Welcome to Fresh Faves Batch 138. Our moderators listened to all 170 tracks submitted to our inbox last week, and Listening Post readers voted for their top five favourites over the weekend.
ELLA SQUIRRELL – Quiet Fire
Having recently moved to London, Ella Squirrell has sought to set her new found home city to music, saying that “I want to capture the many stories played out here and give in to the sensory stimulation of this urban place and its people, one of whom I am rapidly becoming.” Quiet Fire is a smooth introduction to her music, a track which is one Zero 7 remix away from becoming a mainstay on every Ministry of Sound chill-out compilation for the next ten years.
FAT SPATULA – Mr Snitch
90s American-inspired slacker-rock seems to have been making a comeback of sorts in the past year or so, with a wave of new bands coming through who owe a great debt to its legacy. Coming off the back of this is York band Fat Spatula, who recently released their self-titled E.P as a cassette tape (because music is more fun when you need to stick a pen through it to fix it when it breaks). Mr Snitch is taken from the E.P, and is a great example of decent, Pavement-esque lo-fi rock.
FILTER DISTORTION – Frequency Modulation
Filter Distortion are a 4-piece electronic band from Liverpool, who released their debut album, Transition, at the tail end of last year. Taken from that album is Frequency Modulation, a song which has invited some comparison with Public Service Broadcasting through its use of informative vocal samples (although the band usually have live vocals on their tracks), underpinned by some fantastic 80s electronic production that would sound right at home on the Drive soundtrack. If you’re not chanting “frequency, modulation, synthesis, oscillation” in rhythm by the time the song is over, then you’ve got a much stronger will than me.
GARDEN OF ELKS – This Morning We Are Astronauts
I do love songs that can be best described as “short, sharp shocks”, and This Morning We Are Astronauts by Scottish indie-rock band Garden of Elks seems to fit rather nicely into all of those categories. Clocking in just over the two minute mark, the song is full of an energy so pure that it could only have been crafted by a group of boffins at the CERN Research Facility. They’ve got an album due out in April, and if they can deliver 10 other songs as punchy as this, I’ll have no issues in handing over my hard earned cash for it.
HEYROCCO – Elsewhere
Some more 90s inspired rock for you, this time in the shape of South Carolina based band HEYROCCO. The band describe themselves, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, as “Disney-grunge”, which seems as apt a description of their song “Elsewhere”, a fuzzy slice of rock that calls to mind luminaries like Stroke 9 and Velvet Crush.
MARTHA BEAN – Song Of The Sea
Leicester based folk musician Martha Bean was the runaway favourite among the denizens of the Listening Post this week, with her tune Song of The Sea. And it’s not too hard to see why so many were completely smitten by it, as it is a song full of charm, delicateness, and pure, unadulterated loveliness (plus it’s a bit nautical, which I’m instantly inclined to enjoy). She’s picked up support slots with Seth Lakeman and Marika Hackman in the past, and if Song of The Sea is anything to go by, she is going to pick up a whole lot of new admirers as well.
PAUL WILKES – River Running With Me
There’s something just something irresistible about well put together orchestral-pop tunes. Like River Running With Me, by former Wilson Minds member Paul Wilkes. The song is reminiscent of offerings from both Richard Ashcroft and Richard Hawley, and is a fine piece of tuneful wistfulness.
PURE YOUTH – New November
Do you ever hear a song and think to yourself “that song is going to smash the Top 40”? Well, one listen to New November by London band Pure Youth was all it took for those thoughts to shoot through my synapses. The song is a bona-fide pop banger that comes off like a less guitar-phobic Bastille, and culminates in a roaring skyscraper of noise that just demands you attention. Keep an ear out for New November in the future, because Pure Youth already have a song that feels like a hit. Five quid says we’ll be hearing it on the UK Top 40 chart within the next 15 months.
SHEIKH – Fonda
It’s not often that we hear a band who formed in Bahrain on the Listening Post, so it’s wonderful to hear from the 4-piece SHEIKH. Now based in London, Fonda is their debut single, which is somewhat hard to believe given how fully formed the band sounds already. With production coming from Ian Dowling, who’s also worked with Bombay Bicycle Club and Catfish & The Bottlemen, the song evokes the sort of atmospheric indie-rock that made Foals’ third album so insatiable. If this is what they sound like when they’ve just came off the starting block, just imagine how great they’re going to be once they reach the chequered flag.
THE BALTIC STATES – Silent Deep
And closing off this week’s Fresh Favourites is Liverpool act The Baltic States, a group who are by no means strangers to the Listening Post. Silent Deep is a slice of sleek, deep Massive Attack-style trip-hop that envelops you and doesn’t let you go until you are fully entranced. Plus, you’ve got to love a band that end their tunes with an extended trumpet solo.
PS from TR: If you’ve submitted a track that hasn’t made the Fresh Faves or BBC Introducing Mixtape you’re welcome to try sending us a different tune another week. But if we’ve recently featured you in our Fresh Faves – or on my BBC Introducing Mixtape – please wait 12 weeks before sending us another track, so we have space to help other deserving artists… For more info see this blog post.