Rap/Grime Why We Love

Why We Love – Rocks FOE

Wandering the rowdy streets of Bristol I stepped into one of the city’s most loved bars only to witness the performance of the best young lyricist in the scene: Rocks FOE. The UK’s finest fire spitter, the bona fide beat sculptor, was finally up on the stage among a dozen other Bristol youths. I’ve been a big fan of his ever since his first Legion EP back in 2015 and let me tell you – his live performance was better than I could’ve dreamt of. Born and raised in Croydon, Rocks FOE took the scene by storm with his first self-produced rap-grime hybrid EP released on Black Acre Records. Harmonizing cabalistic beats with sinuous references from the occult, drawing on anime characters and US rappers like Pharaohe Monch and GZA, his unique style set him on the ramp to success – hear for yourself.

Rocks remained passive to the outside world and made rare live appearances. Still, UK producers quickly became spellbound by his talent and this landed him a feature on Commodo’s ‘How What Time’ LP in 2016. His next release from 2017, ’Fight The Good? Fight’, dives even deeper into his true being as he explores daily fights and struggles. Throughout the record he raps about money, family and inner turmoil. His sound scopes beyond the turf of Croydon and unmasks his nerve as he flows at warp speed over beats heavier than a black hole.

In 2018 Rocks comes again strong with his Legion Lacuna EP, and if you’re a true grime head you might even recognize a sound or two. Trance-worthy ominous beats that maintain the speed, nerve and sheer lyrical genius that the Croydon rapper already accustomed his listeners to are unveiled throughout the EP. With less than 10k views on YouTube, I can’t help but bow to the genuine underground flavour of his music. “Legion” is my all-time favourite grime track with lyrics that exude vigour, dynamism, and the confidence to rise above the unworthy.

RELX, Rocks’ latest project, is made up of three EPs produced by the man himself, and I promise you once again this will rocks-foe you off your chair. ‘Part I’, compiled and initially released in 2019 for 24 hours only on Bandcamp, is now (luckily) widely available to buy and stream. ‘Part III’ was released in March this year with ‘Part II’ still being kept hidden from the public. RELX shows a fresh approach to his established style as Rocks draws influences from R&B, contemporary American rap and Western-style gunshot sounds to put together another record that will surely strike your chords if you’ve liked his stuff so far. 

Rocks FOE has proven time and again to be one of the most talented rappers of his generation and is truly worthy to be heard by all of you out there who dig UK grime. Head off to his Bandcamp to help support his grassroots music, and let your friends know, too.

Listen Now on Bandcamp

Indie/Indie Rock Why We Love

Why We Love: Katy J Pearson

Introducing Katy J Pearson, a dreamy singer-songwriter based in Bristol. Though her debut album was recently released on 13 November, she is no stranger to the music scene. She had previously been a part of a duo alongside her brother called ‘Ardyn’, but unfortunately, issues arose with the label. As a result, Katy took a lengthy break from music and songwriting as a whole, convinced she should become a gardener instead. Thankfully, she has made her comeback at long last, and people have already been captivated by the young singer.

Appropriately named, Return symbolizes her new chapter as a musician. The record consists of 10 tracks, each of which pull you into a trance that you don’t want to snap out of. Katy’s voice is simply mesmerizing, and like Stevie Nicks and Joni Mitchell, she is nothing short of a songbird.

Trading in the indie-pop style of Ardyn for a more folk-y, rock-and-roll sound that’s reminiscent of decades past, Katy has blossomed as a musician. She is now under Heavenly Recordings, and in an interview with NME, she states that she feels much more comfortable and confident with this label. 

Katy still writes with brother Rob, and their teamwork can be found in numerous songs on Return. “Take Back The Radio” and “Tonight” are two tracks that showcase their talents, and the pure, genuine magic they create is undeniable. When they were together as Ardyn, they credited Kate Bush and Kings of Leon as their influences, and some of those elements can be heard throughout the record. 

I stumbled upon the 24-year-old through an Instagram post from her label-mates, Working Men’s Club. Her 1970’s-esque album cover instantly caught my eye, and just by the look of it, I knew I had to stop what I was doing to give it a listen. Words are my forte, but I genuinely cannot describe how I felt as each track progressed. Her sound completely stands out in this modern age; she brings forth something new, something exciting, and something enchanting. 

I’m a massive fan of Fleetwood Mac, and Katy makes my heart absolutely flutter. Her music has that alluring Fleetwood-flare to it, but it’s still distinctively Katy. She flawlessly calls back to those sounds of the ‘70s while still staying true to herself and her own style.

Usually, I’m able to pick out my favorites very easily after listening to an album in its entirety. This time, however, is different. One moment, I’m set on “Something Real” as my top pick, and the next I’m telling everyone I know that “Waiting For The Day” is one of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard. It’s somewhat of a cycle that repeats with every track. One thing I am sure of, though, is that this is one of my favorite releases of the year.

Within a week of Return’s release, it has already been picked as BBC Radio 6’s Album of the Day and Amazing Radio’s Album of the Week. With this in mind, I am so certain that Katy will rack up even more awards and mentions for this record, so this is just the beginning—mark my words!

I wholeheartedly believe that everybody should listen to Return. I cannot stress enough how stunning it is, and considering the fact that this is just her debut as a solo artist, I am so incredibly eager to find out what else the singer’s got up her sleeve.

“What a weekend it’s been,” Katy writes in an Instagram post. “I am so overwhelmed by everyone’s kind words. Having this album out in the world feels truly wonderful.”

To keep up with Katy J Pearson, give her a follow on Twitter (@KatyJPearsonnn) and Instagram (@katyjpearsonband).