New artist of the week: Sam Fender

Plus songs you have to hear from Fontaines D.C. and Rosalia

Sam Fender’s music has retained its own sense of identity and has avoided the pitfalls of regurgitation

Sam Fender’s music has retained its own sense of identity and has avoided the pitfalls of regurgitation

 

What A songwriter who digs deep into real life and his surroundings.
Where Newcastle, England.  
Why Sam Fender grew up in North Shields, a fishing town 13km from Newcastle on the north bank of the river Tyne. Fender’s birthplace is the inspiration for his breakthrough song Dead Boys, a song that addresses male suicide in small towns. “We close our eyes / learn our pain / nobody ever could explain / all the dead boys in our hometown,” Fender sings poignantly on the song that uses tumultuous and bright guitar tones to augment the cathartic sentiment expressed.

Fender first appeared on the BBC Sound of 2018 list at the start of this year after slowly and steadily growing his reputation with a series of singles since 2017 that showcased an artist interested in expressing lived emotion. Songs about dopamine-hungry millennials, an Orwellian future dystopia, toxic masculinity- fuelled drunk fighting, mistreatment of women and getting stuck in a bleak one- horse town, Ed Sheeran this ain’t.

Fender’s most recent single That Sound, a “feck the begrudgers” anthem, has a surprising influence of Simple Minds, recalling the eighties era of histrionic emotive rock that Jim Kerr was a natural fit for. Over a handful of songs and a debut EP thus far, Fender’s music has retained its own sense of identity and has avoided the pitfalls of regurgitation.

YOU HAVE TO HEAR THIS

Rosalia’s new album El Mal Querer confirms a global star in the making. Photograph: Alex Garcia
Rosalia’s new album El Mal Querer confirms a global star in the making. Photograph: Alex Garcia

Rosalia: De Acquí No Sales 
The Spanish Flamenco artist Rosalia’s new album El Mal Querer confirms a global star in the making who fashions a new contemporary pop style inspired by a 13th century novel about a woman imprisoned by her jealous fiancé.

De Acquí No Sales is a thrilling blend of Rosalia’s yearning vibrato and rhythms motorcycle engine rev samples that coalesce into a stomping handclap thriller of a song with low-end borrowed from hip-hop production. Dramatic and individual.

Fontaines D.C. are one of the most exciting acts to emerge from Ireland in recent years
Fontaines D.C. are one of the most exciting acts to emerge from Ireland in recent years

Fontaines D.C.: Too Real 
The Dublin band, Fontaines D.C., were forced to add the D.C. to their name when another act with the same name challenged their moniker but it’s now just confirmation of the influence of the place and characters of Dublin city on their music.

Now signed to the US label Partisan Records, the next year has the band fired up to go on tour for much of 2019. Too Real has that colloquial charm and blistering rock’n’roll bent that has made the band one of the most exciting acts to emerge from Ireland in recent years.

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