Welcome to Fresh Faves Batch 139. Our moderators listened to all 180 tracks submitted to our inbox last week, and Listening Post readers voted for their top five favourites over the weekend.
The result is these 10 Fresh Faves chosen by you and reviewed by my colleague Matt Tasker – radio content producer at NowPlaying @6Music – who’s this week’s special guest reviewer. You can hear all these tracks in a single Soundcloud playlist here.
APACHE DARLING – Firebird
Hailing from Glasgow, Apache Darling are Stephanie Lawrence & Andrew Black – making synth pop undeniably reminiscent of fellow Scots, Chvrches. This tune Firebird broods moodily before swelling in waves of anger and sorrow, but with a pop melody at the heart. A support slot with Zola Jesus is already under their belt and with wide radio support, including on BBC 6 Music, these two are ones to look for on a summer festival line up near you.
FLOWER FELLOW – White & Blue
It’s hard not be amazed when you realise that Flower Fellow, aka Colette Olive, is only 17 years old. Her voice enchants from a soft whisper to a soaring crescendo, accompanied by pounding drums and towering strings. White & Blue is recommended for any Florence & The Machine fans.
FRETT – Silent Alarm
Silent Alarm is hazy piece of indie electronic from Suffolk two-piece Frett, reminiscent of a colourful, smoky dream. It’s a free download on Soundcloud so get it while you can! They have an upcoming gig at the fantastic Junction in Cambridge on March 21st if you’re in the vicinity.
JOHN JOSEPH BRILL – Muscle And Bone
With vocals akin to a lovechild of Jeff Buckley and Damon Albarn, this song Muscle And Bone is a slow burner that crescendos from atmospheric piano to a swelling of emotion. It rather beautifully expresses the pain that accompanies love and loss, “Lover can’t you see, just because I don’t cry doesn’t mean I don’t grieve”. It’s taken from John Jospeh Brill‘s upcoming EP Pieces, due to be launched with a London show in Islington on February 25th.
PAPER AEROPLANES – Good Love Lives On
Welsh duo Paper Aeroplanes have successfully balanced the tightrope of love songs (walking precariously between saccharine and tragedy) to make a soft heartfelt ballad. “Surrender your pride because happiness suits you” tugs particularly on the heartstrings. Expect more beauty on their forthcoming album J O Y, due out in April.
PETE NEWMAN CLARINET PROJECT – Cheap Black Plastic
It may have been the more obvious move to front this groovy jazz track with a saxophone, but it wouldn’t have been quite as much fun – and the Pete Newman Clarinet Project would have had to change its name! Pete’s storming solo work sounds so great because it’s unexpected and unusual, grabbing your attention like a funky wailing banshee. You can hear the whole of his album Time For Your Bathysphere in full on his Bandcamp for even more clarinetty goodness.
SARAH HEZEN – Flowery Meadows
There isn’t much to be found online around the subject of Sarah Hezen. Originally a Parisian, and now based in London, she makes ethereal downbeat electronic music. On Flowery Meadows an extraordinary vocal range accompanies spooky piano and beats – it succeeds in feeling somewhat creepy and uncomfortable, undoubtedly deliberately.
SQUINANCYWORT – Throwing The This
Grab your best headphones for this one. With its odd repetitions, loops, beats and water drop sounds Throwing The This is a transportation to another subterranean world. A bit like Under The Sea if Sebastian the crab had discovered synths, acid and strobe lighting. You can enjoy this and other ethereal mind-benders on the multiple free-to-download Squinancywort albums to be found online.
THE DLX – Let Go
Hailing from Mississippi, USA, The DLX are Shawn Chambliss, Mark Wheat and Joy Wheat. As with any music that involves both ukulele and xylophone, it comes dangerously close to getting slapped with the label of ‘twee’. But as it happens, Let Go is instead a charming, relaxed and carefree listen. If you’ve still got even the smallest bit of teenage angst in your heart then you understand what this song is about. For a debut single, it’s a very promising start.
THE LITTLE UNSAID – Hunger
Back to the good ol’ acoustic guitar and voice. This is minimal performance of finger-picking and vocals but gorgeously produced. The Little Unsaid is the project of multi-instrumentalist John Elliott: he puts in a spellbinding performance which, if you close your eyes, makes you feel the sun on your face and the wind in your hair. With so many tricks and whizzes in modern music, this is the one for the purists where the talent just shines through.
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.