Artists at a glance
JACK ROBERT HARDMAN
JOHNNY PANIC & THE FEVER
MATT STALKER & FABLES
THE LATE PIONEERS
These Fresh Faves were picked by our readers over the weekend – and reviewed by Team Freshnet’s very own Debs McCoy. You can hear all these tracks in a single SoundCloud playlist here.
BEN SAYER – Angel Face
Angel Face is dark, melodic and fast moving acoustic folk at its best. There’s an air of Nick Cave about it. Make no mistake Ben Sayer has crafted some fine skill where guitar playing is concerned. That coupled with a gravelly vocal knits a dark lyrical weave. The guitar picking that dances and flicks the air around 2:10 is gorgeous. As is the piano to close the track. Angel Face is taken from Ben’s 3-track collection Between The Mountains. Lets hope he releases this as an EP in the near future.
CHEAP MEAT – Sweetness, Take Me Back
London based Cheap Meat proclaim Sweetness Take Me Back as being their “first song” together. The track was a popular choice with the indie-rock fans on Fresh On The Net this weekend. There’s some classic rock guitar licks to be found in Sweetness Take Me Back – and attitude to boot. Cheap Meat’s Twitter page states they are ‘five guys’ but I can only find mention of Matt and Ross. They seem to have an obsession with pizza, McDonald’s and all things meat-related from what I see on their website! I have struggled to find much information about them at all as a band and their music apart from their influences being “No Holds Barred”, “Hell In A Cell ’98”, “Mustard To Patio Ratio”, “Flams” and “Narrow Bridges.” Go figure.
ELDER ISLAND – What It’s Worth
What Its Worth is the debut track from Bristol based trio Elder Island.
Wonderfully gentle percussive layering creates the perfect primer for soulful vocals from Katy Sargent. This is a fine track, intelligently written and well produced. The track has already reached over 11,000 plays on Soundcloud and the band made Matt Wilkinson’s NME Radar “The Buzz” playlist in May. securing a lovely review of What Its Worth. Elder Island’s self-titled debut 5 track EP is due for release by Four Thieves Records on 28th July and can be pre-ordered on iTunes now.
GOSPEL – Disasters Running Wild
Gospel are London based duo Chris Willsher and Beth Anderton-Allen. Having toured for the past 5 years with his former band Creatures Of Love (supporting the likes of The Joy Formidable and Cold War Kids) after the band split Willsher says he was ready to chuck in the towel. Well we’re very pleased he didn’t and that he’s channelled his creativity into the musical partnership with Anderton-Allen. Mellow, indie pop, gentle synths and drum beats played by Willsher with the powerful addition of Anderton-Allen’s vocal, simmering somewhere between Natalie Merchant and Kate Bush. Gospel will be playing their first live shows in the autumn of 2014. Disasters Running Wild is the bands debut single, mixed by Mikko Gordon (Thom Yorke, Nigel Godrich) and due for release on the 7th July.
JACK ROBERT HARDMAN – I Don’t Need an Answer
I Don’t Need An Answer has a Fender-laden, (clean) Vox amp, 60s Shadows feel to it. Alternative folk-pop, beguiling and seductive vocals with a peppering of discordance for good measure. Taken from Jack Robert Hardman‘s recently released 4 track EP The Great Unknown that came out in May. I recommend folks check out Hardman’s really wonderful animated film for the track on YouTube created by the talented Hamish Steele.
JOHNNY PANIC & THE FEVER – Dark of Night
Proving very popular this weekend with our listeners, 7- piece indie-folksters from Liverpool Johnny Panic & The Fever plate up another corker of a track Dark Of Night. Instantly engaging, hitting the ground running with a catchy bass riff, gaining momentum with drums, brass and string entourage in tow. An incredibly powerful orchestral testament to strong songwriting and fine tuned delivery. Johnny Panic & The Fever are no strangers to Fresh On The Net and have found support in recent weeks from our own Big Jim Cambo – who included their music in his Pick N’Mix and Alternative Friday Night In playlists. Dark Of Night is taken from Jonny Panic & The Fever’s 6 track album Sleep The Sleep Of Fever released in February this year.
LEISURE TANK – Isabella
Isabella is gripping indie-rock at its best. Minimal, intimate and raw. It kind of has the feel that PJ Harvey’s Rid Of Me did when I first heard it, and that’s a really great thing. That’s her best album in my humble opinion. I struggled for a long while to find anything online about Leisure Tank until Tom Robinson kindly nudged KC McKanzie my way. It would seem Berlin/London based McKanzie has her roots in Americana and folk. She has 2 albums under her belt under the name KC McKanzie. This new track Isabella is a departure from her previously released music. She describes it as “a drum and guitar session” giving her “a more natural feeling about the dynamics.” For those of you in London you can catch her and her musical partner Budi playing at in Shoreditch at The Bridge Coffee House & Bar on 22nd June. If I was in London this is one I wouldn’t miss.
MATT STALKER & FABLES – Wildfire Smiles
Matt Stalker & Fables are a five piece from Newcastle, with Jenny Nendick from Bridie Jackson & The Arbour and Lake Poets collaborator Tom Fletcher of The Gathering Sky appearing on this track Wildfire Smiles. Matt Stalker is an exceptional writer who has no problem presenting complex caveats of the human condition in musical form. Wildfire Smiles leaves space for narrative to linger and for individual sounds of instruments to be voiced; a rarity these days with so many tracks being unnecessarily complicated or over produced. Vocal repetition and harmony reinforces soothing yet unquestionable sadness. Their EP Knots is inspired by the work of the legendary psychiatrist and psychoanalyst R.D.Laing. It is released next Monday (June 16th) with the album launch – promoted by The Sage – at Gateshead Old Town Hall on 21st June.
PROVINCIALS – Mute Thy Coronation
When I heard the vocals on Mute Thy Coronation I thought it sounded awfully familiar. So after a little online digging and saw that the singer with Provincials is actually Polly Perry from Polly & The Billets Doux. Joining Perry are Steve Gibson and Seb Hunter from Crater. Perry’s venture with Provincials is quite a shift in direction from her ubeat, folky-americana with Polly & The Billets Doux. Mute Thy Coronation is a very dark, ethereal alt-classical jazz soundscape. Poetic, brooding, resonant and menacing. It has an edge of Ennio Morricone about it and wouldn’t be out of place in the film The Mission. Mute Thy Coronation comes from the 8 track album Muhzik released today, Monday June 9th.
THE LATE PIONEERS – Fast Car
Fast Car has a great catchy momentum. Personally I would have liked it to be longer than 1:44 but perhaps that’s a deliberate pun and play on the song title?! If so then The Late Pioneers have been generous providing us with a track that lasts longer than their fast car which “goes from 0 to infinity in 5 seconds or less!” Its a great, catchy track with cheeky lyrics. Sadly as with a few other bands this week I’ve been unable to find much about them online apart from I think there’s possibly four of them and that they “went to the traveling fair and bought ice creams, rode the waltzers…” then decided to “make a Walbum.” This track Fast Car is on their resulting 10-track album – Walbum – which came out on June 3rd.
WONDER VILLAINS – Zola
Zola was a popular favourite with our listeners this weekend from the electric, rhythmic, 4 piece, indie-pop bunch Wonder Villains from Northern Ireland. Its hard not to like the catchy, high energy, synth-laced momentum of Zola, which is guaranteed to get even the shyest of folk up and moving. It’s the third track on Wonder Villains’ latest album Rocky – due for release on the 23rd of this month. You can pre-order the album on iTunes now or pop along to their album launch party in Belfast at Queens University SU on 21st June where you’ll be able to gain entry and bag an album ahead of its release for just £8. Reckon they’d be a lot of fun live!
PS from TR: If you’ve submitted a track that hasn’t made the Listening Post you’re welcome to re-submit it another week. If your music has appeared on the Listening Post but not in our Fresh Faves, feel free to send us an even stronger track another week.
But if we’ve recently featured you in our Fresh Faves – or on my BBC Introducing Mixtape – please wait three months before sending us another track, so we have space to help other deserving artists… For more info see Robinson Has A Good Old Moan.