Here are this week’s Fresh Faves – chosen by our readers over the weekend and reviewed by Team Freshnet moderator Jim Craigen from AlternativeFriday.com. You can hear all these tracks in a single Soundcloud playlist here.
As always, we had a high quality and wonderfully eclectic mix in the Listening Post at the weekend, and so thank you to the musicians who submitted tracks, and the voters who trimmed the 25 selected songs down to the 10 that make this week’s Fresh Faves. They take us from cinematic folk to afrobeat, via the genre-schizophrenic and Judy Garland! Oh, and we need YOUR help to write a bio for Basil too. Thanks.
A BAND CALLED QUINN – Drive With Your Eyes Closed
Fronted by songwriter and vocalist Louise Quinn, A Band Called Quinn are an artpop band from Glasgow, noting that they “mix up film, theatre & music like space socks at a psychedelic laundrette”. In this case, ‘artpop’ can be expanded to be described as shoegaze or electro pop, while the various remixes (on Soundcloud) of Drive With Your Eyes Closed would happily keep dance floor revellers busy. The band also note their interests as “alien abduction, conspiracy theories, warped realities, and golf”, all of which I concur with, except for the one that ruins a good walk.
BANGBANGROMEO – Johannesburg
Is Johannesburg a modern anthem or a 60’s influenced classic? Either way, Yorkshire band Bank Bang Romeo have produced a rousing and soulful gem, with powerful vocals, booming brass, and a highly addictive chorus which sucks you in. If it’s not yet coming through your hi-fi speakers, I’m sure this track will be coming out of your telly speakers in an advert or TV show sometime soon.
BASIL BOARBRUS – Lullaby
This is a charming folk lullaby, with warm vocals, soft acoustic guitar, and gentle lyrics which are sung to a newborn child;
If you dream
Dream one little thing for me
Not glory or applause
There’ll be time for these of course
But for now dream little things…
It’s a delightful song, but at first I thought I wouldn’t be able to tell you anything about the highly mysterious Basil Boarbrus (he has no online presence, bar the one track) until I found out he was fellow moderator Louis Barabbas. Given his lack of online bio though, I suggest we all use the COMMENTS BOX at the bottom to create Basil’s bio for him! What could possibly go wrong?
COLLOCUTOR – Gozo
According to their website, Collocutor means ‘a person taking part in a conversation’, and this 7-piece ensemble definitely seem to vary the musical conversation far and wide. They draw their influences from many places, such as jazz, afrobeat, Indian classical, Ethiopian roots, and choral music, which bring a wonderfully broad range of sounds to their music. Gozo could be filed under the jazz afrobeat section, with the mix of brass and percussion creating a moody atmosphere, and one where vocals are not required to give the song a journey, as the instrumentation works just fine.
Confusion reigned at first. Surely she can’t be classed as an independent new music artist, and she sang about wizards, not frogs, didn’t she? It is therefore a good thing we use an ‘ARTIST – track’ formatting system here, so luckily I wasn’t confused for too long (it doesn’t take much!). Frog are a two man band from Queens, New York, comprising of Dan Bateman and Thomas White, and this cheerful alternative country track, which features distinctive but harmonious vocals and some contagiously animated instrumentation, definitely won over our voters at the weekend.
HODGES – All Up With You
Hodges are a virtual rock band, and so background information on them is a little sparse. On top of that, this loud and fuzzy track, which has highly appealing guitar and vocal melodies running through it… is sung in Japanese! Now my Japanese is a bit rusty, but I think I understood the first few lines, which are translated as;
One mistake followed another
The world that you believed in disappeared
But you are living now
The light went out
Okay, I’ll hold my hands up. My Japanese is non-existent, but thankfully the band’s Soundcloud page has the English translation of the lyrics, so I do recommend you head there to hear more of their entertaining tunes.
This energetic electro post-punk track from Anglo Brazilian trio Plastique certainly hits the spot if you like it loud. They’ve had two independently released albums, in 2011 and 2013, and Quake is the first release from their new material, which is exactly three minutes of attitude on an industrial scale, full of bruised lyrics and dark synth driven hooks. I wouldn’t play it to your nan.
REBEL KITES – The Witnessing
With a genre perfectly self-described as “cinematic folk rock”, you could also add the words epic, breezy, and rousing, to the title track from Rebel Kites’ debut EP. It contains numerous musical layers, which include rich vocal harmonies and intricate guitar work among other stand out components, and the production certainly combines to bring everything to the fore with a seemingly effortless ease.
TEAM MORALE – Totoro
Gaining recognition from the likes of BBC Radio’s Lauren Laverne and Abbie McCarthy, Clash and Q magazines, and now Fresh on the Net, Team Morale certainly stirred the voters with Totoro’s instrumental mix of ambient electro with subtle percussion. Team Morale is made up of Kent based George Cloke and Oli Dewdney, and this track comes from their 5-track Satori EP. Ideal for late night dance-floor revellers.
TSINDER ASH – Weapons
Described fondly by one of my moderating colleagues as “mad as a box of sharks”, and with his own bio noting he’s a “genre-schizophrenic multi-instrumentalist and singer who blends off-kilter melodies and dark lyrics with vocals traversing from a deep blues to whimsical folk”, there seems little point in me trying to compete with that. I’ll just add that Weapons comes from London based Tsinder Ash’s latest EP; The Carbon Of Your Delight. It’s very impressive, quite unique, and yes, mad as a box of sharks.
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.