Alternative Friday

because great new music doesn’t always get the exposure it deserves

Last week my five featured artists as ‘Tipper of the Week‘ for The Tipping Point were limited to UK musicians only, but there are plenty more impressive acts from further afield, so here’s five emerging global talents to accompany the original article. They take us from Sweden to Hong Kong, via the US, South Korea, and Ireland. Enjoy…


Led by Marcus Admund and Nikki Nyberg, Stockholm band Honeymilk create a feel-good and melodic mix of indie, garage, and surf sounds, taking influences ranging from 60s California to 90’s Manchester. They’ve then added a layer of sublime Scandipop to the mix. January saw them release their album I Want You To Be Very Happy, led by the impressive The Nothing New, while Coming Home highlights their laid back shoegaze side, however I’m highlighting Havslåten as it collects the best of their melody, vocals, lyrics, guitars and percussion, all in one. An outstanding indie-pop earworm!

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You wouldn’t immediately associate a tribal afrobeat and psychedelic-jazz band with Hong Kong, however, “surrounded by the scent of dried fish, the throb of heavy machinery, and the torrid humidity and heat of the South China Sea” that’s exactly where this trio of multi-instrumentalists have created their exotic sound. Their debut EP Anxious Party People came out last April, & is an avant-garde mix of rhythmic brass, electronica and percussion, and was followed up in November by the contagious & dance friendly Loosefoot. Blood Wine or Honey make for one hot Afro jazz party!

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We’ve another surf inspired band with this 4-piece from Busan, South Korea, who mix indie-rock with breezy jangle pop to create some incredibly catchy songs. Their 2017 EP Semin showcased their talent, with the lead track My Problem a dream laden gem full of jangly guitars, while their new track, Old Town, is a perfect example of the quality of their songwriting, as it captures an hypnotic shoegaze guitar melody, drumming that sets the pace, and the delightful vocals of Sumi Choi. It comes from their upcoming album Where We Were Together, due in April. It can’t come soon enough.

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From the rural town of Mullingar in Ireland, The Academic are an indie rock band made up of 4 friends who met at secondary school. They hit the jackpot very early with the release of the brilliant Mixtape 2003 a couple of years ago (which we featured here), and they’ve since gone from strength to strength. Their debut album Tales from the Backseat came out in January, which continued to highlight their knack of writing hook driven and energetic indie rock tracks, with singalong lyrics telling stories of teenage life growing up in a small town. Every track could be a single!

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Indian born Abhi the Nomad is well travelled, but has settled in Thousand Oaks, California. The varied chapters of his journey to date, which include Beijing and Fiji, have certainly influenced his warm sound and wonderfully rhymed lyrics, and produced outstanding results as evidenced by his album Marbled, which came out in February. It’s an infectious blend of numerous hip-hop and alternative flavours, from the dancefloor killer Headcase and the funky Dogs, to the more electronica infused title track, and the summer pop gem Somebody to Love (which we previously highlighted here). An outstanding array of words & tunes!

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Last week I was ‘Tipper of the Week‘ at The Tipping Point, and below are the five impressive acts I featured. It was limited to UK artists though, so I’ve added another post with five Global Tips! So dive in, investigate all ten, and spread the word about your favs…


Named after an archipelago on the northern side of Panama, San Blas are actually a 4-piece from London and Hertfordshire, who have created a superb sound that can best be described as ukulele rock. There are, however, many more layers to their song writing and sound when you listen to all six tracks on their debut EP; Draw, Win, or Lose. The alt-rock opener Morgan highlights the vibrant side of the EP, while a horn propelled finale in the slow building Drive, and Spanish guitar flourishes in the epic Kiss from Argentina, show a different side to the band. An outstanding debut!

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Bristol singer Keir is a mysterious one, as there’s little information about him online, however don’t let that put you off listening to his highly impressive early work. His unique style of dramatic pop mixes soulful sounds with alternative and RnB flavours, and takes influences from the likes of David Bowie and Patti Smith. He then adds his own personality to create a wonderful musical experience, which all comes together in his remarkable live shows as I witnessed at Glastonbury 2017, where his presence on stage really demands your attention. One to watch!

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London Afro-Latin collective Penya bring together an incredible mix of percussion, horns, guitar, and electronica sounds by way of four highly talented and well-travelled musicians. Search It Out comes from their recently released debut LP, Super Liminal, which is a wonderful mix of rhythmic beats over layered percussion, to create an emotive, almost hypnotic vibe. Seeing these tracks performed live is also an impressive experience, which in a smaller venue resembles a private party rather than a public gig. I challenge you not to dance!

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Are indie guitar bands struggling to be heard at the moment? At times it feels that way as other genres stake their claim, but there are still numerous new acts who can write a proper tune, none other than Sea Girls, who hail from various part of the English countryside. With catchy choruses, terrific riffs, and excellent drumming as the heartbeat of their tracks, they hook you in quickly. They’ve kicked off 2018 with another cracker in Heavenly War, but Lost is the ideal way to begin your journey with this 4-piece. When straight up indie is done this well it’s infectious.

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London 8-piece collective Kokoroko (meaning ‘be strong’ in the language of the Urhobo people in southern Nigeria) are inspired by the music from that West African region, however Abusey Junction doesn’t just take Afrobeat flavours, but it also adds jazz and blues to create quite an exotic journey. Opening and closing with the mellow guitar work of the track’s writer Oscar Jerome, it evolves with the addition of an impressive horn section, keyboards, and percussion, using amongst others a shekere (a West African gourd & bead shaker). A stunning and emotional seven minutes of music.

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There isn’t just an eclectic mix of new music in this month’s mixtape but it’s a global selection too, as we travel to South Korea, Canada, Hong Kong, the US, and Australia, as well as various corners of the UK. So dig in and check out some impressive indie, surf, rock, hip-hop, and grumpy electro pop! Enjoy…


Say Sue Me – Old Town
Hurst – Rattle Kids
Abhi The Nomad – Headcase
Samuel Jack – Kill All The Lights
Roe – Wasted.Patient.Thinking.
San Blas – Yellow Grey
Blood Wine or Honey – Loosefoot
Danielle Duval – Whenever You Want It
Swine Tax – Feels Like
Katalina Kicks – Waterfall

Pic by: Rhona Murphy

Brighton’s indie rock 5-piece The RPMs are made up of: (left to right) Callum James (drums), Ollie Summers (lead guitar), Jack Valero (lead vocals, guitar), Miguel Cosme (bass guitar & backing vocals), and Chris Bowden (keyboards), and their mix of impressive songwriting and strong live performances (I’ve caught them more than once) has seen them capture the attention of new music gurus such as John Kennedy and Steve Lamacq.

They’ve just released a great video to their latest track, Your Ghost, and have numerous shows lined up, including a trip to SXSW in Texas. Before that though they face a Q&A, so read on to find out more about the band, their plans, lost drummers… and toasty pizza!

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~ How did you all meet, and what’s the background to the band?
We all met when me and the drummer (Callum) moved to Brighton from Dorset for bigger and better things and met our bass player (Miguel) and guitarist (Ollie). Our keys player (Chris) was originally our tour manager until I saw a vid of him playing amazing piano on his phone when we were at Glasto last year. We asked him to join that day and he agreed immediately. He defo wasn’t expecting that from working with us!

~ You finished 2017 strongly with the release of Your Ghost, but what’s on the horizon for 2018?
Thanks so much, yeah we felt it went pretty well. We’ve got loads of new tracks showing off our new musical and songwriting approach, and some of our new gadgets! And we’ve been working on our live show loads to make it bigger, better, and more face melting than before!

~ You’re off to SXSW next month!! How cool an opportunity is that? Do you know much about the trip yet?
It’s very, very cool! Yeh we’re gonna be playing three shows one of which is the British Embassy stage!


~ Do you have any touring rules?
Yeh, do not leave our drummer Callum on his own, especially when his phone is broken. We once lost him for a whole day in London then suddenly got a message on fb from a random girl who worked at Scala asking for us to come get him. It was literally like losing a kid in a supermarket.

~ Aside from SXSW, you’re playing numerous UK festivals this year, but if YOU were invited to curate a festival stage, who would you invite to perform?

Tame Impala
Washed Out
Christine and the Queens
Ryan Adams

~ Are there any other new bands or musicians local to you in Brighton that you recommend we check out?
Would definitely recommend YONAKA, we saw them at a well known venue in Brighton called Green Door Store. Did a great show and met them after, really great bunch of people. Also Fickle Friends are brilliant, hung out with them backstage when we were both playing at Lee Fest. Also a great bunch of people.

~ Which famous song by another artist would you love to have written yourself?
Would probably have to be There She Goes by The LA’s. It’s just so simple and beautiful, never heard a song so perfect.

~ If you could borrow a (famous) musician from another band for a day who would it be?
Kevin Parker from Tame Impala so we can figure out how he makes all those bleeps and bloops!


~ Aside from music, do any of you have any other creative skills? (or obscure talents!)
Not really, but our drummer can do an uncanny impression of a dog.

~ What’s the most impressive thing any of you can cook?
Would have to be our signature dish Toasty Pizza. It’s basically just toast (obvs) with tomato sauce on top as well as anything else you can find. Doesn’t sound that impressive, but when you’re dealing with a fat hangover and little to no food left in the house it’s a revelation.

~ And finally, would any of the band dare reveal their musical Guilty Pleasures? (Don’t panic, no one will read this bit)
Haha, yeh right! Trying to wean it out of us by putting us in a false sense of security? Nice try 😀

I’ll take one for the team and reveal mine. It’s ABBA, hear me out before you judge! It’s because the level of production they achieved is timeless and incredible considering the technology they had at the time. They pretty much invented the huge pop track and people still try to emulate them today and you can often hear their methods used in contemporary tracks now.

The man behind Eitha Da is Wrexham musician Ben Dempsey Sawin, formerly of the cosmic garage-punk quartet Mowbird. This new project keeps him close to his roots, as Southern Fried Ruthin is a raucous 90 seconds of hook-laden garage rock, with the wonderful inclusion of a Hammond style keyboard too. The track comes from a debut album, VOMA, due out on 2nd March, and is included in this Showreel post because the video by Tommy Husband captures the fuzzy nature of the track just perfectly.

I hear you calling out for more…


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True Adventures, aka Norfolk based singer-songwriter Sam Leonard, first appeared here a few years ago, where he won a 2015 Award for his quite wonderful debut single, North Atlantic Ocean. He then took a break but is now back with the outstanding Down The Line, so read on to find out more about the new track, upcoming EP, his ability to talk(?), and the reason for that break!


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~ Where are you right now, and what can you see?
I’m at my girlfriend’s house in Norfolk, I can see a garden that has been flooded due to torrential rain! My one-year-old old daughter is ‘helping’ her Granddad with the cleaning up.

~ What’s the background to True Adventures?
I’ve been in a few bands over the years, they haven’t worked out for one reason or another. So I decided to go solo, it’s nice in one way as you get to do things your own way…but at the same time it can be a bit lonely! True Adventures is named after a British Sea Power song, I’ve never wanted to work under my own name, it’s useful to have a secret identity.

~ Where did the influences come from when you were writing the tracks for the next EP?
Sometimes you get into a rut as a songwriter, you get bored with your own process. So in order to mix things up I bought an electric guitar and started experimenting with different tunings. Most of them I borrowed from Nick Drake. I learned that in the end it still comes out sounding like you, it’s just refreshing to take a different route to get there.

~ The production quality on the single is very high, so would you say you’re a perfectionist?
I learned a while back that I’m no DIY artist. It’s great that so many people can produce such brilliant records from their bedroom or even their phone…but I’m not one of them. I was lucky enough to work with David Pye, he took Down The Line to a place I never imagined. He’s also enough of a perfectionist for both of us.

~ As evidenced in the videos to Down The Line and North Atlantic Ocean, the visual side to your work seems as important as the musical side, but aside from being a promotional tool what do the videos add?
I was finding increasingly difficult to get out and gig due to day job and family commitments, so I thought I’d try and get my music out there in another way. Turns out that working with filmmakers is great fun, my new video was a brilliant project to work on, we hired a lighthouse, found an actor on the internet. It’s just another excuse to mess about and make something interesting.

~ You’ve have had a break since the release of North Atlantic Ocean in 2015, so what have you been up to, and what are your plans for 2018?
I actually recorded a bunch of new material straight after North Atlantic Ocean but also became a father for the first time, so I was (happily) distracted for a while. It’s been a long year or so of walking round the park and listening to podcasts, I’m really happy/nervous to be releasing something again.

~ If you could collaborate with a famous musician or band, who would it be?
Seeing as I’m named after one of their songs it would have to be British Sea Power, I’d love to do something like their ‘Sea of Brass’ album, working with a traditional brass band.

~ Are there any other new bands or musicians local to you in the Norwich area that you recommend we check out?
You should definitely check out Birds of Hell, it’s like the Lion from Oz has gone rogue and bought an effects pedal.

~ If you were invited to curate a festival stage, who would you invite to perform?
St Vincent
Courtney Barnett
Big Thief
Nadine Shah
Ezra Furman

~ As mentioned above, you’ve recently become a Dad – congratulations – so how have you found parenthood so far, and how many minutes of sleep have you managed since the birth!?
It’s the most difficult and most fun thing I’ve ever done. Sleep deprivation does strange things to you!

~ Aside from music, do you have any other creative skills? (or obscure talents!)
Does talking count as a talent? I can talk my way in and out of any situation.

~ Which TV character would you most identify yourself with?
Definitely Milhouse Van Houten

I sense it’s going to be another wonderful year of music as 2018 has kicked off with an outstanding array of new tracks, and it was was a challenge to whittle it down to these ten. So jump on board and take in a variety of sounds, from indie and alt rock, to Latin and Afrobeat, via artpop and electronica. Enjoy…


Giant Party – White Ink
The Howl & The Hum – Portrait I
Kyoti – Avalon
Kokoroko – Abusey Junction
Mugen – Commentary
Eitha Da – Southern Fried Ruthin
Penya – Search It Out
Red Rum Club – Calexico
The Homegrown – Some People
Adannay – Her Favourite Song

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