Author Archives: Zara Hoffman

UK Artist of the Week: HALO DUST

London-based faceless quartet HALO DUST kick-start our week the right way with the release of their high-octane debit single “HEROES,” out now.

Combining indie and electronic sensibilities, “HEROES” is oozing with atmosphere from the offset. Comparisons have been made to the likes of The Prodigy and Daft Punk and we can see why, however “HEROES” perhaps feels as though it’s leaning slightly further towards psychedelic rock with its distinctive vocals and twisted guitar twangs at the forefront. “HEROES” is a song that has one foot in the past and one foot very much in the future.

Having previously worked as a live production team, brushing shoulders with various musicians from around the UK and North America, the trio of Scott, Trumpet Andy, and Stef became disillusioned with the industry. However, a chance late night, Jager-fulled meeting with Kasabian’s Serge Pizzorno at the infamous Shepherd’s Bush haunt Bagel Bites changed everything.

“HEROES” is taken from the band’s debut album SINISTER ELECTRIC, out in 2023.

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UK Artist of the Week: Yellow Bellies

Brighton-based alt-rockers Yellow Bellies prove they’re ones to watch with the release of their scuzz-filled new single “Frankie,” out now.

Channeling the likes of Weezer and Pixies, Yellow Bellies put a modern spin on ’90s-infused rock, creating a sound that is full of fun and fierceness. Talking about the single the band elaborate, “I think we’ve all been in a relationship where either you or your partner over dramatically play the role of self-sabotaging heretic, heralding oneself as a martyr for love. And in this track she goes by ‘Frankie.’ So the songs really about that side of oneself that you hate to admit you either still have, or have experienced in the past.”

Having already made a name for themselves in their adopted home of Brighton, Yellow Bellies are now setting their sights on the wider world. Their eclectic sound journeys through many a genre, but at its core, Yellow Bellies provide a brutally honest expressionist appeal for the modern day craze.

“Frankie” is in stores now.

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UK Artist of the Week: Queen Colobus

Following possibly the UK’s biggest moment in history to date, aptly named jazz-soul quartet Queen Colobus have shared their wonderfully woozy new single “5/9,” out now.

Taken from their upcoming EP “Think Fast,” due for release on 30th September, “5/9” perfectly encapsulates the heart and soul of Queen Colobus. Channelling the likes of Hiatus Kaiyote and Arlo Parks, the band combine all the best elements of jazz, soul, and indie-rock creating something that is truly mesmerising. The single was written as an ode to front woman Beth Hopkins’ father, who sadly passed away after an aggressive battle with cancer.

“The phrase ‘five out of nine’ was sort of like a response to ‘how do you feel out of ten?’ He’d always say fine, onwards and upwards! He kept this up all the way until the end.” Beth explains, “the phrase ‘5/9’ felt strange and warped, exactly how the nights felt throughout his treatment.”

Queen Colobus have already made a name for themselves within the London jazz scene and with the release of their upcoming EP, we hope to see them make it further afield and even across the pond very soon.

“5/9” is in stores now.

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UK Artist of the Week: Thea

This week’s artist of the week comes from singer-songwriter Thea. Her woozy new single “D0 My Thing” is a neo-soul-infused delight and only her second ever to be released.

Channeling the likes of Solange and Mahalia, Berlin-based Thea serves neo-soul naughtiness on new single “D0 My Thing” and we can’t get enough of it. Talking about the single, Thea says, “I did not think I would end up rapping, but I totally fell in love with the first lyric fragments and just naturally kept going on from there.”

“‘D0 My Thing’ is primarily about female empowerment and liberation from constraints. Defying prescribed, conflicting ideas about how to behave as a woman. Not to be belittled, but to believe that you are worth it. Sticking to your own path and owning the right to be yourself. No matter what.”

“D0 My Thing” is just the beginning for this talented songstress and we’re excited to see what she gets up to next.

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UK Artist of the Week: TITUS BANK

It may be September but we’re not ready to say goodbye to summer just yet. TITUS BANK’s shimmering new single “Radio” will no doubt put a smile on your face. Oozing with euphoric charm and celestial soundscapes, “Radio” secures TITUS BANK’s place as one to watch for 2023.

Talking about the single, TITUS explains, “I wrote this song with the amazing and talented Jack Newsome while I was away on my first writing trip in LA. We sat there and explored and talked and eventually came up with the concept that the love that can rival my wife and mine is only possible in the ideals of songs and artists on the radio. It’s a song about growing up being an awkward kid and how the early stages of my relationship with my now wife were so clammy and classically cringey.

I would love to be like the great swooners and songwriters of our time, but in reality our love still rivals anything that actually exists in this world and the only love that can come close to our cute little awkward love would be the stuff you hear on the radio. The sound is definitely a new exploration for me as it has a lot of ’80s elements and this sort of age-old four on the floor upbeat feel in the chorus.”

TITUS BANK’s debut debut EP “Hopeless & Romantic” is in stores now.

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UK Artist of the Week: Fiza

Emerging indie-soul singer Fiza proves she’s one to watch with the release of her sun-soaked debut single “Pieces,” out now.

With a voice like velvet and a melody that could melt butter, what’s not to love about Fiza’s fabulous debut single. Fans of the likes of Amy Winehouse and Corrine Bailey Rae will feel at home here.

Talking about the single, Fiza explains, “‘Pieces’ is about the difficulties in trying to piece yourself and your life back together whilst going through the trials and tribulations of life and what it throws at you. It is about reminding yourself you are stronger than you give yourself credit for and you can help guide yourself into a future you are comfortable with.”

Fiza is from North West London but currently living in Edinburgh and already a regular fixture on the Scottish live scene.

“Pieces” is in stores now via Intarsia Records.

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Needle Drop:
Luke De-Sciscio,
The Banquet

We featured Luke De-Sciscio as our UK Artist of the Week a while ago and now we’re pleased to say he’s back and with a rather impressive album to boot. Luke’s eclectic release, The Banquet is out now via AntiFragile Music, and to celebrate we decided to take a little look through the album whilst also finding out Luke’s thoughts in regard to his love of vinyl.

The album itself is oozing with colour and life from the offset. Opening with “The Banquet (in GX),” there’s an almost medieval feel to this song. Luke’s distinctive vocal and songwriting style is undeniably impressive and the wonderful introduction to this rather interesting LP.

Talking about his introduction to vinyl, Luke explains, “I was at university when vinyl really got its claws into me. At that time, I was staying in an attic room. We would have vinyl strewn everywhere, haze the room into a thick delirious blur, mumble our way through whatever philosophical revelation we were at the facing forward edge of, and just spin record after record. My staples at that point were basically anything Joni Mitchell, anything Van Morrison. And two moments from across their discographies were pretty pivotal life moments that, to this day, I regard as a pivotal experience music can offer someone.”

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UK Artist of the Week: Hohnen Ford

Immerse yourselves in British newcomer Hohnen Ford and her exquisite debut single “Infinity,” out now via Young Poet (Conor Albert, WOOZE, Carmody).

Get ready for goosebumps because Hohnen Ford’s new single is hauntingly brilliant. Combining elegant piano tones with warm, intricate vocals, “Infinity” is a beautifully bittersweet slice of ambience that will no doubt send shivers down your spine. It is produced by Hohnen Ford herself and mixed by Tom Carmichael (Matt Maltese, Porridge Radio).

Talking about the single, Hohnen explains, “a stream of consciousness in a quiet moment when the world felt overwhelming. A note to myself as I was reflecting on what was bubbling around in my brain at a time of crossroads in my life.”

Hohnen Ford is the solo project of singer-songwriter Ella Hohnen-Ford who counts the likes of Ethel Waters, Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone, Sarah Vaughan, and Billie Holiday some of her biggest influences.

“Infinity” is in stores now via Young Poet.

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UK Artist of the Week: New York Pavements

Mental health is an important subject—and thankfully it’s one where a stigma seems to be slowly deteriorating. New York Pavements are a duo who hope to raise awareness, specifically around middle-aged men’s mental health, and their new single “Slam The Door” feels powerfully important.

New York Pavements are Paul Brooking (producer) and Matt Bond (lead vocals). Their latest single “Slam The Door” is taken from their upcoming debut album Outside The Glasshouse, due for release next year. Talking about the inspiration of the album, Paul explains, “writing and recording the album became a cathartic process, making me happier and more confident. I researched the often ridiculed male ‘mid-life crisis,’ and found that this under-researched mental health condition had links to middle aged men taking their own lives. I spoke to as many men as I could and wrote the album around the stories they told me, creating the character of Jack and his struggles, his suicidal condition, and his eventual recovery.

The aim of the album is to bring an awareness to this hugely important condition of men’s mental health in their 40s and 50s. I hope to bring it to as many people as possible. Ideally, I hope it will give some individuals a reference point, an ally and a guide to help them navigate the dark days that can afflict so many.”

The song itself is reminiscent of early Brit-pop bands such as The Stone Roses and Primal Scream and we’re sure it will resonate with many people of all ages who may be struggling with their mental health.

“Slam The Door” is in stores now.

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UK Artist of the Week: Keelan X

Keelan X—AKA Keelan Cunningham—is an Irish synth-pop artist who splits his time between London and Dublin. His unique take combining retro soundscapes with contemporary production has captured the attention of tastemakers in the UK and Europe. Latest single “Fever” is another synth-infused banger, and we love it so much we’ve decided to crown Keelan our UK Artist of The Week.

Taking cues from ’80s acts ranging from Tears For Fears to Erasure and combing this sound with present-day movers and shakers such as The Weeknd and Wolfclub, Keelan X creates a sound befitting of a John Hughes-era movie soundtrack.

“Fever” is Keelan’s follow up to the equally ’80s-inspired “These Days” and finds Keelan moving into more nuanced territory. “Fever” is bristling with a wistful, dreamy atmosphere accented by toe-tapping beats and an addictive chorus that will consume you for days on end. The track is one of a series of tracks Keelan aims to release over the coming months with the aim of unveiling his debut album in 2023.

“Fever” is available to stream on all platforms now.

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UK Artist of the Week: Lowli

In need to some calming music to start your week? Then look no further because Irish composer Lōwli just released her stunning new single “Otherworld” and its, well, otherworldly if you ask us.

Channelling the likes of Agnes Obel and Olafur Arnalds, “Otherworld” combines elegant piano tones with cinematic strings and haunting vocals creating a sound that is undeniably mesmerizing from start to finish.

Talking about the single, Lōwli elaborates, “Otherworld” explores the idea of searching for contentment and happiness, and while doing so, losing sight of the bigger picture. It explores the idea of lost time whilst searching for a better situation, when in reality, we often have exactly what we need already.”

Having received funding via the MISP recording grant, Lōwli’s upcoming EP “Otherworld” is due for release in August 2022.

Single “Otherworld” is in stores now.

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UK Artist of the Week: lotusbliss

Indie-rock trio lotusbliss are back and they sound better than ever. Their new single “Nightshade” instantly packs a punch and is a perfect introduction to what we can expect from their upcoming EP.

Channeling the likes of Foals and Wolf Alice, lotusbliss bring together jangling guitar, scuzzy synths, and pulsating percussion creating a sound that is undeniably impressive and oozing with finesse. The harmonies are also 100% on point throughout. Talking about the single, the band elaborate, “It’s about being involved with something or someone that is unhealthy, though the unhealthy nature is not immediately visible.”

“Like solanine (the poison found in nightshade plants like potatoes and tomatoes), in small doses it’s too subtle to notice; the corrupting force goes undetected. In larger quantities, though, it can be all consuming and fatal, like with the infamous Deadly Nightshade flower. Its scientific name, Atropa Belladonna, comes from Greek mythology—Atropos has the thread of your life in her hands and is poised to cut it.”

lotusbliss are three brothers originally from Canterbury, UK. Their new single “Nightshade” is the first single to be released from their upcoming EP “An Aching Sea,” due in stores on 2nd September 2022.

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UK Artist of the Week: Tina Boonstra

This week’s artist of the week is indie-pop newcomer Tina Boonstra. As a songwriter in a missionary family, Tina expected her songs to find their home in the church halls she grew up in, but it wasn’t until she began performing on the London open mic circuit that she cut her teeth as a performer and honed her craft into a treasure trove of songs with depth and emotional intensity.

Tina’s latest cut “Martha” is a song about sisterhood and reflects upon female relationships and how life rarely seems to go the way you expect. Tina’s distinctively warm vocal style compliments the soft, heartwarming musicality effortlessly, creating a sound akin to the likes of Regina Spektor and Of Monsters and Men.

Talking about her single Tina elaborates, “When you meet someone for the first time, you almost never start at the beginning. You start somewhere in the middle and travel simultaneously forwards and backwards together as you begin to build a picture of who they are, where they’ve been and where they’re going. Martha isn’t who I expected her to be. Her story is simple and complicated in the same breath and my guess is, so is yours.”

“Martha” is the first single from Tina’s debut album, which is being supported by PRS and Festival Republic’s “Re:Balance” program.

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UK Artist of the Week: Keir

PHOTO: FENNE LILY | Bristol-based artist Keir has been making waves for a while now and it seems he shows no signs of slowing down if his latest single “Confession” is anything to go by. The new alt-pop anthem is the first track to be released from Keir’s upcoming album.

Channelling the likes of Hozier and Rag’n’Bone Man, Keir’s distinctively powerful vocal is at the forefront throughout “Confession.” As the song builds, you’re met with pulsating percussion, haunting harmonies, and celestial synths, creating a sound that is undeniably cinematic.

Defiantly punk in spirit, yet enigmatic and brimming with harmony and soul, the stage is Keir’s home away from home. “I can’t help it. I love it, but I have to play every show like it’s the first and the last I’ll ever do. It’s all or nothing, every time.” Keir and his band will be playing live in the UK and Europe previewing songs from his debut album, due out next year.

“Confession” is in stores now via Vertigo / Universal Music.

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UK Artist of the Week: Freddie Lewis

Bristol-based songwriter, poet, and performer Freddie Lewis returns with the release of his woozily infectious new single “Bell Jar,” out now.

Freddie Lewis continues to break structures around gender and relationships with the release of new single “Bell Jar.” The single combines pop, indie, and jazz-infused sensibilities in order to create a whole cocktail of sounds that compliment Freddie’s authentic vocal style perfectly. Fans of the likes of easy life and Gus Dapperton will feel at home here. The single is also accompanied by B-side “The Gallery” also out now.

After first releasing music in summer 2021, Freddie has seen plays on BBC Radio 1, 6Music, and was also featured as the cover artist on Spotify editorial playlist “Transcend” for four months. Throughout 2022 Freddie has continued to grow releasing his music alongside poetry B-sides. This summer brings performances from Freddie at The Great Escape Festival, Bristol Pride, 2000 Trees, and making his Glastonbury debut.

“Bell Jar / The Gallery” is in stores now.

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