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SXSW 2017 Interview: Hamish Anderson

 
By on Tuesday, 28th March 2017 at 1:00 pm
 

Melbourne blues rocker Hamish Anderson has been on my radar for a few years following my previewing of SXSW 2015. That year, Carrie pinch-hit for me, seeing him at Sound Gallery presented by Sounds Australia on the Saturday at B.D. Riley’s. This year, I got two chances to see Anderson: a special VIP invitation to catch him at the National Geographic closing party Monday night as part of the Interactive stream of the SXSW Conference / Festival, followed by his triumphant return to Sound Gallery on Saturday.

After his performance Saturday at B.D. Riley’s, Anderson was chilled out, having done his final work of the week, finally able to fully relax and take in the city. As I had guessed, there aren’t that many blues artists in Australia, so Anderson feels right at home when he’s in our country. I feel honoured that he introduced me to one of his guitars, Blondie, and he talks about how it felt so much more comfortable and felt more prepared the second time around showcasing at SXSW. We also talk about his debut album ‘Trouble’, which was released last year. Listen to the interview below. For more on TGTF on Hamish Anderson, including my coverage that posted yesterday of his performance at the National Geographic closing party, follow this link.

Hamish Anderson, Sound Gallery, Sounds Australia, Saturday 18 March 2017

 

SXSW 2017 Interview: Loah

 
By on Tuesday, 28th March 2017 at 11:00 am
 

Every year at SXSW, I hear at least one musician who takes me completely by surprise. One of the most intriguing artists I saw on the Thursday afternoon of SXSW 2017 was Irish/Sierra Leonean soul singer Loah, (known offstage as Sallay Matu Garnett) who performed on the Full Irish Breakfast showcase hosted by Music from Ireland at B.D. Riley’s Irish Pub. Currently based in Dublin, Loah cites time spent in Sierra Leone during her teenage years as a major influence on her music, as well as the more expected Irish music tradition, which she developed in her classical training at Trinity College. She melds aspects of classical Western and West African style together seamlessly, with hints of jazz and a strong soul foundation, to create a sound that is refreshingly different and stood out to me as quite unique among the other Irish artists on Thursday’s showcase. [Loah also appeared last autumn in Dublin at Hard Working Class Heroes 2016. – Ed.]

As mentioned in TGTF’s preview of Irish artists at SXSW 2017, Loah previously collaborated with 2017 RTÉ Choice Music Prize nominee and well-known fellow Irish musician Bantum on his single ‘Take It’, as well as receiving a co-writing credit on Hozier‘s hit track ‘Someone New’. Her own debut EP, titled ‘This Heart’, has been a long time in the making and is due for release at the end of April via Irish label Ensemble Music. The EP will include Loah’s first single ‘The Bailey’, streaming just below.

SXSW 2017 marked Loah’s first appearance in Austin, and she mentioned in our interview that she was eager to take in some of the city’s sights and sounds in her spare time during the week. Following her visit to Texas, Loah played a show at New York’s Irish Arts Center on the 22nd of March, which was previewed here in the Village Voice. Take a listen below to my interview with Loah, and keep an eye on TGTF for more about Loah in our upcoming review of the Full Irish Breakfast.

 

(SXSW 2017 flavoured!) Video of the Moment #2327: Rag’n’Bone Man

 
By on Monday, 27th March 2017 at 6:00 pm
 

Header photo by Dean Chalkley

Brighton’s Rory Graham, aka Rag’n’Bone Man, is pretty much a household name in the UK. He won the BRITs British Breakthrough Act and the Critic’s Choice Award there last month. His album ‘Human’ for Columbia Records, also released in February, was immediately certified gold and swiftly certified platinum just 3 weeks later having spent 2 consecutive weeks at #1 spot in the UK album charts. Whew. Carrie’s coverage of the man in a church (I repeat, a church!) in Austin at SXSW 2017 is forthcoming, but in the meantime, you can watch the video for this latest single ‘Skin’, taken from the acclaimed LP, below.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Al-nuR1iAU[/youtube]

 

SXSW 2017: Sound Gallery I, presented by Sounds Australia at B.D. Riley’s – 14th March 2017

 
By on Monday, 27th March 2017 at 5:00 pm
 

In my sixth SXSW, I had little trouble managing my expectations while also pacing myself during the week. However, Tuesday morning, I found my intentions to find milk for tea for the week difficult (I’m assuming the English in town bought it all in the closest grocery store? Thanks, everyone), which delayed my morning. Sadly, I arrived at part I of Sounds Australia’s annual Sound Gallery at 6th Street Irish pub B.D. Riley’s too late to catch first band The Heart Collectors. (More on the folk band later.) As mentioned in the introduction yesterday, it was chilly at the start of the week in Austin. This necessitated a homey (and probably excessively large for yours truly) plate of bangers and mash, accompanied by what else by Guinness at B.D. Riley’s, hunkering down for four more of the acts on the docket.

I’m sure for every person it’s different, but something I hear all the time is the Aussie’s desire to leave Oz for America and weirdly and specifically, for Los Angeles. Singer/songwriter Tim Wheatley did exactly this, telling us during this set this afternoon that he got out of Australia as soon as he could and never looked back. When I did research on Wheatley prior to SXSW, I was confused by his supposed image as a folk / country performer and his video ’78 Benz’, in which he sported long bleached blonde hair. Think ‘80s hair bands.

Tim Wheatley,
Sound Gallery I, Sounds Australia, B.D. Riley's, Tuesday 14 March 2017

So imagine my surprise when I finally see Wheatley in the flesh with short hair and boots. If he was wearing a 10-gallon hat, he’d have completed the perfect cowboy image. The Mercedes he sings of is about a vintage car he procured shortly after arriving in L.A. Without the long hair, I think it’s much easier to take Tim Wheatley seriously as a musician. It wouldn’t be hard to imagine him setting up shop one day soon in Nashville.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v468UUVFQSE[/youtube]

Juanita Stein, Sound Gallery I, Sounds Australia, B.D. Riley's, Tuesday 14 March 2017

Next up was Juanita Stein, probably more famous to the SXSW hordes as the sexy lead singer and rhythm guitarist of Sydney’s Howling Bells. She’s decamped to Brighton to work on her solo album, which is expected later this year. Now as a solo artist, or at least while she was in Austin, she’s chosen the sole focus to be on her music, as she was dressed understatedly in black. I wondered if she felt weird performing at the small stage at B.D. Riley’s, as she’s used to much larger (and louder) crowds and venues. Her track ‘Stargazer’ showcases her talent at balladry, though I questioned her inclusion of a cover of Roy Orbison’s ‘Blue Bayou’, which has been covered by so many people in the past and suggested Stein wasn’t entirely comfortable performing her own material yet.

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

The Elliotts,
Sound Gallery I, Sounds Australia, B.D. Riley's, Tuesday 14 March 2017

After two folky acts, pop/rock act The Elliotts from Melbourne were a nice breath of fresh air. If you have a song called ‘Instagram’ that was previously titled ‘Pink Toilet Seat’, the chances are pretty high you don’t take yourself too seriously. Whether this will positively or negatively affect their career remains to be seen. (After their set, two of their three band members were out of there, choosing to run, skip and jump down to the convention center instead of staying at B.D. Riley’s for an interview with me; you can listen to my chat with James “Wally” Howlett through here, which includes a discussion on their social media-themed tune.) Their actual performance was upbeat and fun, bringing injecting life into the previously mellow vibe in the pub. They’ve got an EP out now, ‘Aeroplane’, which includes ‘Instagram’ and set standout ‘Seeing Stars’.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I0KggVAM89w[/youtube]

As you might imagine, I get a lot of emails from PRs and management before SXSW begging me to come see their bands in Austin. I’d have to clone myself tens of times over in order to see everyone, and I do my own research ahead of time to figure who to see and when. Joel Sarakula was a weird case in that we previewed him in the London portion of the TGTF Guide to SXSW 2017 because artists appear in the SXSW schedule based on the location they use on their applications. Sarakula has lived in London for over 10 years, admitting to the punters at B.D. Riley’s that his accent is a weird mélange of Aussie and Londoner sounds.

Joel Sarakula,
Sound Gallery I, Sounds Australia, B.D. Riley's, Tuesday 14 March 2017

If anything, Sarakula’s mutt accent added to the spectacle of his performance, which felt like it was taken out of a ‘70s lounge of leisure and possibly out an adult film of that era. Seriously, I wondered why he wasn’t swearing a crushed velvet suit and sporting a giant medallion around his neck. Behind rose-tinted sunglasses and a keyboard that he insisted was TSA-approved, he struck a good balance between odd yet appealing. Taking elements of psych, soul and putting them through a throwback filter might not sound like it works on paper, but toes were tapping at B.D. Riley’s to tunes like the driving ‘They Can’t Catch Me’.

 

SXSW 2017: Monday night at the DIY / Ticketweb UK showcase at Latitude 30 – 13th March 2017

 
By on Monday, 27th March 2017 at 4:00 pm
 

It’s going to take some getting used to that the Music portion of SXSW artist showcasing officially starts on Monday and not Tuesday. Carrie and I have enjoyed either showcases at the British Music Embassy at Latitude 30 starring Northern Irish artists or sponsored by Trackd last year the last few times we’ve been in Austin, so it was nice to mix things up a bit this year with a lineup sponsored by someone else. This night’s showcase was sponsored by UK free magazine DIY and the UK arm of Ticketweb, now part of Live Nation. I arrived just in time for SuperGlu, the Manningtree rock group who I had seen 2 years ago at the upstairs room of The Mash Tun at Norwich Saturday night during Norwich Sound and Vision 2015. I wish to point out that thank you very much, I had seen this band before nearly everyone in Austin, proclaiming back then “1) I was supposed to be in Norwich to see this band, and 2) they’re going to do very, very well.” Boom.

SuperGlu, Latitue 30, Monday 13 March 2017

I don’t consider myself an expert on alt-rock, because it’s hard to class. What is alt-rockand what isn’t? And let’s be honest, sometimes you just don’t know what will float with music fans and what won’t, which ultimately is the litmus test. During a week in Austin that saw surprise (or maybe not?) performances by world-famous American bands Jimmy Eat World, Spoon and Weezer, SuperGlu held their own against them, suggesting from the climactic last notes of ‘Diving Bell’ that it would not be long before they would be joining their ranks in popular music history.

SuperGlu, Latitude 30, Monday 13 March 2017, 2

Frontman Ben Brown wore a University of Texas-Austin t-shirt and shouted the locals’ cry for “Longhorns!” to get the crowd riled up. Not surprisingly, this went over extremely well with the already inebriated and up for it Texans, not to mention a man who argued with Brown over which was the smallest town in England, his or Manningtree. (I’m still unclear who won.) The secrets to SuperGlu’s success? Being good friends and keeping things fun, which come across in spades in their self-described ‘dork pop’ music and live performance. While this might not be at the level of the Sex Pistols at the Lesser Free Trade Hall in Manchester in 1976, something tells me this is going to be one of those “were you there?” moments in rock. The photo below from my phone is intended to document the crazy that was happening that night. To listen in on my interview with the band in Austin, go here.

SuperGlu, Latitude 30, Monday 13 March 2017

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m1H_6gImH80[/youtube]

Feeling like a letdown after SuperGlu was London-based Doe, compared frequently to Sleater-Kinney for their female-led DIY rock aesthetic. I give pink-haired lead singer and guitarist Nicola Leel massive props for her shouty loud, abrasive vocal delivery on tracks like ‘Last Ditch’, as she never once let up during their half-hour set, and the band gave it their all. The guitars were loud and scuzzy and indeed, the comparisons to classic ‘90s rock and noise pop make sense. It was just hard for me to pick out the melodies or find anything that stood out as particularly special.

Doe, Latitude 30, Monday 13 March 2017

From Doe, Croydon’s Jamie Isaac was a breath of fresh air, cutting through the fuzz with a dramatically different point of view. Some have compared him to wildly popular piano-player, production head and fellow Londoner James Blake, but that’s just lazy journalism. Isaac’s silky smooth tones envelop you like nothing else, grabbing you just as much as the darkly beautiful notes of his jazz-infused piano lines. To be fair, his music is less obvious, requiring more commitment by the listener to truly ‘get’ where he was going with his electronic leanings, and I sensed that people who had been there since SuperGlu’s set were less than enthralled. Give his ‘Couch Baby (Revisited)’ album (which includes ‘Find the Words’) a spin on your favourite streaming service to check him out.

Jamie Isaac, Latitude 30, Monday 13 March 2017

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

I had expected Blaenavon to come next in the lineup, but I was surprised when a woman came onstage. Hrm, I thought, they don’t have a girl in their band, do they? For the record, they don’t. Manchester’s False Advertising, led by Jen Hingley, filled in for the Liphook, East Hampshire natives who weren’t able to get out to Austin that early in the week. Their loss was False Advertising’s gain: the incredible opportunity to showcase the first official night of SXSW Music at the British Music Embassy.

False Advertising, Latitude 30, Monday 13 March 2017

The energy in the ratcheted back up as they pounded out ‘Wasted Away’ and ‘Scars’ as highlights. They’ve got an interesting dynamic in that drummer Chris Warr also sings, and he and Hingley swapped instruments and positions like it was no big deal. The other obvious comment about False Advertising is that they have a lot of hair. It’s a good thing none of them needed to look down at their guitars, because they wouldn’t have seen the strings anyway. Carrie joined me shortly after False Advertising started, and I’ll let her fill you in on Muncie Girls’ closing set of the night.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N-HP2sg0vaU[/youtube]

 

SXSW 2017 Interview: Magic Giant

 
By on Monday, 27th March 2017 at 3:00 pm
 

Los Angeles indie folk band Magic Giant showcased at SXSW 2017 for their third consecutive year at SXSW, but they only just crossed my radar earlier this spring. Their debut full-length album ‘In the Wind’ is due out in May, and I had the opportunity on the Wednesday morning of SXSW to sit down with the three band members, multi-instrumentalist Zambricki Li, lead singer Austin Bisnow and guitarist/cellist Brian “Zang” Zaghi (pictured from left to right, above) at the W Hotel in downtown Austin to chat about the making of that record, as well as their experiences at SXSW. The band members might look very serious in the header photo above, and indeed they clearly take their music-making very seriously. But I think the photo below is more reflective of the zany personality and brilliant energy they project both in conversation and onstage.

"Magic

‘In the Wind’ was recorded in various locations throughout America while the band were on tour last summer, and the band members explained their very organic process of recording in scenic, outdoor locations, using solar power for their equipment. They talked specifically about the recording of their current single ‘Set the Fire’, which included sounds taken directly from nature; you can take a listen to the acoustic version of ‘Set the Fire’ in the video just below. The band also hinted at what might be involved in a Magic Giant live show, which I had the chance to experience firsthand later on Wednesday night at the Clive Bar on Rainey Street. (Stay tuned to TGTF for more on my Wednesday night adventures, as our extensive SXSW 2017 coverage continues.)

[youtube]https://youtu.be/11NGaReejDQ[/youtube]

Magic Giant were nearing the end of their time in Austin when we did this interview, while I was closer to the start of my own, but as you’ll hear below, the band have big plans lined up for the remainder of 2017. They have a North American tour planned around the release of ‘In the Wind’, which is scheduled for the 19th of May via Washington Square / Razor & Tie, and they hope to bring the tour to Europe and worldwide later this year. You can check Magic Giant’s official Facebook for a list of their upcoming live dates, and keep an eye out for them on TGTF in case they happen to pass through the UK or Ireland in the coming months.

 
 
 

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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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