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SUBTERRANEAN: February 2021

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 March 1st-


underscores - Second hand embarrassment

underscores - Second hand embarrassment (2021, Underscores)

Man, underscores is so fun – and this track is no exception. A bouncy electronica banger, ‘Second hand embarrassment’ is a constantly mutating song that nevertheless flows together with surprising ease. From the subdued vocals of its first few verses to the autotuned harmonics that take over before the minute mark, not a single bass note or synthetic flourish is out of place in this upbeat jam. Plus it’s funny too. “If you think of something stupid just say nothing at all,” urges underscores to the track’s audience, and they seem to have followed their own advice. ‘Second hand embarrassment’ never gets boring and, if this is anything to go by, the new wave of the future looks bright.

underscores: @underscoresplus /// Spotify

- Ainhoa Santos Goicoechea (@ainhoa.jpeg)


KAM-BU - Black on Black

KAM-BU - Black on Black (2021, Parlophone/Atlas)

KAM-BU is flying. ‘Black on Black’ uses spacious production shifts, moving through snappy hi-hats and swelling orchestral notes to bring the track to it’s expansive pinnacle. KAM-BU’s voice is never lost as the centrepiece, ever present in the swells and movement of the backing. He anthologises himself, painting vivid images of his South London upbringing, paralleling the blocks of flats stacked up over his head to the odds he sees piled up against him. His environment is constantly present, emphasised by the worries of his mother about knife crime and all circling around a sharp refrain "Black on black that’s fam / Windrush grandad’s clan". He glances backwards at what moulded him, proudly announcing the presence of the Windrush generation with his voice sometimes breaking into reverberating layers, sometimes tinged with faint reverb, before pushing forward: “Tell my young ones be humble / I promise that our days coming soon”. He recognises the need for a brighter future, gathering a tidal wave of momentum with every bristling syllable.

KAM-BU: @kamb_u /// Spotify

- Fin Cousins (@fincousins)


Akin Soul – Burning Fire

Akin Soul - Burning Fire (2021, Akin Soul)

Multi-instrumentalist, composer and singer Akin Soul’s latest single ‘Burning Fire’ is a murky infusion of jazz and soul, finding its strength in a melody that begins outlined by his own voice. Akin's dextrous voice lingers on words at times, stretching out utterings like "now I see / who you really are" into an earthy, flowering cadence. The longing first half bleeds with a slow burning urgency in a symphonic build, but breaks into a higher tempo groove, shifting into a fuzzed-out serrated world guided by his falsetto. There are moments of attention to detail too, the introductory flicking of a lighter illuminating the depths of the track and the grainy recordings of faces in the music video. At just 19 years old, this young artist is already creating music that feels regal, grand, posing; able to use choking anguish as a showcase of sheer ability. While this track feels grounded, almost a throwback, some of the vocal strutting across the back end push into the modern, at times panoramic.

Akin Soul: @akinsoul /// Spotify

- Fin Cousins (@fincousins)


Meredith Bull - Mushrooms/DeadPeople

Meredith Bull - Mushrooms/DeadPeople (2021, Starseeds and Earthlings)

When I say I’ve had this track stuck in my head for a week now, I’m not kidding: ‘Mushrooms/DeadPeople’ is infectious. Originally put together in an appropriately viral Tik Tok, producer and voice actor Meredith Bull seems to have created one of the catchiest songs I’ve heard in a while almost by accident. How? Well, no “accident” of this calibre can happen without some serious talent being involved. This electronica track is smooth as hell, spacious, buoyant – and with a sense of humour to boot! Bull’s choice of samples for this project is refreshingly playful, and her precise, seductive vocals become that perfect through line for the entire song to flow along. Creepy, funny, and remarkably different, this song is a promising new release from a producer with intriguing potential.

Meredith Bull: @meredithbullofficial /// Spotify

- Ainhoa Santos Goicoechea (@ainhoa.jpeg)


Grandma's House - Always Happy

Grandma’s House – Always Happy (2021, Brace Yourself)

Bristol based queer punk trio Grandmas House released two excellent singles last year, and their first release of 2021 ‘Always Happy’ is perhaps their best yet. A stripped back single guitar riff kicks in and spans the length of the song, announcing a gravelly tone reflective of the lead vocals of Yasmin Berndt which prickle with urgency. There are no frills here, no diversions, the first minute and 50 seconds functioning instead as a cacophonous build, finding what feels like a crescendo and holding it, continually screaming reminders of self-assertiveness and self agency. The fiery propulsion of the track may revolve around a "suit jacket", but at it's core, 'Always Happy' revels in the defiant "this is happening without your permission" sentiment that made punk music great.

Grandmas House: @grandmashouseband /// Spotify

- Fin Cousins (@fincousins)


Baxtr - Grace on Fire

Baxtr - Grace on Fire (2021, Snacky McSnacks Records

SMPM's favourite DIY alt-pop London band, Baxtr have moved from strength to strength since their debut single ‘Bloom’ featured in our first ever Subterranean article last year. Their uncanny ability to blend sounds together is as present as ever on ‘Grace on Fire’, as the trio create a chewy, fluorescent backing for vocals moving through images of faith and uncertainty, the Church forming a metaphor for the figure of desire. They sound focused, seeming to use "saving grace" as both a manifestation of a material person and a description of the way the protagonist attempts to hold themselves. The lead vocal performance is utterly flawless and captivating, and the backing vocals are floaty and ethereal at at the track's climax, although become a little lost in the instrumentation when the track is moving through its most weighty sections. 'Grace on Fire' finds itself in quick transitions between mélanges of genre, the slow clap in the last minute dissolving into an aching final line: "no one says / are you okay?".

Baxtr: @baxtrband /// Spotify

- Fin Cousins (@fincousins)



POLICE CAR COLLECTIVE - MINE (3 Beat Productions, Ltd)

Liverpool band POLICE CAR COLLECTIVE have returned with sophomore single ‘MINE’, a summery indie banger drenched in nostalgia. With this latest release, PCC steer away from the progressive, slow-burning sound of their debut single ‘ALL THE TIME’ and move towards sun-soaked indie singalongs. Feeling like a marriage between The Cure, Wallows and Bleachers, ‘MINE’ blends a chorus-soaked bass riff with retro synthesiser leads while frontman Tyler Plazio gives a smooth vocal performance, belting a polished hook that is infectious and completely and utterly festival ready.

POLICE CAR COLLECTIVE: @policecarcollective /// Spotify

- James Mellen (@jjimmellen)


Fin Cousins is a postgraduate literature student studying at Kings College London. He loves sport, music and writing and he is still waiting for Love Island to accept his application. He also made our logo.

Ainhoa Santos Goicoechea (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.

James Mellen is Slow Motion Panic Masters' Head of A&R, and is currently studying songwriting and production and is based near Bristol. Interests include silly effects pedals, Yorkshire tea and 100 gecs.

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.

Do you make music? Follow our Instagram and send us a DM. We’ll contact you if we like what we hear. In the meantime, you can like us on Facebook and subscribe to our mailing list below to stay up to date with our ramblings.

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