SUBTERRANEAN: October 2020

Fin and Anthony take the underground


- make sure to follow our monthly playlist that updates on November 1st to hear these subterranean singles and even more of our favourite tracks from Autumn 2020 -

 
Savage Gary & RoRo (2020 Manata Ltd)

Savage Gary ft Roro - Wait & See


Red hot label Speedy Wunderground recently released ‘Quarantine Sampler 2’, a collaborative album with legendary South London record producer Dan Carey under his electronic alias Savage Gary with the intention of shedding light on talented underground artists. Carey gives the artists space to work over the top of his production, and this freedom really paid off with Bajan artist RoRo. The production is pulsating and mesmeric, with heavy synths and a 808 style kick spanning a concise 2 and a half minutes. RoRo brings the beat alive, switching between tuneful melodies and hard hitting rap verses. She sounds animated - simultaneously smooth and viciously incisive. The refrain she delivers ‘tell me you’re coming soon’… ‘wait and see’ is masterful and incredibly sticky, brimming with attitude and confidence. This track is vibrant and utterly addictive, I found myself hanging on to every word. It's an extremely good performance.


Savage Gary, Roro: @speedy_wunder , @itsrocstar /// spotify


- FIN COUSINS (@fincousins)

 
Coach Party (2020 Chess Club Records)

Coach Party - Can't Talk, Won't


Isle of Wight group Coach Party are hot off the release of their well received EP Party Food with this banger of a single. ‘Can’t Talk, Won’t’ opens with a gripping riff and the opening statement of uncertainty ‘Did you not feel old today? Unachieved and far away from my own goals’ and later ‘I can’t quite talk / but I still find the words to say / I’m ashamed’. The struggle builds to an explosively brilliant breakout and high pitched vocals from Jess Eastwood, who gives a phenomenal performance throughout the chorus with the cutting lyrics ‘don’t think that I wanna die / don’t think that I wanna die / don’t think that I, wanna die’. The repressed need to scream is what builds the song with micro actions and small occurrences leading to the tense outburst. It's a powerful message listeners will be all too familiar with and reminds me of an old Bukowski poem about a shoelace, positing the idea that it ‘is not the large things that send a man to the madhouse’. It’s a sentiment that rings true with what can seem like a never-ending drag of constant routines and rituals, digits and practices, and Coach Party have lamented this feeling perfectly. I’ve had it on repeat ever since I heard it.


Coach Party: @wearecoachparty /// spotify


- FIN COUSINS (@fincousins)

 
Emil & Knucks - Beg to Differ (2020 Emil)

Emil & Knucks – Beg to Differ


South London producer Emil recently released his full length debut project Ambrosia and with the announcement of the project came the single ‘Beg To Differ’ featuring a glowing contribution from notable South Kilburn rapper Knucks. The single delivers soulful rap effortlessly flowing over a raw, unsparing jazz instrumental as Emil uses his signature approach of combining melodic hip-hop acoustics with drum programming to create a backbone for the tracks. When Knucks announces himself after the introductory atmospheric keys he exudes braggadocio over clean basslines and silky harmonies with the first line: ‘You aint heard? Then come book me’. Knucks’ cadence and cold-blooded wordplay is perfect over the first minute before the song transitions at around 1:11 minutes, with Emil's keys heralding in a ferocious beat and Knucks twisting and turning through the refrain ‘I beg to differ’. Emil’s undeniable talent is at the forefront as the production is immaculately layered and ambient, the subtle introduction of a saxophone which builds into prominence in the second half is rich and deep, in a song with so much to offer. This is an absolutely outstanding track.


Emil & Knucks: @emil_kla , @knucks_music /// spotify


- FIN COUSINS (@fincousins)

 
Sapphire Blues - Ourselves Forgotten (2020 Blitzcat)

Sapphire Blues - Ourselves Forgotten


Ourselves Forgotten’ is a solid advert for Bristol’s Sapphire Blues, one of the city’s most exciting prospects. The band’s latest single opens with a brisk bassline, keeping the song moving beneath the reverb-drenched guitars not unlike those contemporaries Shame and Fontaines DC have become well-known for. The highlights are Sam Lance Jones’ passionate vocal display, and a stellar performance behind the kit from Chris Tompson, whose frenzied drumming adds blasts of energy into the track’s roomy atmosphere. Complete with an inspired jazzy break halfway through, ‘Ourselves Forgotten’ is a super effort, and at just under three minutes, Sapphire Blues leave you desperate for more - hopefully an album arrives sooner rather than later.


Sapphire Blues: @sapphirebluesuk /// spotify


- ANTHONY FORD (@anthonyfordd)

 
Try Me - Monologuing (2020 Try Me)

Try Me - Monologuing


Bristol duo Try Me are releasing a string of singles throughout 2020, and their latest ‘Monologuing’ is vibrant, sparkling blend of funk, indie and electronic rave music which blends into an eccentric and slightly gritty pop punk style. Hector Boogieman and Bendy Wendy do a very refreshing job of not taking themselves seriously and it's an infectious quality that seeps through their music, a key example being the (often repeated) refrain ‘I don’t wanna // I just wanna’ being offset by ‘on repeat you’re a bad DJ’. The smooth bass gives the track a disco style groove and the synths are playful and catchy. The instrumental breakdown with the question and answer ‘who controls your life? It’s you’ is a warm hug of acceptance that drops the listener back into the buoyancy of the hook. Try Me have created a warm and very charismatic track and have their next single dropping on Halloween. I will definitely be listening. They're one to watch.


Try Me: @trymewav /// spotify


- FIN COUSINS (@fincousins)

 
Panic Shack - I Don't Really Like It (2020 Clwb Creative)

Panic Shack - I Don't Really Like It


Cardiff based quintet Panic Shack are trailblazing right now, and ‘I Don’t Really Like It’ is their third single of 2020. The track begins with post-punk basslines and interlocking group vocals to create a quiet tension and rises into intensely frenetic punk rock. The result is wonderfully anthemic, with a simple refrain that perfectly encapsulates the frustration of being patronised. The use of repetition and layering is perfect, it’s urgent, assertive and unrelenting, it's the perfect reply to condescension. The song bristles with an explosion of protest, a brilliant Pixies-esque bassline with rushing guitars and trenchant drumming holding it all together. The video to accompany the single was filmed mid quarantine and features a disturbing voyeur who is used to satirise the abusive and condescending archetype. The whole release is a genius ‘fuck you’. Panic Shack have absolutely killed it. This is the feminist punk group 2020 needed.


Panic Shack: @panicshack /// spotify


- FIN COUSINS (@fincousins)

 
DEADLETTER - Fit For Work (2020 DEADLETTER)

DEADLETTER – Fit For Work


The fantastic ‘Fit For Work’ is a brazen and unflinching attack on the snares of the UK government’s benefits system. Not only that, it’s a cheeky and gloriously infectious song held aloft by a techno beat and bassline interspersed with explosions of dystopian jazz-punk, evocative of the more playful extended cuts of Viagra Boys. Frontman Zac Woolley sifts through a group of characters, including a double amputee and a PTSD sufferer, heartlessly declared “fit for work” by the system. Yorkshire’s DEADLETTER hit the nail on the head with a grim burst of adrenaline, a blunt metaphor for how society feels it has to plod on through injustice. Musically, the juxtaposition between a crashing chorus and stripped-back verses is a great move, and with the swagger and spit to go with their political spirit, DEADLETTER are right at home with the rest in the UK’s burgeoning punk revival. A must-listen.


DEADLETTER: @deadletter /// spotify


- ANTHONY FORD (@anthonyfordd)

 
Skippy Gonzalez - Love Me Still (Ndube Productions)

Skippy Gonzalez – Love Me Still


Thomas Gonzalez, known by his stage name Skippy Gonzalez recently released his debut single and it’s very promising from the University of York student. The track opens with a synth that swirls up to twinkling keys dropping into a slow drum beat with smooth vocals harmonising in the background. The skittering beat propels the song forward and the vocals are deeply embedded in the track, out of focus, dreamy and soothing. Skippy has a versatile voice, able to reach up into higher registers to form a layered backing very comfortably. He sounds heady and charming on a track of questioning and uncertainty, with the refrain ‘will you love me still? / love me like you say you will’ sounding slightly nonchalant and meandering. It leaves the impression Skippy is not speaking directly to a love interest but is instead reminiscing to himself, flicking through muddled thoughts. The result is calming and extremely pretty. It’s a great debut from Skippy and I’ll be waiting eagerly to see what he does next.


Skippy Gonzalez: @skiiiippy /// spotify


- FIN COUSINS (@fincousins)

 
Jelani Blackman - Hello (2020 18 records/ eOne music)

Jelani Blackman – Hello


West London rapper Jelani Blackman recently released visuals for his single ‘Hello’ in what has been a successful year for the artist. A feature on YouTube’s Colors series has pushed him to the limelight alongside a venomous feature on Charlie Sloth’s Fire in the Booth. ‘Hello’ is Jelani’s fourth and most popular single this year and it is really not hard to understand why. Jelani emanates confidence on the track, spitting nastily in his signature baritone voice over an instrumental provided by Tom Stafford, using minimalist production and an instantly recognisable flute motif. The instrumental claps in and out, with small hints of grimy horns popping up to accentuate Jelani’s lyrics which range from nonchalant conversation to absolutely lethal conscious rap. He shifts between topics concisely in a propulsive tone that tightly knits rhyme schemes like ‘no fire in the booth or fire in the park just / fire in the heart that's fire in the dark’ swirling around the tongue in cheek refrain of ‘hello’. This song is a statement of intent from an artist who knows he is carving a name for himself as a future heavy hitter in the UK rap scene. Jelani just pulled up his seat up to the table and he is here to stay.


Jelani Blackman: @jelaniblackman /// spotify


- FIN COUSINS (@fincousins)

 
Yammerer - Boa Constrictor (2020 Restless Bear)

Yammerer - Boa Constrictor


Short, sweet, and to the point. With Jay Sunsea’s hissing and spitting vocals winding through a jarring barrage of guitar noise, Liverpool band Yammerer’s latest release wears its inspiration on its sleeve. A primal and urgent take on modern post-punk, ‘Boa Constrictor’ builds upon its mechanical bassline and swells uncontrollably with a deadly combination of chaotic guitar lines and amp feedback, boiling over less than two minutes in. A great example of the wide array of styles beneath the surface of the UK’s recent wave of post-punk.


Yammerer: bandcamp /// spotify


- ANTHONY FORD (@anthonyfordd)

 
Deepfake - Gggggggg (2020 DK Records)

Deepfake – Gggggggg


UK based producer and songwriter Deepfake delivered an experimental single which successfully marries soulful vocals with a murky electronic instrumental, shifting between erratic breakbeat drums and atmospheric chords. The vocals come in with a slight glitch and are deeply embedded in the fabric of the mix, rising to lamenting ‘feel the weight upon my shoulder’. There’s something slightly Justin Vernon-ish about Deepfake’s voice, which works superbly against the glitching backdrop. The drums scatter through the instrumental and the humming keys in the background portray a feeling of a sombre nightclub, half empty, with the lights down. The breathy vocals uttering ‘oh my god, oh my god' flow through pitches over emotive strings, holding notes for just about the right length of time. Deepfake is tapping into the modern late night club style that the likes of Frank Ocean and James Blake have been shooting for and he does it very gracefully. It's a great introduction to the up and coming artist.


Deepfake: @deepfakeaudio /// spotify


- FIN COUSINS (@fincousins)

 

Fin Cousins is a 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.


Anthony Ford is a Maths student, spending every Saturday watching Burnley attempt to avoid relegation. He calms himself down by listening to music, playing guitar, or shouting at people on the TV.


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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