APOLLO JUNCTION – Almost There (Hey Hey Hey)
‘Almost There (Hey Hey Hey)’ is infectiously catchy electro-pop that’ll have folks on their feet dancing in no time! It’s by Leeds 5-piece Apollo Junction – a band we’ve come to know pretty well and keep a careful eye on, here at Fresh On The Net. Jamie, Matt, Jonathan, Ben and Sam are all in their 20’s, have already played alongside some big names in music and have gathered quite an online following. ‘Almost There’ instantly makes me feel upbeat, whirling me off to a dream land festival filled with po-going people with cold beers in hand and smiles plastered on their faces!
CPNHGN – When Nobody’s Talking
Another Irish band this week, from Kildare in Ireland. ‘When Nobody’s Talking’ is the new single digitally released by CPNHGN a couple of weeks back and is the second single from their self titled debut album. CPNHGN’s energy, rawness and sound reminds me a lot of Dinosaur Jr particularly their album ‘Bug’ (2005) These guys have bagged a few festivals already this summer having just played ‘French Festival’ in Portarlington at the weekend and ‘Days In Dublin’ festival at the start of the month. Be sure to check out the guys stripped down acoustic version of ‘When Nobody’s Talking’ that they performed for Goldenplec in aid of Downs Syndrome Ireland. It’s absolutely gorgeous and emotionally raw with just 3 guitars and 2 vocals…..it had me in tears…..seriously stunning. You can find the video for it on their homepage. Right…..sniff……someone get me a tissue!
FORTHAVEN – Uberunkle (Feat. ANNE MARIE HOWARD)
Beautifully warm 90’s-esque electro sounds from Forthaven, reminiscent of ‘Air’ particularly the albums ‘Moon Safari’ and ‘Virgin Suicides.’ Unsurprisingly comparisons have also been made in the past between Forthaven and Massive Attack. Both notable musical nods in my opinion. Liverpool based Forthaven released ‘The Otherside’ EP earlier this month featuring Anne Marie-Howard, whose vocals we hear on ‘Uberunkle’, Joe Symes, Anthony Manly, Ste Weevil and our old pal here on Fresh On The Net, Thom Morecroft, who incidentally was almost reviewed alongside Forthaven in this weeks Fresh Faves having also made it onto the Listening Post. Check out Forthaven’s Facebook page for some very interesting projects, including an invitation to come and play FREE acoustic sessions in your home. You can also bag some more freebies via Forthaven’s Bandcamp website.
GORGEOUS COLOURS – Bright Ideas
Gorgeous Colours are another 5 piece Dublin based band this week…they must be putting something in the Guinness! A sunny tune that projects bright, changing, kalaeidescope coloured patterns infront of the eyes. The change/strip back to acoustic and vocals around 3:35 is gorgeous and highlights the vocal skill from Geoffrey McArdle. Its not an easy thing to implement such a change in a song that from the outset has huge momentum, seemingly carrying the listener on one particular route. It takes someone who’s spent considerable time understanding and refining their craft to understand the significance of such a break, lyrically and narratively. Personally that change for me becomes the most important part of the song, reshaping the perception of an upbeat, happy story to one with darker feelings under-running.
JACK CHESHIRE – GyroScope
This track by Jack Cheshire (pictured above) stopped me in my tracks when it landed in our DropBox last week. The (vocal) melody is restricted to around 5 notes which adds to the tension and heady hypnotism of the track. The lyrics are intimately poetic; ‘shake hands and roll the dice, hang on to something good.’ I’m a massive Nick Drake fan so the dark melancholic quality of Jack’s songwriting certainly appeals. I highly recommend folks check out Jack’s live acoustic session he played for London Fields Radio last year to get more of a flavour of the melancholy Jack spins with his voice and guitar. This guy is an exceptional songwriter with a real talent for weaving stories. Jack has the launch party for his first studio album ‘Long Mind Hotel’ at The Servant Jazz Quarters in Dalston, London Town on 27th August, tickets at just £7. Get yourselves along folks. This guy is one to keep a close eye on for sure.
LUNGS – Loner
Edgy and menacing psych-pop from the outset on this track by Lungs. On first listen ‘Loner’ instantly propelled me into the environment of the 80’s film Manhunter (the pre-quill to Silence of the Lambs based on the Thomas Harris novels.) I remember first watching this film and thinking how lo-fi it was in comparison to the modern day effects thrown at The Silence of the Lambs some ten years or so later but then quickly feeling more terrified as the film progressed by the power of suggestion that was largely engendered through the psychological soundtrack. Steve Rybin once commented that the music (in Manhunter) ‘is not meant to correlate with the intensity of the action portrayed alongside it, but rather to signify when the viewer should react with a degree of aesthetic distance.’ I was reminded of this on hearing LUNGS track ‘Loner’ and have contrasting views that the music often becomes more of the unconscious environment for us to formulate a narrative. ‘Loner’ quickly taps into the psyche with ethereal vocals, fast moving beats and darkly haunting cinematic qualities. This is a very fine track that will leave you wondering what on earth just happened in the last 3:54 minutes!
NICK RAVE – Heaven Empire
Spritely, uptempo guitar fingerpicking and strumming fused with electro beats shape ‘Heaven Empire.’ Gorgeously mellow music for bright sunny days from Nick Rave who describes himself as ‘a DJ, composer and sound engineer.’ Nick is currently based in Moscow. Over the past 18 years he’s been writing, producing and performing music. He’s received airplay since 1995 and played a host of club nights and live gigs. He released his first solo album in 2005 and first cinematic soundtrack in 2007. Folks can find tons of eclectic music from Nick on his Soundcloud page (Krupatin) ranging from progressive- electro house to drum and bass through to orchestral sounding instrumental cinematic- scapes. Well worth checking out, especially, in my opinion his instrumental track ‘Fatum.’
PHOENIX MARTINS – Heartstrings
Described by Sandy Ent PR who represent Phoenix Martins: ‘Heartstrings’ is a combination of masterful, controlled vocals, laced with genuine soul and a sense of mystery. The oceanic and daydream-esque feel of the track is just a little taster of what you can expect from this up-coming songstress’ forthcoming album.’ Couldn’t have put it any better myself after reading that. Warm, rounded, melodic and soothing vocals, this lady knows how to sing! Still only young and studying at Goldsmith’s, Phoenix has already worked with the likes of Joe Fields and Nick Carter (Mystery Jets, Neptunes.) She performed on The Bandstand Stage at Wireless Festival over the weekend and Servant Jazz Quarters last month. This lady is flying….keep up folks!
RACHAEL WRIGHT – Dig
Beautiful simplicity, silky, percussive vocals and intelligent and emotional storytelling to melt yet sadden the soul. Beating drum sticks drive the marching indie-folk splendor that comes from ‘Dig’ which feels like some haunting ancient folk tale carried down through the ages. This was contextualised when reading that ‘Dig’ is taken from and the title of Rachael Wright‘s 2nd album, released earlier this year and features a collection of first hand stories from conflict zones such as Liberia. Beautifully subtle layering and pauses that strip back everything to Rachael’s sublimely beautiful vocals to re-tell very dark conflicts. Folks can catch Rachael play at The Zanzibar Club, Liverpool, 20th July and at The Castle, Manchester 6th August. Reckon this lady would be pretty spellbinding live.
SUMMER CANNIBALS – Hey I Was Saved
Summer Cannibals – a 4 piece indie-rock group from Portland, Oregon – are like The Beta Band, KT Tunstall and Susan Hyatt in a mighty fine blender (you know, like the really posh ones you find in John Lewis!) Yeah, I know, some blend indeed! ‘Hey I was Saved’ is a very fine track laced with deeply seductive, hazy vocals from Jessica Boudreaux. For those of you in the USA you can catch Jessica, Marc, Kyle and Cassey play at Origami Vinyl on Sunset Blvd, LA on 12th August. Be sure to check out Summer Cannibals ‘No Make Up’ out on 6th August on New Moss Records.
WE CUT CORNERS – Go Easy
Dublin’s We Cut Corners are the final Irish band make it to the Fresh Faves this week with ‘Go Easy’ taken from their debut album ‘Today I Realised I Could Go Backwards.’ The album has already been nominated for the Choice Music Prize’s Album of the Year and its easy to see why. Vocal harmonies sound from the start of the track, gently melodic, building to a crescendoing punk-like energy midway through. I was both surprised and excited to learn We Cut Corners are a two piece. This track certainly sounds like there’s more instruments than guitar, drums and vocals. I also thought one vocal was a female, which it isn’t! This is very exciting, energetic, accomplished and intelligent music.
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 please hold back for 6-8 weeks before sending us another one. After all if you keep sending us great tracks every week it leaves less room for new names who haven’t had a chance yet…