This May 18th (or The Great Escape's Thursday as it's better known) we’re back in the Marlborough Theatre for this year’s Alt Escape Showcase. We’re joining forces as ever with some pioneering pro artist friends. There's our publishing allies at legendary publisher SGO Music Publishing and label allies at exciting new non profit label Monk’s Road Records; we're very happy to be linking up with industry legend and founder of the excellent Music Business School, our friend Steve Melhuish - his 13 week course packed full of industry experts is something we are huge champions of, and something any self releasing artists or new industry hopefuls should look at. We’re thrilled to be teaming up with the magnificent FastForward for the networking - without doubt one of the most vibrant, forward thinking and exciting industry conferences in the world today where industry stars of today and tomorrow exchange ideas on how to make this industry a better place for the artists and those that work in it. Gender balanced, and a platform for those young hotshots to breathe fresh energy into the industry we all love. We're also delighted to be joined for the networking and showcase by the team at digital music distribution and artist champions TuneCore. That's from 5pm - artists and industry welcome. More on all those allies on a later post, but all have been chosen because they operate in a collaborative and ethical way - people who in the dealings they have with artists always have their welfare and success in mind. A huge thanks to them all for helping us to put on the show and networking while keeping it cost neutral for us.
We’ve put together a megamix of Karousel acts, and those we’re proud to associate with. Six acts we're head over heels with. Check out the links and videos below!
The Marlborough Theatre | 4 Prince's Street | Brighton | BN2 1RD | MAP HERE
/// MO KENNEY ///
'New Zealand has Lorde – the UK has Foxes – and the U.S. has Lana Del Rey… Canada’s response to this trend of strong female singer-songwriters is the irresistibly beautiful, Mo Kenney.' - MIND EQUALS BLOWN (UK)
'Voice: found. Strong. And wonderful.' - CALGARY HERALD
'Dark and stormy, with rays of light here and there. It’s devoid of gimmick, relying on old-school six-string wizardry and razor-sharp, perfectionist songwriting. But its most endearing trait might be Kenney’s ‘no bullshit’ attitude, which makes the 24-year-old’s rage, apathy, loneliness, vulnerability, and love or lack of it shine clear through her lyrics and delivery.' - STYLUS MAGAZINE
'The 24-year-old Halifax singer/songwriter’s second album signals the brash, career-making arrival of a cutting Canadian voice fit to join the likes of Emily Haines and Tegan and Sara Quin on the export-ready A-list.' - TORONTO STAR
Mo Kenney is a Canadian singer/songwriter based in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. Kenney is known for her lyrical prowess and engaging stage presence. Called "Nova Scotia's rising star" by The Scene magazine. In 2013, her song “Sucker” won the prestigious SOCAN Songwriting Prize. She has toured with Ron Sexsmith and among her notable international performances to date, Kenney played at the Iceland Airwaves Music Festival in October 2012 and at the Great Escape Festival in Brighton in May 2013 where she will perform again in 2017. Her debut album, entitled Mo Kenney, was produced by Plaskett and recorded at his studio in Dartmouth. The album was released in September 2012 by New Scotland Records and Pheromone Recordings.
In March 2013, the album received an East Coast Music Association award nomination for Rising Star Recording of the Year. In July 2013, Kenney's song "Sucker" won the SOCAN Songwriting Prize for the best song by an independent Canadian musician, sponsored by the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada. Also in 2013, Kenney won three Music Nova Scotia awards: pop recording of the year, female artist of the year, and new artist recording of the year. She received a similar designation, new/emerging artist of the year, at the Canadian Folk Music Awards. The awards for her debut album continued into 2014, when Mo Kenney picked up four ECMA award nominations, winning the award for pop recording of the year. In September 2014, Kenney released her second album, In My Dreams, which was again produced by Joel Plaskett and released by New Scotland Records and Pheromone Recordings. The album delivered Kenney an ECMA award for Pop Recording of the Year for the second straight year. In My Dreams was released in Ireland, the UK, and Germany in September 2015 and subsequently in the USA April 2016. The album received a prestigious JUNO Award Nomination Adult Alternative Album of the Year as well as: International Acoustic Music Awards Nomination Best Female Artist; ECMA Award Nomination Album of the Year; ECMA Award Nomination Solo Recording of the Year; ECMA Award Winner Video of the Year; ECMA Award Nomination Fans’ Choice Video of the Year.
2017 sees the release of Kenney’s latest album, ‘The Details’.
/// BLOOM ///
'Astral space-pop worthy of Bjork' - THE QUIETUS
'A blissful audioscape worth exploring' - ART NOISE
'Vibrant, dynamic indie pop to see you through the darkest times’ - THE GIRLS ARE
'Complex and bittersweet' - LINE OF BEST FIT
'The best of 80s-laced art pop – with just a hint of the weird.' - BRIGHTON NOISE
'A sense of longing, reaching, hoping and emerging' - BRIGHTON’S FINEST
'It is rare that I feel so loved by music.' - TWO TORN HALVES
'From the off - the joy is infectious' - SOURCE MAG
'Anthems for people that feel alienated by anthems' - BEN GRAHAM
Brighton hometowners Bloom are feel good, bright, intelligent sparks with time signatures to dance for and melodies to light the soul up in neon. We’re massive fans of the songwriting, there's so many tunes on this record. We met Bloom through our Industry Speed Dating event, and the links they sent through got us rather wound up. We’re made up to be getting involved in helping them find the home for their songs that they deserve. Brilliant live too.
/// PENNY POLICE ///
"A sweeping and majestically sad ballad... a beautiful song it's all too easy to identify with..." THE LINE OF BEST FIT
"A moving petition for humanity and respect..." - JA JA JA MUSIC
"Blisteringly beautiful... wonderfully emotive." - FRESH ON THE NET
“Fjeldsted sings and plays pop, but she does it with a musicality and nerve that lifts her compositions far beyond the mainstream...” - JYDSKE VESTKYSTEN – 5*****
“ There is not one bad track on the disc, which is at its best when Fjeldsted's voice is allowed to control the battle. It happens majestically in ‘I Do Care’ and ‘Too Full a Heart’, both immensely beautiful ballads..." - UNDERTONER 5***** – Sink or Sail EP
" ...a voice full of airiness and grace, Penny Police has created an unlikely fine debut. All tracks have a rare closeness that could give even the most hard-boiled heart the chills...” - SOUNDVENUE 5*****
"A wonderful album with strangely poetic pop music..." - FEMINA 5*****
Latest single No Horizon was described by FreshOnTheNet as ‘blisteringy beautiful’ and The Line of Bet Fit said it ‘soars gently… worth the wait'. Twice nominated in three years for Denmark’s presitigious Gaffa Award for Best Female, she’s had all four and five star reviews back home and is now setting sights here. Writing primarily around the autoharp or keyboard, that combination of pure voice and lyrical clarity, blended with her own musical eccentricities, keeps on making her new fans. Singer/writer Marie has the ability to conjure melodies so light, pure and delicately delivered it is though they were made from the hydrogen atoms teased from a teardrop.
Following one London show last year the NSPCC adopted ‘I Do Care’ as the anthem for their ‘Safe and Sound’ campaign online, and on TV across the UK. Her triumphant performance at the Reeperbahn Festival in Hamburg in September 2015 saw her chosen by the festival for ‘Best of Showcase’ and she’ll be hoping to make the same impact at TGE.
/// PAT DAM SMYTH ///
‘Conquers beautifully’ The Independent
‘A rare kind of truthful songwriting’ The Irish Times
'He has returned to create something beautiful...' The Daily Mirror
‘An authentic masterpiece which never ceases to amaze...’ - Rock Italia
An artist of genuine gravitas. His forthcoming album is a picture of a great songwriter propelled both by triumph and disaster from teen to man against the backdrop of the Northern Ireland of the Troubles; something that colours the music but is never a badge he wears. Pat’s collaborative partnership with drummer/co-producer Chris McComish has made for an album with all the potential of a genuine classic, and they have forged a heartstopping live show together. Following a 2016 that saw him play packed out sets at Reeperbahn Festival, The Great Escape and several London showcases, including a sell-out in The Roundhouse’s Sackler Theatre for the MVT #Fightback benefit, as well as a thunderous Lexington show, Pat and his band’s live shows are always passionate, engrossing spectacles.
Forthcoming album ‘Kids’ is a symbol of how Pat's music has progressed: determined to write from the heart and to tell stories that matter, this is Pat at his most powerful and enchanting. Inspired by the likes of Nick Cave, John Grant, Beck, Pink Floyd and Timbre Timbre, his ability to draw you in to his world is the mark of a great storyteller. Single Juliette is out on May 19th on EX Records, following the showcase where he’ll be playing other tracks from the new record. Remember the name.
/// RODDY HART & THE LONESOME FIRE ///
If the scots slang – which gives roddy hart & the lonesome fire’s “swithering” its name – suggests any sort of indecisiveness at play, then it’s one that the band whole-heartedly embraced to help push the boundaries of what it felt capable of creating. From the very beginning, this was a group of players eager to change how they approached making a record. Hailing from glasgow, scotland, the band (Scott Clark, Roddy Hart, Andy Lucas, Scott Mackay, John Martin, Geoff Martyn, and Gordon Turner) formed naturally over a number of years as hart’s own evolution as an artist and songwriter progressed. Their first studio album-proper, 2013’s “roddy hart & the lonesome fire”, was critically hailed for its distinctively dark and atmospheric sound and led to a nomination on the fiercely contested long list for the scottish album of the year (say) award.
Notably, the record also caught the attention of prime time us tv host Craig Ferguson who invited the band to perform on the late late show for cbs that same year, leading to a 5-night residency that played out to a combined audience of over 12 million viewers. a scottish variety award for international breakthrough artist of the year followed, as did a nomination for best band at the spirit of scotland awards, and performances at the opening party for the commonwealth games and a celebrated show with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra only served to bolster their reputation as a formidable live band; cemented by the huge popularity of their self-curated and much loved “roaming roots revue” for Celtic Connections each year. 2015 saw a performance at SXSW, and now the band are all guns blazing with the new record. Brighton first, then the world.
/// JOEL SARAKULA ///
‘really cool new release ... I love this actually. It's like modern Northern Soul, it's what it should sound like: gets under the skin, refuses to budge', – CRAIG CHARLES BBC 6 MUSIC
‘The Imposter is dreamy and Bowie-esque... a really engaging and adventurous record, I would highly recommend it... The kind of wonderful Baroque-Pop stomper that puts me in mind of the Small Faces and the Left Banke …’ – LAUREN LAVERNE, 6 MUSIC RECOMMENDS
‘ “Northern Soul” is that rare thing: a pop song that would sound equally at home on Radios 1, 2 and 6. ‘ – INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY, FUTURE CLASSIC ALERT
There's some fab stuff on his new album which is heavy on soulful pop which isn't afraid to ramp up those beats when need be. Excellent – THE CRACK
'Sydney-born, London-based newcomer Joel Sarakula is a songwriter cut from classic cloth.' – IRISH INDEPENDENT (2013)
'Sarakula has made a solid album of distilled summer wistfulness' – TREBUCHET MAGAZINE
'The lovechild of Rufus Wainwright and Billy Joel... on Duracells', – BBC LONDON
After two critically acclaimed, self powered records with massive success over in Europe Joel is a man in demand on the live circuit, and the new record promises to be a scorcher. With lashings of the best influences from the 70’s soul and disco scene applied liberally to the forthcoming record, while always bringing his own stamp to everything he does, Joel has a slew of festivals on the horizon this summer. New single Analog Dreams has had some sweet Spotify Playlistings and The Imposter was a favourite of Lauren Laverne and Craig Charles at BBC 6Music. Finally, the UK is cathching up with our European friends, who’ve had Joel on constant spin for several years now (and so have we!).