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By Mary Chang
on Tuesday, 9th February 2016 at 11:00 am
What has now become an annual highlight of the week at SXSW is the BBC Introducing and PRS for Music Foundation’s evening showcase at Latitude 30, the home of the British Music Embassy in Austin during the event. Last week, Steve Lamacq announced the six artists that will be gracing the BME’s stage the night of Wednesday the 16th of March, and we can’t wait to introduce them to you. Impressively, nearly every region of the UK is well represented on this list, except for Northern Ireland (which will be putting on their own afternoon showcase on St. Patrick’s Day, when else?) and Scotland (who we hope will have their own showcase as well).
Hailing from the North East of England, Billie Marten is a young female singer/songwriter from Ripon, North Yorkshire. Even 2 years ago when she still sported braces on her teeth, her musical talent was picked up by Burberry Acoustic. Fast forward 2 years, and the young Marten’s delicate, yet smoky vocals have further matured; check out her evocative single ‘Bird’ below. With over 13,000 Facebook likes even before setting foot in America, something tells us mainstream success is just around the corner for this lass.
With a name sounding like they should be a variant of Transformers than a band, Cardiff-based trio Estrons will be representing Wales at the BBC Introducing night. It’s no surprise their fresh and frenetic music has already received backing from BBC Radio 1’s Huw Stephens and Annie Mac. Fronted by Canadian-Swede Taliesyn Kallström who appear to be channelling the spirit of riot grrls like Siouxsie, Courtney Love and MayKay of Fight Like Apes for her vocal delivery, they’ll definitely be bringing unbridled energy to the evening.
If it hasn’t happened already, Newbury, Berkshire born singer/songwriter Frances will be on the lips of the world’s music pundits before the month is out. Despite having only one EP to her name – ‘Grow’, released last summer via Communion Records – she’s already nominated for a BRIT, the 2016 Critic’s Choice Award. She’s been compared to Florence Welch and Ellie Goulding, but except for the ginger colour of her hair and the length of it, I don’t see much of a comparison. Frances is her own woman.
Isaac Gracie first gained prominence on BBC Introducing Norfolk, but it appears he’s decamped now to the West London area of Ealing. He’s already sold out a who in London, garnered attention from NME, and been anointed with a Zane Lowe World Record on Beats 1. For brokenhearted fans of the late Jeff Buckley, to devotees of Johnny Flynn and the Sussex Wit, you’ll definitely take to Gracie’s style of rough, dusty, contemplative songwriting, as exemplified in his track ‘Last Words’.
Lammo loves the Crookes. A lot. So I was gobsmacked he’d found another Sheffield band to put his weight behind. The lucky recipients? The Sherlocks, who our own Rebecca has been aware of since her schooldays some years ago in South Yorkshire when they first started knocking around the Steel City. More like the Arctic Monkeys when they began than the Monkeys sound these days, their sound is one of brash guitars and cool rock ‘n’ roll. Have a listen to their debut single ‘Live for the Moment’.
Staying in the North but heading due west, we reach Warrington, whose most famous musical son up to this point has been Ian Brown of the Stone Roses. This is all about to change when Viola Beach (pictured at top) will bring their sunny and terribly infectious indie pop / rock to the BBC Introducing night in Austin. Will they follow in the footsteps of BBC Introducing 2015 night alums Blossoms to bring acclaim to another town outside of Manchester? Definitely. ‘Get to Dancing’ below.
By Mary Chang
on Friday, 5th February 2016 at 4:00 pm
Bloc Party released their latest album ‘Hymns’ – their first in 4 years since 2012’s ‘Four’ – exactly a week ago. (Read Steven’s review of the LP back here.) As they say, sharing is caring, and Bloc Party – now original members frontman Kele Okereke and co-guitarist Russell Lissack, plus Justin Harris on bass and keys and Louise Bartle on drums – have now shared a live gig video of ‘Exes’, taken from the new album effort, filmed in London. Watch it below.
The band will be making two major event appearances this month and next. They’ll be playing the 6 Music Festival in Bristol Sunday night the 14th of February at Academy, as well appearing in America at SXSW 2016 in March in Austin. Oh, and we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the NME Awards tour they’re currently headlining through next Friday, the 12th of February at Birmingham Academy. Phew! For more on Bloc Party on TGTF, head this way.
By Mary Chang
on Thursday, 4th February 2016 at 4:00 pm
So the new video from Minnesotan band Low doesn’t follow our more conventional live gig videos, but I’m going to bend the rules today for them. This video was filmed in Glasgow, and this is what the directors Jim Burns and Beth Chalmers had to say about it:
Inspired by the hypnotic reflections of the River Clyde on the archways beneath Glasgow’s city bridges, this film draws parallels between the power of a single beam of sunlight and the deeply affecting personal experience one feels during Low’s live performance. Despite being part of a crowd, Low’s music invokes within you a profound and unique individual perspective.
This promo has shots of the band performing the song with artsy lighting shots overlaid on top of them. While this has the effect of giving the video a ghostly pallour, when the shots of the band come back into focus, there’s an instant connection. Watch the video below.
By Mary Chang
on Wednesday, 3rd February 2016 at 4:00 pm
Nathaniel Rateliff and The Night Sweats released their self-titled debut album last summer (Carrie reviewed it here and it’s already garnering the Denver-based musician and his band a lot of attention. Most recently, Britney Spears herself last week posted some video onto her Instagram of the salacious dancing she did in nothing but her underwear to ‘Son of a Bitch’, which sparked this hilarious parody from Rateliff himself. Now we’ve got live videos from the group, so if you’re having a hohum first week of February like we are, you’ll enjoy this.
Last month, the band played a show at the El Rey in Los Angeles. That’s where these performances of ‘I Need Never Get Old’ and the aforementioned ‘S.O.B.’ were filmed. Watch them below. For all of TGTF’s coverage of Nathaniel Rateliff as a solo artist as well as with his band the Night Sweats, go here.
Portland dream pop band Radiation City have announced three live dates in the UK this spring, following the release of their upcoming album ‘Synesthetica’. The LP is due out on the 12th of February via Polyvinyl and will contain the single ‘Milky White’, which you’ll find streaming below the tour date listing. You can also read Rebecca’s review of the single here.
The band will spend February and March touring in America before heading across the pond for a full European tour. You can find a complete list of Radiation City’s live dates through this link.
Saturday 30th April 2016 – Brighton Hope and Ruin
Monday 2nd May 2016 – Glasgow Hug and Pint
Wednesday 4th May 2016 – London Victoria
By Mary Chang
on Monday, 1st February 2016 at 4:00 pm
Blaenavon are a trio that hail from Liphook, East Hampshire. To be perfectly frank, I don’t know a whole lot about them. I *do* know that the indie group are one of 14 acts to have received PRS funding for their maiden voyage out to Austin next month for SXSW 2016, which is a great vote of confidence in both their musical talent and potential. The masses have also spoken: a gig this coming Thursday, the 4th of February, at London Lexington is already sold out.
On the aesthetic side of things, Blaenavon have received attention from posh fashion house Burberry: their lead singer Ben Gregory has been chosen as the face for Burberry’s spring/summer 2016 campaign. With that, the band were recently filmed by the company performing at a Christmas show at Manchester Albert Hall last month. In the below video, they’re seen performing ‘Dragon’ from their recent ‘Miss World’ EP. Have and watch and listen and let us know what you think of this up-and-coming English group.
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