Ay Up! Thanks everyone for picking your favourite tracks for us again – another week, another lovely batch of songs. And guess what, Sunshine Lovers – yep, its bloody raining again. You just gotta love our British summers. Ah well, at least we have some bright music.
Note: Salvation by Fold did get some decent digits and is a fine tune but after Fold being featured here quite a bit lately, we feel it’s time to give a few others a go for a little while. So, in strictly alphabetical order, here are your picks this week:
COP ON THE EDGE – Runaway
This starts out as music to slide across the bonnet of a car to, then morphs into a fresh (but 80s flavoured) indie explosion of guitars, synths and voices. Lovely big choruses – but who is sending bloody morse code in the background eh? Don’t you realise there’s an epic indie anthem going on all around you!
FAMILIAR CREATURES – Keep The Kids Pinned In
I picked this in my own Top 5. Cracking skit this (yes that was “skit” mother, go back to sleep). A London-based band with a singer who sounds more Irish than your cockney – and all the better for it in my opinion. A jumping groove that veers from Paul Simon (One Trick Pony era) to a sort of Mariachi Funk Reggae Groove Thing. On paper it probably shouldn’t work – but hey, who uses paper these days? Just jump, bop and headnod repeatedly to this warm grower.
PALACE – St. Albans (Things We Used To Do)
I like the fact that “all tracks were recorded by ourselves in Tom’s (drummer) garage and Luke’s (guitarist) bedroom”. What a garage and bedroom they must have! They do have a big sound but don’t overcomplicate things, keeping it simple and then building the dynamic range through the song. Palace are a five piece from Hartlepool – and isn’t it great to talk about bands who aren’t from the so called Music-Biz-Friendly ‘fashionable’ cities. Though I’m not suggesting Hartlepool isn’t fashionable: it looks well good on the photos of the coastline – inspiration galore, I reckon. Good lucks guys.
RACE HORSES – Mates
Kicking off in a Beautiful South stylee, this a real joy. With a pianist mashing up the Liberace-Meets-Back-To-The-Future-Prom-Band vibe (and backing vocals that doo-woop like theres no tomorrow) this is a Technicolor pop explosion that grows on you like a new best friend. A five piece from Cardiff, I reckon Race Horses would be enormous fun to go for a drink with. I also reckon they would a great band to see live – you know how you just get that feeling in your water sometimes, don’t you? I might try and be their mate. Great song.
RAGNHILD NORDSET – You Started It All
Yep, liking this. Ragz has a very interesting voice and is backed by the flavoursome electronica of Mario. It’s sort of Electronica Chill. Or is it Tribal Ambient Folk: I dunno – what do you think? Lovely use of a gentle piano refrain with vocal harmonies – added to splashes of well placed and produced electronica – making this perfect relax-and-ponder music. Just remembered what it put me in mind of: a gentle version of Tubular bells by Mike Oldfield (as used in The Exorcist movie). Nicely done.
THE LOW COUNTRIES – At The End Of The Day
A lovely piano-led ballad. Gentle, effective and by far the best Anglo-Flemish duo of the week – also included in my personal Top 5. I don’t normally go for piano-led slow burners like this but it felt real, it felt heartfelt and it felt good. I really like the way the song builds: they put me in mind of Ron Sexsmith who is rather brilliant. This is indie folk music from the heart and I say “give it a go.”
THE NARROWS – There Are Ghosts In These Machines
Tasty groove, male voice in the high register ,drum hits like a wonky typewriter – whats not to like? This lost me a little when the electric guitar jumped into my face at 1:28 but they brought it back home – and rather fetching it was, too. The Narrows are a three piece from Manchester who make (in their own words) “dark futuristic electro guilt pop.” These former regulars and guests on Tom’s old Fresh On The Net radio shows for BBC Radio 6 Music were a popular choice this week.
THE RAILWAY CLUB – Broken Strings
Sure to please fans of indie rock/pop The Railway Club sing of hearts being broken & playing their shoulder like a violin. Male & female vocals interlink & work very well together. You’ll find The Railway Club on Gateshead based Tiny Lights recordings, where I believe this song is soon to be available on cassette – nice touch. Apprently Tom was impressed by their live set at Sunderland’s Split Transmission event last September – you can see video of him talking about it here.
THE YOUNG VANISH – Julia
A lovely acoustic guitar led song from Manchester based Stu Vanish. Beautifully played & sung, this is gentle folk in the singer/songwriter tradition and very nicely done. Well recorded & produced song (and a demo to boot) which sounds as though Stu has recorded it in a warm acoustic room. There are many lovers of gentle, reflective folk music I know who will find this work very endearing. Although he’s his own man, echoes of Badly Drawn Boy and Metz put Mr Vanish on a very firm footing. He hosts the Acoustic Wednesdays open mic night at Manchester’s Tiger Lounge.
THOMAS McCONNELL – So Long, Souvenirs
Thomas is a 19 year old songwriter from Liverpool. I think they must put Essence Of The Beatles in the water in the ‘Pool. Love the mouth clicks, the reverbed-up organ and the Liverpool drawl of Thomas’s vocal. Madcap song – with 60’s psychedelic overtures. This one grows on you bigtime: a real cracking tune showing tremendous pop sensibilities. Thomas is a shining example of how to get loads of comments (127 and counting) on Soundcloud – he either has loads of friends or he’s blooming brilliant. Make your own minds up, dear readers.
TURNPIKE GLOW – 1986
Jumping out of the speakers like fresh indie daisies, this woke me up bigtime! And for an Anglo-Italian four piece, waking up Johnno with a big wide grin at 12.55am is not an easy thing to do. Really enjoying the ‘1986’ vocal refrain and the slightly distorted sound of – just about everything. And the Graham Coxon-like guitar licks are a cheeky treat that I will say YES to in this great big of bowl of indie goodness. I bet they’re a great band to see live. Like the lyrics – I was surprised with delight – though I wasn’t in Rome. Check this out!
YELLOWIRE – All Said & Done
And the best just got better. Listening earlier today, this was the standout track for me from the whole of this week’s batch. A few of the others have caught up with it after repeated plays – but this still does what it says on the tin so well – and then some. I don’t like giving bands or tracks a genre stamp: it just rocks. With a sexy video, this is a hit waiting to happen. Really well played, sung and delivered: a great groove and great vocalist, operating around a very very memorable piano lick. Yellowire love boats apparently. I love the sound they get on them! Wanted to listen to lots more (always a good sign) but with swathes of mere 30 second clips on Soundcloud, I didn’t get enough so I left. Check this song out though, it’s truly a tune!
PS from Tom: this week did also see strong support for Jon Vautier, Olivia Louvel, Foamlizards, Inner Banks, Lady Fortune, Fold and Weird Ribs. But, taking everything into consideration, the above eleven tracks were the ones that you (and we) liked best of all. And, Ladies And Gentlemen, warm thanks to Team Freshnet’s esteemed Johnno for stepping forward at short notice to bring us this week’s Fresh Faves.