I missed taking part in this weekends Listening Post (Boo!!)
Because I was at a surprise birthday party for my sister (Hooray!!).
Her cake had candles on it which read ’21-ish’
Now would a brother question this? (Boo!!)
You’re right – of course he won’t because she is just lovely (Hooray!!).
In a way, by being on the FOTN moderating team – selecting tracks that dropped into our inbox this week – I feel like I was in at the birth of these gems at the very beginning of their young lives. I see myself as someone akin to a midwife. OK, without all the actual hands-on stuff you understand: I passed the towels, I boiled the kettle.
So what if I missed them learning to crawl/walk/talk/play the guitar for the first time !
So what if I forgot to attend their first appearance in a school play!
So what if I overlooked them being bullied in school (thereby giving them years of useful lyrical material to put into future songs, I may add)!
So what if I got drunk and missed their first gig!
So what if I fell asleep in that weird curly-haired man’s back garden!
And so what if I forgot to lock up the van with all the instruments in? You can easily find some more instruments on eBay or something – like, oh my God you really take things to heart!
I’m here now and that’s all that matters – isn’t it?…
Isn’t it?… isn’t it?
So any road up, lets get back to the wonderful music as selected by our lovely readers and this week a Top 12. Thanks to all the artists who submitted this week and thanks to everyone who took the time to vote. If you like what we are trying to do by giving new music artists a level playing field – and have their music reviewed by music-loving strangers – then please feel free to spread the word. Ta!
A LILY – The Sparrow In The Lemon Tree
Well slap my face with a salty fish and call me Wendy if this isn’t a lovely piece of folk-goes-electronica-goes-chamber-pop. You loved it, dear readers and I can see why. Pleasing string motifs dance a devilish dance with sweet vocals and understated rhythms. As the 405 music blog rightly noted “A Lily is a band (comprised of James Vella and a few nice mates) that are virtually impossible to find on Facebook – what with all those girls called Lily around, and you know – Lily Allen and what not”. Hopefully you will find all you need via the links to A Lily below.
CHESHIRE AND THE CAT – The Sax Song
Cheshire And The Cat are real good. They deliver late-night soft guitar shapes, fresh from the coolest jazz club in town. Echoes of pop music permeate their boy/girl/brass love triangle. I like the way they sneak up on you with their Matt-Bianco-meets-The-Housemartins mellow vibe. Excuse my 80’s references, I have just listened to a hell of a lot of music and ate most of the 80s for brunch. Sounds live and it’s all the better for it. Makes me want a cappuccino and a pair of loafers. Very refreshing on a late Sunday evening, it builds and builds. Fine work, CATC !
HEART OF A DOG – Hoss
A track that really caught the attention of our listeners this week was Hoss from Heart of a Dog (“Norwich’s favourite 2 piece”). Its a cheeky little grower of a song is this one. Its kinda Americana, kinda pop and kinda folk: there may even be a little dash of rock in there too. It dips, glides and builds to a fine crescendo. Go there Norwich :)
JO BYWATER – Chopping Wood
You also loved Jo Bywater this week and I can see why – with Jo bringing a different style than we have had of late. Sliding guitars go a-duelling with bluesy country vocals from Jo and the unnamed male voiced hero backing her. Also a lady voiced heroine too – or is that Jo as well? Oh sweet mystery. Respect to Jo for bringing that something new and different to the Listening Post and for her original quirky song format bringing a twist on the genre. Well done, all.
KATEY BROOKS – State Of Mine
Katey Brooks is a singer/songwriter with a purity of tone that put me in mind a little of Judie Tzuke (no bad thing). I think America would love her (if they don’t already). That’s not to say the UK don’t love her – I do believe they do already. State Of Mine is a brooding ethereal cocktail of Americana-kissed acoustic goodness – blended with vocally haunting (yet deftly delivered) gospel-influenced folk. Give her stuff a little time and the reward may well love you long time.
LITTLE DEATH MACHINE – Velvet Skin
Full-on Industrial Experimental Electronic Punk Noise Terrorism is unlikely to endear me to my neighbours at 1.25am its true – but I’m sure that they, like me, admire individuality. And that’s what Little Death Machine are – very individual. Now that’s not said as a negative. I like what they bring to the table – and can imagine their live shows are very special indeed. Its bloody hard standing out from the crowd – and they really do stand out. This tune is full of differentness – I love the beats, shouts and the edginess of it all. It was a major surprise to see this uke-led song sitting next to Velvet Skin on their Soundcloud page. This may come to surprise you – give them a go.
SHARKS AND BEARS – Ok, Who Cares, Oh Well, Whatever
This was one of my picks this week from the dropbox. (Oops, have I inadvertently revealed the inner workings of FOTN Central there? Will I have to kill you all now or go before a parliamentary committee?). I was smitten by their electronic pop music loveliness from the off. Sometimes you don’t need to try too hard to get your message across. Actually, I know this from personal experience – making things sound simple often takes a great deal of time, a hell of a lot of effort and a generous dash of training. Sometimes a little talent goes a long way too. Sharks And Bears tick all the boxes by making great pop music. Like Prefab Sprout with a Casio keyboard under their armpit. Hey, I know – easy with the 80’s references, Johnno ! Well kids, I can only comment on what is put in front of me. Now where did I leave my Bill & Ted time-travelling wrist watch, my excellent one ;)
SUNS – Bells
What’s this strange yet blissful dance music doing all over my eardrums? I don’t care, I’m just glad it popped in there. Layered keys, effects, vocals, drums and all sorts of cheeky electronica rotate, switch, dance, bob and weave together for 4 minutes. It will either help form a new religion or just simply entertain endless people who like their music to be good – and for it to test them a little. A sort of post-rave invitation to continue the weekend, this music should not be taken by anyone on medicated drugs or by those who operate small mechanical devices. I wanted to tell you about Suns but there was nothing on their web pages – maybe they are a new religion then…
THE BALTIC STATES – The Fire
Another female-fronted band – hoorah :) There is some genre cross-pollination going on here: loosely, I’m going for indie electronica but please put me right The Baltic States. Words I wrote down whilst listening were: intense, committed, epic, tasty keyboard action, European, ethereal, longing, more tasty keyboard action. From the North West of the UK, the band consists of Jev Maligins – a former member of Beat Milk Jugs (TV Records) – and Helen Morrisson, lead vocalist and multi-instrumentalist with The Wretched Pearls. Real interesting stuff: with the band currently preparing some diverse live shows they are well worth future investigation.
THE FIREWORKS – Runaround
Oi Oi!!! That woke me up. How great to hear a female led guitar band again. A totally refreshing 11.48am tonic, that was. I can really see the attraction dear readers (you are bloody good at picking the tunes). Its sort of indie pop with an 80’s tinge but yet not quite. It’s garagey, poppy, electric and an instant ear worm. The Fireworks are based in London and have been playing all over – including the Indietracks Festival (ooh I love the look of that one – I bet it was great) and they sound smashing.
THE WHITE BICYCLES – Elegy
Ooh this is rather gorgeous. Gentle can be good; subtle can be better; well written and played can be great. I like this London based band: they make good music and part their hair on the right side (unless they use photo trickery). I like the way they obviously think about what they put into the musical pot: less is more. With a dash of similarity to other good music out there but unique enough to stand out, they are three minutes away from a big break. Well played, Matthew and Ryan of The White Bicyles – we are watching you with interest. Not in a pervy way you understand – feel free to go left sided with the hair. We promise not to stalk you. They also kindly have this lovely track as a free download
WE THE WILD – Body Electric (blue)
It may or may not be true that there are more bands than there are actual real life teenagers in the UK, but it certainly comes as a warm tonic to hear the music of We The Wild seeping out of the speakers. Body Electric (blue) is a real earworm: a couple of listens and they have you locked down. Nice video of the song (below). I don’t deliberately not tell you much about artists – they mostly don’t tell us about themselves on their websites. Maybe its the new age of mystery. All we know is that We The Wild are “2 blokes from London” and they make “Alt Pop”.
PS – it’s good.
PLEASE NOTE: 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. But if you’ve recently been voted as one of our Fresh Faves – or featured on the BBC Introducing Mixtape – please hold back for 2-3 months before submitting a new track. If artists we already love keep sending great tracks, it leaves less room for newcomers who haven’t had a chance yet…