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Video of the Moment #2936: Middle Kids

 
By on Tuesday, 2nd April 2019 at 6:00 pm
 

While we’re still talking about SXSW, we shouldn’t forget that Australian trio Middle Kids were the buzz kids of SXSW 2017. Last year, they released their debut album ‘Lost Kids’ on Domino Records. Later this year will see the release of their latest new music in the form of a six-track EP. ‘New Sounds For Old Problems’ sounds like something Stuart Murdoch and Belle and Sebastian would cozy up to after ‘How to Solve Our Human Problems’, eh? They’re previewing the upcoming EP with lead single ‘Real Thing’, a full-bodied track welcome as part of their growing oeuvre. Check out the song and its official promo video below. Want more on Middle Kids right here on TGTF? Use this link.

 

Video of the Moment #2818: Middle Kids

 
By on Thursday, 5th April 2018 at 6:00 pm
 

Aussies Middle Kids had a huge buzz at SXSW 2017. They’re now gearing up to release their debut album next month. ‘Lost Friends’ will be out on the 4th of May on Domino Records. To preview this hotly anticipated platter, they’ve unveiled new song and accompanying video for ‘On My Knees’, the second LP taster following ‘Mistake’. All signs are good that ‘Lost Friends’ is going to be an album played loads this year. Watch the video for ‘On My Knees’ below. For more of our past coverage on Middle Kids, follow this link.

 

(SXSW 2017 flavoured!) Live Gig Video: Middle Kids share behind the scenes tour video set to ‘Old River’

 
By on Monday, 10th April 2017 at 4:00 pm
 

Australian band Middle Kids have had a wild ride in 2017 so far. In addition to appearing on American late night tv programme Conan and radio shows for KCRW in Los Angeles and KEXP in Seatle, as well as a series of high-profile sets at SXSW 2017 including this one at the KCSN-sponsored showcase at the Radio Day Stage on Thursday, the band also fit in a North American tour. During their time around our continent, they filmed a bunch of footage about their life on the road and onstage here. They’ve put it all together in a promo video for ‘Old River’, a track of their current self-titled EP out now. Watch it below. I’m sure we’ll be hearing way more from the Sydney trio very soon. To keep tabs on our ongoing coverage of the group from Oz, bookmark this link.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sEUM1BEy16Q[/youtube]

 

SXSW 2017: Wednesday night’s marathon, with stops at Lambert’s, Clive Bar, St. David’s Bethell Hall and Elysium – 15th March 2017

 
By on Monday, 10th April 2017 at 2:00 pm
 

Wednesday night at SXSW 2017 was always going to be a test of my speed and endurance, with a veritable smorgasbord of choices on the schedule at venues spread widely across downtown Austin. When I nailed down my own agenda for the evening, I was a tiny bit cranky at the prospect of so much walking, but in the end, the shows I saw were entirely worth the athletic effort. (To give you an idea of how much walking was involved, my smartwatch recorded over 20,000 total steps and 10.5 miles’ distance on Wednesday!)

Allison Pierce internal

After a brief dinner break, I ventured west of Congress Avenue to Lambert’s, where the SESAC showcase was being held. I would have happily stayed for the entire evening, as the SESAC docket included several favourites of mine, including Ciaran Lavery and Silences. However, the crazy Wednesday night schedule didn’t allow me to stop that long, and I only stayed long enough to satisfy my curiosity about singer/songwriter Allison Pierce. Formerly of sister-act The Pierces, Allison Pierce has stepped out on her own as a solo artist, and from the sound of her set at Lambert’s, she’s gone country. Perhaps that shouldn’t come as a surprise, given her Alabama upbringing, but this was definitely more of a streamlined, pure country sound than the psychedelic folk I last heard from The Pierces. Pierce followed her SXSW appearance with a run of live dates supporting The Wind and the Wave, and her debut album ‘Year of the Rabbit’ is due out on the 5th of May.

Magic Giant internal 1

My next stop was on the other side of downtown Austin, at Rainey Street’s Clive Bar, which was hosting the Showtime ‘I’m Dying Up Here’ launch party. Mary had warned me that the Showtime event would be a madhouse, and when I arrived at the Clive Bar after walking all the way across downtown from Lambert’s, I was disheartened to find a long queue outside. Surprisingly enough, the line moved quickly, and I was able to secure a spot close to the stage for Los Angeles indie rockers Magic Giant, with whom I’d had this lively interview earlier in the day.

Magic Giant internal 2

As advertised in the interview, Magic Giant’s live show exuded a brilliant energy and included a cacophony of creatively-devised sounds. Despite my prime spot at the front of the stage, I found it difficult to take photos, as none of the three band members (lead vocalist Austin Bisnow, multi-instrumentalist Zambricki Li, guitarist Brian “Zang” Zaghi) were in one position for very long. The momentum of the music and the quick rotation of instruments kept them in constant motion, even finding them down in the middle of the crowd at one point for what might be called a low-level acoustic mosh.

Magic Giant internal 3

Magic Giant’s incredibly organic indie folk debut album ‘In the Wind’ is due out in May, and the band is planning to be on tour for the rest of this year. Keep an eye on the Tour section of their official Web site for upcoming dates, and be sure not to miss them if they pass through your area.

My mood improved considerably by Magic Giant’s vibrant set, I left the Clive Bar and embarked on the long uphill walk to St. David’s Episcopal Church. Though I’d seen several shows at the church over the past three years at SXSW, I hadn’t yet been inside Bethell Hall, and I was initially taken aback by the very minimal set up of the stark room.

Ryan Vail internal

The stage area, such as it was, was positioned in the front of the room, with a grand piano and an electronic keyboard, along with a soundboard and a projector screen for visual effects. Despite some technical difficulty in the initial setup, this was perhaps a more natural situation for Ryan Vail, whom I’d seen earlier in the week at the Output Belfast Boat Party. Vail took advantage of the lovely grand piano in Bethell Hall to play tracks from his piano-oriented debut LP ‘For Every Silence’, which is described on Soundcloud as “the story of a piano that was made in England in 1927, shipped to Derry in Northern Ireland, cherished by Ryan’s wife’s family and restored for use on a stunning debut album, where the warm, well-loved character of the instrument takes centre stage.” I was pleased to see a new facet of Vail’s talent, namely his genuine skill as a composer, shine through in a different context than what I’d previously heard.

My last stop of the evening was at Austin dance club Elysium for the end of the KCRW showcase. Earlier bands on KCRW’s lineup had included Gabriel Garzón-Montano, Aquilo (see Mary’s past coverage of her Wednesday night covering the two of them here), and Mondo Cozmo, who I’d already seen earlier in the afternoon. By the time I arrived at Elysium, there was an impressive queue for hotly-tipped Aussie band Middle Kids, and I wasn’t sure I’d get in to see them, but once again good fortune prevailed.

Middle Kids internal

It’s always a pleasant surprise when a heavily-hyped band actually lives up to its billing, and such was the case with Middle Kids. Their indie rock sound leans just enough toward the pop side to be catchy, but aside from being eminently listenable, it’s also charmingly quirky. Lead singer Hannah Joy doesn’t go out of her way to do anything weird just for the sake of being noticed, which is refreshing in a time when female frontwomen are definitely feeling the pressure to stand out in the growing crowd. (I did, however, take notice of Joy’s Hendrix-style left-handed guitar technique.)

Cherry Glazerr internal

Los Angeles alt-rockers Cherry Glazerr immediately positioned themselves on the opposite end of that continuum when their lead singer Clementine Creevy did a spidery commando crawl onto the stage and announced her presence by bellowing “Hey, assholes!” into the microphone. This was an immediate turn-off for me, but many of the punters in the crowd responded positively, both to her deliberately obnoxious demeanor and to Cherry Glazerr’s raucous, rebellious grunge. Judging by the reaction to the creepy Kewpie-style doll attached to Sasami Ashworth’s keyboard, I’d say their track ‘Nurse Ratched’ is well on its way to being a sleeper summer hit.

SOHN internal

After overcoming the seemingly standard technical issues faced by electronic artists at SXSW, London-based SOHN closed out the night at Elysium with a delirious 1 AM set that swayed between sensual and sweaty in a room drenched in dim red lighting. I always feel bad for artists who get stuck in the final time slot after a big-name act, when the room invariably empties, and SOHN was no exception. But in a proper club atmosphere, this would clearly have been a better-received set, and I’ll wager that fans of electro artists like Jack Garratt (who faced a similar situation at SXSW 2015) will catch onto SOHN in the very near future.

 

SXSW 2017: Thursday afternoon at the Full Irish Breakfast and the Radio Day Stage – 16th March 2017

 
By on Thursday, 30th March 2017 at 4:00 pm
 

It’s become a yearly tradition for TGTF to cover the Full Irish Breakfast, a daytime showcase put on by Music from Ireland at B.D. Riley’s Irish pub on 6th Street. Carrie generally does the honours while I usually take five, tucking into my complimentary breakfast, avoiding the pub’s Lipton tea and bemoaning the absent black pudding and mushrooms. This year for SXSW 2017, however, I stood in for Carrie at the start of the showcase, as she was down at the convention center, listening to Zane Lowe.

This was all fine by me, as the first band on were Belfast’s New Portals specialising in synthpop, therefore squarely in my wheelhouse. We had featured the act’s single ‘Winter Skin’ before Christmas last year and prior to our Derry correspondent Adam’s preview of the Northern Irish acts coming out to SXSW 2017. I should probably read our previews one more time before we go out to Austin because I evidently forgot that Mike and Ruth Aicken are married. They’re way too young and cool to be married! Ruth was wearing a baseball cap and her voice is sultry and poppish, leading me to compare her to Lorde and BANKS, both who young girls seek to emulate.

New Portals, full Irish breakfast, B.D. Riley's, Thursday 16 March 2017

I would think B.D. Riley’s is an unusual place for Irish artists to perform because on most days, it’s sunny in Austin and the windows out to 6th Street are thrown wide open. With New Portals’ music, it’s a bit odd to be hearing electronic music in a sunny environment and not in a club. However, Ruth let herself be totally drawn into the moment, singing with her eyes closed, grooving to the music as if she was in her own little world. But we were welcomed into that world, the buzz of the synths and the catchiness of the beats pulling us into the music despite it being eye-blinkingly 11 in the morning. As I looked around the room, I saw quite a few Guinness and gin and tonics being drunk, so it wasn’t too far from what it’s like being in a club…

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FTIWWPB6mOw[/youtube]

The great thing about a man and his guitar: he takes next to no time to set up. For a completely different change of pace, fellow Northern Irish artist Ciaran Lavery was next up on the bill. We’ve been fans of Lavery for quite a while, and we covered him when he came out to Austin last year. The popular ‘Shame’, with Lavery’s plaintive vocals and simple yet effective guitar chord progressions, proved so disarming, I was nearly in tears.


Ciaran Lavery, full Irish breakfast, B.D. Riley's, Thursday 16 March 2017

Lavery clearly impressed the crowd, as several people asked me for his name and I recommended his live album ‘Live at the Mac’ that Adam reviewed for us at the end of 2016. I find his droll hand at stage patter hilarious, though I do wonder if it goes over better in front of Irish fans, several of whom had come all the way over from Belfast that I met at the breakfast. In any event, a job well done.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DHd4x9K2-X0[/youtube]

After sitting in on the enlightening and moving talk by Russell “DMC” McDaniels back at the convention center, I was able to catch most of Middle Kids’ performance on the Radio Day Stage early Thursday afternoon as part of the KCSN afternoon showcase there. I included the female-fronted Aussie band in my best bets of acts from Oz showcasing this year in Austin.

Middle Kids, Radio Day Stage, Thursday 16 March 2017

By the time they arrived at SXSW 2017, they had under their belt an appearance on American alt late night tv programme Conan, so they’d already had their American close-up with thousands of armchair viewers. The brashness of their hit ‘Edge of Town’ hit the spot with Radio Day onlookers. For an indie band on one of their first-ever trips to America, you really can’t do much better than having such a great reception on the biggest stage in the convention center.

Middle Kids, Radio Day Stage, Thursday 16 March 2017, 2

 

TGTF Guide to SXSW 2017: best bets of Australian artists showcasing at this year’s SXSW

 
By on Monday, 27th February 2017 at 11:00 am
 

Australia and her neighbour New Zealand will be sending over 30 acts to SXSW 2017. The list includes artists we covered at previous SXSWs, including Demi Louise, Hamish Anderson and Mansionair. In this post, I introduce you to the Australian acts I think are the cream of the crop from down under, representing the various genres of pop, rock, electronic and folk. 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.

Alex Lahey – pop / rock / Melbourne
Alex Lahey would be my pick for the next big Australian global superstar. The world is ready for another strong young woman to follow in the footsteps of Avril Lavigne, Kelly Clarkson and Gaga, and with this kick in the arse, upbeat pop/rock sound, Lahey owns it. On this side of the Pacific with her own American tour to follow SXSW, plus even earlier this month, when Lahey supported Tegan and Sara on their UK winter tour, the interest in this young Aussie singer/songwriter is clear. There’s nowhere to go but up, up, up for her.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z32tgLHEEBc[/youtube]

All Our Exes Live in Texas – Sydney / folk
The band with the name most appropriate for coming to Austin to perform, All Our Exes Live in Texas (pictured at top) take their cues from the greats of country and folk. The incredible melding of the talents of four individually brilliant musicians is the true success of this folk group, who take full advantage of the beautiful four-part harmonies they can achieve and their charismatic live shows, which have already left Sydneysiders breathless. They might still be some ways off from the Grand Ole Opry when they showcase at SXSW 2017, but something tells me they’ll get an invite soon.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ElcYePVbv2w[/youtube]

Cameron Avery – rock / Perth
Are we allowed to call a 28-year old a Renaissance man? Sod it, we are when it comes to Cameron “Cam” Avery. From the capital of Western Australia, Perth, the singer/songwriter is probably best known outside of Oz for being a member of indie favourites Pond and Tame Impala, the latter of which he plays bass for. But this time in Austin, Avery will be playing for and promoting himself and his debut album ‘Ripe Dreams, Pipe Dreams’, which will be out on the 10th of March on Anti- Records and Spinning Top. As a solo artist, Cameron Avery’s music is as far as you can get from the psychedelia of Tame Impala: his is straightforward songwriting with a rich voice evocative of his Anti- labelmate Cass McCombs.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IdN7bhUIOQw[/youtube]

Castlecomer – pop/rock / Sydney
Remember when Two Door Cinema Club’s music felt like a guilty pleasure, in the ‘Tourist History’ era well before their meltdowns? That’s what Castlecomer’s new single ‘If I Could Be Like You’: high energy, infectious guitar pop with a driving rhythm that can get tail feathers shaking at a music festival. While it’s a formula overused in the last few years because of the success of bands just like Two Door, Castlecomer’s success in the form of 2 million streams on Spotify for their 2016 EP ‘All of the Noise’ bodes well for their future. Hey Glassnote Records, are you looking for an Australian Two Door?

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=phwT4b9seAQ[/youtube]

Food Court – garage punk / Sydney
I’ll never understand why bands choose a name that will always produce unhelpful Google results. But it hasn’t prevented Food Court, from the neighbourhood of Glebe in Sydney, from already becoming a bit of an internet sensation. It’s kind a no-brainer: their scuzzy, fuzzy, garage punk style follows in the style of the Ramones and the Clash and has plenty of admirers. We hear their debut album will be out in March, which seems more than simply fortuitous serendipity, given their SXSW 2017 shout.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xJ0e5OwkSJg[/youtube]

The Heart Collectors – folk / Murwillumbah
The kind of band the Cambridge Folk Festival would give their right arm to book? The Heart Collectors, originally from the rural village of Tyalgum in New South Wales. I’m going to venture that this is like bluegrass country in America or the remote regions of Western Ireland, where a healthy reliance on harmonies conveying emotional themes, guitars and simple percussion is de rigueur. And sometimes simple is best.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jay7f53vmoE[/youtube]

Middle Kids – alt-rock / Sydney
Fronted by Hannah Joy, alt-rock group Middle Kids fill the place that was never really adequately filled after Melissa Etheridge: guitar pop with a slight country twang still palatable to the masses, yet able to show female vulnerability through the lyrics. Already introduced 2 weeks ago to the American public by getting the chance to perform on Conan O’Brien’s late night show – on Valentine’s Day no less – and with a brand new, eponymous EP to show off, Austin is for Middle Kids’ taking.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zj8kWGx9xVU[/youtube]

Oscar Key Sung – r&b / electronic / Melbourne
Some people are surprised to see the marriage of r&b and electronic music, but ultimately both are rooted in the beat being the driving force of a song. Oscar Key Sung embraces both r&b and hip-hop in the electronic music he creates, intended for clubs and with a focus on fluidity and movement. The Australian’s approach is likely more brainier than the average dance producer (there’s a longer exposition here on his methodology and what makes him tick) but one does wonder if Oscar Key Sung could get SOHN out of his hoodie and on the dance floor. I’d say yes.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U8ToRL6sE98[/youtube]

Throttle – DJ / Melbourne
Already a big deal in the dance world, Australian DJ Throttle is a self-described ‘dirty disco music’ maker. He’s remixed AlunaGeorge https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4LvWzwxMpuw and taken on Michael Buble’s vocals https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZQDVj3o_dnQ (I’m assuming without his permission). He’s a badass. Don’t fight it.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NjW4c1zsAxg [/youtube]

Woodes – pop / electronic / Melbourne
Elle Graham aka Woodes is a triple threat: she’s a young singer, songwriter and producer. The young Australian talent previously collaborated with fellow Aussies Atticus Beats, Golden Vessel and Ellkle. from her early solo singles ‘The Thaw’ and ‘Knives and Daggers’, she’s ready for her close-up. With an expansive vocal laying on top of a dancey, yet minimalist electronic beat reminiscent of the xx, her sound is reminiscent of a more pop Lykke Li. She wowed me at CMW 2016 last May in Toronto, and I’m sure she’ll slay in Austin.

To read more of our coverage on Woodes here on TGTF, go here.

 
 
 

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