Artists at a glance
NEW HISPANIC MUSIC
AMETHYSTS – Alone
Alone was a popular track on this week’s Listening Post with both listeners and moderators alike. It’s a polished, understated and lovely thing, with sweet harmonies and plenty of space. Perhaps my only gripe is that the last minute is just filling in time.
Unfortunately, the only information I’ve managed to find about Amethysts themselves is one thing from their Facebook page, which says they’re a “New band from Cambridge”, with Alone their first and only track. This paucity of information from artists is a frequent bugbear for us on Fresh On The Net, and the world of new music in general.
EEVILTWYNNE – Left In
Left In is a Moby-esque track with a sample from Mahalia Jackson’s performance of “A City Called Heaven”, and it sounds great, with strings, atmosphere and well-crafted beats and breaks.
Again, I can provide no information about EevilTwynne beyond the fact that they are from Sheffield, have a number of tracks on their Soundcloud profile of varying styles, and may have spilt something on their computer keyboard. A web search gleans nothing, despite the distinctive spelling. Even if you are a solo bedroom producer messing around on a laptop, it’s important to tell your story. You might not think it’s interesting or relevant, but the rest of us will.
KASSASSIN STREET – To Be Young
I love the sound of this band, dazzling and full of verve. Interestingly, having heard all three tracks now, only Centre Straight Atom has a truly distinctive chorus, which seems unusual for a band who always sound set to deliver one, and I did wonder whether To Be Young suffers a little for the lack of anything more than “We could’ve been someone / To be young” and that “do-do-do” bridge, which sees it steam along without reaching a destination. But given the subject matter, I suppose that is the point! In any case, I love this track, as do a lot of people on the Listening Post and beyond, with it making XFM’s evening playlist and enjoying oodles of online love.
To Be Young is the third single from the Southsea band, released today. They’ll be playing at BLEACH in Brighton this coming Thursday and The Old Blue Last in Shoreditch on Friday, with free entry for the latter.
KATEY BROOKS – Only One
From slickly produced pop to one woman and a guitar, London-based Katey Brooks gives a commanding performance in Only One, a song that almost summons her perfect partner into being. That cosmic ordering and a sonic touch of Americana all clicks into place when you read Katey’s backstory. “Born and raised in a commune setting between Bristol, London and Arizona, to hippy music-loving parents,” her bio begins, and goes on to cite influences and vocal comparisons that confirm a melting pot of transatlantic ingredients.
Only One is a new track that Katey has released in preparation for her new album, and there’s a great video for it available via the track’s Soundcloud page too. This is Katey’s third appearance in the Fresh Faves, and she was played by Tom on his BBC Introducing show on 6 Music back in 2010 too, with additional appearances on the Mixtape over the last few years.
SOTOMAYOR – Morenita
My Spanish es muy mal these days, geared more towards practical concerns like ordering beer and asking why there’s a banana in the toilet. The word “morenita” is apparently a complimentary term for a dark-skinned hispanic woman (a portmanteau of “moreno” for brown/dark and “señorita”, if that helps) who we find (if I’ve got this right) “Looking at your shadow, legs, the sea and sun.” I think that’s enough to go on, and does it matter what it’s about? No! This infectious thing got many of our listeners dancing and rubbing up against each other “by accident”. Nobody seemed to mind.
So who are Sotomayor, these masters of Latin American groove? We need to dive into Mexico’s independent music scene to find out. Based in Mexico City, the band gets its name from siblings Raul and Paulina Sotomayor, who provide the music and vocals respectively, with production by Edi Kistler of 90s-formed rock trio, Liquits. With Raul also one half of Beat Buffet, and Paulina the percussionist in Jefes del Desierto, this sounds like the reverse of what normally happens: siblings who started out separately have now come together to make this. It’s a winning formula, because this was our most popular track this week. I checked out some of the other acts mentioned above and would recommend you do the same if you like what you’ve heard here, or wish to be transported to another place.
Morenita is part of the album Salvaje, which is available to hear in full on their Soundcloud page and can be bought from iTunes.
Note that this track was incorrectly credited to “New Hispanic Music” on the Listening Post. If you’re submitting a track, particularly when the Soundcloud name doesn’t match the band’s, please use the form “ARTIST – Trackname” to ensure artists get credit they deserve.
NILÜFER YANYA – Monsters Under The Bed
“They all say I’m not myself, but the feeling’s good,” sings Nilüfer Yanya in Monsters Under The Bed, a dark, guitar-led number in which she claims to have nocturnal company, but nobody believes her. It’s OK, we do, and Monsters Under The Bed caught the ears of many of our moderators and regulars.
Not lacking a sense of humour, Nilüfer describes herself as a “Soulful indie one piece from London”, has a few tracks on her Soundcloud page already and recorded this at Riverfish Studios in Penzance at the end of last year. She’s also been gigging around London, has been played by Gary Crowley on BBC Introducing London and on Amazing Radio’s The Other Woman with Ruth Barnes. I expect we’ll be hearing more from her soon.
OLA SZMIDT – Enveloped With Shutter Speed
Ola Szmidt has recently joined Fresh On The Net as a moderator. Tom recruited her after she went through the entire inbox he posted a couple of months back. Many of our moderators are musicians plucked from these very pages, and they’re free to continue to submit music like anyone else, although sometimes they do it anonymously. We get sent more great stuff than we can possibly feature, so plenty of those tunes will be among those we simply don’t have room to include.
Ola was surprised at her inclusion in this week’s Listening Post; she only intended to share her new track with the team. But why wouldn’t we put it forward? And why wouldn’t our listeners love it? It’s brilliant! The title sums up the concept: snapshots of time, the singer frozen in a frame, everything moving around her. “I’m here, but somewhere else.” Sometimes the vocals are cleverly reversed or fold over one another, as though the film wasn’t wound on properly.
Prior to joining as a moderator, Ola was no stranger to Fresh On The Net, having appeared in Fresh Faves Batch 90 and on Tom’s Introducing Mixtape five times in just over a year. Another of Ola’s tracks, dedicated to her daughter, was featured on the Bandcamp Weekly show last week too. Based in York, Ola specialises in live looping and electronics using voice, flute, toys, detuned guitars and ethnic instruments.
You know where to come for some of the most interesting and innovative musicians in the world, don’t you!
SCARLET – Anyway
Possibly the poppiest tune of the week, Anyway is a defiant breakup song by Scarlet and produced by John Murray (Lapsley, Aquillo, Decade, In Casino Out).
Formed in February 2014 in that musical backwater, Liverpool, Scarlet are a five piece fronted by Jessie ‘Scarlet’ Robinson, formerly of The Thespians, and have no shortage of plays and plaudits from the likes of Getintothis (aka GIT), BBC Introducing in Merseyside, Guy Garvey and Amazing Radio, and recently supported Bob Geldof and the Boomtown Rats on tour.
Anyway is due for release on April 6 and is taken from the band’s debut EP, Fishes, which will be out on May 4. During April Scarlet will be making live appearances in London, Sheffield and an EP launch event in Liverpool at the end of the month.
TRUE ADVENTURES – North Atlantic Ocean
We wrap up the Faves with North Atlantic Ocean, a song about lost love by True Adventures, the nom de plume of Norwich-based singer-songwriter Samuel Leonard Keith Leonard (yes, that is one person), backed by Wooden Arms, who are very well known to us, having appeared in their own right in Fresh Fave batches 96 and 102 and on Tom’s Introducing Mixtape a few times too.
I probably quote too many lyrics when I do these write-ups, but I couldn’t help but admire the leap taken in the repeated verse “If you think it’ll be alright in the morning, tonight’s the night the truth comes out. Everyone is moving to London, what am I gonna do now?”
Keep doing what you’re doing, I say. North Atlantic Ocean is True Adventures’ debut single and will be released digitally on April 27.
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.