Reviewed by Team Freshnet’s Massimo Zeppetelli
From blues to speed dating, this week we have one mighty range of music and visuals for your pleasure to make this week all the more better than it originally is planned to be (see how I knew your week was going to be awesome before you even told me!). Enjoy…
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ALEX HIGHTON – Stupid
Dad-of-two Highton, 34, from Liverpool who describes himself as a “wannabe Harry Nilsson”, is an old-fashioned troubadour in the strictest sense. His scouse-laden voice is warm, witty and compelling. I particularly love the wonderful brass and double-bass entrances and the sinister yet quirky feel they add. He’s so good, he doesn’t need any approval help from Ashton Kutcher (but he got it anyway). Alex’s album ‘Woodditton Wives Club’ is out now.
BEAR CAVALRY – The Word ‘Canoe’
Bear Cavalry are a four piece indie-pop band from Gosport in Hampshire, who have recently been gaining lots of support from the likes of BBC Radio 1 and our beloved favourites (not biased here) 6 Music. With sounds like Tall Ships (one of my fave bands) and Everything Everything, Bear Cavalry have also, in my view, taken it a step further with much more complex song structures and timbral changes. Think Biffy Clyro. ‘The Word Canoe’ sums this up. Their new EP ‘Puryss’ is released on 5th November on Alcopop! and they’re currently on tour around the UK
THE BIG SUN – Time I Bought a Boat
The Big Sun are an Oxford-based pop powerhouse, laden with much more indie than you think. Fronted by 15-year-old singer songwriter Berry they have been compared to Camera Obscura and an artist I used to play for (and still think is the best songwriter to this day), Laura Hocking. The simplistic, almost naive-sounding vocals with a conspiring undertone set the enigmatic tone, confused more by the catchy beat and synths that ‘Time I Bought A Boat’ delivers. They have been snapped up by Balloon Twister Records and their EP ‘Sticklebacker’ is to be released at the end of October.
BIG WAVE – Only You
‘Only You’ is a super catchy and fast-paced indie track and a great video to boot from this Torquay based band. The song is outrageously catchy and I think could be a big hit if the love is spread. This is our job ‘n’ all. So check this out now and shake your polkadot or drainpipe booty. Their EP is out now on Soft Power Records and their debut Vinyl release will be on 5th November on the South Coast’s best DIY label ‘Art is Hard‘. They’re playing around the country and most notably at London’s Buffalo Bar on Sunday 28th October for their single launch.
DANNI NICHOLLS – Warm Your Hands
Wow! When that sultry voice came on. I melted. I love it when this happens. It’s a shame she likes Marmite though. This was almost a deal-breaker, but I hung in there. Danni has been writing and performing original songs since she inherited her uncle Heathcliff’s 1962 Burns London Shortscale Jazz guitar (rumoured to have belonged to Billy Fury!) aged 16. As soon as she had figured out the chord of G she was off writing her own material. Pulling on musical references from Gillian Welch, Carole King to Bonnie Raitt, Danni has been invited to support acts as diverse as Todd Snider, Angus & Julia Stone, Jim Lauderdale, Bobby Bare Jr, Mark Olson, Kate Walsh, Otis Gibbs, Nell Bryden and Diana Jones.
Danni has just finished recording a new 4 track EP produced by Iain Archer (Snow Patrol, Reindeer Section, Tired Pony) due for release winter 2012 and which is currently available at her gigs. She’ll also be working with producer/bassist/composer Chris Donohue (Emmylou Harris, Gillian Welch, Robert Plant) in Nashville for an album due to be released early 2013. I’m loving the rich electric guitar twangs and heavy background strumming which really gives it a gritty edge over this outrageously caramel voice.
JOSH HEALEY – Niamh’s Song (Midnight Sun)
Singer/songwriter from the Shetland Islands but residing in Appleton, Warrington, his talents also stretch to being a poet and an actor (one of which you might hear through his beautiful lyrics). He is currently working on a self released EP called “Lifeboats & Relationships” at Blueprint Studios in Manchester (incredible, interactive website) with Fred Kindt from the Slow Show. ‘Niamh’s Song’ is like receiving a massage. It almost makes a physical connection. Especially when the clarinets come in. With various radio plays including on BBC Radio Merseyside last night, Josh is making headway and has previously melted hearts at the Manchester Academy, Halo, Crewe Festival, Crewe Live, Salford Radio, Redshift Radio, Firars Court, and many more.
THE SANDMAN’S ORCHESTRA – Hello Stranger
The Sandman’s Orchestra is a duo made up of Pierre Laplace, a singer/songwriter from Lille, France, and his 17-year-old niece, Léonie Gabriel. Laplace is the former front man with cult band Vera Clouzot, who released on a variety of French labels four albums of lo-fi, experimental rock. Both Laplace and Léonie sing in English, Laplace’s gravely voice matched by Léonie’s astonishingly mature and world weary-sounding vocals. ‘Hello Stranger’ is a free download and is from their first LP ‘Silver Lining’ which is available to buy here. Their new album is going to be released in March 2013
THE SPOOK SCHOOL – Cameraman
Edinburgh-based indie troubadours fronted by Naomi Todd have only been going a year and they’ve already seemed to be fully into the carving of their own sound (and liked by such masters as Edwyn Collins) There’s something cheeky about this track. Also something very ‘Edinburgh’ about it. It feels more airy and fresh than other upbeat indie tracks, and more confident. Edinburgh is more airy and confident then London (ok and Cardiff). Look at this picture. This is why it’s my favourite city in Europe. Cameraman was released as a 7″ on the 10th October from Cloudberry Records or digitally from Bandcamp. And I’m absolutely loving the artwork. Here’s their video to ‘Here We Go’ to have some more light shed on them.
SKY BETWEEN LEAVES – Sky Between Leaves
When writing about this whilst having it on, I suddenly have an urge to type faster. The energy and tension in this track could (and should) easily be used in a film like Drive during a getaway scene or one or pure despair but with a glimpsing hope that life could get better. Sky Between Leaves is a London based alt-rock/Krautronica ensemble. The band’s name was taken from Jarvis Cocker’s story of the first time he wore glasses, realising that the holes in the trees were in fact the “sky between the leaves”. The band say that the visual perception translates to the band’s sound which takes the listener through “feverish dreams and stroboscopic haze only to wake us to a deafening glittery reality.” Nice. They are playing at Nambucca in London on October 26th. ‘Sky Between Leaves’ is out now as a single from Bandcamp.
WHISKY STAIN – Wooden Coat
London-based (but Nottingham-born) ‘Whisky Stain are a two piece Indie rock band performing what they describe as ‘Blues Drenched Indie’. The unexpected, yet welcomed, blasting electric guitar lead totally mixes up the flow of this track. Feet-stomp and rock away. Their new single ‘Right Where I Want You’ is out now on iTunes and they’re next playing at Karblammbo in London on 19th October
Reviewed by Massimo Zeppetelli
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…