Artists at a glance
CREATURE THAT BITES
FIVE MINUTE POP PROMO
FLIES ON YOU
GHOST OF THE AVALANCHE
HEAD OF LIGHT ENTERTAINMENT
SOME SORT OF THREAT
THESE MORTAL CITIES
TIJUANA & STUART ROBIN
WE ARE KNUCKLE DRAGGER
Top tunes from TIJUANA & STUART ROBIN, GHOST OF THE AVALANCHE, FIVE MINUTE POP PROMO, WOMANS HOUR, THESE MORTAL CITIES, UNSUNG, ROSIE, SOME SORT OF THREAT, SCREAMA BALLERINA, TIGERCUB, FLIES ON YOU, CHARLIE LEAVY, P-TENTIAL, WE ARE KNUCKLE DRAGGER, HEAVYBALL, HEAD OF LIGHT ENTERTAINMENT, MAUSI, CREATURE THAT BITES and OH91.
Every Sunday night/Monday morning on BBC Radio 6 Music from 2-3am you can hear a selection of my favourite new tunes from the BBC Introducing Uploader in an hour-long music mixtape. Some of the tunes are recommended by BBC friends and colleagues, others are handpicked by me from our inbox here at Fresh On The Net.
Each of these mixtapes is available free when the radio show ends at 3am via the 6 Music Downloads Page. You’ll also find archived episodes there from the previous 4 weeks. As of this week, the full tracklists and start times are now published here at Fresh On The Net with a link to each artist’s website. These are the listings for Monday, 8th July 2013 – recent mixtape tracklistings can be found via the MIXTAPE tab above – earlier listings are on the BBC website.
TIJUANA & STUART ROBIN – Parties In Awful Places [Starts 00:13]
Great electro groove, memorable chorus, and a subject matter that – one way or another – most of us can relate to: parties in awful places, people in awful clothes. Made by funny, sharp, gifted individuals who should (we’re told) “be considered a cartel. A collective. A banner to ride under in wild West-End London. Producer Gareth Kay works with multiple artists and at the core of Tijuana with GK is lyricist Stuart Robin. Together they try to forge honest accounts of life beyond club culture and document their era with the sharp eye and wit of previous artists that have inspired them. Tijuana will be playing live around the UK this year”
GHOST OF THE AVALANCHE – These Sharks [Starts 03:45]
What a great noise – power, energy, commitment with a lyric that leaps straight to the jugular. Ghost Of The Avalanche describe themselves as “a noise-punk duo from Bath with a perverse sense of what the word Pop means” and frankly The Hysterical Injury had better look to their laurels because Messrs Nick Wilton and Miles Per-Hour are taking no prisoners with this irresistible new project. Don’t be fooled by the rough edges or the fact that the song is just 90 seconds long. For me this is pop songwriting at the diametric opposite end of the spectrum from Simon Cowell: fresh, vital, vigorous and huge fun, without an ounce of fat anywhere.
FIVE MINUTE POP PROMO – Brand New Adults [Starts 05:09]
Five Minute Pop Promo (pictured above) have one of those flowery PR biogs that bears repeating, as an object lesson in how not to do it: “Harmony-Drenched English Countryside Prog-Folk used to be a dirty meta-word, but FMPP have sure cleaned up the house. Type it into the wonderful world of web these days and you’ll come across Five Minute Pop Promo. Built out of Tom Baker, Simon Caton and David Roman, they’re a gloriously rambling old cottage to get lost in, with views over the Californian west coast and an array of charming, pastoral English vistas.” Oh come off it. This is a pleasant slice of fingerpicky acoustic tweepop competently performed by three nice looking young white men. The production is tight and economical – building and keeping the surprises coming while – at a nifty 2:48 – careful not to outstay its welcome. It’s pleasant and promising, but not (yet) the kind of killer single that – together with a year of backbreaking hard work - could easily turn them into festival-storming household names a la Mumford & Sons.
WOMANS HOUR – To The End [Starts 07:51]
Fab mysterious and understated electro production, clinched 17 seconds in by a killer vocal. Even when the full widescreen production kicks in, there’s plenty of light and space to prevent the song from cloying or overwhelming the casual listener. Woman’s Hour are, we’re told, a 4 piece hailing from Kendal and currently residing in London. They consist of Fiona, Will, Josh and Nicolas. Er, that’s as much as they’re willing to tell us or you. Never mind, at least they’ve got a very nice band photo:
THESE MORTAL CITIES – Casanova Can’t Dance [Starts 12:20]
Get in !! I’m new to the music of These Mortal Cities, but this is their single released in April this year and it’s written, played, sung and performed with such utter life-affirming energy and joy I was hooked within ten seconds. Once again we have Dean Jackson from and his legendary East Midlands BBC Introducing show The Beat to thank for bringing the band to our attention, and suggesting them for a BBC Introducing festival stage this summer. We all know there’s not much justice in the world, but Jack, George & Sam from Whaley Bridge north Derbyshire certainly deserve to be on the bill. Although I’m personally pretty catholic in my musical tastes - and guitar-based indie performed by white male teenagers isn’t come high on my list of priorities – I found this track utterly irresistible.
UNSUNG – Cheap Dreams [Starts 15:39]
Being based in Staffordshire, Choose My Music Records not only has a UK postcode but – for the same reason – a valid account on the BBC Introducing Uploader. Which is lucky for us as they were able to share this gem from the West Virginia based rapper, musician and poetry slam champion Unsung (aka Steven Miller). The label are releasing his 11th album You Will Face Seven Beasts today (Monday July 8th) and – this being Unsung‘s debut release - it also includes seven additional bonus tracks, consisting of unreleased material and remixes from Unsung’s 10 year career. Such a pleasure to be able to include US hiphop of this quality on our Mixtape.
ROSIE – Video Games [Starts 20:27]
The point of a band biog is not (Five Minute Pop Promo please note) to tell us how great your band is, but how interesting you all are. Doug, Tommy and Louis are clearly skilled exponents of both sonic and verbal pyrotechnics which is why the group’s official description on Facebook brims with the same fun and liveliness as their music and – for the very best reasons – bears repeating in full:
“More energetic than a sackful of crack fuelled terriers and with more hooks than a pirate convention, Rosie are a band of three stage dominating, crowd moving, pit wizards. The lyrics are written to be sung, not understood, and the music to dance to, rather than be quietly appreciated. Everything they do is focused towards the live performance. Currently in service is a 4ft air powered sweet cannon, capable of bringing pure tasty joy to anyone within range of the stage, and a temporary loss of eyesight to the troopers on the barrier. As much as on stage they come across as people who may have spent a little too much time away from civilised society, at home they are astonishingly professional. They’re all about creating music for other people, and are proud not to be a “cryptic” band. Expect an explosion of dressing gowns, giant party poppers, nudity and whatever they can get away with. Everyone likes to party… we just provide the backing music.”
Now THAT’s the way to do it. Okay, a tad short on hard facts and a tad boastful – but waaaay interesting. And you only need to hear Video Games for 30 seconds to realise that the three men from Pately Bridge known as Rosie have much to boast about. Check out their extensive back catalogue at http://music.rosietheband.com
SOME SORT OF THREAT – Henman’s Year [Starts 23:38]
If you advised me to check out a singer-songwriter from Exeter who plays acoustic guitar and is occasionally accompanied by a fiddle player, my expectations would honestly not be that high. For a start, the label singer-songwriter all too often means feeble, overlong observations on life and injustice warbled at a leaden tempo while lifelessly plucking at an acoustic guitar – or bothering some hapless grand piano. In any case, when it comes to West Country acoustic songwriters and virtuoso fiddle players, Steve Knightley and Phil Beer from Show Of Hands have set the bar so high over the past 20 years that anything less is almost certain to come as a disapppointment.
But in the case of Some Sort Of Threat, those prejudices would be wrong, wrong, wrong. The playing and writing of Rory Matthews positively crackle with electricity: Henman’s Year is the musical equivalent of getting Tangoed by a big bald orange man in a loincloth. If you’re not old enough to remember the TV ads, it’s a song that grabs you by the ears, slaps you round the brain, kicks you up the arse and vanishes off into the crowd in 102 seconds flat – leaving you reeling and reaching for the replay button. (Top marks to violinist Livi Sinclair too for giving Mr Matthews a musical run for his money). And much though I adore Show of Hands, it’s a long time since they wrote anything approaching this level of terse, storming, articulate energy.
SCREAMA BALLERINA – Rich Kids [Starts 25:18]
Screama Ballerina describe themselves as “an eccentric theatrical rock’n’roll four piece based in Brighton: their angular unique songs have catchy dirty riffs and challenging, thought-provoking lyrics that will lock in your head. Female Fronted and Feisty, they have three awards under their belt: Exposure Music award’s Best Rock Band and the Best Overall Act 2011 – and Amazing Radio’s Best Rock Band.” Their supporters at radio range from BBC Introducing: The South (where they recently played a live four track session) to legendary tastemaker Rodney Bingenheimer on KROQ in Los Angeles. Their forthcoming EP Still Not Dead will include a cover of the X-Ray Spex punk classic Germ-Free Adolescents by featuring lead singer Charlie O’Connor and Glen Matlock who – in addition to his stint with the Sex Pistols – also famously formed a band of his own with Midge Ure, Steve New and Rusty Egan called… The Rich Kids. Hence, presumably, the title of this song.
TIGERCUB – Centerfold [Starts 27:27]
Once again, a song and a vocal that grab you from the get-go, with a band to match. Tigercub made our Fresh Faves 44 here at Fresh On The Net in January with a deserved repeat showing again last week. As before, I’d love to tell you all about this fascinating-sounding band and the good news is that there have been some additions to the “About” section of their Facebook. For a start they’ve shaved a year off their age by forming in 2011 rather than 2010. And, we now learn, they are “from different corners of the UK making hard abrasive pop in Brighton” and will be joining the current Dinosaur Pile Up tour from July 13th in Liverpool. So now you know.
FLIES ON YOU – Josephine [Starts 30:26]
Like you might expect, having handpicked all these tracks for the mixtape this week I adore every one of them in their different ways. I adored this one for its swagger, attitude and relentless groove – yet at the same time with much weeping and gnashing of teeth – because the arrangement is laoded with hooks and lyrical ideas that haven’t been properly developed. We’re probaby all glad to have escaped the Bad Old Days when it was down to record label scouts whether you got to make a record or not. But one thing to be said for the heyday of keen, competent A&R – and the days when a large sum of cash was needed in order to make a record – is that this kind of stuff used to get taken care of. In the days of Tears For Fears, Spandau Ballet and Frankie Goes To Hollywood, you could be sure that any song remotely as good as this one would get dismantled and put back together again by experts such as Chris Hughes, Trevor Horn or Swain & Jolley – whose job was to make sure the hooks hit home, the airplay kept coming, and the artists’ reputation as killer songwriters became sealed for posterity. In the case of Flies On You, one line from the verse (“you wouldn’t want a holiday in my head”) gets repeated as a madly memorable chorus – yet only occurs once in the whole track. The title Josephine is completely tangenital, while the vocals (with their attention-grabbing opening line “I could make a living on my knees and elbows”) don’t even appar until 43 seconds into the song. If ever a song was screaming for a deft, expert remix to turn it into a cerifiable dancefloor hit, this is it.
CHARLIE LEAVY – The Way Life Is [Starts 34:41]
“I’m Charlotte, but everyone calls me Charlie. I’m 16 years old & split my time between Oxfordshire and West Yorkshire. I started out playing keyboards about 18 months ago, and have now also taught myself guitar, bass & tenor ukulele. I was previously in a couple of local bands, but now prefer to write and sing solo, with a residency at The BookBinders pub in Oxford and busking anywhere I can. This month my family are going to Mexico where I fully expect to write some different sounding material.” Out there in Streaming Land there are naturally gifted singers and then there are the rest of us, and you can tell within seconds that Charlie Leavy belongs effortlessly in the first category. In the coming years she’ll be able to pick pretty much any direction she wants to and, with enough hard work, make a success of it. The most tempting route might be to slide into becoming some kind of mid-atlantic Joss Stone soundalike, managed by some corporate Talent Agency and marketed to Mums and Dads on Radio 2 via the pluggers of some international music conglomerate. But Charlie also has the potential to be a far more interesting and authentic artist than that, with a unqique English voice and viewpoint that are all her own.
P-TENTIAL – Hurting [Starts 38:02]
P-Tential, aka 26 year old Nottingham producer and rapper Stuart Perry, has been sharing his tunes with us over the months, and it’s been a real pleasure to to follow the way his writing and delivery have been growing and developing in that time. There’s always been a fiery quality to Stuart’s vocals that married truth, convinction and anger, but here he transcends the selfreferential outlook of so many bedroom rappers, to paint this heartfelt boy-meets-girl vignette of love and rejection. As he himself freely admits, these are still early days in terms of his own beats and production, but a vocal of this sincerity will always put a song across better than the most polished backing in the world. I’d love to hear P-Tential collaborate with some of the other great beatmakers, producers (and other rappers) we’ve come to know here at Fresh On The Net. Come on people, don’t be shy – ping him a Soundcloud message and see what happens.
WE ARE KNUCKLE DRAGGER – Get The Horizon Yourself [Starts 41:09]
We Are Knuckle Dragger emerged from the underground scene in Newcastle Upon Tyne with two EP releases receiving widespread support from Radio 1, Kerrang!, XFM, Scuzz, national press and of course 6 Music where we had them in for a blistering live session before they headed Stateside to record their debut album in Chicago with Steve Albini last year. Featuring former members of Yourcodenameis:milo, Contraband and Scrabo the trio are already hard at work on album #2, due for release October 2013 – along with UK tour dates. The Newcastle trio toured with MESHUGGAH, DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN, released a song on XBOX RockBand3 and have recently launched their own “Knuckle Dragger” 8.3% craft beer. I would predict that, like their music istelf, this beverage will be pretty much guaranteed to put hairs on your chest, regardless of gender. You have been warned.
HEAVYBALL – Hands Up [Starts 43:19]
“Heavyball were formed at the end of 2011 when Nottingham Brothers Bigface and Habs, joined up with an old school friend Johnny Iball in London. “We would describe our sound as an attempt to combine the rhythmic stylings of Ska, with the storytelling traditions of Country & Western. We’re calling it ‘Skuntry’, but that’s a work in progress. We’ve had a good year, supporting the Kaiser Chiefs on their UK tour in Feb/March, and releasing a second EP – Hands Up. Hands Up is about the damage done to people touched by war, and those that return home from our recent overseas misadventures, with injuries we can’t see. The other tracks on the EP have similarly uplifting themes. Lost Heroes is about Jimmy Saville, and Wanted deals with loss and anguish. If you need cheering up and you want to come and see us live, we’re playing at Dry Bar Manchester (11 July), Z Fest Carlisle (12 July), The Crescent,Douglas, Isle of Man (13 July), Moo Bar, Penrith (19 July) and main stage at Cockrock festival (20 July). All details on our website – thanks again for including us, it’s made our day!!”
HEAD OF LIGHT ENTERTAINMENT – Sweet Tangled Lovers [Starts 46:25]
Head Of Light Entertainment were originally a one-man, then a three-man, and are now a four-man band (though actually consisting of three men and one woman!). Inspired by the likes of Sparks, XTC, The Smiths and Talking Heads, the Teesside based quirk-poppers have been quietly expanding their left field pop manifesto since forming back in 2009. They aim to blend wonky melodies, strange storytelling and late 60′s instrumentation into a cohesive pop whole. This song, Sweet Tangled Lovers is set to appear on the band’s third album (due for release on Northern Round Square Records in 2014) and they’re currently turning it into a surreal “New Avengers” style video, complete with drowning dolls and tarot card confetti. Like you do. Head Of Light Entertainment play Volks Festival in Redcar this Thursday (July 11th), and Mink Tattoo Bar in Middlesbrough on Sunday (July 14th). readers, you need no higher endorsement of these fine friends of 6 Music Introducing than that fact that no lesser musical luminary than Neil Bassett (of Golden Virgins and Hyde & Beast fame) will be producing their next recordings this Autumn.
MAUSI – Move [Starts 49:52]
Newcastle quartet Mausi were first introduced to my 6 Music Introducing shows in May 2011 by Bob Allen as his prime pick from that year’s Evolution Emerging festival. Milanese siblings Daisy & Thomas Finetto first moved to the UK in 2008 and met up with the decidedly English Ben Brown & Benji Huntrods while at university on Tyneside. Their polished and upbeat sunshine pop immediately won our hearts and we’ve been playing the band on and off more or less ever since. I had the privilege of watching the band play at Split Transmission in Sunderland in the autumn of 2011 and this is Mausi’s latest single, due out on August 11th.
CREATURE THAT BITES – I Wanna Be Like Steve McQueen [Starts 53:36]
Founded in April last year, Creature That Bites consist of Christian Barton – who started playing piano and drums as a young child before he was abducted by the Alien Jellyfish and is now living somewhere near the metropolis of Winchester – and fellow music man George Haworth. Even the band’s Facebook page has no information about where George came from or even where he is now. What we do know is that the duo specialise in crazy retro style madness, are interested in curry and beer, and – should you wish to groove and party – they will supply the sounds to lift you off the ground. This track was a single last month, not featured on the band’s debut album last year, and their daft animated video for One Step Closer To Heaven last year was also huge fun.
OH91- No Go [Starts 57:02]
Young Bristolian producer OH91 (pronounced “oh-nine-one”) has been steadily building a reputation for himself over the past couple of years. He’s had an increasingly strong series of releases on Durkle Disco, Coyote & Subdepth, whilst the past few months have seen him bless venues in London, Leeds, Nottingham & Bristol with his trademark high-octane DJ sets mixing up grime, dubstep, house & garage. OH91′s production, while always maintaining a foothold in the grime sound he was raised on, similarly spans the full spectrum of ‘bass music’. Next release is ‘Stealth’ on Coyote, his debut 12″, with a very soon to be confirmed third release on Durkle Disco records to follow before the end of the year.