Last week our moderators listened to 193 tunes that arrived in our inbox between Monday and Thursday, and picked their 25 favourites which we published over the weekend on our Listening Post. Our readers then collectively voted for their own personal favourites over the weekend – resulting in the set of tunes you can hear on this page: our Fresh Faves, picked jointly by moderators and readers alike. They’re reviewed this week by myself, your amiable host here at Fresh On The Net, Tom Robinson . You can hear all these tracks in a single Soundcloud playlist here.
CARNABELLS – Turn To Gold
Three minutes of tight, tidy powerpop from this self-proclaimed “guitar-thrashing, piano-bashing, feet-stamping rock-n-roll 5-piece” from an old mining village in the heart of Yorkshire – who we first featured on 6 Music Introducing back in September 2012 with their song Rock ‘n’ Roll Beat. Carnabells have been staunchly supported by BBC Introducing in their native West Yorkshire, not to mention Radio One, Amazing Radio and indeed the mighty Steve Lamacq at 6 Music. They gave an impressively sharp, storming performance on the BBC Introducing stage at Glastonbury last summer, and the success of this track on this weekend’s Listening Post goes to prove that their latest material has lost none of the band’s widespread appeal.
COVE HITHE – When The Rain Dries Up
Hmm. Some might say Cove Hithe were a tad greedy sending us music again just six weeks after getting airtime on both the BBC Introducing Mixtape and my live Saturday night show on 6 Music. We also played them back in August 2014 – and last May as well. But there you go – when quality musicians send in quality music, it does have a way of jumping out of the speakers and onto our Listening Post. And then the public get involved, and next thing you know said quality music is sitting there in our Fresh Faves ready for another promotional push here at Fresh On The Net – after all, The People Have Spoken. But do us a favour and leave it three months next time, fellas – there’s plenty of other, bigger blogs and radio outlets you could be sending your tunes to in the meantime. And there are hundreds of equally deserving artists out there who we haven’t had a chance to help yet – all of whom could have done with a slot on the Fresh Faves this week.
FORCED RANDOM – Under/Asleep
Forced Random is the music project of multi-instrumentalist Oliver Girdler, which he describes as his “melancholic dream”. This low-key, lo-fi soundscape Under/Asleep is taken from his 5-track EP I’m Still Here If You Want Me, released in January and available as an extremely limited-edited CD via his Bandcamp and at live gigs. This track tickled the fancy of a great many visitors to our Listening Post this weekend and if it tickles yours too, I’d also recommend checking out the EP’s opening track, Final Go.
JOHN BIBARD – J’marche La Nuit
The mysteriously shy and retiring John Bibard has a great many tunes available on his Soundcloud yet (apparently) no other online presence whatsoever… M.Bibard (“drunkard?”) may or may not be the same person as Nicolas Bihler – the guitarist with French busking trio Pense-Bête. But without any question at all, J’marche La Nuit is at least one of Pense-Bête‘s songs, dating back to 2007 and written – paroles et musique – by their accordionist Jacques Andrieu. And a very fine example of their trademark Swing Manouche (“gypsy swing”) it is too – Django Reinhardt would have been proud.
LESS THAN WORSE – Vladimir’s Putin His Dress On
Any song that includes the immortal line “homophobia – shove it up your arse” as its chorus is alright in my book, and I was delighted to see this great rambling punk splurgy mess of a song by Less Than Worse make into our Fresh Faves this week. This is the sound of a band having fun while engaged with the wider world around it – and never losing the twinkle in its collective eye. Vladimir’s Putin His Dress On is a track, they tell us, “off of our debut album/demo Iain Hunter’s Chip Shop Riot”. What, more aggro-punk from Sheerness on the Isle Of Sheppey? Bring it on.
MORO & THE SILENT REVOLUTION – Spike Milligan
Now here’s a thing. On the whole I’m not the world’s biggest fan of songwriters assuming a cultural identity other than the one they were born with, and this is the voice of a repented sinner talking. A man who, back in the days of punk rock, affected a (largely unsuccessful) mockney accent in an attempt to conceal my own middle class origins. Joe Strummer managed the trick altogether more successfully, and so – bless him – does Massimiliano Morini in this charming paen to British cultural icon Spike Milligan. Moro & The Silent Revolution seem to live largely in Italy, goddamn it, yet the man writes and produces charming English tweepop as if to the manner born. This particular piece of it is utterly irresistible, so let’s award Moro an honorary place in the pantheon of classic English pop eccentrics that is so obviously his spiritual home.
ROB BRAVERY – Knock Out Ginger
For the first twenty four seconds of halftime synthpop this track could have gone either way – so far, so normal, it sounded to me. And then – bang – Knock Down Ginger lived up to the promise of its arresting title with the arrival of a strong assured melody, tight convincing lyrics and Rob Bravery‘s hugely likeable vocal delivery. Nothing beats the real deal, and this my friends is exactly that – an instant earworm. Play loud and often, preferably on repeat.
SLIMDALI – Inevitable
Haha – we all know arch, upbeat electrofunky artpop when we hear it – and this is a pretty good example of the genre. SlimDali‘s very name hints at a fascination with the great Catalonian master of surrealism while the brief biog cites the likes of Talking Heads, Japan, Metronomy and the Human League. Which gives us a pretty good fix on where he (they?) is/are coming from both musically and culturally, though the songwriting sounds to me like a work in progress. More a fascinating manifesto – with considerable promise – than a fully realised masterwork that’s about to take the world’s radio playlists by storm. But definitely watch this space.
THE CORNER LAUGHERS – Fairytale Tourist
At last a female voice – and about time too. When our very own Debs McCoy posted her Fresh List #15 playlist for International Women’s day last week, it brought home just how far we have to go in terms of female artists achieving parity with pushy old men when it comes to musical exposure. Three cheers then for Corner Laughers‘ frontwoman, vocalist and uke player Karla Kane and their “snuggly, sassy, spacey pop music” – once again, a definition that’s hard to argue with – you get exactly what it says on the tin. Five years ago on 6 Music Introducing we played a song of theirs called For The Sake Of The Cat, released on the Popover label run by my old friend John Wesley Harding. How great to hear them still going strong, and on such fine form.
TOM HOLDEN – Wet Cement
Fast fingerpicked electric guitar played live through a noisy tremelo amp – plus oddball virtuoso drumming and an assured falsetto vocal – tell us that we’re in the hands of a Genuine Original. I’ve been listening to Tom Holden‘s Wet Cement half the afternoon and still don’t know what to make of it. And, frankly, that’s extremely welcome in a world where we’re swamped every week by tracks so tiresomely predictable they might as well be running on tramlines. Tracks whose destination boards are lit up so clearly one can be 100% certain where they’ll end up three and a half minutes later, and every calling point they’ll make along the way. Sorry: <rant mode =”off”>.
Having written the above I’ve just listened to Wet Cement yet again and it’s still the darnedest thing to come out of my speakers in the past seven days, and it still leaves me utterly baffled. Nothing for it, I’m just going to have to put it on the BBC Introducing Mixtape and let listeners decide for themselves.
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PS: 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.