The Unsigned Guide Spotlight: July 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

Pearl ft. Kasbo - ‘Carry Your Name’

Singer songwriter PEARL paints a lush and immersive soundscape on her alt pop single ‘Carry Your Name’ which features her ethereal vocals riding the crest of escalating, fluid synths and crisp beats.

Although sonically the track has a euphoric feel, gradually building to a blissful zenith, the lyrics touch on a vulnerable subject, as PEARL elaborates; “I wrote the track with my friend Josh Oliver. I’d just had a conversation with my best friend about her experience of being born into grief and as soon as we started playing around with chords, the lyrics and melody came out pretty quick. Kasbo then got in touch and wanted to add his magic to it. I was so chuffed when he reached out and I love how he really embraced the emotion and rawness in the vocal, and took the track to a really climactic and positive place.”

Generating glowing write-ups for her debut EP ‘Where I Go’ from the likes of Earmilk, Clash and also Wonderland, who recognised her as a "hotly-tipped talent", she’certainly on track to replicate this reaction when she unveils her next EP later this year.

A personal highlight to date for PEARL was supporting Eden Rain at The Lower Third in Soho, “the nerves are juuuust about starting to settle and nothing beats that feeling afterwards!”, and she has more gigs in the pipeline for the coming months, so be sure to keep an eye out for details. Another new single is set to drop later this very month, ‘Sunday’s Never Scary’ on 26th July, so don’t stray too far from PEARL’s socials.

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Sandhouse - ‘Sick of Your Face’

Initially coming together to make music at university, duo Anna and Caspar have over the years developed their sound to form their latest music project, Sandhouse, a sonic blend of shoegaze and grungey, alternative pop. Under previous moniker ‘Bamboo’ their music drew one million Spotify streams, much radio airplay, and the pair sold out multiple headline shows.

So it’s hardly surprising that their debut single as Sandhouse, ‘Sick of Your Face’, has quickly gained traction with 10,000 streams in its first week of release, plus Spotify editorial playlist placements on 'All New Rock', 'New Music Friday UK' and 'Hot New Bands'.

The pair tell us how the song came about; “We wrote this track last April with our friend (and Caspar’s brother), Isaac. We pretty much finished it in an afternoon then spent a month or so honing the lyrics. The song was inspired by a bad break up and ended up being a story of the strange mix of anger and apathy that curdles at the end of a long, drawn out relationship.”

Obviously the positive reception of ‘Sick of Your Face’ has been music to Sandhouse’s ears, especially so early into their latest musical endeavour; “As we’ve only just started releasing music as Sandhouse, our main achievement has been creating music that we’re proud of with people that we feel inspired by.”

So be prepared for more new material over the coming year from Anna and Caspar. Their next single ‘Undefeated’ will drop later this month, and they’re also busy putting together an exciting live show, so watch this space.

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Roisin Quinn - ‘Good Girl Syndrome’

Razor sharp lyrics, lo-fi hip-hop vibes, and a relentless groove are all key players on genre-bending artist Roisin Quinn’s latest single ‘Good Girl Syndrome’. With a vast array of influences including the words of Bob Dylan, Lauryn Hill, Leonard Cohen, Shane MacGowan, Damien Marley, Hollie McNish and Kae Tempest, and stretching to hip-hop, reggae through to Chopin and Irish trad, Roisin has created her own distinctive sound.

“Good Girl Syndrome has been brewing for a while! Writing lyrics and poetry is catharsis for me, sooner or later they're turned into songs, although with this track it took a while. I wrote them and hid them away for a bit, probably because of the subject matter. The track addresses the messages society sends to females and the effects this can have throughout life. I’ve experienced and watched the way girls are expected to be good, nice, people pleasers, and the seemingly harmless messages that are all around us. We’re getting better as a society at noticing how insidious these messages can be; but it’s still a massive problem. I’m writing from what I know, and getting it off my chest. I felt pretty nervous and exposed on account of my own “good girl syndrome”, but that confirmed to me how important it was to just say it and release it.
In terms of the writing and recording I produced this myself. I often write at the piano but this was very drum and sample led as I wanted to get more of an edgy vibe.”

The first song to be taken from her upcoming album, it’s already picked up support from BBC Introducing, as well as on Fresh on The Net. Previous tracks have also garnered praise from BBC 6Music and Earmilk, but the biggest reward for Roisin is continuing to make and release music, despite life’s hurdles and challenges that can stand in the way;

“As an independent artist in the truest sense of the word I do everything myself from writing, recording and producing to creating the artwork and taking care of all the admin, marketing and PR. I have a handful of trusted friends and musicians who I call on to record the things I can't (bass, drums) and oversee the mixing and producing. I'm also a working class female and a single mother, which brings lots of hidden obstacles that people don't often take into account. It can be quite hard to keep going when you look around and see how much privilege there is in the arts, even at the lower levels, but I try to keep it as a motivator rather than an inhibitor.”

So, with the new album glimmering tantalisingly on the horizon, there’s plenty more fresh music on the way from Roisin. You can also catch her playing live on Saturday 13th July at Sunset Sessions in Harlow.

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Scattered Ashes - ‘They Can’t Divide Us’

The latest single from Dublin post punk band Scattered Ashes, ‘They Can’t Divide Us’, is a striking, bold and rebellious shot in the arm, with angular and abrasive guitars building in intensity as the song goes on. Regularly drawing comparisons with the likes of Joy Division and The Murder Capital (with elements of Depeche Mode), brooding ‘80s sounds have played a huge role in the evolution of Scattered Ashes, as frontman Rob explains;

“When I started the project back in 2021 it was with an aim to create something akin to the great alternative acts that broke through in the early ‘80s. Bands like Siouxsie & The Banshees, The Cure, Sisters Of Mercy, The Chameleons, The Sound etc. Acts that were unique sonically and visually who never compromised their sound yet had an incredible knack for writing great pop music. They were the template for what we wanted to achieve. There are a lot of literary references in our lyrics; with sex, death, and politics being major themes within our music.”

Back to the song in question, and ‘They Can’t Divide Us’ has a robust backstory as Rob tells us how it came to life;

“It’s an exploration of fear, hate, and misinformation in our current landscape and the threat it poses. It came about during the accelerated geo-political chaos we’ve witnessed within the last few years with a particular focus on the polarisation of media and rise of far-right and populist politics throughout Europe. In a remarkable moment of serendipity, the night we were recording the vocals the studio was caught up in the Dublin Riots, with the building located right in the midst of the storm. For those who are unaware, Dublin City was set ablaze in December 2023 after the stabbing of a young child by a severely mentally ill immigrant. Luckily the child survived, but the city was a powderkeg in its aftermath and this deepening sense of tension was taken advantage of by those on the right, ensuing the worst rioting the country has ever seen. It added a heightened emotion and sense of purpose to the track which can be heard in the stark intensity of the vocal performance.”

The band have not been short of accolades to date, with features in Clash, Gigwise, God Is In The TV and LOUDER, amongst many others, plus a wealth of airplay on BBC 6Music, KEXP, Radio X, RTE 2FM, BBC Introducing, XS Radio Manchester, and Sirius XM.

On the live front, Scattered Ashes have played a string of sellout headline UK/IRE dates, as well as high profile support slots with She Past Away, Clan of Xymox, Meryl Streek, The Chameleons and She Wants Revenge, plus festival performances at Beyond The Pale, Sea Sessions, Postpunk Strikes Back Again, and Electric Picnic Festival.

Their first physical release ‘Parallel Lines' sold out completely within its first week in Rough Trade stores across the UK back in 2021, and continuing the trend, the band’s current physical release, debut EP ‘All That Is Solid Melts Into Air’, has broken label Blowtorch’s record for pre-orders.

So there’s absolutely no question that Scattered Ashes’ star is in ascendence. Currently planning to head back to the studio in December, the band are on the lookout for an indie label ahead of their next release, as well as putting a team together with the intention of adding management and a UK booking agent into the mix.

Keep it locked for more thrilling updates; Scattered Ashes will unveil their next single ‘The Tide’ on 17th September, plus tour dates for ‘All That Is Solid Melts Into Air’ will take place in Dublin, London, Brighton, Turin, Milan and Rome during October and November.

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Nathan Ball - ‘Stateline’

With a mellow indie folk song that’s a perfect fit for the summer months, Cornwall based singer songwriter Nathan Ball unveils ‘Stateline’ in all its calming and atmospheric glory.

Acknowledging the inspiration that the outdoors brings to Nathan’s material, “It’s where I write best; by the sea, in the mountains, in the woods”, it’s no surprise that his latest single also addresses his love of travel as it conjures feelings of wanderlust and endless summer days.

“I wrote this song whilst on tour in Australia, trying to capture the spirit of life on the road. Long dusty roads, life in transit, new people, new faces, new spaces. It's an adaptation of the story of Icarus, ignoring advice and flying too close to the sun and meeting his demise. It's a coming of age love song about dreaming your life away and the innocent beauty of young love, only to be brought back down to earth and all its reality. It reminds me of the long dust bowl summers of my youth.”

With a back catalogue that has already amassed over 60 million streams, plus performances over the years at Boardmasters, Green Man Festival, Secret Garden Party, British Summer Time, All Points East, not to mention enviable support slots for the likes of Bon Iver, Van Morrison, Ziggy Alberts and Matthew & the Atlas, Nathan has much to be satisfied with.

“To be honest it feels like there have been a lot of highlights recently. I try not to get too caught in the numbers of it all, but I’d say the live side is definitely what I’m most proud of. I’ve travelled the world multiple times playing music and that’s all I could have ever dreamed of.”

With Stateline being the first single to be taken from his upcoming EP ‘Lost Track of Time’, there should be more fresh material on the way from Nathan imminently. Currently on tour in the UK and Europe over the summer with Faithless, and following that Ziggy Alberts, he’ll be playing his own headline tour in October, so hop over to his socials now and bag some tickets.

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How do 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, 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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