Huffpost Entertainment
The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Ryan Bassil Headshot

The Top 5 Underground UK Artists

Posted: Updated:
Print Article
RECORD STORE DAY 2011
AP

Since the introduction of the internet, the UK underground music scene has been teeming with more new artists than you can shake a stick at. Back in 2006, anyone could upload a couple of tracks to MySpace, and now -- fast forwarding to 2011 -- everyone, from your neighbour to the guy serving your burgers at McDonalds can upload a song to soundcloud, tweet about it, and get it out into the fast paced world of the www dot in seconds.

It's a beautiful world, because the ease of the internet has allowed many genres to flourish. The UK grime scene saw particular benefits of this, with the internet making early superstars out of JME and Wiley. The same goes for the indie crowd -- without the internet Arctic Monkeys probably wouldn't have made the impact that they did. The same goes for Lily Allen, The XX and Foals. Countless numbers of bands have been supported by the introduction of the internet, however hundreds of others have faded into the fast paced world of the internet, never to be clicked on.

There are a lot of voices out there -- here's a few you should be listening out for:

Zoo Kid

East London troubadour Archy Marshall aka Zoo Kid is a member of the Brit School -- you know -- the talent-studded school in the UK which has spawned the likes of Adele and The Kooks. However, thankfully, he's as far removed from the fame academy scene as you can get. His recent joint 'Out Getting Ribs' is an infectious, yet slow burning piece of spectral song writing. The 16 year old (Yeah! Us too, amazing right?) 'sings' in a barking, gruff manner, making him sound 20 years older than his actual birthdate. Once combined with his jazz chords and introspective wordplay, you've got a sort of Billy Bragg/Perfume Genius/Porcelain Raft concoction.

Despite still being at school, Archys working on his debut album which will be released via House Anxiety Records.

Sami Switch

Deriving from Reading, Sami Switch merges lyrical complexity with a flow to rival that of fellow UK rapper- Devlin. Personal lives -- 'I'm a hero and the heroine -- one hit -- and she's hooked' -- are mixed with universal struggles -- 'I'm on a paperchase, to gain a place' -- and delivered via the medium of grimey vocals splattered over a heavy beat. Comparisons to Plan B are also fitting, not just because he's white, but because of the strong vocal delivery and clever lyrics, which are offered by both. Except there's one main difference, Switch is just shy of 18 years old and Plan B is 27.

His debut mixtape release titled Carpe Diem -- meaning seize the day -- is a complete package, full of original beats and appearances from several artists across the Reading scene. The record is set for release via Blak Magik Music, May 2011.

Context MC

In his press release Context MC describes his recent track 'Listening to Burial' as 'the anthem to a walk home after a rave' -- and he's not far off. The track flows in and out of ambience with fragments of post-dubstep combined with that 'sound' of the city that Mike Skinner captured so perfectly on The Streets hit Blinded By The Lights. 2011 is set to be a good year for the MC -- the track has already been playlisted by MTV in the UK and splattered all over various stations from Radio 1 to Rinse FM.

Joy Orbison

Nope, he's not Roy Orbisons illegitimate son. Infact, his last name isn't even Orbison (dirty liar, that's fraud you know). Joy Orbison, born Peter O'Grady is a producer based in London. Way back in 2009, his debut single was cited as the 'most forward thinking dubstep track' of the year. Orbison combines elements of dubstep, house and at times chillwave and also cites J Dilla, My Bloody Valentine and The Beach Boys as influences. It's fair to say he's got taste.

He sounds like a late night. A guy to listen to whilst riding the taxi home. The soundtrack to a relaxing comedown, sitting in your bedroom, monging out with all the lights turned on.

K Koke

Representing North Weezy, K Koke has been setting the streets of London on fire recently with his perfectly constructed rhymes spat out over a foundation of grimey bassline beats. The up-and-coming superstar tells stories straight from the street via the medium of cleverly put together lyrics -- check his Fire In The Booth video from 1xtra -- which has shown that Koke consistently has the ability to complete with some of the best in the game. He's recently signed with Jay-Z's Roc Nation imprint too, but those in the US will have to hold tight a little while -- he's currently awaiting trial for attempted murder. Free Koke.

Around the Web

RWD: Grime, Hip Hop, Dubstep, Funky, Pop, R&B, House, News ...

British hip-hop heads out of the underground - Features, Music ...