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BBC Introducing

Video Killed the Radio Star; Now the Philistine Vultures of Disaster Capitalism are Pecking at the Carcass of BBC Introducing

BBC Introducing

The uncertain future of BBC Introducing has sent lament for one of the few remaining vestiges of the industry as we knew it ricocheting through the grassroots music communities since the staff redundancies were made public knowledge.

Yet, The Guardian has been harbingering the demise of non-commercial radio stations for quite some time. In September 2022, when most people who were not born with a silver spoon in their mouths were too busy worrying about how they were going to pay for their heating bills, the outcries from radio stations and their DJs fell on silent ears.

Bootstrapped independent radio stations aired their anxieties around the increasing financial pressures, amplified by the threat of rising bills, alluding to how local and internet radio shows have become labours of love for everyone involved.

Those committed to the cause endeavoured through, knowing that without independent and local radio, independent artists have one less platform to stand on and receive royalties. Yet, there is only so much self-sacrifice tastemakers can take before they are little more than burnt-out martyred scar tissue attempting to keep up the momentum in a thankless society that would feel better to have radio around, even if they haven’t tuned in since 2007.

Of course, holding out hope for government support is as redundant as the BBC Introducing staff now find themselves as the BBC looks for ways to cut their budget. Culture doesn’t have a place amongst disaster capitalists on the front benches that are intent on dragging the country to rock bottom so they can mine what is left out of the economy.

Just before that last-ditch cry for help from independent radio stations across the UK was printed by The Guardian, the socially sharp comedian, Stewart Lee, shared his opinion on how the arts end up as cultural damage while the anti-woke philistines throw their toys out of the pram indiscriminately.

“Worms are chopped by the plough, but the plough means them no harm. Brexit Britain is that plough. Artists are those worms. And Nadine Dorries is a woman crouching at the side of the field, watching the plough, while doing a massive shit in the nest of a rare bird.”

The culture war is decidedly upon us. Yet, the anger from the sane minds that see the value in art and music beyond the monetary gains is as quiet as a Nils Frahm album. If we are too pacifistic and placid to make a stand beyond Tweeting outrage, do we only have ourselves to blame for falling like dominos?

Is the Unsustainability of BBC Introducing a Sign of the Tuned-Out Times?

BBC Introducing is far from the only independent radio show dedicated to platforming up-and-coming talent. Amazing Radio, XRP, Postcards from the Underground and Hard Rock Hell Radio are just a few stations holding the torch from the bygone era when radio stations didn’t have to worry about supply and demand.

However, it has been a while since radio stations were the number one means of music discovery and consumption. It was always just a matter of time before numbered days of independent and local radio stations dedicated to platforming independent and new artists reached zero.

While that is not to say that the downfall of the local BBC Introducing stations is something that should be taken lying down, it is to say that the changing tides of our relationships with music are something to consider. Sure, it is easy to bemoan that the postcards of our youth have gone out of print, to be replaced by a new digital format that is easy to hate for its difference to familiarity and relics of nostalgia. Yet, demanding a demand to create a supply is more than a little blind-sighted.

In January 2022, You Gov published its findings from a survey on how global music consumers are sourcing their new sounds. It should come as no surprise that the traditional means, while they remain important, are far less integral to the musical ecosystem – especially for the younger generations. And to any self-entitled boomers who think that the world should stay stagnant so that it feels more akin to how it was when you left high school. I am sorry to tell you that the younger generations that you have scorched the earth and destroyed the economy for deserve to be catered for to some degree.

 

In 17 global markets, Spotify and other music streaming apps were the most popular means of music discovery, with over 36% of people using Spotify AI recommendations to fill their playlists. 33% of the people surveyed used terrestrial or satellite radio to discover new music. However, it was mostly music fans aged 35 and over, using this method.

Furthermore, if you look at any list of how independent artists should promote their music in 2023, submitting music to radio stations hardly makes it into the top five items. Music promotion strategies in this era usually revolve around pitching to playlisters, using a third-party distribution service, using social media for self-promotion, playing live, building a website and mailing list, creating music videos, and submitting your music to blogs.

While I will never be happy to see the death throes of any valuable service within the grassroots music industry, a touch of realism goes a long way to keep the melancholia of our rapidly changing world at bay.

BBC Introducing has done so much more than launch the careers of Florence and the Machine and Ed Sheeran; the impact it has had on thousands of artists’ careers is wholly inestimable. But sadly, the majority of those who purport to care about the grassroots music industry would rather let it landslide into obscurity. There are so many bigger fish to fry in these recession-blighted disjointed times, but everyone’s got too much anxiety to walk into the kitchen.

Article by Amelia Vandergast

 

Glam rock goes indie pop in Dvrk Romantics’ siren of a single, Trouble Won’t Wait

With the dark romanticism of the lyrics that will stir the soul of any Wordsworth, and Lord Bryon fans, Dvrk Romantics stayed true to their moniker while sonically blowing the competition with their cinematic blockbuster of an X-Rated single, Trouble Won’t Wait.

Rachel Di Biaso’s glam rock meets pop femme fatale pop energy across the raunchy guitar licks and snapping beats that drive the anthemic seduction right through the riot of siren-esque hit is a potent blend that will undoubtedly see Dvrk Romantics lauded as the best breakthrough act of 2022.

Seemingly, everything that Micky Waters turns to aural gold; after moving into this alchemic duo from being the bassist in The Answer, who supported Rolling Stones and ACDC, he’s going to manoeuvre those driving basslines right into the hearts of every glam rock, pop and indie lover alike. If you’ve always wanted to back a band before they become the next big thing, the time is NOW.

Trouble Won’t Wait was officially released on September 30th. Hear it on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

The claws are out in Harmonical’s latest single, Cat on Heat, featuring Élan Noelle

It has been a phenomenal run for the effortlessly distinctive RnB artist Harmonical (AKA songwriter & producer James Stretten) with his cinematically contemporary songs appearing on the credits of Hollyoaks and constantly spun on BBC Introducing.

His latest single, Cat on Heat, featuring the enrapturing robust vocals of Washington RnB soul singer, Élan Noelle, is yet another reason to fall head over heels for his funk-riding euphonic sonic signature.

With a narrative as compelling as the Copacabana, the lyrics in Cat on Heat are almost enough to bring out the popcorn. The dynamic that the lyric “she’s my best friend, but she is like a cat on heat” sets up a scenario that most will be able to relate to.

The music video to Cat on Heat premiered on August 11th. Check it out for yourselves by heading over to YouTube.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Joshua Woo teaches us to let the light shine free again on, ‘Sunflower Seeds’

After first impressing us with his BBC Introducing featured single ‘Beyond The Glass‘, Joshua Woo returns with a special soundtrack to summer that is hugely welcome with, ‘Sunflower Seeds‘.

Joshua Woo is a UK-based indie singer-songwriter and music producer who puts his whole heart and soul into all of his catchy inventions.

I wrote Sunflower Seeds as a message of hope for anyone who needs it. The world has been a real crazy place for a while now and instead of just pointing that out I wanted to write something that could bring people some joy. It’s very interpretative though and I’m really happy for anyone to get what they want from the lyrics.” ~ Joshua Woo

Showing us that we may alleviate our stress if we close our tired eyes and find that inner courage to be happy again, Joshua Woo sends our thoughts into a much better world again through his soothing vocal artistry that is certainly mood-altering.

Sunflower Seeds‘ from UK-based indie singer-songwriter Joshua Woo is such a calming track that will bring you to a more relaxed place than before. The lyrics presented are rather peaceful and filled with hope, that we can actually be happy again like we deserve. He sings with a joyous exuberance that is rather contagious (in a good way), as we are brought into a better world where the birds are chirping and the flowers are blooming rather beautifully.

Listen to this new track on Spotify and follow his IG for all the news.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Elias Kopp advocates autonomy in his hooky indie synth-pop single, No One Knows

Elias Kopp declared “normal is the dirtiest of words” in his latest breakbeat synth-pop single, No One Knows; we wholeheartedly agree. There’s nothing quite as tragic as the thought of so many minds coming of age while striving for an ideal that isn’t reachable. But the Brighton/Southeast UK-based artist more than played his part in ensuring that fewer souls tarnish by the quest for normalcy that strips autonomy.

No One Knows isn’t the first single from Kopp to thrive upon dark narratives and came to life through his evocative vocals. Since making his debut, his hooky became a firm fixture on BBC Introducing and BBC Radio 6. We would put money on a bright 2022 for Kopp. His tendency to put his emotional intelligence before his ego is addictive. Save a space on your radar.

No One Knows will officially release on March 15th, 2022. You can check it out for yourselves by heading over to SoundCloud and the artist’s official website.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Ease the Artist put the West Midlands on the UK hip hop map once again with ‘Go Off’

After 12 years in the industry, the trailblazing West Midlands, UK-based hip hop pioneer, Ease the Artist, has had plenty of time to find his signature sound. Based on the sheer charisma, grit and distinction in his seminal track, Go Off, you couldn’t ask for a brighter luminary.

Rather than solely relying on his rapid cadence – which alone is dizzying – he also finds plenty of space in his dynamic bars to lay down vocal hooks in the chorus and plenty of charismatic personality in the verses.

Go Off finds the perfect balance between convictive Grimey motivation and playful high vibes that allow you to embrace the true talent of Ease the Artist. So far, that talent has seen him featured on BBC Introducing and having one of his tracks selected to become the track of the week.

You can check out the official lyric video for Go Off by heading over to YouTube.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Hip hop and indie-rock go pop-punk in Lewis Shepperd’s latest single, Take My Hand

Lewis Shepperd showed us the true extent of his versatility with the release of his latest single, Take My Hand, which obliterates the boundaries between indie, pop, rock and hip hop. The breaking artist hasn’t idled since we heard his last single, Follow You, which delivered a Kings of Leon style of cool and proved that his soulfully resonant talent should be as revered as Winehouse’s. Since then, he’s performed at the Isle of Wight Festival in 2021, received plenty of BBC airplay and garnered critical acclaim from across the board.

With rap bars mixed with his energised indie-rock vocals atop the instrumentals that continually shift through melodic grooves, tension-fraught build-ups and pop-punk style breaks, Take My Hand is a gift that keeps on giving.

As the garagey distorted rock licks towards the outro prove the value in the perpetual solidarity by depicting the chaotic state of the world, the lyrics remind you how sweet it is to have stunning souls around you. If that doesn’t hit the spot, you may want to check if you’ve still got a pulse.

Take My Hand is now available to stream on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Folk noir soulstress Echo Wants Her Voice Back has released her most evocative single to date, ‘Wife’

‘Wife’ is the latest poetically Avant-Garde single from Cypriot-born, London-based singer-songwriter and actress Echo Wants Her Voice Back. Starting with a minimalist, spiritual intro that any fans of the Cranberries will appreciate, Wife is captivating from the start. The conversationally imploring vocals lead you right into the heart of the track, and that is a trip you’re going to want to take over and over again.

With a touch of Gwen Stefani-Esque attitude to the folk-pop lyrics in the chorus, the seamlessly progressive single is proof of the alchemy that can breathe through a release created without constraint. The baroque pop outro that carries reminiscence to Emilie Autumn’s archaic sound is a haunting way that ensures Wife will stay with you long after the outro

With her second EP in the works, Echo Wants Her Voice back is well worth room on your radar.

Wife released on May 21st; you can hear it for yourselves via SoundCloud and Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Libby Butterworth explores femininity with her indie-pop earworm CHANEL.

CHANEL is the latest single to be released by Cambridge-hailing 21-year-old singer-songwriter Libby Butterworth who has already earned a spot on the BBC Introducing Hotlist in 2020 for her catchy, vulnerable indie-pop sound.

Hit play on CHANEL, and you will immediately see why there is so acclaim amassing around her soft feminine vocals that bring plenty of intimacy to her candid lyrical style. Your archetypal pop track leads you to believe that you are the outlier for not having it all figured out; Libby lets her listeners hear her uncertainty and internal conflict with lines such as, “I want it all and I don’t want anything”.

CHANEL flows perfectly along with the shift in the tide away from demands on pop stars to be less iconic and more humanistic. The single finds a nuanced way of saying that femininity doesn’t always come easily, and the desire to be the embodiment of Audrey Hepburn doesn’t always come from within.

Not only is CHANEL an infectiously moody indie-pop earworm, but it also has the potential to help so many women understand their own identity. Naturally, we look forward to hearing plenty more from Libby and her sultry subversive style.

Libby Butterworth’s latest single, CHANEL, is available to stream via Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast