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Every year without fail, the British Music Embassy showcases at SXSW have been a constant fixture in the Panic Manual crew’s agenda. Year after year, the showcases have been a reliable source for discovering great new music.

And while SXSW 2021 was obviously quite different in many respects, in one respect it was no different – we may not have been able to cram in to Latitude 30 (or Cedar Street Courtyard, the Embassy’s new home had the festival taken place last year) to check these bands out in person, but the Brits still put on a stellar series of online shows all week, culminating in Saturday night’s final showcase featuring performances from IDER, 404 Guild, Afronaut Zu, and Penelope Isles. Of all of the acts that played on that final evening though, the one who made the biggest impression on me was also the one with the most stripped down and intimate set.

London duo IDER started off the night with a three song set of songs which explored themes of 20something melancholy and ennui, though that probably should come as no surprise given that the duo, made up of Megan Markwick and Lily Somerville, named their debut album Emotional Education. This theme was evident from the outset as the duo started things off with the lyric, “I’m in my twenties so I panic in every way” off of “You’ve Got Your Whole Life Ahead Of You Baby” but it carried through as a common theme throughout their three song set.

To close out the set, they ended things off with “Does She Even Know”, its lyrics dealing with anxiety, sadness, and uncertainty over a relationship that’s ended. Not necessarily the most uplifting stuff, but it’s certainly relatable to many and definitely quite easy to connect with when delivered over warm synth sounds and via the voices of Markwick and Somerville.

Posted on by Paul in South By Southwest

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