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(SXSW 2019 flavoured!) Video of the Moment #2933: APRE

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

The day before I left for Austin APRE unveiled a new video. In case you somehow missed it, I previewed their appearances at SXSW 2019 in this Bands to Watch feature. ‘Gap Year 2008’, released by Charlie and Jules last month as a stand-alone single, is arguably their most singalongable (is that a word?) yet, filled with la la las and unlikely like anything you’ve ever heard of. Merging acoustic and electronic elements with that infectious chorus was already a great feat. In the official promo for the single, the pair appear to be on some kind of unusual plane trip, with a group of all too agreeable travel companions, except for a selfie stick duel. On a piece of paper is scrawled the message, “it’s not the arrival, it’s the journey”. There’s clearly something wrong with you if you don’t chuckle a few times watching this below. Stay tuned for more on APRE at SXSW 2019 very soon.

 

SXSW 2019: Focus Wales and Seazoo, Matt Maltese, Jealous of the Birds, and Grace Carter and Sam Fender at BBC Introducing – 13th March 2019 (Wednesday, part 3)

 
By on Tuesday, 26th March 2019 at 3:00 pm
 

No SXSW would be complete without visits to your favourite country showcases and houses and seeing friends. For a second year running, Focus Wales put on a networking mixer on Wednesday night, this time at one of my favourite venues in Austin, Swan Dive, its stage bordered by white fencing like a perfect slice of Americana. There must be a good joke that all good mixers bring in the Irish and the Scots, but it’s also very true. I also wanted to hang around for as long as I could to see Wrexham, North Wales band Seazoo play as the showcase’s opener. In my Bands to Watch on them at the end of last month, I wrote about discovering their self-described “psych indie pop”. But there’s much more to this band than any boxes they or anyone else could put them in.


While many bands exist and continue on today on a foundation of long-held friendships, you get the sense from watching the band members of Seazoo that long after their instruments are packed away, they will actually go and get drinks at the pub together. (Indeed, I appear to have been invited to visit them in Wrexham the next time I’m relatively close, in Liverpool for Sound City.) The gangly, bespectacled Ben Trow, who fronts the band, is a more obviously humourous frontman than Jarvis Cocker. I was first confused by what he meant by introducing “the best baby head player”. That is, until I got a closer look at what Llinos Griffiths was playing: a head of a doll with metal switches on its surface that evidently are part of Seazoo’s musical success. The super poppy ‘Shoreline’ started the Focus Wales night with flair, as it was impossible not to get drawn in by the infectious earworm. Check out their debut album ‘Trunks’, you won’t be disappointed.

From the slap-happy sunny tunes of Seazoo, I departed for the uphill battle (literally) to Central Presbyterian Church and decidedly more subdued music. Matt Maltese was a last-minute addition to the SXSW 2019 bill; his announcing of his appearances leading to my many squeals. He is the 21st century heir apparent to the late Leonard Cohen and the ever declining in favour Morrissey. Accompanying his voice with only a piano or guitar, consummate crooner Maltese wowed an appreciative seated audience at the church with tunes from his debut album from last year, ‘Bad Contestant’ (review here), out now on Atlantic Records. Like Morrissey and Neil Hannon of The Divine Comedy, he has a rapier-like wit. He quipped that two of the songs in his set were based on unfortunate love triangles he found himself a party in and that he would recommend others to participate in love triangles of their own. (Guffaw.) Despite forgetting his guitar tuner, he was able to crowdsource a mobile phone with the infinitely well-named GuitarTuna app while also continuing his droll stage banter.


I hope he doesn’t mind me comparing his delivery style to Barry Manilow: only so many piano-playing singers have the gift of warmth in their voices, a lustrous quality that makes the pain of heartbreak that much easier to swallow. The languid nature of ‘Less and Less’ is the perfect foil for the chronicling of falling out of love with someone, while the more jaunty, happy chord-filled ‘Guilty’ is the full-scale admittance of his repeated returning to a selfish lover because he just can’t extricate himself from her. While his was not one of the most energetic sets I saw at SXSW this year, it was a great reminder that there is something for everyone at this festival, including the brooding introvert within me that just wants to revisit the strong feelings of love and heartbreak through osmosis.

The next act seemed to have made it their mission to bring brightness back into the church. Before coming out to Austin, I saw that Naomi Hamilton, aka Jealous of the Birds, had chosen to wear a fun purple tartan suit for their set on the Output Belfast boat party on Tuesday. She graced the church in the same outfit, while her bandmates were dressed less ostentatiously but still on theme in black watch tartan trousers. Gotta love a coordinated band! ‘Tonight I Feel Like Kafka’, which I previously saw Hamilton perform solo supporting The Divine Comedy in Birmingham in November 2017, had many more wonderful layers presented by her and her band.


Cracking jokes about having not yet burst into flames while in a house of worship is just one indicator that this is not the same Hamilton TGTF has covered in previous years. Her sound has evolved from ‘breaking’ into the indie world with ‘Goji Berry Sunset’ on BBC 6 Music 3 years ago that I saw performed live at Dublin Tengu at Hard Working Class Heroes in 2016. On most recent EP ‘Wisdom Teeth’, the dissonant guitar licks of ‘Blue Eyes’ throw you off for a moment before you surrender to its wild nature. Even better, Hamilton has described as a celebration of “femininity and strong women feeling empowered”. If you haven’t seen the music video for it, you simply must.

Following my time at Central Presbyterian, just like in the afternoon, I faced another daunting queue at the British Music Embassy for the BBC Introducing / PRS Foundation showcase. Onstage at the time was Grace Carter, a pop singer/songwriter from Brighton whose had a recent meteoric rise thanks to the attention of artists like Dua Lipa and Lana Del Rey. One of her most arresting singles, ‘Why Her Not Me’, documents the heart-wrenching realisation Carter came to when she learned from her single mother than her biological father wasn’t in her life because he chose to stay with the other family he had. While this isn’t the kind of music I’d normally choose to listen to, I can respect her ability to open up her personal life in her music.

Sam Fender returned to Austin and oddly enough, the same exact showcase at the British Music Embassy as SXSW 2018 and at the same time slot. The Geordie had a spectacular year in the meantime, his lyrics espousing social consciousness and the plight of young people today hitting a nerve and making him a critical darling and a must-see at festivals, including the inaugural edition of This is Tomorrow. There was a bittersweet poignancy as he and his band performed ‘Dead Boys’ on the brightly lit Latitude 30 stage, as if the song being performed was to honour those young men we’ve lost through suicide but also shame the society who failed them. 2019 single ‘Hypersonic Missiles’, in contrast, shows his knack for writing a melodious rock song, as well as his impressive vocal range. Having woken up at 4 AM, I called it an early night (and before midnight, shocker!) to be ready for what Thursday would bring.


 

Video of the Moment #2932: Hatchie

 
By on Thursday, 7th March 2019 at 6:00 pm
 

Debut album klaxon! Australian artist Harriette Pilbeam, better known under her stage name Hatchie, will be releasing her debut ‘Keepsake’ this summer. It will follow the dream pop singer/songwriter’s ‘Sugar & Spice’ EP, released in the second half of 2018, and one-off single ‘Adored’ (see a live performance from Seattle last year through here). To preview the upcoming LP, Pilbeam has revealed the lead single and its associated video. ‘Without a Blush’ is a crunchy pop tour de force. Partake in it with your eyes and ears below. We’re all waiting with bated breath for the release of ‘Keepsake’, scheduled for the 22nd of June on Double Double Whammy. We’ve written a fair bit about Hatchie on TGTF; come through to catch up.

 

(SXSW 2019 flavoured!) Bands to Watch #418: Sports Team

 
By on Thursday, 7th March 2019 at 12:00 pm
 

Unless there’s an added horn section, and even that doesn’t happen too often, it’s rare for us to write about a six-piece band here on TGTF. The band members of Sports Team met at Cambridge University, where their guitar-driven rock didn’t find too many fans among their fellow students who preferred hip-hop and dance. You snooze, you lose: the now London-based group have plenty of hype going into their debut appearances at SXSW 2019 next week. Decidedly not punk or lo-fi, outlets like the Guardian are calling them part of the ‘indie revival’, recalling (I suppose) the heady days of Weezer, Franz Ferdinand and Maximo Park.

Last year, Sports Team released their debut EP ‘Winter Nets’, produced by Dave McCracken (Ian Brown, Depeche Mode, Oh Land) and out now on Nice Swan Records. EP track ‘Camel Crew’, a wonky guitar-pop tune, was named #10 on Noisey’s Best Songs of 2018, described as “stray[ing] into the tradition of great British groups like The Beautiful South and Pulp”. The song’s lyrics are controversial to some, as they poke fun at a period in the not too distant past where a fellow South London band was getting the lion’s share of hype, much to Sports Team’s cynicism. It probably helps that they’re London transplants and can cut through the pretension of the Capital’s music scene with x-ray vision. I can appreciate the shade. Sometimes you need to be on the outside looking in to be able to suss what’s really going on.

In the video for single ‘Margate’, frontman Alex Rice is throwing his limbs around in the seaside town and dancing like no-one’s watching. You gotta give credit where credit’s due. To be sure, Rice’s vocals will never be confused with the dulcet tones of, say, Tom Chaplin. Like David Byrne in Talking Heads’ heyday, the whole point of the vocals in Sports Team is to be yelping and dissonant, another wild card element to their sound that plays off of the frenetic played guitars and drum beats. While this style isn’t new, plenty of people are taking notice including The Vaccines, who appear to now be playing catch-up. Sports Team will appear at 1 AM on Monday, the 11th of March, at the DIY and UK Department of Trade (DIT) showcase at the British Music Embassy at Latitude 30. Like The Snuts who I wrote about on Tuesday, Sports Team will be appearing Thursday night, the 14th of March at the Good Karma Club showcase being put on by Abbie McCarthy of BBC Radio 1 and BBC Introducing at SXSW 2019 (set time 10 PM).

 

Video of the Moment #2931: Ten Tonnes

 
By on Wednesday, 6th March 2019 at 6:00 pm
 

Since seeing him and interviewing him at SXSW 2017, Ten Tonnes has been a firm musical favourite of mine. I’m delighted to relay the news that he’s decided to release a live fan favourite as a proper single. ‘Lucy’, with all of Ethan Barnett’s squeals, is a perfect song to work up the fans live, and now we’ve got an official recorded version. Part lyric video, part animated video, watch the video ‘Lucy’ below. All of our past coverage on Ten Tonnes is through here.

 

Live Gig Video: Pale Waves share live performance of ‘Eighteen’ from 2018 show at Manchester Ritz

 
By on Wednesday, 6th March 2019 at 4:00 pm
 

The Pale Waves train hasn’t really slowed down at all, has it? The band recently toured with their in real life and labelmate buddies The 1975 from the start of this year. I don’t really get it, but the Manchester indie rock group can play a packed out Ritz in Manchester to loads of adoring fans, so what do I know? If you happen to be in that latter camp, good news, Team Pale Waves. Someone had the good idea to film them performing their single ‘Eighteen’ at that aforementioned Ritz show last September, and the band are now sharing the performance. Watch it below. Past articles on Pale Waves here on TGTF can be read through this link.

 
 
 

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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 was edited by Mary Chang, based in Washington, DC.

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