These Fresh Faves were picked by our readers over the weekend – and reviewed by Fresh On The Net’s DERVAL MC CLOAT this week. You’ll find more of Derval’s music writing on her blog and you can hear all these tracks in a single Soundcloud playlist here.
BEST BOY GRIP – Can’t Buy Love, Son
Best Boy Grip is a four-piece from Derry currently running a very successful Pledge Music campaign to fund their as yet untitled debut album. If streamed tracks like Sharks and this divine piece of musical gorgeousness Can’t Buy Love, Son, are anything to go by, it is destined for both commercial and critical success.
Whilst Eoin O’Callaghan’s vocal is truthful to the lyric, the technical talents of Liam Craig on piano, Jay Dickson on bass and Shane Mc Caul on drums, are allowed run riot in this opus of tidal forces. The hypnotic, looping piano chords are like musical waves rolling over the soul, building up to and melding with a booming synth crescendo, crashing off aural rocks. This song, like a sonic tide, flows and swirls, reaching a high at which point the rhythm section fully kicks in. Then, at once, it softens, recedes and ebbs away, until it closes with a fading lone vocal. #meltingheart
Best Boy Grip are no strangers to Fresh On The Net and you can expect to hear a lot more from and about these guys come album launch on September 7th.
BO WALTON – Dream Again
Bo Walton was born in Marden, Hertfordshire, but sounds as if he came in on the last flight from Tennessee. He’s one of a new coterie of (21st century style) Rockabilly-cum-Country-&-Western singers. These include the likes of Imelda May and Nathan Carter who have reignited “yeehaw” fever in both the UK and Ireland. Part Elvis, part Garth Brooks, this man has put the tap back in toe – and the stomp back into foot.
Dream Again is a masterclass in how to DO rockabilly. The sweetest country guitar twangs and slides over wonderfully understated accordion playing, all glued together by rock steady up-tempo swing drumming. Musically alone this song would fill a dance floor in a heartbeat. But when you add in what is one of the best goddamn vocals I’ve heard this side of the Atlantic, you know you’re gonna have one serious Gene Vincent-like Blue Jean bop experience. Definitely one for the jive bunnies… in fact, anyone with a pulse!
DUTCH CRIMINAL RECORD – Socks and Sandals
“Indie Surf 4 piece band from the South of England, all demos recorded in home studio le Boudoir”. Dutch Criminal Record‘s bio (alongside the song title denoting men-beach-white legs-socks-jesus sandals) says it all really. Sense of humour, fun and above all, Summer.
Yes indeed, the Dutch Crims (think indie Fun Lovin’) have produced this week’s bona fide nightclub dancefloor filler and surefire happiness inducing Summer Anthem. Zip zippy guitars jig jag across razor sharp, bullet fast drumming – subtly underpinned by cool-dude basslines. All of which are topped off by light hearted but tight vocals: this song is pure sonic sherbet and oh boy, can you feel the fizz tickle.
DCR remind me a bit of the Housemartins – everyone’s go-to feel-good, slightly cookie, off-centre jangle-pop band of the mid-80s. Hopefully, they’ll be just as successful. The Dutch Criminal Record EP is free to stream on Spotify.
FALSE ADVERTISING – I Don’t Know
Now for some Mancunian musical mayhem or – in the band’s own words – “Double-sided noise-pop”. Well I never! False Advertising are a bit like a Hole/Suede-On-Speed cocktail mixed up with The Pixies – and their song I Don’t Know is a canny blend of the lot.
There’s just the right amount of the prerequisite ‘noise’ for the grunge camp. But it’s blended with suitable quantities of user-friendly melody, controlled vocals, well synced harmonies – and pretty spot on guitar playing and drumming (the staccato beat of which I particularly like) – for them to appeal to a broader audience.
What’s really interesting about this trio is that they switch lead vocal duties. Given that they are girl/boy should make for some really cool contrasts track-wise on their forthcoming debut album due out 4th September. Astonishingly they’ve not only self-recorded this, but they also self-produced it. Now if that isn’t the confidence of youth…
KIZZY CRAWFORD – Pili Pala
If young Welsh/Bajan singer-songwriter Kizzy Crawford can pen a track like Pili Pala at age 18, then her future is very bright indeed. “My songs reflect my many states of mind” she says of her creations. Kizzy was obviously in a pretty blissful SOM when she penned this piece of musical angel delight. Pili Pala is like being transported aloft on the highest cloud, dancing through a gloriously colourful flower filled meadow, and then being showered in sparkles.
Kizzy’s voice is soft but clear with a quirkiness that lends itself well to the poppy bohemianism of Pili Pala. #VocalElation. This song has every beat, intonation and musical sequence known to happiness. It’s a beautiful blend of acoustic guitar, sparkling synths and lush harmonies – zanily choreographed, wonderfully produced, and topped off with a light sprinkling of fairy dust. Pili Pala will be released as a single on August 3rd.
LE PARODY and GIZMO VARILLAS – Summer Rain
Oh man, why did I never learn Latin Dance? There’s a Rumba screaming to get out every time I play this Spanish sizzler, Summer Rain by the hugely talented Gizmo Varillas. (And no, he is not a gremlin). The song oozes Latino sex appeal (Gizmo’s voice alone is swoon-inducing) alongside some technically brilliant Flamenco style guitar playing. Gizmo duets with fellow Spaniard, Le Parody who is the perfect vocal counterpoint. The pair of them co-wrote this soundtrack of “dreamy dark tropical vibes.” Mmm… musical Malibu cocktail.
Summer Rain has great rhythm – which will definitely get you sashaying around the house – as well as an hypnotic beat. It’s distinct magnetic melody draws you in, layered over a gorgeous millefeuille of harmonies. The succulent Spanish guitar lures you away to foreign climes: to long nights of gentle warm breezes, the sound of laughter and the tide slowly coming in… Now, where did I put that bottle of Malibu? Summer Rain is available now via Bandcamp and its groovy cover artwork by Murnau Den Linden is also available to buy via the same link.
OWEN DUFF – Nobody Loves A Tortured Soul
It took a few reps of the intro for my brain to go #bing. One of the things it reminded me of was a tune from an old musical jewellery box – it has a vintage, almost scratchy-needle-on-vinyl quality.
“And I bought me a round in the Crown and Bells
Held court like a king, was dethroned
And thrown out and threw up there”
And that my friends, sums up the leaving do, the birthday bash or the general Saturday night out on the tiles, that we’ve all experienced at least once. The lyrical sentiment is so on the mark in this laid-back track by Londoner Owen Duff, while the music is pure fantasia-shakes-hands-with-a-brass-section: the stuff musical dreams are made of.
Though it incorporates so much, it’s so tightly produced that you never feel aurally crowded. A perfect balance of symphonic electronica alongside some superb trumpet playing. And there’s a key change, woo! Nobody Loves A Tortured Soul is musically first class, with perfectly-sung, well-penned lyrics. Owen Duff – well done, very well done. Just one thing, why am I thinking of Sesame Street?
SHRINKING MINDS – Fun
Selfproclaimed Shrinking Minds they may be, but these three Liver-lads certainly ain’t shrinking violets. Energetic, frenetic and full of enthusiasm, these boys are about to hit the road, and methinks those gigs are gonna be some #craic. In the words of The Kaiser Chiefs, I predict a riot! This track Fun does what it says on the tin. The lads say that they had a lot of it while making this track – and boy does that come through. One minute it’s cocky, the next it’s emitting ennui, but mainly it’s right in-yer-face. Fun is quite deceptively constructed, starting with some low volume scratchy guitar; then 12 seconds in…boom… a guitar and drum fuelled rocket launcher.
As the noise-fest recedes, we are lulled into the false security of a very mellow verse (cue bored voice). Then – wham – the shouty punkesque chorus kicks us up the ass. The harsher vocal is very Johnny Rotten, but not as screamy and a lot more in tune. There is just the right mix of sound in here to make this a little bit more than just another #garage song. Some might say it’s a lot of #clangour. I think it’s a very deliberate experimentation with sound, performed by dynamic young bucks having fun finding their place in the musical universe. Something tells me there’s a lot more #fun to come!
THE HEART STRINGS – Beautiful Abyss
Ooh…Prepare to be thrown right into the Beautiful Abyss rather than just listening to it. The Heart Strings is the alternative pop project of London based producer and songwriter Todd Roache, who will release Beautiful Abyss as a single on 7th August, via Granpa Stan Records. It’s two and a half minutes of the most wondrous musical dream sequences: lifted straight out of the 60s, re-energised, and given an uber-modern spin.
The sound has a vibe of The Kinks’ Tired of Waiting – there’s a dash of Beck, but the lead singer’s voice is redolent of Ray Davies. His super smooth vocal (reverbed and harmonised to within an inch of its life) flows seamlessly over the intermittent clap-clapping, nifty guitar sequences, and wickedly cheeky military style drumming. All of this is piled on top of slick keyboard sounds – to which they added analogue keys during the mix – run through a tape delay “for extra sonic scrummyness”! Scrummy it is, and then some! This is psychedelia 21st century style.
You should watch the video at the bottom of this page: black and white beach bikini footage juxtaposed with acid house cartoons and grainy archive run backwards… Verdict? I LOVES IT.
WE CAME AS STRANGERS – Still Life
We Came As Strangers is not only a band name, but it is also the backstory about how this foursome came to be. Four strangers came together in late 2012 to record, and in less than three years they have managed to release three albums, (all three written and recorded within two week timeframes) of “deep rooted grooves, … and whimsical melodies”. Works for me AND very obviously works for them!
The opening sounds of Still Life remind me of the chimes of a grandfather clock and this rhythmic chime intermittently loops in and out weaving two halves of the song together. The musicianship on this track is highly skilled and there are some utterly gorgeously intriguing guitar sequences alongside some dreamy synth sounds. And ooh that schleppy scratching shoe scraping percussive sound is just ace. (I’m sure there is a technical term for it – open to education). Vocalist Ellem has a lovely, clear but strong quality to her voice similar to a young Andrea Corr back in the Runaway heyday of 90s. She takes a relaxed approach to her vocal on Still Life, keeping it gorgeously chilled whilst having the nous to modulate the inflection, to add more emotional umpah during the sonically powerful chorus.
We Came As Strangers obviously became friends and are now a firmly established collaborative co-op. Theirs is a fine blend of genius creativity, fantastic imagination, and skilful craftsmanship. Their new album Eyedom is out on 31st August.
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.