Here we are, back after our Summer Break with a week that saw record numbers of submissions to our inbox, and record numbers of readers showing up to choose five favourites from our shortlist. Loads of you loved nearly all 25 tracks as much as we did – and found it agonisingly difficuult to pick as few as five.
There were loads more top tunes we simply didn’t have room to crowbar into the Listening Post this week, and you’ll find my own choice of Extra Gems here on Soundcloud. But on with the show – and from the 160 tracks submitted last week, these are the ten that first we – and then you picked as your aboslute Fresh Faves. Enjoy!
A LOVELY WAR – Maxine, We’re Alive!
Acoustic chiptune fun from A Lovely War – the Liverpool duo of Sean Keogh & Patrick Hughes – featuring (always the clincher) a standout vocal performance that absolutely sells the quality of the songwriting. A special mention for the highly original – yet nicely understated – production. The song just grows, twists and develops with little unexpected musical “events” washing in and out of focus. I particularly like the late Beatles-era George Harrison electric guitar lines that weave in and out along the way.
CLEAR – America
A few months ago we’d never heard of Clear, yet now we hear of almost nothing else here at Fresh On The Net. Since you chose their opening salvo Sunlight as part of our Fresh Faves back in July, we’ve featured it in my Introducing Mixtape, Johnno’s interviewed them for a recent Prick’n’Ding and then my producer Adam Hudson picked them out as one of our “free plays” on my main Saturday show this weekend. We had been going to play Sunlight, but then America popped up on the Listening Post and began amassing votes in huge numbers, so at the last minute we decided to air the new record instead. America represents a step up for the band to a different level, and the resulting buzz around this new record – due for release as a single this Autumn – is almost tangible.
JILK – I Put Your Tape On
I’m always a sucker for artists with a clear, concise mission statement/manifesto, and Bristol’s Jilk provides precisely what it promises: “glitch-and-paste electronic ambience with balls.” This is music composition as painting – as in a pre-digital age you might well have Put Your Tape On to achieve it. Sound becomes tangible, somewhow both “concrète” (in the musical sense) yet “plastic” (in the sense of “malleable”) – with the addition of gorgeous live strings from violinist Cags Diep. It’s unclear whether Jilk is one, two or eight people – the picture above shows Matt Sunderland, Terry Owen, Jon Worsley and Cags Diep – but whether any, all or none of the above are (or is) Jilk is not disclosed in their biography. Live the project clearly takes on a life of its own, which Bristol residents can enjoy tomorrow at Birdcage Bristol and with Haiku Salut at Grain Barge on Friday.
L’ANARCHISTE – Juneau
Music from across the pond from Salt Lake City outfit L’Anarchiste. Having begun life in the brain and basement of founder Rob LeCheminant the project has blossomed into a full-fledged six piece group. Juneau has the kind of quiet assurance we’ve come to associate with North American artists – fusing a fresh and adventurous approch to songwritig with an admirably professional attention to detail in the recording process. This track is taken from their latest EP – The Traveler – which has just been released today (Monday 9th September) by Choose My Music Records.
LOST IN THE FOG – Fenetorito
How lovely to live in this global village…. Across a further – and considerably bigger – pond from North America we find Japanese five-piece Lost In The Fog, whose widescreen atmospheric track Fenetorito caught readers’ imaginations this weekend and catapulted the track into our Fresh Faves. Featuring the distinctive lead vocals of Nene Solano, it’s the opening track on their six-track mini album released in March, whose Japanese title translates as The Grave Of Einzvach. If the band would like to get in touch, we’d love to know the translation of Fenetorito – not only the title but the lyrics too. We can only hope their meaning matches the romantically epic tone of their music.
NINETIES BOY – Get It On [ft. Endoflevelbaddie, Tayala]
I just spent an afternoon interviewing Example for a 90 minute radio special and it was fascinating to hear how a combination of talent, luck, looks and gritted determination took him on a journey from unknown chancer in his mid twenties to platinum selling superstar at age 31. But I digress. The moment this record dropped into our inbox last week, I immediately marked it for airplay on next week’s BBC Introducing Mixtape. Lovely dirtyclean 8-bit beatz and a catchy swaggering vocal with – hurrah – pure Northern vowels from the heart of Hull. The whole track oozes gritty homegrown style and assurance.
Having been won over by what came out of the speakers, further research revealed that Nineties Boy is an unfeasibly ambitious and handsome 27 year old called Luke Chambers. The talent, looks and determination are selfevidently there – along with a shrewd sense of focus. Let’s hope Luke will prove to be another Example in the making. Nineties Boy is aided and abetted on production by his younger brother AlexZander and, in this case, Hull chiptune cult hero Endoflevelbaddie.
SHE MAKES WAR – Delete
I first met Laura Kidd – aka She Makes War – at an Unconvention panel and have since watched in awe as she ploughs her own idosyncratic furrow the length and breath of these islands recording, touring, collaborating, making videos, posting, tweeting and building her own unique band of followers with a combination of musical talent and digital smarts worthy of an English Amanda Palmer. Based in Bristol, Laura’s official biog describes her as a “multi-instrumentalist, visual artist and digital polymath”, which pretty much hits the mark. This is the radio edit of my favourite track from her new 6 track audiovisual EP Butterflies – released last month featuring not only six songs but six videos! Three of the live tracks on the EP feature local legends The Hysterical Injury as the rhythm section.
UKE – A Shadow Walking
A Shadow Walking is the latest engaging tune from Warrington musician Dave Cheetham whose previous release Klokwrk featured both on our Fresh Faves and a recent Introducing Mixtape. earlier in the summer. Dave began work on his Uke project last year with a view to trying his hand at “something different” from his previous background drumming in traditional bands and indulge his love of electronic music. “I would describe my music as the soundtrack of Flying Lotus challenging the Ninja Tune Label to a game of Crown Green Bowls” says Dave – but hey, download this week’s mixtape and make up your own description. As mentioned previously, trying to google the name “Uke” lands you instantly in a form of George Formby hell – and with this less bizarrelyt titled song the job is all but impossible. But (as before) click on the Facebook link below and you’ll find Dave’s music readily enough!
WILL DIXON – Graffiti
At blooming last – a gifted rock guitarist with a great sound, formidable riffing abilities AND serious songwriting chops. No fancy production tricks here, just a combination of tough, down to earth playing and thoughtful, intelligent songwriting. Interestingly, although Robert Markiewicz plays the bass parts no drummer is credited on Will Dixon‘s debut album These Aren’t the Songs You’re Looking For. Surely these monster drum parts can’t have been either programmed or made up of stock loops. Or can they? If the answer is yes, then major kudos goes to producer Jimmy Balch. In any case, this album is a great calling card – though in this genre songwriting and skill are only two parts of the equation. If this material could now be gigged for a year with a permanent live band it would take Will’s work into a different league by developing the industrial sledgehammer impact of a Hold Your Horse Is or We Are Knuckle Dragger.
WULF – Lairs
This well-made, pleasing tune garnered votes aplenty on our listening post and is getting plenty of attention over at Amazing Radio. It’s the lead track from a debut EP currently being produced by Leeds studio wunderkind James Kenosha (Dry The River, Club Smith, Grammatics, Dinosaur Pile-Up, Pulled Apart By Horses and of course Duels, for whom he plays drums). Wulf are, alas, an OMSFI* band. When their EP is finally ready, no doubt James will introduce them to either a plugger or a record label – who will then drag out of them some kind of biog, background, history and general “story” to help explain why their band is interesting enough for Steve Lamacq, Huw Stephens and Zane Lowe to consider playing them on the radio.
*”Our Music Speaks For Itself”… for what it’s worth see How To Write A Band Biog And Why It Matters