The Unsigned Guide Spotlight: January
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
Mawpit - ‘Cittàgazze’
Cardiff trio Mawpit have certainly made the best of 2020 and laid the groundwork for springing into 2021. Aled, Cait and Jord’s 90s grunge rock sounds have made a strong impact in the realms of radio with their tracks picking up airplay on BBC Wales, Radio X, KERRANG!, Planet Rock, plus loads more independent stations across the world. They’ve also bagged some career-propelling funding courtesy of Launchpad’s Horizons initiative, a partnership between BBC Cymru Wales and Arts Council of Wales to invest in and showcase original music talent.
Considering the band are fresh on the scene, they’re off to a flying start, as Aled attests“We haven’t actually had a chance to start gigging yet due to the pandemic but in some ways that’s been really good as we’ve had to focus on other avenues in order to get our name and music out there.We were really pleased to see our music being so well received and it was great to meet so many lovely people in the industry. Overall it’s been a really encouraging start for us!”
Another encouraging sign would be the ease with which they seem to produce catchy rock anthems; their third single of 2020 ‘Cittàgazze’ being a prime example which evolved from a jammed riff. Vocalist Cait tells us “I wrote the melody almost instantly and had the lyrics for the first two lines in the chorus down whilst we were still writing it. I recorded what Jord was playing and wrote the rest of the lyrics over the next few days. I had been reading The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman at the time and was inspired to write about Lyra and Will’s relationship.”
A debut EP is in the pipeline so watch out for that. In the meantime, however, we will be lucky enough to be entertained over on Mawpit’s YouTube channel as they launch ‘MawTalks’ where the band will be interviewing and putting the spotlight on those working behind the scenes in the music industry to give them a chance to talk about their experiences. Make sure you check those socials for regular updates.
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Miles Pascall - ‘Chin Up Head Down
The exquisite, soothing vocals of singer songwriter Miles Pascall are just the tonic for easing into January, and they are flawlessly demonstrated via the folk-soul sounds of his song ‘Chin Up Head Down’.
Describing the track as “an unintentional a-joining of Waterfront Whitby Wander meets gritty inner city dread, a tale of two paths crossed at a fork in the road” . Miles tells us the song came about when the guitar part was generously gifted to him by his songwriting partner at the time, George Husband. With lyrics written back in 2016, Miles felt it fitting to revisit them and re-write earlier this year before the song’s release, “I wanted to ensure it honoured both nostalgia and new day nuance, the internal process of questioning one’s worth based on the perception of how well everyone else appears to be doing.”
Of course, the beautiful songwriting and delivery of Miles’ music would not go unnoticed for long, and he has welcomed plenty of recognition from BBC Radio London, BT TV Music, and BBC 6 Music.
Over the coming months he’ll be working on finalising ‘The Miles Pascall Songbook Vol. 1’ which he is putting together with his MD/keys player Diarra Wallcott-Ivanhoe and drummer Nathaniel Ricketts. In the meantime, we’ll leave you with some words from Miles himself in the form of ‘Chin Up Head Down [The Official Prologue Trailer]’
Pizza Crunch - ‘Twelve Month Seasonal Depression’
Soaking up a myriad of influences ranging from The Vaccines and Arctic Monkeys to Orange Juice, Joy Division and The Cure, it stands to reason that Glaswegian band Pizza Crunch are banging out a series of tracks that connect the melodic indie and post punk dots.
Featuring on a number of Spotify playlists, ‘Twelve Month Seasonal Depression’ has also been a hit with their local BBC Introducing show. Whilst their gig plans may be on pause, they definitely started the ball rolling in the right fashion prior to lockdown with a headline show at Club Sabbath, an indie club night run by Johnny Madden of Baby Strange, and a night which the four piece have frequented themselves over the years.
So what inspired the track? “We wrote Twelve Month Seasonal Depression in January last year and quite liked the idea of having sort of morbid lyrics to a summery riff. It kind of helped us that, when we eventually recorded and released it, it was during lockdown when the topic of depression was even more prevalent. It seemed to resonate even more with people.”
Having recently signed a deal with independent label, Disobedient Records, the band are obviously excited to unveil a new single on 5th February. That date also marks them starting work with a new producer, Chris from Catholic Action, and as fans of Catholic Action, it’s looking to be a momentous start to the year for the chaps. And let’s keep everything crossed that later in 2021 they’ll be able to deliver more of their dazzling headline gigs.
Fran Minney - ‘Sirens
’Conjuring dreamy, magical indie electronica, singer songwriter Fran Minney has rightfully made confident strides in 2020 with her music, playing Thomann's Music Never Stops festival, having her song ‘Tracks’ featured on Spotify's editorial playlist ‘Easy’ and also performing live twice on BBC Leeds.
Whilst the delicate arrangement of ‘Sirens’ feels tranquil and calming, and Fran’s vocals are mellow and warm, the lyrics suggest something a little murkier and sombre lies beneath, as Fran elaborates, “I wrote ‘Sirens’ about the struggle towards a better version of myself and failing over and over again. I've struggled with my mental health for as long as I can remember and this song represents how it can feel as though I'm drowning sometimes even when I'm trying to do everything right to care for myself.”
We can expect a new single, ‘Normal’ in early 2021, coming out on Saint In The City Records. Further singles and an EP are also on the horizon, and again Fran will be broaching some difficult topics, “the EP has been in the works for a long time, written about my experiences of abusive relationships. It's been a difficult EP to complete but I'm so proud of the songs and it's important to me to get it out there.” If anyone can transform harrowing experiences into sublime music gold, it is Fran Minney.
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Walt Disco - ‘Cut Your Hair’
If you enjoy feisty floor fillers that muster every defiant, rebellious bone in your body, then ‘Cut Your Hair’ is for you. Flamboyant Glasgow band Walt Disco have created the perfect anthem for renegades and free-thinkers everywhere with lush 80s synths and vivid, glam rock-esque, vocals that are impossible to ignore.
Their infectious sounds are also pricking the ears of the mainstream too. The ‘Young Hard & Handsome’ EP released on Blood Records in Autumn 2020 has been deservedly showered with blog praise, and there’s been radio play galore for ‘Cut Your Hair’ and other recent single releases ‘I’m What You Want’ and ‘Hey Boy (You’re One Of Us)’, with various BBC Radio 1 DJs, BBC 6 Music and BBC Radio Scotland firmly on board.
Walt Disco have navigated most of last year without live gigs, treating fans with virtual performances at the Scottish Alternative Music Awards, but we sincerely hope they will have the opportunity to be unleashed in the flesh soon. Their September tour is rescheduled for this coming March, and they’ve also been selected to stir things up at The Great Escape 2021, so we can’t wait to see what they have in store.
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