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Great Escape 2015: Day 1 Roundup (Part 2)

 
By on Wednesday, 20th May 2015 at 2:00 pm
 

Part 1 of my Thursday (day 1) roundup of is this way.

Up front the seafront I went and back to Patterns to check in on some relatively new American friends. Philadelphia band Cold Fronts, who I met last year supporting Chicago’s Empires on their North American tour. At the time, they weren’t known outside of Philly and I had made the suggestion to frontman Craig Almquist that they had a vibe and sounded a lot like the Cribs (one of Almquist’s favourite bands) and to see if they could get in touch with the band to maybe support them one day. So Cold Fronts’ people called the Cribs’ people…and the next thing I hear, Cold Fronts are supporting the Cribs’ New York residency in March 2015 just prior to SXSW. Is that mad or what? See, kids? Dreams do come true. (A sidenote: when Mary Chang suggests you to do something to further along your career, it’s probably a good idea to do It. Because, you know, you might end up supporting the Cribs one day.)

Cold Fronts at Great Escape 2015
Probably one of the biggest regrets I have from the Great Escape 2015 is leaving their set early to run up Brighton’s hill to see another band I’d heard good things about. As I was stood waiting for the Cribs the next night at Wagner Hall, a local musician and his girlfriend who were behind me were telling their other friends, “we saw these guys from America last night, they’re called Cold Fronts, they were amazing. The best part was when the singer got up top of the bar and started dancing!” And I missed that! ::grumble:: This was a sentiment that was repeated in multiple venues I stopped in for the rest of the festival, and I couldn’t help but feel proud to be an American once, knowing a band I like and support won over the Brits at a music festival across the pond.

Cold Fronts at Great Escape 2015
There were two persistent themes throughout my time in Brighton during the Great Escape 2015: queues everywhere and equipment problems at venues. The latter proved problematic twice for my plans for the evening. I left Patterns early to go back up to the Brighthelm Centre in anticipation of catching CLAY, a band from Leeds that sound like a more poppier Jungle on their early track ‘Oxygen’. Unfortunately, like Patterns that afternoon, the venue were facing a major delay in getting things sorted for the evening. I waited for a while, chatting to a fellow American who happened to be visiting London from her graduate school program in music in Valencia, Spain, but then realised my time would be better spent down at the Old Ship Paganini Ballroom, where I assumed I’d be seeing up and comer North West singer/songwriter Adam French. His father befriended one of my American friends in an Irish pub the night before (I wasn’t there because I’d left her to go home and plan out my 3-day schedule – seriously, you can’t make this stuff up).

I arrived to the Paganini Ballroom to much confusion. After making my way to the front of the crowd, the music the band onstage was making didn’t match up to my idea of French, who sounded to my unsympathetic ear like another Ben Howard. No…these guys sound more like Friendly Fires, the first band I’d fallen in love with as a music blogger 6 years ago, crossed with the melodic guitars of Two Door Cinema Club and pop whiffs of The 1975. Interesting…

Lake Malawi at Great Escape 2015
Lake Malawi, fronted by Albert Cerny and his Czech buddies who split their time between Prague and London, I steeled myself based on Cerny’s bouncing around on stage that the music would quickly turn bog standard boring to me the way Bastille’s does, but phew, they didn’t. Incredible vibrancy in the music from Cerny and his mates, and their punters shouted their appreciation for the band, which Cerny himself said he was surprised about – I guess he thought they wouldn’t be well received, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Their debut EP ‘We Are Making Love Again’ is out on Monday, and expect that – and them – to go stratospheric.

I couldn’t wait around for Adam French after all, because I had a hot date with a man who had so far proved very elusive. astronomyy had been given a shout to SXSW 2015 but turned it down, so I assumed I’d be able to see him live finally at Live at Leeds 2015. Thanks to the HiFi Club being plagued with equipment issues, it was not meant to be, though he amused himself after the incident by checking out the bands at Nation of Shopkeepers, stood behind me while I was photographing Boxed In but was too bashful to say hi (I really don’t bite!) while I had no idea whatsoever.

Whatever happened before meant nothing now though, stood under the overly bright lights of Shooshh’s stage and prepared to be amazed. Shall we say I was not disappointed in the slightest? astronomyy seems to me a master of production and the studio, but from what I have read, he is new to the live scene, so these series of shows and festival appearances this spring are like a baptism by fire. Songs like the upbeat ‘When I’m With U’ feel like the next logical, soulful, more chill progression from my previous love Friendly Fires, maybe if the xx had convinced their former touring buddies that less is actually more. If not readily apparent from listening to his music online, he also plays a mean guitar, which is a surprising fact that makes the live experience the more awesome. It’s kind of like finding out the guy you fancy also knows how to bake cupcakes – ooh.

astronomyy at Great Escape 2015
There is a fragile beauty to the minimalist nature of astronomyy’s music that I find intoxicating. This is not hit you over the head with production kind of r&b (you know who I am talking about), nor is it the kind that turns me off in a second with all of its swearing and awful language (though, okay, there is some occasionally), but to me the vibe is so strong and more important. If you read the lyrics, ‘Nothin On My Mind’ is about finding that perfect love that transports you to another place and time, where nothing else matters. That is a good way of explaining what good music does to a music fan: it takes you away from anything that is hurting you and puts you on a higher, better plane. I don’t know, maybe I have just bored you with my waxing philosophical on astronomyy, but yes, the man’s music does something to me very special and I am looking forward to hearing much more from him.

astronomyy at Great Escape 2015
Maybe I should have called it quits after having a near religious experience with astronomyy at Shooshh, but I thought I should try and shoehorn artists #10 (NYC singer/songwriter duo Jack and Eliza, who I caught just minutes of at Patterns upstairs after leaving Shooshh) and #11 into my Thursday after deciding a very late night set by Belgian electronic artist Mugwump (who would have been #12) at Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar was not in the cards. Tropics, aka Chris Ward, was scheduled to perform at the Prince Albert, whose upstairs performance space I generally avoid because it’s always hot and sweaty and therefore deathly claustrophobic. I don’t have fond memories of seeing my first Great Escape band ever, Francois and the Atlas Mountains, in that room. But a music editor’s work is never done, so in I charged.

Tropics at Great Escape 2015
How Ward was wearing long sleeves and looking so relaxed, I have no idea. I guess he and his band were in the zone. Two women next to me were throwing shapes and not to the rhythm of the songs, so I think it’s safe to say they were very, very drunk. The atmospheric ambient music of Ward, from the sexiness of ‘House of Leaves’ to the soulful ‘Rapture’, demands a captive audience (I think anyway) and while there were plenty of appreciative punters at the Prince Albert, the overall amount of squeezing, pushing and shoving around in that relatively small space distracted me from enjoying Ward’s craft. Suffice to say, I hope I get an opportunity to listen to his music in a much more relaxed way one day when sweat is not pouring down my face and I haven’t been running around for the last 12 hours. One day. Soon. I hope.

 

TGTF Guide to SXSW 2013: Electronic and DJ UK artists showcasing at this year’s SXSW

 
By on Tuesday, 22nd January 2013 at 11:00 am
 

Please note: all information we bring you about SXSW 2013 is to the best of our knowledge when it posts and bands scheduled to appear may be subject to change.

We here at TGTF have already brought you the pop and pop hybrid acts list and the follow-up addendum, plus last week’s rock, metal and punk acts list. What I had envisioned this guide to be was simply a handy resource if you were wondering which acts to catch at this year’s marathon week of showcases, parties and secret shows. But even if you’re not attending the big event, I hope it’ll also introduce you to the solo artists and bands you haven’t heard of, because that’s the most exciting thing about SXSW: at any one moment, you could walk into a bar, a club, a hotel, a warehouse, wherever…and you might just discover the next big thing in music. And that isn’t limited to one place or one event. You can find new music anywhere.

This week? Part three of the genre section of the exclusive TGTF Guide to SXSW 2013 continues today with electronic and electronic-based acts and DJs. This kind of music is very near and dear to my heart; when I was younger it was dance music, music with a good beat that you could dance and forget the terrible things I was dealing with in my life. It was weirdly appropriate reading an interview with Ed Macfarlane of Friendly Fires many years later, explaining their music as escapist. I never looked at electronic music was that black and white; just like any other music, you get out of it something different than the next person. But electronic music in particular has a way of making me feel alive in a way that many other types don’t. Below is a listing of all the UK acts I’ve classed as electronic or electronic-based, or are straight DJs.

Electronic / electronic-related bands

The Adamski Kid – is it a commentary of our reliance on electronics these days that there are so many bands now that are only ‘bands’ in the live sense? In the case of The Adamski Kid, the act is Adam Karayiannis, mashing up dance and rock in crazy fashion, the way Talking Heads were crazy. Already a fave of Tom Robinson and Chris Hawkins on 6music and BBC Introducing on Radio1 with Jen and Ally, he’ll probably become a fixture in the UK soon.

Sounds like: the product if Django Django and Darwin Deez had a love child and then spray painted his face so he’d look like King Tut.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pO_7AahdqY[/youtube]

CHVRCHES – if you never thought the words ‘Scottish’ and ‘electropop’ should be in the same sentence like I did, think again. Having landed in the BBC Sound of 2013 longlist, been voted to the top of Generator’s Tipping Point Top of the Tips 2012, and receiving praise from Pitchfork, my opinion doesn’t count for much. But personally, it sounds too cartoony to me to be serious.

Sounds like: bubblegum pop’s wash put through a synth wringer

Alex Clare – 2012 was a big year in America for Alex Clare, and he has Microsoft to thank for that: the computer giant used the East Londoner’s song ‘Too Close’ on their Internet Explorer 9 adverts, firmly embedding the slow-burning, soulful love song with wub wub wubs into the American consciousness and leading to a sold out tour of North America in autumn 2012. While it’s virtually guaranteed that all of Clare’s appearances at SXSW will be rammed, for sure he won’t be playing after sundown Friday until Saturday evening: he’s an Orthodox Jew.

[youtube] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zYXjLbMZFmo[/youtube]

Chad Valley (added 10/01/13) – Oxford chillwave at its finest.

Dauwd – In an interview with the Ableton Web site, Dauwd Al Hilali describes his musical process as “[finding] a groove in something that perhaps you wouldn’t expect, for example maybe a recording of an object falling and rolling on the ground. There would be an infinite amount of detail in this, where you could isolate any part and work with the ‘natural groove/rhythm’ it creates. This would be impossible to recreate through MIDI alone, and gives a really organic sound.” Hmmm. Electronic, with a difference?

Duologue – electronic bedroom experimentalists that turned themselves into a full-fledged band playing an interesting mix of electronic and guitar rock.

Catch all of our previous coverage on Duologue here.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BpAPvrQs4y8[/youtube]

Eaux – this London trio – formed from the remnants of the Sian Alice Group – make music that’s too dark to be called dream pop, but nevertheless captures your imagination like snowflakes in the deepest, darkest night.

Sounds like: the xx, but more subversive; the Hundred in the Hands, but less dance; Bjork, but less oddball

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u0rQoLqih_A[/youtube]

Fenech-Soler (added 10/01/13) – Originally from Kings Cliffe, the synth-loving foursome that made ‘Stop and Stare’ a massive radio hit in 2010 are ready for their SXSW close-up. They’ve already made a huge stir with new single ‘All I Know’, having landed at #6 on our 10 for 2013 readers’ poll.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TWrBP6ttlBQ[/youtube]

Read all of our previous coverage of Fenech-Soler here.

The Ghosts – wonder what happened to the other members of Ou Est Le Swimming Pool after the untimely death of their singer at Pukkelpop 2010? Ex-Ou Est… member Alex Starling is the frontman for this electronic outfit also starring New York trained jazz drummer Ian Palmer and Canadian keyboardist / violin player Rayna Ferner.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lIC-bOdZmA4[/youtube]

K.I.D.S. – Can anyone out there give me some more info on this band? Besides a pretty anonymous Soundcloud, there’s not much else on the net.

Little Boots – Victoria Hesketh’s most recent single releases, spring 2012’s ‘Headphones’ and ‘Every Time I Say a Prayer’, sees the former La Roux sparring partner head into a more dance – and less pop – direction for her new album, out later this year.

All of our previous posts on Little Boots are here.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pJaH2GqT220[/youtube]

Man Without Country – Southern Welsh electronic duo with an unusual writing style: you see, Ryan James and Tomas Greenhalf met in university but now live in different cities, requiring long-distance collaboration. Live, they bring in drummer Mike Monaghan, adding an extra element to the duo’s already rich-sounding soundscapes. They’ve already opened for Mute labelmate M83, so all signs are good for them to be well received at SXSW.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3shX5CuyTs0[/youtube]

Read our live coverage of the duo here.

Modestep – a live dubstep (yes, those wub wub wubs) and electronic band from London. Are they really necessary? I guess we will find out, with their debut album ‘Evolution Theory’ out on the 14th of January 2013 on A&M.

The 1975 – a band from Manchester blending synth into rock? You don’t say! (I readily admit to being completely sceptical about another band from the city that gave us the legendary New Order.) Us here at TGTF actually like The 1975 a lot, especially after they ditched their old name The Big Sleep to avoid confusion with another band from New York of the same name. A number gives you uniqueness, character…something that also describes their music.

Read all of our previous coverage on The 1975 here.

NO CEREMONY/// – you may recall this mysterious Manchester act (why does it feel like I’ve been typing that phrase out umpteenth times?) by the remixes they’ve done for The Good Natured, Zulu Winter, and more recently, their fellow Mancunians the 1975. It’s not clear what those three backslashes are for – maybe they stand for three band members? – but until I physically see any of them live, I’m assuming it’s three skinny English blokes in front of synths and sequencers that together weigh more than they do. Paul Lester wants it to be Natalie Curtis channelling her late father, but I don’t have such fanciful notions…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gtNL3Ic30Rc[/youtube]

NZCA/LINES – “A beautiful electronic ode to dislocation.”

Reverend and the Makers – Jon McClure and his merry band from Sheffield will be bringing their high energy, electro-tinged rock to SXSW and not a moment too soon. I was gutted when they pulled out of their Brighton Dome slot at last year’s Great Escape, so it’ll be cool to see them in an entirely different environment.

Read all our previous coverage on the Rev here.
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qjq2kiuSikw[/youtube]

Tropics (added 10/01/13) – a Southampton version of Caribou – chillwave, polyrhythmic, Afrobeat-ish.

Young Fathers – “Ol’ Dirty chose his moniker because there was no father to his bastard style. Young Fathers earn theirs by making something so fresh it doesn’t yet have a name. These are three fellas from Edinburgh who’ve been working together since they were 14, who have an elastic mind meld that mimics their fused sensibility of sound, who one day locked themselves in a dingy Scottish basement and came out with something that’d never been done — a fearless combination of beat, rap and song that smells not only of its dark and dank birthplace, but of discovery and of communion.”

Grab a free mp3 of ‘Deadline’, from their release ‘Tape One’, fom this previous MP3 of the Day post.

DJs

Bonobo – named after and not actually a chimpanzee (that much I figured, but you know how my boffin mind works…) London musician, DJ and producer who have already blown minds around the world, so expect the same in Austin.

DELS – The fastest growing genre at SXSW in recent years has been urban / hip hop, though Londoner Kieren Dickens can be described not just in hip hop terms but also on the experimental scene, mixing his loves of garage, electro, and dance. His Facebook says live he tours with three other bandmates but it remains to be seen if they will be brought over for this year’s SXSW.

DJ Abrantee – he’s the host of Choice FM’s drive time show Monday through Saturday and its Popular and Trending Afrobeats show each Saturday night, has his own Sky TV programme (since 2009, and is an actor. Afrobeats are celebratory, and I’m sure he’ll be bringing his carnival to wherever he’s dropping beats during SXSW.

DJ Edu – Kenyan-born, London-based DJ Edu should be familiar to regular BBC 1Xtra listeners, presenting the Destination Africa show, described on the BBC’s Web site as “bringing the sound of the African underground to the speakers of the UK and the world.” Anticipate the best and latest Afrobeats to be dropped.

DJ Yoda – hip hop meets turntables. FACT Magazine describes his music as “technicolour boom-bap and plenty of notable guest spots.” Make of that what you will.

Girl Unit – neither a girl, nor a unit – it’s one man, Philip Gamble, a dubstep musician and producer. Groan. His 2012 EP ‘Club Rez’ has already been reviewed – and favourably – on Pitchfork, so I think it’s not much of a guess that his SXSW appearances will be rammed.

Jackmaster – Glasgow’s Jack Revill has been DJaying now for a decade, but he’s kept himself fresh by puttin<a hrefg his hand in four labels, a club night, and a day job, besides his DJ gigs. Having DJayed all over the world and having made an appearance late last year at Manchester’s Warehouse Project, he’s more than ready for his close-up at SXSW.

Jam City – identity unknown, but he (?) is on Night Slugs with Girl Unit and interviewed him for this Hyponik feature, so my guess is that their vibes are similar. Just a random guess though.

L-Vis 1990 – James Connolly is the co-founder of Night Slugs, whose roster includes previously discussed DJ acts Girl Unit and Jam City and whose origin arose from a monthly club night he and another London DJ Bok Bok hosted. Though he’s found fame as a remixer for Orbital (grab the remix of ‘New France’ here), Passion Pit, Frankmusik and Crystal Fighters, my guess is he’ll be bringing his blend of Chicago house, drum and bass, grime and Baltimore club to Austin.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j2sCjO4UeBo[/youtube]

Mista Silva – is Boomboomtah you new religion? Then you’ve already heard of Mista Silva. For everyone else though, I was seriously amused by this bit from his official Web site: “Being of Ghanaian origin, Kwame Amponsa was brought up around the sounds of hi-life and its modern form hip-life where artists rapped and sung in their native tongue over hard hitting and melodic beats. Mista Silva later adapted this to Funky House and became known for blending catchy bars inhis native language with common club chants[,] e.g.[,] the crowd enticing “Kelebom, go down low!” Keen to pay full homage to his roots, Silva made the swift transition from Funky House to Afrobeats.“ And that’s all she wrote.

Redinho – London producer Tom Calvert’s formative years in America could be to blame for what he’s doing now: elevating turntablism to an art form, and mixing hip hop and electronic into his sound. He appeared at last year’s Isle of Wight and will appear at Barcelona’s Razzmatazz right before heading over to Austin, so his name, style and reputation should precede him.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oV1oJOB1nqE[/youtube]

Sophie – I’ve no idea what he (?) sounds like, as all I’m seeing online are remixes. But he’s signed to Huntley and Palmers’ label and keeps having shows with other London DJs, he must be doing something right.

Southern Hospitality DJs – DJs Rob Breezy and Superix founded the now infamous Hip Hop Karaoke London, the first of its kind in the UK and an event that has been a road-block every single month at the Social in central London. Recognised for this and many other dance nights their group put on by tonnes of tv and radio stations, newspapers and other media outlets in Britain, they’ve become a DJ force to be reckoned with and won’t be going anywhere anytime soon. Just shut up and dance!

Sticky – one of the UK’s leading club music producers in the height of the UK Garage scene. His distinctive sound not only made his music unavoidable in the clubs during this era, but also launched the careers of a number of the UK’s leading talents including the 2002 Mercury Prize-winning Ms. Dynamite.

TCTS – Manchester DJ and producer Sam O’Neill offers “futuristic garage with echoes of neo soul and soft whispers of classic Chicago house”.

Toddla T – and speaking of repeat nod surprises, Toddla T gets another nod from SXSW 2 years in a row too, leading me to believe that he’ll again be asked to preside over the dancey DJayed end of some night of British Music Embassy programming at Latitude 30 again. Not really my thing but if that’s what they’re looking for…

Previous coverage of Toddla T are here.

Next week here on TGTF we’ll be bringing the fourth and final genre chapter of the TGTF Guide to SXSW 2013. On Tuesday, we bring the singer/songwriters and folk artistes. Catch us then!

 

MP3 of the Day #264: Bear in Heaven

 
By on Friday, 12th November 2010 at 10:00 am
 

Bear in Heaven‘s ‘Beast Rest Forth Mouth’ was one of the more intriguing releases of 2009, and the band were certainly one of the surprising live performances I saw this year. Check out Tropics‘s remix of Bear in Heaven’s ‘You Do You’ – Englishman Chris Ward has made the song spacier than the original. And I totally mean that in a good way. I love the vibe in this version. Have a great weekend!

MP3: Bear in Heaven – You Do You (Tropics Remix)

[audio:https://www.theregoesthefear.com/uploads/2010/11/BIH-You-Do-You-Tropics-Remix.mp3]
 
 
 

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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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