For those of us who are fanatics for indie music that emerges out of the U.K., the small venue on San Jacinto and 6th Street, Latitude 30, becomes the haven known as the British Music Embassy Showcase during SXSW. The first glimmer of what’s in store for 2015 has surfaced, as BBC Introducing announced their showcase bands in conjunction with PRS for Music Foundation.
As usual, curation is top notch with prime acts set to love the ears of attendees on Wednesday, March 18, including Spring King, SOAK, Blossoms, Gengahr, Little Simz and Jack Garratt.
Manchester’s Spring King visited New York last fall during CMJ, taking the opportunity to captures those moments for their video of, “Not Me, Not Now,” a cruising, jangle jaunt of a tune, released in 2014. In the video you can see them thrashing about, no doubt to some of their other tracks off of the ‘Demons EP’, made for crowd surfing and Chuck Taylors flying threw the air.
Having missed my flight to London the day before The Great Escape festival started in Brighton, I missed their hurtling show at Prince Albert, but was able to catch Spring King’s DIY All-Dayer set months later in London. And what a set it was.
So I for one am looking forward to being front and center for the joyous and anthemic “Better Man,” the rocket-fueled, pedal-to-the-medal journey of “Let’s Ride,” and the soulful, experimental side of Spring King for “Mumma Pt. II.” Not sure if Steve Darlington, one of the members’ fathers, will make it to Austin to add his sax to the mix, but I’m very happy to have the avocado-loving Spring King back in the states as part of the BME series of musical events the week of SXSW.
Steeped in classic yet fresh psychedelic hooks and melodies that opened the British Invasion flood gates back in the day, Stockport’s Blossoms keep that American passion for U.K. music pulsating through the generations.
For many of us, the trek to Austin in March is a reprieve from the cold and slush of winter, where we can bathe in the warmer temps and breezes. A perfect complement to this welcomed weather holiday is “Winter Kiss,” dripping with the lazy moods of drifting down a river as the sunlight dances through the tree branches above us.
When that chorus for “Blow” hits, “And it’s everywhere she goes / I don’t know if it’s love that she wants…” it’s a love-at-first-listen moment, sending dopamine levels through the roof with eyes closed and hips swaying.
Thus far the five-piece – Tom Ogden (vocals and guitar), Charlie Salt (bass & backing vocals), Josh Dewhurst (lead guitar), Joe Donovan (drums), and Myles Kellock (keyboards) – has yet to release a full-length, but I anticipate they may have more musical gems in their black trouser pockets, ready to reveal.
Blossoms will win many hearts in Austin. If they aren’t aware of the Stockport (about a half hour’s drive south of Manchester) band already, I would highly recommend their addition to the Austin Psych Fest line up later this year. (Hint, hint Brandon. And at the least, Craig Pennington has them on his bands-to-book list). Until then, the band will be on a solid tour route through the U.K. starting Friday, 30th of January at the Hebden Bridge Trades Club in West Yorkshire, through until the middle of March at the Leeds Brudenell Social Club, heading west for SXSW, and then straight back to London for Camden Barfly on 26th March and a hometown show at Gorilla in Manchester 28th March.
Another new act that hit the music world with a huge splash last year, Transgressive Records’ band Gengahr reflect many contrasts. There’s the sunrise moods with sinister undertones of “She’s A Witch,” and bass-driven saunter with disco-ball persuasions of “Bathed In Light.”
But it was last October’s “Powder” that rose Gengahr up a few more notches, with icicle fresh vocals poured over snarled and emphatic guitars, making for an encore blowout song in any set. Having performed at Glastonbury’s BBC Introducing stage, I’m ecstatic Gengahr are scheduled to spread their magic stateside.
Proof that they know talent with they see it, Nico Smith – the director of Gengahr’s video for ‘Fill My Gums With Blood’ (so damn adorable I just had to include it…what a talent…a director AND an actor!)…UPDATE: the original video was removed, so replaced it with Smith’s review of “A Dream Outside.”
Prior to their SXSW appearances, Gengahr will be busy touring with Alt-J and their own headlining dates through the end of February, and after March will join Circa Waves (also set to play Sx) in April.
Two years ago at the ripe age of 16 years old, Bridie Monds-Watson, also known as SOAK, was on the ‘one to watch’ list as a talented singer with an immense craft for songwriting. Today her 2012 EP Sea Creatures is still getting airplay on BBC Radio, and she’s since released more enduring, beautifully arranged songscapes.
SOAK’s voice, while still tranquil and illuminating, has slightly deeper tones, reflecting her evolving maturity, as heard on last year’s ‘B a noBody’ EP. Production quality has expanded with additional musical tones and instrumentation, from rhythm guitars and keyboard accents, to rolling percussion and layered back vocals.
It’s unsure if SOAK will have a full band or if she will revert to her solo configuration for the BME showcase, but either way, this continually rising star will easily captivate the Latitude 30 room.
If you’re in the UK or Dublin, catch Bridie on her February tour of Skate parks and shops. Tickets are free, but require registration at https://billetto.co.uk/soak. She’s also slated to perform at this year’s The Great Escape festival in Brighton and Primavera Sound in Barcelona.
Also on the BBC Introducing Showcase bill:
London emcee Little Simz, recognized last year for her mini-EP, ‘Age 101: Drop 2’ and awarded Best Newcomer and Best Hip Hop Act by MOBO.
Jack Garret, who blends soul, electro, layered samples and spell-bounding vocal choruses, set to mesmerize.
Stay up to date at future announcements coming from the British Music Embassy Showcase folks by following them below and here on Kaffeine Buzz, including the weeks leading up to SXSW Music 2015, taking place March 17 – 22, and feel free to attend our panel at SXSW Music, “The Future of Event Tech,” where I will be moderating the panel in conjunction with my research report, “The Connect Festival™ Report,” on the evolution of event-related technology and its impact on the fan experience.