SQ Magazine

The UK's Leading Independent Youth Culture Publication

The SQ Showcase: June ’13

Posted on Tuesday, 25 June by

The SQ Showcase June

If ever there was a time you could say that festival season has begun, it’s now. Last month, we talked about The Great Escape Festival but that is only the beginning of many heady days in worlds so disconnected they may as well be fictitious.

A recent survey suggested that festival-goers prefer intoxication over the music but there aren’t many who haven’t discovered a new band they love at a music wonderland despite their inebriated condition.

If you have struggled to find new music – SQ Showcase is here for you.

Little Fears – Crystal Lakes

We kick off with a track from alternative-indie quartet Little Fears. It’s a fairly conservative track from a very new band who are still finding their feet. At the moment, there are tinges of early Radiohead with flecks of Wild Beasts. Certainly, their sound is familiar without being stale. It opens serenely, much like a Daughter track, but slowly gathers momentum becoming a full-bodied track that has vigour without sounding forced. And it hinges poignantly on Luke Parker’s expressive vocals. There are still creative decisions to be made about their sound and composition but they’re the kind of exciting choices the quartet will be relishing.

Nightworkers – Wake Up

Guitar music – that faint apparition slowly drifting from memory; people have even begun to murmur the phrase with care while keeping a watchful eye over their shoulder. “You’re going to form a guitar band?!” some friends would retort and deep down you felt the weight of their words. ‘Wake Up’ suggests otherwise. Nightworkers carry with them a swagger that harks back to the good ol’ days – driving guitars, romping drums and a frontman in Jack Moullin who encapsulates the sound with startling confidence. There’s definitely still a place for hard-hitting rock. But if guitar music still isn’t for you, just be grateful you have the choice as Moullin groans: “We are the lucky ones”.

Kokopelli – How To Be

‘How To Be’ is the opening track of Kokopelli’s self-titled debut EP; a delicate track that has its roots in country and blues. The Brighton-based duo formed just over a year ago now and their efforts have been trickling into ears with the kind of promise that an idyllic dawn brings. The tranquil sound may not appeal to everyone but there’s little question over the aching beauty that Kokopelli knit with such ease. Hayleigh King’s considered guitar leaves plenty of space for Bo Lucas’ vocals to pour emotion into ‘How To Be’. And as a mark of their confidence, the lead vocals and guitar were recorded in one live take. It’s a simple combination and with a name taken from a fertility deity, this track denotes the birth of a scenic journey doused in promise.

The Kid Kapichi – Casanova

A few months ago, an EP called Gin & Chronic was released. It was formed with indie-rock sounds influenced by the likes of Arctic Monkeys, The Black Keys and The Libertines. It might appear rather noughties but the searing sounds being thrashed out are tighter than a hitch knot. And that’s the thing; for many of you, this is just another indie-rock band that you could have been really into ten years ago. Does it still hit the same care-free chords now? Perhaps not but The Kid Kapichi will still satisfy the new generation of adolescents with a heavy dose of teenage kicks.

Warsaw Radio – Radio 1

Hailing form Ireland but now comfortably settled in Brighton – much to our delight – Warsaw Radio spin acoustic chapters of melodic introspection. At first, you might think there’s little to grab your attention but that’s because you’ve yet to discover Brian McNamara’s delicately rasping vocals. There’s a touch of Frank Turner (without all the shouting) while the guitar intricately twangs with precision. It’s a simple and frequently recycled combination but Warsaw Radio have added subtle flourishes that prevent it from feeling lacklustre. Brian’s contribution isn’t subtle though; his poetic lyrics knitted by ardent vocals conjure an enchantment that’s difficult to forget.

Traams – Jack

It’s been nearly two years since this three-piece from Chichester formed and this month will see the release of their debut EP Ladders. Once it’s out there, you’ll be hearing plenty of Traams from all the major music blogs. Despite the omission of fans’ favourite ‘Mexico’, the EP is likely to feature ‘Jack’. Its fuzzy delivery of krautrock-influenced post-punk is designed to get you moving, probably with as little coordination as possible. The emphasis on instrumentation is clear because the vocals are left low in the mix. But that just allows you to focus on the abundant energy and penetrating sounds. Traams must have one of the best noise per person ratios in music right now.

Hot Glass – Maybe We Could

The brainchild of Ryan Balch’s one-man DIY project, Hot Glass showers you in lo-fi shoegaze. The journey rose from old demos in 2012 and now, a wonderfully enthralling EP (I Wouldn’t Forget) has been released. With the lo-fi qualities of Cloud Nothings and the reflective tone of Porcelain Raft, ‘Maybe We Could’ drenches you in fuzzy guitars that undulate under Balch’s layered, melancholic vocals. It’s one of those beautifully dreamy tracks that leaves you wondering why more people aren’t raving about Hot Glass. Certainly, you’re not going to forget the utopia Ryan creates. In fact, you’ll be pining for the repeat button.

Our Colour Company – Great Escape

I just adore folk bands. And Our Colour Company epitomise everything I love about the genre; the twanging instrumentation, vocal harmonies that encourage you to join you and the sunny disposition urges you to frolic the days away. There’s no doubt then about the brand of folk the Worthing quintet want to spin. ‘Great Escape’ makes for a wonderful summer tune characterised by a veering composition unwilling to allow itself to sound samey despite the inherent splash of pop. You’ll be whistling this all the way home with a spring in your step wishing there was more. (Don’t worry, there will be. An EP is due very soon)

EarlyBird – Little Dots

The advent of downloadable music has garnered a negative response over the years. Among many factors is the uneasy relationship with piracy. Yet when wonderful new music is free (and legal) to download, you can only be grateful. That’s the sentiment you get with with EarlyBird’s debut album Dictators – a collection of tracks founded upon crisp production. It meanders beneath every track with poise. Sometimes they’ll be accompanied with woozy vocals or sharp hip-hop. But one highlight is ‘Little Dots’; a patient beat scythed with subtle layers and glitchy flourishes before fractious ghost cries plunge it into spectral levels. Shame it ends too soon. Their precise production could easily ripen a track over several more minutes.

Star Submission

Us Baby Bear Bones – Mountains

Quite frankly, any of the five tracks from Us Baby Bear Bones’ debut EP could have been pick of the month. Certainly, they all yearn attention and light up your headphones with brilliance. And as wonderfully atmospheric ‘Swamp’ is, it’s the opener that captures their sound more accurately. The textural density of other tracks is absent in ‘Mountains’ but that allows space for the sky-soaring track to swell. It’s a great advantage that all three members are multi-instrumentalists giving them scope to create this light versus dark aesthetic. And it’s to the listeners delight as we’ll be hearing them tussle with the counterparts for many years. Dream-pop and ambient electro are finding themselves grow with every step but UBBB weave the flesh of the latter with the skeleton of the former with unerring confidence.

The SQ Showcase is our attempt to provide a platform for some of the best unsigned talent in Sussex. We’ve received tens of thousands of plays since launching this flagship feature in late 2011 and this year, we’re aiming for even bigger and better things.

To get involved, submit your tracks here, or send a message on Facebook with a bio.

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Matt Yau

Matt Yau

Showcase Critic at SQ Magazine
Freelance music journalist with a reputation in Sussex for uncovering new music. Has led SQ Magazine's 'Showcase' since 2013. Obsessive thinker, habitual music listener and timid photographer.
Matt Yau

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