SQ Magazine

The UK's Leading Independent Youth Culture Publication

SQ Soundcloud Showcase: Best of 2012

Posted on Thursday, 13 December by

SoundCloud Showcase (Best Of)

At this stage of the year most people are accustomed to being blasted unceremoniously with the festive melodies of Mariah Carey, Wham! and Wizzard amongst others, but here we’re looking to reverse that trend and re-introduce you to something with a little more authentic appeal.

At SQ Magazine, we do what we can to support the best in independent local music and this year has been no different. Alongside our monthly showcases, which have attracted tens of thousands of plays in 2012, we also introduced the first-ever SQ Stage to the south coast.

Next year looks set to be an even brighter year for unsigned music in Sussex but for now, here’s a look back to our favourite tracks from the SQ Soundcloud Showcase in 2012.

With 12 huge tracks, the 12 days to Christmas starts right here.

Pirate & Cobie – Stay

Leaping about like an Elven dance number, ‘Stay’ by electro-indie band Pirate & Cobie keeps up the pace with buzzing flourishes and harmonic flair, while carrying enough maturity and poise to make it sound like it should be sitting on the playlist of a national radio station. We said that ‘Stay’ sounds like a listenable Foals song, minus the scarf toating douchebagery, and makes the listener want to bounce about like an ecstasy-loving lamb.

From: Crawley

Influenced by: Phoenix, Morning Parade, Foals, Tubelord

Mollyhaus – Liar Liar

This really isn’t even in the same ball park as most of our other favourite submissions from this year. ‘Liar Liar’ by Mollyhaus has, quite deservedly, been receiving a bit of attention since spring. The electropop masterpiece, featuring the beautifully quirky Little Neve White and The Snoopy Lads, could be shelved with the likes of Lady Gaga and David Bowie. Effortlessly catchy and more than a little vibrant the track feels like it should be part of the score of a Tim Burton movie, or an adaptaion of something by Charles Lutwidge Dodgson. ‘Liar Liar’ is a rainbow of colours you won’t find anywhere else.

From: Brighton and Berlin

Influenced by: David Bowie, Lady Gaga, Kate Bush, Billy Holiday, Nina Simone

The Move-Ons – Cheap Thrills

Condemning the self satisfying, self gratifying nature of the social media world we’ve all been seduced by, The Move-Ons’ track ‘Cheap Thrills’ looks at how mankind’s constant search for easy pleasures and, you guessed it – cheap thrills, could eventually lead to our downfall. Deep meaning aside this is a bold and satisfying track. With plenty of exceptional guitar work, rock solos and riffs, blues bordering basslines – a solid beat, and a vocal style that fits perfectly – ‘Cheap Thrills’ is a cracking song. The Move-Ons gig a lot more than most bands, be sure to catch them in 2013 if you haven’t already done so.

From: Brighton

Influenced by: Fleetwood Mac, Paul Weller, Ian Brown, Oasis, The Foo Fighters

Lauren Rebecca – Only You

A singer with a voice in the same vein as Kimya Dawson and Lewes’ Zoe Brownrigg, Lauren Rebecca moves you with her sound. Exquisite, delicate, and almost child-like, her vocals calm the soul and the light strumming of her guitar brings to mind candlelit acoustic gigs and romance in the spring. We were sent a swathe of acoustic numbers from female vocalists this year, but this is well among the best.

From: Brighton

Influenced by: Laura Marling, Zoe Brownrigg

Time For T. – Phone Sex

Its title might conjure up ideas of badly written rap songs and sleazy old men but ‘Phone Sex’ by Time For T. is something else entirely. Influenced by a long list of bands and artists, the track celebrates talent with a calm, serene musical backline moving delicately around glorious and soft vocals. This was a welcome surprise for us when it fell into our arms this April and ‘Phone Sex’ will surprise you too; it relaxes the listener with tender notes and dream-like harmony, but then vocalist Tiago shocks you with lines like “Well I don’t like phone sex but if we’re on Skype I don’t mind seeing a nipple or two”. Brilliant.

From: Brighton

Influenced by: Elvis, Sparklehorse, The Pixies, David Bowie, T-Rex, Gypsy Kings, Bob Dylan

The Basis – What To Do

Managed by former Young Apprentice contestant Harry Hitchens, The Basis are always commented upon for the impressive talent they possess despite their young age. We think that’s been said far too often, so enough’s enough. Written by guitarist Tristan Savan, ‘What To Do’ was the band’s first original song. Simply about relationships that don’t go well, it’s a killer track with a really awesome guitar riff throughout that tackles everyday issues with class. A group that you need to look out for next year.

From: Brighton

Influenced by: Arctic Monkeys, The Black Keys, The Libertines, Elbow, Babyshambles

Tay Devenny – Scriptures

Tay Devenny has been a revelation this year with two EPs that represent some of the best hip-hop we’ve heard from any artist in the South East. We described Tay as an eloquent MC with a sound that echoes some of the founders of Hip Hop with an emphasis on words rather than production. Although that lack of theatricals may be something that many aren’t keen on, it really allows the lyrics to shine and his stripped down nature of the song really makes it stand out in today’s environment. Tay’s most recent EP, ‘Obulous’ is available for download now.

From: Eastbourne

Influenced by: Blu, Verb T, 9th Wonder, Phonte, Asher Roth, J Dilla

Carmen Reumers – Little Time

Born in The Netherlands and compared to artists like Alanis Morrisette, Garbage, Bjork and Hayley Williams, Carmen Reumers is a remarkable talent with a truly beautiful voice. ‘Little Time’ is a song about needing exactly that, about being unsure of what you really want and having to decide between your heart and your head. Really stripped down, the track is fairly simple – just a little music with vocals on top – but it’s in that simplicity that Carmen shines. We’d like to hear much more in 2013.

From: Brighton

Influenced by: PJ Harvey, 4 Non Blondes, Garbage, Tracy Chapman, Skunk Anasie, Amanda Marshall

Half Crown – Keep Up Or Keep Out

Probably one of the finest unsigned bands we’ve ever encountered, Half Crown went down a storm when they closed the final day of The SQ Stage in the summer. Built upon an offbeat, sluggish groove ‘Keep Up Or Keep Out’ sees three separate vocalists all bring intricate and meaningful hooks and verses to the track, making for a fresh and exciting sound. With sensational guitar-playing and the use of a trumpet, the band compliment an on-going dub drumbeat and bassline that lays and loops around the sweetly harsh double-time rapping. ‘Keep Up Or Keep Out’ sets the bar really high, jumps over it, and then raises it again.

From: Brighton

Influenced by: Jimi Hendrix, David Bowie, Blur, Akala, Jamiroquai, Maroon 5, The Kinks

The M-Theory – Escape

A band who had a real shot at playing for us at Eastbourne Extreme, The M-Theory are band that we’re delighted to have found. ‘Escape’ has a real dramatic feel to it, not unlike some stuff by The Mars Volta, and a real lack of order that ensures it stays exciting. ‘Escape’ is a journey of a track; with different paces, different sounds, and different vibes throughout it has a real atmosphere, one constantly switching in mood, that blows up in an explosion of riffs, drums and solos at the end. Exciting stuff.

From: Hove

Influenced by: The Mars Volta, Incubus, Tool, Biffy Clyro, Fightstar, Pearl Jam

Rich Lown – Leave it All Behind

When Rich Lown sent us this track, he explained that it had been classed as something that could easily be an X-Factor winner’s single. We disagreed, ‘Leave it All Behind’ is too good for that – as James Arthur’s debut single testifies. While it does have the clean vocal quality and well-managed coaching of someone desperate enough to go down that road, and the instrumentals are produced at an incredible standard, ‘Leave it All Behind’ is far from being just another single by a soon-to-fade reality TV star; it’s a masterpiece.

From: Eastbourne

Influenced by: Sigur Ros, Hanson, John Mayer, Snow Patrol

Collisions – Once Weary Eyes

Sent to us as early as February this year, ‘Once Weary Eyes’ made a real mark on our music players and went off with more of a bang than anything else we’d heard at the time. The track brings a plethora of different sounds from multi-level, multi-pace vocals akin to the likes of Hadouken. With DnB beats, hardcore screams, and a real progressive sound – this track really does have something for everyone. Bringing together several genres in a way that even the most mainstream person could cut shapes to, ‘Once Weary Eyes’ was described as a real star in a talent filled sky.

From: Brighton

Influenced by: Metal, DnB, Progressive Rock

Original reviews courtesy of Andrew Nicholls.

This showcase has been our attempt to show off some of the music we love in our local area. We’ve received huge demand since launching the feature in 2011 and next year, we’re aiming for even bigger and better things.

If you want to get involved submit your tracks through here, or send us a message on Facebook with a detailed bio.

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