We’re beaming our favourite new grassroots releases to you once more via our weekly Firsts feature.
Words by Karl Johnson
While supermarket daffodils may signal the arrival of spring and new hope, this week’s weather forecast points firmly towards snow and sub-zero temperatures. The new news is that start-up company You Check, Music Venue Trust and the government Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport have got together to trial a ‘digital health passport app’ approach to the re-opening of music venues. Set to be brought into action in March at the 100 Club in London and Bristol’s The Exchange, events will be tested at 25% venue capacity. February often offers the last laugh of winter, which allows for the first breath of spring. We may now dream more scientifically. Follow our Hard Of Hearing Top Tips playlist here and sink into our FIRSTS section below which offers an insight into some of the finest underground debuts of 2021.
It’s hard to explain romanticism, it’s even tougher to bottle that special feeling into a two and a half minute pop track. Hadda Be – formerly known as Foundlings – harness the slacker pop charm within to create a new image that combines an instrumentally lean sound with vocal melodies and cutting guitar hooks that infiltrate the soul with ease. Over a five day period between national lockdowns last year the band recorded their debut album and Another Life is a quick glimpse of what the band have to offer on their full-length. On this form, it could be quite special. Their debut LP is set to arrive in April and is also entitled Another Life.
Last Living Cannibal
Rigid and uncompromising, the soundscape created on the The Overground is one of concrete emotion, almost American college rock-esque sonically but tightly-wound in it’s unyielding groove. The downbeat vocal melodies are as cutting and honest as you’ll come across in 2021, the gloomier moments find a certain euphoria in a tear-stained expression of worldly emotion and are balanced by unexpectedly buoyant synth tones. This is a superbly exciting debut single. Find the band on Spotify here.
Einsam means ‘onesome’ in German, a fitting name then for Sam Jackson’s project that came to fruition while living in Vienna. A constant state of flux rattles through Jackson’s vocal delivery on Stuck Pig, the dark edges of the storytelling and tension in the sound finds a perfect partner in the rolling bass groove that underlies the sound. Beat-driven and peppered with interjecting stabs of guitar and keys, the Bristol-born artist’s second single arrives fully-formed and luscious in it’s production. Find EINSAM on Spotify here.
‘See Yer Hate To Be Yer’
It’s tough to bring something fresh or new to a punk sound in 2021, NRVS manage to hit the nail on the head by just being themselves. Their ferocious new cut ‘See Yer Hate To Be Yer’ arrives catchy in the vocal (listen close for a scathing attack on cool kids and their haircuts) and hypnotic in it’s rolling guitar hooks. The vocal rips through the mix – and under a terrifying fog of fuzz – like every punk track should, raw, heavy-hitting and scornful. ‘See Yer Hate To Be Yer’ is out now on Attawalpa Records. Find the band on Spotify here.
‘BARCODE’ arrived via London label Slow Dance’s stellar January compilation album. The track feels like a melting pot of warped and re-constructed shoegaze cuts forced through the eye of a needle to create a glitchy, spaghetti electronica. Vocally ‘BARCODE’ is a distant memory echoing around your hippocampus, as stories are cast aside, Newcastle/ Manchester outfit Crimewave go for sonic impact and feeling. Certainly at home in the night-time hours, the track has a way of seeping it’s message into your head over multiples listens. Find the band on Spotify here.