The Unsigned Guide Spotlight: June 2024

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

Worldcub - ‘Grog’

With their album release of ‘Back to the Beginning’ still fresh in the air, North Wales band Worldcub have also unveiled their delightfully off kilter single ‘Grog’, which deftly brings together surf-rock riffs, trippy sounds and a variety of time signatures to form an unconventional and undeniably enchanting earworm.

Guitarist and vocalist Cynyr describes how the ‘Grog’ was sparked; “I think the track came about from a feeling of anger and disappointment at a particular situation, and that's how the main riff started, from that feeling. It’s quite driven and has some tribal drumming behind it that kind of creates tension. There was an older version of it and it wasn’t until later on when we added the synth and the lead guitar to the choruses to try and create breaks of euphoric crescendo between the tension.”

Producing their music from their own home studio set on the hills of Eryri, Worldcub have already amassed a wealth of material which has gained them coverage with the likes of The Guardian, UNCUT Magazine, BBC Radio 6 Music, BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio Cymru & Wales, as well as slots at Reading & Leeds Festival on the BBC Introducing stage, Liverpool Sound City, Liverpool Psych Fest, Farmfest, and partaking in shows as part of the 'Horizons 12' scheme; which included a recording session at the historic Maida Vale Studios in London.

Other incredible highlights include supporting Public Service Broadcasting at FOCUS Wales, on their biggest stage yet, and playing BreakOut West in Canada, where the band shared some of their own Welsh language songs with musicians and members of a First Nations clan in the Yukon, as part of UNESCO International Year of Indigenous Languages.

As drummer and vocalist Dion sums up; “We’re just music fans ourselves and there’ve been a lot of pinch-me moments over the years.”

So with album ‘Back to the Beginning’ now at large in the world, the band can look forward to playing the tracks out in the wild over the coming months…and we can look forward to hearing more of their intoxicating sounds.

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Arkayla - ‘Falling Down’

If you’re intrigued to know more about the band which Guy Garvey proclaimed to be "Carrying the torch for everything that is great about Manchester's rock scene", then allow us to introduce Manchester four-piece Arkayla.

About to unleash their debut self-titled EP, Arkayla have summed up their sound in their trademark, off the wall way; “If The Smiths, The Strokes and The LA’s were somehow able to reproduce in some strange cosmic alternate universe (though I think Lee Mavers, Morrissey and Julian Casablancas would create one fucked up kid), I reckon Arkayla would come out the other end.”

Their lilting, intoxicating song ‘Falling Down’, the first to be unveiled from their forthcoming EP, is a jaunty, indie toe tapper which will be bouncing around your head for days. And surprisingly it features an instrument you’re unlikely to be familiar with; the mouth trumpet.

“We actually wrote this track fairly differently than our usual process. The initial idea for it really came from Cal somehow being able to produce a realistic sounding mouth trumpet. We were throwing these chords about and they were sounding cool, a bit Smithsy. Suddenly he starts mouth trumpeting over it. At first I have to say I hated it but over time it grew on me so we left it in the final track. The lyrics came very naturally, they’re proper weird lyrics. There’s a lot of songs already called Falling Down but not many songs that manage to talk about both apples and shoe shine. Not any good ones anyway.”
Since forming in 2020, Arkayla have gradually attracted fan and industry interest alike, with particular highlights being their first headline show at Night & Day which was a sell-out, smashing a set at Y Not Festival, gaining their first national radio airplay on BBC 6 Music from Guy Garvey, plus hearing their single played out at half-time at Old Trafford.

Their earlier demos also caught the attention of Rich Turvey, producer to bands such as The Coral and Blossoms, who was keen to work with Arkayla on their EP at Kempson Street Studios. “He really brought it to life. Plus he thought the mouth trumpet was cool as fuck so he obviously knows what he’s on about.”

But prior to the EP drop, there’s still lots on the radar for the band including their first London show at The Troubadour on 15th June, plus a slot at the Isle Of Wight Festival. And there’s plenty more new music in the pipeline too, so keep it locked for updates.

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Red Vanilla - ‘All These Better Things’

Hailing from Dundee, alternative rockers Red Vanilla are heavily influenced by the 90s grunge and shoegaze scene, citing bands such as Nirvana, Pixies, Placebo and Foo Fighters as inspiration.

Their single ‘All These Better Things’ showcases their dense, fiery guitar driven uproar, contrasted by the fragile vocals of frontwoman Anna, which slices through their discordant sound.

With their debut EP ‘Days of Grey’ fresh off the press, the fourpiece are clearly elated with the finished article and thrilled to put it out into the world; “We poured everything into making ‘Days Of Grey’, and can’t express the pride and satisfaction we feel pressing play and listening through, knowing we made that from scratch together, and it’s something that’ll be ours to show off for the rest of our lives.”

Already scoring favourable reviews from the likes of CLASH, VISIONS Magazine, Discovery Music Scotland, The Punk Site, Maximum Volume, The List, The Skinny Magazine, The Courier and more, Red Vanilla have also played some killers shows including Outwith Festival 2022 alongside Fatherson and Pulled Apart By Horses, plus gigs with Reminders, Beach Riot and Redwood.

Coming up over the next few months, the band will be celebrating the launch of ‘Days of Grey’ with a headline show at hometown venue Beat Generator on 6th July, as well as playing the Summer Nights Festival at Glasgows’ King Tuts on 3rd August.

Still busy writing new material and amassing more songs ready to record, it looks like there’ll be lots more to hear from Red Vanilla over the rest of the year, so stay tuned.

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Die Twice - ‘Paris’

Absorbing a melting pot of influences ranging from psychedelic rock, R&B to soul and jazz, Exeter band Die Twice’s single ‘Paris’ is brimming with blues rock elements, topped by frontman Olly’s gravelly, soaring vocals which beckon towards a hybrid of Robert Plant and Jeff Buckley.

He tells us how the ‘Paris’ came to life; “Jake and I wrote the song after our first trip to the French capital, which incidentally was our first trip abroad without parents. It isn’t about Paris itself, but the starting point for a journey. It feels to us like an escape from juvenile fear through experience and reflection, and a bit of a rite of passage!”

So far the band have enjoyed numerous high points, including selling out their local venue Exeter Phoenix, being played by John Kennedy on Radio X, playing and selling out their first London headline show at The Grace in Islington, plus working with the likes of Steve Craddock, and producers Roger Lomas, Mack Woodward and Ru Lemer (Foals, Tom Grennan, Nile Rodgers), the latter of which was on production duties for ‘Paris’.

Since May, Die Twice have embarked on a 16 date tour and will be rounding up proceedings with a flurry of summer festivals, so look out for them at Sign of the Times in Hertfordshire, Urban Van Fest in Lewes and Rock Oyster Festival in Wadebridge across July, plus Wilderness and Boardmasters festivals in August.

Their next single ‘Evelyn’ is set to be released in the coming months, and towards the end of the year the four-piece plan to head back to the studio to write and record more new music to unveil in 2025.

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Olive Grinter - ‘Feeling Queer’

The final track to be unleashed before the arrival of her debut album, ‘Feeling Queer’ by Welsh singer songwriter Olive Grinter is a stunning, resonating song which demonstrates perfectly not only Olive’s striking yet soothing voice, but also her breathtaking ability for lyrical storytelling.

She articulates the origins behind the song; “Last year I found a letter at the bottom of a drawer that I had written to my first queer crush (who was my best friend) back in secondary school, confessing my love for them. School was an incredibly difficult time for us as we had to keep our sexuality and connection a secret. It was a time full of turmoil for sure, but we created our own gay-friendly world in which we supported and looked out for each other. On re-reading this letter I remembered everything that had happened, but for the first time I was able to look back at that challenging time and find gratitude for the queer awakening journey we shared together and those memories translated into this song.”

Inspired by jazz and folk music from a young age, and the likes of Carol King, Joni Mitchell and John Martyn, her delicate and personal sound has also drawn comparisons with Laura Marling, Snowpoet and Adrienne Lenker. With some stand-out gigs under her belt including supporting Rona Mac at Porters, Me and My Friends at The Globe and Austel at The Moon, Olive’s music has also received support from Adam Walton on BBC Radio Wales/BBC introducing.

And hopefully more stand-out gigs will be on the horizon once her debut album ‘Hugs’ is unveiled on 28th June. Recorded alongside producer Sam Barnes (AhGeeBee, Part Time Signals, Boy Azooga), it sounds like Olive has pushed herself to deliver a body of work she is pleased with;

“I am very proud of completing 'Hugs’; I recorded 10 tracks in 12 hours! It was a very hot and tiring day but the results were worth it.”

Olive is currently organising her launch gig for the album, which will take place at The Moon in Cardiff on 30th June 30th, and it sounds like it is shaping up to be an incredibly special event;

“Although the album is recorded solo, I have also been gigging the material with some very talented friends of mine and they will be involved in the launch, bringing more warmth, fun and general lushness.”

So grab your tickets now, and also look out for some of Olive’s new merch; CDs, lino prints and t-shirts, which will soon be available online and at her upcoming gigs.

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