Reviewed by Team Freshnet’s Nico Franks
There was a classic North/South divide among your favourite tunes this weekend, with half the talent coming from the land of chips and gravy, the other half from the jellied-eels-eating zone of London and its surrounding areas. One thing’s for sure though: there’s no divide in terms of quality here. So, in alphabetical order, I give you this week’s Fresh Faves.
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ALICE JEMIMA – By Your Side
A 19 year old singer songwriter from Newton Abbot in Devon, Alice Jemima bewitched many listeners this week with her soulful whisperings on By Your Side. “Let’s join hips and see where it sends us” she coos over a hushed drumbeat and restrained, cool guitars on this track, the simplicity of which is addictive- have a listen for yourself. Soundcloud page.
BRIGHT SHAPES – Mother’s Eyes
An acoustic trio from Manchester, Bright Shapes have already played a gig far bigger than many musicians dare to dream of- the monstrously huge O2 stadium in London. This was as part of the national Open Mic competition, which they reached the final of last year. On the strength of Mother’s Eyes, it’s not difficult to see why. Soundcloud page.
DEAD SOCIAL CLUB – Sunlight
Apparently born from a drunken pub conversation in an east London boozer three years ago, six-piece Dead Social Club are an alt-indie band with a penchant for the ‘epic’ button in the studio. Tasty production values give Sunlight a truly huge sound, think latter-era Kings of Leon – suggesting the band have their sights set on more boozy nights, but on even bigger stages. Soundcloud page.
GARRON FRITH – Little Bird
What is it about birds that gets singer songwriters’ creative juices flowing so much? Paul McCartney perhaps has the definitive track about our feathered friends with Blackbird, but northern Englishman Garron Frith has definitely added another great track to the ornithological songbook with Little Bird. Also, in a neat bit of audio teleportation, an irresistible dose of bluesy slide guitar towards the end takes the action away from the English countryside right into the heart of the Mississippi Delta. Artist website.
Naomi Paget, the lead singer of London-based Light Falls Forward, evokes the same sense of distant solitude that Sharon Van Etten does so beautifully in her own work. Paget is strikingly candid on Here & Now, a bleak but stunning lullaby charged with destitute electric guitar- this week’s emotional cannonball of a track. Soundcloud page.
LITTLE VEGAS LIES – Lady Dove
The floating harmonies of Lady Dove, coming courtesy of West Yorkshire five-piece Little Vegas Lies, clearly worked their way well into the ears of FOTN listeners this week. The shimmering guitar noodling mirrors the lovestruck vocals and, armed with a melody straight out the classic Britrock canon, this one will have had a fair few lighting up their scented candles… Soundcloud page.
MAGIC ARM – Put Your Collar Up
Mournful strings provide something of a curveball intro to Put Your Collar Up, this week’s most popular tune, which, by its climax, finds itself bouncing along with plenty of indie-pop revelry. The contrast between the violins and electronic diversions throughout recalls the aesthetic of Grizzly Bear and, funnily enough, Ed Droste from the US band is a fan of Manchester’s Magic Arm. “I dare you to tell me it sucks,” he’s been quoted as saying – high praise indeed. Soundcloud page.
MARK WYNN – Woolies Please
From Jake Thackray to John Cooper Clark to Jarvis Cocker, Northern musicians always tend to tell the best stories (NB. I may be slightly biased….). Prolific, Yorkshire-born singer-songwriter Mark Wynn continues this great tradition on Woollies Please, a lo-fi ditty about small town anomie, clapped out shoes and buying doughnuts in Sainsbury’s. A man destined for cult legend status. Bandcamp page.
THE CAVES – Katie With The Camera
THUMPERMONKEY – When Scouts Go Bad
The rambunctious Thumpermonkey live up to their puzzling name (what else to expect of a band from Tooting?), excelling in a similar madcap thrills to Everything Everything, but with a heavier edge. This is the sound of what happens when Scouts go bad, apparently, and it suggests a bit more than a cavalier attitude to map reading or some loose knots. Infectious and unlike anything else on the Listening Post this week. Or any other week for that matter. Artist website.
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 every week it leaves less room for new names who haven’t had a chance yet…