New signings and rising stars (July–Aug 2019)
Kathryn Joseph (UK)
Agents: Rob Gibbs and Shane Daunt, Progressive Artists
Having won the Scottish Album of the Year in 2015 for her debut, Bones You Have Thrown Me and Blood I’ve Spilled, Kathryn Joseph’s popularity has continued to snowball, thanks in no small part to what she describes as her “weird, creepy way of telling the truth” in her lyrics.
Last year, Joseph released a new album, From When I Wake the Want Is, and following a number of European dates supporting Neko Case in 2018, she completed her own headline tour in the UK in the first quarter of this year.
Critical acclaim for her second album has been as solid as her debut, and word of mouth is beginning to spread outside of the UK to overseas promoters, radio stations and tastemakers. In addition to a handful of UK summer festival dates, Joseph has an autumn headline tour confirmed, and a November appearance at Blue Bird Festival in Vienna.
Sheer Mag (US)
Agent: Will Church, ATC Live
With Sheer Mag announcing 23 August as the release date for sophomore album, A Distant Call, the buzz around the Philadelphia quintet in the music press is growing. While the band is still pursuing the theme of surviving the current hellscape, this time around the politics get extra-personal.
The album verges on being a concept piece, the protagonist of which resembles front-woman, Tina Halladay, herself. The songs document a particularly alienating time in her life when she was laid off from a job. Broke and newly single, her father passed away, leaving her with more wounds than it felt possible to heal. It’s heavy power-pop so sleek it gleams.
“We’ve been waiting to write these songs since we started the band and we were able to take these experiences and build a story out of them,” Halladay says. A Distant Call makes an argument for socialism on an anecdotal level. Matt Palmer (guitar/keyboards) and Halladay’s new approach to lyricism extended to the recording process, too. Once the Seely brothers (Hart and Kyle) had laid down the guitar and bass tracks, Halladay recorded vocals with producer Arthur Rizk (Power Trip, Code Orange).
An 11-date, seven-country European tour has been confirmed for October and November, with additional shows in the pipeline, too, according to agent Will Church.