The New Smu: March 2022The New Smu March: The best new artists in my inbox this month

Discovering great new artists is one of the most exciting things about music for me. If you don’t champion the stuff you love, you can’t complain when you only hear the shit you hate on the radio.

There is an endless and thrilling sea of music out there, but it can be bewilderingly vast and not without peril. You have to kiss a lot of frogs before you meet an artist formerly known as Prince. In this monthly review, I will be highlighting some of the most interesting releases I have heard by new and unsigned artists, wading through the audio slush pile so you don’t have to.

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Have You Ever Seen The Jane Fonda Aerobic VHS? – Pool

Almost as much fun as the aforementioned 80s workout, this summery alt-pop track is the sound of charity shop Hawaiian shirts and back-of-the-drinks-cupboard cocktails. Catchy, but rough around the edges with a US 90s indie feel, this is the perfect soundtrack for getting drunk in your neighbour’s inflatable paddling pool.

The New Smu: March 2022

Follow Have You Ever Seen The Jane Fonda Aerobic VHS? on Facebook, Instagram, Spotify and YouTube

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Billain – Interceptor

Dramatic, theatrical drum and bass that gives way to an expansive, spacey sci-fi groove. Billian started out as a sound designer on movies like Pacific Rim, and it’s very much evidenced here in the cinematic, immersive qualities of this track.

The New Smu: March 2022

Follow Billain on Facebook, Instagram, Spotify and YouTube

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Gathering of Strangers – Naked & Blind

I previously featured this band in November with their single Cherry Red and now they are back with another, even better, belter of a track. A great big catchy chorus, delivered in punchy staccato, sandwiched between prowling, moody verses with an 80s hair-rock edge.

The New Smu: March 2022

Follow Gathering Of Strangers on Facebook, Instagram, Spotify and YouTube

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Lia Rye – Habits

Rye’s enigmatic, rich vocals are the centrepiece of this brooding, mysterious, alt-rock track. Lyrically, musically and vocally this is a strong, self-assured release with a world-weary bittersweetness that belies her 18 years.

The New Smu: March 2022

Follow Lia Rye on Instagram, Spotify and YouTube

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THE FUR – Autograph

Post-Britney celeb-culture commentary wrapped around funky retro pop in this perky throwback to the days of Paula Abdul dancing with a cartoon cat. Slickly produced and bouncy in all the right places, this is irresistibly fun and deserves to be a smash.

The New Smu: March 2022

Follow THE FUR on Instagram, Spotify and YouTube

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Single of the Month

Black Rose Burning – The Wheel

Epic, moody, 80s goth-pop with a great big earworm chorus. The chuggy, industrial rhythm and lyrics detailing how ‘time flies with the turning of the wheel’ give the feeling of an oppressive, futuristic lament.

The New Smu: March 2022

Follow Black Rose Burning on Facebook, Instagram, Spotify and YouTube

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Video of the Month

Sarah Sunday – The Sky Is Falling

I’ve been a fan of Miss Sunday since her 2020 single Ink and it’s great to have her back in all her dayglo glory. A heady mix of glitchy, semi-vaporwave editing and DIY punk-pop aesthetic, the video perfectly captures the spirit of the song.

Musically sitting somewhere between Debbie Harry, Avril Lavigne and Shampoo, this is a track about the pressures of the planet’s worries weighing down on you that bops along infectiously like it doesn’t have a care in the world. The highlight moment of the video is perhaps the scrolling, Star Wars style, lyric screen containing nothing but the words ‘la la la la la la la la la’ on repeat for just long enough that it made me laugh out loud.

It’s amazing how much fun you can have while thinking about everything going to hell in a handbasket.

The New Smu: March 2022

Follow Sarah Sunday on Facebook, Instagram, Spotify and YouTube

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If you would like to submit your music to be included in a future edition of The New Smu please email me at susan@thesmureviews.co.uk and include a link to your track. I don’t care if you have 25k followers or only your dog has heard it, as long as it’s interesting, beautiful, weird or wonderful.

A playlist of songs featured here, and in previous months, can be found on Spotify and YouTube.

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All words by Susan Sloan. More of her work for Louder Than War is available on her archive. Find her on Instagram as @thesmureviews and view Susan’s website here.

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