Sound City returns for its 2019 iteration this May, promising another weekend of performances from today’s most cutting edge musicians. Getintothis’ Luke Halls on who to catch across this year’s festival.
Liverpool Sound City holds a special place in the heart of every Merseyside music connoisseur.
Since its inception in 2007, the festival has been an indispensable highlight of the annual Merseyside music calendar, in no small part due to its wide array of emerging live music offerings.
Returning at the start of May for its 2019 outing, Sound City brings an enviable host of acts to the heart of Liverpool: all the way from headliners, right down to the latest in Merseyside and international talent.
The 2019 edition sees British hip-hop star Loyle Carner lead the proceedings, accompanied by Shame, one of the UK’s hottest alternative rock/punk groups. Spanish-born R&B artist Mabel will also headline, while Confidence Man round off a healthy blend of variation.
While, UK talent has always been Sound City‘s bread and butter, the festival has long held respect for international acts fighting to make a name for themselves in the global market.
As well as taking UK-based acts to South Korea’s Zandari and MU:CON festivals with the Sound City Korea initiative, it’s in turn welcomed an array of worldwide acts to its humble Mersey abode over the years.
Previous international headliners have indeed been particularly starry over the last decade (think back to Albert Hammond Jr. in 2014, The Flaming Lips in 2015 and DMAS last year).
While headliners are typically the most attractive choice for the majority of festival-goers, their presence beg the question: what about the latest worldwide talent seeking to cut their teeth?
Thankfully, delving into the lineup roster reveals a true feast of incredible international talent.
Groups from Europe, Russia, Asia and America will all flock to The Baltic Triangle this May: whether Aussie indie pop, ambient electronic soundscapes or sugar-rush Norwegian punk tickles your fancy, there’s definitely something for everyone.
After all this is surely why Sound City has remained an ever-present in the UK music calendar – and why we gave them #1 festival in our end of year round up in 2018.
With that in mind, here’s part one of our guide to worldwide discoveries you should be looking out for at Liverpool Sound City 2019 – and check the playlist below while you take a read.
Surma hails from the Portuguese city of Leiria, where she’s been crafting ambient electronic soundscapes since first picking up the double bass at jazz school.
Her array of critical accolades extends to an SXSW 2018 top discovery by NPR, as well as a Best European Album shortlist 2017 nomination by Impala for debut album Antwerpen.
A member of booking agency Toutpartout (also home to Father John Misty, Car Seat Headrest and Beach House), her tracks are more than worthy of such prolific support.
Take Antwerpen tracks Drög and Hemma for a spin and get well and truly absorbed.
The Jungle Giants
Believe it or not, Aussie four-piece The Jungle Giants are actually indie royalty out down under.
Three albums in and the band has toured with household names including The Vaccines and Two Door Cinema Club.
They’ve also shared the stage with Arcade Fire and Pearl Jam, as part of Australia’s touring festival Big Day Out in 2014.
If stats are your thing, these guys have over 830,000 monthly listeners on Spotify.
Try your hand to tracks Waiting for a Sign and Used to Be in Love for a healthy dose of dance, electronic and indie – a hand-in-hand blend.
A quick trip to Shortparis’ Bandcamp page and you’ll be greeted with the description of its music as “irrational, spastic dance grooves [combined with]theatrical performances”.
The group also labels itself as “an opposition to the modern musical scene”; whilst we’ve heard the same story of pop culture deviation by innumerable acts over the years, there’s something indescribably captivating about this Russian group.
Latest single Страшно seems to bore its way into your head, genuinely prompting a thirst for more with pounding drums, beats and crawling slide guitars. Why miss out?
Taking its name from the beloved Studio Ghibli film, Pom Poko can only be described as a sugar rush of punk. Percussion and guitars are frantic and all over the place, but masterfully kept together down to a T.
Formed in 2017, the Norwegian quartet is rapidly ascending into the stratosphere, winning hearts and praise alike at breakneck speed.
Signed to Simon Raymonde and Robin Guthrie’s Brighton-based label Bella Union last year, Pom Poko’s Sound City set will be one of the weekend’s critical highlights. Debut album Birthday is out February 22.
- Liverpool Sound City 2019 will take place in Liverpool’s Baltic Triangle on May 4-5 – take a listen to the playlist below.