Review:: The Deep End | iTCH

Following the encouraging reception of his Manifesto EPs, the release of his debut full-length is a crucial step forward for the UK’s iTCH. His time spent fronting the now-deceased ska/punk group The King Blues built him a reputation for his social consciousness and his no-holds-barred attitude, and while he may be performing a new genre, his fierceness and intensity are completely intact.

What makes The Deep End such a triumph is the way it fearlessly takes on its challenges. Each song divides the album into a dozen individual segments which could exist on their own, but still succeed as a whole. The start of each new track brings the start of something totally different, and the pleasant surprises continue throughout.

While his individual efforts are exceptional, the collaborations written here are even grander. On the introductory “Life is Poetry,” producer all-star John Feldmann’s sudden, interjected choruses are the first of many moments that take you by surprise, with Roger Manganelli adding the same clean-vocal contribution to “The Bottom of the Glass” later on. Matisyahu’s part, featured on the wonderfully-playful “Laugh,” makes for perfect anthem for the upcoming summer.

The record’s first single, “Homeless Romantic,” features Taking Back Sunday’s Adam Lazarra delivering upbeat choruses in between iTCH’s verses about vagrancy and violence. And while the subject matter feels harsh and painful, the two perform it optimistically, dedicating “The grit in your eyes is proof / what don’t break us makes us damaged. / Yeah it’s savage, but fuck it, we manage. / It takes more to make us incapable / we’re invincible, that’s inescapable. / Achieve the unthinkable fast / refuse to be defined by your past. / So let us all stand up and raise your glass / for the homeless romantic.”

Following the dirty, electronic “Like I’m Drugs,” Megan Joy brings a charming female piece to the lighthearted “Another Man,” which leaves iTCH begging and bickering for her attention over a doo-wop dancehall romp.

Even with the large amount of standout tracks here, it took “Not My Revolution” the shortest amount of time to stand out from the rest. BC Jean’s vocal involvements, which include her beautiful chorus or her soaring riffs, are perfect. Meanwhile, the track is one of the few instances where the tempo stays low throughout, with iTCH revealing his demons while still keeping his chin up.

No matter the topics discussed, whether grimy or glamorous, iTCH doesn’t let the overall positivity falter away. Even on his darkest moments here, there’s still light. And that leaves a lasting value that extends further than just catchy music and witty lyricism. Due to his personality or the positivity it brings along with it, or more likely a combination of the two, there’s a certain natural genuineness that he carries into his music, and that’s what puts him onto a new level. He has said that this is the best record that he’s ever released, and with the sort of freedom and creativity that can be heard within each and every second and note, it’s hard to argue.

Release Date: March 25th, 2014
Rating: 4.25/5
Runtime: 43:50

01. Life Is Poetry (feat. John Feldmann)
02. Sun Goes Down
03. Homeless Romantic (feat. Adam Lazarra)
04. Laugh (feat. Matisyahu)
05. Like I’m Drugs (feat. Dani Artaud)
06. Another Man (feat. Megan Joy)
07. The Bottom Of The Glass (feat. Roger Manganelli)
08. Not My Revolution (feat. BC Jean)
09. The Deep End
10. Children Of The Revolution
11. Best Shot
12. Ricochet

Written by Eric Riley

50 Acts You Won’t Want To Miss At SXSW (Part 1)

Since none of us here at Lucy Out Loud will be able to attend SXSW this year, we’ve put together a list of 50 acts(in no particular order) we think those of you that are attending shouldn’t miss! 

To check out our first installment (acts 1-10), click “Read More”!

*Note: some acts we’ve included are performing at South By So What?! and not South By South West. However, since the festival takes place during the week of South By Southwest, we’ve decided to still include them in our list!

Part 1 (Acts 1-10)

  1. iTCH
    Hip-hop seems to reach further now than it ever has. With this, and the ability to combine punk, pop, and electronic elements into his music, iTCH has been able to create a unique sound with a bit of English charm, adding his name to a short list of artists who have successfully been able to do so. 
    Where to catch iTCH: 3.13 – 9:30pm – SONY Showcase @ Hangar Lounge; 3.14 – 2:20pm – Big Picture Media Showcase @ Blind Pig Rooftop; 3.14 – 7:20pm – Audiotree Showcase @ Licha’s Cantina
  2. The Front Bottoms
    Thanks to Brian Sella’s unique voice (which shares a likeness to that of Say Anything’s Max Bemis or Andrew Jackson Jihad’s Sean Bonnette) and the duo’s clever lyrics, The Front Bottoms have built a huge following for themselves, proving that just because their music may not sound the prettiest, that doesn’t mean it isn’t pretty.
    Where to catch The Front Bottoms: 3.12 – 1:30pm – Run For Cover Records/Brixton Agency Showcase @ The Liberty; 3.12 – 6pm – The Chris Gethard Showcase @ Esther’s Follies; 3.12 – 11pm – BrooklynVegan Showcase @ Red 7 Patio; 3.14 – 8pm – APA Official Showcase @ The Palm Door; 3.14 – 1am – Bar None Showcase @ Valhalla
  3. Dangerkids
    Dangerkids are one of the few bands who have been able to successfully merge the worlds of electronic hardcore and rap/rock. Their debut album near the tail-end of 2013 was well-received and ambitious, and it wouldn’t be a shock to see them have a big year this year. 
    Where to catch Dangerkids: 3.16 – South By So What?! @ Quiktrip Park
  4. The Trash Pop Icons
    Fronted by sisters Nadia and Naomi Zep, the group has made a name for themselves throughout the San Francisco Bay area. The group’s debut album, A Way With Words, has a sound for any type of listener and an energy that is sure to translate to the stage.
    Where to catch The Trash Pop Icons: 3.12 – 12pm – Big Picture Media Showcase @ Thirsty Nickel; 3.12 – 4pm – Texas Rockfest @ Shiner’s Saloon, 3.13 – 7pm – Texas Rockfest @ Blue Moon; 3.14 – 7pm – Lot323’s Shocase @ the corner of Colorado & 4th
  5. Tiny Moving Parts
    If mewithoutYou and La Dispute conceived a child at a pop/punk show, the result would be Minnesota’s Tiny Moving Parts. Sharp, quick, and harsh, their music is personal and begs to be shouted.
    Where to catch Tiny Moving Parts: 3.14 – Between 12pm and 6pm – Charlie Says “Fest!” @ 2326 E Cesar Chavez St.
  6. letlive.
    We’ve heard a lot about letlive. over the last few years or so. And there’s a justified reason for why they’ve had the huge years that they’ve had. When the LA five-piece performs, they leave every ounce of them on their stage and with the fans. Whether you know this band or not, they’re one you’ll be disappointed for missing.
    Where to catch letlive.: 3.15 – South By So What?! @ Quiktrip Park
  7. From Indian Lakes
    Following a year that included their first headline tour, as well as an opening spot for The Main and Anberlin and recognition as one of Alternative Press’ 100 Bands You Need to Know in 2014, California’s From Indian Lakes are poised to have a great follow-up year.
    Where to catch From Indian Lakes: 3.11 – 7pm – To Write Love on Her Arms Texas UChapter @ Catalyst Teen Center; 3.13 – 12:05 – Equal Vision Records and Pure Noise Records Showcase @ G-Pen Annex; 3.13 – Between 12pm to 1am – The Audiotree Showcase @ Licha’s Cantina

  8. Ashley Allen
    Ashley Allen has all of the makings to be a standout pop star – hooks, looks, and plenty of personality. Her music is undeniably catchy and mainstream-ready, making her an artist to surely watch. 
    Where to catch Ashley Allen: 3.14 – 12pm – High School Nation Tour @ 1121 E. 7th St

  9. Lucius
    I(Eric) first saw Lucius perform at Boston Calling in September. They were one of the lower-billed openers, but they had everyone talking. Donned in identical black-and-white dresses, their staging was, and still is, as intriguing, charming, and distinctive as their music. 
    Where to catch Lucius: 3.12 – 8am – KUTX @ The Four Seasons; 3.12 – 5pm – The Paste Party @ Swan Dive; 3.12 – 10:45 – High Road Touring @ Cedar Street Courtyard; 3.13 – 6pm – Heartbreaker Banquet @ Willie Nelson’s “Luck, TX” Ranch; 3.13 – 12am – The Heart of Austin @ The Market; 3.14 – 6am – KGSR @ The W Hotel; 3.14 – 12pm – SXSW Radio Showcase @ The Convention Center; 3.14 – 4pm – The Tumblr House @ Clive Bar

  10. Chiodos
    Chiodos are one of the most tirelessly-working groups out there. After a couple of years that saw a revolving door or lineup changes, 2013 was a return to form. Now, with an extensive tour schedule and a new album on its way, they’re set to retake their territory in 2014.
    Where to catch Chiodos: 3.14 – South By So What?! @ Quiktrip Park