The Unsigned Guide Spotlight: June

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

Balming Evie - ‘Broken Records’

Unleashing their experimental pop into the world with debut single ‘Broken Records’, London duo Balming Evie have certainly loaded their single with a whole host of audio treats for the listener to delight in. Whether it’s the fizzing, distorted intro complete with medieval chanting, the lilting, harmonious vocals, or the frenetic, punchy, mixed up psychedelic party the track evolves into, there’s plenty of nuggets to keep you entertained, but above all, the song is bold, infectious and extremely danceable.

To give the off-kilter ‘Broken Records’ some context, the pair explain: “Lyrically speaking ‘Broken Records’ is about the slippery slope of reliving past memories; about how you can get lost in them, obsess over them, replay them, start to tweak the details, and before long you can’t tell what actually happened and what you made up. That said, there’s something irresistible about falling down that spiral.”

Bonding through a shared love of 60s psychedelia, Karl Jawara and Joshua Rothberger have collaborated on musical projects since their teens, embracing a whole range of genres and influences along the way. Sharing songwriting and vocal duties on their forthcoming EP, the pair have carved their own method of creating music which works for them, “As with all our songs, we wrote, recorded, produced and mixed this track in our homes using whatever was available. That’s how we’ve always worked.”

So, if this track has intrigued and exhilarated you (and how could it not?!), then you’ll be as thrilled as us to hear that another single drops on 30th June. And a teaser from Karl ahead of their debut EP ‘Monkey Mind’, “there are a few different dimensions to it, but the EP is generally about distraction, disconnect and the various ways we lose touch with the present moment.” It’s released on 28th July so set your alarms.

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Munkey Junkey - ‘Oo Aa Na’

Channelling chilled-out summer vibes is Birkenhead based producer and hip-hop newcomer Munkey Junkey (aka Kurran Karbal) with his absorbing single ‘Oo Aa Na’. As his despondent vocals drift effortlessly over laidback synths, and it would be easy to picture Karbal reclined on a sun lounger by a pool, but in reality he’s a pretty busy chap, juggling many production projects alongside creating his own music.

Born in New York, and of Indian and British descent, Karbal’s sound takes inspiration from the geography of his life, including periods spent in the UK, Abu Dhabi, India, and Switzerland, and these broad influences are infused into his sessions in the studio for fellow Merseyside artists such as ZUZU, Gen & The Degenerates, as well as LA alt-pop star Rouxx.

Picking up early support from BBC Introducing, Hilly Dilly, FAME Magazine, Euphoria Zine, Bido Lito, Popped Music, Planet Slop, Rolling Stone India and more, Karbal’s most enjoyable achievement so far has involved the American fantasy animated television series, Adventure Time, a show which has made a huge impact on the producer, “Hands down the coolest thing I’ve done musically is co write 2 songs for Adventure Time. It’s an incredible show and to get to help with the episodes was a dream come true. Working to rough sketches and then having the song come back with the proper character vocals blew my mind. Even before working on AT it was a huge influence on me. In fact the first track on my album ‘Egress’ is about an Adventure Time episode called ‘The Hall of Egress’ - I’ve still never seen anything cover that kind of split reality in such a clever way.”

Another prominent influence on Munkey Junkey’s single ‘Oa Aa Na’ and his forthcoming debut album is the movie ‘Altered States’, where William Hurt’s character comes face to face with his animal instincts, and Karbal relates “I guess the song is kind of me coming to terms with mine.”

Urging us to watch the film before tuning into his new album, it looks like we have a little bit of homework to do ahead of the release of ‘Bitter Chitta’ on 18th June. And on the live front, you can catch Munkey Junkey performing at this year’s FESTEVOL at Future Yard in Birkenhead on 3rd July.

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SHLUG - ‘The Scent of Roy Keane’

Fresh out of the oven, we have another debut single featuring on this month’s Spotlight - this time from Cardiff trio SHLUG. We’ll hand over to the band themselves to describe their ethos and sound, “We're three peas in a pod that are constantly exploding, that's how we like to describe our sound. Otherwise, if Eastenders was a Greek tragedy, somewhere along those lines. A wonderful, bloody mess.”

‘The Scent of Roy Keane’ is rambunctious and rowdy; the chaps clearly like to make an almighty racket, but they sure do make it fun. The inspiration behind the song involves growing up, “ was an idea that came about that age-old question - what turns a boy into a man? I think it was written mainly because of the fact I was in a sweaty, adolescent period of my life and I was seeing some lads becoming something which I didn't want to become, but also seeing some lads grow up to become men. So I thought I'd explore the idea and just write about it. It was originally called 'The Scent of John Wayne', but I thought Roy Keane was more intimidating, so that's where the title comes from. Bet he'd fucking hate it if he ever heard it.”

Who needs Roy Keane on side anyway; SHLUG have been gathering solid reviews and airplay for the track, but are simply chuffed to have the single out in the wild on label Disobedient, “It's something that's been brewing for a very long time, so working with Disobedient Records and being able to release this is a positive step in the right direction, and we're really proud of it.”

Ready to fire on all cylinders, there are more singles and an EP in the pipeline. Time in the studio is planned, as well as unleashing themselves on stage, “we're just ready to gig non stop and get to work.” We look forward to reaping the rewards of their graft.

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MACY - ‘Wait’

2021 has been a busy one so far for singer songwriter MACY, and that doesn’t look like it will change anytime soon, as her pristine pop sounds are heading into orbit.

Before the pandemic landed, MACY had performed some impressive slots at Swn Festival, FOCUS Wales and HUB Festival. But the past 12 months have not held her back; during this time she’s had 2 of her tracks hit the BBC Radio Wales A-List, and ‘Wait’ was also featured on BBC Radio 1’s very own Jack Saunders’ Feedback Friday show on Twitch. Other notable accomplishments include being selected for the BBC Horizons Launchpad Scheme, as well as the Forte 10 programme, plus receiving support via Help Musicians’ Do It Differently Fund which has facilitated her working and writing alongside producers including Gethin Pearson and Daniel Evans.

Embracing the lockdowns as much as possible, she tells us that ‘Wait’ was written over Zoom, “I love writing over Zoom and don't think I will change this even after lockdown. I wrote the song with Daniel Evans (Grammy nominated writer/producer), who also produced the track. It’s about how I didn't see my boyfriend for 3 months. I couldn't wait to see him and the track expressed this. I also hoped it would relate to other people's experience of lockdown, as I am sure many people sacrificed seeing loved ones.”

So what’s in store over the coming months for MACY? Well, next week we can soak up the pop vibes from her new single ‘Rainbow Eyes’, out on 11th June. More writing and collaborating is on the agenda, this time with her good friend Owain Felstead, and her sights are set on bringing out an EP by the end of the year. And she’s also busy gathering together a band for live shows, so watch this space!

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lotusbliss - ‘The Horror’

Driving, high octane indie rock adorned with pop synth flourishes is what Lotusbliss are tantalisingly serving up with their latest single ‘The Horror’. And we’re not the only ones lapping up their irresistibly catchy sound, with the track landing placements on both Spotify’s Fresh Finds Indie and Fresh Finds Rock playlists.

lotusbliss are 3 brothers, Josh Seth and Adam, hailing from Canterbury, who have been ploughing their own solid furrow since 2018. Their early singles and EPs have been showered with praise from the likes of Earmilk, Clout, Atwood Magazine, Euphoria and Buzzkill Magazine, amongst others.

The spark of an idea for ‘The Horror’ came from Josh, long before the band was even formed. “It was a real slow burner! The idea was actually about 6 years ago, and we re-wrote it a whole bunch of times until as lotusbliss we finally got it feeling right. Conceptually, it’s all about recognising your flaws and struggling to forgive yourself when you’ve wronged others, even if they did long ago. It’s not based on any particular event, more just autobiographical of a group of emotionally self-aware introverts.”

As they firm up details of their first ever UK headline tour due to take place in October, there’s also news of some fresh material on the horizon too. Roll on Autumn! But for now, go and indulge in some glimmering guitars on their latest EP ‘Bittersweet’.

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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 Reform 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.

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