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SXSW 2016: part of Paradigm Agency showcase at Maggie Mae’s, plus the second half of BBC Introducing (Wednesday night, part 2) – 16th March 2016

 
By on Monday, 4th April 2016 at 4:00 pm
 

After a sombre, less than thrilling start to my Wednesday evening thinking about Viola Beach and seeing two acts at Music from Ireland, it was time to move on. Thanks to my upgraded press status at SXSW 2016 this year (thank you, Elizabeth and SXSW Music!), I could jump the massive queue that went down 6th Street to get into Maggie Mae’s. I managed to catch most of Drowners’ set on the downstairs indoor stage.

Drowners were not a band I was familiar with until I happened to see their name on the SXSW shout list for this year. Their name rung a bell; I seemed to remember getting an email about them a long while back, but I couldn’t remember why I hadn’t listened to their music before. Upon further investigation, it all made sense: their eponymous debut album for Frenchkiss Records was released in January 2014, right around the time I suffered the loss of an important friendship, so it’s unlikely I would have enjoyed the album at the time anyway. During pre-SXSW preparations in late January, it tickled me pink to find a band whose own name came from a Suede song (‘The Drowners’), as Suede had just released ‘Night Thoughts’ and I was experiencing the resurgence of my love for Brett Anderson and co

While Drowners are based in New York City and is therefore considered an American band, much has been made about their Welsh frontman Matthew Hitt having made his way to the Big Apple in the first place to pursue a career in modelling. Their music is good time rock ‘n’roll and Strokes-y. But it’s also got a feeling of more pop with pomp. especially on their recently revealed single ‘Cruel Ways’, which will appear on their second album ‘On Desire’, due out in June. Their appearances this week in Austin gave them the opportunity to test out the new material, including LP tracks ‘Human Remains’, ‘Someone Else is Getting In’ and ‘Conversations with Myself’. Of the new material, the bass-heavy thuds of set closer ‘Pick Up the Pace’ won me over.

Drowners at Paradigm Agency showcase at Maggie Mae's, Wednesday night at SXSW 2016

Another great thing that I reiterate time and time again about SXSW is the fact that 99% of the acts who aren’t Drake or CHVRCHES will play multiple shows. So if you happen to miss a band at their first appearance, you’ll have a second (and quite possibly a third or fourth) chance to see them again. As I had to leave the British Music Embassy at Latitude 30 early on Tuesday night to make it in time for Gold Class at the felte / Part Time Punks showcase at Barracuda at midnight, I missed seeing Liverpool’s Clean Cut Kid who were on after Oscar. Though it pained me to miss Gwenno at the Heavenly Recordings showcase at Barracuda, I was able to finally see both her and Stealing Sheep on Friday at the Cerdd Cymru afternoon showcase at Latitude 30 (stay tuned for that post).

Frontman Mike Halls of Clean Cut Kid has a beard that rivals Guy Connelly’s of Clock Opera. One wonders if the two bands will ever tour together, given this kinship of over the top, yet well maintained extended facial hair. Halls, with the very tattooed Saul Godman on bass guitar, look like they could be in a metal band. This makes the kind of music that Clean Cut Kid play – driving and fun indie pop – all the more incongruous. (I will say, however, that both of them have fantastic chops on their axes, especially Halls on his guitar solos, making me think that perhaps they were in a hard rocking band in the not too distant past.) Mike’s wife Evelyn on keyboards and her voice in harmony with him add another level of flair and uniqueness to the band’s music; I appreciated the perfection in their male plus female harmonies, something I didn’t otherwise hear all week at SXSW.

Clean Cut Kid at Paradigm Agency showcase at Maggie Mae's, Wednesday night at SXSW 2016

Though they came to Austin as virtual unknowns – and I’m almost positive no-one in Maggie Mae’s besides me had any idea who they were – the foursome quickly got the crowd, which steadily increased in size as their set went on, on their side. Despite the appearance of being unapproachable, Mike Halls is a likeable frontman, making jokes about how the word vitamin is pronounced in England vs. America (note: it’s different) and prefacing songs with deadpan comments such as “this is a hate song by a man who used to be in love” (not sure what song he was referring to!). ‘Pick Me Up’ is the Liverpool group at its finest and surely will continue Halls’ assertion that chicks dig beards”.

It was time to return to Latitude 30 and relieve Carrie of her place at the BBC Introducing / PRS for Music Foundation night. She had been there for the Viola Beach tribute, Isaac Gracie and Billie Marten, and it was my turn to cover the second half of the night. Following Marten were Steve Lamacq’s tip as Britain’s next great guitar band, The Sherlocks. If you’ve spent any time in Sheffield or indeed, you’ve had a listen to any number of their indie bands in the last 10 years, you have an idea of the Sheffield sound.

The Sherlocks at BBC Introducing PRS Foundation showcase, Latitude 30 Wednesday night at SXSW 2016

Of the biggest bands out of the Steel City, Arctic Monkeys are the most obvious of touchstones to the Sherlocks’ music. Given that Alex Turner and his mates have decided to follow the path of Josh Homme before them, it does seem that there’s an inescapable void where the Monkeys once trod, and the Sherlocks are a good fit for that void. Young, hard working and hungry for success, and as one of their songs are named and possessing a ‘Heart of Gold’, they certainly earned their moment under the lights at Latitude 30 this night.

After talking to Carrie about her experiences earlier at the BBC Introducing night, it sounds like Berkshire singer/songwriter Frances was much more confident and ready for her turn in the spotlight than earlier young female performer Billie Marten. The redhead was smiley and chatty, her stage patter between songs telling us more about herself and how her songs came to be, overall making a very engaging performance. Unlike Rosie Carney at the Music from Ireland showcase earlier in the evening, she was having a great time at SXSW.

Frances at BBC Introducing PRS Foundation showcase, Latitude 30 Wednesday night at SXSW 2016

Frances’ voice is beautiful, as was demonstrated on her newest single ‘Don’t Worry About Me’ performed live. But her versatility shines through on the soulful ‘Borrowed Time’, written with Howard Lawrence of Disclosure, who Frances insisted, and with a wide grin, was “wicked” and “he’s cooler than me!” While it makes my heart sink slightly that a talented lady like her feels the need to have songwriting collaborators (or more likely, her major label has that need), Frances’ vocal talent will take her far.

ESTRONS at BBC Introducing PRS Foundation showcase, Latitude 30 Wednesday night SXSW at 2016

The final act of the night was Welsh band ESTRONS, who realistically should have been on earlier in the lineup. Their sound is the result of frenetic playing and even at 1 AM in the morning, they showed no sign of slowing down. Bolstered by their uncompromising frontwoman Taliesyn Kallström, their brashness would have waken up the dead. Time to say goodnight to Radio 1’s Huw Stephens skulking round the back, to get a few hours of sleep and be back in town in good time the next morning to do it all over again.

 

(SXSW 2016 flavoured!) Bands to Watch #382: The Sherlocks

 
By on Tuesday, 1st March 2016 at 12:00 pm
 

Editor’s note: we’re making some exciting changes in the way we cover SXSW 2016 this year, especially in the way we preview all the bands that we want to introduce you to before the big event in Austin in March. Read all about our big plans here.

The Sherlocks are an alt-indie fourpiece from Sheffield comprising two sets of brothers. They boast over 500 gigs under their belts: impressive, particularly when considering that they are yet to sign to a record label. The band have released a couple of new singles over the past few months: ‘Heart of Gold’ was released in October 2015, and ‘Last Night’ was released in January.

I remember people talking about The Sherlocks during my breaks from uni, when I would visit my hometown just outside of Sheffield. I still see references to the band popping up on my Facebook feed. Just last week an old school friend checked into a gig at The Duchess in York headlined by The Sherlocks as part of their UK tour. They’re often spoken about in the same sentence as Millburn or Arctic Monkeys; it’s inevitable, of course, considering all three acts have spawned from Sheffield’s lively music scene. There’s a sense of ownership over these bands in the way that people from Sheffield and the surrounding areas speak, the stars of the indie and alternative music scene are the local treasures and heroes.

Impressively, this is a band whose success has come off of the back of the hard-work put into the hundreds of live shows that they have done over the past few years and the loyal wave of followers that has swept them along as a result, rather than through publicists or record labels. But the hype has spread beyond Yorkshire, and the band has recently played sold out shows in Birmingham, Manchester and Nottingham amongst others.

They’ve been together since 2010, and in that time have amassed an impressive collection of live performances, including supporting The Enemy at some gigs on their 2014 tour, and supported The Libertines at some shows on their tour earlier this year. They’ve developed a sound that is both evocative of their various influences, from The Jam to the Arctic Monkeys, while also distinctly original. ‘Live for the Moment’, their debut single, peaked in the Official UK Singles Chart at number 91, shortly followed by their second single ‘Escapade’, which reached number 45.

‘Heart of Gold’ is a punchy indie number, with an addictive hook and catchy chorus. Prepare to feel the urge to dance around the room when hearing it for the first time. It’s a continuation of their earlier singles, but with a slight lean towards a more indie pop sound, similar to the Pigeon Detectives. The jingle of the opening guitar rhythm, the jump of drums and lead singer Kiaran Crook’s brash yet smooth vocals breaking into the track set up the heartfelt number. The lyrics are also great, evoking Alex Turner’s style of writing about the everyday. “When you’re sat on your own at home crying / why couldn’t we have tried?”: you just know that this kind of lyric wouldn’t sound the same without a ballsy Northern accent.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gv7-1eJGrFE[/youtube]

Their latest single ‘Last Night’, whilst belonging to the same vein, feels different from their other stuff. There is a confidence to it that is evident in the marching drum beat and static guitar sounds that introduce the track, before the guitar bursts into a crisp, melodic riff. The lyrics, like ‘Heart of Gold’, tell a common story that many will be able to relate to the morning after a night of drinking. There are bold moments in the track, from the distorted warbling at the end, to the tinny megaphone-like echoes of Crooks’ voice throughout, and the overall feel of the song has a fantastic feel to it, like the band have really found their footing.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s4GW14_Sodk[/youtube]

The Sherlocks have plenty in store for 2016. Last summer saw the band play Reading and Leeds, and this coming summer they are already announced to be appearing at Y Not Festival in Derbyshire in addition to their visit to Austin for SXSW 2016 this month, which includes a prime spot on the BBC Introducing and PRS for Music Foundation showcase Wednesday night in Austin. They have a number of upcoming dates for 2016, including a return to the acclaimed live music venue in their hometown, Sheffield Leadmill in June, and announced this week that they will be playing The Great Escape held in Brighton this May.

 

TGTF Guide to SXSW 2016: BBC Introducing and PRS for Music Foundation’s SXSW 2016 showcase, 16th March 2016

 
By on Tuesday, 9th February 2016 at 11:00 am
 

Editor’s note: The band Viola Beach and their manager Craig Tarry were killed in a fatal car crash is Sweden on the evening of Saturday, the 13th of February. Our deepest condolences are with their families. Read Communion Records’ statement on their passing here. They will also be eulogised at a special tribute on the night of this showcase in Austin.

What has now become an annual highlight of the week at SXSW is the BBC Introducing and PRS for Music Foundation’s evening showcase at Latitude 30, the home of the British Music Embassy in Austin during the event. Last week, Steve Lamacq announced the six artists that will be gracing the BME’s stage the night of Wednesday the 16th of March, and we can’t wait to introduce them to you. Impressively, nearly every region of the UK is well represented on this list, except for Northern Ireland (which will be putting on their own afternoon showcase on St. Patrick’s Day, when else?) and Scotland (who we hope will have their own showcase as well).

Hailing from the North East of England, Billie Marten is a young female singer/songwriter from Ripon, North Yorkshire. Even 2 years ago when she still sported braces on her teeth, her musical talent was picked up by Burberry Acoustic. Fast forward 2 years, and the young Marten’s delicate, yet smoky vocals have further matured; check out her evocative single ‘Bird’ below. With over 13,000 Facebook likes even before setting foot in America, something tells us mainstream success is just around the corner for this lass.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=smX6xCPDbrE[/youtube]

With a name sounding like they should be a variant of Transformers than a band, Cardiff-based quartet ESTRONS will be representing Wales at the BBC Introducing night. It’s no surprise their fresh and frenetic music has already received backing from BBC Radio 1’s Huw Stephens and Annie Mac. Fronted by Canadian-Swede Taliesyn Kallström who appear to be channelling the spirit of riot grrls like Siouxsie, Courtney Love and MayKay of Fight Like Apes for her vocal delivery, they’ll definitely be bringing unbridled energy to the evening.

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

If it hasn’t happened already, Newbury, Berkshire born singer/songwriter Frances will be on the lips of the world’s music pundits before the month is out. Despite having only one EP to her name – ‘Grow’, released last summer via Communion Records – she’s already nominated for a BRIT, the 2016 Critic’s Choice Award. She’s been compared to Florence Welch and Ellie Goulding, but except for the ginger colour of her hair and the length of it, I don’t see much of a comparison. Frances is her own woman.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O5X5ZUvq5XY[/youtube]

Isaac Gracie first gained prominence on BBC Introducing Norfolk, but it appears he’s decamped now to the West London area of Ealing. He’s already sold out a who in London, garnered attention from NME, and been anointed with a Zane Lowe World Record on Beats 1. For brokenhearted fans of the late Jeff Buckley, to devotees of Johnny Flynn and the Sussex Wit, you’ll definitely take to Gracie’s style of rough, dusty, contemplative songwriting, as exemplified in his track ‘Last Words’.

Lammo loves the Crookes. A lot. So I was gobsmacked he’d found another Sheffield band to put his weight behind. The lucky recipients? The Sherlocks, who our own Rebecca has been aware of since her schooldays some years ago in South Yorkshire when they first started knocking around the Steel City. More like the Arctic Monkeys when they began than the Monkeys sound these days, their sound is one of brash guitars and cool rock ‘n’ roll. Have a listen to their debut single ‘Live for the Moment’.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s4GW14_Sodk[/youtube]

Staying in the North but heading due west, we reach Warrington, whose most famous musical son up to this point has been Ian Brown of the Stone Roses. This is all about to change when Viola Beach will bring their sunny and terribly infectious indie pop / rock to the BBC Introducing night in Austin. Will they follow in the footsteps of BBC Introducing 2015 night alums Blossoms to bring acclaim to another town outside of Manchester? Definitely. ‘Get to Dancing’ below.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GyP0DvEwrh8[/youtube]

 
 
 

About Us

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.

All MP3s are posted with the permission of the artists or their representatives and are for sampling only. Like the music? Buy it.

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