Thank you once again to all those who sent in tracks this week and of course to all our trusted listeners who cast their vote. This week was possibly the tightest fought battle for the Fresh Faves I can remember. Thank you all.
And so to your picks this week.
A HISTORY – Fox
There is a little thrill to this band, a frisson, a bit like going to a house party where you don’t know anybody, the lights are low and everybody is strangely beautiful. A bit Siouxsie at times dropped into a bed of first album XX. The band label the track ‘Glitter Doom’ as a genre. It is a little doom laden and indeed glittery. Think less of the soundcloud genre tag and more of the slow motion rise of a shirtless, glitter-specked chest in the dappled light of post apocalypse London.
FUTURE GLUE – Crooked
Crooked is steam train of blues-tinged beats and guitar. Good old fashioned band playing channeling The Stooges through a Gordon Raphael amp. They are from Glasgow, they are most probably best served live and they know what to do with a harmonica. If you’re north of the border go track them down at a gig or through their label the brand spanking new Electric Company.
HANNAH MARSH – Dad’s Old Car
I would wax lyrical about this young lady but seeing as I know her I thought it would be more in the spirit of FOTN to ask one of my fellow reviewers to take the honours for this track. And so to Mr Johnno Casson.
Most often it’s the voice that grabs me within the very few seconds of a song, something in my heart/my soul says stay around a little longer, linger a while, relax,enjoy, feel good. It has to be backed with a melody that warms me and a lyric that touches me or resonates with me in some way. Does it need to be complicated? Most definitely not. Is a wide array of musical instruments in the recording essential? Not at all. Does it need to be loud to ensure the message gets across? Pull the other one.
Tick Tick Tick for Hannah Marsh’s Dad’s Old Car, a gorgeous little song that just melts out of the speakers. Lovely endearing voice and great subtle backing. Less is very much more. Love it.
HIGHFIELDS – The Chase (Oh Lord!)
I love it that after a fairly long stint in computer world, pro tools and autotune, there has been a resurgence of bands who actually play their instruments. Now of course I could be wrong and Highfields could have a bank of samplers higher than my house but it sounds like a bunch of musicians have a damn fine time with not even the mere whiff of a click track. Glocks, strings, percussion, wooping backing vocals… a veritable feast of feel good vibes and if this doesn’t pull the reluctant 2013 spring, naked and bouncing from it’s hideout I don’t know what will.
HOT FICTION – Old News
It says on Hot Fiction’s press release that they have been courted by Christian Dior and I have spent the last five minutes trying to shake the notion of a handsome rock duet beng stalked by a dead French designer in a grey suit. Whether they can raise the dead or not this band do like a good riff and this track brought to mind the late 60s vibe of Cream. Hot Fiction are a duet but are in no way lacking – vibe and conviction make up for any lack of additional band member. That’d be two – nil against the click track.
NUALA MERNA – River Song
When I heard this I was curious if the lo fi thing was a gimmick or not. There aren’t many Nuala Merna recordings kicking about and I’m still none the wiser. One thing I do know is that this singer has proved very popular with our listeners this week claiming the lion’s share of the votes. It’s a little hard to tell what is is going on here but a little further investigation reveals a voice not unlike Portishead’s Beth Gibbons and my mind does wander to the possibility of a dark, kick arse production to suit those lyrics. One to watch.
RUSPO – Brasília é Luísa
My Portuguese is really not what it should be but having just had a nice evening in with the missus in the company of Astrud Gilberto on the record player I am channeling lots of South American vibes. Ruspo is the stage name for musician Ruy Sposati and this track is taken from a collection of songs composed and recorded on his travels as a journalist. The full album was released last week on Um Distante Maestro.
SEA STACKS – The High Tide
And tearing down the left wing and straight into the penalty box – BOSH! It’s another into the back of the click track’s net. It is a joy to hear everybody getting on and playing and with such original choice of instrumentation. A little Jonsi, a little Divine Comedy this is a bold statement of music first, concessions to format, pop and the rules second. The High Tide is taken from an album made by Davy Berryman with no less than forty collaborators and interestingly no (or very little) pianos or guitars. Hats off sir – dedication to the cause.
SKY BETWEEN LEAVES – O.B.E. (Out Of Body Experience)
And so to the last of our Fresh Faves and another hugely popular track this week. One of the reasons I love to write for FOTN is that we are not tied to genre, track length or indeed anything. So it is great to hear instrumentals up there with all the vocal offerings. This track reminded me a little of previous Fresh Faves Tessera Skies and as with them I can imagine the band fitting well on a bill with some of the Bella Union roster. Their name is taken from Jarvis Cocker’s realisation as a child that the holes in the trees were in fact the sky between the leaves and this poetic notion symbolises the band’s beatific approach to music making.
Until next week my friends…