Looking for previews and reviews of SXSW 2019? Right this way.

SXSW 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | Live at Leeds 2016 | 2015 | 2014
Sound City 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | Great Escape 2018 | 2015 | 2013 | 2012

Don't forget to like There Goes the Fear on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

(SXSW 2019 flavoured!) Bands to Watch #418: Sports Team

 
By on Thursday, 7th March 2019 at 12:00 pm
 

Unless there’s an added horn section, and even that doesn’t happen too often, it’s rare for us to write about a six-piece band here on TGTF. The band members of Sports Team met at Cambridge University, where their guitar-driven rock didn’t find too many fans among their fellow students who preferred hip-hop and dance. You snooze, you lose: the now London-based group have plenty of hype going into their debut appearances at SXSW 2019 next week. Decidedly not punk or lo-fi, outlets like the Guardian are calling them part of the ‘indie revival’, recalling (I suppose) the heady days of Weezer, Franz Ferdinand and Maximo Park.

Last year, Sports Team released their debut EP ‘Winter Nets’, produced by Dave McCracken (Ian Brown, Depeche Mode, Oh Land) and out now on Nice Swan Records. EP track ‘Camel Crew’, a wonky guitar-pop tune, was named #10 on Noisey’s Best Songs of 2018, described as “stray[ing] into the tradition of great British groups like The Beautiful South and Pulp”. The song’s lyrics are controversial to some, as they poke fun at a period in the not too distant past where a fellow South London band was getting the lion’s share of hype, much to Sports Team’s cynicism. It probably helps that they’re London transplants and can cut through the pretension of the Capital’s music scene with x-ray vision. I can appreciate the shade. Sometimes you need to be on the outside looking in to be able to suss what’s really going on.

In the video for single ‘Margate’, frontman Alex Rice is throwing his limbs around in the seaside town and dancing like no-one’s watching. You gotta give credit where credit’s due. To be sure, Rice’s vocals will never be confused with the dulcet tones of, say, Tom Chaplin. Like David Byrne in Talking Heads’ heyday, the whole point of the vocals in Sports Team is to be yelping and dissonant, another wild card element to their sound that plays off of the frenetic played guitars and drum beats. While this style isn’t new, plenty of people are taking notice including The Vaccines, who appear to now be playing catch-up. Sports Team will appear at 1 AM on Monday, the 11th of March, at the DIY and UK Department of Trade (DIT) showcase at the British Music Embassy at Latitude 30. Like The Snuts who I wrote about on Tuesday, Sports Team will be appearing Thursday night, the 14th of March at the Good Karma Club showcase being put on by Abbie McCarthy of BBC Radio 1 and BBC Introducing at SXSW 2019 (set time 10 PM).

 

(SXSW 2019 flavoured!) Bands to Watch #417: The Snuts

 
By on Tuesday, 5th March 2019 at 12:00 pm
 

The historic Scottish county of West Lothian occupies an enviable, green location between Glasgow and Edinburgh. Like Irish band The Academic in Mullingar, The Snuts are from Whitburn, a small town far enough away to not be influenced directly or too much by the scenes of their countries’ bigger cities. On a previous iteration of their Twitter profile, they proudly proclaimed, “So far removed from big city music. Songs for you, about you.” Sounds about right for a plucky young group whose primary professional goal has been to write good songs, and songs that connect directly to their fans’ hearts.

When (not if) they succeed, they will be following in the footsteps of fellow musician from Whitburn Lewis Capaldi, who they played with quite a bit when they were younger, later supporting the BBC Sound of 2018 nominee at Glasgow’s venerated King Tut’s. ‘Glasgow’ turns out to be the name of their debut single; the song itself isn’t a love letter to Glesga itself but rather appears to be a celebration of the way a girl pronounces the city’s name, meaning universal application and appeal. In a land where the rivalry between Scotland’s biggest cities can affect band loyalty, especially in the early days, the fact that the Snuts can play this song and elicit the kind of response in Edinburgh as you see below is pretty amazing.

At the start of 2018, they released ‘The Matador’ EP. The title track features jangly guitars and Jack Cochrane’s cocksure, swaggery vocals. In sharp contrast, ‘Summertime’ shows off The Snuts’ ability to slow things down and head straight into stadium anthem territory, Cochrane’s voice reaching heights of Bono’s early U2 years. Recent single ‘Manhattan Project’ doesn’t go down as massively as a nuclear bomb, but it takes the imagery of fighter jets and the bombers that chase them as a metaphor for waiting patiently for a girl to return. A clever concept. Do these four friends have what it takes to be Britain’s Next Big Guitar Band? I think so. You can read my previous preview of them ahead of Live at Leeds last year through here. Check them out appearing at 9 PM at the Good Karma Club showcase being put on by Abbie McCarthy of BBC Radio 1 and BBC Introducing, Thursday night, the 14th of March, at SXSW 2019.

 

(SXSW 2019 flavoured!) Bands to Watch #416: Seazoo

 
By on Thursday, 28th February 2019 at 12:00 pm
 

Yes, Wales may be a small country, but it has produced some massive, internationally-known bands: Manic Street Preachers, Stereophonics, Los Campesinos!, The Joy Formidable, Catfish and the Bottlemen. Like Van McCann and co., the band I want to bring to your attention today are also from North Wales. Conveniently, Seazoo hail from Wrexham, which most British UK industry people know as the city that hosts the annual Focus Wales music festival in May. At first glance at their name, they sound like a surf rock band. While I was doing my usual listen-through of the UK bands given a shout to SXSW this year, I was surprised to hear that in fact, Seazoo are much more of a pop band than I ever would have guessed. They are a guitar-driven band, yes, but two major parts of their music make them much more endearing than most.

2018 saw the self-described “psych indie pop” group self-release their debut album ‘Trunks’. Appearing far less threatening than the Rolling Stones’ big red mouth and tongue, mouths flashing blinding-white smiles repeat on the album cover. The smiles are a good harbinger of what’s inside: feel good guitars and instrumentation accompanied by wry lyrics. They’ve named Grandaddy as one of their influences, and I can clearly hear that. The winsome vocal delivery of Ben Trow also has that wonderfully wistful, disarming quality associated with the twinkling tunes of Scottish pop architect Stuart Murdoch and his band Belle and Sebastian. Listen to ‘St Hilary Says’ to see – and hear – what I mean. Seazoo will be the opening band at the Focus Wales showcase Wednesday night at 7:45 PM at Swan Dive (indoor stage) at SXSW 2019. I’ll be there: I don’t know any Welsh (except for ‘diolch’) so I’m hoping I learn some through osmosis.

 

(SXSW 2019 flavoured!) Bands to Watch #415: Rascalton

 
By on Tuesday, 26th February 2019 at 12:00 pm
 

Ahead of Live at Leeds 2018, I previewed Rascalton, a Glaswegian band whose name I described last spring as sounding “like the name of an anarchic village, where disorder is the rule of the day.” Playing a very packed out, very sweaty Green Door Store at The Great Escape 2018, they wowed me with their punky musical style, sans the pretention and egocentric swagger that can turn me off about British guitar bands. While many groups these days with a scrappy sound have been described as being borne from a garage (personally, I find ‘garage rock’ a silly genre), this is a case where you can actually believe that these four friends honed their sound from such humble beginnings.

In 2018 and after their appearance at The Great Escape, the Scottish four-piece released their debut EP ‘CSC’, short for ‘Control Social Club’, apparently named after a DIY punk night in Glasgow. It’s four short songs all with radio-friendly length: only one goes over 2 and a half minutes. Opening track ‘Told You So’ reminds me of the now-defunct Leeds band China Rats; as an opening salvo, you can’t get much better than this. The onslaught continues with the rapid fire power of ‘Police’, ‘Lonely Faces’ and ‘Lost Generation’.

More than a half year after my tipping of them and the band’s release of ‘CSC’, the NME Blog has decided to anoint Rascalton as one of their “Essential new artists of 2019”. They’re described as “If The Clash were raised on Buckfast…”, as well as compared favourably to Buzzcocks and former SXSW success story Shame. I don’t do what NME did and give myself 100 chances to be smug and say I got it right. If I were a betting woman and given the incredible hype Shame, and other UK punk bands have built off the back of their debut appearances in Austin, I’d put all my money on Rascalton. So far, two official appearances of Rascalton at SXSW 2019 have been announced: at the just revealed yesterday return of the Buckaroo Ball at the Hotel Vegas Annex Wednesday night, the 13th of March, at 10:30 PM, followed by the End of the Trail evening showcase at Valhalla Friday night, the 15th of March, at 10 PM.

 

(SXSW 2019 flavoured!) Bands to Watch #414: Glass Caves

 
By on Thursday, 14th February 2019 at 12:00 pm
 

Part of the metropolitan area of Wakefield, West Yorkshire, Pontefract is a town that has been around for a long time. I mean, a really long time: try AD 1086 or thereabouts. The town’s name comes from the Latin for ‘broken bridge’. The band from Pontefract I introduce you to today are sure to want to build bridges with their American cousins instead while they’re in Austin for SXSW next month. Glass Caves began humbly, initially trying their luck with street busking to see if they could make enough money to survive post-uni. As money came in slowly but steadily from interested passersby drawn in by their catchy pop-tinged rock, then came the requests for CDs. For a band without a label, the only option was to burn the CDs themselves in the middle of the night and at their own expense. Earlier material like the title track of their 2014 debut album, ‘Alive’, bears favourable comparison to stadium rockers Catfish and the Bottlemen.

Other unsigned bands have relied on social media and various music platforms to spread the word on their music, but this was not the route Glass Caves wanted to take. The Yorkshire group made the decision to do things more organically, pounding the pavement, developing relationships with music fans and independent music venue staff through precious face time and not through the less personable approaches through a computer or mobile phone screen. It’s paid off: what unsigned band do you know of who’s headlined a Club NME show at London Koko? As of late, their sound has evolved to become more keyboard-driven, sounding more like fellow Northerners Blossoms. Have a watch and listen to ‘Bad Liar’ below and see what you think. Quite a few bands from Britain have used their SXSW shout as a springboard to bigger things. With Glass Caves, just you wait.

 

(SXSW 2019 flavoured!) Bands to Watch #413: Elder Island

 
By on Tuesday, 12th February 2019 at 12:00 pm
 

When I first started blogging 10 years ago, bands with the word ‘bear’ in their name was a thing. Now it seems that the buzz word is ‘island’. (See my review last week of Low Island’s ‘In Person’.) The word ‘island’ conjures up individuality, but at the expense of isolation. Elder Island, named after a real place in Canada, are an electronic-driven trio who prove that isolation used as a means for indie bands to carefully create their art can be successful. The like-minded friends who were all studying art in Bristol have been steadily moving forward with their experimental music side gig over the last 6 years. 2019 is set to be Elder Island’s year, their time in the limelight, and congratulations are in order, and not just for their all-important shout to SXSW 2019. Last Friday, they self-released their debut album ‘The Omnitone Collection’.

They showed early promise on ‘Golden’, appearing on their 2016 ‘Seeds in Sand’ EP. You can understand the track’s origin, used as a transitional, loose point in our set where we could just let go a little”, as you get caught up in its beguiling vibrations. Katy Sargent’s vocals, stretched and echoey, act more like another electronic part layered on top of synthesisers. From the new LP, the first taster revealed to the wild was the rhythmically-mesmerising ‘Don’t Lose’. On it, their ability to pen a catchy tune is written all over it, and Sargent’s vocals have less effects put on it than on the EP, which make them more human. The accompanying promo video is a playful visual of how deft they are in transforming what could be techie electronic elements into parts totally accessible once incorporated into a pop song. Electronics aren’t just for nerds who that love them. These days, those who can use them in tandem with good songwriting are in good position indeed.

 
 
 

About Us

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.

All MP3s are posted with the permission of the artists or their representatives and are for sampling only. Like the music? Buy it.

RSS Feed   RSS Feed  

Learn More About Us