Rising British Talent at SXSW as selected by 'MOJO' editor-in-chief Phil Alexander
David Thomas Broughton1am, 18th Floor at the Hilton Garden Inn
There's something deeply disturbing about watching David Thomas Broughton perform. At times it can feel like an intrusion, or at least a moment of painful confession. That said, Broughton's a spellbinding performer, his uneasy stare transfixing the audience as he weaves lyrical tales peppered with wry observation and, at times, sheer alienation. In some instances, his acoustic guitar offers a discordant counterpoise to his vibrato vocal, his boomingly rich voice pitched somewhere between Jake Thackray and Antony Hegarty. His set, which often features spontaneous moments of natural soundscapes and a disconcerting use of his handheld Sony cassette recorder, is quite often fraught with tension.
Born in Otley, West Yorkshire, and initially weaned on a steady diet of his father's 1960s British blues records before discovering Tom Waits, Broughton used his debut album, 2005's The Complete Guide to Insufficiency, to exemplify his black humour as well as the man's improvisational tendencies and love of John Martyn-styled guitar loops. The latter became evident when Broughton revealed that the album had in fact been recorded live in one take in a church in Leeds.
Since then, the 29-year-old Broughton has toured the world – including appearances at festivals as diverse as Green Man and Primavera, as well as a previous SXSW visit two years ago where he thrilled and terrified people in equal measure – while steadfastly sticking to his day job (currently he works for Transport for London, which reflects his own idiosyncratic view of the world). It's a view extended across a further couple of EPs (the rough-edged Anchovies 10-inch in 2006, and last year's Boating Disasters) as well as a collection of previously unreleased material amusingly titled It's in There Somewhere.
His latest, long-awaited offering, Outbreeding, has been unveiled via a number of musical sketches from the man himself on his SoundCloud account. The album itself is actually out on May 23 in the UK on the Brainlove label and is quite possibly his most consistent work. The album's well-rounded feel may also be down to the fact that it also happens to be his most conventional, produced as it was by Stereolab's Andy Ramsay.
"Usually it's me just pressing record and messing around," he told Mojo this month. "This was structured in the way normal people do it, layering down the different tracks so you can get the mix and everything. I took it as a challenge."
Three further Mojo Brit picks for Friday:
Alessi's Ark Central Presbyterian Church, 7:30pm
The Vaccines Stubb's, 8:30pm
Gallops Latitude 30, 9pm