TGTF Guide to SXSW 2017: Brighton artists showcasing at this year’s SXSW

By on Monday, 6th March 2017 at 11:00 am
 

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.

Every autumn for the last 5 SXSWs, I draft a game plan on how TGTF is going to tackle coverage of the world’s biggest music festival. This year, with a bigger team more eager than ever to help me with our coverage, we were able to take on even more bands and across more countries. As most of you know, a big part of our preview focus is on UK bands and to help promote them ahead of what is for many of them their first big exposure to industry and fans in America. For SXSW 2017, we’re continuing that commitment. In this post, the emphasis will be on the acts from the seaside town of Brighton, which surprisingly have seven artists slated to appear at SXSW. The band summaries below were written by David Wriglesworth, except where noted.

Dream Wife – punk / pop
Edgy rock band Dream Wife (pictured at top) comprises Alice Go (guitar, vocals), Bella Podpadec (bass, vocals) and Icelandic singer Rakel Mjöll. The now London-based group’s success came as somewhat of an accident. The three girls met in 2015 while studying fine art and visual art at college in Brighton. For a school project, they had been tasked with forming a ‘fake girl band’ for a gallery exhibition.

After recording a few songs, creating a mockumentary inspired by the cult film classic Spinal Tap and performing live at the exhibition, Dream Wife gained a following and the formerly fake outfit became a reality. Named after the 1953 romantic comedy starring Cary Grant, Dream Wife cite Grimes, Spice Girls and Sleater-Kinney as their influences. This clearly shows within their music, made up of simple pop hooks and cutting riffs.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8t1xoSXVOiE[/youtube]

Fickle Friends – pop
Hailing from Brighton, Fickle Friends is made up of Natti Shiner (vocals, keyboard), Jack Wilson (keyboard, backing vocals), Harry Herrington (bass guitar, backing vocals, Sam Morris (drums, percussion) and Chris Hall (guitar). The indie pop group with ’80s-flavoured synths spent 2 years touring, including sets at major festivals such as Bestival, BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend and Secret Garden Party. This caught the attention of Polydor Records, to which the band signed to in January 2016.

The label signing proved to be the start of a fantastic year for Fickle Friends, with singles ‘Swim’, ‘Cry Baby’, ‘Brooklyn’ and ‘Say No More’, amassing over 8 million plays on Spotify throughout 2016. The latter of those singles made it to the BBC Radio 1 Introducing Playlist. Fickle Friends rounded off their year with a sell-out crowd at Dingwalls in London. We’ve covered Fickle Friends on TGTF before, as they appeared last year at SXSW 2016.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VwG7f_oTLJY[/youtube]

Gang – psych rock
Fun fact about Gang: Not only are two of the band, Eric (guitar) and Jimi (drums), brothers, but they are also the sons of the former Ozzy Osbourne and Gillian guitarist Bernite Torme. Since forming in 2014 with Joseph Hunt (bassist), the trio has relentlessly toured the UK and with the likes of Wand and So Pitted.

Gang’s music merges elements of ‘70s stoner/metal, ‘80s American underground and the psychedelic fancies of Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd, accompanied by lyrics that reflect the times we live in. Their recent single releases and reputation for energetic live shows has not gone unrecognised, as they have been heavily championed by BBC 6 Music’s Marc Riley and Tom Ravenscroft, as well as BBC Introducing’s Phil Taggart and Abbie McCarthy. Gang are expected to release their debut LP later this year.

Holly Macve singer/songwriter / country/western
Despite only being 21 years of age, Holly Macve has already experienced enough strife to last a lifetime. Born in Galway in western Ireland, Macve and her sister were whisked away in the night by her mother from their errant father to live with their grandparents in Yorkshire. It was during this time that she discovered her love of Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Johnny Cash and Gillian Welch.

At the age of 18, Macve moved down south, where she worked in a café while appearing at open mic nights. Her spellbinding country and western ballads, accompanied by her heavenly voice, didn’t go unnoticed: Simon Raymonde caught wind of her talent and signed her to his Bella Union label.

Since then, Macve has supported the likes of John Grant, Villagers, Ryley Walker and Benjamin Clementine, as well as making festival appearances at Glastonbury and Latitude. Looking ahead, Holly Macve is putting the finishing touches to her debut album that will be released on the 3rd of March before SXSW, which will be followed by UK dates in April. Macve appeared last year at SXSW 2016, so you can read more on her through here.

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

Marika Hackman – folk / singer/songwriter
It isn’t easy being a woman in this business, and I don’t need to list for you the many examples of popsters who have chosen the path of least resistance and towards maximum opportunity for commercialism. However, something darker than you would ever imagine lurks in the eyes of rocker Marika Hackman. She’s thrown aside any sense of convention for even the folky singer/songwriter genre, using “vague impressionistic images rather than concrete graphic shapes” to “leave a distinct and haunting emotional imprint” with her music. With the courage to do something very different, she’s an unlikely vanguard, yet amazing role model for young, aspiring female musicians. (Mary Chang)

To read TGTF’s past coverage on Marika Hackman, go here.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J8l8CZSByC4[/youtube]

Phoria – electronic
Phoria are a five-piece alt-electronic band headed up by Trewin Howard, a deeply sensitive yet mysterious character. He is joined by childhood friend Ed Sanderson (piano/synths), James Cheeseman (guitarist/synths), Seryn Burden (drummer) and Tim Douglas (guitar/bass/synths). Influenced by the likes of Radiohead and Elbow, Phoria produce sensually evocative soundscapes, which they have showcased on their ‘Bloodworks’ and ‘Display’ EPs, both having gained support from BBC Radio 1 and 6 Music.

Following several delays, Phoria released their debut album in June 2016, which was greeted to high praise from fans and critics alike. The album was supported by festival appearances that included Latitude and Dot to Dot, as well as a UK and European tour. Looking ahead to 2017, in addition to their appearance at SXSW, Phoria look set to crack America, having being granted BPI funding as part of the Music Export Growth Scheme.

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

Yonaka – punk
Within a year of forming, Brighton-based punk-rock group Yonaka (Japanese for “the dead of night”) signed to BBC Radio 1 Phil Taggart’s Hometown Records label (RHODES, Rat Boy). They got plenty of gig practise, having played over 30 shows up and down the country, including a number of dates as the support act for Killing Joke and Demob Happy.

The band comprises Theresa Jarvis (vocals), George Edwards (guitar), Alex Crosby (bass/keys) and Robert Mason (drums). The group quickly became renowned for their catchy riffs and captivating vocals, as evident on their early singles ‘Run’ and ‘Ignorance’.

2017 is already looking extremely positive for Yonaka, having signed a record deal with Asylum Records in January. The band are set to appear at SXSW, followed by this year’s Great Escape back home in Brighton in May.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UjsMcJofsyk[/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 is edited by Mary Chang, who is based in Washington, DC. She is joined by writers in England, America and Ireland. It began as a UK music blog by Phil Singer in 2005.

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