SXSW Music Review: Genre Tripping with British Music Embassy & ATC Live

GOA Express, Anna B Savage, Katy J. Pearson, and Nayana Iz

The British Music Embassy threw down the anchor for SXSW Online, dishing nightly lineups that reached eclectic, experimental, and fresh. Friday evening’s ATC Live showcase continued the trend behind four young and diverse acts.

GOA Express (Photo by Doug Freeman)

The GOA Express kicked off behind high buzz, despite only two singles currently in the wild. The quintet brought some of the biggest energy of the week to the empty hall though, a jangly garage psych sound pummeled into a raw Television ethos as they previewed tunes from their anticipated debut EP later this year.

Her confessional style bruised as she winced closer “One,” somewhere between Cat Power and Marianne Faithfull.

Frontman James Douglas Clark’s stilted, off-kilter vocal yelps lent the slower numbers a Car Seat Headrest touch, tapping tambourine and blowing a wicked harmonica before the jittering close of “The Day.”

The Manchester outfit left a lot for Anna B Savage to follow, but the London songwriter carried the massive stage solo behind her stunning, intense vocals. Plying songs from this year’s debut LP A Common Turn, “Dead Pursuits” marveled with her mercurial swoon bending from high tremble to dark ferocity, and slowly wringing out each syllable of “Corncrakes.” Her confessional style bruised as she winced closer “One,” somewhere between Cat Power and Marianne Faithfull.

Katy J. Pearson’s impeccably tight pop hooks lightened the set with her sixpiece, “Take Back the Radio,” “Miracle,” and “Tonight” from last year’s Return kicking like Cyndi Lauper fronting the Go-Go’s. It provided a uniquely perfect match for her distinct nasal croon, which at turns swept toward Stevie Nicks.

Closer Nayana Iz owned the stage, pacing its full length as she tripped atop her DJ’s twisted beats and blew through six songs. Opener “TNT” unloaded last year’s Smoke & Fly with her rapid fire lyrics flexed against a smooth chorus. Likewise, “WOT” stepped breathlessly to the grooving lounge loop backing of “Walking” that highlighted Iz’s equally intoxicating vocals.

Nayana Iz (Photo by Doug Freeman)

The 2021-2022 Austin Music Awards Music Poll is underway. Vote now for your favorite bands, venues, and music until January 31.

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British Music Embassy, SXSW Music 2021, GOA Express, James Douglas Clark, Anna B Savage, Katy J. Pearson, Nayana Iz

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