Thanks once again to everybody who contributed to our Listening Post this weekend. To the artists for sharing their music with us – and to you our friends, listeners and volunteer music critics – for your ears, expertise and time. Here are the songs you liked most, in alphabetical order. To see the full list click Read More »
A SEA WITH 3 STARS – 24th & Mission
A Sea With 3 Stars is the musical project of London-based actor and folk-rock musician RICHARD INGS – and this track comes from his debut album For Nothing which tells the story of “how powerful an enemy hope can be.” He names Lloyd Cole and The The as seminal influences from his teens, while this song offers a cheery naive energy that would do justice to The Modern Lovers and the kind of motoring backbeat you’d expect from the Happy Mondays. The object of our Listening Post each weekend is to allow artists to find out if their music wins the hearts of strangers. 24th And Mission did that in spades this weekend: the fact it was such a big favourite with readers bodes well for A Sea With 3 Stars in the future. Onwards and upwards.
EVOKATEUR – White Horses
To declare an interest, I’ve been supporting the Anglo-Mexican duo of Hector and Sarah Villaraus since July 2008 back when they were known as Libelula. It was me who picked them for our Listening Post this weekend, and it was gratifying to find that you all liked White Horses as much as I did. Based in London, they’ve flourished under the name of Evokateur – a cross perhaps between the French “provocateur” (as in agent provocateur) and “evocative”. The track comes from their second EP Chime Hours – due for release on Augus 20th – the second in a trilogy they’re putting out this year. Hector’s arrangements and Sarah vocals manage to sound simultaneously tough and lush on this – their most assured release to date.
FUZZY EMPIRE – Chroma
Continuing the theme of immaculately-produced electropop, FUZZY EMPIRE consist of Irishman Emmet (a rocker) and Englishman Tim (a raver). They met in 2009 while on the same sound engineering course in Dublin and formed a duo in late 2010. Hil, a frequent collaborator on bass and guitar, subsequently joined the band full-time in late 2011. ” We don’t know” they say “if we’re an electronic band writing live rock music or a traditional band with lots of modern toys, but that doesn’t really matter. All that counts for us is The Song.” The writing on Chroma is certainly forthright and strong but, as you might expect from Tim and Emmet’s background, the arrangement is creatively adventurous while the recording itself positively leaps out of the speakers.
HANNAH SCOTT – Only Way Out
The sound of a professional musician who’s paid her dues, done the groundwork and is now poised for a serious assault on the Radio 2 playlist. I’ve been long aware of Hannah Scott‘s talent, having worked with her on a songwriting retreat in 2008 and heard her perform as a finalist in last year’s Mojo New Voice competition. Hannah has kept her powder dry and is finally releasing this song Only Way Out – produced with top musicians in a hilltop studio in Italy – as her debut single. It comes from a new EP called Still Static, due to be launched in London at the Camden Barfly this Thursday (August 9th) and followed by a European tour. Sooner or later Hannah’s combination of talent, charm and determination is certain to her the breakthrough she’s seeking – and as far as I’m concerned it can’t happen soon enough.
HARTS – All Too Real
It’s heartbreaking – or if you like hartbreaking – that this is one of my favourite tracks on the Listening Post this week, yet we can’t include it on our BBC Introducing Mixtape since the artist lives in Australia: being funded by UK license fee payers, BBC Introducing can support only British musicians. Harts is a solo artist from Melbourne – and Lars Stalfors of The Mars Volta heard his demos and loved them so much he offered to help mix the whole of the debut 5-track EP Offtime. All Too Real is an arresting piece of music, with a taught economical song structure, tight, powerful playing and a sledgehammer mix by Stalfors. This EP is all over the blogs like a rash, and no wonder. I’d love to hear Harts collaborate with Ed Treacy from Zugzwang – it’d be a musical partnership made in heaven.
LILLIPUT – Little Wanderer
There must be some magic mineral in the Tyne and Wear water supply. The area produces a constant succession of new and wonderful bands – plus musicianship of an unvaryingly high standard. Sunderland five-piece Lilliput are the latest bearers of that standard to come our way – with a beautifully produced tune that seems to have grown organically from the acoustic guitar and vocals of frontman James Gilling. Keep a careful eye on this mob. Just like local superstars Athletes In Paris and The Lake Poets, Lilliput have all their musical ducks in a row and are perhaps just one killer single away from a major breakthrough: it’s now simply down to The Song. They’re playing Newcastle’s Cluny 2 on August 24th, a London gig at the Strongroom Sessions on the 29th and – no surprises here – Sunderland’s own Split festival on September 22nd. Full details at lilliputband.com
MAHONEY & THE MOMENT – If You Only Asked Me To
Steve Mahoney and Emily Moment are from London and Massachussets respectively and first formed their musical partnership at the start of last year in New York City. They released their selftitled debut album in September 2011 and are currently based in Harrow. Their brand of traditional upbeat jugband folk has won them fans on both sides of the Atlantic and indeed here on our Listening Post this weekend. Their next few dates are in London – at the Stag, Hampstead on August 19th, Notting Hill Arts Club on September 4th and The Albion on the 16th. More details on Songkick and via their Facebook page
MINOR SOUNDS – The Humming
This electrifying tune is the result of an international collaboration between vocalist and songwriter Mirna Stanich in Brighton and producer Martin Zietek in Warsaw. They’ve drawn influences – according to their Facebook page – from their diverse experiences including “roots in Croatia and Poland, and living in the States and the UK.” It’s always a joy to discover music on the Listening Post that doesn’t sound quite like anything else you’ve ever heard. If CDs of this song arrived at the BBC with stickers proclaiming it to be the new single from Cat Power, Feist or Regina Spektor, it would be all over the airwaves in no time. We DJs meanwhile would be blethering about a “major new direction” or a “stunning return to form” or some such nonsense. If you only listen to one tune in this week’s Fresh Faves, make it this one.
MYLITTLEBROTHER – NoseDive
Nosedive is the title track of a free download EP by Mylittlebrother – a group of people who liked music and got together in a practice room to drink gin, eat haribo, and start writing together. The songs were recorded at home and at Hanking’s Rehearsal Room in Carlisle. On the one hand you couldn’t say there was anything remotely modern about this song – stylistically it draws on exactly the same traditions as Mahoney And The Moment. On the other hand, in the last 10 years major US artists like Iron & Wine, Fleet Foxes and Grizzly Bear have managed to transcend their influences to create a fresh strand of country/roots music that is all their own. In their own unassuming way this modest North Country combo have pulled off something similar. Without attempting to reinvent the wheel their writing, playing, singing and production are delivered with such integrity – and such quiet, understated conviction – that they sound effortlessly contemporary. Another worthy contender for Tune Of The Week.
SONS BETWEEN GUNS – Calling On The Rain
Sons Between Guns already won a place in our Fresh Faves back in May and have since hung back to let others have a chance. Which is just as well because every track on their Red 1 EP could effortlessly make it to The People’s Favourites any week they wanted. Calling On The Rain is in fact their earliest recording – dating from December 2010 – and a further series of EPs is envisaged over the course of this year. They’ve just recorded a rooftop session for the splendid Noizemakesenemies website which should be appearing there sometime in the next few days. Meanwhile you can follow the ongoing adventures of producer/beatmaker Paul Trivett and vocalist/musician Tom Whitelaw on their own homepages at sonsbetweenguns.com
THE MOUTH OF GHOSTS – When the Sun Sets
Here at Fresh On The Net we despise Battles Of The Bands – even high class ones like the Mercury Music Prize. After all who can possibly decide which artist is “best”. So often the winners sink without trace while truly seismic movers and shakers (think Gil Scott-Heron, The Velvet Underground, Nick Drake) remain unrecognised in their own time. That’s why I choose music for my radio show from ALL the music that’s sent to our dropbox – not just the Fresh Faves. However if you held a gun to my head and forced me to declare an actual “winner” for Batch 24, it would have to be The Mouth Of Ghosts.
The beautifully chilled title track for their latest EP When the Sun Sets was a deserved runaway favourite on the Listening Post over the past three days. They have upcoming gigs in London tomorrow (Aug 7th), Doncaster on Saturday (11th), Wemfest in Shropshire on Sunday (12th) and the Westbury Festival in Gloucestershire on August 25th. Details on their excellent website at themouthofghosts.com whose only major flaw is that it automatically crashes the band’s music on top of whatever you’re currently listening to. Autoplay on a band homepage is normally a hanging offence, but in this case the music’s so good we’ll let them off.