The Current Day Party at Barracuda: Get to know the artists


Cherry Glazerr perform at The Current
Clementine Creevy of Cherry Glazerr in The Current studio. (Nate Ryan | MPR)

This week, Austin is all about music discovery. Whether you're planning to hit up our day party in person or tune in to our performance videos, here's what you need to know about the artists you'll be seeing.

Dylan Cartlidge

Indoor Stage, 11:30 a.m.

Like many teenagers, Dylan Cartlidge dreamed of becoming a successful musician — but Cartlidge wasn't after fame or fortune. His goal was to make enough money to bring his brother out of foster care. Cartlidge moved to Redcar (a town in North Yorkshore, England) with his foster mom when he was 16. He spent his teen years writing rap songs and playing local gigs.

When he was 22, the BBC featured Carltlidge in a documentary about his town called The Mighty Redcar. The film shows Cartlidge bussing tables at a local restaurant and playing bass in his bedroom. During the filming of the documentary, he received an offer from Universal Music Publishing group and signed a deal with the company.

The documentary quickly spread Cartlidge's music beyond the small town of Redcar. He is now signed to the label Glassnote Records (Jade Bird, Two Door Cinema Club, CHVRCHES) and recently supported indie band Darwin Deez on tour. He has played venues as large as Reading & Leeds Festival, and is currently headlining his own U.K. tour.

Cartlidge has yet to release his debut album, but has a number of singles out including "Up & Upside Down" on which he collaborated with English musician/record producer Jamie T. His sound carries elements of indie, hip-hop, and funk; Cartlidge sings and raps while accompanying himself with staccato bass lines. He cites a wide array of musicians as influences — his idol is rapper Kid Cudi, but Cartlidge also admires Belgian pop artist Stromae and indie artists like Jack White and the Black Keys. (Colleen Cowie)

Cherry Glazerr

Outdoor Stage, 12:00 p.m.

Clementine Creevy founded Cherry Glazerr at just 16 years old, back when the band was writing upbeat indie rock songs about grilled cheese and the trials and tribulations of life as a teenage girl. Don't let Cherry Glazerr's playful themes fool you — Creevy (now 22) flavors her songs with social criticisms, melding whimsy and grit into feminist anthems.

The L.A.-based trio released their first two albums, Papa Cremp (2013) and Haxel Princess (2014), via indie label Burger Records. The band signed to Secretly Canadian to reissue both albums, and in 2017 released the critically-acclaimed Apocalipstick.

The band released their latest album, Stuffed & Ready, on Feb. 1. Creevy, along with bassist Devin O'Brien and drummer Tabor Allen, stopped by The Current to chat with Sean McPherson and perform three of the album's songs.

Stuffed & Ready showcases a funkier side of Cherry Glazerr; Creevy says that she listened to LCD Soundsystem while writing the record and cites Funkadelic's Eddie Hazel as an influence on her guitar playing. Like Cherry Glazerr's earlier work, the album speaks out about gender roles and the expectations that society places on women. "Don't hold my hand / don't be my man," Creevy sneers at a controlling partner in the satirical "Daddi."

"I have a lot of fun playing the songs," Creevy told McPherson. "The content and the feelings behind a lot of the words are sort of a release for me. So even though they do seem dark on paper, it's actually very invigorating for me to play them." (Colleen Cowie)

The Beths

Indoor Stage, 12:30 p.m.

Scrolling through the track titles of the Beths' debut album Future Me Hates Me can feel a bit like peering through the journal of a 20-something year-old. Titles like "Future Me Hates Me," "Happy Unhappy," and "You Wouldn't Like Me" showcase Elizabeth Stokes's stream-of-consciousness approach to songwriting and penchant for intimately personal lyrics.

Singer/guitarist Stokes, guitarist Jonathon Pearce, bassist Ben Sinclair, and drummer Ivan Luketina all studied jazz as at New Zealand's University of Auckland. Now, the quartet make loud, cathartic songs about overthinking and navigating adulthood. Stokes quit her day job teaching trumpet lessons to tour the world as the frontperson of the indie pop band.

The Beths take inspiration from classic rock groups like the Rolling Stones and the Modern Lovers as well as indie rock bands like Rilo Kiley. Future Me Hates Me combines jangly guitar riffs and uptempo drum beats to create a wash of energetic pop.

The Beths recorded their debut album, Future Me Hates Me, in guitarist Jonathon Pearce's studio in Auckland. After its release in August 2018, the album quickly garnered attention, making it onto many year-end lists (including a few from The Current's staff). The band embarked on an extensive world tour to support the album, which includes a number of dates with Minneapolis indie rockers Bad Bad Hats.

Much of the band's material draws from personal experiences, including the band's name (Stokes says that she was watching Gilmore Girls in the band's early days and compares naming the project after herself to character Lorelai Gilmore's decision to give her daughter her own name). But despite the Beths' intimate lyrics, Stokes rarely elaborates on her music's subject matter in interviews, preferring to let her music speak for itself. (Colleen Cowie)

The Nude Party

Outdoor Stage, 1:00 p.m.

The Nude Party did in fact, at one time, party and play music naked. There was no pun or any serious symbolism attached to the band name, but rather real experiences involving jamming with friends at North Carolina's Appalachian State University, and playing gigs at the local 505 House — often involving nudity.

Although the six-piece band are now performing fully clothed, their music continues to attract fans with a unique mix of country, punk, blues, and psychedelic rock. Inspired by artists such as Lou Reed, the Who, and Booker T and the MG's, the sextet uses these influences to create their own style and sound.

"The main thing that differentiates us from everyone else is that we have what no one else has," lead vocalist Patton Magee told Ones to Watch. "We have an unshakable brotherhood, all dedicated entirely to doing this thing. We've been living together, touring together, breathing the same shared pocket of air for five straight years now. People notice it when we play, and I'm convinced that that level of cohesion just can't be faked. We keep each other company and look out for each other in this big lonesome world. And when we play, we form like Voltron."

The band released their first, self-titled, album last August and spent the summer touring with Ron Gallo and with Oakley Munson of the Black Lips, who produced the band's album.

At SXSW the band will more than likely perform songs from their latest album, including the song "Chevrolet Van," a song about growing up and getting a job. The song cautions listeners: "You'll never make enough money. And no one cares about the things you say. You're gonna wake up someday. Man, you'll wish you got a job." (Marla Khan-Schwartz)

Sam Fender

Indoor Stage, 1:30 p.m.

Sam Fender began writing music at the age of 13 while growing up in the Northeast of England. In 2013, he landed a spot under the mentorship of Ben Howard's manager and has since toured with Howard along with the likes of Hozier and Catfish and the Bottlemen.

Many of Fender's songs start slow but build to arena-rock-anthem heights. He strives for Springsteen-like straightforward and culturally relevant observations with songs like "Millennial" and "Poundshop Kardashians." His latest single, "Hypersonic Missiles," revolves around love's ability to exist despite rising international tensions. It builds up to a bursting saxophone-driven classic rock interlude that booms under Fender's nihilistic lyrics.

Fender's most message-driven single is "Dead Boys," which was released last fall alongside a striking music video months before his debut EP of the same name. "Nobody ever could explain all the dead boys in our hometown," Fender sings, a reference to the suicide epidemic in his hometown of North Shields and the friends he has lost to it. Fender cites an environment of toxic masculinity as partly to blame. The artist told NME, "There are a lot of challenges we [men] are facing; like how you are supposed to react to emotional stress. I've got no shame in it. I was told not to cry as a kid. It's that sort of backwards attitude, so when we feel bad we feel ashamed or we feel like embarrassed."

This year, Fender was named Critics' Choice Winner at the Brits, a title that in previous years has gone to artists such as Adele and Sam Smith. He is currently in the midst of his first North American solo tour. (Lydia Moran)

Justin Townes Earle

Outdoor Stage, 2:00 p.m.

Justin Townes Earle has gone through a lot as a person, with multiple stints in rehab and a newfound sobriety, but through it all, he's built a successful music career, releasing four well-received albums and consistently touring around the country.

Since he launched his career over a decade ago, Justin Townes Earle has established himself as a leading musician in the Americana music scene. Although he may be the son of Steve Earle, he's also worked hard to blaze a trail all his own.

Earle grew up in Nashville, where the sound of the blues influenced his musical style. Although he now lives in Portland, his music still stays true to his roots. The blues will always be his go-to style, he told The Current's Bill DeVille in 2017.

Earle is currently on tour and his new album, The Saint of Lost Causes, is set to be released this spring. (Simone Cazares)

Fontaines DC

Indoor Stage, 2:30 p.m.

Inspired by the duplicity of Johnny Fontane, a character from The Godfather, Fontaines D.C. have been compared to the Pogues, the Strokes, the Stooges, the Fall, and fellow Dubliners Girl Band.

Although this idea started mostly in jest, frontman Grian Chatten told Stereogum that they wanted to promote "the idea that we were endorsed by the Mafia. That every step of our career was endorsed by some Don."

Along with references to history, books, culture and tragedy, Fontaines D.C. meld garage rock and punk. Their songs touch on many different sentiments including the idea of identity loss as Ireland gentrifies.

Although they are already working on a second album, the five-piece band will release their first full-length later this year. Named after a type of poetry once popular in Ireland, Dogrel is a combination of music and lyrics inspired by what Chatten describes as "pub talk and poetry."

"There's so much poetry innately in the colloquialisms of people in Ireland," Chatten told Stereogum. "You don't really have to strive to speak poetically if you're speaking in the Dublin lingo, you know? It's just impossible to live in that and not churn it out."

The album is also full of romantic symbolism associated with their love of Dublin and the band's desire to preserve the past through their music.

Many of the songs include Irish references that showcase different areas and places that hold some meaning to the members of the group. The song "Liberty Belle" refers to an area of town better known as Liberties in which several of the band members consider "home." Chatten describes this area as the last true surviving locus of Irish culture. (Marla Khan-Schwartz)

Andrew Bird

Outdoor Stage, 3:00 p.m.

Andrew Bird began his journey with music at a young age and has been sharing his versatile talents with the world since. At age four, Bird learned violin through the Suzuki method, an immersive training which imitates the linguistic environment of acquiring a native language. Continuing on from that unique creative development, he picked up other instruments while obtaining a degree in violin. Throughout the years, he immersed himself in genres like early jazz, country blues, folk, and pop, eventually pulling from them to create his own distinct sound.

Bird has released 11 albums thus far, with one coming out next week, humbly titled My Finest Work Yet. His catalog consists mainly of complex folksy compositions, which often employ sophisticated electronic looping, glockenspiel, and violin, among other additions. This instrumentation, combined with Bird's impeccable whistle and echoing melodies, sounds like playful shadows from a bonfire dancing on a canyon wall. His lyrics bolster that impression with imagery that often ties back to the nature's mystique and humans' interaction with it.

Another iteration of Bird's connection with nature, and taste for innovative projects, are his Echolocation albums. Created in acoustically unique spaces, these site-specific short films and recordings document music-making in natural environments. Thus far, Bird has created albums in a remote Utah canyon and in the middle of the Los Angeles river, with more in the works.

Bird also has many creative endeavors outside of his recorded music. In recent years, he's scored the FX series Baskets, various films, and even whistled in The Muppets movie. He has also collaborated on installation projects like Sonic Arboretum exhibited across the country, including in New York's Guggenheim Museum. To make this all more accessible, Bird also hosts an ongoing Facebook live video series called Live From the Great Room, to discuss his creative process with viewers in an casual setting.

Andrew Bird's influences range far and wide, and with his talents and spirit for experimentation, it will be fun to watch his journey continue. (Darby Ottoson)

Heart Bones

Indoor Stage, 3:30 p.m.

After spending time touring together and becoming friends, Sean Tillman and Sabrina Ellis have teamed up to launch the new project Heart Bones. "As soon as I saw Sean Tillmann on stage, I was pretty enamored," Ellis said about Tillman, who performs under the name Har Mar Superstar.

Tillman was also eager to work with the Austin, Texas musician, who is known from bands A Giant Dog and Sweet Spirit. "I'm just a huge fan of her as a frontperson and a songwriter," Tillman told The Current.

Throughout 2018 Tillman and Ellis visited each other's hometowns of Minneapolis and Austin to co-write material. The project started as a duo, and now includes a six-piece backing band. When Heart Bones performed at The Current's studio, their lineup included guitar, bass, drums, synth, trumpet, and an electronic wind instrument.

While most bands wait until after releasing an album to go on tour, Heart Bones decided to do the opposite. In November, they toured the U.S. performing songs from the 1987 classic Dirty Dancing as a way to introduce audiences to their danceable, retro pop.

Heart Bones has released three singles: "This Time It's Different," "Little Dancer," and "Disappearer." Listening to their discography, it's easy to catch the '80s influences; slap bass lines, bright synth melodies, and pounding drum samples abound. But the duo puts a modern spin on their classic influences with bubbly electronic samples and sardonic lyrics. (Colleen Cowie)

Bad Bad Hats

Outdoor Stage, 4:00 p.m.

Bad Bad Hats first got their start at Macalester College. At the time the band had decided to enter a battle of the bands contest and, although they lost the competition that night, an audience member from Afternoon Records liked what he had heard. The band was signed to the label and has been destined for success.

The band comprise singer and guitarist Kerry Alexander, multi-instrumentalist Chris Hoge, bassist Noah Boswell, and drummer Connor Davison. Since the release of their first album, Psychic Reader, the band have toured extensively around the U.S., supporting artists like Margaret Glaspy and Hippo Campus and even headlining First Avenue's Mainroom.

Last year, the band released their latest album, Lightning Round. As the main songwriter, Alexander tries to incorporate her own life experiences into the band's music, singing about early breakups and awkward crushes to what it's like now being in a long-term relationship.

What's next for Bad Bad Hats? "Fame, fortune, all of that," jokes Alexander. (Simone Cazares)


Outdoor Stage, 4:30 p.m.

Yola Carter (Yola) spent many early years advocating for the expression of her voice's full country resonance. Carter told NPR, "A lot of that work was being this 'gun for hire,' and you'd just have to do whatever the brief said. Like, 'Okay, we're this neo-soul band so you've got to do kind of Jill Scott-esque vocals.' It's all singing work, but broad-ranging and not really me exploring who I was." Since then, the artist has found her way home to a sturdy country sound on her 2019 full-length debut, Walk Through Fire.

After leading country soul group Phantom Limb, Carter learned guitar and began producing a solo EP, 2016's Orphan Offering, which garnered attention from the U.S. Americana scene (Carter is based in Bristol) and landed her a spot in Nashville's Americana Fest. Around this time she caught the attention of Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys, and recorded Walk Through Fire in his studio along with a star-studded cast of producers whose credits range from Elvis Presley to Aretha Franklin tracks.

These influences are heavy on Walk Through Fire, and Carter has an exceptional talent for expressing emotional expanses bundled in the minutiae of everyday life. Her melodies are rooted in folk, country, and classic pop and are buoyed by her raw vocal power, which can be both sweeping as it is on "Lonely the Night," and more roosty like on "Love All Night (Work All Day)," both of which herald traditional country themes of love, loss, and working hard.

The album's title is both a reference to when Carter's house was lost in a fire, as well as her experience with an abusive partner. Its soulful down-tempo title track is a brave declaration of her intent to face challenges head-on, and a wish to do so with a love "like a rescue vessel" by her side. "I gotta walk through the fire, I gotta deal with desire," she sings. "I know you're gonna make it right; I know you're gonna save my life."

Carter is a powerful talent, made more powerful still by her willingness to express a need for an element of vulnerability in love. "That's the thing that feels satisfying to me, is to be able to be that vulnerable, out loud as a black woman," Carter told NPR. "To go, 'You know what? Today, I'm feeling quite like a strong black woman, but I'm not every single day, and here's how.'" (Lydia Moran)

Low Cut Connie

Outdoor Stage, 5:00 p.m.

Philadelphia-based rock band Low Cut Connie are known by many for their high-intensity shows where the band members don't hold anything back when they perform.

"You have to switch your mentality from it being the thing that you have to do to the thing that you need to do," Adam Weiner, the band's frontman, told The Current's Mary Lucia. "And so the show is my release, it is my healing. It's my way of connecting with people, it's my way of lifting other people up and letting myself be lifted as well. So no matter what's going on in my life, I look forward to it."

Over the years, the band havengained a number of high-profile fans, with even Barack Obama adding the band's music to one of his summer playlists. "That was nuts," recalled Weiner. "The guy at the New York Times tweeted, 'I can't understand we live in a world where the President of the United States listens to Low Cut Connie.'"

Low Cut Connie released their latest album, Dirty Pictures (Part 2), this past spring and are currently on tour around the country. (Simone Cazares)

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