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Spandrel? by Evita ManjiCourtesy Bandcamp / the artist

10 under-the-radar releases you may have missed in the last three months

Featuring Sabrina Bellaouel’s celestial club music, Marine Eye + IKSRE’s techno-naturalism, and Gayance’s soulful take on heartbreak

In recent weeks on Dazed, we’ve interviewed FLO, Ice Spice and Fever Ray. We’ve also reflected on the reinvention of Avalon Emerson, the inside story of comfy synth, looked at the A-Z of Azealia Banks, and hosted a Dazed Mix from Authentically Plastic.

Three months into 2023, and it’s sadly safe to say these are still very challenging times. Despite the uncertainties that colour the day-to-day realities of many, music continues to function as a shared communal space and a source of collective solace. In the wake of the pandemic’s lockdown years, the global music community faces ongoing economic challenges around touring, releasing and promoting music. Regardless of the difficulties, though, new and under-discussed talents from the worlds of underground music continue to use community and craft to find a way. 

For the first edition of our quarterly roundup for 2023, we’re continuing to reflect and acknowledge musicians, artists, producers and DJs from across the globe, all with strong communities, real visions and important statements to make. Here are ten essential Q1 releases, all available on Bandcamp.


Who? A Haitian-Canadian dancer and journalist who reinvented herself as a world-wandering DJ and producer.

Why you should be listening: In 2021, Aïsha C Vertus, aka Gayance, took part in an artist residency organised by Montreal’s PHI Centre. Over the course of two weeks spent at a riverside lodge in St-Adèle, Quebec, she surrounded herself with some of her closest friends while recording her debut album. A blend of broken beat, garage, neo-soul, and house, all dusted in South American seasonings, Mascarade is the end product of over a decade spent living with music, love, heartbreak and loss across north and south America and Europe. The songs contained within feel lived in, always aiming at the hips and the heart.

For fans of: Bugz in the Attic, Solange, Jitwam.


Who? The Houston-based Mexican music producer exploring the overlap between Texas rap, UK bass music and indigenous myths and religion. 

Why you should be listening: With Eslab​ó​n, his debut EP for Kode9’s Hyperdub Records, Panch Briones reframes the traditional Mexican music of his childhood inside the soulful spirit of southern rap and the dayglo futurism of the UK bass scene. In the process, over the course of four evocative avant-club tracks, he connects cultures, countries and concepts with effortless style. From the kaleidoscopic colours of “Tonantzin” to the low-slung screw sensibilities of “Coahuiltecan” and the strident rhythms of “Laberinto”, Eslab​ó​n marks Briones out as a major new talent. He has range as well. Check out “Emma” for ambient bliss in a Santa Muerte style.

For fans of: Ariel Zetina, Joker, Clams Casino.


Who? A UK classical/jazz-influenced composer, multi-instrumentalist and vocalist who sings with a siren’s call. 

Why you should be listening: In the late 90s/early 2000s, Seaming To was a crucial figure in an experimental Manchester music scene that included the likes of Homelife, Toolshed and Mr Scruff within its ranks. Two decades and countless adventures later, she recently delivered her slow-cooked second album. Informed by magic realism, mythology, jazz improvisation, classical composition and avant-pop, Dust Gatherers is a playful wonderland of wandering sounds. Styled as a collection of stories that have been gathering dust inside her, To delivers her fantastic tales with an ethereal call while floating across a bed of pastoral string arrangements and playful synthesisers.   

For fans of: Björk, Meredith Monk, Sam Gendel.


Who? The open-eared London post-punk group who see the fantasy that lies just beyond our daily realities. 

Why you should be listening: Blistering and dreamy in equal measure, In Tongues make songs about the city behind the city. With their debut EP, Survival Bag, they spend four speedy songs exploring the dreamscapes between art-rock, post-punk, jazz, and dub through a heady blend of angular guitars, haunted drones, motorik drum beats and talk-sing vocals. Released in February by the Scenic Route collective, Survival Bag situates In Tongues as part of an introspective music community that includes the experimental pop singer Erotic Probiotic, the street soul/broken beat vocalist J. Caesar and the DJs that have congregated around Scenic Route’s South London club night. 

FOR FANS OF: Coby Sey, HTRK, Dry Cleaning.


Who? A French-Algerian singer-producer who combines R&B, neo-soul, Raï and contemporary club electronica with effortless charm.

Why you should be listening: When you dig into the web of influence that surrounds Sabrina Bellaouel, it’s easy to hear shades of Aaliyah, Timbaland, J Dilla and Sade rubbing against a love of classic house, gospel and traditional Algerian music. Beautifully sung and spoken in English, French and Arabic, the songs that make up her vulnerable and intimate debut album, Al Hadr, draw from spirituality and astrology. In the process, they place tales of nightclubs, romance, faith and self-love alongside mid-tempo drum machines, synths, lush strings and keys, and nostalgic field recordings while spinning them together into something completely captivating and all her own.   

For fans of: Kelela, Aaliyah, Rachid Taha.


Who? A self-taught DIY synth-pop/RnB musician who honed his craft in Oakland during the early 90s.

Why you should be listening: Made up of material from his two self-released albums, Acceptance (1990) and What Kind Of World (1992), I’m Not Your Toy is a corrective compilation that pays homage to the musical genius of Peter Barclay. A bedroom music dreamer who passed away in the late 90s during the AIDS epidemic, Barclay created queer anthems for an alternative reality where good always triumphs over evil. Bringing together the best qualities from boogie, synth-pop, lounge music and smooth synth-jazz – even bossa nova – the songs on I’m Not Your Toy have a timeless feeling. 33 years on, they don’t even feel a day late.

For fans of: Eddie Chacon, Antena, Suzanne Menzel.


WHO: The Greek musician, vocalist and sound designer transforming contemporary club music, baroque pop and experimental soundscapes into a unified whole.

Why you should be listening: Now based in London, Evita Manji represents a new wave of Greek musicians who began immersing themselves in the local underground counterculture in their mid-teens and are now reaching out to the world. For Manji, their debut album Spandrel? came together while they were mourning the sudden death of their partner SOPHIE and processing a series of wildfire outbreaks across Athens. These events left questions hanging in the air, and across Spandrel? Manji uses intricate sound design, raw lyricism and cyborg rhythms to try to make sense of it all. Read our interview with them to find out more.

FOR FANS OF: Eartheater, Palmistry, Arca.


Who? An LA-based vocalist, producer and visual artist who balances the weighty and the weightless with style and wit.

Why you should be listening: Blessed with a voice that could hold its own in the worlds of opera or classical, Megan Mitchell, aka Cruel Diagonals, is a singer’s singer. However, on the flip side, she’s also a talented electronic experimentalist, as illustrated through past releases on Longform Editions and Drawing Room Records. For Fractured Whole, Mitchell made the decision to focus on one key instrument, her voice. By processing, manipulating and stretching it, she creates an alien sonic landscape that sits in contrast to her angelic expressions of the human spirit. She’s a familiar stranger, wandering through an equally strange but sometimes recognisable land. 

For fans of: claire rousay, Fatima Al Qadiri, Diamond Galas.


Who? The East Coast club music DJ-producer trio of Equiss, Lektor Scopes and Elise.

Why you should be listening: On No Sleep, OSSX show off their passion for the rich histories of raw and ready club music from both sides of the Atlantic. Over four concise and agile tracks, they cycle through the influences of Jeresy, Baltimore and Philly Club, Florida breaks, Miami bass, UK jungle/drum & bass and garage, always keeping it hip-hop. Over the last year, the trio have also impressed with considered team DJ mixes for Resident Advisor and Fact Mag while bringing hedonistic dancefloor euphoria to audiences across the US. In May, they’re scheduled to play in London as part of Night Slugs’ 15th-anniversary event.   

For fans of: DJ Technics, Swisha, Leonce.


WHO: A trans-hemispheric ambient/healing music collaboration between two musicians from Melbourne and LA. 

Why you should be listening: Born through an exchange of emails, photos, videos and song ideas, Nurture is the sound of Cynthia Bernard, aka Marine Eyes and Phoebe Dubar, aka IKSRE becoming good friends through the internet. Over 11 blissed-out, relaxational tracks, the like-minded musicians interlink polished synthesisers, lullaby melodies, singing bowls, chimes and field recordings. Working together but also alone, they summon up a suite of ambient dream-pop compositions that feel as blue as a cloudless summer sky and as deep as the ocean. Somewhere between sound healing and environmental music, Nurture is a techno-naturalistic exploration of the relationships between people, places and times.   

FOR FANS OF: Grouper, Patricia Wolf, This Mortal Coil.

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