Artists You Need To Hear About Right Now
Four unmissable artists, all in one place. The team at Slow Motion Panic Masters has more incredible musicians for you all to pay attention to right now, or regret missing out on some of the most exciting music the world has to offer.
But first, make sure to follow our spotify playlist with the link below and tune in to hear a regularly updating stream of sensational underground appreciation:
RAMYA POTHURI - MUMBAI, INDIA
Wonderful vocals and creative fearlessness meet in the form of Ramya Pothuri. Born in Missouri but residing in Mumbai, her folk-tinged R&B tunes will envelop you in a soundscape of soft beats and gentle guitar strings - or at least that’s the case with her 2019 single ‘Summer’. A track filled to the brim with warmth, it tackles the challenge of expressing difficult feelings to those you love with a calm sense of maturity and unwavering support. Her newest single, ‘ihateitwhenihurtyou’, makes for a similarly enchanting song. Pothuri’s vocals, alongside the low-fi magic of track collaborator Dropped Out, will make you feel like you’re floating.
Dropped Out, however, is far from the only artist Pothuri has teamed up with. In fact, collaboration seems to be an important aspect of this artist’s trajectory. Not only does she regularly incorporate fellow musicians, vocalists, and mixers into her releases, but her touring history demonstrates a real commitment to the creation and fostering of musical communities. For instance, after noting the lack of a live music circuit in Sri Lanka, Pothuri joined forces with five other South Asian artists to create The Quick and Dirty Tour, a completely DIY live music experience that sent them all across Sri Lanka and allowed them to engage with the local music scene along the way. It is this unrelenting drive to create in the company of others that really sets Ramya aside of the bunch - along with her angelic voice, of course. Her second EP is set to be released by the end of 2020, and you’d be wise to keep an eye out for whatever Pothuri will surprise us with next.
- AINHOA SANTOS GOICOECHEA (@ainhoa.jpeg)
BLACK HIBISCUS - LAGOS, NIGERIA
Describing the music of Nigerian neo-soul superhero Black Hibiscus is difficult. There’s all the trademark introspection and jazzy guitar chords that a listener should expect from the world of contemporary funkiness - but there’s something very striking about the mixture of sounds that this artist combines. The electric guitar that underpins 'Mr. Moonman', coupled with the single's reverberating vocals, make up a fantastic example of one of these unique, almost haunting fusions.
Indeed, there’s something eerie and unsettling crawling beneath the beautiful melodies of Black Hibiscus’ design. His music is wonderfully inviting, just like a Sampha or an Arlo Parks - but this musician is definitely doing something more interesting than just adding to the pool of modern neo-soul. His single 'Wanted' is a perfect example of this. Warm and welcoming, this tune echoes with such confidence that it almost feels like it doesn’t care if you’re around to listen to it. But trust us, you need to be. Black Hibiscus has been hard at work lately and, it's certainly time for it to pay off. With an EP dropping in the near future and five Spotify singles currently out on infuriatingly low play counts, you must listen to Black Hibiscus. Immediately.
- BEN WHEADON (@wheadsauce)
ISATOFU - MADRID, SPAIN
Isatofu is a revelation. A part of the Spanish YouTube scene since early 2017, she released dozens of videos - as well as a a dumb-fun kind of comedy album - before deciding to make the jump to what she describes as “serious” music. Her new EP, Atención!!!, is the result of her efforts - and boy are we lucky she decided to make her music a priority.
Atención!!! is an EP in perpetual bloom, a true show of character for Isatofu that mixes and matches everything as the singer/songwriter finds a style to call her own. Amongst its tracks, ‘Besitos’ stands out as a frustratingly catchy, undeniably comforting mix of jazz “muzak” and Animal Crossing samples. Meanwhile, ‘Me gustaría’ is a heart-wrenching soft-rock track about being so afraid a relationship will fail that you prevent yourself from fully enjoying it. The honesty and ease with which Isatofu is able to put the giddiness and anxiety that come with falling in love for the first time into words is also remarkable and, in my eyes, elevates this EP from a good “serious music” debut to a great one.
So, non-Spanish speaking people, I am sorry to say you guys are missing out. However, fear not! I am here to translate the EP's gist for you: Isatofu herself has claimed Atención!!! is about “wanting someone to pay attention to you all the time and wanting things to last forever”. Well, I’m certainly paying attention now - and so should you, for a long time.
- AINHOA SANTOS GOICOECHEA (@ainhoa.jpeg)
T.ILL APES - BANGALORE, INDIA
Neo-soul and hip hop outfit T.ill APES, (short for Till All People Evolve Slightly) are an exciting new collective rising out of the Indian underground music scene. Following a few performances uploaded to YouTube in 2019, the group have had a productive 2020, releasing an 8 track EP entitled Lift Off and three singles, the stand out being ‘Scissor Salad’, a dense and excellently produced cut with tight drumming sequences, horns and bass licks. This single was a sign of things to come from the Bangalore based group.
T.ill APES are genre bending, with warm elements of jazz, funk, soul and hip-hop swirling cohesively under producer Doc.Awes (aka Amrith Raghunathan). Hanumankind’s verses are charismatic with a deep and propulsive tone, and when he kicks into triplet flows he sounds extremely comfortable, his delivery seamlessly matching the energy of the layered instrumentals. Bassist Soorya Praveen and drummer Sange Wangchuk create tight rhythm sections, but every band member has their moments to roam freely. The result is a blissful beat tape sound that allows the looseness of the grooves to propel the music forward, resulting in some extremely smooth musical motifs. (Try listening to the short sax solo from Gautam David about 1 minute and 40 seconds into ‘Paper’ while keeping your head still. You literally can’t. I’ve tried).
The use of a live band behind a hip hop vocalist has enjoyed a resurgence over the past decade, with artists such as Kendrick Lamar and Anderson .Paak using live bands both in the studio and at concerts. T.ill APES are a welcome newcomer to this style and I can’t wait to see what the group releases next. Until then, I’ll continue hitting the replay button.
- FIN COUSINS (@fincousins)
Ainhoa Santos Goikoetxea (pronounced "I-know-ah") is a culturally confused Creative Writing postgraduate student from the Basque Country, Spain. She is passionate about film, music and politics, and she should probably know more than she does about all three.
Fin Cousins is a literature student and writer studying at Kings College, London. He is an avid consumer of sports and music and is still waiting for Love Island to accept his application. He also made our logo.
Thanks for reading! Slow Motion Panic Masters is a music, arts and culture blog created and edited by Ben Wheadon, a literature student and musician based at the University of Oxford. He is also a Fleet Foxes shill.
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