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SXSW 2019: Matt Maltese at the Back to Amy photo exhibition, ROE and Joshua Burnside at Output Belfast and APRE – 14th March 2019 (Thursday, part 1)

 
By on Wednesday, 27th March 2019 at 11:00 am
 

After a luxurious sleep (read: more than 6 hours) and the breakfast buffet in my hotel, it was time for a trip to the often neglected west side of Austin, which has some of the most chill and interesting watering holes in town. Holy Roller played host all week to the Back to Amy photo exhibition, displaying never before seen images of the late and great Amy Winehouse at age 19, before she became a household name and before the release of her seminal debut album ‘Frank’. The photos were taken by Charles Moriarty and introduced by producer Gabriel Gornell, who also served as emcee for a specially curated group of promising young artists playing in a cute performance nook of the restaurant.

I was curious about both the photos and Matt Maltese’s performance there at 11 AM. Not the best time to perform during a full-on festival at SXSW, but let me say as a music editor, any opportunity at any time of day to sit down on a chair and enjoy a lovely hand-crafted pink beverage called the She Bad is more than welcome. Following his set the previous night at Central Presbyterian Church, I preferred this performance in more relaxed surroundings for its intimacy. We probably could have sat at his feet if we wanted to. A large cartoon drawing of Amy hung as the backdrop, a poster that all artists playing at this exhibition would sign after their performances. During a week of watching all sorts of artists with seemingly increasingly complexity in instrumentation, watching a master at work with the simplest of setups served as a good reminder that at its very basic, sometimes stripped back is best.


During this set, he had been introduced as creating Brexit pop; Maltese was quick to be humourously contrary in correcting this as he started, saying he was now in post-Brexit pop. Maltese wrote ‘As the World Caves In’ with two world leaders in mind, imagining them getting intimate as their decisions have led to the end of the world and humanity. Given the problems in his country and ours, it has become strangely more appropriate than he could have ever realised when he was writing it. ‘Strange Time’, another one of his songs that is no hurry to get to the finish, muses on an unconventional relationship that somehow works: “They say I’m too old for my age / And you’re just the same / Yet we make love like kids, again and again.” Like Maltese himself, it doesn’t sound like it should work on paper but is such a pleasant surprise when you’re finally get an opportunity to be properly introduced to it.


After some time mooching around at the posters on offer at Flatstock, I returned to the British Music Embassy for the first two acts of the Output Belfast afternooon showcase there. Young Derry singer/songwriter ROE impresssed straight out of the gate with her aplomb. Being stood on a stage entirely alone except for her guitar and electronics in front of Texan fans and industry types might have shaken the nerves of lesser mortals, but not her. The precocious, smiley artist explained the origins of her songs as she went along, lending sincerity to her stories of adolescent angst. The last festival we covered her at was Hard Working Class Heroes 2017, where she performed at Dublin Grand Social.


The poppy ‘Thomas’ specifically calls out a situation where she was teased for her short hair and compared to a male classmate, but the treatment is incredibly catchy. Songwriting was her method of catharsis from depression when coming up wth ‘Down Days’, broaching a difficult, ongoing subject that needs to keep being discussed and continually. ‘Wasted.Patient.Thinking’ is a surprisingly adult admission that we all should taking care of ourselves first, especially when a relationship no longer serves its purpose to us. It is a sobering thought that ROE has able to come to these conclusions and write them into infectiously amazing pop and at an age when the rest of us were all twiddling our thumbs. If she can keep this up – and I do think she can – she’ll have a long career ahead of her.

Joshua Burnside and his live band returned to Austin after a series of rousing performances at SXSW 2018 last March. This time, he arrived in Texas with a prominent moustache that made him look like a cross between a cowboy from days gone by and Matthew McConaughey. Throwing a beloved flat cap into the audience might not have been the best idea – I’m still not sure if he ever got it back? – but it sure led to a whoop of cheers around Latitude 30. ‘Holllllogram’, from his 2017 Northern Irish Music Prize-winning album ‘Ephrata’, still wows in its exposition of how a broken heart can remain haunted.


I unfortunately had to leave Burnside’s set early to catch what I thought would be an enlightening talk given by Björn Ulvaeus of ABBA and his work colleagues at Auddly at the Hilton. Auddly has been now rebranded as Session, though I had to find that out on social media, as there were technical difficulties preventing their Thursday afternoon session at SXSW from starting on time. I sat there for a good 20 minutes before calling it quits in favour of the International Day stage.

APRE’s most prominent appearance during SXSW 2019 would no doubt be their slot opening the BBC Radio 1 showcase Saturday night at the British Mustic Embassy. Given my past experience having difficulty getting into Latitude 30 for that showcase in multiple years, I didn’t want to miss out on seeing the London-based duo up close and personal. If you’ve followed APRE for any length of time or indeed, you read Bands to Watch preview of them from last month, you are well aware that they don’t take themselves seriously. They also enjoy wearing bright red jackets, which they brought to Austin!


okay, so there’s no red jacket here, but…

This electronic-driven duo occupy a nice niche between tropical pop and r&b, which gives them the opportunity to cover more music territory when songwriting. The delivery of the anthemic ‘Without Your Love’ and ‘Don’t You Feel Like Heaven’ suggest they could their music to stadiums. Conversely, in a different way, a r&b-inflected song like ‘Blackstreet’ pits them favourably against acts like Jungle who have proven they can reach those stages. Although like when I saw Elder Island the day before I got the distinct feeling I was probably the only person in the room who’d heard of them before this, APRE impressed a different set of punters than the ones who saw them the night before at the Communion showcase at Augustine.

 

Live Gig Video: clip of Amy Winehouse singing ‘Back to Black’ a capella in the studio with Mark Ronson

 
By on Thursday, 9th July 2015 at 4:00 pm
 

Making waves around the world right now is Amy, the new documentary about the late, great and troubled Amy Winehouse. The film is out now and while several clips from the documentary have already been making the rounds, this one released yesterday of Winehouse singing ‘Back to Black’ after having just written the lyrics in a short, 2 to 3 hour span in New York in March 2006 (according to producer Mark Ronson in his voiceover on this clip) is particularly poignant.

If you could forget for a moment and strip away how her drug and alcohol abuse and her eating disorder all made her an easy target for the tabloid papers, what you were left with was a real human being who made some bad choices and didn’t find help in time. However you felt about Amy Winehouse as a person, what is eminently clear after her passing through clips like this is how great her singing talent really was. Watch the clip from the documentary below. Past articles on TGTF about Winehouse are this way.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3su4q5fVGQg[/youtube]

 

MP3(s) of the Day #742: Delphic

 
By on Tuesday, 5th March 2013 at 10:00 am
 

Manchester’s Delphic are at it again with the latest in a string of confounding actions. In January it was the less than wowing release of ‘Collections’. The latest? They’ve taken ‘Rehab’ by late cult soul singer Amy Winehouse of the pop genre they’ve professed to love so much and remixed it. Seems as random as the time they covered Cheryl Cole’s ‘3 Words’ in the Radio1 Live Lounge. I’m not a fan of Winehouse, but I’m wondering, was this really necessary? This new version of ‘Rehab’ is available as a free download below, as is what they’re calling the Delphic DJs March 2013 mixtape.

 

The 2013 BRIT Awards – The Nominees

 
By on Friday, 11th January 2013 at 4:37 pm
 

Is there any point to the BRITs? Granted, it gives a certain demographic of London teenager the opportunity to sting Daddy for the eye-watering £70 ticket price, no doubt getting stuffed with half-term pizza and fructose syrup before spending three hours squealing loudly at microscopic effigies of their latest tabloid-endorsed musical crushes. But beyond that, does any vestige of musical credibility remain within the unhallowed, chart-obsessed recesses of the BRIT Award psyche?

A swift perusal of the nominations, released yesterday, would indicate: maybe, actually. The usual mega-selling suspects are there: Emeli Sandé, Mumford and Sons, Robbie Williams, Olly Murs. But look a little deeper and could there just be enough respect for the breakthrough, even the underground, so that beyond the face paint and lasers, there’s a bedrock of credibility?

Step forward Richard Hawley, the most unlikely of the entire nomination list, proving that the BRITs aren’t immune to a decent bit of ‘70s-throwback guitar action and heart-on-the-sleeve balladry from a bequiffed Yorkshireman. Plan B also deserves a shout for his unflinching portrayal of council estate life in ‘Ill Manors’, which still deserves to make more of an impact than it has.

Jessie Ware gathers two nods, a fine result for her this early in her career, single-handedly making 2011’s Critic’s Choice Award for her namesake Jessie J look ever more ridiculous. The more listeners turned on to her coolly urban soul, the better. Paloma Faith is also up for two gongs – British Female Solo is fair enough, but British Album of the Year for ‘Fall to Grace’, for a collection significantly worse than her début, is deeply suspect. British Group unoriginally throws up two previous Mercury Prize winners: unlikely media darlings alt-J, and minimalist electro-songsters the xx; Muse are nominated for the ninth (and tenth) time, with Mumford and One Direction predictably making up the numbers. A rum collection, if ever there was one, and despite the disparate yet singular talents of each, hardly a state-of-the-nation statement.

The British Single category is too depressing to analyse deeply. Suffice to say a more turgid collection of middle-of-the-road dross it’s difficult to conceive. Any list containing the execrable ‘Mama Do the Hump’ by Rizzle Kicks deserves to be encased in concrete and dropped into a very deep hole. Thankfully each of the British Breakthrough nominees have something to commend them, though surely Jake Bugg is the most extraordinary of the lot; his compellingly grizzled, world-weary, yet uplifting take on vintage blues in his debut album means he should have no problem in lifting the spotted statue next month.

Ironically, there’s far less to complain about the International (read: American) nominees. Perhaps it’s because we expect the USA to do bigness well, it’s difficult to complain about someone like Bruce Springsteen being nominated, although one wonders just how much pride of place a BRIT award would take on the dashboard of his pickup truck.

As always, it’s good to see producers, the guys behind the desk who really make the music, getting their opportunity to shine, although it seems somewhat unfair that Damon Albarn should be sharing their limelight – hasn’t he had enough of it by now? If the Albarn effect can be resisted, Paul Epworth should walk away with this one, although personally I prefer listening to his sister’s output to his. And what of Amy Winehouse and The Rolling Stones, both nominated, neither deservedly? Stop it, BRITs! Pick people who are more alive!

The 2013 BRITs take place on Wednesday the 20th of February at London’s O2 Arena. TGTF will be reporting, either from the event itself, or from somewhere else in London more interesting. Watch this space.

Who should win the British Brits, I reckon?

Male Solo: Richard Hawley
Female Solo: Jessie Ware
Breakthrough: Jake Bugg
Group: One Direction
Single: Alex Clare – ‘Too Close’
Album: Plan B – ‘Ill Manors’
Live: Coldplay
Producer: Paul Epworth

Full list of nominees after the jump.
Continue reading The 2013 BRIT Awards – The Nominees

 

Album Review: Amy Winehouse – Lioness: Hidden Treasures

 
By on Thursday, 15th December 2011 at 12:00 pm
 

Since its inception date, ‘Lioness: Hidden Treasures’ was always going to be an inevitably two-sided mirror. In the instances where it falters musically, its eminence is reinforced by the tragic, yet melancholic legacy of Amy Winehouse. In many ways, ‘Lioness’ cannot be recognised as an album, but rather an assorted jumble of trimmings. With former assistants Salaam Remi and Mark Ronson at the reins, the pair has hoisted Amy’s past, unheard recordings and delicately mastered them onto a bed of original music. Documenting exactly a third of Winehouse’s 27-year lifespan, the record does not instantly stun the listener, but is instantly notorious. The mere ability to listen to her inimitable voice is priceless, and ‘Lioness’, although flawed in several ways, truly portrays the astounding uniqueness that made Winehouse the luminary that she is perceived as today.

Admittedly, the first few tracks are the strongest. Opener ‘Our Day Will Come’ serves as a blissful reminiscence of Winehouse’s youthful climb to stardom in true ‘Frank’-style. However, in songs such as ‘The Girl From Ipanema’, ‘Lioness’ falls prey to revealing a more lounge-orientated Winehouse than the soulful jazz figure we remember, and the result is a complete misconception of her true vocal prowess. Sadly, it is these features of the compilation that fail to encapsulate Amy’s true nature: a romantic, indisputable musical icon.

But the listener must understand that this is, indeed, a posthumous album; one that delves into the past 9 years of an exceptionally-gifted, but deeply troubled young singer. There are no morals to be learned from the record, nor should there be any. ‘Lioness’ simply epitomises the life, legacy and loss of one of British music’s most recognisable talents.

7/10

‘Lioness: Hidden Treasures’, the posthumous release of Amy Winehouse, is available now from Island.

 

Video of the Moment #531: Amy Winehouse

 
By on Monday, 25th July 2011 at 6:00 pm
 

In remembrance of Amy Winehouse and in deference to her untimely passing this past Saturday, here’s a video of her performing ‘Valerie’ for BBC Sessions. RIP Amy, you will be missed.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ye5T66K4PTQ[/youtube]

 
 
 

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.

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