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

 
By on Thursday, 8th March 2018 at 11:00 am
 

In terms of the SXSW shouts this year, the field of UK representatives in electronic music is stronger than ever. For starters, despite only sending a handful of acts to Austin this year, Wales admirably has two of the most intriguing electronic acts set to appear from all from the UK. House producer and DJ Doc Daneeka, who now calls Paris home, is named after a character in Joseph Heller’s Catch-22. That’s certainly worth a drink and a chat in Austin, methinks. His 1-hour mixtape ‘WALK.MAN’ has delighted dance fans with its varied textures and interesting drops. Singer and electronic artist Rachel K Collier is a rising star from the coastal town of Swansea. Through Grimes’ sharing of her own terrible experiences, we know how difficult it can be for women in the electronic genre. Collier is, then, an important inspiration to young girls everywhere who are keen on getting involved in electronic, as she proves it’s not only entirely possible for a woman to break through in this genre but you can also have fun doing it and in the way you want to.

Moving our way up to Scotland, we’ve got a trio of all-caps acts to introduce you to. I featured Dumfries-bred ONR. (pronounced “honour”; pictured at top) in his own Bands to Watch preview last week. He’s been a difficult man to unmask, literally. To be fair, this might have been his intention all along, to let his music and sounds speak for themselves so we wouldn’t get sucked into his appearance or his backstory. Needless to say, at least for myself anyway, the mystery swirling around Mister ONR. has lead to my anxious anticipation of seeing him perform at SXSW. Professional and personal partners LAPS (short for Ladies as Pimps) and all-male band LYLO are both from Glasgow, yet they couldn’t be any more different. LAPS’ 2016 EP release ‘WHO ME?’ mixes their dancehall and dub influences that sound incredibly unique coming out of Scotland’s cultural capital. LYLO, on the other hand, are a synthpop group who also revel in reverb and the occasional saxophone solo.

Moving our way around and down to the big smoke, where you’d expect a lot of electronic acts to hail from, or at least be making their first career moves from. Megan Markwick and Lily Somerville, electronic duo IDER, received a shout from SXSW last year but could not come then. So it’s really great that they’ll be making their way to Austin next week. We featured the videos for their past singles ‘Learn to Let Go’ and ‘Body Love’ on TGTF, two songs I’ll be looking forward to hear them performing. With a less shouty band name, soulful cousin duo Otzeki originally from East Anglia will also be making the journey to Texas. Earlier this week, we posted this feature on the electronic-inclined pair, who will be previewing their upcoming debut album ‘Binary Childhood’ to be released on their own label Discophorus in April. Along with three other acts, I also previewed their appearances in Austin in a brief write-up in the the Music Bloggers Guide to SXSW 2018, which you can read through here.

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 schedule, then stop by the artist’s Facebook or official Web site for details of any non-official SXSW appearances.

 

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

 
By on Wednesday, 7th March 2018 at 11:00 am
 

This year, only Carrie and I have been available to write content for the TGTF Guide to SXSW 2018. Being short-handed, we decided to consider trends in who was being invited from the UK and let what we found direct our previews on the artists coming over from the UK to Austin.

One thing we found unusual about this year’s shouts is that quite a few bands and artists we’ve previewed and indeed, some who actually saw in Austin at a recent SXSW, have been invited back. DIY punks LIFE (Hull), Shame (London) and IDLES (Bristol) will be laying waste at their appearances at the British Music Embassy at Latitude 30 on Monday night, Thursday afternoon, and Thursday afternoon and night, respectively. Could it be that SXSW and the BME are banking on a repeat on their breathless, exciting, uncontainable performances last year? Could be.

Also coming round for a victory lap in Texas will be Glasgow glam band Catholic Action, who have been riding high on the critical acclaim of their autumn 2017 debut album ‘In Memory Of’. [NB: I wrote about them and 3 other acts in the Music Bloggers Guide to SXSW 2018, which you can read here.] Female-fronted trio Doe, who also wowed crowds last year at the DIY showcase on the first night of festivities at the BME, will be making a return appearance, this time gracing the stage of Latitude 30 Wednesday afternoon. Longtime indie stalwarts The Wedding Present, helmed by David Gedge, will also be coming back to Austin, having in previous editions of SXSW. Whether they’ll make another surprise appearance in a bike shop, we’ll have to see.

This is not to say that the UK isn’t sending a whole raft of new and great rock talent to entertain us next week. On the DIY punk front, Glasgow’s Breakfast Muff and Tijuana Bibles, along with London’s Goat Girl, will give you something to shout about and raise your fists to. If you prefer your rock more pop-orientated, SXSW also has you covered. Flyte, who we’ve covered for a few years here on TGTF, will be making their first appearance in Austin with their summer 2017 Island Records debut ‘The Loved Ones’ under their belt. Brighton furnishes SXSW with two exciting rock acts, The RPMs (pictured at top), who will open the Friday afternoon festivities at the BME, and the female-fronted Yonaka. You can read my SXSW 2018 preview of The RPMs through here.

Sometimes your name can make you infamous and as someone once said, any publicity is good publicity, right? London hard rockers Steak were named by local Austin culture blog do512 as having one of the best names of artists showcasing at this year’s event. Admittedly, we may have unfairly maligned some of the less Googleable band names in the past: Cabbage, College, Merchandise and Shopping, anyone? But if you’re going to bring a rock band to Texas of all places, you can’t go wrong with naming yourself after a great cut of beef. Another London band named in do512’s piece were Our Girl, the London trio fronted by Soph Nathan who were discovered, shall we say, after supporting SXSW 2015 alums Honeyblood.

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.

 

TGTF Guide to SXSW 2018: this year’s recommended keynotes and speakers

 
By on Monday, 5th March 2018 at 11:00 am
 

Each year, SXSW brings in an awe-inspiring list of industry speakers to take part in its Conference sessions. 2018 is no exception. In a month and a half, there will be an impressive crop of industry leaders, luminaries and artists you can hear speak in Austin as part of the Music, Interactive, Film and Convergence portions of the conference. Below is just a small selection of what’s on offer.

Daniel Glass (Thursday, 15 March, 5:00 PM, Music Industry; pictured at top) – Daniel Glass might not be a name you recognise, but the international artists whose careers he helped launched here in the States definitely will be. Through his record label Glassnote Records, Two Door Cinema Club, Phoenix, Mumford and Sons and many more acts were able to break America. Started as an independent company after Glass left the corporate world, his insights on how to survive, stay passionate and rise above as a little fish in a big pond will no doubt be enlightening. Joining Glass will be Aryeh Bourkoff of dealmakers Liontree.

Jose Andres and Andrew Zimmern (Monday, 12 March, 3:30 to 4:30 PM, Food) – Okay, so this isn’t conference sessions isn’t music related all. But if you follow me on Instagram, you know how much of a foodie I am, and Jose Andres is a major celebrity in the Washington, DC area. More recently, he has been prominently involved in helping to feed the victims of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and the California wildfires and mobilising fellow chefs in the efforts. Andrew Zimmern is known the world over as the host of the tv programme Bizarre Foods, where he’s gone all over and eaten some pretty, er, unusual grub, shall we say. It’s easy to forget that outside his wacky Bizarre Foods persona, he’s a James Beard award winner, chef, educator and all around encyclopedia about food.

Keith Urban (Friday, 16 March, 12:30 PM, Music Culture & Stories) – As big of an industry American country music is here, I have to admit it’s not a genre I rate and we’ve pretty much overlooked it in our coverage on TGTF. If you are curious how “the other half lives”, you can do so by listening to Keith Urban’s talk about his career that has led to a bewildering 22 #1 hits and multiple Grammys, American Country Music Association Awards and Academy of Country Music Awards.

Kim Deal and Steve Albini (Wednesday, 14 March, 5 PM, Music Culture & Stories) – Kim Deal was as the original bassist for The Pixies and singer and guitarist of The Breeders with her sister Kelly. Kim Deal will sure to say plenty to say about breaking the mould of rock and into grunge and alternative rock. Steve Albini appeared as the keynote speaker at Output Belfast 2016. In Austin, Albini will be providing his perspective on alt-rock from the producer’s side of things.

Lyor Cohen (Wednesday, 14 March, 11 AM, Music Industry) – Lyor Cohen is the Global Head of Music at YouTube and Google, overseeing domestic and international music partnerships and artist and label relations for his companies. He is also a founder of 300, a record label with an eclectic roster of up-and-coming artists. Prior to his current positions, Cohen was the Chairman and CEO of Recorded Music for Warner Music Group, having a big part in launching the careers of The Killers, Ed Sheeran, The Black Keys and many more successful artists of today.

Melinda Gates (Sunday, 11 March, 2:00 PM, Interactive) – Bill’s better half will be moderating a panel talk entitled, “The Company We Keep”, which is expected to include innovators of technology, new business models and new social movements. They will discuss how these new developments have led to changes in how companies run their workplaces and have fostered inclusive environments and creativity.

Sadiq Khan (Monday, 12 March, 2:00 PM, Convergence) – Sadiq Khan may be the first Muslim to serve as the mayor of a major Western capital, but he’s become more famous as the strong, stoic leader of London in the face of some of Britain’s most challenging times in recent memory. As a Keynote Speaker, he will no doubt be speaking about London Town’s special position as a hotbed for technological innovation, a launching pad for startups and the home of some of the world’s biggest companies.

Wendy Williams (Saturday, 17 March, 12:30 PM, Music Culture & Stories) – Now known for her popular daytime talk show, Wendy Williams is also an entrepreneur, media mogul, actor, comedian and best-selling author. She also has over 2 decades’ experience in radio. Williams will discuss her rise to success and the importance of female empowerment in the entertainment industry.

As always, the schedule of events at SXSW 2018 is subject to change. For the most up-to-date information about the entire festival, including the music conference and the lineup of showcasing artists, you can consult the official schedule here. TGTF’s ongoing preview coverage of SXSW 2018 is collected here.

 

TGTF Guide to SXSW 2018: best bets of UK hip-hop and jazz artists showcasing at this year’s SXSW

 
By on Friday, 2nd March 2018 at 11:00 am
 

As many of you TGTF readers probably know, hip-hop is not our strong suit, and neither is jazz. Instead of shooting pretty much in the dark, I decided to ask a friend of TGTF better versed in these genres to weigh in on the acts who have been given shouts to SXSW 2018. Read below for recommendations from Irish musician Tadhg Byrne of Meltybrains?, Sim Simma and ChoiceCuts fame. Take it away, Tadhg…

AJ Tracey – An absolute don. Worked with him before and his showmanship is top notch. His flow, his delivery and his attitude onstage is brilliant. He’s already on his way to superstardom! [AJ Tracey was given a shout to SXSW last year. You can read Rebecca’s thoughts on him in the London hip-hop and r&b artist preview from the TGTF Guide to SXSW 2017 through here. –Ed]

Big Zuu – Comes from the same MTP crew as AJ, he’s very much cut from the same cloth. Great style, delivery, sense of humour, perspective, all the attributes of a top rapper. He’s less well-known, but could be next to blow up big.

Ezra Collective (pictured at top) – I’ve only heard great things about them, one of the hottest young groups to come out of London. They melt jazz + Afrobeats to create something really fresh and exciting!

IAMDDB – She is amazing, I’ve seen her perform twice already. She’s going to be a big star, one of the best voices in UK soul, jazz and hip-hop. I’d even call her Erykah Badu’s soul child.

Moses Boyd – One of the best drummers ever, such an important musician for the rise of the new jazz scene in England. He blends so many influences into his sound. He is the sound of London. [Moses Boyd appeared in Austin last year. You can read Steven’s thoughts on him in the London jazz, world music and singer/songwriter artists preview from the TGTF Guide to SXSW 2017 through here. –Ed.]

Nadia Rose – Brilliant, cheeky and witty MC. I booked her for The Sugar Club in Dublin, and she gave one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. Reminds me of a younger UK Missy Elliot. Stormzy‘s cousin.

Not3s – Young, new and exciting singer making big strides in the London rap scene. His flow is very similar to J Hus. He’s only starting out, so I expect to see more [of] his own style [to] appear as he grows. [Not3s has been announced as part of the Saturday night Radio 1 / DIT showcase at Latitude 30, the home of the British Music Embassy during SXSW 2018. He is scheduled to perform at 12 midnight on the evening of 17 March. – Ed.]

Nubya Garcia – A brilliant saxophonist who has played with some of London’s best jazz groups as a special guest, as well as releasing her own music, which is incredible. Another true great in UK jazz.

Stefflon Don – One of the sickest rappers you will ever hear. ‘16 Shots’ is my favourite dancehall/rap tune of 2017. She’s got such a powerful presence on stage and her feminine attitude is incredible.

Zara McFarlane – Beautiful singer, with one of the best voices to come out of the UK. She’s a brilliant collaborator!

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 schedule, then stop by the artist’s Facebook or official Web site for details of any non-official SXSW appearances.

 

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.

 

TGTF Guide to SXSW 2018: this year’s conference programming in the Music Culture & Stories track

 
By on Friday, 23rd February 2018 at 11:00 am
 

Music is such an important part of the fabric of our lives, and the effects of the stories that music makers tell through their art often go far beyond their original inspiration and intent. In the Music Culture & Stories track of the 2018 SXSW Conference, there’s plenty for the music fan to sink her/her teeth into on the influence of song and in the many directions music can take us our minds and hearts.

Documenting Music and Musicians
Though we may not be actively thinking about it on a regular basis, those who document music, musicians and the legacy of their art and how they have done this documentation have affected the way we consume and ultimately remember the music that has moved us. In an early afternoon session on Tuesday 13 March entitled ‘LONDON ROCK: The Unseen Archive’, Alec Byrne will discuss his decade-long career as a London rock photographer. Attendees will enjoy a slideshow of his rare images of the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Who, Led Zeppelin, and many other artists. These images have been stuck in an archive for almost 40 years, only resurfacing recently as part of Byrne’s book. Photographers have been some of the few in the industry who have crossed and allowed into the emotional inner sanctums of musicians, so Byrne will have some unique stories to share.

On the afternoon of Wednesday 14 March, panel session ‘Preservation & Appreciation of Album Art Today’ will discuss the effect of the size limitation of album covers in digital streaming platforms. With such a small graphic size available, how we can continue the artistic appreciation of the art form that was once so important enjoyed during the original heyday of vinyl in the ‘50s and ‘60s? Albums like The Beatles’ ‘Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’, The Rolling Stones’ ‘Sticky Fingers’ and the banana of ‘The Velvet Underground & Nico’ are remembered almost as much for their cover art as they are for the music they contain.

Music, Our Minds and Our Emotions
How music makes us feel is an important key to what we like and remember and what resonates with us emotionally. In ‘Ballads: A History of Emotions in Popular Culture’ on the afternoon of Saturday 17 March, University of British Columbia’s David Metzer will discuss his book The Ballad in American Popular Music: From Elvis to Beyoncé. Metzer believes when a ballad is written and released to the public and what is going on in the world at the time can influence how that song is experienced by the listener. Taking things on a more philosophical level, Reverend Osagyefo Uhuru Sekou of Zent Records in ‘The Task of the Artist in the Time of Monsters’ will provide his personal views on how artists through their songcraft “have a unique role to play as our nation comes to terms with these dark days.” (date TBA).

Two members of London rock band The Fish Police (header photo from their Facebook) have autism, and their conditions have informed the way they write music and unapologetically. Alongside staff from internationally acclaimed creative organization Heart n Soul, they will offer their unique perspective on making art in their own unique musical universe in the session ’Exploring Music Through the Lens of Neurodiversity’ early Wednesday afternoon (14 March). On a slightly different tack, local radio station KUTX will be taping their podcast This Song at SXSW 2018 on Thursday afternoon (15 March). Podcast host Elizabeth McQueen will be interviewing hip-hop artist and writer Dessa, who will describe a life-changing song and how it influenced her new album ‘Chime’. [NB: This taping will be held at the Wisteria Room at the Fairmont Hotel on 101 Red River Street and not at the Austin Convention Center.]

Iconic Venues
Some music clubs live on in memory, even long after they physically no longer exist. In
‘From CBGB to the World: A Downtown Diaspora’ on Friday 16 March, Rolling Stone’s David Fricke, Modern Recording artist Chris Stamey, Talking Heads members Chris Franz and Tina Weymouth, and visual artist Julia Gorton will recall what made the New York City dive bar special and why it’s remembered even today.

Despite the widely reported assault on music venues across Britain by property developers, we thankfully still have venues in North America who have stood the test of time. Session ‘The Horseshoe: the Roots of Canadian Rock n’ Roll’ will explore how this venerated institution in Toronto has survived for decades and been the starting point of a career for many Canadian rock acts who then went on to stardom beyond the Great White North. Closer to home and heart for Texans, ‘The Broken Spoke: Austin’s Legendary Honky-Tonk’ and its over 5 decades of support for live country music will be discussed on the morning of Tuesday 13 March by none other than its long-time and only proprietor James White.

Musical Legacies
In terms of American musical heroes, who casts a bigger shadow than Elvis? In a featured session on Wednesday afternoon (14 March), there will be an exciting conversation about the upcoming three-hour, two-film HBO presentation on Elvis Presley that will premiere in April and includes “a comprehensive creative journey from his childhood through the final 1976 Jungle Room recording sessions”. The panel will include Presley’s widow Priscilla, legendary Memphis music writer and producer David Porter, director Thom Zimny and producer Jon Landau. Arguably Elvis’ counterpart in rap Tupac Shakur will be fondly remembered in ‘Still Thuggin: Tupac Relevance Over 20 Years Later’ on the afternoon of Friday 16 March.

In more recent, fast-paced times, there’s been the question of whether musical stars made through appearances on reality tv shows will live on or will they be quickly forgotten. In ‘Now What? Life After Reality TV Singing Shows’ on Saturday afternoon (17 March), Cas Haley (2007’s America’s Got Talent), Blake Lewis (6th season of American Idol) and NAKIA (1st season of The Voice) will share their experiences before, during and after appearing on millions of tv screen around America.

As with all of the SXSW 2018 events we cover here at TGTF, music conference programming is subject to change. We suggest you consult the official SXSW 2018 schedule for the latest additions and editions.

 
 
 

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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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