Our reviewer for this week’s Fresh Faves – chosen by our readers – comes from journalist, compiler, DJ, producer and all round Good Egg, Phil Meadley – author of our guest post last March on Electronic Music.
You can hear all these tracks in a single Soundcloud playlist here.
ANIMAL NOISE – Alright
Colchester three-piece Animal Noise say that the music they create is “formed of bruised, beaten and battered acoustic dance”. On this track I can’t hear dance, or even bruised and battered, but I can hear Jose Gonzalez – someone who they compare themselves to in their Facebook biog. There is certainly a strong acoustic guitar bent to their understated ruminations. I like the melancholic quality of the playing and vocals of Josh and Birdy; a slight Wild Beasts thing going on there. There’s also a nice stopgap animation video that accompanies this tune. It’s a grower.
AUGUST AND AFTER – Set Sail
Their name, and indeed their rather melancholy, thoughtful sound couldn’t be more apt for review in late October. August And After consists of Cambridge guitarist/vocalist duo Ned Mortimer and Vedantha Kumar, plus London (where the band is now based) violinist Jordan Bergmans. They describe themselves as classically inspired indie folk, and that describes their music perfectly. There’s also an imaginative animated video by Alice de Barrau to accompany this rather lovely tune.
FOLLOWER #7 – A New Atmosphere
Follower #7 is Carlisle-based singer/songwriter and electronic producer John Laval. Obviously a talented chap with his classical background (piano and French horn), he’s an adept vocalist, and with the lovely glitchy textures he molds here there’s a definite connection to the likes of Tom Vek and Thom Yorke. For me, sonically, it’s probably the most inventive of the Fresh Faves this week. Again a melancholic air pervades, but listening to other tunes on his soundcloud page, it sounds like he can mix it up nicely, which I heartily encourage him to do. One to watch in the coming months.
KASSASSIN STREET – Centre Straight Atom
I like this lot. Based in Portsmouth, Kassassin Street describe themselves simply as a “psychedelic band”. They remind me quite a lot of Kasabian especially in the way the track builds, giving it that familiar anthemic quality so reminiscent of the latter. The singer also sounds a bit like Crispian Mills, and their track The Royal Handkerchief Ballet evokes the spirit of Kula Shaker. Centre Straight Atom is a catchy, rousing guitar driven number with sixties mod-psychedelia undertones. Expect big things from them.
MIKE VASS – Heave And Roll
Mike Vass has a very good website that he’d do well to connect to his Soundcloud page. Winner of Composer of the Year at the MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards in 2012, his website says that he’s “regarded as one of Scotland’s finest fiddle players”. That’s quite some claim considering the competition, but Heave And Roll is certainly one of the more inventive fiddle fusion pieces that I’ve heard. His fiddle playing is accompanied by a 4/4 house beat plus various instrumentation, and lovely textures are created because of that. That said it drifts along a bit, even though there’s quite a rousing finale. Maybe some vocals would’ve helped to mix it up a bit. Still, it’s a pleasant listen.
MORO & THE SILENT REVOLUTION – Golden
There’s definitely something in the Autumnal air this week. Yet another whimsical indie-folk tune makes the grade, but this is a rather lovely number by Moro & The Silent Revolution – aka Italian singer/songwriter Massimiliano Morini from Forlí in central Italy. He references McCartney, Paul Simon, and Crosby Steals The Stash (OK, Crosby Stills & Nash) amongst others. There’s definitely more of the latter two referenced here. His band The Silent Revolution consists of Lorenzo Gasperoni, Franco Naddei, and Denis Valentini on batteria (yes, that’s Italian for drums, but it sounded good). It’s very retro, but nicely done.
THE AGES – Till They Do
I’m actually starting to think that I may have been transported back in time to the late sixties/early seventies… actually that is no bad thing for me, at least in a musical sense. At least not when it comes to whimsical psychedelia, or pretty much any psychedelia for that matter. The Ages are based in St Albans, a rather lovely place where they won a Battle Of the Bands competition in 2012. They’ve featured on BBC Introducing, and you can hear why. Again, at the risk of repeating myself, I’m hearing a Crosby Stills & Nash influence here, and also in a more contemporary sense, The Bees or Fleet Foxes at their most stoned. Nice sounds chaps. Shame you weren’t around at the time of Woodstock, but I predict bright things for you.
THE DEL ZORROS- Our Little World
The Del Zorros sound like they’ve been locked in a bathroom since the late fifties, and stylistically they look like a Rutles tribute act (the irony of that statement isn’t lost on me…), but this twin brother combo from Boston certainly conjures up an authentically retro sound. While I’m not entirely convinced that it’s my cup of tea, there’s a pleasant kind of innocence to it that appeals. Musical inspirations are The Everly Brothers, The Beatles and other bands of that ilk.
THE THYME MACHINE – The Amateur Taxidermist’s Bird
The lead singer dresses in a rather disturbing animal onesie live (if the photos on their website are anything to go by), and describe themselves as a “Lo-Fi Glam Surf Indie Pop band”, but this Lancastrian band The Thyme Machine is great fun (at the risk of sounding very middle classed). They remind me of a mix between Half Man Half Biscuit and Jarvis Cocker. The lyrics are funny and sardonic. A great example of this is the line “they filled me with stuffing and put me next to this Puffin”. Genius. Anyone who writes lyrics like that is OK in my books. Possibly my favourite track this week, and certainly the best track name.
ZACH HURD – Wasteland City
Zach Hurd looks like a very serious chap who’s based in Brooklyn, NY (he’s originally from Maine). He’s a singer/songwriter with a slight country bent who, on initial listen, reminded me of Billy Bragg (don’t ask me why… it only lasted for a couple of seconds). I believe this is taken from his forthcoming album A Million Little Lights. It’s a pleasant enough listen, a little bit reminiscent of Ryan Adams but with less edge. While not really to my personal tastes, FOTN readers liked Wasteland City a lot this weekend. It’s done and could have commercial appeal in the long term.
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.
As a music journalist Phil has written for the likes of The Independent, Observer Music Monthly, Songlines, and The New Statesman, and has interviewed the likes of Massive Attack, Moby, Gogol Bordello, Steve Reich, Herbie Hancock, David Byrne, Damon Albarn, Richard Thompson, The Orb, Gang Of Four, Balkan Beat Box, Placebo, Air, Zero 7, KT Tunstall, Rufus Wainwright, and TV On The Radio.
As a compiler he’s released over sixty titles including ‘Miriam Makeba: South African Skylark’, ‘Kelly Joe Phelps: Roll Away The Blues’, Run Devils & Demons: The Best Of Transglobal Underground’, ‘Eastern Bloc Funk Experience’, ‘Beginner’s Guide To Eastern Europe’, ‘The Essential Guide To Arabia’, ‘Beginner’s Guide To Africa’, ‘Beginner’s Guide To Brass’, ‘Beginner’s Guide To New Orleans’ and many more.
As a DJ he’s part of The Outernationalists with Simon Emmerson (of the Afro-Celt Sound System and The Imagined Village) as well as DJing events in his own right. These have included support slots for the likes of Gotan Project and Misty In Roots.
As a producer he makes music under the name Lucidity Lo-Fi and is something to do with The Gaslight Troubadours, although he refuses to explain what his role actually is. Perhaps he’s just the tea boy for Professor Singleton Purblind and Lon Lippincott…