So another week has come and gone, as weeks tend to do, which can only mean one thing – we’ve got another bunch of tracks that have been hand-selected by you, the ever-discerning public. This week we’ve got tuned percussion, pianos, brass sections, pianos, mandolins and, erm, more pianos, so what are you waiting for? Click the Read More link for all 11 tracks in alphabetical order:
EMPTY POOLS – ‘Vanderbilt Cup’
As a commenter on SoundCloud astutely notes, there is some very “creative drumming” in ‘Vanderbilt Cup’ – but the creativity doesn’t end with the percussion. There’s a load of imaginative and melodic guitar work too, which guides the track gently from modern spiky, angular pop-punk (think Johnny Foreigner) to fuzzy alt-rock (think Pixes meets Pavement). Website
GEORGE MONTAGUE – ‘Blood Ties’
One of several tunes touched by The Spirit Of Jazz, this is lighter and, for want of a better word, more commercial than the others. It’s easy to see Montague filling the well-polished shoes of Jamie Cullum et al with his infectious, Radio 2-friendly big band sound. I’ve only got one criticism of this song – the gratuitous and completely OTT guitar solo. God, I hate that solo. Other than that, it’s really rather good. Website
HALFLIGHT – ‘Echo’
Lots of piano this week too, in this case a bit more straightforward, but nonetheless pretty good. Despite the occasional predictable rhyming couplet (“…one true desire / …fire” etc) ‘Echo’ is an expansive track that reminds me at times of Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s ‘Power Of Love’… is that just me? Either way, that’s a positive thing. Website
JENNIFER LEFT – ‘Black Dog’
At first I thought this was going to be a sub-par Led Zep cover but, thankfully, I was very much mistaken. ‘Black Dog’ is twee, jolly and full of glockenspiels, whistling and the like, while Jennifer Left’s unique vocals make the track stand out. It’s a little repetitive and possibly thirty seconds too long, but it’s a genuinely lovely track so I haven’t got any complaints about that. Facebook
JOHN SPANYOL – ‘Only Human’
To be honest I struggled with this one. ‘Only Human’ is pretty cheesy really, with a camp kind of cabaret swing – though I thought it was quite good fun. But a good number of our readers loved this tune and rated it in their top five. It’s from Jon’s album Pick A Card – available on his Bandcamp and about to be released on CD.
KENWORTHY – ‘Doors’
One of my personal favourite tracks of this week’s selection, ‘Doors’ manages to avoid falling into the dreaded quagmire that has engulfed the likes of so many bland piano-led indie bands (I’m looking at you, Keane). Instead, it takes on a more soulful – possibly even seductive? – vibe, before building into a raucous crescendo with a surprisingly catchy refrain. Website
MICHAEL REEVE – ‘Wasted On Me’
Elements of electronica, folktronica and Gary-Lightbody-from-Snow-Patrol-onica all combine to make quite a unique-sounding track with a nice melody and a catchy chorus. His SoundCloud brands him a singer-songwriter, but that doesn’t quite sum him up properly, so check the track out for yourself and see what you reckon. Supported by BBC Introducing in Lincoln, he’s offering a free download on his Facebook.
PICTUREBOX – ‘Ruth Bakes A Cake’
Although it sounds like the title of a children’s book (or maybe an idea for a new feature from our very own Ruth Barnes?) ‘Ruth Bakes A Cake’ is in fact a very short and incredibly sweet pop song. It’s the kind of song that walks the fine line between ‘quirky and charming’ and ‘downright irritating’ – but on this occasion Picturebox fall on the right side of the line. Besides, its lighthearted and saccharine nature is undeniably refreshing. More more tunes check out their Bandcamp page.
RUSTS – ‘Just Remember You Are Not Alone’
Featuring acoustic guitars, mandolins, slide guitars and reverb-soaked harmonies, ‘Just Remember You Are Not Alone’ ticks all of the folk-by-numbers boxes, but it also has that one vital element that so many folk artists seem to forget – a heart. Tender and sincere, it might not be anything particularly ground-breaking, but it’s very well-written and well-executed, and – most importantly of all – it feels genuine. Can’t argue with that, can you? The project of Liverpool songwriter Scott Russell.
SUSIE WILKINS – ‘No Answer’
With an intro that encapsulates the mystery and intrigue of, strangely, the classic Twin Peaks theme tune, ‘No Answer’ is a well-produced example of dark, jazz-tinged songwriting. It’s not exactly a cheery affair though, as Wilkins proclaims “Standing on the edge of nothing, I finally let go”. Happy days.
THE DAYDREAM CLUB – ‘Neon Love Song (Part II)’
By far the most popular track in this week’s Listening Post (and deservedly so), The Daydream Club’s ‘Neon Love Song (Part II)’ almost sounds as though it could be a long-lost track from Radiohead’s ‘Amnesiac’ sessions. With a chorus that is understated and quietly euphoric, it’s a great track – although the lyrics in the chorus (“Ambience and power / Power and grace”) do sound like they could have been taken from an Audi advert. Website
That’s it – enjoy the tunes – see you on the Listening Post again next weekend…