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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 February 1st -


Sammy Copley - Moon Man

Sammy Copley - Moon Man (2020 884427 Records DK)

Sammy Copley's latest single may have appeared in the dying breaths of 2020, but it would be a tragedy to overlook a song this phenomenal as we begin 2021. The prodigious talent that is Mr. Copley still remains mesmerising amidst an already startlingly accomplished discography, but this is the best he's ever sounded.

Floating contemplatively like a cross between Phoebe Bridgers and Grizzly Bear's Ed Droste, everything about 'Moon Man' quietly nudges its listeners in the right direction; sliding softly into a wonderful calmness. From inventive chord changes to vocal harmonies orchestrated with effortless precision, you need to hear this song. We here at SMPM cannot wait for Sammy Copley's upcoming album, and we suggest you get yourselves acquainted with 'Moon Man', 'Trains', and every other song in their catalogue before Growing Pains releases on January 29th.

Sammy Copley: instagram /// spotify

- Ben Wheadon (@wheadsauce)


Block A - Truuu

Block A - Truuu (2021 Block A)

Block A’s first single of 2021, ‘Truuu’ is a hell of a statement. Glitchy beats and dreamy synths underpin Phedra’s deep, silky vocals, permitting the singer a space to stand out as the single's true highlight. Kudos are also due to the mad genius who came up with this track’s beat. A clicking, chiming, stunningly layered soundscape, waxes and wanes to accompany Phedra’s line delivery. Despite lyrics occasionally slipping into corny territory, ‘Truuu’ is a deliciously confident track about facing past traumas and embracing your most honest self. It's the perfect song for many of us to start 2021 with.

Block A: instagram /// spotify

- Ainhoa Santos Goicoechea (@ainhoa.jpeg)


Big Sleep - Tall Stories

Big Sleep - Tall Stories (2021 Big Sleep)

In two days time, Big Sleep release their second ever single. Consider this a command to listen to it. We've made a habit of falling in love with bands from Dublin's underground here at Slow Motion Panic Masters, and Big Sleep are just the latest group to be added to our growing list of affectionate obsessions. Following on from 2020's 'Paint on Cars', upcoming single 'Tall Stories' is ready-made to announce this group as a true Irish breakthrough in 2021.

It's like Lime Cordiale fused together with Tom Misch. Soft vocal pronunciations connect with beautifully selected guitar tones, as the groove swirls around a quietly excellent bass guitar performance, exploring harmonics and octave leaps in the establishment of funky-genius. The song excels while frontman Rónán Connolly propels the track forwards with a particularly polished sound, and we're left with a song that's just begging to be listened to on repeat. Find Big Sleep on your preferred streaming site, and prepare yourself for an impressive introduction.

Big Sleep: instagram /// spotify

- Ben Wheadon (@wheadsauce)


Katz - The Last American Virgin

Katz - The Last American Virgin (2021 Katz)

Surf Rock! Fuck yeah! Katz are everything I want from beach-indie guitar music. Between wonderful rhythm guitar tones, fantastically driven drum grooves and a quietly compelling bass line, 'The Last American Virgin' is indicative of a band with incredible promise. Comparisons to indie-surf-rock progenitors Hockey Dad are well-earnt, with this track packing in a long list of phenomenal details that continue to bring me back to re-listen.

The plucking lead guitar in the verses sounds absolutely brilliant, as do the rich chord tones that underpin the band's ability to nail the sound of surf-rock. Despite vocals occasionally sounding too nasally, this band are capable of doing something really special this year. The vibe of the track reminds us so much of Glitter Party's fantastic 2020 LP, :) , and I think if Katz could appropriate some of that album's balance, they could be capable of real success in the spheres of indie rock. Lifting up the bass volume, and offering some harmonic support to frontman Ben Williams could go along way into refining this band's sound, and pushing Katz a whole level beyond what they achieved on this incredible single.

Katz: instagram /// spotify

- Ben Wheadon (@wheadsauce)


Nasir Catriel, Barfeye, Frank Rous - Febrero

Nasir Catriel, Barfeye, Frank Rous - Febrero (2020 Slowbros)

A collaboration coming straight from the heart of Rosario, Argentina, ‘Febrero’ is the combined brain child of trap artist Nasir Catriel, Frank Rous, and SMPM veteran Barfeye. So you know it’s going to be good.

Indeed, this simple yet bouncy tune is downright lovely, an autotune-heavy, low-key bop that laments a year of loss whilst remaining optimistic for the future. “Everything is going to be better,” the track reminds us, and immediately launches into the delightful bleeps and bloops that decorate its chorus. Peppered with chill, power-down moments and beautiful harmonics, ‘Febrero’ is an upbeat underground track to kickstart your year with.

Nasir Catriel: instagram /// spotify

Barfeye: instagram /// spotify

Frank Rous: instagram /// spotify

- Ainhoa Santos Goicoechea (@ainhoa.jpeg)


Comfort - Received Life

Comfort - Received Life (2021 Slow Dance)

Glaswegian siblings Natalie and Sean McGhee aren’t wasting any time in 2021, delivering us an industrial, new wave banger with 'Received Life', their debut on London based label Slow Dance.

Thanks to the Conservative Party, this new year has begun just as badly as the previous left off in the UK. Comfort, at odds with their name, have released a flurry of biting cynicism all over this track, a highlight being Natalie sarcastically suggesting “you should take advantage, there’s no maximum wage”. Brilliantly cacophonous industrial notes ring over thick drums as Sean's percussion crafts an atmosphere perfectly matching politically fuelled lyrics, contrasting hauntingly well with Natalie’s raw, tuneful singing towards the latter end of the track. Comfort are exactly the band that 2021 needs, and 'Received Life' is a monster of a song to kick it off.

Comfort: bandcamp /// spotify

- Joe Davis (@joedavis26)


Joey Magic, Leah Tolksdorf - Night Light

Joey Magic

Let me get it out of the way quick: this song has one of the best lo-fi hip-hop beats I've heard in months. Again, it's a track that dropped on the very last day of 2020, but it's just so great to hear tracks like this emerge from the underground. Loaded with infectious vocal hooks and an unbelievably tight drum loop, 'Night Light' is another gem that absolutely deserves bending the rules for.

Joey Magic starts things off with an adept demonstration of his lyrical ability, intentionally blurring genres between R&B and Hip-Hop into an incredibly compelling package. References to Family Guy might detract from an otherwise inventive demonstration of Joey Magic's creativity, but as the song progresses, it just gets better and better. I think in terms of his delivery, the artist could actually sound a little sleepier to lean even further into lo-fi appeal, but when he kicks into his melody at [1:13] the track becomes undeniably fantastic. From this chorus, it's obvious that Joey Magic is a real talent. This isn't just a rapper, this is a certified songwriter.

When Leah Tolksdorf arrives, she just elevates the song even further. She sits in the track with the perfect fusion of relaxed confidence and razor-sharp melodic perfection. Tolksdorf is clearly an astonishingly talented singer, and combined the two make 'Night Light' one of the best underground songs to begin 2021 with.

Joey Magic: instagram /// spotify

Leah Tolksdorf: instagram /// spotify

- Ben Wheadon (@wheadsauce)


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.

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.

Joe Davis is a Cardiff University graduate currently doing a panic masters in Public Policy. He procrastinates religiously via music, politics and football. Find him on insta.

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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