Supersonic – Yxngxr1
Earlier this month, Timothy Francis Lee, better known as Yxngxr1 released his album ‘Digikid’, following up from his 2020 album release ‘YELLOW YELLOW YELLOW’. Citing influences from artists such as Tyler the Creator and Dominik Fike, the lead track ‘Supersonic’ offers listeners an insight into his formative years and passes comment on a materialist Gen Z.
In a 2020 interview with Buzz magazine, the Cardiff native discussed the significance of the city in his musical blossoming and his pride in place, also citing the late XXXTENTACION as an influence behind his eye catching name, Yxngxr1.
‘Supersonic’ is a track with a flirting bass and guitar riff. The electro synth beat and snare makes for a fun and light-hearted listen. The first verse offers listeners an insight into Lee’s background, documenting his fathers absence in his youth, and pinning his femininity down to his single mother upbringing. Reminiscent of technology at the time, Yxngxr1 reminds us of playing a Nintendo DSi and the relatable pain of losing the stylus. Lee also offers an insight into his early musicality, which lands somewhere between Oasis and Miley Cyrus.
Later in the track we are presented with an image of a materialist Gen Z and an oppressive upper class attitude, tackling the prejudice around the ever growing trend of tattoos above the collar line.
With a chorus exploring the pursuit of wealth and the expectation of its immediacy, ‘Supersonic’ offers listeners a chilled out vibe, a dose of millennial nostalgia and a casual middle finger to contemporary society.
Words: James Bickerstaff
Lottery Winners – Bad Things (feat Sleeper)
‘Bad things happen to good people’. A phrase that, during this pandemic, has got many of us through the toughest of times. With daily death rates plastered on our news and a never-ending isolation barricading us into our homes – northern indie band ‘Lottery Winners’ offer us an introspective new single ‘Bad Things’ (feat. Sleeper) to lift our spirits.
Based in Leigh, Greater Manchester, the four- piece band consists of Thom Rylance (vocals/ guitar), Robert Lally (guitar/ vocals), Joe Singleton on drums (formerly Alex Langford- Taylor), and Katie Lloyd (bass/ vocals), who offers a refreshing, much- needed boost of feminism in a male- dominated genre. Formed in 2008, the band toured the pub and club circuit around Lancashire – even visiting the legendary Phoenix Nights before releasing six singles in eleven years following.
Brought out on 18th February 2021, ‘Bad Things’ follows on from the band’s self-titled debut album released last year. During the summer of 2020, Lottery Winners also released an 11-track cover album ‘Sounds of Isolation’, featuring well- loved classic from Oasis to Dolly Parton.
Accompanied by a 1970’s inspired video, the single tells the story of spending the night with an awe- inspiring woman, only to realise she’s gone by morning. Melodic incantations of ‘Bad things happen to good people’ echo throughout the chorus, repeating the phrase the narrator learnt from the woman. These philosophical facts of life are accompanied by soothing vocals from Sleeper (Louise Wener) who plays through a TV in the music video – the clever editing of which hides the need for isolated singers due to the pandemic. The video ends rather abruptly, with Rylance being ran over by a lorry, again reminding us of our inability to control everything in life.
The pandemic has left many of us feeling anxious and existential, but this laid- back, encouraging affirmation that we can’t control life acts as the perfect remedy for a bad day. There’s no doubt this soothing single will be the anthem celebrating the past year’s ups and downs – confirming that ‘bad things happen to good people’. You can check out the official music video below…
Words: Simone Harrison
Royal Blood – Typhoons
Royal Blood rose to fame ten years ago with their debut single ‘Out of the Black’ which dominated the rock charts. Since then, they have opened up for big names like the Foo Fighters, and Iggy Pop, travelling to renowned international venues and festivals such as Coachella.
They released their most recent single, ‘Typhoons’ on January 21st this year. This marks their second single from their upcoming album of the same name, which launches April 3rd.
The track is the first song the duo has brought out since ‘Trouble’s Coming’ on September 24, 2020, so it’s fair to say it has been anticipated. ‘Typhoons’ describes the darkness that can go on in our thoughts, which we’re helpless to control. They convey this deep feeling with lyrics like: “I need waking up, I should face the truth, I could calm the storm,” and “My thoughts becoming parasites, that live to keep me terrified, I’ll tell myself I’ll be alright.” The duo manages to portray this gloomy concept through an upbeat song with an extremely catchy chorus you can’t get out of your head. The beat is almost a dichotomy to what the lyrics are, but it works. ‘Typhoons’ would be perfect live, the crowd would be going mad, and the atmosphere would be crazy (in a good way!)
Check out the music video for ‘Typhoons’ below:
Greentea Peng – Nah It Ain’t the Same
Aria Wells, the free-spirited Londoner known as Greentea Peng, has shared her first single of 2021, ‘Nah It Ain’t The Same’, following her track ‘Spells’ released in December last year.
Produced by Earbuds, the single was released on February 23rd 2021, and will be featured in her upcoming debut album, ‘MANMADE’, set for release this summer. It is accompanied by the new music video directed by ‘Machine Operated’ which radiates positive vibes and zen energy.
The track was recorded in 432 Hz which is said to be the natural frequency of the universe and is said to release serotonin, filling the mind with a sense of peace and well-being. Wells takes the listener on a thought-provoking journey with honest lyricism and broken flows, through sunshine rhythms, heavy sounds and effortless melodies. Her connection to her songs is evident by her ability to get lost in her music and express herself.
‘Nah It Ain’t The Same’ is a free-flowing cocktail of jazz, neo soul and hip hop, which perfectly complements Wells honeyed, sultry vocals. It starts off as a double-bass heavy track, and develops into a more drum and bass inspired anthem performed by her band The Seng Seng Family as the song progresses. The single is about finding self-confidence and being hopeful amidst the current changing political and social environment.
Greentea Peng said, “It’s been a real process forming this album, a real trip. I’m so excited to begin this roll out, I have sooooo much music/ energy to engulf you with its wild. ‘I give you ‘Nah It Aint The Same’ off my album MAN MADE. An expression and exploration of my utter confusion and inner conflicts amidst shifting paradigms.”
Listen to it, stream it, watch it and move to it down below:
Falana – Joy
Canadian-Nigerian singer Falana drops the empowering and soul-soothing single ‘Joy’. With its genius blend of R&B and Afrobeat elements, Falana describes her sound as her own personal ‘island of flavour’. Falana has been releasing music since 2014, lived in some of the world’s greatest cities, and has finally had her break out moment with the release of her 2018 EP entitled, ‘Chapter One’.
Continuing on from the success of her EP, Falana’s first single with Red Bull Records entitled ‘Joy’, is what we can only describe as the perfect anthem for hope and optimism, with lyrics that remind us of our blessings.
Falana’s music is a guiding light which teach us that things will eventually get better, but in the meantime we have to count each and every one of our blessings, however big or small they may be. In an interview with Atwood Magazine Falana reflected upon the importance of ‘Joy’ in relation to 2021, stating that this method of positive thinking helps to make life’s many obstacles seem smaller.
The music video for the track is just so stunningly beautiful, from the cinematography, to the choreography, to the fashion and makeup. The video radiates welcoming warmth to the audience; we are being welcomed into Falana’s arms as she is personally sharing her sunny disposition with us. In the video, Falana proudly displays black culture and identity for all to see. Chosen to coincide the release of the video with Black History Month, these artistic choices merge together to create a vibrant display of pride and optimism.
Falana has filled our day with sunshine, spreading and expressing happiness and friendship through her art. In a year that has been consumed by darkness and uncertainty for just about everyone, it is a refreshing change of pace to see an artist release positivity into the world. If you are feeling low at any point this week, do yourself a favour and listen to ‘Joy’ below…
words: James Bickerstaff
Runaway EP – Tayo Sound
The Nigerian-Scottish alt-pop sensation Tayo Sound drops the new EP- ‘Runaway”, featuring the tunes, ‘Cold Feet’, ‘Gone’, ‘Someone New’ and ‘Heartbreaker’.
In the making for 2 years, ‘Runaway’ depicts the rollercoaster of fleeting emotions experienced in relationships, in an exuberantly groovy and addictive fashion…
The record features dreamy melodies that don’t allow the listener to dwell on the introspective and emotional lyricism, heady harmonies that are in tune with the EP’s chilled aesthetic, and production that is innovative, and noticeably crisp, with Runaway being the feel good sunny record that we need heading into the spring.
The EP sees Tayo working alongside producers such as George Fitzgerald, Courage (Ray BLK, Stormzy), George Reid (AlunaGeorge), and Rob Milton (Easy Life),
‘Runaway’ shows just how far Tayo has come from his days of busking 10 hours a day in his home town of Reading. 15 minutes was all it took to be left wanting more from Tayo’s indisputably intoxicating EP – you can check it out below!
Former Warnings Cluster – Eades
Eades bring the noise of the North in their new track ‘Former Warnings Cluster’, a head-bopping blend of alternative indie-rock, new wave and garage rock. A collective from Leeds, Eades’ transgressive approach to genre extracts the sharpness of the Proto-Punk era and the bold British energy of late noughties Indie rock by mixing them together with a Lo-Fi wooden spoon. The Northern quintet of songwriters, producers and session musicians are spearheaded by lead guitar and vocalist, Harry Jordan.
A tune split into two halves, Former Warnings Cluster both embraces and warps the quintessential sound of indie-rock. Layered with electrifying synths, clanging cowbells and punchy riffs, the first two minutes of Former Cluster Warnings harnesses a brash, Wombat-esque rhythm. The energetic percussion is complimented by the husky vocals, giving the song great performance potential. But it is in the second half of the track is where things really ramp up. The mid-tempo rhythm is galvanised by a hard guitar solo and thunderous fast drums, signalling the opening of a potential mosh pit. The sudden and harsh acceleration of sound in Former Warnings Cluster gives the track a punk rock edge, reflecting the unpredictable nature of Eades’ audacious and versatile sound.
Despite the feel-good effect of Former Warnings Cluster, the lyrics are haunted by a dark reality. The song discusses the infinite circle of self-destruction, characterised around the songs’ protagonist and his internal battle with an existential crisis. By incorporating elements of dark realism within the narrative, Former Warnings Cluster takes a stance within the de-stigmatisation of mental health by how it acknowledges the hardships of addictive behaviour.
A real crowd-gasser, Former Warnings Cluster has the potential to become a big hit within the alternative scene. Having recently signed with Manchester label, Heist or Hit, I have a feeling that this won’t be the last we hear of them. They may be the new kids on a big ol’ block, but they’re certainly ones to watch.
Words: Hazel Thayre
Griff – Black Hole
Sarah Faith Griffiths, better known as her abbreviated stage name ‘Griff,’ is breaking her way into the bedroom pop scene. The singer signed with Warner Records in 2019, immediately after finishing her A-Levels. And now, at just the age of 20, Griff writes all her own music and even made her own clothes for her music video ‘Didn’t Break It Enough.’
Griff is renowned for her heartfelt lyrics, exploring many vulnerable themes. Her debut single ‘Mirror Talk’ details issues relating to body image, and piano ballad ‘Good Stuff’ depicts the feelings associated with loss. Her newest track ‘Black Hole’ is no exception, as her melodramatic lyrics (“There’s a big black hole where my heart used to be, and I’ve tried my best to fill it up with things I don’t need”) portray teenage heartbreak in a vulnerable, confessional way.
Despite the mournful lyrics (“You disappeared and took some of me with you, babe. Like the way I used to laugh until my belly ached, well, that’s all gone away now”), the track is contradicted with a playful beat that still makes you want to get up and dance. NME fittingly dubbed the track a ‘dark pop’ anthem. It’s an extremely cathartic experience, reminiscent of tracks by the likes of Taylor Swift and Marina and The Diamonds. Griff herself even mentioned that she takes a lot of her inspiration from Taylor Swift, and after posting a cover of Swift’s ‘Exile’ on YouTube, Swift responded by tweeting that she is a huge fan!
The fact that Griff is not afraid to be outspoken and raw with her lyrics adds to her likeability, as it gives young females a relatable figure to look up to. In a recent interview with The Guardian, Griff stated “Being half-Jamaican and half-Chinese, as a family we stood out like a sore thumb. I’ve always felt a little bit different. But music has helped me embrace that. Now I can’t think of anything worse than being like everyone else.” Griff’s ability to embrace her uniqueness is an extremely important message for young adults, and it’s refreshing to know that someone so fearless is in the limelight for this generation.
Luckily, the global pandemic has not managed to halt Griff’s soaring success. She has featured on collaborations with Zedd (‘Inside Out’) and Honne (‘1,000,000 X Better’), and has already been voted fifth place on BBC’s Music Sound of 2021. Griff already harbours a substantial social media following so she will no doubt become a household name soon. This 5’3 powerhouse is one to watch!
You can listen to Griff’s latest single ‘Black Hole’ here:
Words: Dionne Hodges
See You Later – Lucy Blue
After several Soundcloud teasers, Lucy Blue’s debut single ‘See You Later’ puts the spotlight on the talent that is constantly emerging out of Dublin and sees her firmly set one foot in the door.
The 18-year-old’s early bedroom demos showcased her evident Clairo influence and early Billie Eilish style vocals; as well as her ability to remix classic songs into melancholic tunes for when we simply need a ‘shoulder to cry on’.
Her hushed tones are comparable to those of fellow Dublin musician, EFÉ, with the two lulling us into their romantic heartaches. Despite her youth, Blue’s storytelling is impeccable and mature; proving her love of classic songwriting shines through with a poetic take on a rather sombre narrative.
The duet between her soft voice and even softer piano keys carefully guides each verse to the next, ensuring the listener sticks with the two. Blue’s layered vocals act as a haunting backing track, and harmoniously accompany the other pieces of the musical jigsaw which ultimately polish the song perfectly.
The juxtaposition of this with – an extremely subtle – almost voicemail-like recording post-bridge completes the storyline and places the listener right in the heart. As Blue’s voice fades, the same cannot be said for the singer herself, who has only just unveiled a snippet of what she is set to achieve.
Words: Lauren Whitehead
Overdrive – Conan Gray
Conan Gray has made his return with an upbeat new single, ‘Overdrive’, the track is Gray’s first release of 2021, since his debut album ‘Kid Krow’ last year and his follow up single ‘Fake’ in collaboration with electropop artist Lauv in October 2020.
It was first leaked in the summer of 2020, and released 7 months later on February 19th 2021. ‘Overdrive’ is an unpredictable record for the LA based musician and YouTuber, usually known for his addictively mellow indie pop sound, Conan’s discography is a reflection of a small-town boy dealing with heartbreak and the troubles of growing up while feeling lonely and lost.
In contrast, the new track is about escaping reality and lifting the current barriers in our lives, especially during the pandemic. It allows listeners to fantasise and break free from their mundane everyday lives. The lyrics explore the idea of being in the moment and experiencing love without any worries, it’s about giving into your senses, being carefree and perfectly embodies a coming-of-age movie.
Conan Gray said he, “wanted to start the year off with a song to escape from reality for a little bit with. Something to scream into the shower head and fantasise about secret lovers and alternate reckless lives we could have lived”.
The track has received huge support from fans on social media and climbed its spot to the trending page on YouTube and has already been featured in the ‘Pop Rising’ playlist on Spotify.
A Fan on Twitter said, ““I couldn’t help the impulse to bounce and dance” – @legolasKX.
Another fan said, “This is so beautiful it’s already my favourite song”, @dona0220.
Listen to ‘Overdrive’ below:
Words: Patryk Bialkowski
This Could Be Home – Hudson Collective
The brand new London-based band Hudson Collective are making their mark on the UK music scene with their debut single This Could Be Home. Jazz fusion genres are on the rise in popularity at the moment, with numerous artists and bands delving into a creative mix of folk music and jazz. This single brilliantly captures the sense of authenticity and raw sincerity within folk, whilst incorporating jazz harmonic colour and complexity.
A stripped-back folk-like guitar pattern opens this track and instantly sets a calm, almost wistful atmosphere. The lyric “home” is lushly and richly harmonised in a way that feels natural to the direction of the sonic journey, also demonstrating the extensive beauty of the vocals. As the texture builds, a notable experimentation with percussion is introduced that adds another level of folk rhythm to the song.
An unpredictable, disjunct vocal line leads into a stylistically tasteful piano solo. Seemingly effortlessly, pianist Will Hobson proficiently exemplifies how to blur the lines between jazz and folk styles of improvisation in his playing. After some richly harmonised vocals with sophisticated voice-leading, the track gains more of a half-time feel, with guitar strums thickening the texture.
The track then strips back down to just a single guitar line that rhythmically alternates between the root and fifth— a modernised drone. Numerous musical elements contrast to what we have heard so far; a new arc-shaped melody is introduced through rustic male vocals, with added humming that builds a sense of warmth. After a brief silent pause, the female vocals join and double the melody with more powerful percussion.
A brief instrumental version of the melody leads into a new development in which the vocals are harmonised in ways that are relatively uncertain and unconventional at times. There is a sense of vulnerability when the percussion stops and the track is reduced to gentle guitar strumming with whispery vocals. Initially the final lyric “home” is in octaves, followed by a colossal lush chord that then fragments into snippets of overlapping vocals, consisting of some talking and some sung sounds. Eventually it fades into subtle static rather than silence, giving a final indication of the raw authenticity intrinsic in both folk and jazz.
Remarkably intricate yet rather emotionally moving in its simplicity, this single is the tip of the iceberg in terms of Hudson Collective’s predicted success in the industry. Moreover, this track is doubtlessly contributing to the surge in folk-jazz fusion popularity. This Could Be Home is not one to be missed.
Words: Alice Hill
Flownn – Odyssey
There’s nothing worse than scrolling through social media during the Valentines season. A bombardment of cringey ‘couples goals’ make relationships seem like the only aspiration in life. However, after listening to Flownn’s (Sophie- Rose Harper) pop banger ‘Odyssey’, any aspect of loneliness goes straight out the window. This sprightly electro-pop anthem embraces the very essence of self- acceptance – that you can’t love somebody else before you love yourself.
Released February 12th, ‘Odyssey’ embraces the journey of unadulterated self- love and how difficult it can be to embrace our flaws through an infectious litany of ‘O D Y S S E Y’ (something of which I’m sure I will never misspell again). There is no doubt this badass main character track will be snatched up by each and every high- street fashion chain post-lockdown, with its synthesising bass and mellow vibe orchestrated by the honey vocals of Flownn.
After over ten years in the music industry, the singer previously belonged to three- piece female group ‘Paradisia’ before deciding to focus on her solo work. Touring with music legends such as Paolo Nutini, Mystery Jets and Bruce Springsteen, Harper has managed to establish her own independent sound unlike any artist in today’s charts. During the height of pandemic last summer, Harper and producer, Pearse Macintyre, worked to create her debut single ‘Illuminate’, of which has received over 100,000 listens on Spotify. Her nectar vocals envelop around a summer-sweet peppy background – perfect for post-pandemic positivity.
To coincide with the single’s release, Flownn has curated her very own ‘self- love only’ playlist on Spotify, featuring tracks such as the slapping ‘Gone’ by Charli XCX and Christine and the Queens, as well as the melodic sounds of Cleo Sol’s ‘Why Don’t You’.
Listen to ‘Odyssey’ below:
Words: Simone Harrison
Boxteles – You Can’t Fall In Love For The Sake Of It
Comprised of vocalist and guitarist Tom Bedford, guitarist Ryan Smith and bassist Alex Richardson, Boxteles (pronounced ‘Boxtellys’, an homage to the old-school bulky TVs of days’ past) are one to watch out for. The newest track from this West Yorkshire #IndieRock band is a barrage of feel-good riffs and honest words of recognisable optimistic infatuation.
Bedford fearlessly leads the telling of a familiar trope about a man falling head over heels for a girl he met in a bar one night and hopeful it’ll lead to something greater (‘you might be mine for a nighttime, be mine for a lifetime, You’ll never know’). His strong vocals effectively work with the catchy melody and rolling bass, culminating in pleasing harmonies and a wicked hook that mean a highly enjoyable listen. The presence of a Huddersfield accent brings an added element of authenticity – the band are unapologetically themselves through their music.
Driving rhythms through effortless handling of electric guitars, and playful lyrics such as: ‘she flipped a terrible evening onto the ceiling, Because she’s simpatico’, only emphasise its addictive, head-banging sound. With only a 2:37 runtime, there’s no time wasting either, it feels like every note is used to its full potential, carrying high-energy throughout.
It’s a song brimming with youth and untethered freedom, similar to the likes of The Wombats, TDCC and The Vaccines, and keeping indie rock up to date. Having just signed on with Caos Music, it won’t be long before Boxteles’s belters are blaring soon at a festival near you.
Words: Arabella Fenwick
Everybody’s Gonna Love Somebody – Alfie Templeman
Alfie Templeman drops the tantalising new tune “Everybody’s Gonna Love Somebody”. Although written in 2017, the song is brimming with ’80s feel- good nostalgia with a complimentary modern and unique twist.
At only 18-years-old, Templeman is one of the most talked-about emerging artists in the UK right now. Hailing from Bedford, the future star is currently working on an upcoming mini album which this new single will feature on. This buoyant and refined track showcases delightful melodies, innovative production and feel good vibes throughout, in a sound that is reminiscent of the likes of Tame Impala.
Check out “Everybody’s Gonna Love Somebody” now!
Rainy Miller – YellowMan
Prestonian artist Rainy Miller delivers an innovative and touching record, ‘Yellowman’, showcasing complex vocal processing and an array of electronic experimentation, almost reminiscent of the alternative sounds and production that Justin Vernon (Bon Iver) is known for.
‘Yellowman’ shares the same name as the Pete Brasset book, ‘Yellow Man’, a deeply moving story about a father’s fatal battle with cancer, and his son coming to terms with the eventual loss. Rainy has also dealt with the absence of his father, but describes feeling a “sense of loss” after reuniting later on in life – an understandably hard hitting detail about how seeing him in the flesh made him grieve the years of absence.
In Rainy’s first release since 2019, we are taken on a psychedelic journey of blurred memories. Painted in a hue of hazy thought, Rainy demonstrates melodic sensibility, with the opening lyrics “how long was I treading on the memories” – beautifully joined by his echoes, an impactful introduction to the self-reflective tendencies of Rainy Miller’s writing.
However, you don’t have to listen to the lyrics to feel the alluring potency of this track. The use of synths and piano creates a euphoric wave of dreamy distortion, accompanied later on by the subtle use of percussion emulating the sound of a heartbeat. The mood he conjures with these elements steers this track into a transcendent and lucid void, maybe a purposeful reflection of how one feels coping with loss.
As a listener, the complexity and versatility of Rainy Miller’s creativity gives us only a glimpse into the complexity of the emotion that bleeds into this single. The track does not conform to a traditional song structure, crafted in a way that leaves the record somewhat adrift, and the listener lost in Rainy Miller’s tranquil and heady vocals.
‘Yellowman’ exudes well blended harmonies, synthesised instrumentals, and nostalgic introspective lyricism, adding to his catalogue of already unique soundscapes. At the epicentre of this creation is ultimately grief, and understanding the context of ‘Yellowman’ helps the listener comprehend the underlying themes of this record. By not limiting himself creatively, Rainy Miller continues to prove his worth as a multi-disciplinary artist, pairing the release of his single with self-directed visuals (performed by Amber Calland) that give his fans a further glimpse into the confusing nature of grief.
The 2021 single ‘Yellowman’ is available to listen to now! We’re all excited to see what is next from the creative mind of Rainy Miller.
Together Alone – The Merchants
‘The Merchants’, formed in 2019, are a multi-faceted collective of 4, consisting of Harry Bowness, Ernesto Sandoval, Joe Abraham, and Harry Strachan. In their new single – ‘Together Alone’, they unveil a raw acoustic tale in an emotional and un-restrained fashion…
A tribute to the plethora of great post break up songs that we all yearn for in times of distress, the track explores how confusing love can be. Love hurts. Love makes you feel alive, and ‘The Merchants’ couldn’t reflect that better. With heartache and bitterness at the epicentre of this creation, ‘The Merchants’ have done well to craft a song containing so much life – although the lyrics and underlying themes are somewhat sombre in nature. The track showcases a more vulnerable side to rock and roll, shaped by the acoustic accompaniment and Harry’s melodious, full-bodied and raw vocals.
‘Together Alone’ is an inherently human track that paints a picture of the dying embers of love. It has already garnered the attention from the likes of BBC Introducing Merseyside, showing that this single is a great addition to the already eclectic catalog of songs and talent that hail from the up and coming indie rock scene of Liverpool.
‘Together Alone’ brings to the surface the array of feelings that come with the turbulent times of a break up. ‘The Merchants’ reflect and relinquish their emotions in this single, exuding passion and honesty that allows the listener to live vicariously through the mind of the artist(s), with moments throughout that will riddle the listener with goosebumps and a lingering sense of purpose.