Top 10 UK Finds 2020

‘In a year where new music was much needed, these UK artists truly delivered.’ 

Revisit the best new music discoveries from UK based new artists below. Tracks listed in order of when they were featured.

The Milk: Wild Chained Man 
Wonderfully contrasting to almost every other track on the album, the groove-centred piano riff that introduces us to ‘Wild Chained Man’ feels refreshingly understated. This is, of course, a band that’s full of soulful drama and aims to evoke emotion at each turn. But here they evoke something very different: A sense of movement inducing musicality. Containing more than a hint of bossa nova, the seamlessly interlocking bass notes and syncopated chords are joined by latin-esque percussive rhythms and soft blues-rock guitar. Given the title – and the fact that this could easily be vamped round underneath endless improvisations – it may very well not be what you were expecting. However, while it doesn’t do this, what it does do is prove just how strong the whole track will be. [continue reading here]

The Tribe of Good: Siren Song
Opening with a surprisingly subdued mix of warped fading synths and heavily compressed drums, it may appear as though this track, which sits at the mid-point of the album, will be more reserved than some of what has come before. Creeping almost tentatively into our ears, it certainly feels different to everything before it. But don’t be fooled by this. Not even for a second. Sure even when the sporadic horn stabs enter it feels like this will be more restrained, but once the truly kicking drums come in moments later, you know it’s going to be anything but. This is in fact to be one hell of an onslaught. [continue reading here]

Modern Guilt: Hoping for the Hoping
Set alight by the incredibly addictive chorus, we are constantly and consistently taken down a path of catchy hooks, raucous riffs and modern-jagger-esque melodies to create an aura that can be described in only one way: swaggering attitude that delivers a real confidence-boost! As first outings go, it’s hard to believe this is their debut release as in managing their sound so brilliantly, they have delivered a seriously strong track that requires you to listen to it right now. [continue reading here] 

MarthaGunn: Say When 
Projecting into our ears, a polyrhythmic combination of heartbeat like kick drum, decorative tom-tom fills, distant bass and strummed guitar ensures this latest track by MarthaGunn instantly lives up to expectation. Infused with inferred energy and captivating power, it’s an introduction that perfectly balances a pull-no-punches approach while keeping things on the more restrained side. Equally, with effect-embellished vocals emulating a ringing variation of the underlying chords, it already delivers an incredible amount. [continue reading here]

Superbird: Operate
Atmospheric, sparse and surprisingly intimate to begin with, pressing play on Superbird’s latest release ‘Operate’ will have you initially wondering if it is in fact them. Unlike every other track to date, the power isn’t what surges into our ears. Instead, it’s a mix of intriguing ratchet-esque clatters, ringing chords and a noticeably more subtle vocal tone. We actually, rather than getting hit between the eyes, really have to listen. This is a new, yet equally connective side to Superbird and certainly makes you want more. Thankfully for us on travelling through the opening verse, that’s exactly what we get. [continue reading here] 

Pete Josef: Giants
From the moment you hear the warmth offered by gospel-esque vocal harmonies, you are filled with a real sense of anticipation and combined with the delicacy of electric guitar, you truly feel like Giants is going to be six minutes of musical magic. Each setting up the first of many incredible motifs, they are further joined by horns, dominant deep bass and resonating vibraphone tones. It’s completely glorious and having quickly formed into such an involved and polyphonically centred sound, you are left in no doubt of the prowess of Pete Josef. It’s worth noting of course that this was actually the first taster we had of the album, with it being released as a single earlier in the year, but that somehow makes it feel even more special. [continue reading here]

Ambient Jazz Ensemble: Scars
Instantly evocative, a mix of soft vocals, bass clarinet and sustained harmonic strings immediately generate a heartfelt and emotional sensation. Within each word, there is a message that truly resonates and set in the surroundings that they are, the connection is effortless. Modulating and expanding, each high and low pitched orchestral transition brings wondrous depth as it moves between the vocal phrases they sit either side of. In short it is truly beautiful. However, offering up purpose wider than it may first appear, in tonally shifting to link with the forthcoming lyrics of “darkness and light” the sense of lyrical, orchestral, melodic, harmonic and rhythmic elements working as one is highlighted in a sublimely showcase way. [continue reading here] 

As We Leave: Everything to a Point 
Delicately making its way into our ears, opening track ‘Hope That Kills’ instantly generates the warmth that we will experience across the next 20 minutes of ‘Everything to a Point’. Strumming rhythmically, while setting up the harmonic progressions within the track, acoustic guitar lulls us gently while soft drums ensure there is an air of contained momentum. It’s honestly beautiful. And with the lyrical elements joining, this sense of balancing projection with delicacy works itself into Caine’s vocals as well. However, progressing through the track, each of the initial elements take on a sea of changes that enhance every part of what we are experiencin3g. And yes, this is very much a listening experience rather than a simple case of hearing. [continue reading here] 

Lo Lauren: Easier
Carrying a real sense of depth and meaning, new release Easier is a piece that journeys through the artificial equilibrium of a toxic relationship. It blooms with a bittersweet vibrancy, breathing in every softly sung lyric and harmony to become so emotionally driven, you willingly fall into the sound. Paired with Lo Lauren’s melodic vocal sensibility, the deep hum of the bass, prominent chord progressions and developing textures generate a sense of mixed emotions. Meanwhile, the lyrics which are fighting to see the toxic reality of a relationship, form greater connection with every phrase. [continue reading here]

Hannah Koski & Will Harrison: Send in the Fireflies
Introducing the two elements that lie at the heart of ‘Send in the Fireflies’, the softest of vocal harmonies combine with appropriately delicate arpeggio based piano. It’s understated, beautiful and carrying just a hint of haunting, it’s completely enticing. Equally, with the lyrical content being title-led, the theme of everything working as one becomes instantly evident. This isn’t to be a track that shouts, but instead one that whispers into our ears, generates a true sense of calm and truly transports us elsewhere. [continue reading here] 

Discover the best new music from new artists outside the UK at: Top 10 Non-UK Finds 2020

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