Ben Abraham of Melbourne, The Gooch Palms from Newcastle, Hockey Dad of Wollongong, Nite Fields of Brisbane, Oh Pep! From Melbourne and Sui Zhen from Melbourne will showcase at SXSW 2016.
SXSW has made its second artist announcement for the 2016 music festival with the Australian acts added alongside international names such as psychedelic alt-rock band Mercury Rev, Greek disco star Monika, Taiwanese rapper Aristophanes (who you may have heard on the new Grimes LP), Replacements bassist Tommy Stinson, Cholo goth duo PRAYERS, Argentinian minimal wave act Mueran Humanos, Fuck Buttons side-project Blanck Mass, up-and-coming Israeli shoegaze act Soda Fabric, classic Dallas gospel-funk group The Relatives and so many more.
SXSW 2016 is on from March 15-20, 2016 in Austin, Texas, USA.
Second round Australian artists added to SXSW
Ben Abraham (Melbourne)
Ben Abraham is a singer-songwriter based in Melbourne, Australia.
Ben’s honest songwriting and disarming stage presence have seen him grow in the last two years from a well-kept hometown secret into an independent artist with a passionate international following.
His distinctive soulful voice and developing reputation as a songwriter have led to recent collaborations with artists including Gotye and Sara Bareilles, and he was recently hand-picked by Emmylou Harris to support her on a national tour of Australia.
The Gooch Palms (Newcastle)
After knockout performances at SXSW in 2015, Australia’s DIY punk sweethearts The Gooch Palms have firmly planted their feet in American soil and have since played over 100 shows across the USA and Canada to packed rooms and rave reviews. They are fast becoming known as one of the most entertaining live bands in America and are breaking out of their strong cult following to reach out to a broader audience.
Their debut album NOVO’S, released in 2013 on Australian label Anti Fade Records, sold out of the both the original and second pressings and has since been re-released on Burger Records in the US and Surfin Ki Records in Europe.
Despite being extremely busy with touring in 2015 the duo still managed to squeeze in a recording session with producer Bill Skibbe (The Kills, Black Keys, Wild Belle, Protomartyr, Jacuzzi Boys) to work on their second album in Benton Harbour, MI.
January and February will see The Gooch Palms head back to their native country of Australia for a homecoming tour only to return shortly after to the US for their second appearance at SXSW in 2016 and yet another US tour.
Keeping true to their DIY ethos, the pair will be releasing their second album “Introverted Extroverts” in mid 2016 on their own label Summer Camp Records and will continue the hard work with an extensive worldwide tour to follow.
The Gooch Palms are truly a unique, refreshing and hard working band that are creating a world of buzz which is whole-heartedly deserved.
Hockey Dad (Wollongong)
For two childhood friends from a small coastal town in Australia, Hockey Dad has come a long way in their relatively short existence.
Growing up on the stages of small bars in Wollongong since mid-2013, the duo of Zach Stephenson (guitar/vocals) and Billy Fleming (drums) began to grow their following outside their home city with the release of their debut EP “Dreamin” in June 2014.
“Dreamin” was produced by Tom Iansek (Big Scary, #1 Dads) and remains the first release for newly formed Leisure Coast label Farmer & The Owl. “I Need A Woman”, the lead single from the five-track EP, earned the band rotation on Triple J and FBi Radio as well as plenty of love across the web. In the US it peaked at #77 on the CMJ 200, and charted at #23 on the FMQB Sub-Modern charts.
Growing interest in the band led to national tours alongside the likes of DZ Deathrays, Bass Drum Of Death and Bad//Dreems, and they were named the winners of Triple J’s Unearthed competition, landing them a spot on Byron Bay’s prestigious Falls Music & Arts Festival over the new year.
“Can’t Have Them” is the brand new single from Hockey Dad, in which they have just completed a national tour across Australia to launch, selling out all eight shows.
In Australia, the band have signed a booking-agency deal with Village Sounds (Courtney Barnett, Vance Joy, Violent Soho, DMAs) and distribution deal with Inertia (Australian home of Sub Pop, JAGJAGUWAR, XL and many more). The duo are now looking to expand their reach beyond their home country with their debut album release in mid 2016. Following their recent performance at CMJ in New York, the band has just signed a US deal for the release of the album.
Nite Fields (Brisbane)
Brisbane, Australia’s Nite Fields is centred around the songwriting partnership of singer Danny Venzin and guitarist Chris Campion. Trading in a blurred-around-the-edges brand of punk, shoegaze and electronica, their sound is both assertive and, paradoxically, dreamlike. Though flirting with pop, Nite Fields are very much a D.I.Y. band at heart. Their mostly self-recorded debut LP ‘Depersonalisation’ was released on Los Angeles label Felte in 2015 and the following year saw Nite Fields’ unorthodox touring schedule take them to over 20 countries including Russia, Mongolia, Thailand and Greece. Much of the band’s allure comes from how well they combine well-crafted lyrics with innovative production techniques. Touches like when Venzin stretches the word “desire” into several syllables on ‘Fill the Void’ and the fervent guitar work on ‘Winter’s Gone’ reflect just how much finesse this art-rock band has invested in both sound and songwriting.
Oh Pep! (Melbourne)
The sometimes foot-stomping, somewhat heart-breaking, multi-award-winning original contemporary pop Melbourne duo Oh Pep! comprise of Olivia ‘Liv’ Hally and Pepita ‘Pep’ Emmerichs.
Not even 23 years old, Oh Pep! have been awarded Young Folk Performer of the Year 2014 and nominated in the Best Folk Roots Category by The Age Music Victoria Award. They have released three EPs to date and gained rapid momentum, touring Australia, the USA and Europe. Amongst others, they’ve been invited to play at The Woodford Folk Festival, Port Fairy Folk Festival the National Folk Festival in Canberra, and Folk Alliance International, Kansas City. On their first tour of North America in 2015 they performed break through showcases at Americana Music Festival and CMJ Music Marathon, winning the attention of NPR, KEXP and KCRW amongst others.
Sui Zhen (Melbourne)
Sui Zhen is the alias of Melbourne-based artist Becky Sui Zhen. Since releasing two complimentary EPs on Tokyo labels in 2014, Female Basic and Body Reset, Becky has been preparing for the release of her upcoming album Secretly Susan. Following her recent electronic experimentation with ethereal techno-pop and minimal down-tempo 808-lead tracks, the new LP marks a return to more traditional vocal-led pop songs.
The album takes influence from Japanese lovers rock, 80s electro-bossanova and dubby-lounge pop which Becky discovered during holidays in Japan and London where she was a participant at the Red Bull Music Academy. Playing records as DJ Susan is a new outlet for Becky, allowing her to share the references and context that informs her distinct approach to music making.
With over tens years experience performing in various lineups, Becky has found a special synergy in her current live band Sui et Sui, comprising former fellow NSW residents, Alec Marshall (Hot Palms, Why Don’t You Believe Me Records) and Ashley Bundang (Totally Mild, Zone Out). The trio captivated audiences at recent festivals including Outside In, White Night and will soon perform at the Sydney Opera House for Vivid. Becky also provides vocals and percussion to Melbourne’s well-loved ‘heat beat’ band, NO ZU.
In the release of Secretly Susan we can expect to be immersed in the larger narratives that surround Becky’s work. From the banal pastel dystopia of her Infinity Street video to the invention of Susan, an alter ego who manifests in the forthcoming single Take It All Back – these colourful, surreal and staged landscapes allow Becky’s take on pop music to sit within its own uncanny terrain.
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