Industry news & advice blog

The Unsigned Guide Spotlight: September

Get your ears ready for some bonafide hits in the making in our September Spotlight selection. And don’t forget, you heard them here first! 

Ruinz Ason – ‘California’  
It may be time to wave the UK summer behind, but Ruinz Ason is not letting the summer vibes drift away that easily! With an addictive beat, feel-good chorus and catchy melody, it has all the hallmarks of a hit. 

On the inspiration behind the song, Ruinz tells us “California came out of nowhere. It was made on an eerie Sunday evening in London after mowing my back garden. I sat down and made the beat and the hook just came to me. The song is basically about dream-chasing and California has long been a metaphorical place where people leave to go, kinda like a real-life Dreamland! It’s my South London version of Rick James’ ‘Hollywood’ - I hope one day it’ll be played in LAX Airport.”

With lots to shout about including headline shows in London, Berlin, Estonia and Barcelona, radio airplay on the likes of BBC Radio 1 and BBC 6 Music, plus a feature on Worldstar Hip Hop, one of Ruinz’s greatest achievements to date is creating his own label and collective, Music4weirdos, with his brother. Keep your ear to the ground for more developments from the label, upcoming shows and music.

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Pavey Ark – ‘Leaf By Leaf’

Possessing wide ranging influences from Nick Drake and Rodriguez to Radiohead and The Walkmen, Pavey Ark’s sound can be unpredictable, diverse and full of intrigue. Built around fingerpicked guitar and atmospheric vocals, accompanied by melodic bass, complex percussion and violin, there’s certainly enough there to pique anyone’s musical curiosity.

So, what’s the story behind the song? Guitarist and vocalist Neil elaborates: “Leaf By Leaf is a song our about our home city Hull which is currently the UK city of culture. It’s a song about optimism and regeneration. There’s a great spirit in the city at the moment and we can see change happening day by day, year on year. It's about enjoying our time in the spotlight and making up for the times when we’ve received negative press or been overlooked in the past.”

Gracing a stage at Glastonbury this year, as the four piece did this June, is obviously an accomplishment to be applauded for any unsigned act, but when you take into account the band only played their first gig a few months prior in February, it’s quite a triumph. More exciting performances lie ahead at Freedom Festival and Sofar Sounds, but from October onwards the focus will be on a debut album, to be expected in 2018. 

Their recently released debut EP, also called ‘Leaf By Leaf’ is available to download free at the Pavey Ark website below. It’s also available to buy, with some limited edition numbered EPs still available, so if you like what you hear, then why not part with some cash for a truly remarkable act.

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Palace Motion — ‘65’

Palace Motion have done a lot of evolving since forming in a garage in Lancashire. They have gained a new member, a catalogue of catchy, hook-driven songs and a healthy local following. The band have stepped things up another gear this year, with their self-titled EP landing in June and a long list of dates to promote its release. Their summery, guitar-driven Indie recalls the genre at its peak, backed by a fresh energy and occasionally dark undertones to the lyrics. 

'65' is one of the tracks written in the band's early garage days and has grown up with them, before being recast and recorded on the EP this year. The song is raw in its honesty, telling the story of one of the band member's uncle (born in 1965) and his addiction to heroin. The lyrics explore addiction from the perspective of how family members can be affected, contrasting starkly against the carefree feel to the vocal delivery and instrumentation. 

The four-piece are aiming to keep up the momentum from the release of the EP, with live dates and studio time lined up for the remainder of the year. You can catch them live at Night & Day, Manchester on 8th September and at the Musicians Against Homelessness event in Bradford on 23rd September.

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Miccoli – ‘Idle Stranger’

With lyrics tackling unrequited love, Miccoli’s ‘Idle Stranger’ isn’t the melancholic song you may expect; upbeat alternative pop which still manages to be tender, thanks to the hypnotizing male/female harmonies. 

The trio have been riding a wave of positive feedback for their music which has seen them play Liverpool Sound City and Sundown Festival, reviewed on The Huffington Post, and even wedged between Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift videos when they had their debut video aired on both VH1 and MTV.

So, it seems only fitting that a debut album should be on the cards, and fortunately the release of ‘Arrhythmia’ is due at the end of this year. Until then, check out the atmospheric video for ‘Idle Stranger’…

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Calming River — ‘For The Echoes To See’

'Calming River' is a fitting pseudonym for Joshua Malcolm's mellow, atmospheric alt-folk. Malcolm's melodic, finger-picked musings are both technical and emotional, cinematic and human. Or, in his own words, "Think Bert Jansch meets film noir and social realism." Splitting his time between Denmark and the UK, Malcolm loves to cover as much ground as possible when taking his music on the road, venturing as far as Australia for live shows.

'For The Echoes To See' is the perfect example of the central concept that Calming River is built around, "It’s about being reflective and in the process realising how selfish you have been and how isolated that can make you." The guitar and melody invite you to drift skyward, whilst the lyrics pull you right back down to Earth. The song's psychedelic video is a beautiful accompaniment, inviting you to get lost in the abstract for 3 minutes and 12 seconds.

Calming River has also been telling us about his next single, due for release in October, "It is different in structure and composition to ‘For The Echoes To See’ and is mainly instrumental with a short, poignant lyrical verse at the end." So, keep your eyes peeled for that, as well as the possibility of him squeezing in a few more UK dates towards the end of the year. Fingers crossed!

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