A rite of passage for many of the world’s biggest acts that have risen from their local scenes only to make themselves known on both sides of the atlantic, Austin, Texas’ SXSW is undoubtedly the holy grail of music conferences. A chance to stake your claim as an artist that deserves the courtship of labels and industry musos alike, the event completetly besieges the city for its duration with shows on every street corner and in any cramped bar available. With a strong contingent of UK-based talent descending upon the sun-drenched city, here’s our rundown of the Scottish prospects that could very well make a indelible mark on the attentive American audiences.
A trio that brims with unfettered creativity and happily dismisses all preconceived notions about their sound at every fork in the road, Breakfast Muff have continually demonstrated their ingenuity since exploding onto the Scottish music scene’s collective consciousness in 2015. Armed with a chaotically fuzzy sound that that shimmers with indie-pop based brilliance, their debut album Eurgh! attested to their formidable songwriting talents and tracks such as ‘R U A FEMINIST’ and ‘Crocodile’ seem predestined to resonate with American audiences.
Glasgow’s Catholic Action are no strangers to SXSW having made a big impression at last year’s event. They return in 2018 in the wake of the release of their acclaimed debut LP In Memory Of; a vibrant collection full of glam-rock tinged anthems, clever hooks and finely crafted pop melodies. Renowned for their blistering live shows, they have a busy week with a number of showcases lined up where they will hope to expand their fanbase even further.
An exponent of a driving folk-rock based sound that dips its toe into the realm of expansive Americana whenever applicable, Colin Macleod’s aptitude for touching and penetratingly honest compositions is a very exciting proposition. With an unrelentingly busy schedule during his time at SXSW that will see him play upwards of seven times, it is evident that Macleod is hell-bent on making the most of this sought after opportunity.
An enthralling artist from Edinburgh that takes the familiar tropes of modern pop and contorts them into her own invigorating electronica-laden direction, Elle Exxe has been a regular fixture on ‘ones to watch’ lists in recent years and seems on the precipice of the breakthrough that she’s been waiting for. Continuing to build upon the merited praise that arose from debut album Love Fuelled Hate with recent output such as the combative dance-pop stomper ‘Catapult’ and the empowering ‘Queen’, it’s entirely feasible that she’ll return to the homeland with a lot of new offers on the table.
Centered around her rousing bluesy drawl that invokes any given emotion with undeniable power and gravitas, Emme Woods has long been on the cusp of greatness and now the time is ripe for her to deliver on all of the well-documented promise. Assisted by an adept and multi-faceted band that aid in bringing her tales of torrid love and loss to life, 2017 was a massively productive year and her inclusion on the SXSW is an early indication of the upward trajectory that’s ahead both this year and beyond.
Initially beginning as a side-project before it began to rapidly grow in stature, LAPS is a collaboration between Golden Teacher’s Cassie Ojay and Organ Of Love’s Alicia Matthews that dates back to 2014 but made an intriguing reassertion last year in the form of their Who Me? EP. Stark and mechanical electronica that is embellished by their enchanting vocal work that ranges from amorous to abrasive over its five track duration. Sure to make for an engrossing live spectacle, those that aren’t yet familiar should acquaint themselves as soon as possible.
WIth each passing release, the world grows less and less impervious to the considerable charms of Lucia’s punk-infused material. Having delivered one of the most captivatin opening volleys from a Scottish artist in recent years with last year’s Best Boy EP, all of that momentum has been expanded upon with the phenomenal follow-up ‘Melted Ice Cream.’ With a sound that is capable of inciting fully fledged riots and moments of therapeutic awe in equal measure, it is almost a foregone conclusion that Lucia and her band shall be well received during their stateside voyage.
Renowned for their innate eclecticism and experimental approach that yielded fantastic releases such as their Handsome Living LP and the deeply hypnotic art-pop of ‘Submerge’, Glasgow’s Lylo all but cemented their position as one of the nation’s leading purveyors of unimpeded creativity with their latest record Post Era. Now imbued with immense confidence and a stellar repertoire at their disposal, SXSW is very much theirs for the taking.
One of Scotland’s leading pop exports over the course of the decade, Nina Nesbitt is no stranger to the US and will arrive in Austin, Texas with the self-assuredness of a well travelled veteran. With experience beyond her years due to her near-prodigious rise, her latest single ‘Somebody Special’ was a marked progression in her sonic palette and is sure to go down well with the US audience.
A hybrid of artists from Glasgow and London, Shopping have garnered widespread acclai for their idiosyncratic form of post-punk that masterfully incorporates wry elements of disco and funk in their deeply rhythmic style. Featuring Rachel Aggs of Sacred Paws fame, the band dates all the way back to 2012 but have received unprecedented attention in recent months after the release of The Official Body. With the Edwyn Collins helmed LP registering as the trio’s finest work to date, there has never been a more fitting time for them to make the pilgrimage to Austin.
Following a 2017 that would be most aptly defined as an exciting year of growth and transition for the four-piece, Tijuana Bibles are primed and poised to bring their heady, foreboding and uniquely devised brand of post-punk to the world’s leading music conference. In the midst of a visceral metamorphosis that has seen the band presented in their most gripping and irrepressible form, the macabre, primal rock ‘n’ roll of ‘Pariah’ and ‘Catacomb’ have taught us that any notion of playing it safe has been thoroughly dispelled and this ethos is sure to work wonders for them over in the states.