Welcome to Fresh Faves Batch 158. Our moderators listened to all tracks submitted to our inbox last week, and Listening Post readers voted for their top five favourites over the weekend.
The result is these Fresh Faves and, dear readers, this week please welcome Goldsmiths Music Graduate and new Fresh On The Net recruit Benji Tranter to review them for us. You can hear all these tracks in a single Soundcloud playlist here.
AUCTION FOR THE PROMISE CLUB – This May Hurt
This May Hurt, by Cornwall based three-piece Auction for the Promise Club, is a track that knows how to manipulate the listener. You don’t get too much too soon, which means that when the shamelessly mid-noughties- indie (a good thing) chorus comes around, it really hits home. Likewise, strip away those machinegun guitars for a second and a dancing piano line is revealed that you crave to reappear. The quirky pronunciation/phrasing of Lead singer Zoe White Chambers (example: “you set your sights/up great heights up”) are strangely endearing. All of this combines to make this track dangerously addictive after only one listen.
BLACK CASINO & THE GHOST – Age of Contagion
Singer Elisa Zoot’s alluring tones have something of Dusty Springfield’s pure and flat delivery about them. But where Dusty went for nonchalance, Eliza opts for power. “I’m gonna give you one last taste of danger” she relentlessly insists – inviting you to join her – in the vein of some manic pixie dreamgirl. The insistent bass and incredible chorus melody will keep this track firmly on repeat. Black Casino & The Ghost hail from London and consist of Elisa plus Ariel Lerner, Gary Kilminster and Paul Winter-Hart.
HEROICS – New Lovers
Here we have the elusive (and impossibly-hard-to-find-on-Google) Heroics – and this track New Lovers is attractively clean guitar Indie. The staccato vocal that accompanies this appears to almost take the singer by surprise – in true David Byrne-esque fashion. I love that playful verse lyric set-up of “got yourself a new lover/do you love her?” There are hints and reminders of Young Knives here, but with an added sobriety. All in all, nice work Heroics – wherever you are… [In the end TR had to log onto the BBC Introducing admin pages to locate their official homepage and Twitter links below. See How To Write A Band Biog and why it matters.]
JOHN JOSEPH BRILL – Golden Kids
This slow building, melancholic tune from John Joseph Brill, is laced with insightful lyrics, lamenting the passage of time, but accepting that everything changes eventually – “we grew up too fast to make things last”. His vulnerability is strengthened by a steely resolve. The chorus of “All golden kids must turn to rust” seems to take the essence of the Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s Loss and Gain x Neil Young’s Hey Hey My My. And while this sentiment isn’t altogether matched by the music in the chorus, it certainly is in the deliberate and epic verses. Real promise here.
MANDY BINGHAM – Calm Before the Storm
This eerie, lonely number from Northern Ireland’s Mandy Bingham sounds like it’s floating slowly from a solitary radio in a dark, abandoned house; the cries of a soul with unfinished business in the land of the living. The longing “oohs” give this song more character and strength than the lyrics, which become secondary to the impressively overwhelming ambience of the song. Mandy’s EP, simply titled Vol. 1, is out now on Soundcloud.
OH SISTER – For the Dales
London based Oh Sister (Sarah, Emily, Sophie and Heather) have got the epic, ethereal sound down. They’ve taken Florence’s wild drums, and Enya’s airy backing vocals to create a sound greater than the sum its parts; a dark, powerful, and pulsing nucleus of sound. The undeniable simplicity of the verses actually out-performs its corresponding chorus, where the veil is lifted and the darkness vanishes – darkness being For The Dales’ greatest weapon…
PETE NEWMAN CLARINET PROJECT – The Madness of George King
This track – taken from the Pete Newman Clarinet Project‘s intriguingly titled album Time for your Bathysphere – begins steeped in suspense… Clarinets and trumpets sneak around in the dark. You’re sat in your smoky office, peering through the blinds in your trilby… Where are they going? What do they WANT? From its neo-noir beginnings, the drums open this up into a pacey, high octane, acrobatic display, which would sit well in a modern day spy thriller. Hold on to your seats, because it’s clear that Pete settles for nothing but the best players here – this track is a real aural delight. Time for your Bathysphere is available now on Bandcamp.
SISTER KATE – Wash It Away
Wash It Away’s opening banjo passage is a red herring. What might appear to be a straightforward folk romp gives way to a surprisingly full on and dirty bass sound. There are themes of religiousness, three part harmonies, and violin, all part and parcel of the folk/americana territory, but when the banjo disappears and makes way for a venomous rap you know you’re dealing with a dangerous new age hybrid, executed with an unquestionable coolness and surety. Sister Kate is the creative trio of Kate Smith, Laurel Pardue and Ged Flood
TABLOIDS – Grave
Tabloids‘ new single Grave is built up around a powerful, compelling drum beat. This song (unlike a few others I reviewed this week) is definitely at its best when firing on all cylinders – a blitz of guitars, bass and drums. As the singer cries “we’re no different” during the rousing chorus, I can’t help but hear reminiscence of The Cure’s Robert Smith – but with added desperation. The band hail from Leeds, and you can buy Grave, along with B-Side London, on bandcamp for a mere quid.
THE WITCH & THE ROBOT – The Future Can’t Be Known
The Witch & The Robot, hailing from The Lake District, claim to make what they describe as ‘Sex Music’. However, a song called The Future Can’t Be Known instantly conjures every listener’s fear that preaching is about to ensue. What TWATr actually deliver is an inspired revelation, a creeping epiphany that actually allays all of your fears and anxieties. The band’s members are intriguingly named (I kid you not): “Venice, Goodnight, Blue Owl, Spaniella, Hen, Jimmy T, Dobbin and… DJ Aesthetic Heartbreak”. Go figure.
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 instance John Joseph Brill featured in our Fresh Faves AND on my BBC Introducing Mixtape only last month – yet here he is back in this week’s Fresh Faves again only a few weeks later. You already know people here like your music, John – why not hold back for a few months and give some other artists a chance? There’s plenty of other blogs and radio shows you can be promoting your music to in the meantime…
For more info see Robinson Has A Good Old Moan.