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TGTF Guide to SXSW 2017: London hip-hop and r&b artists showcasing at this year’s SXSW

 
By 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
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
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).

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Dave
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’.

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Frisco
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.

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Ghetts
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.

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Hugh
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
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.

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Lady Leshurr
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.

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Ray BLK
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)

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(SXSW 2017 flavoured!) Quickfire Questions #116: Catholic Action

 
By on Thursday, 23rd February 2017 at 1:00 pm
 

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.

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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.

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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!

 

TGTF Guide to SXSW 2017: London jazz, world music and singer/songwriter artists showcasing at this year’s SXSW

 
By 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)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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.

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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)


facebook.com/nativedancerofficial

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)

@yussefkamaal

 

(SXSW 2017 flavoured!) Quickfire Questions #115: Ryan Ellis of The Vryll Society

 
By on Wednesday, 22nd February 2017 at 1:00 pm
 

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. The latest showcasing band to turn in their answers is Liverpool psych-rock five-piece The Vryll Society, who tapped guitarist Ryan Ellis to fill in the blanks. If you need a little background information on the band before diving in to his responses, our own Rebecca recently reviewed The Vryll Society’s new single ‘Sacred Flight’ right back here. Stay tuned also to our roundup of Northern English bands making the trek to SXSW 2017 here on TGTF next week.

Describe your music / sound in three words. (We know, tricky…)
Space Rock Sorcery?

What are you most looking forward to doing while you’re in Austin?
I can’t wait to go and get lost in the night and then eventually find my way into a nice bar with a pool table. Also I’m gonna try some hot sauces, that’s right up my street.

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?
I’m hoping I get to go and see Temples, I’ve seen them once before they’re spot on. I’ve seen Nile Rodgers is doing a talk as well, so I’d love to go and wrap my ears around that.

Name something you’re packing in your suitcase that we might find unusual. (You are welcome to elaborate.)
I think we’re cool on that topic, the weirdest thing is probably gonna be a pair of shorts with peacock patterns on them.

If we happen to run into you in a bar, we’d like to buy you a drink. What is your tipple of choice?
Oufff, I think it depends on the mood doesn’t it? Potentially a lovely cold beer that I haven’t tried and if I’ve already had a few then definitely a gin and tonic.

(If this will be your first time at SXSW) What have you heard about the festival? Are you excited / anxious / scared / etc. and why?
I’m more excited than nervous, I’ve never been to the States before so overall I’m buzzing about the whole thing. I’ve heard the festival itself is pretty cool, so that’s just a bonus too.

What is your favourite album from the last year, and why?
I think it’d be The Coral – ‘Distance Inbetween’. You know what you’re getting with The Coral; it’s always going to be great isn’t it? Ferocious sounds everywhere, it’s fantastic.

Now, let’s get into our usual list of Quickfire Questions…

What song is your earliest musical memory?
I don’t know about actual first memory but I remember very well listening to Creedence Clearwater Revival in the car with my Grandad, coming home after school. I love them now, that’s probably got a big part in why, to be fair.

What was your favourite song as a child?
When I was a child it was probably ‘Here Comes The Sun’ [by The Beatles] or ‘Morning Glory’ [by Oasis]. I used to sing “All your dreams are made when you’re chained to the mirror and a razor blaze”.

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What song makes you laugh?
A song that makes me laugh, James Brown – ‘Living In America’. It just reminds of that interview where he’s a bit worse for wear with those fantastic orange shades on.

What song makes you cry?
A song that makes me cry, ‘A Song With No Words’ performed by just David Crosby and Graham Nash. Unbelievable.

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.)
A song that reminds me of falling in love. Ermmm, ‘I Believe In Miracles’ by Hot Chocolate.

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.)
Listening to a lot of artists make me upset, especially when they aren’t here anymore and I won’t get the chance to meet them or see them.

Which song (any song written in the last century / 100 years or so) do you wish you’d written yourself?
At the minute it would be ‘Suite: Judy Blue Eyes’ [by Crosby, Stills and Nash].

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Who is your favourite writer? (This can be a songwriter or ANY kind of writer.)
John Lennon, for now.

If you hadn’t become a singer/musician/songwriter/etc., what job do you think you’d be doing right now?
I don’t know, maybe something mad like a marine biologist or an astronaut, hopefully.

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.)
I’d bring Jackie Gleason – ‘Music For Lovers Only’, maybe he’d let me bring some more in after that.

Thanks to Ryan of the Vryll Society for his considered replies, and to Matty for his kind assistance.

 

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

 
By on Wednesday, 22nd February 2017 at 12:00 pm
 

As you might imagine, London leads the charge with the largest number of artists one city in the UK is sending to SXSW 2017. In this post, we introduce you to the acts from London Town in the genre of pop who received a shout for SXSW this year. The summaries of acts below were written by Rebecca Clayton, Steven Loftin and David Wriglesworth; where noted, some acts have dropped out. 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.

ESKA
Zimbabwean-born ESKA is best described as an amalgamation of the psyche soul of Minnie Riperton, with the whimsical melodic twists of Kate Bush, arranged into an intoxicating meld for the post-digital age.

Throughout the 2000s, ESKA gained vocal credits on many independent releases, before releasing the ‘Gatekeeper’ EP on her own Earthling Recordings label in 2013. The EP attracted worldwide critical acclaim, with BBC Radio 6’s Giles Peterson describing ESKA as “one of the most important singers in the UK”. ESKA released her self-titled debut album in 2015, which received a nomination for the 2015 Mercury Music Prize. Fast forward 2 years, and ESKA is set to unveil new music from her hugely anticipated follow-up album. (David Wriglesworth) [As of 21/2, ESKA is no longer listed on the SXSW Music Festival schedule.]

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IDER
Megan Markwick and Lily Somerville are better known as IDER. Since moving in together, the duo worked tirelessly on their project and emerged in April 2016 with their debut track, ‘Sorry’. Within minutes of the track going live on Soundcloud, Sorry received huge support from BBC Radio 1’s Phil Taggart, who labeled IDER as one of his “Future Firsts” on his weekly show. Two months later, IDER released their follow-up track, the vulnerable, yet beautifully balanced ‘Pulse’, which has since received over 1,000,000 streams on Spotify. This was followed by the release of ‘King Ruby’ and ‘Million’.

With only a few live shows under their belt, supporting Conner Youngblood, Tegan and Sara and Samaris in London, IDER have laid low, writing and recording their debut album, which is expected to be released later this year. (David Wriglesworth) [As of 21/2, IDER are no longer listed on the SXSW Music Festival schedule.]

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The Japanese House
Do you need some melancholic synth pop in your life? Of course you do, it gives life that edge. The Japanese House manages to own this as well as have you begging for me. The fact it’s produced by The 1975‘s Matt Healy should give you a hint as to exactly how good we’re talking here. You can check out the ‘Swim Against The Tide’ EP available now. (Steven Loftin)

Joel Sarakula
Joel Sarakula is an Australian-born, UK-based soulful pop producer and singer-songwriter, who has travelled the world in search of his muse, gazing through his vintage glasses at his ‘70s tinged world.

In 2013, Joel Sarakula released his debut album ‘The Golden Age’. Singles ‘Bohemian’ and ‘I Will Deliver’ received numerous plays across BBC 6 Music, BBC London, XFM, Q Radio and Absolute Radio. Fans didn’t have to wait long for his follow-up, ‘The Imposter’, which hit store shelves in November 2015. This latest album took him to London, Berlin and Sydney, with a host of his musical comrades appearing on the record.

Joel Sarakula is a regular fixture on the festival and club circuit in the UK, Europe and Australia, having made appearances at Latitude, Glastonbury, The Great Escape, V-ROX Vladivostok and Reeperbahn Festival Hamburg, among others. (David Wriglesworth)

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Kate Nash
Kate Nash is the Harrow-born indie pop singer/songwriter who rocketed to fame in 2007 with her punchy hit ‘Foundations’. Nash went on to release a bunch of other singles from the album ‘Made of Bricks’, including ‘Pumpkin Soup’ and ‘Mouthwash’, that cemented her as a cornerstone of quirky, bright indie pop. In 2013, she shared her third studio album ‘Girl Talk’, which she released independently, saw her head for a punkier direction. Always being outspoken about politics and women’s rights and issues, Nash also worked to prevent the Dakota Access Pipeline last year. She’ll be appearing at SXSW this March, with the follow-up intention of releasing a new album this summer, which she is recording in Los Angeles. Stay tuned… (Rebecca Clayton)

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Mt. Wolf
In 2011, an inexperienced Kate Sproule turned down her first-post college job to pursue a music career to form Mt. Wolf (pictured at top), alongside her childhood friend Stevie McMinn and his college mates. The risk paid off as, after only two EPs into their career, Mt. Wolf became established as a signature sound. However, the band announced their decision to split 2 years later, due to creative differences in the band.

After a year’s hiatus, Mt. Wolf reunited with a new line-up as pictured at top, consisting of Sebastian Fox (vocals/guitar), Stevie McMinn (guitar) and Alex Mitchell (drums). The band’s electronic and acoustic elements have earned them comparisons to the likes of London Grammar, Mogwai and Sigur Ros.

The future is looking promising for the band, having received funding from the BPI’s Music Exports Growth Scheme (MEGS), as well as a separate grant from the PRS Foundation. (David Wriglesworth)

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PIXX
Hannah Rodgers, better known as Pixx, is a young singer/songwriter from Chipstead on the outskirts of London. Born to a music-loving family, Pixx’s creative side was nurtured and encouraged from a young age, with her talent earning her a place at The BRIT School, which also counts Adele, Ella Eyre and the late Amy Winehouse among its alumni.

Inspired by the likes of Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell and Aphex Twin, Pixx – whose name is adopted from her grandmother’s nickname – released her recording debut ‘Fall In’ in August 2015. This was quickly followed by dreamy, synth-pop tracks ‘Baboo’ and ‘Grip’.

2016 was a busy year for Pixx, as she joined Daughter and Glass Animals on tour as a support act, played at a host of festivals including Latitude and performed at a 4AD showcase in the UK and the U.S. Pixx is currently in the process of finishing her debut album, which is due for release in early 2017. (David Wriglesworth) [As of 21/2, Pixx is no longer listed on the SXSW Music Festival schedule.]

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Roses Gabor
Once upon a time, Roses Gabor was working at a bank while working on her music career on evenings and weekends. In 2005 she sang on the Gorillaz track ‘Dare’, and since then she has appeared at a number of the band’s shows and tours to provide vocals, and featured on a number of other artists’ tracks, including SBTRKT’s ‘Pharoahs’ released back in 2011. More recently she’s featured on Basstrack’s funk-inspired ‘Get Your Way’.

In 2012, she released the single ‘Stars’, before releasing a follow-up single ‘Rush’ 2 years later. Gabor’s music is tranquil electro-dance, and features shimmering synth rhythms that show off her svelte vocals. (Rebecca Clayton) [As of 21/2, Roses Gabor is no longer listed on the SXSW Music Festival schedule.]

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Sykes
Sykes are a sparkly, electro alt-pop outfit from London, made up of lead singer Julia Sykes, lead guitar/ bass player Kristian Taylor and Will Grid Brown on drums. Unsigned, the band is yet to release an album but they have shared a bunch of singles/EPs since they started writing together. The band has been featured on Radio 1, and they have supported the likes of Bleachers and Charli XCX live, as well as appearing at a number of festivals including Glastonbury.

The band released the popular ‘Gold Dust’ in 2014, garnering attention for the trio. Title track ‘Gold Dust’ is joyful, with a glittering childhood sentimentality to it, and echoes the dreamy alt-pop quality of the band’s music. They also released an EP in 2016, ‘Younger Mind’. (Rebecca Clayton)

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(SXSW 2017 flavoured!) Quickfire Questions #114: Charlotte of The Fontaines

 
By on Tuesday, 21st February 2017 at 1:00 pm
 

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. Today’s installment comes via Charlotte Fontaine, who with her brother Hank are Los Angeles ‘new-wop’ act The Fontaines.

I have a funny story about how I discovered them. As we all know, there have been some contentious battles over which band with a specific name came first, the American or the British one, and who gets to keep the name and who has to affix “US” or “UK” (or something similar) to their name or worse, legal action ensues (don’t forget Hinds almost getting sued by The Dears). I was Googling for “The Fontaines” for our Live at Leeds 2016 preview last year, and apparently there’s a British band with the same exact name. Unfortunately for them, I found the American Fontaines first and there’s really no contest between them. Charlotte’s singing style is influenced by her love of doo-wop and Motown, and anyone like me who grew up on those classics, their sound really hits the spot, accompanied by a funky pop backing. Charlotte was game to answer our SXSW 2017 flavoured Quickfire Questions, so read on for her answers below.

To catch The Fontaines performing at SXSW 2017, we’ve been advised they’ll be appearing at Burger Records’ afternoon snowcase at Spider House Cafe and Ballroom on Thursday 16 March, The Planetary Group’s nighttime showcase at Tellers on Thursday 16 March and the Grammy Museum showcase featuring L.A. bands at the Market and Tap Room on the evening of Friday 17 March. As always, we suggest you checking in with each individual SXSW 2017 showcasing artist’s Facebook and other social media accounts, along with the official SXSW schedule, to confirm appearances closer to the time.

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Describe your music / sound in three words.
Textured, temperamental, and taffy.

What are you most looking forward to doing while you’re in Austin?
Eating! I keep hearing it’s one of the best food cities in the U.S.

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?
Caddywhompus, what a name!

Name something you’re packing in your suitcase that we might find unusual. (You are welcome to elaborate.)
A steamer for my voice. It looks like a very doctor-friendly bong.

If we happen to run into you in a bar, we’d like to buy you a drink. What is your tipple of choice?
I mean, if it’s a restaurant and bar, I’ll take the lobster. [A foodie…we’re going to be BFFs! – Ed.]

What was your favourite album of 2016, and why?
I’m so out of touch…what came out last year? I was listening to a lot of Nina Simone.

Will this be the first time you’ve played to American audiences? What have you heard about the festival? Are you excited / anxious / scared / etc. and why?
It’s our first time playing SXSW, and so far we’ve heard it’s super crowded and a little insane. I can’t wait to perform in a new state!

Now, let’s get into our usual list of Quickfire Questions…

What song is your earliest musical memory?
‘You’re So Vain’ by Carly Simon.

What was your favourite song as a child?
I could not get enough of ‘Straight Up’ by Paula Abdul when I was in fifth grade. I made everyone who came over listen to it on my CD player.

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What song always makes you laugh?
‘New Mistake’ by Jellyfish makes me smile.

What song always makes you cry?
‘Stand By Me’ by Ben E. King.

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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.)
I’ve never been in love.

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.)
‘Fireflies’ by Owl City reminds me of my unrequited 9th grade crush. I cried to that song for a full school-week!

Which song (any song written in the last century / 100 years or so) do you wish you’d written yourself?
‘It’s a Man’s, Man’s, Man’s World’ by James Brown.

Who is your favourite writer? (This can be a songwriter or ANY kind of writer.)
Charles Bukowski and Charlotte Bronte are at the top of my list.

If you hadn’t become a singer/musician/songwriter/etc., what job do you think you’d be doing right now?
Professional basketball player. At 5 feet tall, my body was just meant for that path.

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.)
‘Tapestry’ by Carole King. Gotta have a little bit of heartbreak in heaven.

Many thanks to Charlotte of The Fontaines for answering these questions!

 
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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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