SUBTERRANEAN: June 2020
A Brand New Series from Slow Motion Panic Masters
- enjoy a new series at Slow Motion Panic Masters where we run through some unmissable songs from the underground // make sure to follow our monthly playlist that updates on JULY 1 to hear these subterranean singles and even more of our favourite tracks from June 2020 -
UMI - PRETTY GIRL HI!
Twenty one year old Seattle native UMI is bringing a fresh, youthful outlook on R&B and neo-soul. 'Pretty Girl hi!' is a sub-two minute track lifted off of latest EP Introspection. Despite the short runtime, 'Pretty Girl hi!' packs in some lovely production, fusing vintage breaks and basslines with sub basses and sampled woodwind. It feels like a marriage of old school soul and the more modern take on the genre that has become so popular over the last few years. It is understated but leaves plenty of UMI to give a fantastic vocal performance. Her singing is on point, and her flow is great. The vocal layers and harmonies are tasteful and work excellently. 'Pretty Girl hi!' is a concise, to-the-point piece of R&B, and shows just how much potential the twenty one year old has.
FAKE TURINS - LEGS
The latest single from North London ten-piece Fake Turins, Legs is a groovy, jazz-tinted cut, and their first single of 2020. Blending twangy guitars with a smorgasbord of woodwind and percussive elements 'Legs' wanders along with a smooth, spoken-word delivery. Shying away slightly from their previous disco-orientated tracks, Legs is an interesting development for a group one that I can’t wait to see more from.
Fake Turins: instagram /// spotify
BAXTR - BLOOM
Baxtr are one of the latest talents to appear from the London DIY scene. The trio, made up of Keiko Jackson, Bash Powers and Floss Mackintosh, have made their mark with debut single ‘Bloom’. The single is a sweet, indie-pop cut, drawing clear comparisons to LA contemporaries HAIM. Their debut is the perfect summer banger. It's fun, it’s bouncy and it's catchy. The production is wonderful; layers of percussion and bass propel the song forward, with the addition of charming guitar licks giving it a more indie tinted edge. The chorus-soaked rhythm guitars wouldn’t be out of place on a The Cure track, and the vocal performances are excellent all round. For a debut by a new band, ‘Bloom’ is surely going to turn some heads.
SUB CULTURES - ALONE
South West four piece Sub Cultures have only been around since late 2019, but in that time have released two great singles, the latest of which being 'Alone'. Drawing obvious influence from East Coast emo and indie rock, 'Alone' combines dreamy guitars with big drums to create a sound that is uncommon in the South West / South Wales scene (as well as an obvious nod to Scouse boys The Night Cafe). The drumming is one of the highlights of the track; the smooth chops laced throughout this track really give it an edge. The relationship between the guitars and bass is excellent as they bounce the repeating motif between them. 'Alone' seems to end at the two and a half minute mark but drops back in for another minute which doesn’t seem all too necessary, as the track had flowed and been paced well up until that point. The mix on 'Alone' is a lot better than their previous single. Everything sounds fuller and richer, and the vocals are slightly dropped back which works excellently for the sound they are striving for. 'Alone' is a good piece of emo/indie rock, and definitely shows promise for these newcomers.
Sub Cultures: instagram /// spotify
HOCKEY DAD - GOOD EYE
Aussie-favourites Hockey Dad have dropped their third single of the year with 'Good Eye', a summery, guitar-driven rock tune. Frontman Zach Stephenson’s vocal work is immediately recognisable, and the guitars are immediately reminiscent of the 2000s indie-rock explosion: crunchy, but clear. The additional lead lines in the background are subtle but really work in favour of the track. Billy Fleming’s drumming is reserved but serves the purpose of the track excellently. Hockey Dad still retain their DIY surf-punk aesthetic, but the production quality of these last few singles are really making them stand out in a heavily saturated market.
Hockey Dad: instagram /// spotify
SLEEP POWDER - LAST TIME AROUND
‘Last Time Around’ is the debut single from Bristol-based producer Sleep Powder. Drawing influence from lo-fi hip-hop, jazz and 90s electronic music, Sleep Powder has created a warm, dreamlike instrumental with their debut. A simple backbeat bobs along, driven by a classic upright bass. The piano loop heard throughout reminded me instantly of artists like Moby or a DJ Shadow. Crackling vinyl textures wrap this song in a lo-fi blanket, but despite the lo-fi characteristics, the track is still excellently mixed and produced. Every instrument is crisp and clear and it easy to pick out, even the subtlest of sounds laced in the backdrop. Sleep Powder is fusing 90s hip-hop with modern lo-fi, creating a gentle and vintage feel while displaying clear, undeniable talent on several instruments. Amongst the endless stream of drum and bass producers in Bristol, Sleep Powder is going to stick out like a sore thumb - but in the best way possible.
Sleep Powder: instagram /// spotify
FLEECE - SO LONG
Indie rock quartet Fleece’s latest single, 'So Long', is a gentle indie pop cut, with obvious influence from 60s psychedelia. The vocal effects and delivery feel like they’ve been lifted off a tape from that era. It compliments the music nicely, despite the keys giving me flashbacks to the Wii Channel as a child. The section changes are smooth, and the slight variations of the main riff are well-done and refreshing. Throughout its runtime the track adapts and develops, rather than falling into the indie trap of repeating the same thing for three minutes. Fleece play to their strengths on this track, with dreamy guitars and quirky synths smattered across the track. Despite not showing much development in sound from previous projects, 'So Long' is a sweet, bubbly tune which comfortably fits into the current dreamy indie trend.
THE KILLERS - MY OWN SOUL'S WARNING
We're cheating here, as this is *hardly* an underground release, but nevertheless, after a decidedly below-average LP in 2017 with Wonderful Wonderful, The Killers have blasted into 2020 with a slew of synth heavy singles that have fallen somewhat under the radar, most recently with 'My Own Soul’s Warning'. My Own Soul has the Vegas quartet returning to their mid-2000s form in the fact it is a straight up indie banger. Twinkly guitar work and sweeping synths lay the foundation, before drums propel the song forward into the classic festival-ready tune the Killers are known for. Brandon Flowers’ delivery is collected and reserved in the verses before flicking the on-switch and giving us a passionate delivery in the choruses. While not the most unique or original track, My Own Soul’s Warning is a fine slice of indie pop rock.
you know who the fucking Killers are, find the link yourselves x
James Mellen is a very bored student in his final year of compulsory education, waiting to study music production and performance at degree level. He is passionate about music, guitars and music. He also watches films sometimes.
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 in South Wales.
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