Artists at a glance
These Fresh Faves were picked by our readers over the weekend – and reviewed by Fresh On The Net’s Glenn Maltman this week. You can hear all these tracks in a single Soundcloud playlist here.
BERENICE SCOTT – Walls Cave In
Taken from Berenice Scott‘s album Polarity, this track opens with gorgeous water droplets of piano notes — I’m hooked, well I am a keyboard player! Berenice’s vocal, a vocal so pure I feel I’m committing a crime by slowly swaying on my squeaky office chair as I listen, is beautiful. At the arrival of the chorus line I can’t help but close my eyes and fall into the arms of this tune. As we move into the tune, a cracking change in which the bass line dances its own staccato dance is a super piece of arranging.
That’s the thing with this track, it’s filled with stunning musical and vocal touches that constantly change ever so slightly and that are played by musicians who know their instruments and styles; add to that a voice which you feel you’ve been washed in holy water after hearing and in my opinion this tune is damn near a perfect listen to ears and minds that need soothing.
CAJITA – Broken Glass
Okay, the first couple of bars didn’t grab me immediately, I didn’t know what to expect, but hey the unexpected is a good thing right? But then Broken Glass, from the Tiny Ghosts album available at Bandcamp, serves up a stunning vocal harmony and I’m there with it totally. “Fly”, “caught” and “web” come to mind. There’s an acoustic guitar line that has me hypnotised as this chant like vocal throughout the track casts it spell on me.
Cajita is Jay Chakravorty a “multi-instrumentalist songwriter and producer” and a bleeding good one too in my humble. I really didn’t think this tune was going to be me, but those vocals in particular have left a haunting lovely loneliness in me that wants to place the track on repeat, and who am I to argue with that feeling.
ELLA SQUIRRELL – Loop
It’s nice to have a tune that comes shuffling in so lazily tight. A kind of musical stretch and yawn on a new bright day intro. Ella Squirrell‘s voice is bang on. She slides like a skate blade on ice so easily to lower notes; lower notes that have a gorgeous bass whisper to them, that made me repeat them again and again to listen just once more. This subtle slide clearly showing to me a vocalist fully in control of her instrument.
The electric piano keeps us grooving with some added flourishes, well-judged flourishes too because we all know badly judged flourishes can get you in trouble with the law! Loop is a summer lemonade cool tune, a great piece of music with a lovely flowing lyric. And hey, you give me vibes and clarinet as Ella has then you got a friend in me. Loop is taken from Ella’s EP of the same name and available at iTunes.
FELDSPAR – Five Years
Five-piece London band Feldspar have given me a great big lyrical stab, a punch if you will in their lyric “if I can’t have you no one can.” It’s a line sang so damn good that it really lashes out at me to the point that I feel I should duck and shimmy out of its way. Lovely use of guitars on this track, several different guitar lines and effects all coming together brilliantly. The vocal leads eventually to an almost operatic feel, a great piece of arranging, and along with the crashing of tight drums and bass this is a tune that builds to an epic sound. Oh I can see the stadium crowds singing along with this one.
FENNEL SEEDS – Something For Everyone
That intro threw my shape throwing right out of kilter. Just as I think “here comes the band”, there’s another hi-hat bash to throw my lady-impressing moves right out the window. Caz Ginsberg, the talented man behind this sound could be responsible for me remaining single! Ah well. There’s a whopping dollop of strummy guitar in this one, at times particularly on the fade out it even reminds me of Dick Dale twanging away.
Fennel Seeds nailed the tempo with this tune, any slower and I think the rhythm could have become tired, but it doesn’t. And again, as with others in this fave list, a subtle change in guitar lines really keeps the ears pricked! The vocal has a heartfelt tinge to it, something I didn’t expect when the tune started, but it really works. Also fade-outs and me don’t normally get on, but the volume enhanced vocal harmonies and the afore mentioned Dick Dale guitar as all else fades around works really well.
GALGO – Kinky Booba
From the suburbs of Barcelona, Spain, Galgo bring us a right ole banger. The talk style verse reminds me of Spanish Stroll by Mink DeVille. There’s some great lyrics in these verses that raise a smile and conjure up a great scene. These verses are supported by huge guitar driven choruses. Masses of energy make this a track that’s damn easy to get into and to want to know more about these guys. So let’s have a little bit more info from the performers themselves: “Our sound is all about instinct, romanticism, strong and powerful melodies, love & hate”. Well we got all that in this track. Nice one.
JULIETTE ASHBY – Grow Like A Seed
The tom-toms roll in to an unmistakable reggae number. Automatically my head is giving it front and back big time. Juliette Ashby‘s tone is perfect for this style, she flows with a slow bobbing on a small wave ease. Reggae needs the tightness of bass and drums, and tightness we have here. A guitar striking like the grandfather clock that never stops and never drops a beat, keeps the other half of my head happy.
Juliette has her debut album, Over & Over out this month and that is where you’ll find this track. Juliette’s SoundCloud bio tells me Juliette’s music “is a combination of R&B, Reggae and Neo-Soul”. So I’ll take it her new album will be these sounds. Not normally what I go in for, but after hearing Grow Like A Seed I’ll certainly be checking more of Juliette’s work out.
MARINA FLORANCE – Little Black Cloud
A lovely honest song this. With Marina Florence‘s voice, accent, and feelings coming through so clearly. The guitar giving a simple, subtle harp like backing with a sprinkle of percussion. And this is all that’s needed to let the story of that little black cloud shine through, or should that be let the rain through? It’s coming right from the soul this song and Marina’s voice is such a calm storyteller.
Not many artists make me listen to, not just the words, but the sound of those words, I mean every ‘S’ and every ‘T’, but Marina’s voice did make me do that. An incredibly smooth, real and natural voice and talent. Beautiful.
SCUMBAGS – Dude, I’m Totally High
Ouch! My earphones were on full and man did these guys let me know they’d arrived in my audio holes! Of course there’s no point asking for help with my tinnitus as Scumbags are “totally high”. A massive sound here, a party sound that I can see many a table being left with footprints on. An almost robotic sounding vocal really does work. HUGE guitars played tight and with leg apart windmilling passion. Bass and drums stomping, keeping it moving down lane three of the musical motorway. And a chorus that I now have permanently etched in my repeat and play part of my brain. The song has a simple structure but is a short energy-packed track and so works well. And the word “short” helps here, if this track was any longer then I think another change musically may have been needed, as it is though it’s a corker. Now does anyone know how to remove melted earphones from my head please?
TESSERA SKIES – Out Of Sight
There’s some nice Mick Fleetwood-type drumming going on here to my lugs. In fact it’s a track I could here Lord Fleetwood Of Mac doing. Especially with Lindsey Buckingham on board. But it ain’t the Mac, it’s Tessera Skies and it’s a tune that’s a stayer in the mind. I’m liking that reverb vocal, really floats in and out so well. And a great voice it is too. And yet again I’m taken with some lovely production touches, just those little changes in guitar lines, percussion and harmonies show a maturity that’s needed to go from good to great. And I’m plumping on great after hearing this track.
And yes, oh yes, they hail from my wonderful North East. Me biased? How very dare you! You just listen and tell me this isn’t a great track. So let me say to these three clever lot (Mark, Matt and Ben) Howay the lads!
THOSE UNFORTUNATES – Wish That I Could…
Who’s Malcolm? Well it’s a tribute to the great Malcolm McDowell. Love the name of this band too, Those Unfortunates, taken from novelist BS Johnson’s 1969 “Book In A Box”. A 60’s organ opening takes us neatly to the tune, with the bass telling us tightly what the melody is. This is a tight 4-piece with a song that has that timeless sound to it. I would not have been surprised to be told this track was blasting out the radio speaker in ’71, a great year indeed. Or even to be hearing it way, way down the future as I sit bent forward in my chair in the stuffy nursing home, telling all the old dears I used to be a keyboard player. It’s a song that just sounds right for every era.
Energy and passion are obvious from the get go. It’s a must for the radio, it’s a one you turn up when your VW engine is getting in the road, then turn back down when the more mundane returns to the airwaves. These London music makers (Ben Brill, Magnus Alanko, Henry Bird, Seb Brennan) have done good in my book.
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.