The Unsigned Guide Spotlight: November

Blog by Michelle Lloyd under Artist Managers, Creative & Branding, Finance, Law & Music Business, Live, Media, Music Publishing, Music Training & Careers, Record Labels, Recording & Production, Selling & Distributing Your Music

Remember, remember the 6th of November. Why you ask? Well, because it’s time to bestow November’s Spotlight on you! You know the drill by now; every month we pick 5 of our favourite tracks from those submitted to us, shout about them and share them with our loyal readers, not to mention our panel of music industry professionals. This month, as always, we have some real gems for you, 5 acts we’re expecting big things for in 2013. 

Sea Pinks – ‘Lake Superior’
Purveyors of bright, melodic, bittersweet guitar pop, Belfast’s Sea Pinks in their own words are inspired by “beach glass, bleached grass and ghost guitars”. Largely the solo project of Neil Brogan, the band has so far released 2 albums; 2010's cassette only garage-fuzz debut ‘Youth Is Wasted’ (ft. Japanese Knotweed) and 2011's jangle pop mini-odyssey ‘Dead Seas’ (ft. Fountain Tesserae, Peripheral Vision), both on Brogan's own CF Records.
Following a tape release of demos and outtakes, various compilation appearances and a guest mix for Tom Ravenscroft on BBC 6Music earlier this year, Sea Pinks are back with third album ‘Freak Waves’ which features our chosen track ‘Lake Superior’; the fullest manifestation of their sound so far. 
Neil describes their sound as having “gone from very lo-fi garage fuzz to a hopefully more dynamic, better recorded sound as things have progressed. I've been learning how to record and I've still got a lot to learn but hopefully it's getting better”. 
Of ‘Lake Superior’ he tells us: “It was just one of those songs that kind of jumped out one day, pretty much complete. It was actually the first song to be written for the new album, there was another song that was going to be the opening track but I decided at the last minute to go with Lake Superior instead. I think I made the right call.”
Having just played a show in Dublin that he says was one of their best with two encores nonetheless, their next gig is supporting The Pastels in Manchester on 16th November as part of their friend's Comfortable On A Tightrope's 8th birthday celebrations.
Totem Terrors – 'Sovereign Skull'

Totem Terrors are made up of Cardiff and Brighton based Max and Rosie, both former members of the spam-unfriendly ‘Joy Of Sex’. With a “different name, same quality” thing going on, they concern themselves with writing “minimalist post-punk songs that are cool, sleek and brainy.” They describe themselves as being “for fans of Wire, Prinzhorn Dance School and films where the hero dies face down in an icy puddle.” 
Using drum machines, thwomping basslines and guitar for texture, Max’s stark, sardonic vocals are offset with Rosie’s more melodic singing style.  Our chosen track ‘Sovereign Skull’ came together remarkably quickly they tell us, 20 minutes; the lyrics coming later with their trademark wordless chorus taking centre stage.
Citing their highlights as supporting Art Brut and being played on air by the likes of Simon Raymonde, Steve Lamacq and Tom Robinson they are currently working on their debut album with a view to releasing it in the new year. 
The Bell Peppers – ‘The Hoofstomp’

The Bell Peppers, Mike Topping and Dominic Oliver, are a surfy rock & roll band formed in the summer of 2011 in Manchester. Describing their sound as “melodic, raw, sassy rhythm & blues with twangy, surf guitar and smooth haunted diner doo-wop”, they've played sets with Y Niwl, Jeffery Lewis, The Fresh & Onlys, Dan Sartain and Tashaki Miyaki, amongst others.
We chose their track ‘The Hoofstomp’ as it instantly transported us to warmer climes and made us all want to don our Hawaiian shirts and head on down to the beach. Sadly, we had to make do with the canal but nonetheless the jaunty, upbeat yet nostalgic melody struck us as being vivid and cheeky. Just what we like!
Here’s what they had to say about their highlights to date: “It’s been great to see people from all over the world have stumbled across us and sent us good feedback. 
We've never been in a band that had fans who we didn't already know. It was also good to see a couple jiving and slow dancing through our set at the Roadhouse. We could see they were working themselves up to a night of passionate loving, good to know we were fuelling their fires. Also, playing with and getting to know all the other bands in the local Manchester scene like Temple Songs, Brown Brogues, Peacesigns, L'Amour Des Reves and Weird Era.”
With a sell out show supporting Hooded Fang, as well as a support slot with The Allah-Las and a tiny basement show with their friends Brown Brogues all coming up, plus a split tape with the Teen Velvettes, they’re definitely keeping themselves busy!
WayBeyond – ‘Ello’

WayBeyond is 29 year old music producer Dave Biggin from Fort William in the Highlands of Scotland. He started making electronic music at the age of 24 following a youth of dabbling in writing songs on guitar, playing a little piano, and endlessly listening to music. WayBeyond tracks are made using FL Studio and a combination of acoustic recordings, synths and samples; all mixed and mastered by Biggin in a dark and dusty attic. He is entirely self taught at musical production and mastering, having learnt through nothing but trial and error and a worn-out set of Seinnheiser headphones.
The main melodies from his first release ‘Ello’ were based upon whistled tunes that were recorded by Biggin on a dictaphone whilst on his lunch break from his office job. The uplifting brass section of the tune was inspired by hero music from epic movie scores by the likes of Hans Zimmer and is backed up by a driving, melody-offset bassline and euphoric rhythm section dreamt up from the classic Ibiza tunes of the 90s.
Here’s what Dave himself has to say about our chosen track: “For me, this track was a proper turning point and the first ‘good’ tune I really made. It was the result of my realisation that if you’re going to make electronic music then you have to be your own harshest critic. I concentrated on having an epic melody and aimed for a perfect kick and snare hits combined with a funky vocal sample. The track just built itself from there really. The brass, by the way, was particularly inspired by the score to the film ‘Kick Ass’. It kicks ass!”
He also filled us in on his rather comical career highlight so far: “I tried to make a music video and it was an epic fail! I was embarrassed and shy about the whole concept and decided I needed to do a dance on a mountain in the middle of nowhere so that no one would see me during the shooting of the video. Oh, and I wore a wetsuit and a pair of tights over my head to make it more unique (and to hide my fragile identity). I busted out a totally terrible improvised dance while standing in a bog then realised I was being watched by 3 people who were out walking. They must’ve thought I was an escaped terrorist having a mental breakdown; after all, they couldn’t hear the music coming from my headphones. I ran away very fast so that I wouldn’t have to talk to them!”

G R E A T W A V E S – ‘Feel The Love’

Hailing from Liverpool and London and now residing in Manchester, De Lacy and Oliver Oshen shared a vision to make limitless music from the very moment they met. The duo have embraced their vision by combining a deluge of synths, drum machines, guitars and field recordings, with De Lacy's deep piercing vocals and streams of consciousness. Accompanied by extraordinary visuals, their live performances are captivating, with their sound being compared to falling in love. Entrigued by their entrancing sound, we had a little chat with them to find out a bit more:
How would you best describe your sound?
Visionary - an orchestra of synths, guitars, stripped down electronic percussive beats and deep vocals, merged with a collage of homemade field recordings.
Can you tell us a bit about ‘Feel The Love’, how did it come about?
The idea came about on a 1960s Hammond organ, a tom drum and an acoustic guitar. That version is very calm, slow and mystical.  We then decided to speed it up and made a disco-inspired mix.  

What would you consider to be your band highlights to date? 
Playing at Stereolux in Nantes. Playing at Festival No.6 in Portmeirion. Staying up all night whilst recording our first single, 'The Shore', and recording the birds singing in the morning, then putting it into the outro of the track. And playing unplanned shows at our house.
G R E A T W A V E S play The Union Chapel  in London on 13th December.


How do I get featured on the Spotlight blog?
Our Spotlight blog is compiled every month from fresh new music submitted to us by our members. We want to hear from you! We select 5 of the best tracks from our members, so if you want to be in the running you’ll need to sign up to The Unsigned Guide then follow the instructions in your Welcome email to submit a track for Spotlight consideration to us. If you’re already a member and still not sure about how to submit your music for Spotlight, just give us a shout via our Contact page & we’ll help you out!

As well as being featured in our new music blog, your track will also be forwarded onto  these music industry professionals including folks from Amazing Radio, Big Life Management, Club Fandango, Domino Records, The Fly, Memphis Industries, Rocksound, Skint Publishing, Sony Music, Spotify, Fake DIY, Transgressive Records and The Great Escape. View the full list of who listens to our Spotlight tracks here.

Members of The Unsigned Guide get access to our huge directory of over 8,700 UK music industry contacts. Find out more about the directory and the other services we provide to help emerging bands and artists here.


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