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By Mary Chang
on Friday, 24th February 2017 at 6:00 pm
Brighton rockers Tall Ships will be releasing their second album ‘Impressions’ next month on FatCat Records. (It was previously announced for a release on the 10th of February and but its release date was moved to the 31st of March on the same label.) ‘Petrichor’ is an early taster from the upcoming release, and it demonstrates the brash instrumentation the band have been known for showing off on record and in live shows. In the promo video for the song, you might recognise the actor, who also appeared in their video last year for ‘Meditations on Loss’. Like that video, this one is also directed by the band’s frontman’s brother Ben Phethean. This one is a bit motion sickness inducing, just saying. Watch it at your own risk below. Catch the band on tour in the UK starting next Tuesday in Cambridge; all the tour dates are listed here. For more of our coverage here on TGTF on Tall Ships, go here.
By Mary Chang
on Friday, 24th February 2017 at 11:00 am
As I’m sure you imagined, London wins the prize among all British cities for sending the largest number of artists to SXSW 2017. Today, we introduce you to acts from London of the hip-hop, grime and r&b genres. To be perfectly honest, while we have covered r&b artists here on TGTF, we’ve never really given hip-hop a lot of space, because none of us writers were experts on the genre. With Ray BLK winning the BBC Sound of 2017 in January, we can’t ignore rappers any longer and will strive to do better, starting with this post. The below summaries are written by Rebecca Clayton, except where noted. Please note: all information we bring you about SXSW 2017 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.
808INK are producer 808Charmer and rapper Mumblez Black Ink of South ‘LUNDUN’. Musically, they’re not easy to pigeonhole and don’t quite fit with their grime or hip-hop contemporaries, and instead describe themselves as an “alternative music duo” on their Facebook page. Drum-heavy and packed tight with creative beats and synth rhythms, their sound is certainly something that stands alone. Creating music together since 2013, 808INK are looking to step away from their day jobs and producing music in 808Charmer’s garage and step up to the main stage.
AJ Tracey (pictured at top) is the stage name of West London-born Che Wolton Grant, the up-and-coming grime MC. Grant studied criminology at London Metropolitan University before he dropped out to pursue music, first performing as “Looney” before adopting his current moniker.
He released his debut EP in mid-2015, ‘The Front’, then quickly followed this up with a second EP in December of the same year, titled ‘Alex Moran’. His latest EP, 2016’s ‘Lil Tracey’, features popular tracks ‘Buster Cannon’ and ‘Pasta’. AJ Tracey’s sound is tightly constructed lyrics over subtle, electronic beats. Tracey’s voice and message is front and centre, delivered with the young grime artist’s crisp, heavy-hitting tongue. Along with Dave directly below, he was longlisted for the BBC Sound of 2017, which ultimately went to Ray BLK (at the bottom of this list of hip-hop artists).
From the BBC Sound of 2017 longlist on the London hip-hop shout list is 18-year old South Londoner titling himself simply as Dave. Despite receiving a number of offers from record companies, classically trained Dave made the decision to stay independent, working on his music whilst studying at college. Last year, Dave released his debut EP ‘Six Paths’, made his festival debut at Bestival, and even drew the attention of Drake, who remixed a track from the EP, ‘Wanna Know’.
If you’re familiar with the UK grime scene, then you might already be aware of Frisco. He’s most known for being a part of the London-based collective and record label Boy Better Know, members who also include brothers JME and Skepta, who won the 2016 Mercury Prize. Frisco has been with BBK since 2005, pretty much since grime’s conception, and released his latest project last year, the LP ‘System Killer’. Known for his quick tongue and battle finesse, Frisco is one of the lesser known members of BBK, but with his latest release and appearance at SXSW, this might be about to change.
Ghetts, known to his mum as Justin Clarke, is a name that will no doubt ring a bell with those big on grime. The East London MC released his debut mixtape following his release from prison back in 2005. He then went on to carve out a name for himself as a passionate player in contemporary British hip-hop and grime. It wasn’t until 2014 that he released his debut album, ‘Rebel With a Cause’. Prior to that, he shared six projects that he released through the internet. His latest single ‘Know My Ting’ was released earlier this month, and features the MOBO-nominated Shakka whilst rhythmically drawing on Caribbean influences.
No, not a solo artist. Hugh are actually an electronic quartet and sound as smooth as silk. With some pop elements entwined with blissful r&b, it’s pleasing and seductive all in one. Still on the way up, Hugh are gaining attention from fellow artists such as Diplo and others of that ilk. Try not to fall in love with their sound. We dare you. (Steven Loftin)
Kano, or Kane Robinson, is considered to be one of the forefathers of grime and rose to prominence in the underground scene through his connection to the London grime crew N.A.S.T.Y., and following his debut single ‘Ps and Qs’. He’s released 5 studio albums, a bunch of mixtapes and is featured in a long list of singles.
Kano’s 5th studio album ‘Made in the Manor ‘was released early 2016. It featured on the Best of 2016 lists from The Guardian, NME and The Independent, ultimately winning Best Album at the 2016 MOBO awards. Single ‘3 Wheel-ups’, featuring Giggs, puts full focus on his smooth, rapid vocals and razor sharp lyrics.
Lady Leshurr, known to her friends as Melesha O’Garro and originally from Birmingham, is a British hip hop/grime rapper and singer. Despite a relatively humble start, Lady Leshurr has drawn the attention of star-maker Timbaland (he’s previously worked with one of O’Garro’s big influences, Missy Elliott) and has been spending time in the U.S. performing and working on her debut album.
Her freestyle series, ‘Queen’s Speech’ drew the MC a lot of attention, and she released her first official single, which will appear on her debut album last year. ‘Where Are You Now?’ features grime legend Wiley and sees Lady Leshurr showing off her talents against an upbeat and lively track.
It seems rather appropriate that we end our week of coverage on London SXSW 2017 acts with the reigning queen of the BBC Sound of 2017. Ray BLK, from the South East London district of Catford, has already been dubbed the Lauryn Hill of the UK. The Nigerian-born Rita Ekwere began sharpening her music-making chops at the tender age of 13 when first given a chance as part of a group under the tutelage of MNEK. Although the group never went anywhere, it laid the groundwork in Ekwere’s mind that success was possible. While she only has a mini-album ‘Durt’ under her belt at the moment, we imagine a debut album is not far in the horizon. (Mary Chang)
By Mary Chang
on Thursday, 23rd February 2017 at 6:00 pm
St. Dymphna started her life in Ireland and lived a pretty eventful life in just 15 years before her father struck her a sword and left her dying. Ask a Catholic. She is now immortalised in a song title, ‘Till St. Dymphna Kicks Us Out’, surprisingly by Bright Eyes’ Conor Oberst. The actual song is more about getting drunk alone in a bar and the eventual peril, if you will, of getting kicked out of said bar at the end of the night. The video mirrors this idea, as the camera pans sideways down what seems like an infinitely long bar and a series of individual drunks. One step further, seeing that St. Dymphna is the patron saint of nervous and mental afflictions, it seems appropriate – and touching – that someone like Oberst who has struggled with depression himself would pen such song. Watch the video for ‘Till St. Dymphna Kicks Us Out’ below. The single will appear on Oberst’s newest album ‘Salutations’, out on St. Patrick’s Day on Nonesuch Records. For more coverage of Conor Oberst on TGTF, use this link.
As this year’s SXSW Music Festival rapidly approaches and our preview coverage kicks into high gear, we’re once again excited to bring you showcasing artists’ answers to a special SXSW 2017 flavoured set of Quickfire Questions. This installment features Scottish alt-rock quartet Catholic Action, comprising Chris McCrory, Ryan Clark, Jamie Dubber, and Andrew Macpherson. All four band members contributed to the responses below, in what must have been a very lively conversation indeed. (If you need a bit of background info before diving into their answers, you can read through TGTF’s previous coverage of Catholic Action here.)
Describe your music / sound in three words. (We know, tricky…)
All: Full English Breakfast
What are you most looking forward to doing while you’re in Austin?
Ryan: Kicking a hole in Trump’s wall.
Of the bands who have already been announced, do you have any that are must-sees on your schedule? If yes, who are they and why?
Chris: Are The Lemon Twigs playing? [Yes, they’re on the official SXSW schedule. – Ed.]
Jamie: I don’t know if Thee Oh Sees have been announced yet? [Nope, they’re not on the schedule. – Ed.]
Everyone: Slaves are playing, they got funding and everything didn’t they? [Yes. – Ed.]
Name something you’re packing in your suitcase that we might find weird or unusual. (You are welcome to elaborate.)
Chris: A VHS Camera, I make videos for bands on mine.
If we happen to run into you in a bar, we’d like to buy you a drink. What is your tipple of choice?
Jamie and Ryan: Tinnies and Ginnies
Chris: I remember Lone Star was nice from last time.
What was your favourite album from 2016 and why?
Chris: I think ‘The Party’ by Andy Shauf (like his previous LP) is an underrated masterpiece.
Jamie: ‘Moon Shaped Pool’, [by Radiohead] because I’m a fanboy.
Ryan: Whitney, ‘Light Upon The Lake’. I think it’s a perfect modern country record.
Andrew: Cate Le Bon’s ‘Crab Day’ because it’s “bloody bonkers”.
What advice would you give other bands who have never played at SXSW before?
Chris: I played SXSW before with Casual Sex in 2014. [Our archived coverage of Casual Sex, including their 2014 trip to Austin, is right back this way. – Ed.] It’s Catholic Action’s first time though in the USA and it’s Ryan’s first time in America. He says he is going to get a commemorative tattoo… I’d be inclined to believe him. He got a commemorative earring the first time we played The Great Escape in Brighton.
Now, onto our usual list of Quickfire Questions…
What song is your earliest musical memory?
Jamie: ‘Maxwell’s Silver Hammer’ by The Beatles.
Ryan: ‘Just a Gigolo’ by Louis Prima.
Chris: Probably The Pogues or The Lightning Seeds, I had cassettes.
Andrew: ‘Common People’, Pulp.
What was your favourite song as a child?
Jamie: ‘An LP’s Worth of Tunes’ by Todd Rundgren.
Ryan: ‘No Limits’ by 2 Unlimited.
What song makes you laugh?
All: ‘Black Dog’ – Led Zeppelin. That harmony is ridiculous. It’s the most Led Zeppelin song.
What song makes you cry?
Ryan: ‘Changes’ by Kelly Osbourne and Ozzy Osbourne. * l a u g h s *
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.)
Chris: ‘Sometimes’ by My Bloody Valentine.
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.)
Ryan: ‘Sometimes’ by My Bloody Valentine.
Which song (any song written in the last century / 100 years or so) do you wish you’d written yourself?
All: ‘American Pie’ by Don McLean.
Who is your favourite writer? (This can be a songwriter or ANY kind of writer.)
Jamie: Alasdair Gray.
If you hadn’t become a singer/musician/songwriter/etc., what job do you think you’d be doing right now?
Jamie: Pencil pushing at a bank.
Andrew: Probably be doing a PhD.
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.)
Andrew: ‘Jailbreak’, because I can’t get ‘Live and Dangerous’.
Chris: ‘Evening Star’, Fripp and Eno.
Ryan: The Smiths, ‘The Queen is Dead’.
Jamie: ‘Sound of Silver’ – LCD Soundsystem.
Many thanks to all four members of Catholic Action for their responses!
By Mary Chang
on Thursday, 23rd February 2017 at 11:00 am
As you might have guessed, London wins the prize for sending to SXSW 2017 the largest number of artists of all cities in the UK. In this post, we introduce you to acts from London that don’t exactly fit in the ‘usual’ genres SXSW is famous for. Today, we’ve got for you artists who are experts in the field of jazz (yes, really), world music, plus singer/songwriters, because we couldn’t fit them into the London portion of the TGTF Guide to SXSW 2017 anywhere else. Except where noted, the summaries below were written by Steven Loftin. Please note: all information we bring you about SXSW 2017 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.
Flamingods – psychedelic world music
When Flamingods describe themselves as “exotic psychedelia”, they are definitely not wrong. Founded in 2009 by frontman Kamal Rasool in Bahrain, the band now reside in the UK, but have brought all that exotic Middle Eastern goodness with them. A unique take on western pop mixed with their grand and explosive live performances has gained them a reputation noticed by the likes of Dazed, i-D magazine and The Guardian and secured them slots at Glastonbury, Latitude, Fusion Festival in Germany and Milhoes de Festa in Portugal. With a total of six albums under their belt including their most recent in 2016 ‘Majesty’, they’ll have plenty of material to draw from when they appear in Austin. (Adam McCourt)
GoGo Penguin – jazz
Having signed to the legendary jazz label Blue Note records this year, GoGo Penguin are well on their way to success already. On their third album, the Mancunians’ mixture of jazz, acoustic and electronica is a fresh sound that ensures they don’t get lost within the indie mire. Their 2014 album ‘V2.0’ was shortlisted for the Mercury Music Prize, just in case you needed more of a nudge (and a reminder). (Steven Loftin)
Jacob Collier – world (? he defies description)
We can guarantee you’ve heard nothing quite like Jacob Collier, pictured at top. The youngster fuses more genres than the iTunes drop-down selector and is only 22. After gaining his momentum the way most new artists do, via YouTube, his ascension has been one for the ages. You should definitely check him out if only to see what composition he’s bringing to Texas. (Steven Loftin)
Jade Bird – folk / singer/songwriter
You can’t swing a cat around London without hitting a young, aspiring female singer/songwriter. Jade Bird, however, has already gotten plenty of attention, so you should take the time to get to know this new talent. She accompanied Tom Odell on his European tour this month, and she’s following this up in London with a BBC Introducing show at the Lexington on the 6th of April and already announced appearances at Live at Leeds and Bushstock. Of course, those of us who are lucky enough to get out to Austin get a first crack on this side of the Atlantic. Yes, be jealous. (Mary Chang)
Johnny Flynn – folk / singer/songwriter
Johnny Flynn (usually with his band The Sussex Wit in tow) is no stranger to America, having already come over a few times for tours including one with friend and sometimes collaborator Laura Marling back in 2015. He’ll be releasing his newest album ‘Sillion’ on Transgressive Records in late March after SXSW 2017, so this visit is really the perfect opportunity for Flynn to give his newest tunes a live airing. (Mary Chang)
For past coverage of Johnny Flynn on TGTF, go here.
L.A. Salami – blues / singer/songwriter
Since 2014, Lookman Adekunle Salami, aka L.A. Salami, has been garnering a fair amount of interest, and for good reason. Perfectly succinct acoustic and ethereal songs that feature nothing but his bare soul, Salami even has a savage side as shown in ‘I Wear This Because Life is War’. Deserving of much more attention, let’s hope SXSW brings Salami more spotlight action. (Steven Loftin)
Laucan – folk / singer/songwriter
Twenty-seven old Laurence Galpin used to be in a band. But by taking a chance in singing alone with his falsetto in his bedroom, he’s going by the name Laucan now. Rob da Bank must have approved of this move: Galpin is signed to his Sunday Best label, who have just released his single ‘Up Tomorrow’, the title track of an EP that will be unveiled in March. Atmospheric music with Galpin’s falsetto flitting across it is clealy no longer of the “folk music of increasing obscurity” he himself had feared: it’s ready for the masses next month in Austin. (Mary Chang)
Maleek Berry – Afropop and r&b
Maleek Berry (born Maleek Shoyebi) grew up in South London, listening to the biggest names in r&b and pop music. At the age of 14, Berry was introduced to music, mainly through his church, but it was only after gaining his degree in Computer Science, whilst learning piano by ear that he realised his calling was in music. Since then, he has contributed hugely to the Nigerian music scene, working with artists such as Wizkid, Naeto C and Wande Coal, with whom he established with a connection with whilst on a family holiday. (Adam McCourt)
Manu Delago Handmade – experimental / electronic
With pleasing and melodic experimentation, Manu Delago entrances with instrumentation that is far from your run of the mill guitar / bass / drums setup. Having discovered the ‘Hang’, an instrument that looks like two beat-up woks attached to each other, Delago formed one of his numerous projects, Manu Delago Handmade with the help of Isa Kurz and Chris Norz. Prolific and enlightening, Delago (with his crew) is a beauty amongst the beast. (Steven Loftin)
Martin Creed – folk / singer/songwriter
One not to miss, Martin Creed has been creating and experimenting almost his whole life. Not content with being a prominent figure in the art world, he’s also a dab hand at music, even finding massive fans in Franz Ferdinand. You never know what he could bring to the table. (Steven Loftin)
Moelogo – Afropop and r&b
Since his debut single ‘Pangolo’ and his 2013 debut EP ‘Moe is My Name, Music is My Logo’, Moelogo has been making strides within the r&b and Afrobeat scene. Whilst collaborating with artists such as DRB LasGidi and Fuse ODG, Moelogo has gathered lots of interest from BBC 1xtra, Beat FM and Capital Xtra for his latest single ‘Do You Love Me?’ Coming off the back of his 2015 NEA award for Diaspora Artist of the Year, Moelogo was nominated for the 2016 MOBO Award for Best African Act, up against the likes of Wizkid, Davido, Yemi Alade, Patoranking. Not a bad track record at all. (Adam McCourt)
Moses Boyd Exodus – jazz
As smooth as silk, Moses Boyd creates dark atmospheric tracks that are lined with a plethora of inspirations from jazz, blues, funk and soul. The drummer is a force not to be reckoned with, carving his way through jam after jam, only taking centre stage when he needs to. Boyd perfectly encapsulates what it means to be a musician. (Steven Loftin)
Native Dancer – jazz / electronic
Jazz is making waves in a big way once again with Native Dancer. Not quite your atypical jazz band that you’d find in a smoky club. Instead, they’re covered in soul and experimentation, with modern flourishes that are interesting and fresh. They released ‘EP Vol. II’, which in case you hadn’t of guessed was the second installment after ‘EP Vol. I’. (Steven Loftin)
Robyn Hitchcock – folk / singer/songwriter
Managing to be described as the closest thing the UK has to Bob Dylan, Robin Hitchcock is one of the country’s most beloved singer/songwriters, as well as being a poet and author. Self-describing his songs as “paintings you can listen too”: no-one can sum it up better than that. You’d be silly to miss out on his blending of psychedelic sounds with folk. He’s even got a new album coming out in April, how handy is that? (Steven Loftin)
Sarathy Korwar – Indian jazz
Jazz with an Indian twist, something that you never knew you needed until now. Sarathy Korwar is not only good at what he does, but he’s been honoured by numerous Indian and Western bodies of music for his work. Truly genre-breaking stuff, Korwar is a unique mind and to see what he does next will be something special. (Steven Loftin)
Silvastone – Afropop
Originally starting out as a producer and songwriter, Silvastone has gone out as his own force, releasing his debut EP ‘Transitions’ in late 2014. With the follow up due in early 2017, the African-drenched dance music that 2014 brought us will in no doubt come back with a stronger and even more beat-filled songs. (Steven Loftin)
United Vibrations – jazz
More modern jazz comes in the form of United Vibrations, with a name as smooth as their sound. It’s jazz that remains intact, no falling apart at the seams as jazz is want to do, instead they’re fully constructed and fleshed out tracks that wouldn’t be out of place on the deeper side of a Foals album, just less math rock. (Steven Loftin)
Yussef Kamaal – jazz
London-based jazz fusion duo Yussef Kamaal – Yussef Dayes and Kamaal Williams – is essentially the brainchild of Kamaal Williams’ solo material that Yussef Dayes contributed to for a live set at Boiler Room. The duo bring the idea of jazz to a whole new means of consumption by taking the idea of jazz standards and improvisation to extremes. From their first set on at Boiler Room, the duo began performing live, where little more than a chord progression would be planned before taking the stage. The duo released their debut LP ‘Black Focus’ last November. (Adam McCourt)
By Mary Chang
on Thursday, 23rd February 2017 at 10:00 am
Kettering’s Temples will be appearing next month at SXSW 2017, their second time at the big dance in Austin. On the first Friday of March, the 3rd, they’ll be releasing their brand new sophomore effort ‘Volcano’, out then on Heavenly Recordings (UK) and Fat Possum (America). No doubt we’ll be treated to some new tunes from the LP in Texas! ‘Strange or Be Forgotten’ is an early single from the forthcoming album, and its accompanying promo video shows very clearly that the psych band is more than just the reverb and delays in their guitars. As the title of the single suggests and as portrayed in the video, individualism and differences between the members of the motley assembled crew to be filmed are celebrated and appreciated. Watch the video for ‘Strange or Be Forgotten’ below. For more of our coverage on Temples on TGTF, go here. Stay tuned: as part of our ongoing TGTF Guide to SXSW 2017, our roundup of Midlands artists headed to SXSW 2017, including Temples, will post next week.
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