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SXSW 2019: Wafia and Mansionair at Next Level Apparel, Seazoo, The Snuts and Sports Team at Good Karma Club, Talos and whenyoung at Music From Ireland, and PAWS – 14th March 2019 (Thursday, part 2)

 
By on Wednesday, 27th March 2019 at 1:00 pm
 

After APRE’s performance, I really wanted to see The Joy Formidable at the Dr. Martens showcase at Container Bar. However, many, many other people had the same idea, and you could tell the staff were stressed. My merely asking if there were different priority badge lines led one bouncer to think I was trying to cut the line. Seriously, come on. I’ve been to SX seven times before, and I’m not going to start being a jerk and cutting in front of people now. From what I understand from friends who had actually made it in, it was just as well, as the band were only allowed to play four songs, frustrating them and their fans.

Directly across the street at Clive Bar was the Next Level Apparel showcase, Australian electronic artist Wafia was performing to a jammed-in crowd on its patio. She occupies a similar place in the industry to Grace Carter, providing a young female viewpoint through honest lyrics. However, Wafia is also a political lightning rod, being a Muslim and of Iraqi and Syrian ancestry and daring to make politically-charged music. Read some of her thoughts here.


I say all the more power to her to do exactly what others would call her out on and crucify her for. I remember reading a quote once where someone said that it’s when we’re made uncomfortable that we learn the most. A outspoken twenty-something woman with ties to the Middle East who has written ‘Bodies’, a song about the Syrian refugee crisis? The topic isn’t new or unusual, but the woman who is singing it is speaking her truth. Young people like her, not the establishment, will be the key to changing minds and lives. And you know what? The Austin crowd absolutely loved her.

Following Wafia was another Aussie act, one that was celebrating the recent release of their debut album. Mansionair, who have been a SXSW mainstay over the last few years, came to Austin with the long-awaited ‘Shadowboxer’ available now from Glassnote Records under their belt. I have always respected the Sydney band’s confidence whenever I’ve seen them play, and that didn’t stop with their closing set at the Next Level Apparel showcase. If anything, they had added swagger this time now that their biggest group of released songs to date have been released to the wild.


The menacing electronic machinations of ‘Alibi’, paired with Jack Froggatt’s swirling vocals, was a sultry earworm of the highest calibre. Moving things uptempo, ‘We Could Leave’ led to loads of heads bopping in appreciation, while the rhythmically interesting ‘Technicolour’ provided another opportunity to dance. SXSW could have just been another tickbox for the group in the middle of a long North American tour, but they turned in a memorable performance.


During SXSW, you’ll find bands playing in the oddest, most unusual places, some considered Second Play stages. Seazoo’s second performance in Austin turned out to be in the restaurant in my hotel! While it seemed that the primary listeners were all Welsh friends of theirs, their ‘nook’ to play was only a little strip of real estate near the bar and they played sans two band members and in stripped back fashion, the band was in fine spirits.

Another one of my SXSW 2019 Bands to Watch, Scottish band The Snuts, were due to play Abbie McCarthy’s Good Karma Club showcase at Swan Dive. Singer Jack Cochrane very seemed to be extremely nervous, as every other word out of his mouth, except when he was singing, was the f word. There shouldn’t have been so much anxiety: word must have spread about the band, as I was surrounded by very excited new American fans of theirs. Even better for the band, there was a loud, drunk group of non-industry-affiliated Scots down the front who appeared to know all of their songs, shouting for ‘Seasons’ as their favourite of all. That’s a long way to travel for your favourite band, especially if they’re only playing for 30 minutes, isn’t it?


With last year’s Thursday night drenching still a vivid memory, it became a bit of an unfortunate game of mine to avoid them and their spilled drinks. They ended with ‘Sing For Your Supper’, which was explained as their rallying cry of the importance of friends on this journey called life. I stand by my Bands to Watch feature on the Snuts but I felt disappointed in their sound live against some of the other bands I’d already seen in Austin.


The next band on the Good Karma line-up was another band I previewed, the supremely unGoogleable Sports Team. While Swan Dive’s indoor stage isn’t the smallest stage you’ll encounter during SXSW, trying to fit six people and all their equipment on it is no mean feat. The comparison I made between singer Alex Rice and a spastic-dancing David Byrne seems even more apt in person. Like a ball of energy never to lose steam, Rice proved his place within the band isn’t so much staying in one place to deliver the lyrics but while posturing and jumping all over the place.


When I felt like I had enough of Sports Team to have gotten a good idea of their music, I headed to the Velveeta Room and the Music From Ireland showcase. This time last year, there was no issue getting in this venue for Talos. What a difference a year – and the release of a deluxe version of ‘Wild Alee’ and a second album, ‘Far Out Dust’ – makes. Word clearly has gotten around about Eoin French’s electronic-filled, Bon Iver-esque post-rock soundscapes and him and his touring band’s emotional live show. From my vantage point, it looked like most who showed up for him were amorous couples. Groan. Right in front of French was a pair making out and being borderline inappropriate. I think next time I listen to Talos’ music, it’ll be in comfort through a pair of ear buds!

I may have been denied in my attempt to see Limerick, Ireland’s whenyoung at The Great Escape 2018. However, I refused to leave anything to chance at this SXSW, anchoring myself down the front for their Music From Ireland evening showcase slot. Following Talos, their straightforward pop/rock style brought the energy back way up in the venue, even as we edged closer to midnight. whenyoung’s sound is anchored in a powerful and unrelenting style with a pop brightness and catchiness. You can’t help but want to pogo to this kind of music.


This is best exemplified by the beat-heavy, fast tempoed ‘The Others’, which was inspired by the Grenfell Tower fire and highlights the divide between the haves and the have nots. Wearing outfits prominently displaying the EU circle of stars was another sign of their solidarity with being part of a bigger whole, even though they’ve chosen to live in London. Their most recent single, ‘Never Let Go’, is their contribution to the mental health discussion, frontwoman Aoife Power’s soaring vocals providing a measure of hope and understanding.

The Ernest Jenning Record Company showcase at the Mohawk was my next port of call. Running behind schedule, I arrived at the end of a set by New York City punks Flower. Next up was Glasgow’s long-soldiering PAWS, who have become a bit of a name on this side of the Atlantic thanks to past tours with fellow jokey rockers We Are Scientists. I figured PAWS’ appearances at SXSW would be to road test material from upcoming album ‘Your Church on My Bonfire’ and of course, to crack a few jokes, with frontman Phillip Taylor as ringmaster. New songs sat well with old favourites; the only thing perturbing was the presence of a fourth live band member, which confused some of us, as well as those keeping tabs of activities at SXSW at home.


A surreal moment in the set occurred when drummer Josh Swinney appeared to be doing a magic trick with his snare drum. One moment you’d see his drumstick, the next, you wouldn’t. It could have been because it was well past my bedtime but I was not comprehending what had happened: Swinney was demonstrating that the top of the drum had been completely broken through. Mohawk stage crew were able to rectify this quickly, locating a replacement and receiving Taylor’s appreciation for “Mystery Snare Drum Man”. Upon leaving the Mohawk, I noticed the stuffed bear in the bar had been dressed in denim. Laughing at this, I decided it was definitely time for bed.

 

(SXSW 2019 flavoured!) Video of the Moment #2928: PAWS

 
By on Tuesday, 26th February 2019 at 6:00 pm
 

Today’s Video of the Moment that stars a Scottish band who have appeared at SXSW in the past and will be making a triumphant return visit before a major release. The hard-working yet fun-loving PAWS‘ fourth studio album ‘Your Church on My Bonfire’ will be released in late April. As a taster of their highly-anticipated long player, they have unveiled the promo video for newest single ‘Not Enough’. Does it answer the age-old question, “when is love enough”? You’ll have to watch and listen below and draw your own conclusions. Hang tight for the release of ‘Your Church on My Bonfire’, debuting on the 26th of April on Ernest Jenning Records. More on PAWS here on TGTF can be found through here.

 

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

 
By on Thursday, 9th March 2017 at 11:00 am
 

In past years, we have gone through peaks and troughs with respect to the number of Scottish acts who come out to showcase at SXSW. I’m pleased to announce that as of the time of this posting, 13 acts are scheduled to appear at SXSW 2017, the largest number in recent memory. The summaries of acts below were written by Steven Loftin, 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.

Be Charlotte – pop / Dundee
What pop music sounds like when it comes from Dundee: that’s Be Charlotte. You find yourself drawn in by the obviously melodic, yet also cacophonous music, and you stay for the vocals that cut through and have an incredibly strong Scottish accent that for reason enthralls you. Or maybe that’s just me.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IoCMTVDW04k[/youtube]

Catholic Action – pop / Glasgow
Catchy indie pop that has an alluring rawness, as if you’re listening to a band in a bedroom rather than a reasonably established DIY band. Their track ‘Rita Ora’ – yep, an ode to Rita Ora – is catchy, swift and poppy. What more could you want?

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=86kSAB23nDY[/youtube]

C. Macleod – singer/songwriter / Stornoway
If I had to fathom a guess, someone with name C. Macleod isn’t looking to make a big splash. Instead, this Stornoway native is all about careful, thoughtful songcraft. A driving, Springsteen-esque feel pervades his debut single ‘Dream’, feeling less loner and more expansive than you’d expect from a native of the Isle of Lewis. FFO: Bruce Springsteen, The National, The War on Drugs (Mary Chang)

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t2c7UiN8-5E[/youtube]

Elle Exxe – pop / London via Edinburgh
Listed as ‘dirty pop’, that’s definitely the best way to describe Elle Exxe (pictured at top). There’s a distinct edge to her music that doesn’t fall in line with your ‘paint-by-numbers’ pop formula. An attitude that is where Charli XCX should’ve been heading toward, she’ll be a household name by 2018. We called it first. Check out Rebecca’s review of Elle’s debut album ‘Love Fuelled Hate’ from last autumn through here.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dd9si_HbBtI[/youtube]

Happy Meals – synthpop / Glasgow
Lewis Cook and Suzanne Rodden comprise Happy Meals, a disco-leaning synthpop band based in Glasgow. However, it’s important to note that this isn’t disco in the style of Donna Summer or other tunes spun at Studio 54. Their minimalist yet space age-y style of dance, accompanied by Rodden’s vocals sometimes in English, sometimes French, adds to the eclectism. I will bet you that you will hear no-one else like Happy Meals in Austin in March. (Mary Chang)

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T7tHtbaQN7s[/youtube]

PAWS – punk / Glasgow
Some more of that home bred punk rock. PAWS are another band who are going from strength to strength with a raw, melodic sound. SXSW should see them take Texas by storm, especially after the release of their third full length last year.

Pinact – punk / Glasgow
Back with even more punk for SXSW, Pinact are on the louder and harsher side of the spectrum. Pleasing but still with an edge that means your parents won’t like it, they’re another Scottish band who take the angst that is apparently rife there and execute it like all your favourites do.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aSfC_9HrhxQ[/youtube]

The Pooches – pop / Glasgow
Glasgow’s Pooches create some beautiful guitar pop that never fails to leave you satisfied. Releasing their self-titled debut late last year, the band aren’t afraid of sticking out of the crowd with their wry yet upbeat pop sound.

Sam Gellaitry – electronic / Stirling
Already signed to XL Records, a powerhouse of a label in the indie world, Sam Gellaitry knows his way around a beat or two. He takes that urban London feeling, which you may or may not be familiar with, and crafts it into easy listening electronic tracks.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o7W4t0ClwDg[/youtube]

Spinning Coin – psych rock / Glasgow
You guessed it, another Glaswegian band. They do it well up in Scotland, birthing bands that craft sounds that somehow give none of the fucks while simultaneously giving them all. Keeping it DIY, they released their debut 7″ last year and have no intentions of stopping there. Not to mention their apparently visceral live show, what’s not to love?

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

The Spook School – pop / Edinburgh
The kind of band to not take themselves too seriously while ensuring they keep a solid message in their tunes (see: ‘Burn Masculinity’). With a sound that’s a mixture between indie and DIY punk, there’s no bells and whistles, which completely suits their styling down to the ground. [Having appeared at SXSW last year, we sincerely hope this time they bring suncream. -Ed.]

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uGGj5_7dx0o[/youtube]

The Van T’s – surf rock / Glasgow
Cleverly made up of two twins, Charlotte and Hannah Van Thompson, along with Joanne Forbes and Shaun Hood, The Van T’s are a part of Glasgow’s burgeoning and bustling rock scene. Surf pop/rock ‘n’ roll might not be game changing but it sure is fun. [Sadly, we’ve received word that The Van T’s will not be showcasing in Austin this year. – Ed.]

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wAe7wJK_SXQ[/youtube]

 

PAWS / June and July 2016 UK Tour

 
By on Wednesday, 22nd June 2016 at 9:00 am
 

Glasgow indie rock trio PAWS will head out on a full headline tour of the UK this week, accompanied by fellow Scottish indie pop band The Spook School. The tour is set to begin with four shows in Scotland and will include a London date on Saturday the 2nd of July. PAWS released their third album ‘No Grace’ last Friday the 17th of June via FatCat Records; you can watch the video for its title track just below the tour date listing.

Tickets for the following shows are available now. Click here to find TGTF’s previous coverage of PAWS, including editor Mary’s live review from back in 2014. Our recent coverage of The Spook School at SXSW 2016 is right back here.

Wednesday 22nd June 2016 – Dundee Conroy’s Bar
Thursday 23rd June 2016 – Aberdeen Lemon Tree
Friday 24th June 2016 – Edinburgh Summerhall
Saturday 25th June 2016 – Glasgow Stereo
Sunday 26th June 2016 – York Fullford Arms
Monday 27th June 2016 – Liverpool Studio 2
Tuesday 28th June 2016 – Leicester Musician
Wednesday 29th June 2016 – Manchester Soup Kitchen
Thursday 30th June 2016 – Leeds Headrow House
Friday 1st July 2016 – Bristol Start The Bus
Saturday 2nd July 2016 – London Moth Club
Sunday 3rd July 2016 – Brighton Hope & Ruin
Monday 4th July 2016 – Birmingham Hare & Hounds

[youtube]https://youtu.be/-fMr1DGkdD0[/youtube]

 

Live Review: We Are Scientists with PAWS at Black Cat, Washington DC – 17th April 2014

 
By on Tuesday, 22nd April 2014 at 2:00 pm
 

In the indie rock world where a band often fold after their first album if it didn’t do well commercially, We Are Scientists – Keith Murray (lead vocals / guitar) and Chris Cain (bass / backing vocals) are doing pretty well in terms of sheer longevity. By the time I saw them live for the first time in the summer of 2008, a couple months after their superb third album ‘Brain Thrust Mastery’ hit the streets, they’d already honed their deadly combination of rocking tunes and hilarious stage banter. They released their fifth album ‘TV en Français’ in March and while the new LP sees the duo veer from their original formula concocted in a university dorm room in 2007 -it was inevitable they’d mature in sound, yeah? – I’m happy to report that their live show hasn’t changed and in fact, is better than ever.

The fully capitalised PAWS from Glasgow opened for the New York City-based act. I ran into their band members by accident in a pizza shop open late at night in Austin during SXSW 2013 when I was in the company of another band. I tried to make small talk with them while waiting in the queue for the toilet at 2 in the morning, and I’m not very charming at 2 AM in the morning after I’ve been out carousing with friends, I’m just not. (Awkward.) Thankfully, my next encounter with the Glaswegians was nowhere near as awkward. Nope. In DC, they rocked our faces off with their brand of brilliantly melodic punk.

I am almost uncomfortable to give them the label of ‘punk’ or even ‘garage’, because that would seem to indicate they have complete disregard for melody, and their beards are evidence that they’re super anti-establishment. But the weirdly wonderful thing about PAWS is that they’ve got a knack for writing memorable tunes with massive sounding guitar riffs that just beg for headbanging, accompanied by a relentless rhythm section. ‘Sore Tummy’, from their 2012 debut ‘Cokefloat!’, is probably their best known track, but on Thursday night, I favoured newer track ‘Narcissist’, not even lasting 2 minutes. Whether he planned the hilarity or not, newest band member and bass player Ryan Drever pointed out the location of an unfortunate rip in his jeans before the band lit into this song. Whoops! Their second album on Fat Cat, ‘Youth Culture Forever’, isn’t out until the 2nd of June in the UK, but it’s out earlier in America, and as the band were cheekily selling copies of the LP before the official releases, I couldn’t say no.

Having five albums to choose from gave We Are Scientists a lot of latitude when it came to their set list in Washington. When I mentioned their very funny stage presence, this also included audience participation this night in the form of two different fans getting up on stage and introducing themselves to the audience, after which they were razzed by Murray and Cain. The second punter probably was drunk ,as he made the regrettable admission that he hadn’t listened to or bought their last 2 albums. Naturally, the audience started laughing and booing and Murray quipped, “sorry dude, we can’t help you now”. The punter did get the audience’s favour back when he yelled for how great their second album and breakthrough release ‘With Love and Squalor’ was, and the crowd responded with thundering applause. I think about this moment as being a prime example of what has made We Are Scientists such a fan favourite: they’re the guys who make you laugh, the ones you want to go out and have drinks with because they’re fun, self-deprecating and entirely unpretentious. You’d never see punters be invited onstage like that at most any other show, would you?

But you’re probably reading this review for information on the music, I’m sure. Whether it had to do with ‘TV en Français’ having been released too closely to this North American tour or like that aforementioned fan with his 15 seconds of fame, people just aren’t buying their most recent albums, the newer songs just couldn’t compete with the bigger hits of their back catalogue. I think no matter how long they continue on gigging – and I assume it will be a long, long time to come, so don’t worry – they will always play ‘Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt’ and ‘The Great Escape’ off ‘With Love and Squalor’, because they always cause mental crowd reactions, whether they’re playing a club or a festival. However, I’m pleased that others from their catalogue continue to be firm fan favourites, including the hooky ‘Rules Don’t Stop’, the oozy sleaziness of ‘Can’t Lose’ and the anthemic ‘After Hours’ (well, as anthemic as WAS dare to tread).

I had assumed that after ‘Barbara’ was released in 2010, I’d never hear ‘Lethal Enforcer’ from ‘Brain Thrust Mastery’ ever again. Never say never. As the opening funky bass notes began, I couldn’t believe my ears. What? Are they really playing ‘Lethal Enforcer’? Year made. I also wondered if they would come out for an encore, as ‘The Great Escape’ had already been ticked off by the (first) time they said goodbye. Much to the delight of the crowd, they returned for one more, ‘Impatience’. By that time, I’d made it over to the bar to give my feet a rest and it was then that I noticed all the people who were not down the front; they’d chosen purposely to stand further back so they could cut some shapes and boy, were smooth moves being made the encore.

The crux of ‘Impatience’, besides its unyielding guitar, is the insistent voice of the song, pointing out to someone else that there’s no point of being impatient and that problems are only as big as you make them. As bad as us music journalists often make the music industry seem as a place where indie bands make no money and barely a career (and this is true), it was in that club Thursday night that I realised sometimes when you’re watching a gig like this, all of that stuff temporarily melts away from your consciousness and what you’re left with is seeing people who are actively appreciating live music. Ultimately, this is what we’re all in it for, isn’t it?

After the cut: We Are Scientists’ set list.
Continue reading Live Review: We Are Scientists with PAWS at Black Cat, Washington DC – 17th April 2014

 

PAWS / May and June 2014 UK Tour

 
By on Monday, 21st April 2014 at 9:00 am
 

Glasgow’s PAWS, who rocked my world and existence last week opening for We Are Scientists DC (review to follow soon), have announced a tour of the UK to commence in late May, to run through early June. They will also make appearances at Leeds Gold Sound Festival, Camden Crawl and Deer Shed Festival in North Yorkshire.

PAWS’ sophomore album ‘Youth Culture Forever’ drops the 2nd of June on Fat Cat Records.

Monday 26th May 2014 – Leeds Gold Sounds Festival @ Brudenell Social Club
Thursday 29th May 2014 – York Basement
Friday 30th May 2014 – Newcastle Head of Steam
Saturday 31st May 2014 – Nottingham Chameleon
Monday 2nd June 2014 – Cambridge Portland Arms
Tuesday 3rd June 2014 – Birmingham Sunflower Lounge
Thursday 4th June 2014 – London Waiting Room
Friday 5th June 2014 – Manchester Castle Hotel (free show)
Saturday 6th June 2014 – Glasgow Art School
Sunday 7th June 2014 – Edinburgh Wee Red Bar
Friday 20th June 2014 – London Camden Crawl @ Underworld (Drowned in Sound)
Saturday 21th June 2014 – London Camden Crawl @ Lock Tavern (Sexbeat)
Friday 27th July 2014 – Deer Shed Festival

 
 
 

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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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