Monday spins back into view after a glorious weekend of September sun and we are only too happy to deliver the top 10 Fresh Faves as chosen over the weekend by you, dear readers.
Thanks to all the artists who submitted tracks this week – and to all those who took the time to come indoors for long enough to vote for your Top Five. Artists are listed in alphabetical order – to see the full list click Read More »
ALICE KONA BAND – Bad Dreams
So here I am late on Sunday night/early on Monday morning thinking I’ll gently wind down with a relaxed spot of writing up of this week’s Fresh Faves… or maybe do something as energetic as putting the lead on the dog for a late night wee in the garden (the dog, not me) – and then what happens? I put on the first song by the Alice Kona Band – which is called, of all things, Bad Dreams – and I feel a pulse of electrically-charged energy surge through my ears, into my membrane and throughout my body. And you know what ? I loved it. You don’t need Red Bull (other energy drinks are available;) when this Belfast four-piece are around. Bad Dreams is a riot of noise and melody coming over like The Beach Boys meet early The Jam in an American West coast electric factory. And they still find room for a glockenspiel amongst the big chords and big aaahhhhs….. I am awake again now.
CHRISTA VI – Small Way Through
Pulling in some big votes this week (OK, the biggest votes) is this lovely song from Christa Vi. Great melodic tone of voice and tasty Dr Rhythm vintage-style drum interplay. Acoustic guitars and organ/synth – complementing rather than overtaking – and building to lovely Fleetwood Mac-style walls of backing harmonies. Sounding totally unique yet evoking for me images of The Cardigans going a little dancey. This would sound great all over the radio and I think it stands up to repeated listening. Christa Vi is an Australian/German singer-songwriter based in East London. She describes her music as “synth-folk” – good call! Inspired to sing and write music about life’s hard knocks, amongst other things, I can really empathise with her. Real fine work and we recommend you take time to check her out further – I know I will. You can find Christa on Facebook.
CLEFT – Gulch
A very popular choice this week was Gulch by the band Cleft. No chance of me nodding off in gentle slumber this evening then – ha! This is an electric guitar and drum-led soundscape, sending out a syncopated alarm call to the masses to rise up and take action. It’s brilliantly played and comes over to the uninitiated (such as myself) as a kind of rock-jazz-prog mashup… Hold on, their description on Soundcloud makes a lot of sense: “an instrumental turbo-prog 2 piece band based in Manchester”. Turbo-prog it is then. To say it straight, it’s not the type of music I usually go for – but by the second play I was really getting into it. By the third I totally got it and enjoyed this track bigtime – just as you did, dear readers and listeners. I admire their technique – their use of melody and rhythm. Not sure what Stewart Lee is about to do to Jimmy Hills’ head on the cover artwork for this song – but since I’m talking about it, it’s obviously doing its job. Good work, lads.
EXPLORERS – Ticket home
Big synthy pop vibes a-gogo from Explorers, coming over like New Order meets Kindness in MGMT’s backyard. Sheffield artists can always deliver big bright choruses and Explorers don’t let us down in that department. Originally from the Steel City, the duo of Jez and Rob are now residing in Chesterfield and describe their sound as Alternative Electropop – and who I am to argue? Ticket Home shows much promise and has been championed by their local BBC Introducing show. They must work bloody hard on getting their songs together – the results are hooky without being laboured, bright without hurting your eyes or ears. Do check them out on Facebook .
GOAN DOGS – Hold Me Back
A five-piece from Bristol, Goan Dogs describe their sound as “desert rock” and it’s certainly’s got an individual sound. With its brooding vocals and tasty groove circling the sung mantra of its title, this song packs a punch. I can see them as a raggedy bunch of nomads, moving from camp to camp across an epic desert, winning people over one by one with their unique and infectious sound. And I’d imagine they do indeed make a wonderful sound in a live setting – you hear for yourself at The True Lovers Knot in Bournemouth a week on Friday, September 21st. Luck on your journey, guys! Check them out meanwhile on Facebook
JH – Next Time
‘Next Time’ by JH is very British – an indie-rock powerpop gem of a song which creeps up on you just when you are not looking. A real grower that has you locked in by the second chorus. Other than drums, all instruments are recorded by JH himself & this track is a single from his latest album Wanderlust. Based in London, I’m not sure if JH is a pseudonym or simply the artist’s initials – but I guess we all need a little mystery in our lives. We’re told he recently played a 19-song ninety-minute set at Camden’s Proud Galleries with his hybrid electro-acoustic guitar. Do tell us if you’ve had a chance to catch him live. Meanwhile, welcome to this week’s Fresh Faves, JH. Our readers can find out more about him via his website
MELISSA JAMES – Long Road Travelled
The beauty of The Listening Post and the selected Fresh Faves is the sheer range of styles of new independent music. There’s so much new music coming out that you could truly spend all of your music listening time just dipping into the NEW. We are proud to be involved in helping new music be heard and its a pleasure to hear you have chosen Melissa James and ‘Long Road Travelled’. This is classic earthy, bluesy soul and a fine song by Melissa. Its taken from her album ‘Day Dawns’. If you can catch Melissa live at The Black Lion, London on September 15th I think you will be in for a treat. It’s part of a string of forthcoming live concerts and Melissa’s great biography of her journey up to now is also worth checking out – more info about both of these on her website
PALE SEAS – Bodies
And so on to Bodies – buckets of promise and a fine sound from Southampton’s Pale Seas. They have gone for that big indie folk sound so beloved of the moment but in a way that allows them to snugly fit into their own lane. You can check out an excellent promo clip for Bodies that already has the blogoshere in a spin – or see the actual band performing the song live in this video. They certainly have people working hard to get them noticed, so much so that their PR company managed to send us two separate songs for this week’s Listening Post. But this one track was plenty enough for you to vote them onto the Fresh Faves this weekend. You can hear why – it’s a fine piece of work. Expect to hear a lot more about this band – they’re busy playing live in the UK and Switzerland over the next month.
RONEN GREEN – One of these days
Gentle, lo-fi, optimistic acoustic folk is what you get from Ronen Green – and rather fetching it is, too. It sways, it swings, it feels like Summer – and I like it: yet another great choice by the Fresh On The Net massive. I wanted to tell you lots about Ronen but sadly his website & Facebook page contain almost no factual information – a pet hate of Tom’s which he blogged about here recently. I can at least tell you Ronen is based in Israel and has a debut album coming soon, but not when or how you can buy it. So for now let’s simply enjoy One Of These Days as the summer throws out its final rays.
STEEL TREES – Stoner Zombie Killer Kids
We certainly have had a complete range of styles and genres represented this week – and from the gentle acoustic stylings of Ronen Green we turn to the full-on rock of Steel Trees – who describe themselves as an Alternative/Gunk Rock/Freak Out Band from Dearne Valley, Sheffield. A three-piece consisting of Tom, Dog and Von they have been a really popular choice with the listeners this week. There’s a hilarious video for Attack Of The Stoner Zombie Killer Kids that excellently captures the theme of the song. With their humour and fierce commitment they are building a loyal following. We wish you continued luck on your journey guys – its reaching! The best place to find them is on Facebook
FROM TOM: If you’ve submitted a track that hasn’t made the Fresh Faves you’re welcome to re-submit it again. But if you have been a Fresh Fave in recent weeks could you possibly hold back for at least six weeks before sending us another one. If you keep sending us great tracks they’re likely to get onto the Listening Post, but that means less room for new names who haven’t had a chance yet…