Fresh Faves: Batch 50

It’s Monday and once again it’s time for our weekly ‘Fresh Faves’ round up. As ever we’d like to give massive thanks to all the artists who submitted their tracks and to all the Fresh On The Net listeners who dropped by to hear them. This week it’s also somewhat of a special occasion as Fresh Faves celebrates its 1st birthday today, hooray! So don your party hats and check out this latest batch of tracks. Here’s to many more…

THE BOO-HOORAY THEORY – Helen Lane

The Boo-Hooray Theory are led by composers Ben Heneghan and Ian Lawson, backed by an array of talented musicians to form the 11 piece band which brings their ideas to life. Heneghan and Lawson began their compositional partnership some 30 years ago, and outside of this project their specialty is film and television all of which makes sense when you hear the sheer quality and attention to detail of the music. This is a rich canvas of beautifully assured instrumentation and intricate, measured melodies; with a sprinkling of the bizarre which Zappa fans will no doubt be drawn to. The song is taken from the album ‘Follow the Gleam’ which is available via The Boo-Hoo Theory’s Bandcamp page.

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DEBS MCCOY – Beauty, Majesty & Drama

Regular readers may already be aware of Debs McCoy, who previously featured in Fresh Faves batch 40, and it’s easy to see why we find ourselves in her company again. When the Newcastle based painter and photographer turns her hand to music, this is kind of exquisite and haunting result we have come to expect. Listening to this song I imagine her in the midst of a vast, wild landscape, drawing all focus; the wind hushed, animals stopped still in their tracks and trees stooping their branches to listen. This is apparently a demo version, so here’s hoping it’ll be getting a full release soon. In the meantime you can get hold of her previous work via her Bandcamp page.

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EMBERHONEY – Smoke

Emberhoney describe themselves as ‘Indie Noir’, which goes a fair way to encapsulating their dark and brooding sound. The music is not short on drama; bells chime, organs murmer and guitars swirl beneath the vocals of singer Taylor Madison Damion, who’s every inflection and phrase seems designed to almost fling the next lyrical barb at the listener. There are hints of Lenard Cohen, Nick Cave and Anna Calvi here, and you feel they’d be right at home playing in the back of some divey bar in Twin Peaks. Smoke is taken from the Brighton band’s EP of the same name, which is available from their Bandcamp page.

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GLASS CAVES – Muscle

Glass Caves aren’t giving away masses about themselves online, but by all accounts this is probably due to the fact that they’ve been concentrating on honing their sound and paying their dues; busking and gigging across the north of England. All the hard work is clearly paying off if this neatly crafted gem is anything to go by. The band is tight as a nut, switching effortlessly between the groovy chopping rhythms of the verses and the expansive sing along stomp of the choruses. The Pontefract five-piece would probably most easily be described as indie, but they manage to take the blueprints of the genre and put their own stamp on it. Their Debut EP ‘Eboracum’ was released last year and is available via their Facebook page.

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HEART-SHIPS – Five Forks Of Lightning

Leeds six-piece Heart-Ships are another emerging band who are keeping fairly schtum and letting the music do the talking. Again it must be working as they seem to be creating quite a buzz, with many a magazine and blog chewing over their fantastical lyrics and attempting to triangulate their sound which lies somewhere between Arcade Fire, Bombay Bicycle Club and Wild Beasts. Whichever way you look at it though this is simply a great song. The instrumentation is lush and expansive, whilst Ryan Cooke’s baritone vocal is full of expression as he sings about his gargantuan tormentor. It’s incredibly catchy too; be warned you’ll soon be walking down the street singing to yourself about giants and Vikings. Five Forks Of Lightning is the opening track from their forthcoming 5 track EP which is released on 29th April.

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THE KILL VAN KULLS – Wooden Heart

Hailing from Manchester, The Kill Van Kulls are another band who look to be generating a fair bit of interest. Singer Gareth Bartlett says they have ambitions of performing on large festival stages “just as the sun sets”, and on this evidence there’s every chance that that day shouldn’t be too far away. Weighing in at just over two minutes this uplifting tune is built around an undeniable pop sensibility complete with an anthemic chorus which scores high in the sing along stakes. Wooden Heart is the title track from the band’s forthcoming EP which is due for release on 18th March and is available for pre-order from their website.

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LEAVING ATLANTIS – The Hill

Vocalist Signe G and Producer/Drummer Vesa Haapanen, originally from Denmark and Finland respectively, met at music college in London in 2009 and have been collaborating ever since. Leaving Atlantis is the brilliant result. The Hill is a serene masterpiece, which envelops the listener in its soothing world to such an extent that you barely notice it’s over six minutes long. You simply sit there and let the lilting rhythms, soulful vocals and cathartic saxophone melodies wash over you, whilst the outside world seems to stand still. This track is taken from their album ‘Strange New World’ and they recently tweeted that they’re considering crowd-funding the follow-up. I urge you to lend them your support.

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ME AND DEBOE – I For You Gave

ME and Deboe’s one-line Facebook bio simply reads, “Female acoustic duo, stripped back to two guitars and vocals. Keep it Raw.” Part manifesto, part motto, part statement of intent it sums them up beautifully. There are no tricks here, just a cracking tune; with the duo’s driving riffs and sumptuous vocal harmonies effortlessly intertwined to devastating effect. But that’s not to say it’s simple by any means. Scratch beneath the surface and there’s many subtleties which continue to reveal themselves each time to you listen to it, and believe me, you will be hitting the repeat button. This track is taken from their eponymous EP which was released last year and is available via their website.

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PAUL BUTLER – Madly

Paul Butler’s recording career began in 1964 and the biography on his website makes for impressive reading, as he performed with some of the biggest names in blues over the years, before quitting music in 1982. Thankfully for us he picked up the guitar again in 2009 and doesn’t look like putting it down again any time soon. His years of experience are fully evident here as his New Orleans flavoured blues leaves you with little choice but to kick back and take it easy; and with the combination laid-back vocals and a cool classy instrumentation, complete with boozy horns, it’s quite frankly a delightful way to while away the time. Madly is the opening track from Paul’s latest album ‘Days Will Come’ which is available from his website.

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SPARROWHAWKS – Living Man’s Disease

This song was enormously popular with Freshnet listeners this week and it’s hard to argue with their judgement. Highly accomplished in every respect; brilliantly written and beautifully recorded, it’s at once accessible, whilst at the same time possessing a hidden depth beneath it’s shimmering veneer, which will keep you guessing on every new listen. It’s freewheeling, carefree and all in all a down right great tune. If the Chester alt-folk four-piece keep making music like this they’re surely destined for big things. Living Man’s disease is taken from their self-titled three-track EP, which you can download from their Bandcamp page.

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SWIMMING IN SPEAKERS – Teach Yourself

Hailing from up state New York, vocalist Meadow Eliz and musician Chris Clarke first started working on music together back in 2009 and the intervening years have seen them sporadically recording in home studios, gigging in New York City and generally honing their ethereal folktronica sound. Fast-forward to 2013 and we get to reap the fruits of their labor, as the duo have just released their debut LP, ‘Guessing The Others’ from which Teach Yourself is taken. Swimming In Speakers’ music has an immersive quality, which befits their name. The blend of lush synths, lilting beats and delicate vocals makes for a powerfully enchanting mix which gently reels you in before you realize what’s happening. ‘Guessing The Others’ is available via their website.

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James Robins
Fresh Faves reviewed this week by
Team Freshnet’s James Robins

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…

James Robins

Originally from Manchester, in 2011 I came down to London to intern on Tom’s BBC 6Music show and ended up sticking around. Music has been central to my life ever since I can remember, so I'm loving being a part of Team Freshnet. Otherwise I can be found digging through dusty vinyl in musky record shops or arriving unfashionably early at gigs.

3 Comments

  1. Big thanks for your very generous words James. Really enjoyed reading the other Fresh Faves this week too – nicely written fella!
    Cheers
    Debs

  2. Thanks James ! KIckback and enjoy ???

  3. Ian

    James-Just a quick note to thank you for your heart-gladdening review.

    Also, big congratulations to all at Fresh on the Net. This is a marvelous site full of great advice, encouragement and vision. Will not summit anything else now for a few weeks but will certainly drop by and have a listen to each weeks offerings. Ian (The Boo-Hooray Theory)

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