TGTF X BIGSOUND 2017 Playlist: Editor Mary’s best bets (A-M)

By on Thursday, 24th August 2017 at 11:00 am
 

Regular readers of TGTF are familiar with our ‘best bets’ lists that we post here before most music festivals. I think it makes the astounding long list of acts scheduled to perform at an event a bit more manageable for you. Then, the onus is on us to listen to everyone and make our personal recommendations for must-see acts at the festival. In the case of BIGSOUND 2017, set to take place the first full week of September in the Fortitude Valley of Brisbane, Australia, their list of performers is over 150 acts long.

Compared to preparation for UK, Irish, and American events, the list proved especially daunting to me, seeing that my knowledge and indeed, mere awareness of up-and-coming and established Australian acts, many who haven’t been heard outside of the country, is quite limited. However, I used the opportunity to familiarise myself with the sound and style of every single act scheduled to appear in Brisbane 5-8 September, knowing that we could see many of them next year at SXSW 2018. This is the first of two best bets posts, this one featuring the first dozen of acts that have so far wowed me on record alone. Some of them were also part of the previously posted playlist with a focus on showcasing bands from Brisbane. You can listen to the Brisbane acts playlist and read the associated feature back here.

I’m looking at my coming over for my first BIGSOUND as TGTF’s opportunity to truly get stuck into the Australian music scene, and I’m very excited. If there are any Aussies out there who have further recommendations on who I should see, Tweet me @theprintedword, and I’ll see what I can do about adding the band to my schedule. For now, here’s 12 of the 24 acts I’ve chosen as best bets for this year’s BIGSOUND. A playlist with all 24 acts is at the bottom of this post.

Ariela Jacobs (Melbourne; singer/songwriter / pop)
The popularity of Lucy Rose proves that there’s still a market for vulnerable, honest female songwriters. Ariela Jacobs falls into this category, with a sweet voice and impressive vocal range, plus plenty of ambition. This Victoria-based songstress has so far released two EPs (2014’s ‘This’ and 2016’s ‘Yesteryear’) and has more new music on the way.

Braille Face (Melbourne; electronic / experimental)
Getting VICE’s attention ain’t easy, but not everyone is Jordan White. In 2015, the prolific White recorded an album a month, which must have changed his outlook on what it means to be an artist. Soulful vocals accompanied by an interesting mélange of electronics, sometimes smooth, sometimes crunchy. Yes.

Cub Sport (Brisbane; synthpop)
Synthpop purveyors Cub Sport have been media for their music, as well as their social views. Two of their members came out gay last year and announced they were in a relationship. Naturally, their truth and what they stand for is important to them and in their latest single and video for ‘O Lord’, frontman Tim Nelson confronts the complicated feelings of love and loss that erupt from moments of second-guessing happiness.

Daggy Man (Brisbane; singer/songwriter / folk)
Daggy Man is the stage name of Thomas Calder, former frontman of the band The Trouble with Templeton, who I incidentally saw the last time I visited Australia. As mentioned then, Calder has a voice like Teitur’s and is a great songwriter of tunes folky and fragile.

Deadlights (Melbourne; hard rock)
Up to this point reading this, you’re probably wondering when Aussies rock out. Deadlights are a good example of this. Did they name themselves after the terrifying force Stephen King wrote about in It? No matter the source, the name seems to fit the group to a T, as their punishing hardcore style will probably be strong enough to kill something in your line of sight if you listen to them long enough.

Didirri (Melbourne; singer/songwriter / pop)
Time for a moment of chill from a long-haired singer/songwriter, methinks. Didirri is unashamedly a fan of music and times gone by. He even covered the Monkees’ ‘Randy Scouse Git’, which seems like a strange choice for a folk singer, but his a cappella rendition captured the feeling beautifully, and differently. His catchphrase about his own music is “Music for lovers and overthinkers.” so really, how could I refuse?

Evan Klar (Melbourne; singer/songwriter / pop)
Staying in the same general genre, we arrive at Evan Klar, who’s had an interesting life already. Having been a session musician in London for both Charli XCX and Alex Metric, he’s experienced that side of things. Now he’s doing music for himself, having already signed a record deal with EMI Music Australia without even have played a single show: yes, really, well, unless you count his appearances last year at unofficial showcases at BIGSOUND. His debut album, which is sure to be full of his catchy pop gems, is expected later this year.

friendships (Melbourne; drum ‘n’ bass)
Some artists just make music. Some want you to have the whole experience. friendships are a duo combining the elements of sound (Nic Brown) and visual (Misha Grace) to make that happen. While it’s impossible to experience the visual aspect of their performance by simply listening to the music (unless, I guess, you’re hallucinating with or without pharmaceutical aid), the below gives me some idea of what is in store for me in Brisbane.

Golden Vessel (Brisbane; electronic / pop)
If it’s pop mixed with electronic you’re after, then Max Byrne, aka Golden Vessel, is your man. Think what Disclosure do with pop singers, and imagine Aussie pop singers brought into the mix.

Jim Lawrie (Melbourne; singer/songwriter / rock)
Is the world ready for an Australian to unseat Bruce Springsteen? Jim Lawrie is sure as hell trying to do that. Comfortable with the folkier side of rock as he is with an anthemic rock melody, he’s got an engaging voice that works with both.

Maddy Jane (Hobart, Tasmania; singer/songwriter / pop)
triple j are big fans of Maddy Jane’s newest single ‘No Other Way’, putting it and its predecessor ‘Drown It Out’ on regular rotation on the station. Echoes of Jenny Lewis and Liz Phair (in her poppier days, mind) ring out in her catchy, upbeat tunes that range from more straightforward pop to a louder, rockier sound.

Mammals (Sydney; dream pop / electronic)
Sydney singer, producer and multi-instrumentalist Guy Brown are the brains and feelings behind Mammals. Once a composer for advertising and film, he wanted to create for himself again, choosing to go in a direction fusing folk and pop feeling with electronic sounds. The results will pull you in.

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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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