We’re back and we’re ready for a whole new year of spotlighting the biggest and best emerging acts from across the UK.
Next up we’ve got Ruth Kilpatrick, New Music Consultant for Record of the Day, writing their weekly Compass column each Thursday since 2016. Ruth has had various roles within music so far, always artist focused, as well as being a freelance creative and Artist Manager. Delve into Ruth’s tips below.
My day job revolves mostly around unsigned, emerging and independent music – highlighting new artists with exciting tracks and nudging them onto as much of a platform as I can. Having featured three a week since 2016 in Compass, and liking so many different genres, I knew this Tips for 2019 would be tough! Given that I’ve previously covered a then unsigned Slowthai (who I love) King Princess (#pussyisgod) and the vital FLOHIO amongst many more, I figured for this edition of Tipping Point I could focus on those not already included in all of the end of year lists.
There’s so much to love about these artists – and this is by no means exhaustive – but these next few are some I’d love you to hit play on, get lost in, and look out for in 2019. Let me know what you think.
[K S R]
K S Roosevelt, [ K S R ], young ‘Sweetboy Deluxe’ – Moss Side’s smoothest. Honestly, this kid could charm the coldest of souls and make it look like he’d not even tried. I first found a track of his on some largely fruitless soundcloud trawl and he made my whole week. Back then I likened him to a young D’Angelo – not something I said lightly – and he’s still more than living up to it. That comparison of course doesn’t cover all he does, or will no doubt do, but gives you a good sense of what you can expect should you be lucky enough to catch him live. New Love is the track I fell for, leading on to playlists full of honey-rich songs sounding like they were made for you alone. Therein lies the magic of [K S R ] – his performances seem so effortless, so second nature, so overwhelmingly positive, that you can’t help but want to hear more. After a beaut session on Worldwide FM he’s seen more and more attention come his way. A tour with Children Of Zeus around the U.K. saw him honing his live set, and latest dates with (legend) Etta Bond will have no doubt done the same. His Instagram used to house a bunch of acapella one-takes that I think he’s starting up again, and his Spotify is where you can stream latest single Sweet. Videos are here. He’s working with and managed by Polarface Music – a young team you’d be wise to pay attention to.
Another young artist I have a lot of love for is Ellie Bleach. Her EP Petty made me feel so connected; such was the direct honesty and tongue in cheek humour that runs throughout. All lust, loathing and a sideways view of both. Self-deprecating whilst never straying into self-pity, Ellie Bleach documents youth and yearning and not giving a shit whilst ultimately definitely giving a shit. Relatable, upbeat and genuinely exciting. When I first wrote about her in 2017, it was I Want You So Bad that I loved the most, released by Hazy Dog and still a favourite. Her debut features Mood Ring which I also love, but most recently Ellie released a great video for brand new track Leave Me Alone, documenting the specifically modern concerns of a breakup in 2018. If like me you’re also trying to avoid the darker side of Instagram, then maybe don’t hit this link to hers, but definitely watch the video, and be sure to see Ellie Bleach live in the New Year. All event info can be found via Facebook. ‘You had me watching Casablanca, and we all know how that ends…’
Something entirely different now, from Brighton based five-piece Squid. Weird name, crazy live, and the guys behind one of the most addictive tracks of 2018 in the form of The Dial. It’s borderline creepy in delivery (read as spooky rather than sleazy), tense and always on the verge of aggression, the whispered singsong over bending strings hammering that feeling home within the last minute. There’s nothing not to love about it.
Terrestrial Changeover Blues (2007-2012) is the first track we came across by Squid, another five minute journey through so many different sounds that you’d think had no place being in the same track, yet they somehow manage to make the odd feel obvious, exciting, like it should’ve always been this way and everyone else is wrong. Once I stop singing along to ‘PUNCH YOURSELF IN THE HEAD’ I’m looking forward to hearing what else they’ve been working on for 2019.
We have to talk about FEET. Again, featured in Compass back in Feb 2017 thanks to a tip off from a great producer in Brighton called Theo Verney. At the time I bemoaned their less than Google-friendly name, but found Petty Thieving to be one of my tracks of the year – one I still go back to now. A bunch of young lads at uni in Coventry, doing their own thing and then making this video to back it up. Back then there was no management or label involved, but they practically screamed potential. They’ve since been taken on by QPrime and done a bunch of dates around the U.K supporting Declan McKenna, they signed with YALA records and given they’ve been fairly quiet lately, it’s no doubt safe to assume they’ve been writing and recording too. There’s a headline tour set for February and March, should be a great year for Cov’s finest.
Last but not least, 2018 has been such an incredible year for IMOGEN. From Newcastle and based between home and London, she writes in a way that far surpasses her age, with each cleverly crafted song giving you a gateway into whichever part of her world she wants you to see next – drawing you in with intense imagery and keeping you there with a vocal that simply forces you to feel. It’s like magic. Her debut single White Lines was premiered by Huw Stephens at R1, landed on New Music Friday UK and a bunch of Apple’s Best of the Weeks. The video was premiered by CLASH and her demos were described by The Line of Best Fit as ‘…the most affecting and nuanced piano and vocal cut we’ve heard so far…’
All of this is great, of course, but it was the release of her debut EP premiered via Atwood Magazine (who are incredible in their support for new artists btw), four tracks she wrote when she was 17/18, that really marked a turning point for her. Letting go of those songs, the (sold out) EP launch at Notting Hill Arts Club with a full band, some great support slots and more importantly, the space to create new work along the way – it’s all resulted in such an exciting stage for IMOGEN as an artist. You can stream the EP in full via Spotify, watch a live session via YouTube and head to Facebook too – the first place she’ll be announcing new dates in 2019. I love her, you should too.