Pool Valley // Staff Picks

Here at Pool Valley Music, we are looking forward to a successful, fun and entertaining 2021, filled with new and exciting music and content. But we are also celebrating the national and international music industry and its creators! With such a devastating year behind us, it is important to support all the creative and amazing people in the industry, more than ever.

Therefore, we have put together some of our Staff Picks of January 2021 at Pool Valley Music to start off the new year with motivation and in style. We have also compiled a Spotify playlist with all the mentioned songs, so check it out and enjoy!


The Bobo – Will You Picked by Angelika Juszczyńska “The Bobo is a little Poland-bred, Oxford-based music project that is trying to experiment with electronic music (or music in general). Her dreamy sound, heart-warming vocals and cinematic visuals (Bobo is also a film student) make a fantastic soundtrack to teenage life. With multiple radio plays and one of the singles featured on BBC Music Introducing Hot List, The Bobo is slowly making her way into the music industry. She can be compared to amazing artists such as Mazzy Star, Billie Eilish and Lana Del Rey.”

JNR WIILLIAMS – What a Difference Picked by Isabelle Elers “Despite being a cover of the legendary 1956 hit by Dinah Washington, JNR William's 'What a difference' manages to encapsulate the soul and fervour of the original record, whilst introducing his own flair to entice the contemporary listener.”

Gaffa Tape Sandy – Beehive Picked by Fanny Farkas “With its light, goofy vibes, this song by the Brighton-based band will be a great start to any gloomy, rainy day. :)”

Coast to Coast – Marlene Picked by Sam Purcell “Coast to Coast were a staple of the Birmingham alternative scene since their first release back in 2016. Sadly, amongst all other things, 2020 brought us their last release as a group. I love this band’s twist on modern-day emo music. The deep, powerful vocals really fill this song with raw passion and real emotion alongside beautifully written lyrics. Melodically, it’s very catchy and is also fantastically produced. It’s a shame to be losing such a diverse and important group, particularly for the alternative scene in the West Midlands, but I am grateful that they leave us with 3 brilliant tracks.”

Oly Sherman – Homeboy Picked by Sophia Metliss “He’s an Australian artist but I’ve really enjoyed his music recently, especially when studying. This song reminds me of what a chilled out Tame Impala would sound like, who I also love.”

Macseal – Lucky For Some Picked by Erin Percy “Macseal as a band need far more hype. Formed in 2014 in New York USA, they have a Midwest-emo sound with shoegaze and math rock influences. ‘Lucky For Some’ is the opening track on their 2019 album ‘Super Enthusiast’ – from which I could pick any song for this list, as the entire album is often on repeat for me, but the opener seemed a good place to start. The best way I can describe the feel of this song is that it gives me ‘main character in an indie movie’ vibes, with bright guitar tones, driving drums and some melancholy lyrics despite an upbeat feel. Macseal has been one of my personal favourite bands for a few years now, and I hope this song will persuade others to join me so they (when its safe) can finally tour in the UK.”

The Spinners – It’s a Shame Picked by Vincent Mongay “Being a huge fan of Motown, how could I not talk about the Spinners... Such a great American rhythm and blues band from the 1960s, really emblematic sound. Even though the lyrics are quite depressing, ‘It’s A Shame’ is a great way to start a new day under the sun.”

Kaisha – Kitchen Sunset Picked by Ingvild Nordal Rekstad “My staff pick is Kaisha, a Brighton-based singer, and songwriter. Her songs are a mix of groovy R&B with a touch of instrumental jazz and Neo-Soul. Her beautiful soulful voice fits perfectly into the genre and keeps you wanting more. I believe Kaisha will continue bringing more compelling music to listen to in the future, and I'm excited to follow her development.”

Orla Gartland – More Like You Picked by Angelika Waszut “More Like You, recently released by Orla Garland is definitely the kind of a 'bummer bop' everyone can relate to at some point. Orla has described the thoughts of a person who constantly wishes to be that one 'perfect person' who is the best in everything they do. With a flawless choice of lyrics, we are shown a story of someone who is trying to become that 'perfect person' and accept their insecurities even though we all know it's not the easiest thing to do.”

Sergio Selva – Full View Picked by Seth Mayhew “Sergio Selva's smooooth soul and loose grooves are the hidden gems of Brighton's (and now London's) neo-soul.”

Pillow Queens – HowDoILook Picked by Matt Smith “Pillow Queens are an all-queer 4-piece from Dublin, a band that I instantly clicked with. Their self-released debut album ‘In Waiting’ was released back in September but I didn’t discover them until late December. Track four, ‘HowDoILook’ is a positive upbeat indie-pop track depicting the struggles with insecurities and learning to embrace and love who you are, with its beautifully repetitive chorus it embeds itself into your mind long after the track has ended. Pillow Queens are at the top of my list of bands I want to see live, it may take a while, but I don’t mind - they’ll be worth the wait.”

Blackout Problems – LADY EARTH Picked by Jasmin Daehmlow “I recently discovered this German dark-pop band and fell in love with their recent album ‘DARK’. The whole album tells a story about the anger over how humanity hasn’t learned from history and mistakes and continues to destroy the planet its living on. It is a subtle musical piece of environmental and political activism. The song ‘LADY EARTH’ is driven by heavy guitars sounds and energetic rhythms. Definitely a favourite of mine!”

Hands Off Gretel – She Thinks She's Punk and Rock n Roll Picked by Zain Khan “Hands off Gretel, a band sure to make their name known through 2021 with a UK tour commencing in march. Both sexy yet intimidating these guys bring a little glamour and sass to that edgy 80’s grunge you love from bands such as Hole and Nirvana.”

Mengelmoes – Purple Lady Picked by Owen Parkhouse “Mengelmoes (pronounced men-ghel-moose) are a multi-genre band hailing from Norwich, UK. Fusing Jazz, Funk, Rock, Latin, RnB and everything in-between for a sound like no other. ‘Purple Lady’ showcases all of this, as well as a vast array of instruments, making the song a standout of the four-pieces catalogue. The funky driven song has a well-rounded tight sound, featuring multiple different sections with something for everyone. The song does not disappoint live, with it being the highlight of the band’s energetic set.”

Black Honey – Beaches Picked by Niamh Beggan “I’m really loving ‘Beaches’ by Black Honey at the moment, it helps me get pumped for the day-something I defo need during lockdown! Coincidently they’re from Brighton and are BIMM alumni, so it makes me think of all the fun times I had on the beach last summer when we couldn’t really do much else. Just a feel-good song :)”

Teeze – Kick Back Picked by Amielia Adlington “A talented Hip-Hop artist who in 2020 released the most amazing mixtape/album which he arranged and produced himself. Working alongside 19 other artists this arrangement is the perfect soundtrack to any chill night in, dinner with friends or even a study buddy for all those students out there. Definitely feel like this deserves more recognition than it currently has.”

IAMDDB – Shade Picked by Sam Forster “Self-proclaimed “Urban Jazz” artist IAMDDB has been killing it 2015 with no intention to slow down. A prolific writer with badass unapologetic anthems, she’s someone who should be on everyone’s playlists. Tracks like Shade, Loose Change, G.A.F and Ooo are just a few examples of her raw talent. Whereas Urban Jazz, Trophy, Kurr£ncy and Moonlight display her compelling voice and her wide range of influences. If you’re having a bad day and need to feel like a boss or just need to chill, IAMDDB has it covered.”


An eclectic bunch! Which is your favourite? Check out the Pool Valley Staff Picks Spotify playlist:

Have we missed anything? Your band perhaps? We love to hear new music so if you have a track that we should know about, send it over! We will be featuring up-and-coming artists in this blog as much as possible so if that is you, send a Soundcloud link and press release to - we look forward to hearing some tuuunes.

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