Our Fresh Faves this week are reviewed by Team Freshnet’s Nico Franks, the London-based journalist who has spent much of today attempting to avoid potential Breaking Bad spoilers…. and has just about managed it.
These Fresh Faves were the 12 tracks that received the most votes from our listeners over the weekend and, as usual, make up a fairly eclectic bunch… So, get a head start on those inevitable ‘ones to watch in 2014’ lists that will soon begin to hound us and have a listen below.
ADY JOHNSON – Thank You For The Good Things
This touching acoustic track sees Essex-based singer-songwriter Ady Johnson in contemplative mood, using his gravelly but soulful vocals, guitar and harmonica to pay tribute to his late grandfather. “Just stunning and quite a special track in my humble opinion,” says my fellow Freshnet mod Debs McCoy, hitting the nail on the head. After a busy summer, Ady will be bringing his classic 1960s-inflected pop next to The Icarus Club in Greenwich on October 10.
DANCING YEARS – Here’s To My Old Friends
A remarkably strong debut single from Leeds-based five-piece piqued the interest of Listening Post voters this week. The stirring violin notes act to put the equivalent of a reassuring arm around the song’s plaintive piano chords and innocent vocals, in an ode to mates loved and lost. Now that they’ve popped their cherries, so to speak, expect to hear a lot more from Dancing Years, with a UK tour beginning in October.
This acoustic singer songwriter’s impeccably crafted tunes have already won plaudits from Squeeze songwriter Chris Difford. He’s a double Ivor Novello-award winning musician, don’t you know, and time will tell whether the phrase “it takes one to know one” rings true in this case. And De’borah certainly seems to be heading in the right direction.
FAT WHITE FAMILY – Heaven On Earth
This irresistible piece of chewed-up-and-spat-out indie blues rock is as antisocial as the South London band’s opening gambit in their bio: “to cause havoc and deliver something real.” And with the visual evidence of the carnage this unruly bunch leave in their wake clogging up my Twitter timeline every time they finish a gig, it’s high time I experienced it for myself. So come on down and join the Family at The Lexington, London, this Wednesday.
FILTER DISTORTION – The Good Life
The people responsible for this cover of an NPG track from 1995 are Liverpool-based three-piece Filter Distortion. And although not my cup of Earl Grey, this bouncy slab of house-infused techno won the vote of many listeners this week, including the man who steers this great ship of new music on its course, Tom Robinson. So who am I to disagree?
ICENI – Drive
This track from Newcastle-based Iceni (Eye-seen-ee) has the piano firmly in the… ahem… driver’s seat, with the band’s vocal harmonies serving to propel the song forward. And if a spot on the Fresh Faves list wasn’t enough, the trio have also been chosen by Jamie Cullum as the support at his upcoming gig at the Sage Gateshead in October.
JARROD GOLLIHARE – Coming Off Pretty
Fizzing with energy, this solo project from the drummer/vocalist for Tulsa-based trio Admiral Twin allows Jarrod to write “up-tempo alterna-pop-rock ditties about pretty girls, liars, comet strikes, psychopaths and the end of the world.” And a track like ‘Coming Off Pretty’ is what happens when a man who knows a thing or two about a pop hook is left to his own devices in a studio.
KUMA LISA – Dance Of The Fly
This track from Kuma Lisa is the audio equivalent to a well-traveled passport, bristling with exotic instrumentation and far flung sounds. Appropriately enough, Kuma Lisa is also the name of a clever and cunning character from Bulgarian and Russian folklore, something we suspect isn’t lost on this international trio of musicians based in East London.
MERZ – Many Weathers Apart
A funny one this, as not many tracks on the Listening Post can claim to have already been described as a ‘minor hit’ on Wikipedia- usually that comes later! ‘Many Weathers Apart’, however, comes to as ahead of Merz’s one off gig at Hoxton Bar & Kitchen in London on Friday to perform a 40-minute version of the track. As UKE aka Dave Cheetham commented, “OMG cannot believe MERZ is here! First heard this track in 1999. Every bit as fresh and awesome as then. Amazing!”
MYLYRICALMIND – Promises
The fourth single from 22-year-old singer/songwriter Matthew Wood is as big an arms-in-the-air ballad you’re likely to find. Basically, if I smoked, one of my hands would be holding a lighter in the air as I type right now. He’s playing a single launch for ‘Promise’ tonight at Manchester’s Retro Bar, but you can also catch Mylyricalmind on tour in the north of England throughout October.
TOM MILSOM – Pipes
Beginning the song with swelling strings and dark, ominous hums, Tom Milsom certainly knows how to make an entrance. That’s before closely recorded, intimate vocals draw you in nearer, and skittering drums and a trampoline beat go on to echo the very best moments of Alt J. ‘Pipes’ is taken from Tom’s upcoming album Organs and suggests a very exciting talent indeed.
ZORZILLA – Sleepwalker’s Lament
Time to wind this week’s Listening Post down now…. But not before some trippy rock courtesy of Zorzilla. With nods to both classic and contemporary psych-rock influences in Pink Floyd and Tame Impala respectively, ‘Sleepwalk’s Lament’ is all woozy, tumbling drums and shimmering guitar solos. And, as is befitting of the dreamy, laissez-faire attitude of the track, the band don’t mind what you pay for their debut, self-titled EP, available to download from their bandcamp now.
FROM TOM: if you’ve submitted a track that hasn’t been selected for our Listening Post you’re welcome to re-submit music to our inbox the following week. However, if you’ve been voted as one of our Fresh Faves, please hold back for 2-3 months before submitting a new track. After all – if our favourite keep sending us great tracks every week it leaves less room for new names who haven’t had a chance yet…