The Unsigned Guide Spotlight: January

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

Myles Morgan – ‘FOOL’

Since first picking up a guitar at the age of 18, Myles Morgan has had aspirations of fronting his own band. Few opportunities were forthcoming in the early days of his writing music, and—in providing some time to retreat into the songwriting craft - this has possibly worked in his favour in the long run. After finding some later success with Young Native, Myles was able to switch his attention back to his solo writings, with the intention of putting the knowledge of the music industry gained from his time with the band to good use.

One of the most important relationships made before Young Native's current hiatus is with guitarist/producer, Ben, who has played a major part in capturing Myles' solo work, "We're always making music together, so I guess it was just a natural progression. We were just chilling one day in the studio and I said, 'Are you up for trying to record my solo stuff?' He said yes, naturally."

Myles' latest solo release is the beautifully blasé, 'FOOL'. Taking varied inspiration from indie, punk, jazz and soul influences, results in a track that is relaxed, soulful and achingly cool. Morgan is confident and adept in his songwriting, and a lot of credit has to go to his band and producer for carrying this talent expertly. Marie Johansson's work on the trumpet provides an other-worldly, almost film noir aesthetic, and this cinematic thread is seamlessly woven into FOOL's fabric. Myles and the band also prove that they have some bite in them as the track reaches its climax, their previous restraint making the change of timbre hit all the harder.

With a music video on the way and plans to hit the studio imminently, there is much more to come from this project in future months. Myles is promising tour dates across the UK and Europe in support of upcoming releases. Myles and band are headlining at The Islington, London, on 15th February. It will be dead romantic, get yourselves down there.

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King Kuda – ‘Wildflower’

It’s hard not to be charmed by the laid back lilt of ‘Wildflower’, which sprang into life after 4 piece King Kuda went for a wander (or ‘big mooch’ in their words) around the woods and fields near Godalming to try and spark inspiration for a song they had been working on. Time well spent in the countryside as ‘Wildflower’ was the happy result.

Influenced by the likes of Tame Impala, Foals and Radiohead, King Kuda like to stretch beyond their guitar based core to fuse dreamy synths and mesmerising tempos.

Taken under the wing of their local BBC Introducing show, the band have already played live for them and have been overwhelmed by the response to their first single. Following a recent move to Brighton for the band, the start of 2019 looks set to be packed with gigs, with King Kuda taking focus on the South coast. Keep your ears to the ground for future dates, as well as a new single which is in the works.

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LIO – ‘Growing Pains’

Fronted by Sheffield songwriter Leonie Sloots, LIO developed into a four piece format in May 2018, marked with a sold-out show at Café Totem. Since then they have not looked back; recent high points for the band include supporting Slow Club and While She Sleeps, playing at Tramlines, Y Not and Outlines festivals, plus being selected as one of BBC Introducing Sheffield’s ‘Top Tracks of 2018’.

There’s no denying that their ambient alternative pop has struck a chord, with comparisons drawn to Florence + The Machine and Daughter.

An important song on a personal level for Leonie, she tells us more about how the song came about: “It originates from a time in my life where it suddenly dawned on me that I didn't like myself anymore, whilst this was completely irrational. Growing Pains was a very important route to rationalisation and it really helped me see through the gaze of self-doubt.”

The coming months have even more exciting developments in store for LIO, including the release of their next single, recorded at Higher Rhythm in Doncaster via the PRS Foundation 'Open Fund'. They also have more studio time lined up after winning a competition at Steel City Studios, giving them the opportunity to record an EP with producer Phil Gornell (Bring Me The Horizon, Deaf Havana). We look forward to hearing the results of that collaboration.

Currently in the process of booking out of town shows for Spring (hook them up if you can help in any way!), you can next catch LIO live on Thursday 28th February at Café Totem in Sheffield, supporting POLO.

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Hidden Depths – ‘Empty Room’

Formed in Camden and recently signed to Newcastle's Almost Indie Records, Hidden Depths make a lot of noise considering that there is only two of them. Matt Wilson (vocals/guitar) and Dan Murch (drums/backing vocals) emit garage rock with fuzzy punk energy; throwing out a brand of raw indie punctuated with big bluesy riffs.

'Empty Room', taken from the duly titled 'Dirty Rock Demo' EP, flits from furiously choppy to spaced out throughout its 2 minute duration. As is their trademark, the meat of the song is built around an infectious bluesy hook but lowers the tempo for its more contemplative verses. This framework was initially conceived in their time studying at university before being reworked for Hidden Depths' debut EP, as Matt explains: "Empty Room is one of those songs that’s been around for an age but we completely changed the lyrics. It ended up being inspired by my experience escaping an overwhelming house party to hang out with a girl somewhere more relaxed."

The success of the band is owed in no small part to the clear chemistry between the duo. Matt and Dan drag the listener onto their madcap wavelength through sheer will. The track's music video is also well worth a watch. It’s spliced archive footage is jarringly disorientating and works wonderfully with the track.

Hidden Depths' New Year's resolutions include a shedload of single releases, planning first full tour and bagging some festival slots. We'll be following their journey closely as they blast off into 2019. 

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MADI – ‘Dirty (Word)’

Variously described as 'weirdo-pop', 'wonderfully bonkers' (Fresh On The Net) and 'two supernovas smashing into each other' (WalesOnline), MADI have carved out a very unique shape of pop in their short existence. Led by songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Maddie Jones, the band achieved a lot last year, and are looking to forge ahead in 2019 with help from producer Charlie Francis (REM, Future of the Left, Sweet Baboo).

True to the form of previous singles, 'Dirty (Word)' embraces the oddball. Everything is geared towards enhancing the future pop flavour of the track. Maddie's dry, saturated vocal sits on top of an always interesting mix of instruments and non-instruments. Layered beneath the (almost) conventional drum, bass and synth sounds, there are reversed samples, chopped up vocals and some sort of alien/computer language thrown in for good measure. Even the video is fittingly surreal.

Amongst all this madness, the song carries a clear and important message, Maddie says, "It was written as a result of an argument over whether women should expect to be assaulted if they’re dressed in ‘a certain way’. I write my best songs when I’m angry."

The band has plenty on the cards for 2019, with a slot at Boomtown Festival and tour dates planned across the UK. If you can make it along to one of these shows, Maddie promises more than your average set, "We put on a huge immersive spectacle in Clwb Ifor Bach (Cardiff) in October, which had lighting and set design, costumes, theatre performers, circus, dance and more. MADI is about more than just turning up to play." 

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How can 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.

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