion and guitars do pack some emotional heat. The bluesy, almost gospel sound is turned up even further on ‘I Need to Hit That Road’ (don’t miss the chorus of this one!) and ‘Took Me to the River’ (see the video for this track at the bottom of this post).

Wildflowers are just finishing a supporting tour for singer/songwriter Tom Odell and are set to embark on their own headline tour of the UK in March, ahead of their scheduled appearance at SXSW 2014. Their debut EP ‘Wild Among The Flowers’ is available now.

Thursday 13th February 2014 – Sheffield O2 Academy (supporting Tom Odell)
Wednesday 5th March 2014 – Manchester Castle Hotel
Thursday 6th March 2014 – Glasgow Nice ‘n’ Sleazy’s
Friday 7th March 2014 – Liverpool Korova
Saturday 8th March 2014 – Birmingham Sunflower Lounge
Monday 10th March 2014 – Bristol Louisiana
Tuesday 11th March 2014 – Cardiff Clwb Ifor Bach
Wednesday 12th March 2014 – Cambridge Portland Arms
Thursday 13th March 2014 – London Sebright Arms

[youtube]http://youtu.be/Hikc_OaQe_k[/youtube]

 
 
 

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