Fresh Faves 19th March 2012

This Week’s Fresh Faves as chosen by you, our readers, from a field of 26 strong contenders. You can see who picked what on last week’s Listening Post. These tracks aren’t “better” than the other 16 – they’re just the ten that you (and we)  happened to like the most.  Listed in alphabetical order:

ALEX LIPINSKI – Lonesome Train

Hi energy retro rockabilly – in the normal run of things musical recycling projects are a bit of a yawn, but this track’s played and sung with such vigour and conviction it just sweeps you up and carries you along. Bet Mr Lipinski and his band are great live…

BERNHOLZ – Austerity Boy

Mysterious machine music with great human vocals and drums. Love the rising tension as the song takes you on its journey, and the fact that it’s utterly uncompromising. Just when you think you’ve got the measure of it, along comes another twist. Class.

BON ARROW – One By One

An excercise in economy and poise. Beautiful understated vocal supported by sparse, carefully worked detail and surrounded by wide open space where you can practically hear the emptiness. This must have taken many hours – and expert judgement – to make.

KEVIN PEARCE – Don’t Fall Down

A grower that slowly draws you into its own emotional landscape. While loathing the lazy term “folktronica” I do like the fact that the beats here aren’t pretending to be a drumkit, and the fact that dead on 2 minutes in Mr Pearce rings the changes with an intriguing octave guitar riff followed by a fresh new middle eight. Unlike Bon Arrow and Bernholz which are determinedly longform, this could arguably take a tight radio edit down to about 2’30” in length and still keep all its impact.

MAYFLYS – Ayo

Straight in, no messing: love the assurance of this. Strong song, great performance, nice groove and fine production. Whoever’s sneaking in all those little liquid riffs on lead guitar deserves a medal. I normally prefer a tad more grit in my oyster, but this is utterly irresistible. No wonder so many people named it as one of their favourites.

SI SENOR – For The Young

Si Senor’s Nick Stapleton has taken the KLF proposition that The Groove’s The Thing to heart on “For The Young”. The interplay of beats and bass are smack in the pocket and the production is sparse and simple – exactly what’s needed to support the song. This nice tight radio edit motors along as effortlessly as a Bentley. This is still early work from Si Senor, and promises great things in the year ahead.

SAM BEETON – Storyteller

Sam has already been in session for Dean Jackson at BBC Introducing’s legendary East Midlands new music show The Beat, and if Steve Lamacq hasn’t already played this on his Radio 2 shows then it’s only a matter of time before he does. Straight down the line country songwriting and production – done to a T.

THANK PABLO – By The Sea

To declare a prior interest, we’ve already given airplay to “Dinosaurs & Astronauts” by Thank Pablo two weeks running last Autumn. Lovely tight playing, fresh chirpy songwriting and the 3/4 fairground Wurlitzer moment halfway through is a nice surprise. Another band who’ll be great live…

THE CHAPLINS – I’m A Hurricane

A down to earth four-piece honing their trade in the windswept fishing port of Grimsby. They wear their hearts and influences on their sleeve. As Ian commented on the Listening Post “I know they’re copying the Smiths, but no bad thing” – and I agree – it’s where the Chaplins take their music next that will count. The openness and sincerity of this performance has won them a place in this week’s Fresh Faves – and promises well for the future.

WEIRDSHAPES – Clouds

I’m chuffed so many other people picked this as one of their five faves too. This, I think, is the strongest and most adventurous work to date from Dan Spooner and his merry men – and it’s great to hear how far their sound has developed since we first played them (under their old name of Dirty Weekend) in 2008. A new video for this is on the way – and hopefully this will be a breakthrough year for Weird Shapes. Onwards and upwards!

Tom Robinson
19 march 2012

Tom Robinson

London-based broadcaster & songwriter, born 1950. His best known songs are 2-4-6-8 Motorway, Glad To Be Gay and War Baby; he has also co-written songs with Peter Gabriel, Elton John, Dan Hartman and Manu Katché. Read More...

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