by Miguel Banuelos
As February is traditionally all about love, we figured this month we would focus on three things we love: Lily Allen, SXSW and old movies. On with the show…
Let's start with the fact that we are so happy to have Lily Allen back, both musically and personally. She's an all-time AEC fave, and with last week's release of It's Not Me, It's You, she's cemented her status with us. Miss Allen played her first stateside show last week (which we very sadly missed), and she seems to be everywhere. The TODAY Show? The Tonight Show? Oprah? Ellen? Wow, you've come along way, baby. But one of the things that made Lily such a success from the beginning was her willingness to embrace technology. We were so pleased to finally see her get on Twitter. She's only been on a fortnight or so, but she's already racking up the tweets. The medium is perfect for her so we're glad she's on board. Follow Lily's tweets here.
Lily Allen - "The Fear"
One of our favorite February pastimes is discovering new U.K. bands just by looking through the SXSW band listings. March in Austin has become the most concentrated U.K. band "coming out party" in the past few years, so most of the folks who we've only read or heard about finally reach our shores for this event. Naturally, the minute the band list comes out, we fire up the browsers and start clicking away.
This year is no exception, with about 200 U.K. bands descending on Texas in just a few weeks. As a public service, and since we were going to do it anyway, we figured we'd give you a head start on this year's pickings with our early choices. This should give you a few weeks to check them out ahead of the BBQ and booze. In the interest of space and brevity, we'll be skipping the likes of Primal Scream and Glasvegas because you should already know about them, as well as Ipso Facto and The Whip, as they have already been mentioned here before, so we figure you know enough to check them out. This time, we'll cover bands listed A-K, and we'll follow up with the second half next month. Here are our recommendations.
Dan Le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip
Reminds us of a mix of Lo-fidelity All Stars, Atmosphere and Aesop Rock (and not jut for the hip-hop beards). Their interesting lyricism and unique beats should be a good addition of hip-hop to your SXSW line-up.
Dan Le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip - "Thou Shalt Always Kill"
Just enough Artrocker cred, feminine sass and all the right influences, this London trio recalls some Siouxsie, some YYYs and good tunes as well. They have opened for AEC-approved The Noisettes, so they flock to good company (always a good sign). Our favorite tracks so far are "Is It Me" and "Turn the Lights On."
The DeBretts - "Hole In The Head"
A bit more subdued than our usual fare, Fanfarlo recall Andrew Bird, Rufus Wainwright and Aqualung in the best ways possible. Might be the perfect SXSW hangover Friday afternoon band. Hopefully, touring with Snow Patrol has honed their big stage performance chops. Check out their Black Cab Sessions performance as well.
Fanfarlo - The Black Cab Sessions No. 19
We considered skipping this write-up as this band has been pretty well covered for the last year by most of the UK press. But since we have never mentioned them, we figured it would be at least fair of us to put them on the list. The tough tattooed outfit has brought "hardcore" into the music headlines in the UK, with a special British touch and a lead singer who looks cool enough to have made it into a U.S. Converse campaign without anyone in this country knowing his band?! Result.
The Gallows - "In The Belly of a Shark"
The Gin Riots
Named after a 1730s story of punters breaking into the Gordon's Gin factory and flushing the streets and its residents with gin for three days, this band performed for the premiere of Guy Ritchie's Rocknrolla. Armed with enough sing-along choruses to fill a stadium, these guys might be your next Libertines.
The Gin Riots - "Hail to the Soaks"
Akin to FADER cover girl Little Boots, Goldilocks is in the current singer/rapper/electro-girl about town. She's probably more personality than talent, but the show could be a good time, and will probably include loads of good-looking kids ready to party. Maybe Tinchy Stryder could show up for a guest appearance? That would be nice. Even if he doesn't, and the show ends up being less than thrilling, we are willing to bet that Goldilocks show will be the best place to hear some new dubstep/grime in Austin all week.
Goldilocks - "Dolla Dolla"
This is Justin Hawkins' new band. You may remember him from the metal revivalist outfit known as The Darkness. We haven't heard much, but it would probably be a show worth checking out, at least to hear him hit one or two of those insane metal crescendos.
Hot Leg - "Heroes"
The Hot Melts
Rock and roll enough to tour with the Eagles of Death Metal, we'd tip these guys to be in an iTunes commercial sooner than later. Think the Fratellis with a bit more punk edge and definitely hummable.
The Hot Melts - "(I Wish I Had) Never Been In Love"
Another band we weren't sure if we should skip over, but we haven't written about them yet. Part of the Fierce Panda posse, this trio is whip smart and just twee enough. They have shared or will share the stage with Ipso Facto, the Walkmen, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart and Crystal Stilts. They also count Tim Burgess among their followers. That's almost always a good sign. "Give Me The Gift" is a good pace to start.
Hatcham Social - "So So Happy Making"
Named after one of our favorite Bond characters, this pop duo are not trying to hip. This is unabashed pop music. Think Girls Aloud ballads and Sophie Ellis Bextor or Natasha Bedingfield, not Kylie or Girls Aloud dance hits. Could be that we are just letting our dreams of a stateside Girls Aloud show influence us to mention this here, and this could just be wish fulfillment, but at least we can admit that.
Honey Ryder - "Knight Nurse"
Inner City Pirates
Bouncy silly day-glo fun, the Inner City Pirates have no pretense, a radio-friendly sensibility when it comes to choruses, and will probably get more pogo-ing per square inch at shows than any other SXSW act.
Inner City Pirates - "Cockney Sparra
A good selection if you are looking for at least one purely dance floor related DJ/club show at South By. Good old fashioned jacking beats, remixes and lots of bass; simple and to the point. Look for Jack Beats at plenty of afterhours parties, as we can't see this doing much for folks at 10pm.
Lady Sovereign - "Got You Dancing" (Jack Beats Remix)"
We'll finish out the list next month. That should be enough to tide you over for now.
Finally, our other favorite thing in the world is watching old movies. And we finally had a chance to catch a cult classic that involves UK British icons and great music: Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains. Recently released on DVD, the film is a great touchstone of early punk rock that includes pubescent Diane Lane and Laura Dern, but should be seen by AEC-minded readers for the performances by the film's snotty punk rockers, The Looters. The fictional group's lead singer is Ray Winstone, but the band he is leading is a veritable super group of British punk rock including The Sex Pistols' Steve Jones and Paul Cook, and one of our all time heroes, Paul Simonon of The Clash. This is a worthwhile rental, to say the least.
The Looters - "Join The Professionals"
The Stains - "Join The Professionals"
Stay tuned for more SXSW picks next month. If you have any tips or recommendations, let us know.