The Unsigned Guide Spotlight: December

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

LYRAS - ‘Don’t Keep Me Awake’

Having been together for just a year, obviously 2020 hasn’t been ideal in allowing five piece LYRAS to spread their wings on the live circuit. However, they’ve channelled their energies elsewhere to create some deliciously dreamy new material in the meantime, much to our delight.

Their stunning debut single ‘Don’t Keep Me Awake’ is steeped in tranquil, floaty harmonies, but firmly grounded in a fusion of soul, jazz and contemporary R&B.

After writing separately and sending individual song parts to each other via email, prior to lockdown the band spent a week on a tiny island on the West Coast of Scotland working on new music, during which ‘Don’t Keep Me Awake’ organically came into being. “Ada had the chorus hook in her head and then lyrics started to come around the theme of a casual hookup from a woman’s perspective and how sometimes all you’re looking for is a little release. Ada then took the initial idea to the rest of the band and it went from there.”

The song has garnered great support from Nick Roberts at BBC Introducing North East, along with reviews from the likes of NARC Magazine, Gigsoup and Sounds Good.

A live streamed gig is on the agenda for January 2021, plus more new music is in the pipeline for the coming months too. But you can’t beat the buzz of playing live, and LYRAS are as keen as we are to be out performing their debut material to the masses. Let’s hope the wait isn’t too long.

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Sylvette - ‘Kelpius’ (No Shadow remix)

No one would blame you for assuming that a 17th century doomsday cult, the sacrifice of a child, and lyrics such as ‘You can love me when I’m dead’ would be unlikely to combine to create the most uplifting song. But these are all the elements that Manchester band Sylvette bring to ‘Kelpius’, and with the assistance of New Order bassist Tom Chapman on remix duties, they’ve managed to conjure up a bonafide dancefloor banger!

Describing their art rock sound as “Bjork in a blender with Jeff Buckley and Nine Inch Nails”, it’s clear that the Manchester five piece aren’t uncomfortable with touching on the macabre side of life. That hasn’t stopped their music drawing widespread appeal though, with BBC 6Music firmly on board, and energetic headline shows (when that sort of thing was allowed!) leaving the crowd and band buzzing for days.

With the song title ‘Kelpius’ coming from a 17th century Pennyslyvania doomsday cult, we were of course intrigued to learn more about how the track came into being: “Kelpius came from a single jam session, a riff that we messed around in a room with but ultimately left alone for a while. Charlie (lead singer) and Philip (violinist) returned to it armed with tarot cards and synths, translating the riff and creating an instantly compelling sound world that reminded them of a cave - constructing a story where a messianic child finds himself sacrificed by a cave-dwelling cult.”

Sylvette have continued to write and produce new music during lockdown, and on 11th December they unveil the remix of ‘Stiller Than Still’, carried out for them by one of their favourite unsigned artists, The Mantis Opera. Remixes clearly play a significant role for the band in breathing new life into their music, and lead singer Charlie affectionately describes the No Shadow remix version of ‘Kelpius’ as its “industrial twin”. For contrast, we’ll leave you with the fantastic video for the original version of ‘Kelpius’, and we wait with baited breath to hear more from them.

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wood ewe - ‘I Love You Too, Disembodied Voice’

Producer and songwriter Iain Henderson, aka wood ewe, creates music that carefully balances electronic wanderlust and organic harmony, and his track ‘I Love You Too, Disembodied Voice’, taken from his recently released second EP of the same name, is no exception. The song conjures mellow and meditative faraway folk contrasted with modern and arresting electronic bursts to keep you on your toes.

The bulk of songs featured on the EP were in fact written and recorded in 2019 and Iain tells us more about the origins of our chosen track: “'I Love You Too, Disembodied Voice' is a reference to the deep connections I found myself making with those I'd met via the internet. I traveled all the way to Denver, Colorado, to attend the wedding of two such people in 2019, shortly before I found myself penning the track.”

It’s hardly surprising that wood ewe’s sound has captured the ears of BBC 6Music legend, Steve Lamacq; both this track and first track, ‘Mountain Goat,’ from the latest EP have been spun on his show. Numerous blogs, BBC Introducing and Hoxton Radio have all shown their support too.
Over the coming months, Iain will be focusing on getting demos down with a debut LP in mind. And, having never performed live as wood ewe, he’ll be working out how he can approach that exciting challenge, as gigs start to return. With Iain also keeping busy with creating the visual elements to accompany his music, we’re certain that we’re in store for a treat!
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GENN - ‘23rd March’

Anglo-Maltese band GENN are riding a much deserved wave of widespread popularity in 2020. Not only were they chosen as one of the top emerging artists of the year by Glastonbury Festival, but they’ve also made the cut to be announced as one of The Great Escape’s first 50 artists who’ll be performing at the 2021 event.

With their EP ‘Liminal’ due for imminent release, the band have further reason to be proud, recording the whole thing remotely during the first lockdown.

‘23rd March’ has more than an air of the ‘90s about it. The four piece have ramped up their alternative, post-punk sound to fully embrace the decade of grunge with angsty vocals and a catchy, melodic hook that will be etched onto your brain for days to come.

And it’s a song that conveys a strong message, something which is meaningful to the band, as they explain: “This song was written during the UK's first lockdown and reflects the current events that were happening during that time. When our vocalist, Leona, was writing the lyrics, she was thinking about the current political situation, with Covid, Brexit, BLM etc. The chorus is written in the style of a Maltese expression. In Malta, when someone is seen as 'evil', there's a tendency to say that you're gonna pray for someone's soul since this particular person needs your prayers to be saved. As an Anglo-Maltese band, it's very important for us to reflect our thoughts in our music when it comes to the current global socio-political climate.”

GENN will be playing a sold-out socially distanced gig on 12th December at The Windmill in Brixton. Following that, you can expect a couple of new singles, and the EP will land in March 2021. Grab a pre-order of the EP via Bandcamp or Rough Trade

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Calum Jones - ‘Two Months’

Why shouldn’t a song all about heartbreak and break-up regrets be a singalong rock anthem? Calum Jones loves to inject his blues, rock and folk influences, not forgetting his Celtic roots, into his music. Expect bold vocals, driving drums and gallant riffs...and by the time the chorus rolls around on ‘Two Months’, we guarantee you’ll be feeling positively elevated.

It seems that the high-paced track was just as quick to come to fruition, as Calum explains: “Two Months was one of those songs that just came out of nowhere. I wrote it in about 20 minutes and kinda knew where the vibe was headed with it. It’s about the time passing after a break up and realising that breaking up was a huge mistake. Yup, one of those but don’t worry it’s not about me, I’m way too single for that! But most of the focus is on the passing of time and dealing with the separation over time.”

Calum must definitely be missing the festival circuit this year, as he counts some of his greatest achievements and experiences as performing live at the likes of Belladrum, Eden Festival, The Red Hot Highland Fling in Inverness, Tired Music Festival and Beardy Festival.

Already creating a storm on Spotify with playlist features aplenty, Calum’s third studio album ‘MirrorGlass’ was released just last week. For the time being he’ll be busy promoting that but aims to be back in the studio soon working on new material for 2021. We can’t wait!

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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 to champion on Spotlight. As well as being featured on our new music blog, your track will also be played on our monthly Amazing Radio show, get a free release package from CD Baby, plus the 5 tracks are also forwarded onto a select bunch of music industry professionals...including folks from Big Life Management, Club Fandango, Decca Records, Memphis Industries, Rocksound, DIY Magazine, Transgressive Records and The Great Escape. Find out more about Spotlight here.

To be in the running you’ll need to sign up as a member to The Unsigned Guide, then follow the instructions in your Welcome email to submit a track for Spotlight consideration to us.

Members of The Unsigned Guide get access to our huge directory of over 8,000 UK music industry contacts, spanning 50 areas of the music business. Check out our quick video to find out more about the directory & other services we provide to help emerging bands and artists.


Unsigned and emerging bands and artists can submit their tracks to Spotlight new music blog


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