The Very Best In Underground Music
- make sure to follow our monthly spotify playlist to hear these subterranean singles and even more of our favourite underground tracks on May 4th-
Joviale - Blow!
Nearly two years after debut Ep Crisis, Joviale has made her return with latest single ‘Blow!’ from upcoming May project Hurricane Belle. The latest track features characteristically dreamy, symphonic vocals laden with the support of a saxophone gently guiding in the murmurs of faint voices swirling through the background. There are the scents of a murky club here, echoes of an intangible world Joviale is pointing to, tearing herself apart through even the smallest of details. Her mind and heart are captivated, but even the "tip of her tongue" is stolen away. There is the sense she gains autonomy in her admission of loss though, the declaration that she "never needed persuading" is finally curled into a clenched fist. She strikes poses in a dimly lit nightclub in the accompanying video, surrounded by dancers who pause, some of them flexing simultaneously. Joviale is pushing against the kind of love that renders a subject unrecognisable, unable to still see themselves. Rather, the neon vibrancy of the track's underbelly pushes against any depersonalisation, piecing parts together with the repeated assertion that "I’m here, and I feel it, I’m done waiting".
Medium Love - Hurricane Coming
The second single from Medium Love, a project from Californian born K. C. Underwood is breathless from the first note. There’s something infectiously angsty about the guitars that come crashing in, embedding themselves like the vinyl thrust into a slab of wood on the cover with title words scrawled like a child who has just learnt to draw a graffiti "S" for the first time. Underwood breaks instantly into the chorus that holds the track together, “I feel hurricane coming through / I feel a million miles from you”, with the gasping cry “and it’s so hard”. There is no room for pretentiousness here, and it’s incredibly endearing to hear the vocals pour out, as if being unfurled by an artist who despises any notion of having to stay still. It’s a whirlwind of desperation at the absence of presence so many have had to become accustomed to, a love for each other that has become diluted or partial. ‘Hurricane Coming’ yearns to feel whole again, a blind fumbling through the wind, searching for the eye of the storm.
Piglet - Mill
Following the release of EP alex’s birthday in February 2020, Irish songwriter and producer Charlie Loane’s latest single ‘Mill’ is a stunning meditation on trans visibility and queerness, using the trickling base of a plethora of guitars and sax to announce the track and shift through textures and colours. There's attention to small details here; the drum machine that steadily announces itself and the feathered vocals that flicker through pitches, at times becoming lost in the instrumental, at others finding a space of strength. Just as the song is moulded, it's many shifting motifs champion the fluidity that is enshrined in the lyrics. Photographs, reflections, and the fabric of what makes a person visible or seen are conjured up, and Charlie finds power in this movement, breathing through the comfort that “I am an imitation, a fake”, with the thought “as much as anyone else is”. ‘Mill’ feels like it is a song being presented in the middle of a palm, lifting up and offering a central assertion to be proud of your own capacity to change. The gentle concluding refrain beckons to you as much as it asserts itself, “I will always be changing”.
English Teacher - R&B
English Teacher's first single of the year is a deft homage to the lethargy of the creative process, the uncertainty of your own autonomy, ability and resulting self-esteem. Lily Fontaine's vocals move through racing guitars as they gather pace after starting warily, moving from a careful delivery to a broken and uncertain phrasing. Imposter syndrome creeps in with the rattle of percussion that builds to a tense backdrop for Lily’s wondering, “I hope I can get my mind right / so I can keep up”. The confusion is built around the singular, titular offering that feels meandering, almost vulnerable, that: “I’ve been writing R&B for you”. This phrase becomes the nucleus through which English Teacher build an anthem to the crippling paranoia that can weigh itself down in the most inconvenient, smothering moments. They find a certain power their own admission of being uncomfortable, of not knowing what to say, what to write, or even how to live. The clipped, dry admission “I don’t have the voice for R&B” is threaded through the dying clashes of the band as they dispel emotions that had felt static, almost stultifying, moving into the active and passionate. They may not have the answers, but they have the courage to wear their hearts on their sleeves. Perhaps that's all you really need.
Anchorsong - Remedy
Tokyo-born and London based producer Masaaki Yoshida has a penchant for creating immersive electronic releases, and his latest chirpy singles under the alias Anchorsong from upcoming album Mirage due May 21st are reason to pay close attention. ‘Remedy’ is laden with hints of wind instruments and choir vocals over non-western elements, as udu drums and strings reverberate through a layer that feels luxurious and shimmering. The same choir vocals introduce ‘New World’, with complex drumming sections, a twinkling synth and the faint shout of “Oh yeah!” buried deep in the fabric of the mix, while ‘Tunis Dream’ builds on the same woodwind samples and filters them slowly through a series of claps at the back end of the track, again burying a vocal sample of “Alright!” between the fluttering instruments. Yoshida's ability to meld vocal samples and voices into stages, allowing long portions to string together and build into a refined and smooth concoction is on full display. His sound is unmistakably fresh, artful, and on these three singles he sounds as focused as ever.
Fin Cousins is a postgraduate literature student studying at Kings College London. He loves writing, music and sport and he has now completely given up 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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