Manchester is a music city, as the saying goes.

A hub for independent music, the area recently welcomed Sour Honey to the fold, a four-piece formed from members of two outstanding groups.

Musicians from Young Monarch and Cosmo Calling linked to create something different, with impassioned, personal songwriting hooked around charred, blackened shoegaze riffs.

New single 'Snub' finds Sour Honey delivering a slightly darker, more paranoid feel, one that focusses on the inertia and introversion that comes with the demise of a relationship.

We'd compare it to Editors in places, even Manchester legends The Chameleons at times, but truly it finds Sour Honey locating a dynamic sound of their own.

It's a song about “a relationship being in such a bad place that you don’t feel anything at all. You don’t feel happy, sad or angry you just feel numb to it”.

Bruised and emphatic, 'Snub' is Sour Honey making their stand. Tune in now.

Sour Honey · Snub

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It’s been said that there’s always a silver lining no matter how bleak things may seem and as far as the definition of the word extends, the year 2020 has been without arguments on the worst side of bleak. Encompassed in three-odd-minutes of vibrance and joy that silver lining came into view – eight months into the year – in the form of BTS’ single ‘Dynamite’.

Delving into the creative inspiration behind the track the group – who are known for their dynamic songwriting – explain that this particular track sits snug in the middle of their spectrum of inspiration.

BTS tell Clash: “The track had both elements of introspection and outside influences, because we wanted to cheer ourselves up through ‘Dynamite’, and it was also a reaction to the current situation that affects our world, our society, and our community.”

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Described by the septet as the breakthrough they needed during tough times, the track was – and continues to be – a beacon of much-needed positivity for themselves and others. But when things are tough isn’t human nature to be a cynical?

Asked about the challenge of harnessing genuine joy for their art when everything around them fails to feed that joy, the band are charmingly realistic. They say: “It hasn’t been an easy year for us so far, and we’re sure everybody else would feel the same way. To be frank, yes, it’s challenging to stay positive all the time given what’s happening in the world and effecting our plans that we’ve been waiting to share with you all. But at the same time, things don’t always unfold as planned. Sometimes we just need to focus on what we can do.”

And so BTS did what they do best, they became the source of happiness for their legion of fans with the explosive power of ‘Dynamite’. Recalling the moment the inspiration for the track struck, they recount: “We came across this song while working on the new album for the second half of the year. Upon listening to the demo, we absolutely fell in love with it and thought to ourselves, what if we release this way?”

Exhibiting an inherent, almost instinctual understanding of their beloved ARMY, they add: “We knew right away that our fans from all around the world would love the song’s vibrant energy emitted by the rhythm and lyrics.” It goes without saying, they were absolutely right, because the single broke records, captured hearts and went the same way everything goes when BTS and ARMY come together ending in complete, deserving dominance.

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The trust that the band places in its fanbase is unfailingly returned in ten-fold. Upon release, ‘Dynamite’ annihilated the YouTube premiere record racking up over 10 million views in 20 minutes, but even prior to release ARMY knew with certainty their silver lining was on its way; the band’s first all-English release was flying off digital shelves and the limited-edition vinyl and cassettes sold out within an hour of availability.

At times like these, when the band’s ever-growing list of achievements, honours and cult following make itself known all at once, the seven-piece seems almost other worldly. But it’s not the oft-mentioned public status as the “(one of) biggest bands in the world” that defines BTS; rather, there are underpinned by their ability to stay grounded, to acknowledge and overcome challenges. BTS aren’t the biggest band in the world because of their achievements, but in spite of their hardships.

Going into the challenges of working on this particular track, they say: “The disco-pop sound and the fact that it’s our first-ever fully English track are the challenges, and they were definitely challenging. But we tend to be uplifted when facing a challenge and in the end it was fun and rewarding.”

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But what can be quantified as rewarding? Whenever a much-loved artist or act drops new music, there will always be several hopes, dreams and expectations are attached to the release. BTS is no different – with everything they offer to the world, a blanket of anticipation falls on their fanbase as they come together everything with the hopes of giving the band everything they deserve.

Setting all the talk of achievements and buzz of predictions aside, what exactly do BTS themselves hope to achieve with this track? Posed with this question, the band’s answer is equal parts endearingly simple and exceedingly awe-inspiring. “We actually have something very specific in mind. We hope this song can brighten up everybody who listens to it. We hope to light up the world especially in these times of hardship through music and performances; this is what we do best.”

This aura of confidence, the mastery of knowing exactly what they are capable of elevates BTS once again to the previously-mentioned other worldly standing. “It always brings smiles to our faces to see ARMY (online these days). They’re the reason that truly makes us who we are, and keep pushing forward regardless of obstacles or unexpected events,” and you’re instantly reminded that every bit of that confidence was hard-fought and well-earned.

BTS’ duality on stage and offstage, of being powerful performers but down-to-earth 20-somethings, is known fact. But this duality seems to extends far beyond that ; they are well-established yet always growing, they are secure in their skills yet big enough to pass credit on when it’s called for, they seem like shining stars far out of reach and yet they are right by us, experience our hardships along with us.

Upbeat and filled to the brim with good vibes, ‘Dynamite’ is the silver lining we needed and much more. It explodes sparkling and bright, enveloping everyone in its warmth as it sets your feet dancing and hearts fluttering; for a brief moment BTS returns every last bit of joy you thought was lost back to you, seven-fold.

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'Dynamite' is out now.

Words: Malvika Padin

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Bright Eyes have curated a Sad Indie Mixtape for Spotify.

The much-loved indie rock staples are back, releasing their first album in a decade just over a week ago.

Out now, 'Down In The Weeds, Where The World Once Was' is a delight, and it seems the creativity doesn't stop there.

Invited to curate Sad Indie Mixtape for Spotify, Bright Eyes have responded with a typically immersive listen.

There's some real favourites in here – Phoebe Bridgers, First Aid Kid, The Good Life – alongside some deeper cuts, and some curveballs (Red Hot Chili Peppers, anyone?).

Online now, you can tune in below.

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Grandaddy have announced plans for a 20th anniversary edition of 'The Sophtware Slump'.

Due out on November 20th, the 20th anniversary collection will feature a spruced up version of this marvellous record, perhaps the band's finest to date.

Alongside this, Jason Lytle has re-recorded the songs on 'The Sophtware Slump' on piano, offering a startling, distinctive take on the project.

Set to be released as part of the 4LP boxed set, the piano version will also gain a standalone release in 2021.

The piano project was kicked off in 2020, and it's solo nature came to be a neat encapsulation of Jason Lytle's lockdown experience.

He says: “Because of the pandemic, all of the sudden, I was looking at a real deadline to make the damn thing. Here we go, just like the old days.”

A version of 'Jed's Other Poem (Beautiful Ground)' has emerged online, and – somewhat typically – it's beautiful.

Tune in now.

Photo Credit: Aaron Farley

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Conrad Ashton has shared his new single 'Like No One Else Do'.

The acoustic guitar forms the focus of his new EP, with the bulk of the material being written and recorded in an unplugged fashion.

Stripped back arrangements seem to suit his voice, with Conrad pushing the format to its limits.

He comments: "The EP is a new territory for me. Firstly, it is all acoustic but it's a collection of songs that come from the heart. I really meant them, like all my songs, but it is nice to have them as a collection rather than one off singles".

Out shortly, the EP is trailed by 'No One Else Do', a beautiful song about special feelings. Finely sculpted, it leaves the bare bones of his songwriting visible, and it's all the more affecting for that.

He explains: “‘Like No One Else Do’ was written about someone special who I felt fairly strong about and haven't had that feeling since it was the only time in my life where I would have put someone ahead of my goals as a musician. But some things aren't meant to be and you have to respect that and respect life's plan and, in hindsight, it is a good thing some stuff doesn't happen or work out like you may want.”

Tune in now.

Conrad Ashton · Like No One Else Do
 

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Kris Yute is a name to remember.

Blowing up last year with a series of vital releases, 2020 opened with the Jamaican born New Yorker quitting his restaurant job.

With Caribbean heritage music was always going to be in his blood, inspiring both his sound and his artist name.

New single 'Bando' is out now, and it's blowing up – it's clear Kris Yute is able to tap into a truly special area.

We've done some digging, and uncover five things you really need to know about Kris Yute.

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1. A dexterous musician, Kris Yute can turn his hand to most things. There's one instrument he can't do without, though: Kris has to play and use guitar in all his tracks… this is super important to him, and vital to the creative process.

2. Kris is good friends with Penn Badgley of Netflix’s You / Gossip Girl. In fact, eagle-eyed social media watchers may have already spotted this – his track 'I Did It' went viral off of the back of their video together, blowing up on TikTok last year.

 
 
 

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@kris.yute and me dancing to his song “I Did It.” Check it out on all platforms. It’s a jam

A post shared by Penn Badgley (@pennbadgley) on

3. Kris Yute is open to collaboration. The New Yorker is currently working with Walshy Fire (Major Lazer) and Dre Day (Koffee) on music inspired by his travels to the UK, back to his home land Jamaica, and beyond. 

4. Now here's something: Kris is fascinated by quantum physics, something he's explored extensively online. Indeed, he's a self-confessed Wikipedia addict!

5. Surprisingly for someone who seems to be so right for these times, Kris is really bad at listening to new music. He's also bad at memorising song lyrics… something he’s working on during lockdown!

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It seems that Simon Cowell's Syco Music imprint could have been folded.

The imprint was founded in 2002 as the label arm of Syco Entertainment, and was later purchased by Sony Music.

Sony sold all non-music aspects of Syco back to Cowell earlier this year, retaining the current and former catalogue in the process. According to Wiki, Syco is owned equally between Cowell and Sony.

Now Tokio Myers seems to have let slip that Syco Music is no more. In a post to fans, he writes: "I’m happy to have been apart of the Syco record labels ride – unfortunately the label is no longer in operation – I can’t thank the syco team enough for their hard work, and the incredible opportunities I’ve been given – this chapter of my life has been life changing!" 

He adds: "I think it’s important to let my fans know that I am now a FREE AGENT!"

Tokio Myers is currently working on his second album.

Simon Cowell has yet to comment officially on the news.

 
 
 

 

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A post shared by  (@tokiomyersworld) on

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Frosty returns with his new banger 'Under Surveillance'.

The MC has been on the rise since 'County Lines' exploded last year, one of drill's most important voices.

Out now, 'Under Surveillance' is a reflection on his rise, and also the way he's been treated by authorities.

Unknown T guests, and the East London – fresh from his debut album – is the perfect foil for Frosty.

Directed by Teeeezy C, the full video for 'Under Surveillance' is online now, the perfect platform for two renegade MCs.

Tune in now.

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Toronto vocalist Nicole Chambers has shared her new single 'I'm Fine'.

Out now, the track is a superb expression of cutting edge soul, with her R&B roots overhauled from a personal perspective.

It's remarkable, then, that the lyrics themselves deal with the exact opposite – it's about keeping her feelings in check.

The push and pull dynamic of the song creates its own character, and the process of writing and recording it unblocks emotional passageways in the process.

She comments…

"‘I’m Fine’ is about me suppressing my emotions. I walk around telling everybody that I’m fine, in a high pitched voice followed with a huge grin on my face, when in reality I am not. The inspiration came from my group of friends as I started noticing they were doing it too. We are so called pros at pretending that we are handling everything so well, when we clearly aren't."

"Yes, our emotions are heavy and messy but without them we wouldn’t be able to clear so many blocks. I feel my generation is slowly realizing that, It’s okay to not be okay, it’s okay to suffer from anxiety and depression, but it’s not OK to suppress your thoughts and feelings."

Tune in now.

Nicole Chambers · I'm Fine

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Ezra Collective have shared 'Dark Side Riddim' and 'Samuel L Riddim'.

The London jazz outfit enjoyed a stellar 2019, sharing their debut album in full and packing out international venues.

'Mace Windu Riddim' became a summer soundtrack for a lot of people, and it gets a digital drop today under the alternate title 'Samuel L Riddim'.

The track is accompanied by new cut 'Dark Side Riddim', with both pieces set to feature on a Record Store Day drop tomorrow (August 29th).

Available on colour-splattered 12 inch vinyl, the gatefold sleeve depicts a comic book strip re-imagining of Ezra Collective's origins story.

Limited to 1000 copies, this is one you won't want to miss out on.

Tune in now.

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