November’s under the radar tracks and best new bands sorted for your delectation as Getintothis staff select a fresh bunch of 12 Deep Cuts.
I’m no Grinch and would never turn down a mince pie, no matter what the season.
In fact, give me winter over summer any day. I’d much rather be sat in front of a crackling fire enjoying Miracle on 34th Street and arguing over the Cluedo outcome than worrying about the complexities of a British summer on my wardrobe choices.
However, there’s one gripe with the festive period that I can’t get away from, no matter how much mulled wine is merrily consumed. The Christmas songs [what, even these? – Christmas Song Ed].
Before you beat me over the head with a Terry’s Chocolate Orange, I can’t deny that a festive tune can always get you in the mood for wrapping gifts. And you know what, witnessing how happy mums everywhere are able to listen to Michael Bublé crooning the classics gives me a little bit of joy every year.
But this season is the one that’s probably the most difficult for new artists to get noticed in.
Unless you’ve promised to dance naked to get to number one à la Bill Nighy in Love Actually, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll get your foot in the door while the Christmas decs are up.
Instead, emerging musicians would do better to hibernate for a few months and wait for festival season to roll back around than try and get themselves noticed while Slade are still on the radio.
With diminishing access to resources and contacts that can help new artists, as well as entering an industry that’s taking a financial hit, it’s even more troubling that an entire section of the year cuts them off from success because Chris Rea and Cliff Richard are having their moment.
For just a few minutes, we’re asking that you put The Pogues on hold and take notice of some brand new tracks that might not be tailored to the time of year, but that are definitely worth a good listen.
So, here are some definitely not Christmas songs for you to heartily indulge in before the annual festive regurgitation begins and Mariah Carey once again mounts her throne. Lauren Wise
Boy Azooga – Face Behind Her Cigarette
Davey Newington’s Boy Azooga came to Getintothis’ attentions when the Cardiff four-piece supported Estrons at The Buyers Club in September. A psych-pop-rock and maracas-shaking delight, it’s no bloody surprise from this end to hear they are now signed to Heavenly Recordings.
Debut single Face Behind Her Cigarette has pure pop and Nigerian funk legend William Onyeabor at its heart, and a wink to Black Sabbath in its chorus. This infectious psych-funk is, we hope, a taster for Boy Azooga’s debut album out in 2018.
Singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Davey, known for playing drums with Charlotte Church’s Pop Dungeon, gets his Azooga freak on from wide set of influences, Onyeabor, Sly & The Family Stone, Outkast, and The Beastie Boys to name a small few.
Boy Azooga – Davey Newington, Daf Davies, Dylan Morgan and Sam Barnes – play Manchester’s Deaf Institute on December 8 supporting label mates The Orielles.
- Cath Bore
The Waitress – Never Where I Want To Be
At the demo feedback session at the Indie 101 music conference in Manchester last month, one song proved itself distinctive from the rest. In amongst the heavy metal, poodle rawk and awkward raggle taggle folk was a gentle, dreamy heartbreak of a song by The Waitress, singer and songwriter Ben Turner.
Never Where I Want To Be has noticeably a Latin percussion feel, with a highly emotive vocal, a gentle yet passionate cry of frustration stretched out by a mournful cello and adding depth to the indie guitar pop arrangement.
The influence of the sensitive male singer songwriter – Jeff Buckley, Damien Rice – is clear, yet Turner is very much his own man, lyrically intensely personal, but carrying a very universal appeal, and hinting at the promise of dark romance. Never Where I Want To Be is released on November 24.
- Cath Bore
Willie J Healey – People and Their Dogs
A self-proclaimed ‘Rock n Stroll’ artist, Willie J Healey is a relevant, new, emerging talent from Oxford who, over the past year, has gathered a cult following for his music; he recently released his debut album earlier this year, an album with a ‘coming home’ charm spun throughout each song, with his almost lazy vocals perfectly covering the simpler things in life.
One of the standout songs on this album is, in fact, that with the same name as the album itself: People and Their Dogs. With a beat reminiscent of an 80s shindig, People and Their Dogs is one of the most loved songs off his entire album, melding together both blues and rock music to create something entirely unique and addictive, from his drawling lyrics down to his fittingly simple music video.
The chill tone and effortless cool of Willie J Healey, paired with his unique surf-rock voice, really makes this song a must-have on the Christmas list this year.
- Chloe Sharpe
Sam Leoh – Butterfly Effect EP
Sam Leoh plays a beguiling mix of electronica and melodic pop, all meshed together with a dreamy vocal style and icy mid-paced dance grooves.
We were impressed with her at 81 Renshaw Street, supporting Siobhan Wilson, and so this new EP is very much welcome.
Vibe is moody, introspective; all synth swells at first leading into a choppy, more upbeat, even funky chorus, all topped off Sam’s plaintive vocal style. Glow is blurry and mysterious, with a hook-laden chorus, thanks to its guitar and synth riffs, while Sam’s voice on this is saturated with electronics, rendering the track even more chilly and enigmatic.Blink is more propulsive, beginning with a boxy, flanged beat which eases into an 80s-style electro-pop groove.
It’s laden with melodic hooks, accentuated by vintage analog synth lines. Sober is pure pop, with a big chorus. It is probably the most immediately commercial of the four tracks and like all of them has a melancholic atmosphere. The EP amply demonstrates Sam Leoh promises as singer songwriter developing her own individualistic and promising style and is released on November 28.
- Andy Holland
Handsome Girl – Andie
Filled with charm and intimacy, Andie is the quite possibly the catchiest near three minutes of pop wonderment that you will hear this side of Christmas. Its theme is undoubtedly about the busting sense of emotions your body becomes awash with as you find that special someone, but what really makes this special is the off-kilter lushness of Handsome Girl.
The latest signing to the pulsating roster at Middle Class Cigars, Singapore-come-Glasgow resident Handsome Girl aka Aki H, brings together quaint unrelenting hook upon hook as her tools burrow away into your skin. Her distinctive tones only add to its richness as it floods through your soul. With her debut LP Shut Up Cutie out later this year, you will be yearning for more from this star in the making.
- Craig MacDonald
The Wools – I’m Your Fool
As it starts to get chillier, and as Christmas consumes every advertising space available, it’s the perfect time to take a step back from the preppy pop songs of summer and instead relax with a glass of mulled wine and take in the dreamy melodic songs of winter.
So before grabbing the festive albums, have a listen to pop four-piece The Wools, who have followed up their debut release with melodic slow number, I’m Your Fool.
Leaning away from their previous and more upbeat single, they’ve instead slowed things down to a gentle sway, but one that will still have you from tapping your feet along to their sound that’s been submerged in the 60s.
- Lauren Wise
The Covasettes – This Feeling
Debut track This Feeling comes from Mancunian four-piece The Covasettes, who deliver a distinct indie-rock that you can expect to hear more of in the future.
A bubbly guitar riff cuts through the track, layered with the distinctive vocals of frontman Chris Buxton. This is the type of song that will be perfect for the festival atmosphere as soon as summer 2018 rolls around, so listen out for this one in the fields.
- Percy Sugden
Vile Assembly – Gone
Music these days has become to safe and all too predictable, it’s all a bit sugar coated with no lyrical content nothing to challenge the listener yet every now and again a band comes along which captures the sound and mood of the generation.
Thank God for bands Like Vile Assembly, somewhere between Killing Joke and P.I.L or the thinking man’s Sleaford Mods. The sheer power of the track stops you, well in your tracks. It’s a lyrical masterpiece with a sonic backdrop that nods to the past but maintains a sound that is so fresh you could eat it; even the single’s artwork is captivating, conjuring up imagery of suppression and corruption.
It’s another great track coming out of the hot bed that is Alien Sound Studios – home of some of the finest new music that’s gracing our city. The intro which consists of aimless whistling the first lyrics “Nothing is changing, it’s the same abuse, repeating the rhetoric, still trying to fool.” The song then goes on a rampage of sound scales and lyrics telling me how much unimportant the system has made of us.
It’s political, it’s punk and it gives me goose bumps listing to it – we need more of this.
The song doesn’t deliver any answers but seems to be able to tell us to stop!
It’s screaming out for revolution (or maybe I’m screaming out for revolution) and this song will be the soundtrack, It’s produced and recorded with such intricate detail that I think this song will be played all over the world .This music transcends language but lyrically it has a universal appeal and understanding.
- Christian P Bragg
Little Illusion Machine – Plague TV
The latest offering from the Manchester alternative rock three-piece starts off as a mid-tempo lament about the mundanity of existence, where the lure of a couch-potato lifestyle is the lazy and preferred option. However, feeling lethargic and having tired eyes, without the sense of a need for sleep causes a stark realisation that ‘TV-gaze’ disease is an all-pervading and debilitating illness.
This in turn creates a stir that battles the helplessness … and peaks with a guitar solo that evokes a zombie awakening. Having also forgotten to eat and instead smoked a packet of cigarettes without realising, the song fades with the repeated angry question, ‘Have you got something to feed me?’
This track provides a hint of a future direction for Little Illusion Machine where the sound is completely theirs. It is a sign of massive progress and is probably their best sounding tune to date.
- Mark Rowley
Probes – Dry Sync Enhance
They’re back in 2017 with latest release Dry Sync Enhance, which matches catchy lyrics and with 90s Britpop to create an instant earworm of a song.
A twangy guitar riff lowers you into the track, which is then followed by distinctive vocals dancing between twilight and moonlight, ending with the lyrics “Don’t let the sun shine in.”
However, this is far from a forlorn plea. Instead there’s a call to wake up, make an effort and “put all the waste to the back of your mind.” With an underlying positive message, effortlessly smooth vocals and the enchanting guitar pick throughout, it has everything needed from a Scouse band on the rise.
- Mick Fucknall
QTY – New Beginnings
For a chill out, New Yorkers QTY have the perfect soundtrack. Their earlier single Ornament gave off a similar vibe, and now to further compliment their heavier other tracks they’ve released New Beginnings.
The duo, formed of Alex Niemetz and the deeper tone of Dan Lardner combine to create a male/female sound similar to that of The XX. It’s easy listening, no doubt about that, but it creates a nice underground, bourbon drinking atmosphere. When it fades out, almost unexpectedly, you’re left wishing there was just a bit more.
- Lewis Ridley
Cut Glass Kings – Shadow Of Your Love
With a brand new release Skeleton Key Record’s Cut Glass Kings are taking on Liverpool’s gig circuit with a ferocious sound that’s difficult to ignore.
The Birmingham-hailing trio, who are supporting The Twang this December as they come to the city, this time deliver a gritty rock and roll with heavy guitar and drums that you can only imagine would be incredible in a live performance.
Frontman Paul Cross layers a deliciously smooth vocal over the anthemic-sounding backbone of the song, making it an immediate favourite after just one listen.
- Lauren Wise