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SXSW 2018: Wednesday afternoon with fantastic female artists at the AloftLive and Single Lock showcases – 14th March 2018

 
By on Tuesday, 10th April 2018 at 2:00 pm
 

After starting my Wednesday at SXSW 2018 with a keynote speech by Lyor Cohen at the Austin Convention Center, I decided it was time for both some fresh air and some music. With that in mind, I headed to the Aloft Austin Downtown hotel, which played host to a full showcase of female artists, sponsored by Aloft Hotels and Universal Music Group. The lineup included several artists on my “must see” list, and the breezy but intimate patio lounge proved an ideal venue for both listening and taking photos.

Liza Anne internal

Nashville alt-rock singer/songwriter Liza Anne came to Austin hot on the heels of her latest LP release ‘Fine But Dying’, which came out on the 9th of March via Arts & Crafts. As you might glean from the title, the songs on ‘Fine But Dying’ aren’t exactly upbeat, their lyrics dealing with such heavy topics as love, patriarchy, and mental illness. But in live performance Liza Anne didn’t shy away from even their most angst-ridden moments, addressing them with dark humour and unflinching candor. She gave a fiercely memorable performance of several of the new tracks on the Aloft stage, including ‘Closest to Me’ and ‘Small Talks’.

Natalie Prass internal

Richmond, VA native and Spacebomb Music associate Natalie Prass came on next to play songs from her upcoming sophomore album ‘The Future and the Past’, due out on the first of June via ATO. I’d seen her live previously, both at SXSW 2015 and in Tucson later that same year. In the three-year interim, Prass has written not one but two album’s worth of songs, one of which she scrapped in favour of what would become ‘The Future and the Past’. Prass gave a charmingly relaxed set here, with the new songs sounding remarkably jazzy and fresh in the cool breeze on the Aloft stage. We’ve already featured the new album’s first single ‘Short Court Style’; you can have a listen to the recently released and singularly appropriate track ‘Sisters’ just below.

Tank and the Bangas internal

New Orleans soul/spoken word group Tank and the Bangas are led by singer and poet Tarriona Ball, whose deliberately unassuming stage presence masks a sharp lyrical precision and an almost hypnotic vocal style. Backed by fellow vocalist Anjelika Joseph and a full band of instrumentalists, Ball had her audience enraptured from the first moments of the set to the very last. I’m not sure the visceral power of this kind of music can ever really be captured on recording, but if you have the chance to see Tank and the Bangas live, don’t miss it. My favourite track in their set was ‘Rollercoasters’, which you can hear in this live video from American public radio station WXPN’s World Cafe.

The remainder of the Aloft Live lineup included British singers Jade Bird and Bishop Briggs, both of whom I was (fine but) dying to see, but I took a rain check for the moment, knowing I’d have chances to catch them later in the week. At the moment, I had a long walk ahead of me, across to the east side of downtown, for the Single Lock Records showcase and Nashville folk rock songwriter Erin Rae. While the stage at Weather Up, which played host to Single Lock that day, was decidedly less glamourous than the one at Aloft, the songwriting on display was nonetheless strong. Rae appeared with a sparse band of two members, whom she admitted to having “borrowed” for the afternoon from fellow Nashville singer Tristen, to play songs from her upcoming album ‘Putting on Airs’. Rae’s wistful singing voice on the title track from that record, and especially on recent single ‘Can’t Cut Loose’, made a poignant and lasting impression as the afternoon sun began to fade into evening.

Erin Rae internal

 

TGTF Guide to SXSW 2018: best bets among American artists showcasing at this year’s SXSW

 
By on Wednesday, 28th February 2018 at 12:00 pm
 

Header photo: Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats by Brantley Gutierrez

As you might expect with an American music festival, SXSW is typically heavy on American showcasing artists, and SXSW 2018 won’t be any different. This year’s music festival lineup features a load of big names that you’ve probably heard before, along with a few new ones that, if they’re not familiar already, likely will become so very soon.

Our ongoing preview coverage of SXSW 2018 has already highlighted a few up-and-coming artists on the showcase schedule, including grunge rock band Bully and alt-country singer Courtney Marie Andrews. Perhaps the most intriguing of these is elusive Los Angeles alt-rock trio Lo Moon, who made mild waves with their SXSW appearance last year. I expect them to make a bigger splash this time around, on the strength of their just released self-titled LP, which includes new track ‘Wonderful Life’.

Among the major players heading to SXSW 2018 are a handful of TGTF alums who have broken through to mainstream success. We first covered songwriter Nathaniel Rateliff way back in 2011, but the course of his career dramatically changed in 2015, when he convened a new band called the Night Sweats and released their hit self-titled album. Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats have recently announced a brand new LP called ‘Tearing at the Seams’, which is due for release just before SXSW on the 9th of March and features lead track ‘You Worry Me’.

North Carolina alt-pop duo Sylvan Esso previewed songs from their 2017 album ‘What Now’ at a surprise SXSW 2016 show; their appearance this year could once again herald new music on the horizon. Austin native David Ramirez wasn’t in top form when I saw him at SXSW 2017, but he may be in better shape this year, playing songs from his beautiful recent album ‘We’re Not Going Anywhere’, which he has toured extensively since its release. SXSW 2015 showcasing artist Natalie Prass has just announced a brand new album ‘The Future and The Past’ due out on the 1st of June; she will presumably highlight its soul-tinged single ‘Short Court Style’ on her showcases in Austin next month.

Among other past TGTF mentions on the SXSW 2018 list are Nashville singer/songwriter Liza Anne, who will release her new album ‘Fine But Dying’ on the 9th of March and Milwaukee quartet Field Report, whose new album ‘Summertime Songs’ is previewed in the stream of ‘Never Look Back’ just below. Fellow Nashville singer Tristen and Philadelphia duo Vita and the Woolf, both acts we’ve coincidentally covered in conjunction with Irish alt-rockers Bell X1, also made the showcase list for this year’s festival in Austin, along with New York’s Sunflower Bean, who showcased at SXSW 2016, and L.A. rock band Warbly Jets, who made an appearance at SXSW last year.

American artists new to TGTF include Albert Hammond, Jr. of The Strokes fame, and Buck Meek of alt-rock band Big Thief, neither of whom we’ve seen in a solo capacity before. Satellite radio listeners here in the U.S. might already be familiar with Mt. Joy and NoMBe, who have both been featured on SiriusXM Alt-Nation, while public radio devotees will no doubt have heard Portland singer/songwriter Haley Heynderickx and New Orleans funk/soul group Tank and the Bangas on NPR.

For dedicated indie fans, a pair of duo acts, Denver’s Tennis and Baltimore’s Wye Oak have made the SXSW shout list, along with the always eccentric Okkervil River. In the heavily represented Americana category, sure winners include a trio of Nashville acts: singer/songwriter Nikki Lane, country rock trio Liz Cooper and the Stampede and veteran country/bluegrass collective Old Crow Medicine Show.

Please note: all information we bring you about SXSW 2018 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 or official Web site for details of any non-official SXSW appearances.

 

Natalie Prass / April 2018 UK Tour

 
By on Thursday, 15th February 2018 at 9:00 am
 

American singer/songwriter Natalie Prass has announced a list of headline dates in the UK for this spring, presumably to support a potential new album release. Stereogum reported back in April 2017 that Prass’ second LP was near completion, and she spent most of last summer and autumn on tour, playing dates with Whitney, The Head and The Heart and The New Pornographers. While there has been no official word from her yet on a new LP, Prass is also a recent addition to the lineup of showcasing artists for SXSW 2018 that, once again, might lead one to believe that new music is imminent. (ICYMI, we at TGTF first covered Natalie Prass at SXSW 2015; you can read about it back here.)

Ahead of her trip to Austin, Prass will be touring in America as support for Fleet Foxes. A full list of Prass’ upcoming shows can be found on her official Facebook. Tickets for the following shows in England and Scotland are available now. Our full past coverage of Natalie Prass can be found through this link.

Monday 23rd April 2018 – London Bush Hall
Thursday 26th April 2018 – Brighton Bau Wow
Friday 27th April 2018 – Manchester Band on the Wall
Saturday 28th April 2018 – Birmingham Hare and Hounds
Sunday 29th April 2018 – Glasgow Mono

 

(Holiday/Charity!) Video of the Moment #2253: Natalie Prass

 
By on Thursday, 22nd December 2016 at 10:00 am
 

Alt-country singer/songwriter Natalie Prass has gone suddenly synthpop in her new Christmas single ‘Everybody’s Having Fun (It’s Christmas Time)’, and the irony isn’t entirely unintentional. In a statement accompanying the upbeat new track and its trippy promo video, Prass acknowledges that “[t]his holiday season is, for many of us, a confusing and frustrating one,” given the political and social upheaval happening not only in America but around the world.

But she continues in a more optimistic vein: “I’m hoping this video makes you want to dance and feel free to be who you are – no matter how alone you feel or how different you are than your family or community. There’s a place in this country for everyone. Let’s keep physically moving forward together with our stylish glasses on or off. Happiest Holidays and peace to you and yours.”

If you’re keen on Prass’ upbeat Christmas vibe, you can buy the new track on her Bandcamp page. All proceeds from the single will be donated to SPARC (School of the Performing Arts in the Richmond Community) in Prass’ hometown of Richmond, Virginia. You can read more about Natalie Prass on TGTF right back here.

[youtube]https://youtu.be/9aHmSV05WOA[/youtube]

 

Video of the Moment #1829: Natalie Prass

 
By on Friday, 19th June 2015 at 6:00 pm
 

American singer/songwriter Natalie Prass has revealed a new promo video for ‘Bird of Prey’, her first single for Spacebomb and appearing on Prass’ self-titled debut album. She recently performed the track live on Later with Jools Holland.

The single will be backed by her cover of Janet Jackson’s ‘Any Time, Any Place’. The press release has an asterisk on the bottom for the b-side with the warning “When in the company of a significant other or beautiful stranger, Spacebomb respectfully suggests listening to this track inside a bedroom or hotel room.” Just saying. Watch the rainbow-coloured video below.

Catch Natalie Prass live on her previously announced UK tour dates for June and September.

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

 

Natalie Prass / June and September 2015 UK Tour

 
By on Wednesday, 29th April 2015 at 9:00 am
 

Header photo by Shawn Brackbill

American alt-country ingenue Natalie Prass will play two sets of headline dates in the UK later this year after touring earlier in the year with alt-rocker Ryan Adams.  You can read my previous glowing review of Prass’ live set at SXSW 2015 right here, and an equally enthusiastic recap of her show with Adams at the Rialto Theatre in Tucson, Arizona.

The following June shows are part of a short European tour, while the September dates will precede Prass’ scheduled appearance at the End of the Road Festival. A full listing of Prass’ live dates can be found on her official Web site. Tickets for the dates listed below are available now.

Monday 22nd June 2015 – Glasgow Mono
Wednesday 24th June 2015 – London Islington Assembly Hall
Thursday 25th June 2015 – Manchester Deaf Institute
Friday 27th June 2015 – Bristol Thekla
Tuesday 1st September 2015 – Leeds Brudenell Social Club
Wednesday 2nd September 2015 – Edinburgh Electric Circus
Thursday 3rd September 2015 – Brighton Haunt

 
 
 

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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 was edited by Mary Chang, based in Washington, DC.

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